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Uncoolman
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Date Posted:16/04/2008 8:00 AMCopy HTML

The Good Figs, the Bad Figs and the Davidic Throne

An examination of a Revival Centres International Article
 
The following article is based on an RCI article titled 'Is Canaan Israel's Home Today?' as presented in the June 2001 Voice of Revival. Over the years I have seen several RCI interpretations of the Good and Bad Figs analogy as presented in Jeremiah chapter 24, some better than others, but as this particular one was presented in an official and publicly distributed RCI magazine, as well as appearing on their current web site, it deserves its own investigation. 

 From the current RCI article:- 

"Seventy years after the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, as God had promised, about 42,000 descendants of Judah and Benjamin, then known as Jews, returned to Canaan from their Babylonian captivity and rebuilt that city. It is because a small portion of modern Jewry (less that 10%) are descendants of Jews of that era that the claim is made today that they are God's people and that Canaan (Palestine) belongs to them.

This is not what the Bible indicates! Eleven years before he totally destroyed Jerusalem, King Nebuchadnezzar raided Jerusalem and took Jehoiachin, the Davidic king at that time, and many of the most useful of its citizens captive to Babylon. At that time the prophet Jeremiah had a most significant vision in which he saw two baskets of figs (Jeremiah 24:1-10), one basket "very good figs" and the others "very naughty figs". Among the many blessings that God said He would bring upon the first basket was the promise that they would eventually finish up in the appointed place and be part of Jacob-Israel. However God totally rejected the "naughty figs" and said that He would drive them out of Canaan and scatter them throughout the world. Following the total rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ as their king ("We have no king but Ceasar." - John 19:15) at His crucifixion, God brought this to pass in AD 70 when Jerusalem was wiped out by the Romans, and the Jews at this time (the naughty figs), were ejected from Canaan and scattered worldwide. Effectively Canaan was once again a Jacob-Israel free zone."
 
The full article can be read at:-

http://www.rci.org.au/newsletter/200106_vor/iscanaanhome.htm

I will admit that I have significant difficulty in the way this portion of the article is presented and the principles it overlooks. The general thrust of this RCI piece is about the future of the good and bad figs as prophesied in Jeremiah chapter 24. The article appears to totally overlook the correct context of who was being spoken of and why. In the excerpt above, the good figs end up 'somewhere else' (Britain) and the bad figs are portrayed as the Jews at the time of Christ who are forever banished.

Is this what the Bible is saying?

First, I think it important we identify (scripturally) who the good and bad figs are. Secondly, we can then look at what implications this correct identification has for the general British Israel theory that Zedekiah's daughters went to Ireland to continue the Davidic Throne.

Before going to the Scripture text itself, there are any number of Old Testament Commentaries that we could quote regarding this text:-

Matthew Henry 
"Good and bad figs represent the Jews in captivity, and those who remain in their own land...........The bad figs were Zedekiah and those of his party yet in the land. These should be removed for their hurt, and forsaken of all mankind." 
 
Adam Clarke
 
"Under the emblem of the good and bad figs is represented the fate of the Jews already gone into captivity with Jeconiah, and of those that remained still in their own country with Zedekiah. It is likewise intimated that God would deal kindly with the former, but that his wrath would still pursue the latter, 1-10................. Under the type of good and bad figs, God represents the state of the persons who had already been carried captives into Babylon, with their king Jeconiah, compared with the state of those who should be carried away with Zedekiah. Those already carried away, being the choice of the people, are represented by the good figs: those now remaining, and soon to be carried into captivity, are represented by the bad figs, that were good for nothing.

The state also of the former in their captivity was vastly preferable to the state of those who were now about to be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon. The latter would be treated as double rebels; the former, being the most respectable of the inhabitants, were treated well; and even in captivity, a marked distinction would be made between them, God ordering it so. But the prophet sufficiently explains his own meaning."
 
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown (comment on vs 2) 
"Baskets of figs used to be offered as first-fruits in the temple. The good figs represent Jeconiah and the exiles in Babylon; the bad, Zedekiah and the obstinate Jews in Judea. They are called good and bad respectively, not in an absolute, but a comparative sense, and in reference to the punishment of the latter. This prophecy was designed to encourage the despairing exiles, and to reprove the people at home, who prided themselves as superior to those in Babylon and abused the forbearance of God (compare Jeremiah 52:31-34)....... Among the many blessings that God said He would bring upon the first basket was the promise that they would eventually finish up in the appointed place and be part of Jacob-Israel."
 
As we can see from the above commentaries, there is no doubt as to who represents what in the context of these verses. Even without the bible commentaries, it would be obvious to most readers that:-
 
-- The good figs are Jeconiah and the exiles in Babylon (verse 5)
-- The bad figs are Zedekiah and the Jews in Judea (see verse 8)  

Now back to the RCI article:- 

"Among the many blessings that God said He would bring upon the first basket was the promise that they would eventually finish up in the appointed place and be part of Jacob-Israel."

In this, the RCI are referring to the British Israel scheme of things and that these good figs would end up BI somewhere else i.e. Britain and her offshoots (both the context and several statements in the article confirms this). However, as we look to the verses in question, God promised these good figs that they would return back to "this land" (Canaan / Palestine), and not somewhere else like Britain.

We read this in verse 6:- 

 Jeremiah 24:6 - For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up.
 
See also Jeremiah chapter 29:10, 25:12, 32:41, 33:7. Whether one sees some / all these fulfilment's at the initial return from the captivity (see Ezra 1:1, Nehemiah 1) or a later time is not the point in consideration here. The fact was, they were to return to the land from which they left, and that was not Britain. The appointed place always was Canaan. When read in it's context, Jeremiah 29:10-14 also makes for some interesting reading for those familiar with some of the general BI "catch phrases". All these things were to take place after the 70 years in captivity. When you read through Ezra and Nehemiah in detail, the whole thing takes on a totally different perspective.

Continuing on with the RCI article:- 

"However God totally rejected the "naughty figs" and said that He would drive them out of Canaan and scatter them throughout the world. Following the total rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ as their king ("We have no king but Ceasar." - John 19:15) at His crucifixion, God brought this to pass in AD 70 when Jerusalem was wiped out by the Romans, and the Jews at this time (the naughty figs), were ejected from Canaan and scattered worldwide. Effectively Canaan was once again a Jacob-Israel free zone."

The declaration above is totally out of context and incorrect. The punishment was clearly aimed at Zedekiah and those remaining in Judah, see vs 8-10. (note this was prior to Nebuchadnezzar's final attacks). It was not addressed to the "Jews" in the time of Christ. It is also important to note that this was fulfilled in Zedekiah and those that remained in Jerusalem (see chapter 39, 2 Chron 36, 2 Kings 25, 2 Kings 25:26).

This correct understanding  of the verses under question raises another serious problem for the BI theory and the transfer of the Throne to Ireland. According to BI, the Throne was supposed to have been establish through Zedekiah and his daughters, but these were all "very bad figs, which could not be eaten because they were so bad". A fig that cannot be eaten is simply good for nothing and will be tossed out. This is exactly what happen in the end.

Indeed it would seem that this open and forthright rejection of Zedekiah and his house has caused a number of British Israel adherents to realize they need to look elsewhere for a method of transfer of the Throne.
It should also be noted that King Jehoiachin / Jehoiachin (same person) who went into captivity earlier (the good figs), was treated with favour, outlived Zedekiah and seems to have had his rule restored in some measure (Jer 52:31-34, 2 Kings 25:27-30). We also know that those who went into captivity earlier (the good figs) were allowed to return to Jerusalem at a later date (Jer 29:10) after the 70 year captivity. This return included representatives from all Israel. Christ of course seems to have been descended from these "good figs" as were many in Jerusalem at the time of Christ.

It is interesting that Zedekiah, one of the central characters to the events of chapter 24 and the focus of the 'bad figs', does not even get a mention in the RCI article, neither he nor the curse put upon him and his family. Of course this curse rules out his family / house from being eligible to continue the Davidic Throne.
Jeremiah 24:8-10 (NIV) 

8"'But like the poor figs, which are so bad they cannot be eaten,' says the LORD, 'so will I deal with Zedekiah king of Judah, his officials and the survivors from Jerusalem, whether they remain in this land or live in Egypt. 9I will make them abhorrent and an offense to all the kingdoms of the earth, a reproach and a byword, an object of ridicule and cursing, wherever I banish them. 10I will send the sword, famine and plague against them until they are destroyed from the land I gave to them and their fathers.'"
 
The curse of chapter 24 toward the destruction Zedekiah and the "bad figs" (which included his daughters) is again forcefully reiterated in chapter 29. The interesting point in this piece, is that the "Throne of David" as relating to is specifically targeted as being part of these despised & vile figs.

Jeremiah 29:16-17 Know that thus saith the LORD of the king that sitteth upon the throne of David, and of all the people that dwelleth in this city, and of your brethren that are not gone forth with you into captivity; 17Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will send upon them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, and will make them like vile figs, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil.

The above verses fit well with totally conditional nature of David's literal descendants siting on the throne.
However one wish's to interpret other references to "figs", Jeremiah 24 must (and does) stand in it's own context. The bad figs were not the "Jews" at the time of Christ, they were those amongst whom was found the Throne of David at that time. As prophesied, the good figs did return to the appointed place of "Jacob/Israel" after the 70 year captivity. They did not go to Britain.

From my current understanding, the RCI article as presented is incorrect in the discussion of the Biblical Text under question.
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