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Known by Their Fruit Matthew 12

Posted by adventbiblestudy on November 4, 2010


KJV Matthew 12:33. Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.

In this parable there are a few items we should notice. The words tree and fruit are each repeated three times. This is unusual, but when Jesus repeats something three times we should pay attention. The other detail that seems unusual if the fact Jesus said, “make the tree good,” and, “make the tree corrupt.” This indicates the tree and fruit mentioned in this parable requires effort.

After praying for guidance of the Holy Spirit, the next step to interpret a parable is to write it out in your own words like you are explaining it to a friend.

In this parable Jesus is saying there are good trees and corrupt trees. The good trees make good fruit and the corrupt trees make corrupt fruit. A tree is known by its fruit.

The next step is to locate the key words. This study will look at the words tree and fruit. Both of these words are physical objects. The spiritual meaning is found by comparing a number of texts containing the word.

 

Tree

Tree

Tree

Psalms 1:3 KJV And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Psalms 52:8 KJV But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.

Psalms 92:12-14 KJV The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

Isaiah 61:3 KJV To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

Psalms 37:35 KJV I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.

These texts show a tree can represent people.

Tree = People


 

Spiritual Fruit

Spiritual Fruit

Fruit

Psalms 104:13 KJV He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.

Psalms 1:3 KJV And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Psalms 92:13-15 KJV Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. (14) They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; (15) To shew that the LORD is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

Proverbs 1:30-31 KJV They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. (31) Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.

Proverbs 10:16 KJV The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.

Psalms 21:10-11 KJV Their fruit shalt thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children of men. (11) For they intended evil against thee: they imagined a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform.

Psalms 104:14 describes fruit as works. The other texts here compare fruit to showing the Lord is upright, not keeping God’s counsel, and sin. All of these describe actions, or works. Fruit represents a person’s efforts of works.

Fruit = Works

KJV Matthew 12:33

33. Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.

Now write out a chart of the key words and their spiritual meanings.

Tree = People

Fruit = Works

Rewrite the parable substituting the spiritual meaning for the physical word.

Either make the person good, and his works good; or else make the person corrupt, and his works corrupt: for the person is known by his works.

When interpreting a parable you may collect a number of texts that help to define the meaning of the parable but do not clearly define the key words. You can collect these texts at the end of the study to refer to when explaining your study to others.

Proverbs 15:4 KJV A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.

Psalms 104:16 KJV The trees of the LORD are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted;

Proverbs 11:30 KJV The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.

Proverbs 8:19-20 KJV My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver. (20) I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment:

Proverbs 11:30 KJV The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.

Proverbs 12:12 KJV The wicked desireth the net of evil men: but the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit.

We see from these texts a tree can also be a tree of life. This may bring to mind other texts, such as:

Revelation 22:2 KJV In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

We also see fruit is better than gold.

Isaiah 13:12 KJV I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.

1 Peter 1:7 KJV That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Psalms 119:127 KJV Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.

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