217. That the "vine" is used in the Word to signify spiritual good, and the "fig-tree" natural good, is at this day utterly unknown, because the internal sense of the Word has been lost; nevertheless, wherever these expressions occur, they signify or involve this meaning; as also in what the Lord spoke in parables concerning a "vineyard" and a "fig-tree;" as in Matthew:
Jesus seeing a fig-tree in the way, came to it, but found nothing thereon save leaves only, and He said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward forever; and presently the fig-tree withered away (Matt. 21:19),
by which is meant, that no good, not even natural good, was to be found upon the earth. Similar is the meaning of the "vine" and "fig-tree" in Jeremiah:
Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? Nay, they were not at all ashamed, and they knew not how to blush; therefore I will surely gather them, saith Jehovah; there shall be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig-tree, and the leaf hath fallen
by which is signified that all good, both spiritual and natural, had perished, since they were so depraved as to have lost even the sense of shame, like those at the present day who are in evil, and who, so far from blushing for their wickedness, make it their boast. In Hosea:
I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the first-ripe in the fig-tree in the beginning (Hos. 9:10).
And in Joel:
Be not afraid, ye beasts of My fields, for the tree shall bear its fruit, the fig-tree and the vine shall yield their strength (Joel 2:22).
The "vine" here denotes spiritual good, and the "fig-tree" natural good.