Must Jesus return INSIDE the generation that saw the rebirth of Israel in 1948? (referring to the fig tree in Matthew 24)
Well, isn’t it already too late for that? – because wasn’t that LAST generation? It’s interesting how our definition of “generation” keeps getting stretched in order to accommodate our theory.
So what did Jesus mean by the fig tree shooting forth its branches? Well, it probably didn’t have anything to do with the rebirth of Israel in 1948.
Firstly, because Israel is usually symbolized in prophetic literature by an OLIVE branch, or a grape vine, rather than a fig tree.
Secondly, even if the fig tree IS used as a symbol of Israel in the Olivet discourse, it still probably cannot refer to the events of 1948, because Jesus did NOT single-out the fig tree. In Luke’s account it says, “…behold the fig tree, AND ALL THE TREES”.
Thirdly, Jesus explained what the “shooting forth of the branches” refers to. He said, “…so also when you see ALL THESE THINGS come to pass…” What were “these things”? They were the things He’d just finished describing, which were the famines, pestilences, earthquakes, wars, false Christs (antichrists) and the siege of Jerusalem by Gentile armies, which Jesus said was the abomination that would cause Israel’s desolation, as spoken of by Daniel. When the disciples saw THESE THINGS happen, they knew it was now time to urgently flee from Judea, in the same way that a person knows summer is near once he sees the fig tree AND ALL THE TREES shooting forth their branches.
The disciples fled from Judea just as Jesus told them, and all these things came to pass within that very generation, just as Jesus predicted. From that time (AD70) until now, Jerusalem has remained “trodden underfoot by Gentiles” just as Jesus predicted; and He told us how long this will last: “until the years of the Gentiles be fulfilled”. And only the heavenly Father knows how much longer that will be.
The fig tree and all the trees indeed sprouted their branches – in other words, everything Jesus predicted indeed came to pass exactly as predicted and exactly within the time-frame that was predicted. The believers’ lives were spared because they followed His instructions.
Therefore, the Son of Man can now come at any time! That has always been the message of the Church throughout the entire age of the Church, until the popular modern view began to be perpetrated. And guess where that popular modern view was invented? You guessed it – in America.