“And He spake to them a parable; 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. So likewise ye, when ye see these things . . . know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand” (Luke 21:29–31).
This “parable” spoken by Christ surely is significant as an important key to knowing when the coming kingdom of God is near. One main clue is the budding of the fig tree in the springtime, along with the other nearby trees.
The Jews who first heard this parable undoubtedly recognized that the fig tree was meant to be understood as their own nation Israel (note Luke 13:6–9; Isaiah 5:1–7; Matthew 21:18–20; etc.), which had become unfruitful and was destined soon to be cut down, but which would eventually, in a future prophetic springtime, begin to revive and start once again to be an active nation.
Christ’s parable mentions also that the other trees around the fig tree would likewise begin to “shoot forth” leaves again. The meaning seems to be that all the long lethargic nations around Israel would, simultaneously with Israel’s revival, begin to revive once again as active nations, with Israel herself being the main focus of attention.
“When these things begin to come to pass,” Jesus said, “then look up . . . for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28). He followed this exhortation immediately with the words of our text. As we today “behold” Israel and the surrounding nations—Egypt, Jordan (ancient Moab and Ammon), Palestine (ancient Philistia), Syria, Lebanon (ancient Phoenicia), Arabia, Iran (formerly called Persia), Iraq (ancient Assyria-Babylonia)—all mightily agitated today as Israel is reviving, are we not justified in thinking that the world’s prophetic summer is nigh? “Know ye,” Jesus said, “that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand!” HMM