Under The Fig
And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.
Nathanael was a Jew who lived in the days when Jesus began his ministry. His nation was under the control of a foreign power. It had been subdivided into political districts. It had a king, a Herod, who was made king of Judea by appointment of the Roman Senate. Herod was not a descendant of Jacob, but of Esau his brother. The Jewish religion was split with sects who held differing ideas and interpretations. It was a time of intense political and religious turmoil. It was also largely held among the religious among society, that the Messiah would come, according to scripture, and redeem the nation, sitting upon the throne of David. To say that it was a time of great tribulation and upheaval would be a great understatement. Some had arisen, and had been followed by many, but were destroyed, and their followers scattered.
Nathanael was a true Jew, in whose heart was no guile. He desired to know the truth. He happened to be sitting under a fig tree, pondering within himself how he might know Messiah if He were to come, given the present situation. As he sat under the fig tree, Nathanael was considering the scriptures, particularly how that Jacob had many, many years ago, seen a vision in which the angels of God ascended and descended upon certain stones on which Jacob had set his head. The ladder upon which they ascended and descended reached unto heaven, where the Lord stood at the top. Nathanael considered that the Lord, from His place, was no doubt seeing Jacob at the foot of the ladder. It was at this moment that Nathanael had an experience, being moved upon by the Spirit, he knew that the Lord was seeing him, as surely as He had seen Jacob those many generations ago. Nathanael had his answer. Messiah would find him. It was at this very moment something else happened:
…Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, “Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee”. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
The Fig is used in scripture in some places to depict the Father. It was under the fig tree that the Son was revealed to Nathanael is such power and reality, that Nathanael was instantly free in his mind from Herod, Pharisees, Sadducee, Romans, potentates (foreign and domestic), and every other pressing issue troubling his nation and world. Nathanael confessed Jesus to be the Son of God and his king. Similarly in the near future, Jesus would speak to Peter, who also confessed Jesus to be the Christ (which means Messiah). Jesus would tell him that flesh and blood had not revealed this to Peter, but the Father. And Jesus further stated that upon this Rock would He build his church. For the Rock is not Peter, as many erroneously teach and profess. The Rock is the revelation in the individual, from the Father, of the Son of God, the Christ. Christ in you, revealed by the Father (not man) is the true and only foundation.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
There was a man sent from God, whose name [was] John.
The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all [men] through him might believe.
He was not that Light, but [was sent] to bear witness of that Light.
[That] was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:
(from John 1)
The Fig is a very interesting study. The flowers bloom inside the fruit. It’s destiny is revealed within.
…. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called [me] by his grace,
To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus….
In reading this account by Paul, of the revelation of Christ in him, by God, you will find it very plainly written that it came expressly from the Father, and not by any other. This is a very important thing to consider. We are called of God. Not of each other. Though all are partakers of this calling, the calling in each is of God. This is not pointed out to diminish any, but to magnify Christ in you, who you have received of the Father.
The days we live in are not much changed. Trouble is on every side. But to find Jesus, or rather, to be found of Him, is peace.