Under the Fig Tree – In the Garden

Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™  I AM Ministries

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Monday, August 3, 2015

Under the Fig Tree – In the Garden

Did you know fig trees and fig fruits play a significant role in the Bible? From Genesis through the Gospels, God uses this “silly little fruit” for symbolism and a backdrop to Scripture and prophecy, and it packs a wallop. Of course, God uses other types of trees very symbolically and prophetically, but figs play a surprisingly key role starting in the Garden of Eden through the fall of Israel in 70 AD and continuing to the end times. This series of devotionals, based on lectures by Barbara Richmond Houseman, will the magnificent symbolism God imparts to the fig.

After God created the Heavens, the Earth, and everything in it, He saw all that He had made and it was good (Genesis 1:31). In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve enjoyed a beauty and abundance that has not existed on Earth since the fall of man. Every type of fruit was ripe for eating. Their choices were so abundant they likely could have dined for weeks without repeating a menu selection.

Despite their abundance, God imposed one restriction, “You are free to eat from any tree in the Garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17). It was a simple request and failure to comply came with a drastic penalty.

We all know the rest of the story – sin came into the world when they ate the fruit. Eve’s decision is baffling, however, because it made no sense. Apart from disobeying God, Satan’s offer carried little value. Adam and Eve already knew what “good” was; they were immersed in God’s goodness (Genesis 1:31). Why motivated her to want to discover evil? What value did this carry? In fairness, perhaps she did not understand the concept of death because, before she sinned, death was not present on Earth, although God had probably explained it as well as evil to her and Adam. Nevertheless, she fell for Satan’s ploy.

Moreover, the neither the tree nor the fruit was the problem. Everything God had made was good! There was nothing wrong with the fruit. The fruit was not poisonous, what was toxic was their disobedience. God had given Adam and Eve one simple command. He was asking them to do just one silly thing for Him – don’t eat that silly little fruit! Sadly, they did, and we must all confess that at some point in our lives we have willfully disobeyed God.

Tradition says that Adam and Eve ate an apple from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but nowhere does Scripture indicate or suggest the fruit they ate was an apple. Scripture states on more than one occasion that the Jewish people are the apple of God’s eye, but no other Scriptural attributions are given to apples. Figs, in contrast, are mentioned frequently and carry pervasive symbolism in both the Old and New Testaments. In fact, you may be surprised how many fig trees are mentioned, or not mentioned, in the Bible!

When Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened, they discovered their nakedness and sewed fig leaves together to make coverings for themselves (Genesis 3:7). Fig leaves; very interesting. Where did they get the leaves for their garments? It is not a big leap to speculate they took these leaves from the tree of the fruit they ate, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in front of which and under which they were standing.

Fig leaves are not tiny, but to clothe themselves, Adam and Eve could have chosen larger, easier coverings such as banana leaves, which were available in the Garden. Fig leaves may have been a matter of convenience. Put yourself in their position – if you discovered suddenly you were naked, wouldn’t you grab leaves from the tree right in front of you to cover yourself rather than initiating a search for larger leaves? Their first priority was to cover up because somehow they knew God was watching and He would not approve (Genesis 3:8-11). We’ll have to wait until we arrive in Heaven to know for sure the type of fruit they ate. Other Biblical fig references, however, are not a matter of speculation.

The devotionals in this series will present a few examples of how the fig tree provides a backdrop to Scripture. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil prophesies good and evil to come in both the Old and New Testaments as well. Figs were used by the prophets to represent good and bad people and their futures. Jesus used the fig tree to sort the good people from the bad and to give us a glimpse of the end times. Stay tuned to see the fascinating ways God uses this “silly little fruit” throughout His Holy Word.

In His love and service,

Jeff Myers
A servant of Jesus Christ


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