Ellen G. White Writings

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Christ Triumphant, Page 256

God's People Not to Make a Pretentious Show, September 6

And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. Matthew 21:19.

It was not a common thing for a fig tree to present full foliage at that early period of the season. The fruit of the fig tree makes its appearance before the leaves; therefore a fig tree in full leaf might be expected to have fruit upon it. Christ approached the tree, expecting to find fruit there, but searching from the lowest bough to the topmost branch, He found nothing but leaves, and His curse fell upon it.

This instance in the ministry of Christ is a singular one. It was unlike the ways and works of Christ.... Wherever He went He scattered mercy in words of counsel and deeds of goodness. He was the Restorer, the Healer. He came not to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. The disciples could not understand the action of Christ in punishing a tree for its barrenness, and they said unto Him, “How soon is the fig tree withered away!”

Just before this Christ had made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. For the second time He had cleansed the temple and had driven out from its courts the traffickers.... Dishonest dealing was practiced by the people who brought cattle to sell in the temple courts, but the word of command was given; divinity flashed through humanity, and no priest in his gorgeous dress, or trafficker looking on that countenance, dared to remain....

This was a parable of the dispersion of the Jews. Now Christ, under the symbol of the blighted tree, presents before His disciples the righteous anger of God as He sees the temple courts desecrated to obtain unlawful gain, and the destruction of the Jewish nation. That tree, flaunting its pretentious foliage in the very face of Christ, was a symbol of the Jewish nation, which had been separating from God until, in their pride and apostasy, they had lost their power of discernment and knew not their Redeemer....

This blighted fig tree with its pretentious branches is to repeat its lesson in every age to the close of this earth's history.... If the spirit of Satan entered unto unsanctified hearts in the days of Christ to counterwork the requirements of God in that generation, it will surely enter into the professed Christian churches in [our day]. History will repeat itself.... But the people who obey the commandments of God have no controversy. They take the Word of God for their guide.—Manuscript 32, 1898.

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