In Luke 21, the Lord speaks much about the destruction of Jerusalem and His coming again to the earth to establish His millennial kingdom. We read in Luke 21:7, “And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?” There was a partial fulfillment of the Lord’s words when Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD. The Lord goes on to say much about the future of that nation, the persecution of His people, and signs that point to His return to the earth. It is so important to realize that the church was a mystery hid in God and was not revealed to man until the Apostle Paul wrote his epistles. So, in the Gospels, when the Lord Jesus speaks of His return, He is not speaking of the rapture of the Church; He is speaking of returning to the earth, and that will happen at the end of the seven-year Tribulation Period.

In Luke 21:29-32, the Lord gives a parable about His coming and its relation to the nation of Israel. That says, “And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.”

In the scriptures, the fig tree is often a symbol of the nation of Israel. For example, Hosea 9:10 says, “I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstripe in the fig tree at her first time…” The Lord, in His parable, is speaking of a time when the natural fig tree blossoms; that’s a sign that summer is near. We learn from this parable that when we see Israel blooming, the Lord’s return is near! In the days leading up to the return of the Lord, Israel would begin to evidence new life. Many people, myself included, consider the re-establishment of the nation of Israel in 1948 as very significant; and reference to this event can be given from this parable

The Lord goes on to say ‘this generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled’. What does that mean? In the margin of my Bible, there is a note stating that the word for ‘generation’ can also be translated as ‘race’. For a good comparison of this word, let’s read Philippians 2:15, “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” The word ‘nation’ in this verse is translated from the same Greek word as ‘generation’ in Luke 21:32. That, to me, makes the Lord’s words so simple and understandable. He was telling them (and us) that this race of people, the Jewish nation would not pass away until all these things are fulfilled. With those words, the Lord is guaranteeing the existence of the nation of Israel until He takes them up again, restores them as His earthly people, and takes them into His millennial kingdom. (156.10)