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The parable was given on the Mount of Olives some 2-3 days before Jesus died. It forms part of what is generally known as the Olivet Prophecy. One of the questions the disciples asked was what ‘what shall be the sign of thy coming’ (Matthew 24:3). The parable of the fig tree is recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke as follows:

Matthew 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.

Mark 13:28 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: 29 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.

Luke 21:29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; 0  When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. 31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.

The kingdom of God is to be set up when Jesus returns. It will be the restored kingdom of David and Christ will rule the earth from a restored and rebuilt Jerusalem.

Luke 1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

The fig tree is used as a symbol for Israel. The parable of the fig tree in Luke 13 certainly relates to the nation of Israel at the time of Christ’s ministry.

Luke 13:6 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. 7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? 8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: 9  And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

The cutting down of Israel as a nation is the most likely import of the withering of the fig tree by Christ in Matthew 21:19; a visual prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jews in AD70. It also indicated the end of the Old Covenant with Israel as the means of approach to God. Henceforth all fruit to God would be by the New Covenant of belief and baptism into Christ.

Matthew 21:19  And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.

There is therefore a likely secondary meaning to the parable of the fig tree in the Olivet Prophecy relating to the restoration of Israel as a nation in 1948 alongside the appearing of other independent nations as the Colonial systems of the great powers were broken up by the two world wars. If this is the case then the putting forth of leaves by the fig tree and all the trees may indicate a period of flourishing of the nations concerned.

It seems fairly certain that we are living relatively close to the return of Christ but none know the day or hour.

I hope you have found this helpful.

May God bless you,