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  #1  
Old Aug 6, '07, 9:11 pm
Tony B. Tony B. is offline
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Default Jesus Curses the Fig Tree? Mark 11: 12-14

Hello,

I just don't get it.... Why would Christ curse the fig tree? He knew it was out of season.

Was he angry? Was he joking? Is this meaningless? Does the fig tree represent something? Is it figurative language?? Is it simple?

Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.


Tony B.
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  #2  
Old Aug 6, '07, 10:09 pm
Joe Kelley Joe Kelley is offline
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Default Re: Jesus Curses the Fig Tree? Mark 11: 12-14

In the Bible a fig tree is symbolic of Israel. Like the prophets of old, who acted out their message, He is expressing His displeasure with Israel which failed to bear fruit - and for us if we fail to heed His message and bear fruit.
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  #3  
Old Aug 6, '07, 10:09 pm
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Zooey Zooey is offline
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Default Re: Jesus Curses the Fig Tree? Mark 11: 12-14

Fig trees are unusual because they are supposed to bear their fruit before they develop leaves. This tree had leaves but no fruit, meaning that it was of no use to anyone.
Jesus cursing the tree was, then, a representation of how we who are His followers will be judged if we bear no fruit...That is, if we have no good works, no response to all we have been given.
(Read the 25th chapter of Matthew verses 31 through 46, in the light of the story of the fig tree).

HTH!!
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  #4  
Old Aug 6, '07, 10:21 pm
Joe Kelley Joe Kelley is offline
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Default Re: Jesus Curses the Fig Tree? Mark 11: 12-14

Note the parallel to Luke 13:6-9
Quote:
And he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. [7] And he said to the vinedresser, `Lo, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down; why should it use up the ground?' [8] And he answered him, `Let it alone, sir, this year also, till I dig about it and put on manure. [9] And if it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'"
Jesus taught in Israel for three years.
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  #5  
Old Aug 7, '07, 2:09 am
thistle thistle is offline
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Default Re: Jesus Curses the Fig Tree? Mark 11: 12-14

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony B. View Post
Hello,

I just don't get it.... Why would Christ curse the fig tree? He knew it was out of season.

Was he angry? Was he joking? Is this meaningless? Does the fig tree represent something? Is it figurative language?? Is it simple?

Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.


Tony B.
D-R Bible Haydock Commentary

Ver. 13. He came, if perhaps, &c. Christ knew there was no fruit upon it, and that it was not the season, or a season for figs. See Matthew xxi. 19, what instruction he designed to give his disciples by what he said and did to the fig-tree. (Witham) --- Jesus Christ here curses the barren tree, on account of his disciples, who were present; for as he every where gave instances of his most beneficent will, it was proper he should also give them proofs of his justice and severity. Hence his principal motive for cursing the fig-tree was, not on account of any hunger he then experienced; for it is not probable that Christ should experience so great hunger, and at so early an hour, as these words seem to indicate. (Ven. Bede)
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  #6  
Old Aug 8, '07, 6:40 am
KarenNC KarenNC is offline
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Default Re: Jesus Curses the Fig Tree? Mark 11: 12-14

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zooey View Post
Fig trees are unusual because they are supposed to bear their fruit before they develop leaves.
Not that I can find http://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/fig.html nor that I have seen in the figs around here.

Do you have something that shows otherwise? Perhaps this happens in a specific cultivar?
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  #7  
Old Aug 8, '07, 6:43 am
marymol marymol is offline
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Default Re: Jesus Curses the Fig Tree? Mark 11: 12-14

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zooey View Post
Fig trees are unusual because they are supposed to bear their fruit before they develop leaves. This tree had leaves but no fruit, meaning that it was of no use to anyone.
.

HTH!!

That does help to clarify the meaning ..

Fig trees - representative of what is sweet and precious ..

A fig tree that seems out of the Divine order and will... . ...almost some thing unnatural -' it was not the time for figs '

In the next few passages , we see how our Lord is cleansing the temple - of things and people that are also out of place ..

And He uses the withered tree, to strenghten the faith of the disciples , in response to St. Peter 's question ; ' ask and you shall recieve ' - giving emphasis on forgiveness, as though to remind us what some truly good fruits can be ....

As to that refernece to our Lord being hungry - He is coming from Bethany , to return to Jerusalem - having made the same trip the evening before, after the triumphant entry to Jerusalem ..is there something more mysterious to this tempting fig tree , as on the occasion of His hunger in the desert .... when someone appears , with some easy and unnatural offers ...

In our own lives too , are there fig trees with leaves that do not truly produce fruits. ..when we can be busy with efforts and missions that may not be truly His will for us , for our state in life ...

Happy Feast of St. Dominic - the saint of the Rosary ; may his prayers and the powerful intercession of our bl. Mother - the perfect bearer of the Perfect Fruit help us all !
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  #8  
Old Aug 8, '07, 3:26 pm
rwoehmke rwoehmke is offline
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Default Re: Jesus Curses the Fig Tree? Mark 11: 12-14

Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenNC View Post
Not that I can find http://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/fig.html nor that I have seen in the figs around here.

Do you have something that shows otherwise? Perhaps this happens in a specific cultivar?
I believe I have read somewhere that what was called a fig tree in Israel was not the tree we know today as a fig tree. I seem to recall that each fruit had to have something done to it in order for it to ripen on the tree. As I recall it was a chapter about the prophet Amos of Tekoa who was a dresser of sycamores and a herdsman. Perhaps the action involved was to cross pollinate the blossoms so fruit would form. Dressing in my mind would be pruning, but......
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  #9  
Old Aug 9, '07, 11:21 pm
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Default Re: Jesus Curses the Fig Tree? Mark 11: 12-14

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwoehmke View Post
I believe I have read somewhere that what was called a fig tree in Israel was not the tree we know today as a fig tree.

Quote:
I seem to recall that each fruit had to have something done to it in order for it to ripen on the tree. As I recall it was a chapter about the prophet Amos of Tekoa who was a dresser of sycamores and a herdsman. Perhaps the action involved was to cross pollinate the blossoms so fruit would form. Dressing in my mind would be pruning, but......
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And now our own dear Bro, too, has crossed over the river, where he rests under the shade of the trees...
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  #10  
Old Aug 10, '07, 1:35 am
Catholic Dude Catholic Dude is offline
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Default Re: Jesus Curses the Fig Tree? Mark 11: 12-14

If I had to formulate an answer I would say this tree was a demonstration of his power, especially the power to punish at the judgment, but should the tree have fruit he could not harm what is good. The tree was mere "target practice", a lesson, and though He was hungry He used this as an opportunity to approach the tree not necessarily to eat and get full (for He could multiply loaves).
I just found this passage doing a search:
26"At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.
28"Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 29Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door.
-Mk 13

The point was not about fruit but to demonstrate the time is near and suddenly judgment.

It is also significant in my mind to note that whenever a tree is said to be punished for producing no fruit or bad fruit is said to be CUT down, not withered.
10The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. -Mat 3

8" 'Sir,' the man replied, 'leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. 9If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.' " -Lk 13
Lastly, taking Jesus' words "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." certainly implies the tree has produced fruit in the past and people have eaten, thus it wasnt a matter of fruit but rather sudden judgement, the spring had arrived, there is no time left on the clock to change anything.

...just some thoughts. Our Lord's words and teachings never cease to fill me with awe!
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  #11  
Old Aug 10, '07, 7:09 am
Todd Easton Todd Easton is offline
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Default Re: Jesus Curses the Fig Tree? Mark 11: 12-14

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony B. View Post
I just don't get it....
The Lord Jesus Christ will return when we least expect it, out of season, either at our death or at the end of the world. It will go well for us if he finds us doing his will, bearing fruit, but, if he finds us not doing his will, fruitless, we will be cursed like the fig-tree.
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  #12  
Old Aug 10, '07, 7:58 am
KarenNC KarenNC is offline
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Default Re: Jesus Curses the Fig Tree? Mark 11: 12-14

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwoehmke View Post
I believe I have read somewhere that what was called a fig tree in Israel was not the tree we know today as a fig tree. I seem to recall that each fruit had to have something done to it in order for it to ripen on the tree. As I recall it was a chapter about the prophet Amos of Tekoa who was a dresser of sycamores and a herdsman. Perhaps the action involved was to cross pollinate the blossoms so fruit would form. Dressing in my mind would be pruning, but......
What I have found:
http://www.figweb.org/Ficus/Subgenus..._sycomorus.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ficus_sycomorus

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fig

http://jambo.africa.kyoto-u.ac.jp/ki..._s32/79-86.pdf
"The words “fertile” and “sterile” refer to the trees, where fertile trees stands for ones with branchlets which are the clusters of short leafless branches for fruits bearing, while sterile trees
do not have such organs. Individual fertility is assessed, easily recognized from the existence of branchlets which are specialized branches bearing clusters of fruits (Fig. 4)."

So, it would appear that the sycamore fig is the kind most likely referred to in the Bible rather than ficus carica, the more familiar common fig. It also appears such fig trees do bear fruit on short leafless branchlets which are specialized branches only for fruiting, but this is not the same as saying that the tree produces fruit before it produces leaves. There is no indication in any of these descriptions of the biology of the fig that the fruit comes at a time when the tree has no leaves at all, which would seem a fairly important characteristic.

No discussion of types of figs, however, gets around the statement in Mark that "it was not the season for figs." So, it partly depends on whether you are using the version in Matthew or in Mark, which have some fairly significant differences.

Mark 11: 12-14, 20-25
12The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14Then he said to the tree, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And his disciples heard him say it.

20In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 21Peter remembered and said to Jesus, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!"
22"Have[f] faith in God," Jesus answered. 23"I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 24Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."[g]

Matthew 21: 18-22
18Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!" Immediately the tree withered.
20When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. "How did the fig tree wither so quickly?" they asked.
21Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. 22If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."
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  #13  
Old Aug 10, '07, 8:10 am
jrabs jrabs is offline
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Default Re: Jesus Curses the Fig Tree? Mark 11: 12-14

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zooey View Post
Fig trees are unusual because they are supposed to bear their fruit before they develop leaves. This tree had leaves but no fruit, meaning that it was of no use to anyone.
Jesus cursing the tree was, then, a representation of how we who are His followers will be judged if we bear no fruit...That is, if we have no good works, no response to all we have been given.
(Read the 25th chapter of Matthew verses 31 through 46, in the light of the story of the fig tree).

HTH!!
Thanks Zooey. That is exactly as I heard the verse explained to me as well. I had never understood that either.

But a tree that does not bear fruit provides goodness to no-one. Same for people.
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  #14  
Old Aug 10, '07, 8:01 pm
Grace Angel Grace Angel is offline
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Default Re: Jesus Curses the Fig Tree? Mark 11: 12-14

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony B. View Post
Hello,

I just don't get it.... Why would Christ curse the fig tree? He knew it was out of season.

Was he angry? Was he joking? Is this meaningless? Does the fig tree represent something? Is it figurative language?? Is it simple?

Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.


Tony B.
Hello Tony,
The Fig Tree is representative of Israel.
God had sent the Prophets and they were stoned and murdered and not listened to and eventually The Son was born to Israel and even the Son was not believed. Israel seemed to be growing on stoney ground and refused to produce.
Was He angry? I suppose so. So much had been given to them and they still would not and could not believe, so now He cursed them and all that was given to them would be given to another, The Gentiles, us. The curse I believe still stands until as a whole the Hebrew nation prays Baruch ha ba ba Shem Adonai. When they do this I believe the curse will be lifted. Similar to when Zechariash wrote down "his name is John" the curse of dumb ness was lifted.
God Bless
Grace Angel.
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  #15  
Old Aug 10, '07, 9:54 pm
marymol marymol is offline
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Default Re: Jesus Curses the Fig Tree? Mark 11: 12-14

Interesting comments .. isn' t it good to remember too that , 'sitting under the fig tree' also denotes contemplation ..as when our Lord tells Apostle Nathaniel - " I saw you under the fig tree. "

Fig leaves , mentioned in The Garden as well - our first parents' attempt to cover their shame ..of not trusting in the goodness of The Father ..not calling out for Him .... The Father , still came ... and cover them in ' leather garments' - of Lamb's wool ..

And here, The Lamb of God is on His journey , to be The Paschal Lamb ..

Withered fig leaves ..may be a sign of triumph of His mission - to undo the events in The Garden ...

As to Israel , there is the blessing to Abraham - ' I bless those who bless you ..and curse those who curse you ..'



Peace !
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