Figs in the Bible

December 23, 2020


Figs in the Bible: What the Bible Says About Figs

figs in the bible

What are figs in the Bible? What does the Bible mean when it uses figs in a story?  Are figs healthy? 

I get asked these questions all the time. What the Bible says about figs is always about God demonstrating His love for us. When we enjoy these nutrient-dense fruits we get to experience that love physically and spiritually!

In this blog, I want to share with you about figs in the Old and New Testament, the health benefits of figs, and the biblical meaning of figs.

When I started my health journey years ago, the Bible became my recipe book for health. I needed wisdom and knowledge since man’s ideas continued to fail me. 

All this time later, I’m convinced more than ever that Scripture holds the answers not only to our eternal salvation but everything we need to live the abundant healthy life Jesus came to give us. 

That includes what we need to know about physical health.

God planted spiritual wisdom in His Word, and He also wove in a plethora of verses about mental health, emotional health, relational health, and physical health.

Why would He do that?

Figs in the Bible: The Link Between Food and the Bible

figs in the scriptures

I believe God, in His omniscience and lovingkindness for us, included guidelines in His Word to help us make wise choices, including numerous verses about food to guide our eating. 

Long before most of the world had easy access to plentiful food, before GMOs and chemically modified food, before mass processing and producing, He provided instructions on eating so we can benefit from the best of His creation.

The foods God created are good. In Genesis good means excellent of its kind – valuable in estimation. All foods God created are nutrient-dense and life promoting – excellent of their kind. This means man can never compete or imitate His goodness. 

I’ve spent years studying food, nutrition, and the Bible to dig deep into the science and biblical background of food. It’s my mission and ministry to share this wealth of information so you can live the most abundant, vibrant, healthful life today. You deserve the best for you. Your family deserves the best you!

I heard testimony recently of how depression took the joy of motherhood away AND how God’s foods brought it back! Now that is powerful!

Foods of the Bible

If there’s a food you want to learn more about, check out the food section on my blog. I’ve already covered wonderful foods such as:

(Interested in learning more about a biblical food I haven’t covered in detail yet? Let me know!)

This post starts a new series about specific foods found in scripture. We’ll look at:

  • Why God might have included those foods in His Word
  • What those foods symbolize
  • Why foods mentioned in scripture matter
  • How these foods benefit us

I’m super excited about this series because it combines my favorite things: the Bible and healthy living through food.

So…what does the Bible say about figs?

Symbolism of Figs in the Bible

Have you ever wondered about the symbolism of figs in the Bible? 

Whenever scripture repeats something, take note of it. Figs or fig trees are mentioned in the Bible almost 200 hundred times! I think that means we should pull up a chair and listen.

Even Jesus talks about figs. (The Old Testament holds most of the references, but the New Testament also has several.)

Does all this really matter? Yes!

Knowing the symbolism of figs and more about them helps us understand the stories Jesus uses to teach His disciples (which includes us).  Watch this video where I talk more about figs in the Bible.

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It also helps us understand the situation that the Israelites were in in the Old Testament, as well as the state of the Israelite nation today.

Fig tree symbolism in the Old Testament

We see the first mention of figs early in Scripture. Right from the beginning, actually.

Figs are the one fruit we know was present in the garden of Eden. How do we know? Adam and Eve used fig leaves to cover themselves after sinning.

This is the beginning of the fig tree being used as a symbol in the Bible.

So what do they represent?

Throughout Scripture, we see figs or the fig tree as a barometer of the health or status of the nation of Israel.

Figs are compared to blessings. Just as the rich flavor and sweetness of the fig bless the taste buds and body, the tree  represents the sweet things in life.

Figs stand as a symbol of prosperity, well-being, and security.

We see this in relation to the Israelites during the time of Moses.

Fig Trees in the Promised Land

fig in the scripture

God rescued the Israelites from slavery and a harsh life after crying out to the Lord while in captivity in Egypt. However, their gratitude was short-lived and they soon grumbled to Moses about their new status.

Therefore, the Lord brought punishment and left them in exile for another 40 years.

Despite the Promised Land being close. They could have entered the land overflowing with milk and honey much earlier, but their disobedience prevented them from experiencing the blessings God prepared for them.

In Deuteronomy 8, the Lord describes the land as good and overflowing with abundant provision. One of the seven foods listed is figs.

God’s Abundant Promises

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land

  • of streams of water
  • of fountains and springs
  • flowing out in valleys and hills
  • of wheat and barley
  • of vines
  • fig trees
  • pomegranates
  • of olive oil and honey
  • where you will eat food without shortage
  • in which you will not lack anything
  • whose stones are iron
  • out of whose hills you can dig copper
    When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you. Deuteronomy 8:7-10

The fig tree was one of the foods the Lord used to describe how blessed the land was.

The Canaanites possessed the land but didn’t worship the Lord. Instead, they worshipped a variety of idols and committed many abominable acts against the Lord. They didn’t deserve the blessed, abundant land.

God’s plan was to punish the Canaanites for their treachery and bless the Israelites as His children.

Therefore, He would help them rip the land from the Canaanites and gift it to the Israelites. Yet they had some lessons to learn first.

Blessings are often tied to obedience to God. The Israelites needed refining from the corruption they incorporated in their lifestyles from the Egyptians and learn to worship God before they could receive His blessings.

Figs in the Bible and Other Old Testament Books

figs in the bible

We see this theme of figs serving as a symbol for blessing throughout the Old Testament.

And contrarily, as a symbol of warning, destruction, and failure.

When fig trees are thriving and producing fruit, the Israelite nation is thriving and living in obedience to the Lord.

Again, the fig tree is often used as a barometer of the attitude and health of the Israelites.

Full, vibrant, fruitful fig trees are symbols of a healthy, vibrant, faithful people.

Empty, sick, barren fig trees are symbols of ill, suffering, sinful people.

Scriptural examples:

So Judah and Israel lived securely, everyone under his vine and his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon. 1 Kings 4:25

And all the heavenly lights will wear away, And the sky will be rolled up like a scroll; All its lights will also wither away As a leaf withers from the vine, Or as one withers from the fig tree. Isaiah 34:4

For a nation has invaded my land, Mighty and without number; Its teeth are the teeth of a lion, And it has the jaws of a lioness. It has made my vine a waste And my fig tree a stump. It has stripped them bare and hurled them away; Their branches have become white. The vine has dried up And the fig tree has withered; The pomegranate, the palm also, and the apple tree, All the trees of the field have dried up. Indeed, joy has dried up From the sons of mankind. Joel 1: 6-7, 12

Woe to me! For I am Like harvests of summer fruit, like gleanings of grapes. There is not a cluster of grapes left to eat, Nor an early fig, which I crave. Micah 7:1

These are just a handful of the scriptures that reference the fig tree and show the depth of its use as a symbol in connection with the Israelites.

When they are obedient and prosperous, we see the fig tree likewise. When they are disobedient and suffering, we see the fig tree barren.

Fig Trees in the New Testament

symbolism of figs in the bible

Probably the most well-known story involving a fig tree in the New Testament is found in Matthew 21 (& Mark 11). Jesus sees a fig tree that’s in full bloom with leaves, but not with fruit.

Jesus curses the tree and the next time the disciples see it, the tree has withered and died. 

We need more information about fig trees and how God uses them as symbols to understand this occurrence and Jesus’ reaction.

We’ve seen that the fig tree represents blessing, well-being, and security. It also symbolizes fruitfulness.

Fig trees, like many other fruit trees, are somewhat slow-growing. It takes years for them to develop, produce fruit, and even longer to offer shade. So, a fig tree that offers shade is an older, mature tree.

Unlike many other trees, fig trees produce fruit both in the spring and in the fall.

When the tree produces fruit in the spring, it occurs before the leaves flourish ( in Israel). Thus, a fig tree with an abundance of leaves should have had fruit on it.

Just as a fruitful fig tree symbolizes the health of the Israelites, the tree without fruit mirrors the Jewish nation that exhibited outward behaviors that made them look like they were faithful to God. However, in reality, they had adopted outward appearances that hid their lack of fruit and faithfulness.

The same as the fig tree with leaves and no figs.

Also, unfortunately, like many Christians today.

Fig Tree Symbolism Today

Knowing about what figs symbolize in scripture isn’t just good for knowledge, but also for wisdom in living faithfully to God today.

Christians do well to self-evaluate and ask:

  • Am I sharing the Gospel?
  • Am I experiencing the fruit of the Spirit?
  • Do I have fruit or just leaves?
  • Am I overflowing God’s blessings to others?
  • Am I creating relationships that promote the Gospel?

These questions are fruit vs. leaves questions. Do we check off some religious boxes and think we’re good, or are we engaging in an intimate relationship with the Lord?

When we see a fig tree or incorporate figs into our diet, they can serve as a reminder for us to do a fruit-check.

God loves us. He loves you. He wants to bless you through a relationship with Him.

Everything in scripture, even verses that talk about ordinary things like food, draw us closer to Him.

We can learn so much about God, His people, and ourselves (His people under the new covenant sealed by Jesus’ blood) as we study His Word.

We can also learn practical tips for living abundantly on this earth. That often comes in the form of enjoying the good things He’s given us.

And that’s why my mission is to teach the wealth of information God has given us about His perfect design and creation meant to sustain and supply us.

It’s also why I’m excited about this new series that starts with looking at foods in the Bible, what they symbolize, and how they bless us physically and spiritually.

13 Fig Health Benefits

fig health benefits

So, what are the benefits of figs? Like so many other foods God created and has given to us, they are plentiful.

A fig fruit is one of my favorites for a TON of reasons. 

Aside from the delicious taste of dried figs, there are numerous fig health benefits that are great not just for your body but your mind, too!

Figs are so powerful in your health and nurture you from the inside and out.

1. Nourish your cells.

Figs provide cells with nutrients that support health and help repair and regenerate worn-out cells.

2. Help prevent diabetes.

Eating a handful of figs daily is a natural way to help prevent diabetes. Their low glycemic index (GI) due to the high fiber content helps prevent blood sugar spikes, despite their sweetness. Potassium & magnesium also aid in insulin control.

3. Improve bone health.

One of the many health benefits of fig fruit is that they support healthy bones in children and help sustain bone density in older individuals. This is all because of the high calcium and magnesium levels in figs. 

4. Aids in blood pressure regulation.

This is another benefit of the amount of potassium found in figs. If you suffer from high blood pressure, munching on some figs can help with that.

5. Help treat anemia.

There is also a good amount of iron in figs, which is great for those who suffer from anemia. Pregnant women should also munch on more figs, as the need for iron increases when expecting.

6. Enhancing good memory.

Figs are loaded with vitamin B6, a vital nutrient for brain functioning. We could all use help in this area!

7. Contribute to good digestion.

Another benefit resulting from the fiber found in figs.

8. Assist in lowering cholesterol.

Fiber, fiber, fiber! It has so many perks!

9. Soothe and heal sore throats.

10. Lower cancer risk.

Again, fiber comes to the rescue.

11. Reduces inflammation and skin irritations.

12. Reduced risk for macular degeneration.

13. Promotes healthy liver function.

The nutrients in figs help balance enzymes and detoxification, both of which are important in liver function and overall health.

Figs are definitely one of the wonderful gifts God has given us. The food He created is good and loaded with important nutrients our bodies need to function at their best.

In addition to the nutrients listed above, figs also have significant amounts of:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Antioxidants
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • B-complex (not B12)

Eat Figs Daily for Better Health

From cognition to bone health to blood pressure, figs are truly essential in supporting total health.

Enjoy eating more figs, and your body can reap numerous health benefits from this fruit.

How can you add figs to your daily routine? Here are a couple of suggestions:

Buy figs at a store or better yet, plant your very own fig tree in your yard.

In fact, I have a couple of fig trees in the yard, simply because I want to have all of the seven foods that are part of the seven blessings that God said. I call this the “Promised Land Diet”. 

So go munch on some figs today, add them to your recipes, and help your body thrive each and every day of your life!

Annette on Social Media

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  • This was very informative. I was reading about how Isaiah told King Hezekiah to put a plaster of figs on his boil and I wound up here. Amazing
    Thank you

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