One of the signs Jesus speaks about is that the Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world, “as a testimony to all nations” (Matthew 24:14). I believe we are witnessing this today, as the modern media make it possible for the gospel to be preached in literally every language on earth to every people and nation.
The other sign is the fig tree (Matthew 24:32):
“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the very door.”
Jesus was speaking to His Jewish brothers and sisters, and they all knew that the fig tree is symbolic of the nation of Israel. They would have immediately associated his words with the many references in the Old Testament to the fig tree, as symbolic of the nations of Israel and Judah (See eg. Jeremiah 24:5-7.) Remember that – shortly before speaking His prophetic words about the end times - Jesus had pronounced His curse over the fig tree that had not (yet) produced fruit (Matthew 21:18).
The literal nation of Israel - symbolized by the fig tree – has been cursed and cut off. The Temple was destroyed in 70AD, millions of Jews dispersed over the whole earth. It has been blinded and hardened in part. It has faced persections, pogroms and attempted genocide.
The mystery of Israel’s unbelief is the mystery of the ingathering of the Gentile peoples. More accurately, it is the mystery of God’s “taking from the Gentiles a people for Himself ” (Acts 15:14b; see also verses 15-17). God is gathering a Christian Church, a Bride for the Lamb, made up of Jews and Gentiles without any dividing wall (see Eph. 2:11-22), a Queen for the King.
But the mystery of Israel is also about God returning to “rebuild David’s fallen tent.” Then, through Jerusalem and Israel, salvation will go out from Jerusalem into a new earth. The fig tree will again bear fruit. All Israel will be regathered and saved and will be a blessing in the midst of the earth.
God will soon come to give Israel rest. Three times we have learned about a divine “until.” Jerusalem is trodden underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Israel is temporarily and partially hardened until the fullness of the Gentiles, the fullness of the Christian Church (and only God knows when that point has been reached) has come in or has been engrafted into the root, into the new covenant made with Israel. And the Jewish people will not see Jesus until they will say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” And one day they will say just that.
We must take note of the fig tree, which is even now beginning to sprout green leaves. Israel’s restoration as a nation in our days is a sure sign of the coming of the Lord. The fulfillment of the divine “until’s” is imminent. There is an urgency in our world. It is as if someone is speeding things up, compressing time. The Lord is making haste to fulfill His plan of salvation. It is a holy haste, for He knows that unless these days are shortened, no flesh will be saved (see Matt. 24:22; Mark 13:20). Make haste, therefore, to go to Him to be saved for time and eternity. Do it now while there is still time (grace)! Go down on your knees right now and give your life to Jesus.