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The Return of Christ Parables
by Wayne Blank
"So shall also the coming of the Son of man be"
Christ's "parable of the fig tree" was given at the end of the Olivet Prophecy (see also Mount Olivet In History and Prophecy). The events described in the previous verses of that chapter (Matthew 24:1-31) are what He was referring to when He said "when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near."
The reference to "ye know not what hour your Lord doth come" is actually dual in nature. It refers not just to that no one knows when Christ will return (we can only know when Christ's return will be 42 months away - see When The Final Countdown Will Begin), but also that we don't know the day of our death. When any of God's people die, that moment will seem like the time of Christ's return, even though it is yet future. The dead do not sense the passage of time (see What Happens When You Die?), so when a true Christian dies, the return of Christ will be, from their conscious perspective, that day (see the Fact Finder question below). That's why, no matter when any of God's people lived through time, Christ's return can seem to come "suddenly."
"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. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."
The verses quoted above, "Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left" are often used to "prove" the rapture fantasy (see The Raptures), but what it is actually describing is when true Christians who are alive that day will be instantly transformed to spirit at the same time that the first resurrection of the dead will occur (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17). Everyone else alive that day will remain as they are, for the time being (again, see the Fact Finder question below).
The parable of the "faithful and wise servant" that followed the parable of the fig tree was also directly speaking of the return of the Christ. The warning to God's people to never let up their diligence as Christians because "for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" is, as explained above, referring to the end of one's life that can come unexpectedly.
"But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh."
The parable of the journey to a "far country" was also a part of the Olivet prophecy. The journey and arrival to that distant place is described in other Scriptures (see What Is Jesus Christ Doing Right Now?).
"Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away."
Fact Finder: Who will be judged on the day of Christ's return?