In the previous post, we compared the scriptures from Matthew, Mark and Luke that spoke about the sun, moon and stars as symbols of governments and rulers.  Jesus said the sun would be darkened, the moon would not give its light, and the stars would fall from heaven.  Although some people believe this to be literal, the Bible uses these heavenly bodies as symbols.  In this case, it refers to the end of the age of the Jewish Kingdom and the commencement of times of the Gentiles, which began with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.  It would not be until after these events that Jesus would return to the earth.

Jesus provided a further sign that would take place prior to his return to the earth: the fig tree shooting forth leaves.

Parable of the Fig Tree

Matthew 24:32-35 Mark 13:28-31 Luke 21:29-33
• As soon as the branch of the fig tree becomes tender & puts out leaves, summer is near
• When you see these things, know Jesus is close
• This generation will not pass away until these things take place
• Jesus’ words will not pass away
• As soon as the branch of the fig tree becomes tender and puts out leaves, summer is near
• When you see these things, know Jesus is close
• This generation will not pass away until these things take place
• Jesus’ words will not pass away
• Look at the fig tree and all the trees
• Summer is near when they all put out leaves
• When you see these things, the Kingdom of God is near
• This generation will not pass away until these things take place
• Jesus’ words will not pass away

All three Gospel accounts are very similar regarding the parable/lessons from the fig tree. The shooting forth of leaves of the fig tree is a significant sign that Jesus is near to returning. In fact, Luke equates the coming of Jesus to the establishment of the Kingdom of God.  Although this is another topic, the reason is because Jesus is returning to establish God’s Kingdom on this earth and return the earth to a state of paradise!

Once again, we turn to the Bible to discover what Jesus means when he speaks of the fig tree. The Old Testament prophet Hosea tells us the fig tree (and wild grapes) refers to Israel.

“Like grapes in the wilderness, I found Israel. Like the first fruit on the fig tree in its first season, I saw your fathers.” (Hosea 9:10, ESV)

The prophet Joel also refers the vine and grapes and the fig tree when speaking of Israel.

“For a nation has come up against my land, powerful and beyond number; its teeth are lions’ teeth, and it has the fangs of a lioness. It has laid waste my vine and splintered my fig tree; it has stripped off their bark and thrown it down; their branches are made white.” (Joel 1:6-7, ESV)

Israel, as a nation, ceased to exist with the Roman invasion and scattering of the Jewish people in AD 70. Jesus is telling us that before he returns, not only will the nation come into existence once again, it would begin to put forth leaves, or become productive and flourish. Miraculously, Israel became a nation in the land God promised, in May 1948. Since that time, Israel has overcome great opposition and obstacles as a nation, and yet they have not only continued to exist, but have thrived. This was a very significant sign of Jesus’ return to the earth and the establishment of his Father’s Kingdom!

Signs for Our Times – Watch!

Matthew 24:36-44 Mark 13:32-37 Luke 21:34-37
• No one know the day or hour of Jesus’ return, only God does
• The time Jesus comes will be like it was in Noah’s days
• Society will be unaware of the signs
• Stay awake
• Jesus will come when he is least expected
• No one know the day or hour of Jesus’ return, only God does
• Be on guard
• It is like a man going on a long journey and puts his servants in charge
• Stay awake unless Jesus finds you asleep
• Stay Awake!
• Watch yourselves so you don’t get caught up in the cares of life
• Jesus’ return will come up all the earth
• Stay awake at all times and pray you have strength to escape the things that will come upon the earth and to stand before Jesus

Jesus has provided amazing signs that were relevant for the people of the first century, for all the centuries that have taken place so far, and for us. The Jewish people were scattered as he prophesied.  The Jewish people were given a homeland, the land God promised them, and this occurred after the first world war. They returned after the second world war and were officially established as the state of Israel in May 1948. The fig tree came to life and since that time, despite many difficulties, has flourished. This was the significant sign of Jesus’ return to the earth.

So much time has passed since 1948. Jesus tells us that the days will increasingly become like it was in Noah’s day (see Genesis 6). People did not care about God and did what they wanted to do. Jesus tells us to stay alert and not lose heart. With each passing day, Jesus is nearer than ever before. This is the magnificence of the Olivet Prophecy, its accuracy in telling us the signs of Jesus’ return and how close he actually is. We are told by Jesus to stay awake at all times and keep praying for strength to stand before him: even so come Lord Jesus!

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