The Parable of the Fig Tree: An End-Times Prophecy?

Mark 13:28–31 (also Matt 24:32–35; Luke 21:29–33). Yeshua’s Parable of the Fig Tree. What is the meaning of this prophetic parable as it relates to the end times (or does it even relate to the end times at all)?

Some view the fig tree as a biblical metaphor for Israel (see Hos 9:10). The modern nation of Israel, like the fig tree in the parable, re-sprouted in 1948.

Is Yeshua saying here that the end times leading up to the second coming started with the rebirth of Israel in 1948, and that the generation alive at that time will not pass until the prophecies of the Olivet Discourse are fulfilled? Or is there some other way to view this prophecy? Your thoughts please…


5 thoughts on “The Parable of the Fig Tree: An End-Times Prophecy?

  1. Thanks for bringing up the Hosea reference. It clarifies the connection of Israel and the fig tree. I had always wondered and had even asked other Christian leaders where the connection of the Israel and fig tree was in the Scriptures.

    That does really shed light on the matter, but we can read that Hosea 9 isn’t a reference to the founding of the “State (secular) Israel” which is another discussion in itself. Rather Hosea is a Prophetic discourse to Ephraim or the Northern Kingdom of Israel, not necessarily to Judah or the Collective 12 tribes. (Yet everyone seems to be correct from their own perspective. Mine own perspective has been radically transformed with truth and the leading of the Holy Spirit.)

    Yet Israel is not Israel without the regathering of the the two kingdoms and the 12 tribes as we read in Eze 37 both the Valley of dry bones reference in vs 11 “Kol Beit Yisrael” -whole house of Israel and the two sticks or two trees (Two Tribes) becoming echad/One in 37:16-28. This defines “Am Yisrael” more so than “Medinat Yisrael” a term which is never used in the Bible to refer to “Yisrael”. -but that is a different Midrash.

    Chesed V’ Shalom ! (Grace and Peace) Yonatan

    • Excellent observations, Yoni. I would, however add a couple thing into the mix for your consideration.

      First, Yeshua chose his words very carefully when describing the fig tree in his parable. (It helps to know something about fig trees. We raised them on the family farm when I was a kid.) He mentions the branches being tender and beginning to put forth its leaves.

      Like all fruit trees, the fig tree begins to come alive in the spring after winter dormancy. First the buds swell and begin to pop with leaves, and then the fruit begins to form (the flower is actually inside the fruit!). As the summer progresses, the leaves and fruit enlarge and the branches harden until harvest time in the fall. Yeshua seems to be talking about a fig tree in the early spring.

      To carry this metaphor over with regard to the reunification of the two houses/sticks/trees of Israel (i.e., Ephraim and Judah, as per Ezek 37), could we not say that the Jews/Judah returning to the land of Israel in 1948 is like the fig tree in early spring—young and tender, and not yet bearing fruit. By the time it produces its fruit in the fall, Ephraim will have been rejoined to the fig tree and the two (Ephraim and Judah) will be like a fig tree ready for harvest. This timing also corresponds with the biblical fall festivals which predict the second coming, which is also when the two houses of Israel will be regathered en masse.

      While the Hosea 9 reference is not a direct reference to the rebirth of the nation of Israel in 1948, the fig tree analogy is applicable to Yeshua’s fig tree parable. And even though Hosea is primarily a discourse against the northern kingdom of Israel (Ephraim), his prophecies still contain many references to Judah (Hos 1:7; ,11; 5:10,12,13,14; 6:4,11; 8:14; 11:12; 12:2). Therefore, we can conclude that though the book is primarily addressed to Ephraim, its many directives to Ephraim, to one degree or another, can also apply to Judah, since the Jews were guilty of the same sins as their northern brethren.

      • Twice in the quote below, the bridegroom asks the bride to “Rise up, my love, my beautiful one, and come away.” Wouldnt that be a reference to the Second Exodus? Timing: The fig tree ripening and winter over (both accounts).

        Song of Songs 2:8-13 The voice of my beloved! Look, he comes, leaping on the mountains, skipping on the hills. 9 My beloved is like a roe or a young hart. Look, he stands behind our wall! He looks in thru the windows. He glances thru the lattice. 10 My beloved spoke, and told me, “Rise up, my love, my beautiful one, and come away. 11 For, look, the winter is past. The rain is over and gone. 12 The flowers appear on the earth. The time of the singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. 13 The fig tree ripens her green figs. The vines are in blossom. They give forth their fragrance. Rise up, my love, my beautiful one, and come away.

      • Mr. Lawrence. Your insight and addition to Yoni’s comments are truly solid additional consideration. I do ask, why to you refer to those in Judah as “Jews?” It has been my learning that Jews are those who adhere to Judaism. All from the Tribe of Judah are Israelis but all Israelis are not Jews or from the Tribe of Judah.

        Where am I wrong, sir?


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