Jesus said we should learn a lesson from the fig tree: when its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. And when that happens, you would know that His return is right at the door. Then Jesus made the mystifying statement: this generation will not pass from the scene before all these things take place (Mark 13:28-30).
Many scholars believe the fig tree represents Israel, and the restoration of Israel in 1948 was like the budding of a fig tree in the springtime. During my generation (I was born in 1948), the Jews have been returning from all over the world to their homeland. Is the gathering almost complete? Did this mark the beginning of the last generation?
Maybe it will help if we look at what else was happening in 1948. At the end of World War II, six European nations began a process of unification that led to the European Union, thought to be the reunited Roman Empire. The World Council of Churches was established, opening the door to worldwide pluralism. The World Trade Organization was conceived as an organization to regulate the global economy. And finally, the transistor chip was patented, signaling the official birth of world-wide connectivity, paving the way for a one-world currency. If 1948 was the year of the bud, maybe 2012 is the year of the bloom.