Jesus used the symbol of the FIG TREE for Israel three times in His ministry.
First: He told the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree in Luke 13: 6-9. It’s about a tree that had no fruit in the first three years He visited it. This would equate to the first three years of Jesus’ ministry. So again, the fig tree is a symbol of the nation of Israel, based in Jerusalem, which Jesus visited yearly.
Second: In Mark 11: 12-20, Jesus cursed a fig tree for not bearing fruit, and it withered and miraculously died overnight. In the morning, the disciples saw this withered tree. In this parable it was obvious Jesus was referring to Israel. It was the very same day Jesus would tell them the Fig Tree Parable. So, when Jesus said, “Learn the parable from the fig tree,” this miraculous withered tree was prominent in their minds. These aren’t two unrelated accounts – it was the same day.
Third: When Jesus told the Parable of the Fig Tree it was as part of His answer to the disciple’s question:
“Tell us, when will these things happen? And what is the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?” Matthew 24:3
The disciples knew that Jesus is referring to Israel when he commands them to learn from this parable.
“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: As soon as its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near — at the door! I assure you: This generation will certainly not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away. Matthew 24:32-35
And just hours before telling the parable, Jesus had also confronted the Jewish leaders in the temple saying,
“See, your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘He who comes in the name of the Lord is the blessed One!’ Matthew 23:38
That was the moment Jesus withered the nation of Israel! This confrontation was also fresh in the disciples’ minds; and in fact, that heated denunciation of Israel by Jesus was the very reason that the disciples had begun to ask Him about the Last Days and the signs of His coming. Therefore, the Fig Tree Parable is about this withered fig tree that they had seen earlier that morning. It cannot be about anything else.
The creation of the state of Israel marks the beginning of the Final Generation and therefore the identity that we’re in the Last
days, and this makes sense as there are a multitude of end-time passages that require Israel to exist in the Last Days. Numerous
passages in the prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Joel, Ezekiel, Zechariah, as well as in the Gospels all refer to the Last Days Israel.
That’s why, in our opinion, Israel becoming a nation in 1948 is the fig tree sprouting leaves, the fig tree coming back to life.
Israel being miraculously re-established as a nation in 1948 was the first major “end times” sign.
Jesus said when the fig tree sprouted leaves, we could know “summer” was near. What did He mean by that? Is that a symbol as well? In the Hebraic calendar, there is a three-week period (17th of Tammuz till the 9th of Av) during summer which is observed as a period of mourning. It was during this period that both Holy Temples were destroyed (in 586 BC and AD 70). It is the bleakest period of the Jewish year. This reference would not have been lost on the disciples who would have recognized it as a symbol for a time of extreme difficulties, and tribulation – the Last Days.