Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When its branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near:
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Forasmuch as He had said, Immediately after the tribulation of those days; but they sought of this, after how long a time it should be, and desired to know in particular the very day, therefore He puts also the similitude of the fig tree, indicating that the interval was not great, but that in quick succession would occur His advent also. And this He declared not by the parable alone, but by the words that follow, saying, know that it is near, even at the doors.
Whereby He foretells another thing also, a spiritual summer, and a calm that should be on that day (after the present tempest) for the righteous; but to the sinners the contrary, winter after summer, which He declares in what follows, saying, that the day shall come upon them, when they are living in luxury.
But not for this intent only did He put forward this about the fig tree, in order to declare the interval; for it was possible to have set this before them in other ways as well; but that he might hereby also confirm His saying, as assuredly thus to come to pass. For as this of the fig tree is of necessity, so that too. For thus, wherever He is minded to speak of that which will assuredly come to pass, He brings forward the necessary courses of nature, both Himself, and the blessed Paul imitating Him. Therefore also when speaking of His resurrection, He says, When the grain of wheat has fallen into the earth, except it die, it abides alone; but if it die, it brings forth much fruit. John 12:24 Whereby also the blessed Paul being instructed uses the same similitude, You fool, he says, that which you sow is not quickened, except it die. 1 Corinthians 15:36
After this, that they might not straightway return to it again, and say, When? he brings to their remembrance the things that had been said, saying, Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled! All these things. What things? I pray you. Those about Jerusalem, those about the wars, about the famines, about the pestilences, about the earthquakes, about the false Christs, about the false prophets, about the sowing of the gospel everywhere, the seditions, the tumults, all the other things, which we said were to occur until His coming. How then, one may ask, did He say, This generation? Speaking not of the generation then living, but of that of the believers. For He is wont to distinguish a generation not by times only, but also by the mode of religious service, and practice; as when He says, This is the generation of them that seek the Lord.
For what He said above, All these must come to pass, Matthew 24:6 and again, the gospel shall be preached, Matthew 24:14 this He declares here also, saying, All these things shall surely come to pass, and the generation of the faithful shall remain, cut off by none of the things that have been mentioned. For both Jerusalem shall perish, and the more part of the Jews shall be destroyed, but over this generation shall nothing prevail, not famine, not pestilence, not earthquake, nor the tumults of wars, not false Christs, not false prophets, not deceivers, not traitors, not those that cause to offend, not the false brethren, nor any other such like temptation whatever.