Just before the Lord Jesus embraced His bitter Passion, He sat on the Mount of Olives with His disciples and outlined the signs of the end of the world. Almost everything He said was utterly terrifying.
From where the Lord and the disciples were sitting, they could see the enormous Temple built by King Herod the Great.
“There will not be left one stone upon another that will not be thrown down,” Christ said.
And it got worse:
“Nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes, famines…” “You will be beaten in synagogues…” “Brother will hand over brother to death…” “There will be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.” “The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.” “Unless the Lord had shortened the days, no living creature could be saved.”
It was a stunning, confusing discourse–more full of hellfire and brimstone than anything you have ever heard.
But then He concluded with a parable:
Consider the fig tree…When the buds burst open, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near.
Consider the fig tree, budding. Consider the gentle warm air of the spring. Consider the prospect of a delicious fig, and of the shade under the tree.
Fear the doom. Death and judgment are terrifying prospects. The Temple was in fact completely demolished. Strife and strain await.
But only fear so much as you can while you are meditating on the bud of a fig tree, and imagining the air of spring, and savoring the prospect of a juicy Fig Newton.