The Meaning Of The Fig Tree
(in the endtime)
Many people nowadays get a DNA analysis to ascertain their genetic origins. One genetic marker of interest is the Cohen Modal Haplotype, which many believe to be proof of patrilineage going back to Aaron. In a study, out of 106 families with a Kohanim surname, 97 shared 6 particular Y-STR chromosome markers, indicating a common ancestor. This is not, apparently, scientifically conclusive, but one thing is for sure, a lot of people will get a DNA ancestry test, and then be absolutely convinced they are descended from Aaron, and of the tribe of Levi. I am inclined to agree actually. The tribe of Levi had no land allocation and was embedded amongst the other tribes of Israel; as the Israelites have dispersed throughout the world over the last three and half millennia, it would be logical to find the Levitical genes to be the most scattered genes of all, (assuming one was able to correctly identify them). So it is no surprise to me to see their genetic marker appear globally like this. The Cohen surname itself has many variants, in Scottish – Cowan, Welsh – Owen, German – Kahn, to name a few. So for many people, it is a simple case of taking a test to see if the DNA result confirms their surname as being Levitical.
Although the Levites had no land allocation, they were given their own covenant by God, as described in the book of Numbers. The key features of the covenant were that it was a covenant of well-being and peace, that it was a covenant of salt, meaning that, just as salt cannot lose its flavour, the covenant is permanent and intractable, and that the firstborn of all the families of the tribes of Israel would relinquish their status, of being set apart for God, and instead that privilege would be conferred on the entire tribe of Levi instead.
Numbers 3 11 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 12 I hereby accept the Levites from among the Israelites as substitutes for all the firstborn that open the womb among the Israelites. The Levites shall be mine, 13 for all the firstborn are mine; when I killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I consecrated for my own all the firstborn in Israel, both human and animal; they shall be mine. I am the Lord.
This arrangement was not particularly well received by the rest of Israel, and resulted in quite of lot high dudgeon. At one point God was so incensed by the brazen impudence of the Israelites, who point blank refused to accept his providential ruling regarding the Levites, that he blew his top and started to wipe the entire nation out. A plague swept through the people, and Aaron had to run into the middle of the camp waving his censer to halt its progress. As the firstborn child inherits the birthright, and as God regarded Israel as his firstborn, being consecrated to God as the firstborn was clearly tantamount to being affirmed as being of the chosen people of Israel, and when the Israelites saw this honour being conferred on the Levites, they obviously felt that God was withdrawing their calling and assumed privilege. Of course God was doing no such thing, he was merely shaping the society around the priestly tribe of the Levites.
Within the ranks of the Levites, there were further hierarchical demarcations. The highest responsibilities went to the sons of Aaron, the Kohanim, from whom would come the High Priests, and amongst the Kohanim the descendants of Phinehas were then later selected for this honour, on account of Phinehas acting to uphold the integrity of Israel at Baal-Peor (Numbers 25:7-11).
Because the other tribes were so cut up about the Levites getting the special honour of being the priestly tribe, Moses eventually had to give them unequivocal proof that this was God’s will. This was achieved by having all the leaders of the tribes bring along their staffs with their names written on them, and then putting the staffs in the Holy of Holies overnight. The next day when they were brought out for inspection Aaron’s staff had sprouted almond blossoms and almonds, and the matter was finally laid to rest.
So, to recap, when Israel was under Pharaoh in Egypt, God viewed Israel as his first fruits. (Firstborn and first fruits amount to the same thing).
Exodus 4:22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord: Israel is my firstborn son. 23 I said to you, “Let my son go that he may worship me.” But you refused to let him go; now I will kill your firstborn son.’”
When the Israelites arrived in the wilderness, God cemented the status with a commandment to consecrate the first fruits to him.
13 1 The Lord said to Moses: 2 Consecrate to me all the firstborn; whatever is the first to open the womb among the Israelites, of human beings and animals, is mine.
Then at a later point, recorded in the book of Numbers, God transferred the symbology of the consecration of the first fruits to the Levites. However all Israel were still viewed as the first fruits, until shortly afterwards, when Israel were tricked into apostasy when Balak sent in the Moabite women to seduce the Israelite men. Before long the Israelite men were worshipping Baal of Peor, the Moabite God.
Hosea 9 10
Like grapes in the wilderness,
I found Israel.
Like the first fruit on the fig tree,
in its first season,
I saw your ancestors.
But they came to Baal-peor,
and consecrated themselves to a thing of shame,
and became detestable like the thing they loved.
At this point God ceased to view the Israelites as the first fruits, with the exception of the Levites. As Phinehas the Aaronite had slain Zimri and Cozbi, God retained the covenant of the first fruits with the Levites.
Numbers 25 11 “Phinehas son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the Israelites by manifesting such zeal among them on my behalf that in my jealousy I did not consume the Israelites. 12 Therefore say, ‘I hereby grant him my covenant of peace. 13 It shall be for him and for his descendants after him a covenant of perpetual priesthood, because he was zealous for his God, and made atonement for the Israelites.’”
So we now can see that covenant of the first fruits, (also called the covenant of perpetual priesthood), symbolized by the fig tree, rested with the Levitical priesthood, headed by the High Priest Phinehas.
Jesus had three things to say about the fig tree. He cursed it that it should never bring forth fruit again, (Matthew 21:18-19), he told the parable of the barren fig tree, (Luke 13), where a fig tree which had not produced fruit for three years was given a stay of execution, and allowed one further year to produce, and he referred to it in the Olivet Discourse as a sign of his imminent coming.
Matthew 24: 32 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near.
The three years of the fig tree were the three years of Jesus’ ministry, in which time the Levitical priesthood had its opportunity to repent: ultimately the High Priest needed to accept Jesus as the Messiah in this time.
Luke 3:9 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
After the Feast of Pentecost in AD 33, the Church then replaced the Levitical priesthood. The Levitical Priesthood had failed, as they had not recognized the Messiah. However, according to the parable of the barren fig tree, Jesus accorded them one extra year. He also cursed the fig tree that it would never again bring forth fruit, and he also predicted that it would flower, but not bring forth fruit, immediately prior to his second coming. Putting the picture together, we can see that immediately prior to Jesus returning, the Aaronic priesthood will be re-established. A prophecy confirmed in the Olivet Discourse when Jesus said that ‘this generation’ would reappear right before his second coming. The word used for generation is ‘genea’, which we need to understand is a word with a double meaning. A biblical generation is a period of 40 years, however ‘genea’ also means a genetic group of people, so we could for instance also say, ‘gene pool’. With the advances of DNA analysis, and the rediscovery of the lineage of Aaron, this now is a possibility; well, more precisely, a prophetic reality.
We should therefore expect to see the reestablishment of the Levitical priesthood before Jesus returns. It will of course be a totally fruitless exercise, and it will incur the High Priest’s wrath.
Paul alludes to a time of false peace and safety which will exist prior to Christ’s return, which is a further reference to, and confirmatory scripture of, the attempt to reconstitute the Levitical covenant of peace and well-being.
1 Thessalonians 5 Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. 2 For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 When they say, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape!
As a generation is 40 years, and as the sign of Jonah contains an implicit 40 day period at the end, (where we understand 40 days as 40 years), then I believe Jesus defines the time of Fig Tree as a 40 year period after the time of the gentiles. Ergo, AD 2033-2073.
To really understand this from Judaism’s perspective, one needs to understand their concept of the Messiah and his kingdom. It fits perfectly in fact with my understanding of the fig tree – a supposed age of peace and harmony. The Jewish belief is that a future age of universal peace, harmony, and obedience to Mosaic Law will arise, and a King from the lineage of David will preside over it. Enough said. (I suppose we await further DNA advances to determine the Davidic line, although given the identifiable royal lines of Solomon throughout the world, then it is perfectly feasible that a specific gene can still be isolated for that – whether with true veracity or not I cannot say.)
When we consider the greater picture of the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem in AD 73, the exemption of the Levites starts to makes a great deal of sense. God promised to uproot and destroy every Jew not walking in faith, with Christ. Once God had done that, then how come after the destruction of Jerusalem, apostate Judaism was still in existence? The answer is very simple. The Levites. Under the covenant of the fig tree, the covenant of the first fruits, they were not included in that judgement.
We can also add that as Mosaic Law lasted 1600 years, from Moses’ birth in 1527BC to AD 73 when it expired, the Law itself lasted 40 generations, (The Law itself being latent in Moses). So the Law lasted a generation of generations. Therefore the Law itself is a generation. Therefore the genea, ‘this generation’, Jesus speaks of has a double meaning, as it means the very Law itself. Jesus is also saying that the Law itself then will reappear at the end of the endtimes, which serves effectively as a second witness to his statement that the Levites will reinstitute the Law.