Truth, Understanding, Insight

The Fig Tree

12th May 2007, seh, mgh


1) The Fig Tree

Ficus carica- the edible fig is indigenous to the Middle East. It is a small deciduous tree reaching 9m. It needs a warm climate with dry summers as rain can split the ripening fruit.. It has distinctive three lobes leaves. It bears two crops per year.

Botanica's pocket Trees and Shrubs Random House Australia 1999.

A fruitful land

When the Israelites were approaching the promised land, twelve spies were sent to search and survey the land. The people were frightened by the report of the land given by ten of the spies. They failed to be moved by the enthusiasm of Joshua and Caleb or even by the evidence of the fruitfulness of the land as seen in the beautiful, bountiful branch with one cluster of grapes that had to be carried by two of the spies upon a staff, and the pomegranates and the figs. Their courage failed and they were fearful because they feared the people living in the land.

Imagine the frustration of Joshua and Caleb. They were so distressed and perplexed that they,

“rent their clothes. And they spoke to all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land which we passed through to search is an exceedingly good land. If Yahweh delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, a land which flows with milk and honey.” (Numbers 14: 6-8)

Faithlessness in the face of evidence

The faithlessness of Israel was frequently referred to in the Old Testament. Israel had seen spectacular signs in Egypt: the amazing miracle of the Red Sea crossing, the destruction of Pharaoh's hosts, the shadowing and protective cloud by day and the flaming fire by night. The people had been fed with manna and provided with water in the wilderness. But they had failed to recognise Yahweh's great power. In Numbers 14: 1-2, we read that:

“all the congregation wept... and all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, would that we had died in the land of Egypt, or that we had died in this wilderness.”

Considering the miracles and signs which they had witnessed, we may wonder at the people's fears and lack of faith. In Psalm 78: 11-10, the Psalmist comments that they,

“forgot his works and his wonders that he had showed them; marvellous things did he... in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.” (Psalm 78: 11-10)

Are there Signs Today?

Unusually for trees, the flower of a fig tree is inside the developing fruit itself and is not seen.(Gardening: a common sense guide. Geoffrey Burnie, Murdoch Books.1996)

Today, in the twenty-first century, there are miracles and signs that confirm the accuracy of the Biblical writings: the preservation of the Bible over two thousand years, the fulfilling of Bible prophecy, the kaleidoscope of history that has been revealed in the book of Revelation, the growing power and influence of the Papacy, the rise of Islam, the confederation of Europe, the Euro dollar, the uniting states of Europe, and Israel's restoration.

These are spectacular signs.

Today Israel is a fact of life. Most of us today have never known a world in which Israel did not exist and have not experienced the thrill, in 1948 when Israel, through much tribulation emerged as a nation. Over a hundred years ago, faithful Christians were financially supporting Jewish farming ventures in Palestine in the expectation of the return of the Jews to Israel based on the prophetic writings of the Bible. Like Joshua and Caleb, they had tremendous faith in the vision of a homeland for the Jews. Politicians such as Sir Winston Churchill and Lord Balfour expended a great deal of effort to forward the restoration of the Jews' traditional homeland.

2) Adam and Eve and the Fig Leaf

In the Bible the vine and the fig tree are frequently used as symbols. The fig tree was the first tree bearing edible fruit to be mentioned in the Biblical records.

“And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.” (Genesis 3: 7)

What was the significance of this?

From the time of Cain and Abel, men have worshipped a God, or many gods, according to their own desires. Man has always believed that he has the right to worship in the way that he chooses. This is a fatal fallacy. The message to Adam and Eve, and to Cain, was that man has the right to worship one God only, in the way that Yahweh has appointed.

In the Garden of Eden, the lamb was slain and Adam and Eve were given the covering of a lamb skin, demonstrating to them that the fig leaf covering was not an acceptable covering for their sin. In this way, an important principle of worship was shown to Adam and Eve. Their disobedience was sin. The shedding of the blood of the lamb was a demonstration of the only means by which man could gain forgiveness. This principle, established in the Garden, culminated in the sacrifice of the Messiah through whom redemption can only be achieved.

Israel and the Fig Tree

The fig tree was to have significance in the teaching of the nation of Israel about their destiny and God's purpose on earth.

As its name implies, the fig is a shade tree. In the Hebrew, 'te-enah' figuratively means to 'spread out', which gives the sense of safety and protection. In 1 Kings 4: 25, and in other places in the Bible, the fig tree is used to imply safety and security.

“Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and fig tree.” (1 Kings 4: 25)

A vision of security and safety is also created by Micah in describing the 'last days'.

“They shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid.” (Micah 4: 4)

In a dried state, the fig was an article of commerce and a staple food. In the case of Hezekiah, the fig was used for medicinal purposes.

If the fig trees failed to produce, it constituted a national calamity. Their productiveness was a token of divine favour, of peace, prosperity and security.

3) The Messiah and the Fig Tree

The Messiah spoke a parable related to the fig tree which is recorded in Luke 13: 6-9.

“A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then he said to the dresser of his vineyard, Behold these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down: why cumbers it the ground? And he answering said to him, Lord let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: and if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shall cut it down.” (Luke 13: 6-9)

Undeniably this fig tree represented Israel. This parable was given in the closing days of the third year of the Messiah's ministry. It was autumn A.D 29. In the spring of the following year was the crucifixion. For three years the Jews had had the opportunity to recognise and acknowledge their Messiah.

That generation, forty years later, were to see the destruction of Jerusalem and many perished through civil war and by the Roman sword. For three years the fig tree had been carefully tended, but it had failed to respond and bore no fruit. The order was given that the tree was to be cut down if it bore no fruit that year. In the same manner as the nation had been previously invaded by the Babylonians, Israel would again suffer invasion. Some would escape from the Roman onslaught, but most would perish. For three years, as in the figurative use of this tending of the fig tree, the nation had been given the opportunity to acknowledge their Messiah. The corollary is that with the rejection of their Messiah by the Jewish leaders at the time of the crucifixion, the order had in effect gone forth for the cutting down of the fig tree, which occurred in 70CE, 40 years, a generation, later.

The fig tree prophecy

The fig tree figures again in a significant prophecy concerning the nation of Israel. Mark 11 takes us through a very significant series of events related to the fig tree. The Messiah had entered Jerusalem on the colt and garments and branches had been spread before him. The people cried out “Hosanna; Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.” (verse 9). This is a quotation from Psalm 118: 26. Yahshua had come bearing the name of his father Yahweh. Yahshua entered the Temple and looked around. This is reminiscent of how the Priest under the Law looked upon a leprous house (verse 11).

On the following day, on his way to Jerusalem, the Messiah passes a fig tree, which was abundant in leaves but without fruit and he curses the fig tree and again enters the Temple (verses 13-14). This time he casts out the traders and money changers and in effect in symbol is cleansing the leprous house (verse 15). He accuses them of having made the Temple a “den of thieves”. The leaders had turned the house of prayer into a religious bazaar.

In the evening he and his disciples leave Jerusalem (verse 17). Peter comments on how the fig tree had withered and died (verses 20-21).

In this account we have an amazing analogy. The fig tree is here used as a figure for Israel, presenting in this image of the withered tree, the spiritual state of Israel and its destiny. The metaphorical use of figs as representing Israel had been used by Jeremiah. Jeremiah had been given the parable of the basket of good and bad figs. (Jeremiah 24) Jeremiah was shown that the good figs represented those Jews who would be carried into captivity by the Babylonians and who would survive, some of whom would return to their homeland, with their descendants and the descendants of those who went into captivity. The bad figs represented the Jews who would die and perish as a result of the Babylonian invasion.

Hosea had also used the fig tree as a symbol for Israel.

“I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the first ripe in the fig tree at her first time: but they went to Baal-peor, and separated themselves unto that shame.”(Hosea 9: 10)

The Messiah, when he cursed the fig tree and it subsequently withered, was using the analogy of the fig tree to demonstrate to the disciples the spiritual state of the Jewish nation,.

4) The Fig Tree and Israel

In the natural world, the fig tree should bear fruit before the leaves. If the tree has leaves but no fruit, the tree is barren. This fig tree as a symbol of Israel, represents the barren and empty spiritual state of Israel. Here was a fig tree, resplendent in its abundance of rich, green foliage. In spite of its lofty pretensions, this tree would bear no fruit. It was barren. It had a look of respectability. It looked good but it was all show.

This was a perceptive and penetrating view of the spiritual state of Israel at that time. In the Temple, the priests were also resplendent in their ornate robes. There was all the appearance of religious devotion, but all this external splendour would soon perish, before the onslaught of the Roman armies in AD 70. Spiritually, like that withered fig tree, Israel was barren despite their show of religion, their traditions and their outward form of worship. The Messiah frequently reproved the religious leaders. In Matthew 15: 7-9 he speaks of them as hypocrites and quotes from Isaiah.

“This people draw nigh unto me with their mouth and honour me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

He also accuses them of being “blind leaders of the blind.” (Matthew 15:14)

In AD 70 the symbolic fig tree was cut down and the remnant that survived from that generation of the people of Israel were scattered to the four corners of the earth.

This analogy presents an interesting relationship to the cultivation of the fig tree. In the world of nature, growers produce new fig trees from branches cut from other fig trees. In most cases the new trees will bear fruit about three to four years later. Fig trees are prolific and will bear two crops of fruit each year. The first crop appears in spring before the leaves. The fruit is green and is inconspicuous among the leaves as they unfold, until the time of ripening which is from about May in Israel. The young fruit appears on the branches of the last year's growth. The next crop, the late figs, grow on the new wood and ripen into late summer, in Israel to about August and September. At this time of rapid growth the fig tree has gained more leaves.

An amazing analogy!

If we go back in time to the end of WW2 and about 1945, the Jews under great difficulty and opposition began to filter back into Palestine. In symbol we could liken this to the planting of the branch. Three years later, in a similar way to the tree, the first buds appeared. In 1948 the time when the first young fruits would appear on a literal tree planted three years earlier, the state of Israel was proclaimed by the United Nations. And not only that, it was in May 1948, which would have been the time of the appearance of the young fruit on the natural fruit trees.

There is a most significant prophecy for us today related to the fig tree. It comes from the Messiah's prophecy on the Mt of Olives. It is recorded in both the gospel of Matthew and the gospel of Luke. It is only a short prophecy, like a hidden gem, but it is most significant for we who are living in the last days. It relates to the coming Kingdom.

“Now learn a parable of the fig tree; when his branch is yet tender, and puts 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. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass , till all these things be fulfilled.”Matthew 24: 32-34

This is Yahshua's analogy. He says to look at the fig tree as a 'type', or an example to learn from. The fig tree was familiar to his listeners and also the information is available to us. We know the fig tree fruits before the growth of the leaves. Therefore, when Yahshua says to notice when the branch is 'tender and puts forth leaves', he is pointing to a specific time in the cycle of growth of the fig tree and related to the coming of summer. It is then that the time of his coming is near. The fig tree is the nation of Israel, where its first 'fruit' is the first stage of growth, or re-establishment, and the growth of 'leaves' is its coming of age.

He says also that the generation that sees this growth of leaves on the 'tender branch' will not pass. The point to note is that this sprouting of leaves co-incides with the second or last fruit crop.

In both Luke 21 and Matthew 24, the same event is recorded. The disciples wanted to know when the Kingdom would be established. Many things had to happen beginning with the scattering of the Jews. The contemporary world was not going to see all the things described, as we know that almost two thousand years would elapse before the establishment of the Kingdom. Yet there is a generation spoken of that would see the blossoming of the fig tree. For that generation the Kingdom would be “even at the doors.” If we go back in time there are interesting parallels that appear in the history of the restoration of the Jews in the promised land, to the natural growth patterns of the fig tree.

One analogy has already been made to the proclamation of the State of Israel in 1948. We might take the liberty to attempt to take the analogy a little further, and further back in time.

The analogy again where a day represents a year

What had happened to the Jews scattered by the Romans? They were scattered into many nations but a few actually filtered back into Palestine in the seventh century. From 70 CE to the seventh century and the Islamic takeover of Palestine in 636 CE, the Jewish presence in Israel was almost non-existent.

With the rise of Islam, from 636, there was a flowering of Arab architecture, science and mathematics, to which the Jews made a significant contribution. In the period 1291 to 1516, Jewish life flourished in Palestine with the influx of Spanish Jews after their expulsion from Spain and more immigrants came from Poland. This period saw self styled Messiahs emerge. A notable one was Sabbatai Zevi in 1665.

From the seventh century, beginning in 636, there has been a Jewish presence in Palestine despite successive invaders in the land. Recall that the Messiah taught and warned the nation for three and a half years. Recall also that the fig tree takes about three to four years to grow and bear fruit. If we take three and a half years on a day for a year basis, we have 1260 days which becomes 1260 years. The day for a year concept was well established in the writing of the prophets, especially in Daniel. Ezekiel demonstrated the practical application of this principle in Ezekiel 4: 1-8. Ezekiel had to lie on his side bearing the iniquity of Israel and then Judah.

“I have appointed thee each day for a year.” (Ezekiel 4: 6)

If we assume that the Jewish presence in Palestine from about 636AD could relate to the planting of the Jewish fig tree, the first fruits would begin to appear 1260 years following the first filter of Jews back into Palestine from 636, when the Islamic invaders took control of Palestine and Jewish scholarship assisted in the development of Islamic culture. Add 1260 to the year 636 and we reach the year 1896.


The First Fruit of 1896

What was happening in 1896? A lot in relation to the Jews. In 1896 Dr Theodor Herzl, a Viennese playwright and journalist commenced the stirrings of Zionism among the Eastern European Jews and converted it into a dramatic international movement. Theodor Herzl had covered the Dreyfus case in 1896 and was shocked by the wave of anti-Semitism unleashed by the trial in France. The Zionist movement was gaining strength and in August 1897, (the time that the late figs would have been ripening in Israel), Herzl arranged a conference at Basle and established the World Zionist Organization. Herzl, in his diaries, predicted a State of Israel in Fifty years. This occurred in 1948 just as he had predicted in 1897.

From the mid-1880's, more Jews had started to emigrate to Palestine. From Russia, Jews were fleeing from the harsh persecution of Jews (the Pogroms). Polish and Russian Jews began to dream of a better future in Palestine by re-creating their own nation state. Up till that time the Jews in Palestine were living in the cities, mostly in poverty. In the 1880's groups of colonists started the first Jewish farming villages. The Baron de Rothschild supported the villages financially and helped to create an economic base by introducing wine-making and other enterprises. From 1883 there were the first successful agricultural enterprises. By 1900, there were seventeen Jewish villages in Palestine. This was the first 'Aliyah', the first wave of immigration. Could this be the first signs of fruit of that fig tree planted with the early immigration of Jews to Palestine in 636? Certainly this was the first time since the Diaspora that Jews produced literal fruit from the land.

The years that followed 1896, were to see a process by which the way was established for the emergence of the state of Israel. In small measure, the foundations were already laid for Israel's revival at this time. By 1909 collective settlements, the Kibbutz, were appearing with the second Aliyah, and this social arrangement was to effectively cater for the Jewish refugees from Europe after WW2. The Jews had carved farmsteads out of stony hills and swampy valleys. In 1909 a small suburb was formed in the sand hills north of Jaffa. This became the all-Jewish city of Tel Aviv. By the outbreak of WW1 there were 80,000 Jews in Palestine.

To return to the analogy of the fig tree, by 1896, which is three and a half years of symbolic day for a year tree growth equalling 1260 days/years since 636, the first crop of figs could be said to be ready to begin its growth.

The Summer Crop

If this is the case, the late summer crop of figs on the 'new wood', and continuing the use of the symbol, would appear several months later. Again using the day for a year principle, we can add to 1896. If we add 70 years allowing about two to three months between the early figs and the late figs, which is probably a fair estimate, we reach the year 1966 and then 1967. This is the next stage in this remarkable process. Israel becomes a nation with its traditional capital, Jerusalem.

The period from 1896 to 1967 was a time of preparation for the next stage of growth. Daniel tells us that God works among the nations to achieve his purpose. Examine the process that followed that early infiltration of Jews into Palestine and resulted in a well established national identity for Israel.

1897 – World Zionist Organization formed

1909 – communal villages and the Kibbutz system established

1917 – Turks driven out of Palestine

1917 – the Balfour Declaration

1924 – British mandate over Palestine

1933 – Nazi persecution of Jews officially begins

1937 – 60,000 Jews entered Palestine

1939 – WW2 creates a Jewish refugee problem

1948 – Jewish State proclaimed

1956 – Suez crisis tests Israeli military strength

1967 – Six Day War and Israel gains control of Jerusalem

Yahshua did not say the thing to be noted was the arrival of the fruit, but rather that his followers were to note the growth of the leaves and the coming of summer. This is an important distinction. His coming is related to the latter stage of the symbolic fig tree's growth. The coming of the leaves is the coming of age. Until 1967 Israel was a phenomenon, part of an uncertain and divided nation that many people denied existed and others were certain it could be destroyed by being pushed into the sea. Since the resounding territorial gains and military success in 1967, Israel became an international entity with defensible borders to be reckoned with.

And All the Trees

In the Luke record it speaks of the shooting forth of the leaves of the fig tree and also “all the trees”. Why does Luke add this distinction in relation to the trees?

“Behold the fig tree and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.” (Luke 21: 29-30)

Symbolic 'Trees' as nations

In scripture trees are sometimes used to represent nations. If we are to look at the history of the world the idea of the 'nation' is recent. Previously the world was dominated by empires. The coming of age of Israel co-incided with a growth in the number of independent nations. A closer look at this prophecy in Luke draws our attention to the addition of “all the trees.” Why has Luke, who appears to be a most accurate historian, added this to the Matthew account? Luke's record seems to have greater significance for the Gentiles, perhaps, than for the Jews, and, by deduction for a later generation.

In the book of Judges there is an analogy to nations as trees.

“And the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou and reign over us. But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit and go to be promoted over the trees?”(Judges 9: 10-11)

In Daniel there is another example of a nation being likened to a tree. Daniel interprets a dream which had troubled King Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon. The King is told that he, in symbol, is like a tree that is cut down. Daniel is giving the meaning of the dream that prophesies the future of the nation of Babylon. Here again the tree becomes an agent for depicting matters related to a nation.

“It is thou O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reaches unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth.”(Daniel 4: 22)

This great and powerful king and his empire were to be destroyed.

“Hew the tree down and destroy it yet leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth.”(Daniel 4: 23)

So accurate was this prophecy, it was not until the twentieth century that archaeologists discovered the remains of the once great city of the empire of Babylon.

From 1945 the Nations formed the United Nations. At its inception there were 50 Nations increasing to 58 in 1950. Israel joined in 1949 and then Guinea in 1950. For many years there were no more new nations joining, then unexpectedly in 1955 there are 16 new nations joining, which opened a period of significant increase in membership, peaking in 1960 with 17 new nations and continuing to the 1980's with a small gap from 1969-1971. Again there is a period where there are no new nations. In the 1990's there is another growth from the break up of the USSR. If we are to remove this later growth, the main growth of nations is from 1955-1981, but with something extraordinary occurring in the years 1955-1966. By 2007 there were 192 nations in the United Nations.

The membership of the United nations shows a strong growth in the number of nations from 1955. This reflects the break up and loss of influence of the European colonial powers of the 1800's. It was distinct and noticeable.

In Biblical symbology it was a period of the shooting forth of many nation 'trees'. A lot of these nations were more ancient nations, but at this time they gained independence from colonial powers and recognition. Luke writing more as a historian records the part of the parable that relates more to events outside Israel. Retrospectively in the analogy, we can look back and see that Israel as the 'fig tree' produced its first 'fruit', then the new growth of leaves in the 'fig tree' of Israel occurred at a time when there were other 'trees' also shooting forth and coming to maturity.

5) What is Generation X?

Coinciding with the growing strength of the nation of Israel in 1967, and the emergence of many 'national trees', there was a new phenomenon that sociologists have called Generation X.

What really prompted the naming of this era in western civilization as Generation X? There seems little logic in this. To call it the Age of Protest would seem more appropriate. Both Matthew 24 and Luke 21 specifically use this term in connection with the blossoming of the fig tree. Is this just a coincidence that the period Generation X coincides with the emergence of Israel as a nation and the multiplicity of nations as 'trees' appearing to join the United Nations?

Mary Gordon in 1998 examining 100 years of the New York Times says this of 1967

“The years 1966 and 1967 were particularly schizophrenic, marked on the one hand by despair and rage over Vietnam and the poor, and on the other by a sense of carnival brought about by the conjunction of drugs, sex and rock-and-roll. It was a year (1967) marked by the assassinations of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, and by the violent demonstrations that tore apart one of New York's most venerable institutions, Columbia University.”

Throughout history significant periods have been identified by descriptive titles. For instance we have had the Elizabethan Age, the Age of Discovery, and The Industrial Age. Beginning in the late 1960's we have a clearly defined and recognisable Generation X. This the first time society has ever used the terminology “generation” to define a social phenomenon. This new terminology appears highly significant. Why?

It describes a period in which so much of society's norms, morals and values have been almost turned upside down. Beginning with many protest movements in the 1960's, especially in relation to the Vietnam War. the Baby Boomers laid the foundation for the Generation X which has been defined by sociologists as beginning in the period 1965-1967.

Or is this in the Divine plan and that one verse in Matthew and Luke shines as a gem and a glimmer of hope in a decadent age for the faithful of the last days?

We could argue that the parallel with the fig tree is conjecture and mere coincidence. On the other hand Yahshua was never one to waste words and he clearly has put forward a 'sign'. He says to his followers “Now learn”. He then puts this thing we are to learn into a parable, to make us think. If this understanding of the parable is correct, the events of 1967 are the shooting forth of the leaves on the new wood heralding the coming of summer. They are a warning to those of this generation, who await the coming Kingdom, to prepare ourselves for “the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.”(Luke 21: 31)

6) Israel's 'summer' has arrived

In the summer of June 1967, Israel captured Jerusalem and became an established national identity. Summer, literally and figuratively and prophetically had arrived for the nation, and the leaves on the fig trees would have been growing in profusion. Forty years have passed since Israel regained its traditional capital of Jerusalem and the generation which witnessed that event are probably now living on borrowed time. A Biblical generation is frequently given as forty years, but there can be variations to the length of a generation as evidenced by the genealogical record in Matthew chapter 1. The prophecy of Matthew and Luke state that this generation would not pass until all was fulfilled and the Messiah had returned. With forty years having elapsed since the summer of 1967, when Jerusalem was freed from Gentile domination, and the times of the Gentiles fulfilled, each year brings the Messiah closer.

The Harvest

The first day of the seventh month of the Jewish calendar marks the new civil and agricultural year which occurs in late September or early October. This important Holy day is the only one to be heralded by trumpets. Leviticus states;

“Ye shall have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.” (Leviticus 23: 24)

Ten days later is the Day of Atonement, followed a week later by the feast of Tabernacles, which marks the in-gathering or harvest.

The crucifixion occurred at the time of the Passover, but there has not been an identifiable event to parallel with the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles.

It is recorded that our Lord several times referred to the time of harvest as a symbol for the gathering of the faithful. The time of the Feast of Tabernacles.

The Sounding of the Trumpet

The time of the Feast of Tabernacles, heralded two weeks earlier by the sounding of a trumpet (Heb. Shofar) on the first day of the seventh month of the Jewish calendar, could prove a most significant time for Yahshua's return. There are a number of passages in the Bible that connect a trumpet with the return of the Messiah and the resurrection of the faithful.

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet (Heb. Shofar) shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship Yahweh in the holy mount at Jerusalem.” Isaiah 27: 13
“And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch be yet tender, and puts 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: 31-32
“Behold I show you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” Corinthians 15: 51-52
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” 1 Thessalonians 4: 16

All of the feasts point forward to a real event. They were a lesson acted out to show in symbol the real event to occur in the future. The Passover was to both remember the deliverance from Egypt and to point forward to the deliverance brought about by the real event of Messiah's death and resurrection. The Feast of Tabernacles teaches much more than thankfulness for a good harvest. The following is a suggested as the parallel.

Nisan (Abib) is the beginning of months pronounced in Exodus 12:2

14th day of Nisan is the Passover – the death and resurrection of Yahshua, which is the beginning of salvation.

Then Shavuot 50 days later, a jubilee celebrating the first fruits. Yahshua raised to glory is the firstfruits (1Cor.15:23) as are the first crop of the faithful (James 1:18, Rev. 14:14).

There is a long gap with no feast at all (approx. 113 days) – which represents the patient waiting of the saints.

The new year 1st of Tishri is a new beginning heralded with 2 days with the plaintive sounding of the Shofar trumpet significantly requiring a confession of sins and 10 days of repentance- Salvation requires repentance and 10 is the number of perfection.

The 10th day is the day of Atonement – The end of the work of becoming one with Yahweh.

The 15th day (5 days later) is the Feast of Tabernacles, or harvest or in-gathering, to remember when Israel was brought out of Egypt, out of the nations – it may represent the time when the believer is taken out of the nations.

Therefore, as Yahshua was crucified at the time of the Passover, it is possible the real event that the Feast of Tabernacles is pointing forward to, the second taking of the people of Yahweh out of 'Egypt', may occur at the time of this Jewish feast.

7) A conclusion

We could argue that the parallel with the fig tree is conjecture and mere coincidence. On the other hand Yahshua was never one to waste words and he clearly has put forward a 'sign'.

He says to his followers “Now learn”. He then puts this thing we are to learn into a parable, to make us think. If this understanding of the parable is correct, the events of 1967 are the shooting forth of the leaves on the new wood heralding the coming of summer. They are a warning, or a sign. The warning was not to all people, but specifically to “this generation”, an English term preserved in all translations of the Bible.

The unusual terminology of 'Generation X' to describe an age which the world dates as beginning in approximately 1967, that reflects a most significant change in morals, values and attitudes could be simply coincidence.

In addition to this co-incidence there has been a huge increase in the other 'tree' nations at the time of the re-emergence of Israel as a nation, which indicates that this is unlikely to be mere co-incidence.

The prophetic accuracy of the Bible, is shown in that these three phenomenon, the revival of Israel as a nation, the fourfold increase of nations in the United nations since 1945 and Generation X, all come together. This shows that the times of the Gentiles is indeed drawing to a close and the Messiah's return is 'at the door'.

According to the prophecy, it is this generation who will witness the coming of the Kingdom. We should prepare ourselves for “the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.” (Luke 21: 31).