Let’s look at the context before and after the parable of the fig tree. You will find the principles explained earlier.
[Matthew 24:29-31] “Immediately after the distress of those days ” the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
[Matthew 24:32-33] “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that itis near, right at the door.
Anyone can easily accept that the above scriptures is about the end of the world and God’s judgment. Because it is the answer to the question of the disciples of Matthew 24:3; “What signs will the Lord come and the end of the world?”
Jesus told the truth first in the fomer part of the above scriptures, verses 29 to 31. And he gave the parable to help the understanding of the disciples in the latter part of the above scriptures, verses 32 to 33.
The truth and the parable appear together in parallel.
Jesus first spoke about the signs of the last judgment (verses 29-31), and then used a parable (verses 29-31) to emphasize the continuity of signs and events. So, if you connect the events that will happen and the content of the parable, the analysis becomes clear.
First, shall we diagram the truth and the parable we are trying to understand?
<Sign> Cosmic Cataclysm
⇒ <Event to happen> The Last Judgment
<Sign> When the branches of the fig tree soften and produce leaves,
⇒ <Event to happen> Summer
The Purpose of Using the Parable
Jesus intended to emphasize that the interrelationship between <Sign> and <Event to Happen> is inevitable, immediate, and absolute.
The purpose of using the parable of the fig tree is to emphasize that there is an absolute connection between “Cosmic Cataclysm” and “The Last Judgment”.
Jesus taught the disciples through the parable not to doubt that His coming for the last judgement would arrive without delay after the sign of the cosmic cataclysm.
The relationship between the tree growth and summer season was the point of the parable.
Fig Tree Was Just One of Many Trees
Not only does the fig tree not symbolize anything else, nor does the fig tree need to symbolize anything else. In the parable of the fig tree, the focus was only on the changes in the tree over the seasons.
This fact is more evident in the gospel of Luke.
[Luke 21:25-28] “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
[Luke 21:29-31] He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
It has the same context as the gospel of Matthew, so there is no need for a long explanation. However, in Luke there are some expression that needs special attention.
“Look at the fig tree and all the trees”
Did you notice why this passage is so important? It confirms that it is not an analogy that only applies to one kind of fig tree. It means that when any tree buds, summer comes seasonally.
Can you now understand that the purpose of the metaphor was the relationship between the growth of trees and the summer season? The saying that the fig tree symbolizes the nation of Israel has little ground.
In particular, think of the expression “you can see for yourselves”. The purpose of this analogy is clearly evident.
The absolute relationship between <The Growth of a Tree> and <Summer> was the point of the teaching to convey through the parable.
Through that point, Jesus taught the continuity of <Cosmic Cataclysm as Signs> and <The Last Judgment>.
Why Fig Tree Among Many Trees
One of the common trees that grow in the land of Israel is the fig tree or the olive tree. It must have been a tree that can be seen up close and everywhere.