NKJV - 31 "For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?"
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These words were spoken by Jesus in Luke 23:28-31 to women who were following Him and weeping for Him as He was being led to His crucifixion. He told them not to weep for Him, but for themselves and for their children, because of the horrors that would occur forty years later (in AD 70) when Jerusalem would be destroyed by the Roman army. Jesus said that the coming devastation would be so great that people would want the mountains and hills to fall on them and bury them, and women who had never given birth would be regarded as blessed, because their children would not suffer or be killed at the hands of the Romans. He also made the point (by the words quoted in the question) that, if the leaders of the Jewish nation had failed to recognize Him as their God-given Messiah, and had rejected Him to the point of putting Him to such an excruciating death, while He was in their very midst (that is, when the "tree was green" (as trees are in the spring), or (in other words) when they were experiencing the season of God's favor through Jesus' presence among them), then there would be no hope of mercy or relief from God for them at all when Jesus would no longer be physically present, and Jerusalem would be destroyed, and its people killed, in judgment of their rejection of Him (that is, when the wood had become dry (as happens to trees when they die), and God had withdrawn His blessing and protection from Jerusalem). Jesus had earlier expressed a similar thought in Luke 19:41-44, when, as He approached Jerusalem on Palm Sunday (just five days before He would be crucified), He wept over the city because of the fate that awaited it.
In my opinion, Christ, in addressing the daughters of Jerusalem, wasn’t limiting his words to one generation - rather to all future generations of Jewish mothers in Jerusalem existing under the extreme oppression and persecution of a foreign occupying power. The dry tree is the tree during winter when the sap has receded and wood becomes dry (or drier). This refers to our age or era which began with the first coming of Christ - the green tree of spring - and ends with the dry tree under the 10-horned beast and antichrist just before the second coming of Christ (when the tree becomes green again). The context of this verse begins back at 23:29 “…Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps that never gave suck.” This is a reference to the unnatural, perverted ideology of the antichrist, as described in Matt 24:19 “And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!” It might be said that bearing children in extreme or apocalyptic times can lead to severe problems because it adds another mouth to be fed at a time when simple human, especially Jewish, survival is in question. Next, verse 23:30 reads “Then they shall begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us and to the hills, cover us.” This is a direct reference to Rev. 6: 16 “And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.” I believe the context puts the dry tree at the end of the age just before Christ's second coming.
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