Israel, the Fig Tree, And The Olivet Discourse

Q. I have been studying up on the fig tree parable. in Luke 21 and Matthew 24. Both passages mention the fig tree. Does the fig tree represent Israel or not? I’ve heard both ways and it sure makes more sense for the fig tree to represent Israel. Remember when Jesus put a curse on the fig tree that bore no fruit and the scripture that is mentioned in Jeremiah 24 about Israel as a fig tree?  I’m so confused because isn’t Israel the tell-tale sign that we are the last generation? The generation that witnesses the budding of the fig tree will witness everything last thing? Can you explain this? Thank you!

A. The fig tree is often used to represent Israel in the Bible.  But I don’t think that’s the case in Matt 24:32, Mark 13:28, and Luke 21:29.  In these cases the Lord was using the symbolism of a budding tree which indicates that summer is coming soon to explain that the appearance of the signs he had described would mean His return was very close.  This is especially clear when you see that in Luke 21:29, he included all trees, not just the fig.

As for Israel being the pre-imminent sign of the End Times, Joel, Amos, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah and others all confirm this.  And in Matt. 24 we see the mention of a Temple (Matt. 24:15), a reference to Judea, the Biblical name for Israel (Matt. 24:16), and the presence of a people there who are forbidden by law from fleeing on the Sabbath (Matt. 24:20)  These are all indicators of an end times Jewish nation in the Promised Land.  So we don’t need the fig tree to represent Israel in order to understand that the re-birth of the nation is the foremost sign that the End Times are upon us.

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