The subject of question concerns the Fig Tree of Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. I understand very well that statistically it has not been fruitful to speculate on exact timings for prophetic events and I'd like to emphasize that I'm not trying to promote any particular eschatological interpretations. I would simply like to ask for opinions on the viewpoint of the following article, which seems thoughtfully-written and reasonable (if one accepts all the necessary premises):
The viewpoint of the article is hardly isolated in the Christian community (I can give other sources saying the same thing), so maybe some/many here would already be familiar with it. In general, it seems difficult to find prophetic discussions that are both very specific in date-setting and reasonably argued at the same time. Any comments? Below, a brief summary of this particular eschatological interpretation has been added.
Brief Summary of this particular Eschatological Interpretation
It is clearly Premillennial and adheres to a literal return of Jesus Christ. It relies on an identification of the Fig Tree in Matthew 24 with the inhabited land of Israel. (Compare with Joel 1:7) It posits that essentially the parable can be interpreted in a highly rigorous way. (Fig Tree = Israel, Generation = certain length of time, Budding of Fig Tree = certain historical event)
One probably dosen't have to go much further with this summary to see that the implications of this sort of thing are that very concrete predictions are being made. Since the predictions are so concrete, one may even make a rigorous discussion surrounding the idea. Here are some "axioms" for consideration, which I ask for opinions on:
A) The statements in the Bible, while at first glance might have meanings that are difficult to interpret, ultimately do in the final analysis have specific, objective meanings. While different groups of people might differ on the interpretations, some interpretations are correct and some are wrong. Discerning which interpretations are correct is a different story, but the notion of a "correct" interpretation exists.
B) In the matter of the Fig Tree of Matthew 24, the ONLY reasonable explanation is that it refers to the nation/inhabited land of Israel, that the Budding of the Fig Tree refers to a certain event in modern times, and that the generation refers to a specific lenght of time.
Please bear with me. If (A) if false, I can hardly see how studying the Bible could be inspiring or profitable since everything would be murky and nothing could be known with certainty. But if (A) is true, then (B) is almost certainly true. If (B) is true, then Jesus will be back by roughly the dates specified in the article, or there is something wrong with the law of the excluded middle. It may be the case that (B) dosen't follow from (A) as easily as I think. But the kind of reasoning in the article is far more sound than Harold Camping's types of predictions, hence it is not obviously false that (B) does not follow easily from (A).