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Probably a little differently than others you may ask this same question of. Many prophecy commentators would relate this set of passages directly to the rebirth of Israel. The justification for this lies in Hosea 9:10 where we read, “I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstfruits on the fig tree in its first season”. The inference is that the fig tree in Matthew 24:32-35 represents Israel. As such we can then read the passage as saying, ‘When you see Israel putting forth leaves (being reborn) then you know then that all these things are near. Assuredly this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place’. This is what leads many to say that we are the final generation. For it was this generation that saw the rebirth of Israel in 1948.

For myself I am continually drawn to the synoptic passages of Luke.

“Then He spoke to them a parable: "Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place.” – Luke 21:29-32

Note in the Luke passage (vs. 29) that the words ‘and all the trees’ are present. As nothing is in the Bible by accident, I have to conclude that Luke’s words are valid, and also Matthews; it is just that Matthew left some detail. If both passages are inerrant then both passages must render the same meaning. As the passages are inerrant, then the presence of ‘and all the trees’ in Luke leads me to conclude that we cannot read too much into the mentioning of the fig tree in Matthew 24. The fig tree is perhaps only mentioned because it was a popular tree at the time as can be seen elsewhere by it being mentioned many other times in Scripture and for various other reasons.

What this means therefore is that these sets of passages are meant as nothing more than what I have mentioned in my previous answer to question number one above.

“When I see that the days are getting longer, the snow begins to melt (for us Canadians), the trees bud, and the grass begins to green, I know that summer is near. Likewise, all these signs we are witnessing (right now and in this generation) are simply the signs that summer is coming.”

The generation that sees all the signs as described in previous verses of Mathew 24 will be the generation that sees them all completed.

Regardless of our inclusion of Israel as the fig tree or not, both interpretations still beg the question - How Long is a generation? Perhaps it is 70 years as Psalm 90:10 alludes to; or perhaps 120 years as Genesis 6:3 suggests. Even if we come up with a firm resolution for a generation, we might get caught up as to when our countdown begins? With the rebirth of Israel as a nation in 1948? Or maybe with the retaking of Jerusalem in 1967? I’m very cautious not to put finger on a date or even a specific time for I don’t think it is for us to know. I do know, however, that we are commanded to ‘watch’.

“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” – Matthew 24:42

If it was just these passages in Matthew and Luke to consider when deciding if these are the end times, we might be left with a lot of speculation. However, and lucky for us, God gives us all the other signs to serve as signs of the final generation. God wants us to know and recognize the season of the end.

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