|Faith Strengthened||Chapter 30||Part 2|
Mark 9:12-14, "And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he (Jesus) was hungry; and, seeing a fig-tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find anything thereon; and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, as the season of figs was not yet come. And Jesus answered, and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee for evermore." See also Matthew 21:19. Jesus acted here neither as a Divine person, nor as a man in whom the Divine Spirit dwelt. For he surely might have known that the fig-tree bears its fruit only at the appointed season; nor would any discreet person cast a malediction on a tree merely for being thus disappointed. Moreover, if Jesus, by his mere word, was able to render a tree barren, might he not as well, by the power of his word, have made the tree bring forth its fruit at the bidding of the moment, in order to appease his hunger? I, having once made use of this argument with a Christian, he explained it away by asserting that the passage has only a spiritual signification, and that the fig-tree named was but a symbol used by Jesus to represent the Jewish nation, in like manner as the prophets designate them the "vine-tree," and that Jesus had cursed Israel for having rejected him as their spiritual teacher. I rejoined that, in our prophecies regarding the time of the expected and true Messiah, we are promised that in the days of the messiah, knowledge and prophesy shall increase and prevail throughout the world; as it is said in Joel 2:27-28, "You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else, and my people shall then never again be put to shame. And then I shall pour out my spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophecy." From this prophecy, it is clear that many of the indispensable conditions, requisite for the advent of the Messiah, had not yet been fulfilled, but were still to come.