Matthew 24:32, Parable from the fig tree. The fig tree can be 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? This is a debated subject. Below, I present one possible interpretation of this prophetic parable.
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.
Yeshua chose his words carefully when describing the fig tree in his parable. (It helps to know something about fig trees, which as an horticulturalist I have cared for.) 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 describing a fig tree in the early spring. If the weather conditions are conducive and there is a long growing season, a fig tree will produce two crops of figs: one in the mid-summer and another one in the early fall.
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 (or Judah) returning to the land of Israel in 1948 is like the fig tree in early spring—young and tender, and preparing to bear its first crop of figs. By the time it produces its second crop of fruit in the fall, Ephraim (the Christians) 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.