Mat 24:32-34 "Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place."
To be able to understand this parable, we need to understand other parables concerning the fig tree. Why fig tree?
The Two Olive Trees
Zach 4:11, 14 Then I answered and said to him, "What are these two olive trees—at the right of the lampstand and at its left?"... So he said, "These are the two anointed ones, who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth."
The two olive trees represent the anointed before the Lord (in OT and NT). Olive trees represent the holy people of God for both Jews and Christians.
1Pet 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light
Rom 11:20, 23 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear... And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
The Israelites were represented by the olive tree but because of unbelief, they were cut off and were no longer the people of God. Christians are now part of the olive tree or people of God. All Israelites will be saved when they accept our Lord Jesus Christ as their Messiah.
Rom 11:16-17 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree,
Why the Fig Tree
Mat 21:18-20 Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, "Let no fruit grow on you ever again." Immediately the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, "How did the fig tree wither away so soon?" So Jesus answered and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done.
Our Lord was with them for over 33 years. His birth was made known to them by the shepherds, the star leading the Magi and the killing of the babies in Bethlehem by Herod. At the temple, the priest Zachariah prophesied His coming, Simeon and Anna proclaimed Him as their Messiah. His wisdoms, signs and wonders, healings, teaching and revealing truth, etc. convinced even the simple fishermen. Though the learned priesthood, scribes and Pharisees knew that Jesus was their Messiah (parable of the vineyard in Luke 20) yet they rejected and betrayed Him, because these faithless Jews feared the Romans more than Yahweh.
John 11:47-48 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, "What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation."
Brethren, the fig tree represented the wicked generation of unbelieving Jewish leaders who betrayed and killed their Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ.