"Now learn a Parable of the Fig Tree; when his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" (Matt.24:32-34).
I ended part one by saying that, Lord willing, I hoped to present more Scriptural support for the Parable of the Fig Tree being the main clue to the time of Christ's Second Coming. I guess the Lord is not willing, because what I am about to write needs to be considered first.
The disciples were impressed with the glory of "Herod's Temple," and thought it appropriate to boast of it to Jesus (Matt. 24:1-2). The Lord's response was to say that it would be destroyed (v. 2). The disciples then mistakenly assumed that when that happened, Jesus would return and end the age (the times of the Gentiles - Lk. 21:24). They erred, not understanding there would be a gap of approximately two thousand years between the temple's destruction, which would take place in 70 A.D., and His return. The Parable of the Fig Tree is, in actuality, the Lord's illustration of His answer to the last part of the disciples' questions in Matthew 24:3, which says, "... what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the age?"
Let me begin by saying that I know the Parable of the Fig Tree does not specifically mention Israel. I know that Jesus was using a simile in His teaching from His use of the word "likewise." I know that Jesus was saying the signs of His Second Coming are to be found in what He had just told them in Matthew 24:4-31; that is, the Tribulation's first half (v. 4-14), the Tribulation's mid-point (the abomination of desolation - Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15), and the Tribulation's second half (v. 16-28). So, the obvious question is, why do so many modern theologians claim that the Parable of the Fig Tree has to do with Israel's becoming a nation again in 1948?
My first thought is, Christians could not have interpreted it that way for the first nineteen centuries since His discussion with the disciples took place, because Israel was not a nation. Yet, believers have longed for the Lord's return ever since the day of His Ascension when the angels promised He would "come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:10-11).
My second thought is that the Church should not be anticipating Christ's Second Coming, because we will not be here when it occurs. Therefore, since the Tribulation ("The Time of Jacob's Trouble" - Jer. 30:7, and "Daniel's Seventieth Week" - Dan. 9:24-27) is the only sign of His return, is there anything that tells the Church the Rapture is about to occur?
I would like to address that tomorrow. Although the title will still be the same, the Rapture of the Church has little to do with figs, fights, or figures.