As Jesus has just been discussing the signs of the times and the signs that will precede the second coming, he gives his people a message and warning saying to “Look at the fig tree.” This is an important point and one that we need to heed so that we are not swept away by the events of this world as the time draws near.
Signs of the End
There were many signs He spoke of in the lead up to the end times. He spoke of earthquakes, famines, signs in the sun, moon and stars, wars and rumours of wars and many other things. In the books of Revelation and Daniel as well as others there are many signs spoken of in the prophecies of those books.
And some of those signs are occurring even now. Some of those signs can be seen today as the events that God set in motion from the beginning of the creation come to fruition in our time.
Jesus does not want his people to wander around blindly. He does not want us to be shocked, terrified or surprised by the events taking place in the world today and in days to come. It is His desire that His people understand the signs and can interpret them and know that all the things we see happening were pre-ordained. It will happen just as He planned it.
Lesson of the Fig Tree
That is why he then tells us to “Look at the fig tree and all the trees.” This is an example from which we can and should learn. He says, “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees; as soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.” (Verses 29-31)
He is telling us to watch. Open your eyes and recognise the signs of the times. Just as when we see trees start to sprout leaves after a long winter and we know that spring is on the way, so too when we see the signs that He has warned us will take place we need to know that His return is imminent.
Of course His timing is not like ours. We know He said, “A day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day.” (2 Peter 3:8) But as these events unfold we can know with confidence and certainty that the day of His return approaches soon.
Message for Today
So today we must be like watchmen. We must keep our eyes and ears open so we can recognise the signs as they occur. Some of the signs I briefly listed above are already happening and many others are to come. Some of those yet to be seen are things like the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, the price of wheat being three times the price of barley, the introduction of the cashless society and the mark of the beast on the right hand and forehead.
These processes are in place already. Earthquakes are escalating and the damage they cause. Negotiations over the Temple site have been going on for years. The price of wheat has been steadily increasing against barley. If you check the chart above, which looks at the price of several crops, and note the two blue lines representing wheat and barley, it is clear that the gap is widening. At the start of this chart they were almost at parity, and historically wheat has always been lower than barley. But now wheat is roughly 40% higher than barley. There is still a way to go, but considering this jump from parity has occurred in less than two years it suggests we are seeing the commencement of the fulfilling of this prophecy and one of the signs of the end times approaching.
As for the cashless society, it is with us almost now. We have the technology to do it right now and more and more trading occurs without cash based transactions. In fact in the early to mid 1970’s in our economy only about 10%-12% of the transactions were cash based, and it would be much less now. With the proliferation of credit card fraud, loss of identities, people smuggling and the like, it is only a matter of time before some bright spark comes up with the idea of placing a microchip or some other device into a person to overcome such frauds. And I will guarantee that the device will be placed in the right hand and/or the forehead because that’s where the Bible tells us it will go.
So the message for us today is to watch and see these events unfold. Should we be fearful? Absolutely not! When we see these things, just as we welcome the budding of trees for the warmer weather it heralds, so too when we see these events we should look up and be joyful for they precede the coming of the Lord.
(Chart sourced from Prairie Crop Charts)