Friday, April 26, 2013

Refuting Shepherd's Chapel - Good & Bad Figs (Jeremiah 24)

In continuing my critique on Shepherd's Chapel teaching, I'll be turning my attention to the Good and Bad Figs. A basic rundown of this teaching of Shepherd's Chapel is that the Good & Bad Figs of Jeremiah chapter 24 is talking about Kenites1 (the bad figs) and true Jews2 (the good figs) returning to the land of Israel (which they say happened in 19483) thus beginning what they call "the generation of the figtree4". Of course this is pure eisegesis and a real exegesis of the text shows that nothing of this sort is taught in Jeremiah chapter 24.

First let's just take a quick read of Jeremiah 24:
Jeremiah 24
The Good Figs and the Bad Figs 
24 After Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had taken into exile from Jerusalem Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, together with the officials of Judah, the craftsmen, and the metal workers, and had brought them to Babylon, the Lord showed me this vision: behold, two baskets of figs placed before the temple of the Lord. 2 One basket had very good figs, like first-ripe figs, but the other basket had very bad figs, so bad that they could not be eaten. 3 And the Lord said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” I said, “Figs, the good figs very good, and the bad figs very bad, so bad that they cannot be eaten.”
4 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 5 “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Like these good figs, so I will regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I have sent away from this place to the land of the Chaldeans. 6 I will set my eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up, and not tear them down; I will plant them, and not pluck them up. 7 I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.
8 “But thus says the Lord: Like the bad figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten, so will I treat Zedekiah the king of Judah, his officials, the remnant of Jerusalem who remain in this land, and those who dwell in the land of Egypt. 9 I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a reproach, a byword, a taunt, and a curse in all the places where I shall drive them. 10 And I will send sword, famine, and pestilence upon them, until they shall be utterly destroyed from the land that I gave to them and their fathers.” (ESV)
A brief overview shows a vision of two baskets of figs. The basket of good figs represents those that were exiled to Babylon. The basket of bad figs represents those that will resist the exile. It also shows that the Lord's purpose of the exile is for judgment and salvation. This prophecy simply shows that it is too late for repentance to change the course of what God has planned for the exile. (compare to Jeremiah 21:9).

Now let's break this down, as they say, verse-by-verse:

Verse 1 - shows us that Nebuchadnezzar had taken the king and useful persons (officials, craftsmen and metal workers) into exile (597 b.c.). Then the Lord showed Jeremiah a vision of two baskets of figs (cp Jer. 1:11-16).

Verses 2 and 3  - Jeremiah describes the condition of these two basket of figs. One basket containing good figs (the exiles, v. 5) and one containing bad figs (those that remain in the land, v.8).

Verses 4 and 5  - The Lord identifies that the good figs are those whom He sent away to exile in the land of the Chaldeans. (cp Jer. 29:10-14).

Verse 6  - The Lord promises to restore the exiles. (cp Jer. 1:10; 12:2; 18:9).

Verse 7 - God promises to sovereignly dispense His grace on them so that they will repent and turn to Him. God will again have a covenantal relationship with His people.

Verse 8 - The Lord identifies the identity of the bad figs as the king of Judah, his officials, and the remnant of Jerusalem who remained in the land. Notice that it is not Kenites.

Verse 9 and 10 - The Lord describes the punishment of those that remained as well as those in Egypt. (cp Jer. 15:2-4)

So, as long as somebody does not import their false presuppositions into the text, this text is not describing Kenites and true Jews returning to Israel in 1948. The text is simply explaining the judgment upon those that refused to go into exile as well as the repentance and restoration of those that did go into exile.

Soli Deo Gloria!


  1. Shepherd's Chapel teaches that kenites are the sons of cain that are alive today claiming to be Jews.
  2. Shepherd's Chapel follows the false doctrine of British-Israelism and claim that real Jews (or the 10 lost tribes) are from European Caucasian descent. 
  3. They also claim this may have happened in 1967 after the Six-Day War.
  4. This is the final generation before the second advent according to Shepherd's Chapel teaching.


  1. So why did Jesus say to learn the parable of the fig tree? Who do you think the "imposter Jews" of Rev 2:9 and Rev 3:9 are ?

    1. Hello Just Me, Thank you so much for your comment! If you take the futurist approach they see Mark 13:28 where Jesus is saying to learn the lesson (parable) of the figtree to be referring back a couple of chapters to the event that happened in Mark 11:13-14. In that passage Jesus, using the figtree as a symbol for Israel, shows that they are no longer producing fruit (good works). In Mark 13:28 when Jesus using the Figtree symbol again as putting forth leaves this may simply refer to Israel producing fruit again (many Jews coming to faith before Christ returns).

      If one does not take the futurists approach there there does not seem to be any specific symbolic sense to this “fig tree” (such as the re-emergence of the nation of Israel), especially since the parallel passage (Luke 21:29) adds “and all the trees.” Jesus is simply saying that just as there are signs of what is to come in the natural realm, so it is in the spiritual (this is view I lean toward).

      as for Revelation 2:9 & 3:9. Smyrna was known as the crown of Asia where the Greeks held to strong emperor worship. They also had a large Jewish community and both the Romans and the Jews strongly persecuted Christians in this city. Although these Jews were Jews physically they spiritually aligned themselves with the Greek pagans in putting Christians to death. This is similar in the church of Philadelphia (briefly named Caesar’s New City) in Revelation 3:9. The Roman imperial cult and a large synagogue were known to be in Philadelphia around this time. Both Smyrna and Philadelphia were dangerous places for Christians to be.

      Jesus' statement "they say they are Jews and are not" is not Jesus denying their Jewish genealogy but rather their spiritual genealogy. Romans 2:28-29 declares "For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly... But a Jew is one inwardly...". These Jews denied the Messiah and aligned with the emperor worshipers; thus Judaism became a "synagogue of Satan". The New Testament defines God's people in relation to Jesus, not genealogy. The "key of David" mentioned in Revelation 3:9 is simply Jesus' authority to admit to or exclude from God’s kingdom (see Isaiah 22:22, Mark 16:19).

  2. The sons of CAIN KENITES/QAYANITES burrowed their way into the priesthood as the NETHENIMS. The western europeans are not jews they are the 10 tribes of ISREAL Ephraim Mannaseh Zebulon Simon GAD ect. ADAM and EVE covered their shame with FIG LEAVES not their mouths for eating an APPLE! As for Isreal in 1948 being a nation? That was nothing more than EDOM rebuilding the desolate heritages. YAWEH will tear them DOWN!