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. (Matthew 24:32-34 KJV)
Key to this parable is properly identifying the fig tree. The fig tree is the tree of self-righteousness because of the law of first mention. Way back in Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve sinned they sewed fig leaves together as clothes to cover their nakedness that they were both aware of and ashamed about. Sin had removed their covering provided by God – the innocence and glory of being created beings by God. So they made their own which is translated as self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is the method of trying to be what God wants you to be and more plainly put – you trying to please God on your own instead of obeying Him. Methods of self-righteousness become incorporated and they are known as religion. It is the only tree that God ever cursed and it stands for religious Israel without fruit. You may remember just a couple chapters earlier Jesus curses a fig tree for appearing ripe and ready with fruit but was actually fruitless ---- religion and what Israel was and is to this day. Jesus in Luke 21 explains that all trees and the fig tree are references to nations. That is the background of why Judaism and Christianity are in agreement that the parable is about the nation of Israel.
The first part of the parable then is to observe the sign of nationalism and in particular the beginning of Israel as one of the nations yet unable to put forth fruit that will please God (John 15:1-6). “When his branch is yet tender” means that the person hearing or reading this parable must find some place in history when Israel begins as a nation. It can’t be references to things in the past because the parable points out that the current state of the nation is that she is not one. The prophecies of this event are in the Old Testament: Isaiah 11:11, Jeremiah 3:18 & 16:14 to reference a few. It had to be a date in the future and we all now know that the date was May 14, 1948.
Next post: the parable and the timetable