|Spiritual Meaning of|
Now learn a parable from the fig-tree. When her branch is now become tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that the summer is nigh. So also ye, when ye see all these things, know that it is nigh, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away till all these things be accomplished. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away (Matthew 24:32-35).
The internal sense of these words is as follows.
Now learn a parable from the fig-tree. When her branch is now become tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that the summer is nigh; signifies the first of a new church; the fig-tree is the good of the natural; her branch is the affection of this; and the leaves are truths. The parable from which they should learn is that these things are signified. He who is not acquainted with the internal sense of the Word, cannot possibly know what is involved in the comparison of the Lord’s coming to a fig-tree and its branch and leaves; but as all the comparisons in the Word are also significative (AC 3579), it may be known from this signification what is meant. A fig-tree wherever mentioned in the Word signifies in the internal sense the good of the natural (AC 217); that her branch is the affection of this, is because affection springs forth from good as a branch from its trunk; and that leaves are truths may be seen above (AC 885). From all this it is now evident what the parable involves, namely, that when a new church is being created by the Lord, there then appears first of all the good of the natural, that is, good in the external form together with its affection and truths. By the good of the natural is not meant the good into which man is born, or which he derives from his parents, but a good which is spiritual in respect to its origin. Into this no one is born, but is led into it by the Lord through the knowledges of good and truth. Therefore until a man is in this good (that is, in spiritual good), he is not a man of the church, however much from a good that is born with him he may appear to be so.
from AC 4230
In Luke:–When these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads. And He spake a parable: Behold the fig-tree and all the trees; when now they shall have shot forth ye see and shall know of your own selves that summer is now near. So ye also, when ye shall see these things coming to pass know that the kingdom of God is nigh (Luke 21:28-31; Matt. 24:32; Mark 13:28, 29). This treats of the consummation of the age, which is the Last Judgment, and the signs which precede are enumerated, which are meant by when all these things begin to come to pass; that a new church is then to begin, which in its beginning will be external is signified by Behold the fig-tree and all the trees, when they have shot forth. This parable or similitude was related because the fig-tree signifies the external church, and trees signify the knowledges of truth and good; the kingdom of God, which then is near, signifies the new church of the Lord; for at the time of the Last Judgment the old church perishes and a new one begins.
Every tree is known by its own fruit; for from thorns men do not gather figs, nor from a bramble-bush gather they the grape (Luke 6:44; Matt. 7:16);
as fruit signifies the good of life, and the good of life is external good from internal, or natural good from spiritual, and as from this good man is known, so the Lord says, Every tree is known by its own fruit; from thorns men do not gather figs, nor from a bramble-bush gather they the grape, fig here meaning the good of the external or natural man, and the grape the good of the internal or spiritual man, thorns and bramble-bush mean the evils opposed to these goods. from AC 403a