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Dr. Luke: Healing the Breaches - Book 7

This is a commentary on Luke 18:31 to 21:38 Describing Jesus's trip to Jerusalem and the conflict with the Chief Priest leading to His Crucifixion.

Category - Bible Commentaries

Chapter 9

Jesus’ Second Triumphal Entry

Luke speaks of just one triumphal entry in which He cast out the bankers and pronounced Jeremiah’s verdict upon Jerusalem. Luke 19:45, 46 says,

45 And He entered the temple and began to cast out those who were selling, 46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘And My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a robbers’ den.”

Luke’s information is sparse, but he tells us that on this day—the tenth of the month—the chief priests selected Jesus as the Lamb to be slain at Passover. Luke 19:47, 48 says,

47 And He was teaching daily in the temple; but the chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people were trying to destroy Him, 48 and they could not find anything that they might do, for all the people were hanging upon His words.

Normally, the Passover lamb each year was led to the temple by the same path that Jesus took on the donkey. Jesus’ triumphal entry probably preempted that solemn procession, so we may think of this triumphal entry as a procession for the Passover lamb.

The Cursed Fig Tree

Both Luke and Mathew combine the two triumphal entries as if to convey it as a single event, but Mark separates the two, telling us the order of events. Likewise, Luke omits the incident with the fig tree, but according to Mark, Jesus cursed the fig tree on His second entry into Jerusalem on Monday. Mark 11:11-14 says,

11 And He entered Jerusalem and came into the temple; and after looking all around, He departed for Bethany with the twelve, since it was already late. 12 And on the next day, when they had departed from Bethany, He became hungry. 13 And seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 And He answered and said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening.

There seems to be a discrepancy here. Why would Jesus go looking for figs on the tree if it were not the season for figs? The Wycliffe Bible Commentary says,

“It was normal for the fig tree in the vicinity of Jerusalem to begin to put forth new leaves in the latter part of March or early April, the time of the Passover. This tree was apparently fully leaved out, in which case it should have had ripened figs on it, although the time of ripe figs was in June…. Jesus saw the leaves at a distance and came to see ‘if therefore he might find fruit’.” [p. 1012]

Dr. Bullinger adds clarification in his notes on the same verse,

“He had reason to expect fruit, as figs appear before or with the leaves.”

It appears, then, that while Jesus was walking or riding the donkey from Bethany to Jerusalem, He saw a fully-leaved fig tree some distance from the road. A fully-leaved fig tree on the last day of March was somewhat unusual, but being hungry, He investigated to see if there were any figs on it. Finding none, He understood this tree to be a prophetic sign of Jerusalem (and Bethphage, the house of figs). Jesus then cursed the fig tree, saying, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!”

In Matt. 21:19 the wording is given, “No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.” In either case, it indicates that the earthly Jerusalem, the “house of figs,” would never bear fruit unto God—at least, none that could be eaten (as per Mark’s account).

This theme of fruitlessness then becomes the main theme of Jesus’ teaching during the rest of that week. Later, in Matt. 21:33-44 Jesus told a parable of the vineyard, where the stewards refused to render to God the fruit of the field. This parable was taken, with a few alterations, from Isaiah 5:1-7, where the prophet says that the grapes were so sour that they could not be eaten.

Isaiah’s sour grapes correlate closely with the evil figs of Jeremiah 24, but Jeremiah shows that there were good figs present as well.

In the case of the leafy, but barren, fig tree near Jerusalem, Jesus gave an addendum in Matt. 24:32-34,

32 Now learn the parable of the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender [i.e., green], and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; 33 even so you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I say to you, this generation [offspring] will not pass away until all these things take place.

This tells us of a second fulfillment in the latter days. Once again, the fig tree of Jerusalem will set forth leaves, much like the first one did. Again, there will be an expectation of fruit, but when examined, it will again be found barren. The revived nation, known today as Israel, will be a leafy fig tree with no fruit that God requires of His Kingdom.

Just as leaves were the problem the first time, so also are leaves the problem today. In fact, fig leaves have been a problem since the time of Adam, for instead of confessing their sin, they sewed fig leaves to cover themselves (Gen. 3:7). Fig leaves mean self-justification. God resolved the problem by shedding blood and clothing them with skins (Gen. 3:21). Covering sin requires blood, not fig leaves.

Jerusalem today (and the Israeli state in general) fulfill the prophecy of the fig tree coming back to life and putting forth more leaves. Jerusalem remains unfruitful on account of Jesus’ curse, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” Hence, if Jerusalem ever does become a fruitful tree, then we would have to confess that Jesus was a false prophet. It is only the New Jerusalem that will become fruitful and is the true Capital of the Kingdom.

Two Comings of Christ

Jesus’ prophecy of the cursed fig tree putting forth leaves in the latter days parallels the two triumphal entries into Jerusalem and the two donkeys. Each in its own way prophesies of the two comings of Christ.

The donkeys are paired and bound together, blending their roles as prophecy often does when it speaks on two levels. First, the mother donkey speaks of the earthly Jerusalem, while the donkey colt speaks of the New Jerusalem, the “daughter of Zion.” But on the other hand, since they are both donkeys, we may also view the colt as representing the earthly Jerusalem today. This second level fits better with the latter-day fig tree that is fully leaved but remains barren.

The two triumphal entries also speak prophetically of the two comings of Christ. In the first entry, He looked around in the temple and then returned to Bethany. The next day, however, after cursing the barren fig tree, He cast out the bankers. This prophesies of our own time—specifically of the Rothschild bankers who virtually invented modern banking. In Volume 1 of The House of Rothschild, Money’s Prophets, page 6, Niall Ferguson says,

“Indeed, it can be argued that, by modifying the existing system for government borrowing to make bonds more easily tradable, the Rothschilds actually created the international bond market in its modern form.”

The Rothschild family rose to prominence in the 1790’s and were at least the visible face of the beast from the earth, which was to arise around the time of the sea-beast’s fatal wound. The relationship between these two beasts is described in Revelation 13, the first being the little horn of Daniel 7, and the second joining it after 1,260 years. The alliance between these two beasts correlate with The Holy Alliance (1814), at which time also the Rothschilds became the bankers of Vatican money.

The beast from the earth is obviously a financial beast, given its description in Revelation 13. The “mark” of this beast is money itself, without which no one can buy or sell. The love of money is the spirit of this banking beast, and those who succumb to this spirit are said to have its “mark” on their forehead (minds) and on their hands (labor).

And so it is prophetically significant that Jesus cast the bankers out of the temple in His second entry into Jerusalem, rather than the first. Both beasts (from the sea and from the earth) have reached the end of their authority as of 2014, and they are now being dismissed from positions of power. The control over the creation of money is being transferred to a new global system in preparation for the second coming of Christ.

Jesus Selected as the Lamb

There is no doubt that the chief priests selected Jesus on Monday, the tenth day of the first month after He cast out the bankers and pronounced judgment upon the temple. Luke 19:46, 47 makes that connection, as does Mark 11:17, 18. Matt. 21:15 says only that the chief priests became “indignant” at the witness of the people. John, of course, saw fit to focus upon other events and teachings that were not covered by the earlier gospel writers.

Jesus was presented as the Lamb in His second triumphal entry that preempted the usual procession as the lamb was selected and led to the temple on that day. It is of interest also that this was the day the verdict was spoken upon Jerusalem, ending the four-year “time of visitation” (i.e., investigation) that had begun under John the Baptist.

In Luke 3:7-9 John began looking for fruit in the nation. In Luke 13:6-9 we learn that Jesus had continued the investigation after John was executed, and that this was to last 3-4 years. This visitation concluded when Jesus gave His verdict (Luke 19:44).

The Final Judgment

In Luke’s account, we read first of the triumphal entry in Luke 19:37, 38. This is followed by the indignation of some Pharisees, for we read in Luke 19:39, 40,

39 And some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” 40 And He answered and said, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!”

Recall that at the start of this visitation, John the Baptist told them in Luke 3:8, “do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father,’ for I say to you that God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.”

At the end of the time of visitation, Jesus again mentioned “stones” as alternate witnesses of the divine plan. One way or another, the testimony must be given, for God had adjured the witnesses to speak the truth according to the law in Lev. 5:1. A public adjuration is a divine command to speak the truth. The high priest used this law to force Jesus to speak the whole truth at His trial (Matt. 26:63). Only then did He speak.

In the time of the second coming of Christ, it will be the “living stones” (1 Peter 2:5) who cry out, bearing witness of His right to rule. This time the “living stones will also bear witness to His right to claim the birthright of Joseph, which is the Kingdom itself.

Jesus gave His final verdict in Luke 19:42-44, lamenting that they did not recognize (or acknowledge) the time of their visitation. They did not believe that God was investigating them to see if they would bear fruit. In fact, they would have been indignant at the thought that God might be unhappy with the fig leaves of religious activity.

This difference of opinion pervades the entire New Testament story and provides the background leading to the final conflict and the apex of Christ’s first ministry as the Passover Lamb.