- 1. Synopsis
- 2. Parable Given in Response to
- 3. Symbolism Chart
- 4. The Parable in Luke
- 5. Symbolic Interpretations
- 5.1. The Owner of the Vineyard is God
- 5.2. The Fig Tree is Contemporary Israel
- 5.3. The Vineyard is Earth
- 5.4. The Fruit are Believers
- 5.5. The Vinedresser is Jesus
- 6. Conclusion
- 7. The Parable in Matthew
- 8. The Parable in Luke
Synopsis of Parable:
A man planted a fig tree, and came to find fruit, but found none. He told the vinedresser to cut it down, but vinedresser said, "Leave it a year for me to fertilize. If it bears not fruit, then cut it down."
Parable Given in Response to:
That Israel should repent.(Luke 13:5)
|↓Owner of the Vineyard||God the Father||Luke 13:6||Also the "certain man" of verse six.|
|↓Fig Tree||Contemporary Israel||Luke 13:6|
The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree
As presented in the King James Version of Luke 13:6-9
Luke 13:6He spake also this parable;
Explanation of the Interpretation of Symbols
The Owner of the Vineyard is God Back to Top ↑
God made the world and everything in it.(Genesis 1:9-31.) On this Earth, he made many nations, and choose ancient Israel as his own.(Deuteronomy 7:7.) By the act of choosing Abraham(Genesis 12:1-3.) and keeping his family safe, God planted Israel on earth, just as a farmer may plant a fig tree in a vineyard.
The Fig Tree is Contemporary Israel Back to Top ↑
Jesus's audience was contemporary Israel here. Israel was a special nation, a chosen nation, and a servant to God.(Isaiah 44:21.) God wanted the nation to bless all the families of the earth,(Genesis 12:3.) and yet when Jesus came, very few were able or willing to do that. There was no fruit to give to the nations.
At the end of the parable, Jesus says,
Some have interpreted the fall of the temple in 70 A.D. as this symbol of "cutting it down." If so, the Jewish leaders never ended up bearing fruit, even after Jesus “dug about and fertilized” them.
The Vineyard is Earth Back to Top ↑
Israel was on earth, as were all other nations. This is the only logical interpretation given all the other symbols.
The Fruit are Believers Back to Top ↑
The fruit are believers, but when Jesus came, there were very few.
There were plenty of Jewish leaders, but when he looked at them, all he found was that they were
hypocrites.(Matthew 6:2, 5, 16; 15:7; 16:3; 22:18; 23:23-29; Mark 7:6; Luke 11:44; 12:56.) In his
diatribe about the Jewish leaders, Jesus said of them:
Jesus even said their worshipping was in vain,
This is why the owner did not find fruit on his fig tree in the parable.
The Vinedresser is Jesus Back to Top ↑
The vinedresser is Jesus.
Jesus was the one who came to earth to shine.
Both reasons, and nearly every reason Jesus had for doing what he did, was to fertilize (to “dung”) the Jews, so they may bear fruit. There is no other logical interpretation of the vinedresser besides Jesus.
In Conclusion Back to Top ↑
This parable is about a group of people in the past. But that does not mean that there is nothing to learn
from it today. Jesus said
And our recommendation is this: When you go to a place that purports to be holy, or points to God, or anything else, you pay attention to what they are doing. Are they helping the community, as God wanted Israel to do? Are they segregating themselves away, making it impossible for them to share Jesus's words? Do they enforce an awkward "give us money" moment every time they give a sermon?
Remember, Jesus said,