Jesus tells his disciples in Mark 13:28-30, "Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way when you see all these things taking place you can know that his return is very near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene before all these things take place." What does Jesus mean when he refers to watching for the sprouting of the fig tree? What does the fig tree symbolize and is he providing us with a deadline for his coming in this puzzle? How long is the generation that he is referring to? -- Trevor
Though the Christians would not know exactly when their Lord was coming (in judgment on Judaism), there did seem to be some general signs.
- Jesus assures them that the destruction he is prophesying will take place in their generation (not ours).
- This time of judgment is a "coming" of Christ, though not the second coming. For more on this, please read The Destruction of Jerusalem.
- By far the best candidate is the 40-year "grace period" between the year of Jesus' death and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans (70 AD) in the First Jewish War (66-73 AD).
- Note: Jesus nowhere says that we will be able to predict the end of the world by watching political or meteorological events.