Absent Master of the House – Mark 13:33-37 – Inductive Bible Study

Matt 24:32-44

32″Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near;  33 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 generationwill not pass away until all these things take place.  35 ” Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. 

36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.  37 “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.  38 “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,  39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.  40 “Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left.  41 “Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left. 

42 “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.  43 “But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.  44 “For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. 

Mark 13:28-32

28 “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near.  29 “Even so, you too, when you see these things happening, recognize that He is near, right at the door.  30 “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.  31 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.  32 ” But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. 

Luke 21:29-33

29 Then He told them a parable: “Behold the fig tree and all the trees;  30 as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near.  31 “So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near.  32 “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place.  33 ” Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. 

  1. What title do you give to this parable?

Signs of the Times

Get Ready!

  1. What other parables have similar characteristics or theme?

Two Foundations

Wheat and Tares


Wise and Foolish Virgins

The Rich Fool

Watchful Servants

Barren Fig Tree

  1. Who was Jesus speaking to when He gave this parable?

His Disciples

  1. What was the context for this parable?

Matt 24:3

3 As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?

  1. What are the main elements of the parable?
    • The fig tree
    • The branch has already become tender
    • Put forth its leaves
    • Summer is near
  1. What does each of these elements represent?
    • The fig tree – The nation of Israel
    • The branch has already become tender – Nation of Israel is restored (1948)
    • Put forth its leaves – Season is approaching to bear fruit
    • Summer is near – The Second Coming will be soon
  1. What spiritual principle(s) does this parable teach?
    • The Lord gives much warning before He brings judgment. Jonah, Noah, Lot, Kings of Judah and Israel, etc.
    • God often uses signs in nature to foretell what He will do.
    • God has definite and unchanging plans for the course of history.
    • God does not keep us in the dark. He always tells His people His significant plans before carrying them out.
    • God is in absolute control of history.
    • Believers already know “tomorrow’s news” (i.e. the big events)!
    • Even though heaven and earth will pass away, Jesus’ Words are immutable and eternal.
    • No man can calculate the exact day of Jesus’ return.
  2. Cross references to this parable?

Luke 13:6-9

6 And He began telling this parable: “A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any.  7 “And he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?’  8 “And he answered and said to him, ‘Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer;  9 and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.'”

Ezek 9:3

3 Then the glory of the God of Israel went up from the cherub on which it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed in linen at whose loins was the writing case.

Ezek 10:4

4 Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub to the threshold of the temple, and the temple was filled with the cloud and the court was filled with the brightness of the glory of the LORD.

Ezek 10:18-19

18 Then the glory of the LORD departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim. 19 When the cherubim departed, they lifted their wings and rose up from the earth in my sight with the wheels beside them; and they stood still at the entrance of the east gate of the LORD’S house, and the glory of the God of Israel hovered over them.

Ezek 11:22-23

22 Then the cherubim lifted up their wings with the wheels beside them, and the glory of the God of Israel hovered over them. 23 The glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city and stood over the mountain which is east of the city.

1 Peter 1:24-25

24 For,






2 Peter 3:3-7

Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” 5 For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, 6 through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. 7 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

2 Peter 3:10-13

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.

11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! 13 But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth , in which righteousness dwells.

2 Thess 2:1

1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

Matt 24:3

3 As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?

Luke 12:54-56

54 And He was also saying to the crowds, ” When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming,’ and so it turns out.  55 “And when you see a south wind blowing, you say, ‘It will be a hot day,’ and it turns out that way.  56 “You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present time?

Gen 1:14

14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;

Gen 9:13

13 I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.

Matt 21:18-22

Now in the morning, when He was returning to the city, He became hungry. 19 Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves only; and He said to it, “No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.” And at once the fig tree withered.

20 Seeing this, the disciples were amazed and asked, “How did the fig tree wither all at once?” 21 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen.  22 “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

Jonah 1:1-2

 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.”

Gen 19:14

14 Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, and said, “Up, get out of this place, for the LORD will destroy the city.” But he appeared to his sons-in-law to be jesting.

2 Peter 2:5

5 and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah , a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;

Hos 9:10

10 I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness;

I saw your forefathers as the earliest fruit on the fig tree in its first season.

But they came to Baal-peor and devoted themselves to shame,

And they became as detestable as that which they loved.

Joel 1:6-7

For a nation has invaded my land,

Mighty and without number;

 Its teeth are the teeth of a lion,

And it has the fangs of a lioness.

It has made my vine a waste

And my fig tree splinters.

It has stripped them bare and cast them away;

Their branches have become white.

Amos 3:7

Surely the Lord GOD does nothing

Unless He reveals His secret counsel

To His servants the prophets.

Eph 5:15-16

15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil.

  1. Questions or problems with the interpretation of this parable.

Does v33 refer to the rapture or Jesus’ Second Coming?

What does this passage tell us about the timing of the rapture?

To what group of people is this passage the most applicable?

To what generation is Jesus referring to? v34

What is the connection between v34 and v35?

Why do you think even Jesus did not know the day and hour of His return?

What does it mean in v40,41 that “one will be taken”? Taken where?

Though we don’t know day or the hour, how about the year?

How should the expectation of Christ’s Return affect believers?

Contrast a believers response to the anticipation of Christ’s return to the response of an unbeliever?

How are people alive prior to the Second Coming of Christ like those who were alive in Noah’s day?

  1. Based on this parable, what changes in my life does Jesus want me to make?

Since Christ’s return seems very near, and the rapture precedes it by about seven years, I should make the most of my time.