This parable is recorded in Mark 13:28-31, Luke 21:29-32. The context is Jesus’s ‘great prophecy.’ The Jewish scriptures sometimes represent Israel as a fig tree (Hosea 9:10, Jeremiah 24, Jeremiah 8:13). During Solomon’s reign Judah and Israel lived in safety, each man “under his own vine and fig tree” (1 Kings 4:25) indicting national wealth and prosperity.
Jesus’s Great Prophecy outlines the events of history leading to and including Jesus second advent. Israel is represented by the fig tree, and the Luke account adds “and all the trees”. All the trees refers to the nations of the world.
After being nonexistent for nearly 1900 years, Israel became a nation in 1948. The other ‘trees’ represent other nations coming to life since 1948, which is also miraculous. In 1940, there were approximately 70 nations on Earth. Today, the number is closer to 200. This remarkable fact provides a time frame for the fulfillment of the prophecy. The ‘generation’ that witnesses Israel becoming a nation will not pass away before Messiah and the Kingdom are revealed.
In the Bible, ‘generation’ can refer to the period of time of a human life. Psalm 90:10 “As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, Or if due to strength, eighty years…” Adding seventy years to 1948, gives us 2018. The kingdom on earth did not come in 2018. Eighty years will be in 2028. Perhaps this may mark the fulfillment. However, since the first assumption was incorrect, it’s safer to assume that this is not the ‘generation’. The context of the parable speaks of Noah. Genesis 6:10, “Then the Lord said, My Spirit will not remain with man forever, because he is also flesh; nevertheless his days shall be 120 years.” 120 years after 1948 is 2068. We certainly hope and pray that the “it” (the earthly Kingdom of God) is fully operational by then.
The true Church is also called a ‘generation’ in 1 Peter 2:9-10 (NKJV), “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; who once were not a people but are now the people of God…” Time is not specified here, but the scripture focuses on the vital work of selecting those who will ‘live and reign with Christ’ (Revelation 20:4) in His Kingdom.