The irrevocable sentence passed upon the Jewish nation, and its consequent downfall and ruin was symbolized by the doom of the barren fig tree. It is not always easy to detect the sincere, genuine Christian from the counterfeit. But when brought to the test like the barren fig tree they are found diverse in character although the external appearance may deceive the eye. False and true devotion bear so close a resemblance to each other that it may be difficult for human wisdom to distinguish the difference between them. But the eye of the Infinite looks beneath the external and discerns the pretenders from the real, unmasks the hypocrite and discovers the difference between the cumberers of the ground and the fruit bearers. Fruit bearing Christians who are making the most of their God-given opportunities and privileges, will imitate the example of Christ in good works and unselfish deeds.
The mass of professors are symbolized by the apparently flourishing fig tree making pretensions to godliness but blessing no one by their precious fruits. The pen of inspiration pictures before us this class. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away.”
– The Signs of the Times, February 21, 1878