YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZNRA8PAsro
Corrected on Jan 18, 2024 – see comments at end of the article
The history of the world and mankind is about 6000 years. The Bible — the written record of God’s Word — gives us information from the Creation up until the time of the Flood in Noah’s day — about 1656 years after — that cannot be known otherwise by whatever historical records and archeology there might have been, because the Flood would have destroyed them. (Similarly, Jewish people today – including some false Messiah — cannot trace their Israeli tribal lineage back before the destruction of the Second Temple, because the records kept there were destroyed in the fire.)
Today is the 100th of the war of Israel against Hamas in Gaza, and of the hostages being inhumanely held captive by unrepentant terrorists who have committed obscene brutality upon them, and on others murdered by not kidnapped. There are also other fronts within and surrounding the country actively threatening Israel and the Jewish people, and violent disorder around the world in the name of “justice”. The world as we have known it is spiraling out of control. Evil-doers are becoming more open, without the fear of God or of law. So the Scriptures tell us. No doubt, God will save many during these terrifying times, but it is also written that only a remnant is saved. The emphasis, though, is that a great falling away — apostacy — will take place; and it is already manifesting. The falling away is from truth; from God as the Creator; from the faith; from covenant faithfulness — not only to YHVH’s covenants, but also in marriage; apostacy from being supportive of Israel even though God has chosen them as His witnesses to glorify His Name and to bless the world.
These things are not only so in “the world”, but also within Israel itself and within the Body of Christ. It is happening quickly even now in front of our very eyes. Yet, Yeshua is still in control! All authority has been given to Him from the Father, in heaven and on the Earth. The stars will eventually fall from heaven, but Jesus is still in control! We who believe in Him must never lose sight or faith or hope in that! God has HIS plan, and will finish it right on time!
YHVH, the God of Creation, has given us prophecies and promises of His plan of redemption for His chosen people and land Israel, and some time markers for believers to take into account, so that we can be prepared. At His first coming, Yeshua/Jesus came at an appointed time, and in “the fullness of time”, which He said that the Jewish people should have been aware of. (Dan 9:24-27; Lk 19:41-44; Gal 4:4-5) It is written that the sons of Issachar “understood the times they were living in, and knew what Israel should do”. (1Chron 12:32) Before Yeshua was crucified, His closest disciples asked Him “when will these things be, and the sign of your, and the end of the age?” (Mt 24:3) We, too, even moreso, should ask for wisdom and understanding of the times in which we live, and know what the Body of Messiah/Christ should do!
After explaining the events and their sequence of the “last generation”, Jesus gave the parable of the 10 virgins – believers – who all went to sleep while the bridegroom was delayed. When the midnight cry came that the bridegroom is coming, all the virgins woke up, but only half of them were prepared to meet him, and the others were shut out of the wedding. (Mt 25:1-13) The Messiah/Christ warns us to watch, because we do not know the exact day and hour when He will come. But if He tells us to watch, then there are signs to see and recognize that the time is close; so we should be prepared, especially mentally and spiritually, and not be caught off guard and unprepared. (This is what happened with Israel when Hamas surprised us with a horrific sneak attack on Oct 7, 2023, with devastating consequences.)
The “last days” have been nearly 2000 years now, beginning with the death and resurrection of the Lord. So, when is the last generation? I believe that we are in it now. What are the signs and indications that this generation is the last one before the Lord’s return in great power and glory? Jesus spoke of many things to expect near the end that affect the social fabric, destructive natural events, signs in the sun and moon and stars — things happening all together in a historically short period. I will give some time indicators that the Bible gives, or which lend support to them. (I will not go into great detail, but enough for you to check yourselves, and also to pray for understanding, if needed.)
1. Mt 24:32-35; Ps 90:9-10 The fig tree is a symbol of national Israel; i.e., the Jewish people living in the land of YHVH God’s covenant promise. (Hos 9:10; Jer 24; 8:13; Mk 11:12-24; 13:28-31) Jesus says that the generation that sees the fig tree put forth leaves will see “all these things take place” that He gave that must take place in the last generation leading to His return. The Jewish people have been returning and living in the land and State of Israel since May, 1948. It is now almost 76 full years since that time. Israel has survived and thrived since then, despite all of its wars, and all of the efforts to destroy it. As a corporate “person”, the expected lifetime generation of a man/Israel is 70 years, and with strength, 80 years. The fig tree has been blossoming, and we are the generation that has been seeing it!
- Hos 5:15; 6:1-3; 2Pt 3:8-10 [1-18]; Ps 90:3-4; Mt 23:37-39 God spoke through Hosea the prophet that He (YHVH) would return to His place until the Jewish people acknowledge their guilt against Him. They will seek His face to see Him when they are in distress. The prophet goes on to say that the people will return when they acknowledge that for two days God has struck and torn them, but it is He who will heal them, and revive them after the two days, and on the third day, He will raise them up to live in His presence. Yeshua said that Jerusalem – His city, His people and nation – would not see Him again until they bless Him who comes in the name of YHVH! He is the One who comes in that Name. Now they curse Yeshua’s name as a religious people (“Yeshu”), but the day will come when they will bless His holy name, and never depart from Him again! The New Covenant promise is that YHVH God will forgive them for all their iniquity, sins, and transgressions, and they will be His holy people! (Jer 31:31-37; Heb 8:7-12; Rom 11:25-36)
Moses wrote in Ps 90, and Peter wrote in his second epistle, that a day with the LORD is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. For Him, a thousand years is a very short time, and for us it is a long time. In Hosea, the LORD said that He would return to His place until His people accept their trespass against Him. (see also Lev 26:40-45; Mic 5:1-4; Lk 22:63-65; Mt 27:15-26; Zec 12:10-14) (None of these pre-ordained and foretold offenses are to be used as justification for antisemitism! Jesus asked the Father to forgive them, for they did not know what they were doing. That is the new covenant message when speaking the truth of the gospel to the Jewish people.)
When did the LORD/YHVH return to His place after His people’s most serious sin against Him?: In 30AD, Jesus ascended back to Heaven 40 days after His resurrection on the third day from His sacrificial death on the cross. How many “days” have passed since then? Almost two: Israel will be 80 years old in 2028; the “third day” will begin in 2030. No one knows the day and hour, but watching – as we work and battle — we can see that the coming of the Lord is not that far off, using the written Word of God for our light, with the help of the Holy Spirit to live in the context of God’s plan of redemption for His people, and for the whole of Creation.
What a blessed hope we have in a world actively and openly opposing the triune God and His sovereignty! There is an end to this! There is a 1000-year Sabbath rest for the people of God, and the whole of Creation, to be followed by the eternal Day of Light for those who are in God’s family. (Rom 8:18-25; Heb 4:8-13; Is 65:17-25; Rev 20:1-6; 21) The devil, who was defeated by the Son of God’s death on the cross, knows that he can do nothing to hinder or prevent the return of the Lord Jesus Christ: the Father has set a time, and there is no thing that can or will prevent Yeshua’s return right on time; and the Holy Spirit will have seen to it that all has been taken care of by that mo’ed; but Satan wants to take as many captives as he can with him, and to neutralize the saints from our expectation and our testimony.
Jesus said that blessed is that servant found doing what he was given to do until his Lord returns, but evil is the servant who thinks and acts as if his Lord is delaying His return. (Mt 24:45-51) As the day nears, we are not to forsake the assembling together with other believers. We are not to go wait on a hill, or hide away somewhere simply hoping to survive and avoid any suffering. We are to have an understanding so that we might help others make sense of what is happening, and to continue to evangelize and disciple until the end of the age, and continue to sanctify ourselves as the pure and spotless Bride of the Lamb.
May God have mercy on us and help us as we depend upon Him, in the power of the resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering, loving Him above all. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
The Creator of the Universe has a plan of redemption, and is carrying it out unto its completion. The falling away from truth and the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3-4), the revelation/seeing of the Antichrist (Mt 24:15-22; 2Thes 2:1-5), and the coming Day of YHVH/the LORD, when the Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah, will return to judge the nations and the enemies of His people (Acts 17:30-31), is the context for what is taking place in the world today, and for how we should live in the light of that coming day of Christ/Messiah. It is often said that “God has a plan for your life!”. Yes, He does, and it is how my life, our lives, fit into HIS plan for this world, and for the world to come. Let us be found faithful when the Son of Man returns.
Despite Christians for many generations and years hoping that Jesus might return in their time – and He did not – there is a last generation when He does. The last prayer of the Bible is calling upon Him to come. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul encourages those that love the hope of Jesus’ return. (2Tim 4:6-8) Why wouldn’t you want Him to return during your generation? This exhortation is for all of us, so that we will not unprepared, but, as a bride, longing for and looking for our Bridegroom to come. Our children and our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren need this faith and hope and love in this last generation.
Gregory Wilson – Jan 17, 2024 comment to my AIN article
Point of clarification: Scripture does not say fig tree blossoms. It says “puts forth leaves”. Flowers produce fruit. No flowers, no fruit. Fruit is recognition of Messiah Yeshua. Remnant Israel during time of Jacob’s Trouble will produce the fruit of belief. Revelation 12:17; 14:12.
You are right, Gregory, about the leaves, and not blossoming. To the natural eye, it is a beautiful tree, but without the fruit that God wants. Thank-you.
Howard I really enjoyed your article. With a background in horticulture and a deeper understanding of fig tree horticulture, I am amazed by our Lord’s use of this tree in the context of Israel. I too, have studied and written on this important parable.
The fig tree in Israel has two seasons of fruit production. It sets fruit as its winter dormancy ends and produces leaves which hide the Spring fruit and then on the new year’s branches sets fruit again and in later Summer produces a second crop.
Hosea, prophetically looking forward to barren Israel draws us to consider the future. Hosea 9:10 states: “I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstripe in the fig tree at her first time: but they went to Baalpeor, and separated themselves unto that shame; and their abominations were according as they loved.”
Here Hosea notes that “the fathers”, metaphorically embodied by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”, were the firstripe of the fig tree in the Spring at her first fruiting. Yet, he leaves open the question of the Summer fruiting season. What can we infer? Should we infer that there must be a Summer fruiting season of the fig tree during Daniel’s last seven years, the Time of Jacob’s Trouble? Our God of patterns surely invites us to complete the metaphorical story that the remnant will recognize their Messiah.
Paul and Isaiah tell us that “a remnant will be saved”. (Romans 9:27; Isaiah 10:21-22; Revelation 12:17, 12:14, 20:4-5) Isaiah named his son Shear-jashub which means “a remnant would return to Jehovah”. Isaiah has proclaimed that God will have recovered his people again from their second exile which is surely 70 A.D to 1949 A.D. (Isaiah 11:11; Ezekiel 20:34)
Amos 8:2 has an interesting view ancient Israel and its association to Summer fruit in a basket. “And he said, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A basket of summer fruit. Then said the LORD unto me, The end is come upon my people of Israel; I will not again pass by them any more.”
If we mine for treasure in the Hebrew words for “summer” and “end” an amazing truth emerges. And this truth is applicable to the Gospel’s fig tree parables. The ancient Hebrew letters, represented by pictographs, provide divine insight to a word’s meaning. The Hebrew spelling of the word “summer” is Kaf, Yod, Tsade. The Hebrew spelling of the word “end” is Kaf, Tsade. The letter “Yod” is included in the middle of the word “summer” and omitted from the word “end”. The letter “Yod” was drawn to represent the “anointing hand of God”. Why has the end come upon God’s people Israel? God’s people Israel abandoned God. They rejected the “anointing hand of God”. Summer fruit must include the “anointing hand of God” in order to be acceptable fruit. (James 3:17; Romans 6:22)
In the three Gospel accounts of this end times sign of the fruitless fig tree’s appearance, we can know the fruitlessness represented the absence of the anointing hand of God, which is in Messiah Yeshua. The fig tree parables speak of the “end” which is described as Summer in agreement with Amos. The end is near. (Matthew 24:3, 33; Luke 21:7, 30; Mark 13:4, 28)