The Fig Tree
Now learn a parable of the fig tree; 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. Matthew 24: 32-33
So, what can we learn? Hopefully we can learn what the disciples were to learn. This parable the lesson the the unpleasant events foretold by Jesus were but precursors. Precursors of the New Covenant where all men are beckoned by the Gospel. With Judaism gone, there is no longer any hindrance to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The events that Jesus has just described should not have discouraged but rather encouraged the disciples. Summer was drawing near and it was time for rejoicing.
The Time Text
Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Matthew 24:34.
We have come to the focal point of the study of Matthew 24 - the time text. This text reveals to us the people who will witness the events described by our Lord. Let's review from part 1 of our study why this generation means this generation. (Remember that our Dispensational friends would have us believe that generation actually means race.) First, the text warrants it. Throughout this study we've seen that the events recorded actually took place within the time frame of a generation. A generation in biblical terms is roughly 40 years:
Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: (Psalm 95:10).
Secondly, no where else in Matthew's Gospel can the word generation mean anything but generation. This can be verified by reviewing the pertinent passages. They are 1:17; 11:16; 12:39-45; 16:4; 17:17; and 23:36. Thirdly, in 26:64 we read, Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Jesus here is informing the Pharisees that they will see him coming in judgment. That certainly, is within a generation of the Olivet discourse. Hence, we can be quite confident with this abundance of evidence that Jesus was most certainly referring to the generation then living.
The Transition Text
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. Matthew 24:36.
With the beginning of vs. 36, Jesus changes the subject of His discourse from the destruction of Jerusalem to His second advent. This is where many commentators begin to disagree.
Many feel that chapter 24 and much of 25 refer only to the destruction of Jerusalem and the events preceeding it and others believe there is a decisive change in subject. I tend to agree with the latter. Let me lay out a few reasons why I follow this particular interpretation.
First, Ken Gentry points out that vs. 34 appears to be a concluding statement. it would seem unlikely that our Lord would put a concluding statement in the middle of His discourse unless the following statements relate to a different issue. It is more probable then, that what is described previous to vs. 34 would be of a different subject then what follows vs. 36. Secondly, if we contrast what is before vs. 36 and what follows we find some notable differences:
Before verse 36
False Christs and prophets Life is normal
Wars and rumors of wars
Famines and earthquakes
Sign of the abomination Lack of signs
People urges to flee when its seen
"All these things" will take place during the generation then living.
Christ speaks in specifics
After verse 36
Life is normal. "Eating & drinking" etc.
Lack of signs
"But of that day and hour no one knows." A delay is implied See also Matthew 24:28; 25:5; 25:19.
Christ speaks in generalities
As we can see, we really do have an Eschatology of Victory as the title of Kik's book proclaims. Not one of defeat as the dispensational touts. We have cause to rejoice in our salvation. With the demise of Old Covenant Judaism, a new era was ushered in and exists today to provide salvation for all men.
This study was meant to be introductory only. It was intended to be a primer to those who have never studied through this passage. My hope is that those readers who have been following along and new to studying this portion of Scripture will continue to study and gain knowledge on this important passage.