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. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it[e] is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Clearly the fig tree and the generation that "shall not pass away" are related so who or what does this fig tree represent?

Does the fig tree represent Israel? Apparently, generation can mean race or stock so this is pretty interesting.

  • Could also just be a fig tree, used to make the point that things have appointed times. Feb 9, 2019 at 14:00

5 Answers 5


The fig tree was the metaphor YHVH associated with Israel, and the remnant of Israel - Judea and Jerusalem. It was definitely identified as Jerusalem in Matt. 21:18-21.

Excerpt from my post, "The Fig Tree and The Mountain" -

Hos. 9:10 compared the people of Israel to a fig tree.

“10 I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstripe in the fig tree at her first time: but they went to Baalpeor, and separated themselves unto that shame; and their abominations were according as they loved.” (KJV)

And, in Hab, 3:17,

“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:” (KJV)

when the fig tree did not blossom, then Israel did not blossom, or prosper.

Joel prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem; the first of the Chaldean invasion, and the 2d of the Romans. In Joel 1:6-7, Judah is described as the Lord’s land, the Lord’s vine, and the Lord’s fig tree.

“6For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion. 7 He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white.” (KJV)

John the Immerser stated in Matt. 3:10, and in Luke 3:9 that the axe was already laid to the root of the tree, implying that Jerusalem and Judea were ready to be cut down.

As Christ was going into Jerusalem the second day after cleansing the temple, He stopped before the fig tree. Standing before Jerusalem, and standing before the fig tree – the same thing.

“18 Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. 19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.

"20 And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away! 21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.“ (Matt. ch. 21, KJV)

The fig tree was unfruitful and was the symbol of the people and men of Jerusalem before which Christ stood. The mountain was the symbol of the sanctuary / temple of Jerusalem, what had been God’s house that men had made into a place of buying and selling.

The withering of the fig tree was the judgment Christ pronounced against Jerusalem for its destruction – Matt. 23:37-38. .....

The mountain the disciples could move by faith was the kingdom of Judah, and the temple. By preaching the gospel of Christ, the disciples would move the hearts of men and change kingdoms of wicked men into righteous nations, and righteous people.

Casting that mountain into the sea was the prophesy of casting down the nation of Judea which happened at the destruction of Jerusalem and all Palestine in the Roman-Jewish wars of AD 67-70.

And the fruit of the fig tree was removed from Jerusalem “forever”.

Just as Christ had told the Samaritan woman at the well,

“Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.” (KJV, John 4:21)

the righteous men and women of God are now to be found in every nation on earth, for all those in Christ (Gal. 3:26-29) as all those in Christ are now counted for the seed of Abraham, and are now the Israel of God.

The full post is available at ShreddingTheVeil

The word "generation" in Matt. 24:34 is Strong's Gr. "γενεά", or "genea", and can mean race, family, or generation. Many different agendas try to force the use of this word to suit end-of-time scenarios, but they are not sticking to the context of these verses.

Thayer's Greek Lexicon shows definition #3:

"the whole multitude of men living at the same time: Matthew 24:34; Mark 13:30; Luke 1:48 (πᾶσαι αἱ γενεαί); ; Philippians 2:15; used especially of the Jewish race living at one and the same period: Matthew 11:16; Matthew 12:39, 41f, 45; Matthew 16:4; Matthew 23:36; Mark 8:12, 38; Luke 11:29f, 32, 50; Luke 17:25; Acts 13:36; Hebrews 3:10; ἄνθρωποι τῆς γενεάς ταύτης, Luke 7:31; ἄνδρες τῆς γενεάς ταύτης, Luke 11:31; τήν δέ γενεάν αὐτοῦ τίς διηγήσεται, who can describe the wickedness of the present generation, Acts 8:33 (from Isaiah 53:8 the Sept.) (but cf. Meyer, at the passage)." Source: Biblehub

If viewed in context and with the proper perspective we can also see that the meaning of the race of the Judeans / Jews passing was also implied. Judah was the last of the tribes that would remain until Christ (the Seed, or Shiloh) appeared, as Jacob, the father of Israel told his sons on his deathbed in Gen. 49:10.

"The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be." (KJV)

So, when Christ came in the first century AD, the scepter was transferred to Him and His kingdom. As the Jews were scattered at the destruction of the temple in AD 70, the tribe of Judah was finished in the land. All of those who had believed Christ, and had been immersed in His name (Mark 16:16) had left before the destruction of the temple, and escaped the siege of Jerusalem. They were dispersed into all the nations of the world, and their blood line into all peoples.

So, the remnant of the Israelite race did pass away in that same time period of that generation. The fig tree was that remnant of Judea and Jerusalem that would not bear fruit for God.

As all those in Christ are now counted for the seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:26-29), then we have a new definition for "Israel." In God's eyes, according to God's word, Israel is not a nation tied to a land area, nor a political state men had established in 1948. God's definition of Israel are all those who are in Christ, and it includes all people of all nations on earth who follow The Way, The Truth, and The Life (John 14:6). That is the Israel that is saved with an everlasting salvation (Isa. 45:17).

See also the posts God's Definitions: Part I - The House of Israel, and Part II - The House of God at my site, ShreddingTheVeil

  • Gina: In the parable of the goats and the sheep the determining factor in the selection was how they treated his brothers , it is his anointed with the spirit brothers which comprise the "Israel of God." Gal 6:16, Rom 9:6 Referring to the brothers of Christ ,Peter said:" But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession. 1 Peter 2:9 Rev. 5:10 “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” They number is 144.000 Rev.14:1 For his sheep like followers ,Jesus said they will inherit the earth. Feb 11, 2019 at 16:54
  • 1) "The fig tree was the metaphor YHVH associated with Israel, and the remnant of Israel - Judea and Jerusalem. It was definitely identified as Jerusalem in Matt. 21:18-21." If this is this meant to be the answer about Matthew 24:32-35 you should say so. Otherwise, it doesn't seem like you have settled on a specific meaning. 2) The statements about the axe (Matthew 3:10 and Luke 3:9) were made by John the Baptist, not Jesus. May 21, 2019 at 18:39
  • @RevelationLad, thanking you for catching the error. Corrected to John. I did answer the question in the very first statement, & then pointed out the proof originating in Matt. 21. However I did add another statement in next to last para to make it clear that the fig tree represented Jerusalem.
    – Gina
    May 22, 2019 at 13:07
  • Thanks for the answer. My understanding had mirrored most of yours but I had never made a connection between casting the mountain into the see with the Mountain of Zion. Interesting perspective to consider
    – Marshall
    Oct 30, 2021 at 4:05


“This generation” = the fig tree whose tender branch sprouts leaves (but with no fruit).

People are as trees….and when they start to speak words, their tender “branch” (the tongue) brings forth words (leaves) in an initial response to what they hear (the words of the Lord). The tree…the person… is known by his fruit….not his “leaves”. What kind of fruit will a person bring forth toward the hearing of His voice? "This generation" (of vipers) will not behave in response to the hearing of the Holy Spirit at the end of this age.

Matthew 12:32-34 KJV

(32) And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. (33) Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. (34) O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh

“This generation” will not speak good words but will speak evil instead and will have no fruits of righteousness produced toward the hearing of His words of life and spirit.

As we know, the “generation” of 2000 years ago did not receive the words of the Lord and spoke evil about what He had to say to their hearing ears. They did not bring forth good fruit.

It will happen again at the end of this age.....as "perilous times shall come" from the "this generation" when they shall manifest themselves in the last days (at the end of this age).

2 Timothy 3:1-5 KJV (1) This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (2) For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, (3) Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, (4) Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; (5) Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

“You know that the summer is near”.

The “summer” means “heat” and speaks of the coming Day of Judgment of those who will not hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches of men…..just as it did to those religious leaders and their followers of 2000 years ago who did not receive the words of the Lord. They will not bring forth fruits of the Spirit but bring forth evil words (leaves) in opposition.

Matthew 24:32-35 KJV (32) Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:

What is at the doors? The Judgment of the Lord….the “summer”…the heat… at the end of this age.

(33) So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. (34) Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

It is about receiving His words which will not pass away. Heaven and earth shall “pass away” for those who will not be found with good fruit towards the hearing of His words in the Spirit of Truth. they will perish in their sins....their evil speaking towards the hearing of His words.

(35) Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

It is “even at the doors” as the Judge stands before the door waiting for the fruits of righteousness coming from those whom His Word of Truth….His words…. comes to. Complain not against one who will speak His words lest we be judged.

James 5:7-9 KJV (7) Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. (8) Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. (9) Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

“This generation” of 2000 years ago slandered Jesus (for example, they said He had a demon and was insane) unto the Master in Heaven and was found guilty. They did not receive the words of Jesus whose words were from the Father that He heard and spoke.

Proverbs 30:10-14 KJV (10) Accuse not a servant unto his master, lest he curse thee, and thou be found guilty

The “this generation” of today will also not receive His words as they did not 2000 years ago. “This generation” that Jesus spoke about has the following characteristics that repeated throughout history and will repeat again at the end of this age at the hearing of His voice from Heaven:

(11) There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.

They will not be washed from their filthiness as they will see themselves “pure in their own eyes”. They will see themselves without sin as they will speak evil of those they will not agree with (at the hearing of the Word of Truth).

(12) There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.

They will be proud and act against the hearing of the Word of Truth.

(13) There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up.

They will prevent others (the spiritually “poor” and the “needy”) from also hearing the Word of Truth which would save them.

(14) There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.

There has always been a “this generation” throughout the history of the Bible who contradicted and slandered the prophets of God who spoke His words and will again at the end of this age. They refused to listen and will refuse again to hear as they will show themselves that they are not of God as they will hate those who will speak His words.

When we shall see all these things, know that the Judgment is near. Woe unto them that are with child….

Matthew 24:19-20 KJV (19) And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! (20) But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

….which speaks of lust conceiving (motivated within the heart to speak evil against what one hears in envy and strife) and bringing forth sin (evil words out of the mouth).

They are with “child”….with sin in the heart….as the evil words will not have come out yet (gave birth so to speak).

And those who “nurse” sin until it is complete (as they will not cease speaking evil against the hearing of the Word of Truth), will bring forth death as Judgment.

James 1:14-18 KJV (14) But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. (15) Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (16) Do not err, my beloved brethren. (17) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Of His own will does He beget us with the Word of Truth so that we should be a kind of first fruits of His creatures. We are to hear His Word of Truth and bring forth fruits of righteousness towards the hearing of His words and not bring forth sin (evil speaking, slander, etc.)

(18) Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

The “fig leaves”...words.... are not enough. We must bring forth fruits of righteousness. We can’t hide behind the words “Lord, Lord” and not do His will by speaking evil of another in judgment upon them (labeling them evil doers for what they speak...His words).

Genesis 3:7-10 KJV (7) And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

The voice of the LORD God walks in the garden in the “cool”….the Spirit…of the Day. We must hear His voice and show forth our faith with good works towards. Faith without works is dead.

Words (leaves only) without fruit….good works…is dead. We must “show” ourselves…our faith…. and not hide in the tree (singular) of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as we judge another as evil for what he speaks. Where are thou = where is your faith? Where is the evidence of our faith....where is the fruit of righteousness? Leaves only are not enough.

(8) And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. (9) And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? (10) And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.


Who or what does the fig tree represent in Matthew 24:32-35?

The four apostles Peter, James, John, and Andrew, privately ,ask Jesus the following question.

Matthew 24:3 NASB

"As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

After mentioning the many calamities that will occur in the world ,Jesus says to them that those disciples (this generation) of his, living during this foretold period that , they will be able to recognize the proximity of the end of the age ,How?. Jesus says to them the parable of the fig tree:

Matthew 24:32-34(NASB)

32 “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; 33 so, you too, when you see all these things, [u]recognize that [v]He is near, right at the [w]door. 34 Truly I say to you, this [x]generation will not pass away until all these things take place


Dave resurrected this question, so I’ll weigh in as well. It’s not like the issue is less relevant now than when it was first raised. There has been some discussion on the page regarding the hermeneutics of “generation” so let’s approach it from that angle and explore one popular belief. In Matthew 24, as Ozzie points out, Jesus distinguishes between “age” and “generation”. So Jesus was referring to a generation of limited years, for his timing prediction.

24 3 As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age (τοῦ αἰῶνος)?”

24 34 Truly I say to you, this generation ( ἡ γενεὰ αὕτη ) will not pass away until all these things take place.

This may be controversial for some, but if the budding fig tree represents Israel becoming a nation (1948), and Jesus is really referring to the generation that began at that time, is it possible that it will soon become apparent that the end times have begun? I don’t want to get into a debate about how long a generation is, but let’s just take one famous passage from the Bible that speaks of life span.

Psalm 90 10 As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, Or if due to strength, eighty years, Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; For soon it is gone and we fly away. NASB

If we took the outer limit and even added another 10 years to it, since people are living longer now, by when should the end times begin? Jesus said all these things will take place, so let’s now take off 7 years for the tribulation. So 1948 + 90 -7 = 2031. This would mean that at most, in 10 years we should be in the end times and it could happen much sooner.

My point is not to try to predict the end, and Jesus says that we certainly can’t predict the day or the hour. My point is to say that if your hermeneutics lead you to accept the above assumptions, you must be expecting an imminent end. If in about 10 years, there is no sign of an Antichrist, then it is likely that you misunderstood what Jesus was saying by, “this generation shall not pass”.


In this passage, Jesus was simply using a parable for comparison sake, as he did so often. The budding fig tree ("and all the trees", see Luke's version) is a sign that summer is near, just as the things he just described were to be signs of the end times. There is no reason to invent any deeper meaning.

As for "this generation will certainly not pass away", that appears to refer to the generation of people he was speaking to. Same meaning as "Some standing here will not taste death..." of Matt 16:28. Jesus mistakenly thought the end-times were imminent, as scholars have acknowledged since the time of Albert Schweitzer.

Yes, generation can mean race... but when Jesus used the words "this generation", he clearly meant the current generation of people living at the time. See Matt 12:41, 23:36, Mark 8:12, Luke 11:29, 17:25. There is no contextual reason to change that meaning for Matt 24.34.

  • I disagree the meaning of generation in both Greek and Hebrew very comfortably is translated as age. This age or the age(generation) of the church. It is incorrect to use a translation to define the original in a modern context. May 22, 2019 at 15:20
  • I'm not using a modern context, just looking at how Jesus himself used the term "this generation". Did you look at the verses I cited above? Jesus obviously did not mean "age" in those other verses. The only reason to change the meaning for Matt 24:34 is theological: to save Jesus from having made a mistake. But most of the early NT writers clearly believed it that way: "the appointed time has grown very short" (1 Cor), "the end of all things is at hand" (1 Peter), "we know that it is the last hour" (1 John).
    – Teamonger
    May 23, 2019 at 1:58
  • I looked up your other texts and they also mean age but you’re adamant on your interpretation so I won’t bother any further because at the very least you should be open to the possibility that it could mean age but you’re not by the sounds of it, either because you don’t want it to be or you can’t see it. I’ll try one of your examples to see if you’ll open up to the possibility. May 23, 2019 at 2:37
  • “Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭23:34-36‬ Whom YOU murdered, if it was that generation they didn’t murder him but if it was those in that age then they did murder him May 23, 2019 at 2:39
  • In Mark 8:12, "Why does this generation seek a sign?", clearly Jesus is talking about the current generation. Likewise in Luke 17:25, Jesus "must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation." Which generation? The one he was speaking to.
    – Teamonger
    May 23, 2019 at 4:50

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