The fig tree represents Israel throughout Scripture (see HOS. 9:10). Yahshua used a fig tree to show the Jews during His first advent their fate as a result of rejecting Him. He also used it as a prophetic picture of modern Israel and the Jews of our day. The parables and events surrounding the fig tree tell their own story. We can easily learn from the pattern.
Yahshua had triumphantly entered Yerushalem astride an unbroken donkey colt. The people had welcomed Him as the Son of David, strewing branches before Him like today we roll out a red carpet. Throwing off His morning meekness, the King-to-be cast the thieving money-changers from the temple. He healed the blind and lame, before running headfirst into the displeasure of the chief priests and scribes. What an anti-climax.
Next day Yahshua returned to the scene hungry. And when He saw the fig tree in the way, He came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, “Let no fruit grow on it henceforth forever.” And presently the fig tree withered away (MATT.21:19).
We learn from MARK 11:13 it was not the season for figs! So it was not the fault of the fig tree it bore no fruit. Instead from the MATTHEW account, we know it was for a sign. In retrospect we also know the Jews had cursed themselves by their rejection of their King and Messiah.
We notice Yahshua doomed the fig tree to bear no fruit henceforth forever. Secular Israel continues now, as then, to uphold the curse. It must. The Word of YHWH stands. He so cursed them because the Holy One of Israel knew even 1,982 years ago the Jews of today would exhibit exactly the hard-hearted rejection of Him their fathers did. I am not talking here about Jews who have or will become Christians.
To connect the two eras, displaying the pattern, Yahshua tells a parable: …A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then he said unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it (use up) the ground? And he answering said unto 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 shalt cut it down (LUKE 13:6-9). The fig tree was proving itself to be a waste of space.
Oh, the long-suffering mercy and grace of our loving Father. For three years Yahshua nurtured His fig tree, Israel (the Jews), but it fed Him not with fruit. We know what happened to it then. But He will give them one more chance, albeit a very short window of time.
Another parable from the Master tells us how to recognize the last year of the fig tree – its second and final chance: …When his branch is yet tender and putteth 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 (MATT. 24:32-34). ‘These things’ Yahshua speaks about are the Tribulation and the signs of His next appearing [v.29-31] (see posts The Three Questions).
The branch of this fig tree is yet tender, says Yahshua, still young. It is a newly grown nation of Israel–secular Israel–in the Middle East. Not Yudaea of Yahshua’s earthly time, for it had been 500 years since the remnant had returned from Babylon to re-establish the nation then. It puts forth leaves only–again–no fruit of repentance, salvation, or taking the Gospel of Yahshua Messiah to the nations as they were chosen to do. Instead they murder their nearest neighbours, the Palestinians.
So when secular Israel is established as a nation, prepare, for within probably one lifetime from that date, 1948, another tribulation will hit and destroy the place, the earth will shake, and Yahshua will come.
LUKE 21:29 talks not only about the Israeli fig tree but about all the trees. Trees symbolize nations. The olive tree is YHWH’s holy nation of priests, His true Church. Many countries have gained their independence during this last generation, for it is YHWH’s plan to save individual nations (DEUT. 32:8). The age of colonization gave all nations their final chance to be counted worthy of participating in the millennial Kingdom (REV.21:24): …when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the Kingdom of YHWH is nigh at hand (LUKE 21:31).
Any tree whose branches fail to bear fruit for Yahshua does so because of its failure to have a relationship with Him: …He that abideth in Me, and I in him…bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing (JOHN 15:5). Secular Israel’s perpetual curse of fruitlessness will result in that nation being taken away (JOHN 15:2) and cast into the fire (JOHN 15:6) by Yahshua’s Father, the husbandman (JOHN 15:1).