We have had quite a bit of discussion in the comments section about the fig tree of Matthew chapter 24 and Mark chapter 13 because of certain teachers interpretations put on it that imply all end time events will be fulfilled by 2018 (a normal lifespan from Israel being back in the Land). It therefore probably should be something I should discuss in more depth since I do not agree that Jesus was saying that all will be fulfilled by 2018.
The Parable Jesus told us to learn is almost certainly referring to His cursing of the fig tree which also represented a curse on Israel. Both the tree and the nation of Israel were cursed because they did not know the time of the Messiah’s coming. So if that view is true and if we are going to learn about the parable we need to understand that the tree Jesus cursed is withered and it will remain withered until the time God restores it. According to the passage one day that withered tree (Israel) will put forth shoots or leaves but until then it is going to look like a barren dead tree spiritually. Other bible passages also imply that Israel was cut down but will one day be restored.
Israel became a nation again in 1948 but it is still a nation of dry bones in spiritual unbelief. So we see a spiritual withered Israel in the land today but even though it is now rooted back in God’s land where it belongs we are still looking for some signs of spiritual life on the tree. Once we see some signs of life we know that summer is coming and the time for Israel to bear fruit for God is near. So before we can say we are in the final generation that will not pass away until all is fulfilled I think we need to see some spiritual growth in Israel. I hardly think that is the case in Israel today although there may be a few buds here and there.
In Mt 24:33 Jesus said when you shall see all these things know that the time is near and that the generation seeing all these things would not pass away before all is fulfilled. What things did Jesus tell us they should see? We have to go back to what Jesus just said prior to this. In the earlier part of his discourse Jesus was explaining what must take place before the end. The hard part is determining at just what point that final generation starts in Jesus statement. I think it is clear that verse 9 through 15 of Jesus statement have to be in the first part of tribulation because the context in both Matthew and Mark make that abundantly clear (he that will endure to the end will be saved – the end of the tribulation). Also, right after this we see the 42 month period of the Antichrist. So the generation has to start before verse 9. Verse 8 just explains that verse 5 through 7 are the beginning of sorrows. So all we are left to deal with is verse 5 through 7 for the signs.
I think the end time signs actually starts in verse 7 because verse 6 clearly says the end is not yet.
Verse 7 says nation will war against nation and kingdom against kingdom and there will be famines, pestilences and many earthquakes. Where have we heard that describe elsewhere in the Bible? All that is described in the seals in Revelation. Once again verse 8 tells us that all these are but the beginning of sorrows and we see in verse 9 that we are in the tribulation. So the signs for that final generation start some time before the seven year tribulation and probably starts with the opening of the seals.
That only makes sense to me because John is describing these same signs as Jesus opens the seals. So it should not be unexpected that Jesus was also describing the seals when he gave the signs for the final generation to look for. Therefore, without being dogmatic about this I think those living in the time of the seals will be the generation that will see all things fulfilled and that is what I think Jesus was inferring.
So when does Israel put forth leaves? The passage really does not say but I think we might believe it would be in the time of verse 7 which is also probably describing the Gog war as well as others.
In any case, nothing said in this passage really implies that the creation of Israel in 1948 started the final generation. The last generation more likely starts in the beginning of sorrows described in Math 24:7 and that is the generation that would not pass away before everything is fulfilled. The wording also could just mean that everything will be fulfilled in the same generation that sees all the signs and might not even be inferring a generational time period or lifespan as many suggest
I will Post the Bible passage here so you can have them at hand and refer to them and form your own conclusions
Math 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
Math 24:32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Don Koenig founded www.thepropheticyears.com website in 1999 after almost thirty years of independent study on the Bible and learning from many astute teachers within Christendom. Don created his website to write about Bible prophecy, biblical discernment and his Christian worldviews. Don wrote a free Revelation commentary ebook in 2004 named "The Revelation of Jesus Christ Through The Ages". The World and Church and Bible Prophecy section of this website was started in 2007.