What is the Fig Tree Prophecy?
Christ is Coming Back
The Fig Tree parable is found in the following passages: Matthew 24:32-35; Mark 13:28-31; Luke 21:29-33. This parable was in answer to the question asked Jesus, “What shall be the sign of thy coming?” (Matthew 24:3). The actual fulfillment of the signs (Matthew 24:6-15; Mark 13:5-23) would herald the coming of Christ just as certain as new shoots on a fig tree herald the approach of summer. (THINGS TO COME, J.D. Pentecost, p. 281)
In His teachings, Jesus often touched on the environment, which surrounded Him and His listeners. In Biblical times, the fig tree was a fruit tree common throughout Israel, especially near Jerusalem, where Bethphage, House of Figs, was located. Jesus may have taught the parable of the budding fig tree during the first week of April, just at the time when the fig tree begins to show its first signs of life. (THE PARABLES OF JESUS, F. Kistemaker, page 107)
The fig tree provided an illustration (object lesson) of the certainty of Christ’s Second Coming (not to be confused with the Rapture appearance of Christ; 1 Thessalonians 4). The reference to summer is evidently in relationship to the time when the fig tree’s tender leaves began to appear.
It is doubtless true that the fig tree represents in other Scriptures the nation Israel (Matthew 21:18-20). When the things which Christ had previously spoken about, including even the beginnings of travail, begins to come to pass, it may be accepted as certain that He (Christ) is nigh, even at the doors. When that hour has arrived, the words of Christ will be of the greatest value and blessing to those to whom they were addressed, and that people, Israel, shall not pass until all those things which concern-them shall be fulfilled; even Heaven and earth may pass away — and they will — but Christ’s promise to Israel thus made shall not pass away. (SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY, L.S. Chafer, Volume 5, pages 126,127)
It should be understood by those studying the prophecies of Christ’s Second Coming that the preeminent sign that Christ gave for the closeness of His return was that of the budding fig tree. The fig tree is the well-known symbol of Israel nationally. To those observing the nation Israel today, it will be noted that large numbers of Jewish immigrants are returning to Palestine. Thus, the fig tree is putting forth its “green leaves,” and thereby proclaiming the near return of Christ. (MATTHEW, H.A. Ironside, page 323)