Richard said: I agree that the fig tree can represent Israel in certain contexts, but I see no justification for the idea that to "put forth leaves" means "become a nation again." Consider what the text actually states:
Matthew 24:32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 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 seems evident from the text that the "leaves" represent "all these things" which Christ had just prophesied in the preceding verses. The phrase "putteth forth leaves" means "when the events I prophesied are beginning to happen." There is nothing in the text that suggests anything having to do with Israel becoming a nation again. This is confirmed in Luke's record of this parable:
Luke 21:29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; 30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. 31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. 32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
If the fig tree represents Israel becoming a nation again, what would "all the trees" represent? Was Jesus telling us that "all the nations" would "become nations again" in 1948?
No, that would make no sense at all.