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The Second Coming of Jesus and the Parable of the Fig Tree

The disciples had asked Christ what would be the sign of His coming and of the end of the age. We don’t have the time to go over all the signs, but you can click the following: Signs of Christ’s Coming Towards the end of His sharing of the signs, Jesus shared the Parable of the Fig Tree, a prophetic parable relating to the timing of the end of the age. Again, I would remind you that we will not know the day or the time, but the people of God should be aware of the season. Here’s the parable:

29He told them this parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near” (Luke 21:29-31).

There are two possible interpretations that I am aware of: The first concerns the nation of Israel. In this interpretation, the fig tree is a symbol of the nation of Israel. There is not much scriptural evidence to support this theory, for Israel has been mostly symbolized as a vine (Isaiah 5:7).

1) In this view, the nation of Israel (established in 1948 and growing in territory through five successive wars, viz. 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, and 1982) is like the leaves of a fig tree sprouting before summer, i.e. summer being the picture of the Second Coming of Christ. The leaves growing on the fig tree resemble the Israeli need for defensive borders because of the many enemies around her. Since the establishment of the nation of Israel, Israel has secured territory on the Golan Heights from Syria in the North East of the country, the West Bank of the Jordan River, Southern Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Desert from Egypt. In the present state of affairs (April 2020), much of this territory has been given back. If this interpretation is correct, why then did Jesus mention the phrase “and all the trees?” (v. 29). I could be wrong, but I do not believe Jesus was referring to the securing of more territory.

2) The second interpretation, which is the one I personally believe, is that, just as when new leaves and new growth occur on a deciduous tree before it’s fruiting period, such as a fig tree and other similar trees, it is a sign that it is spring, and that summer will soon be here and the harvesting of the tree’s fruit is close at hand. In this view, when you see the signs of the times that Jesus had already mentioned taking place (Luke 21:8-11, and 25-26), you will know that the coming of Christ is soon to take place, symbolized here as summer along with the time of harvest. I believe this interpretation to be verified by Jesus’ usage of the words these things in the following verses:

9And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once” (Luke 21:9).

28Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28).

31So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near (Luke 21:31).

Jesus said, “When you see these things happening, you’ll know that summer is near” (the coming of Christ). As we look around us at what is going on in the earth, the signs that Jesus spoke of in Luke 21, Matthew 24 and 25, and Mark 13, are all beginning to take place, and we should make ourselves ready for His coming. Are you walking in anything that displeases God? Get rid of it! Seek after Him with all your heart and may you be found in Him at the time of harvest. Keith Thomas.

To read this topic in more depth, go to the All Studies box on the Home Page, click on the Gospel of Luke, scroll down until you come to study 57. Luke 21:29-38. The Parable of the Fig Tree.


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