“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree (Israel): As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out (reborn as a nation), you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it (the second coming of Christ) is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, THIS GENERATION (capitals mine) will not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
When asked by the disciples on the Mount of Olives “…when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3) Jesus had just told them about His Coming back (remember, he had not left at that time). They were interested to know, basically when would it happen. Jesus then proceeded to tell them what they could expect to happen on the earth PRIOR to His return. In His own words, we are told the following MUST happen before the Last Days and His return:
- There will be an attempt by many to deceive the believers into believing false doctrine (religion). (Matthew 24:4)
- There will be wars, rumors of wars (Matthew 24:6)
- Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom (Matthew 24:7)
- There will be famines and earthquakes in various places (Matthew 24:7)
- These are the beginning of the events leading up to His return (Matthew 24:8)
- Christians will be persecuted and put to death and hated for worshipping Jesus (Matthew 24:9)
- There will be a turning away from faith in Jesus and men will betray and hate each other (Matthew 24:10)
- Many false prophets will arise and lie to many people (Matthew 24:11)
- When you see the Abomination of Desolation by the anti-christ in the rebuilt Jewish Temple (see my previous post), know Christ’s return is 1,290 days away! (Matthew 24:15)
Jesus definitely does warn us that “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36) We simply cannot say Christ’s Second Comin will occur on a specific day at a certain time (other than we do know that the anti-christ will go into the rebuilt Jewish Temple and will be given global authority for 1,290 days from THAT event until Christ returns at Armageddon).
Christ clearly told the disciples on the Mount of Olives the GENERATION that sees these things happen and are alive will see His return! Now, we have always had wars and famines and earthquakes. Prophetic scholars have long predicted His return in their generation. What differentiates this generation Jesus spoke of at the end that sees these things versus all the previous generations that also saw many of those events happen?
The rebirth of the nation of Israel!
None of Jesus’s prophecies could pertain to the Last Days without first the Jews being back in their God promised land and established as a nation. Of course we know as a result of WWII, the holocaust and the establishment of the United Nations, the Jewish country of Israel was finally established and declared their independence on May 14, 1948. I, and many others have for a number of years advocated that the generation that saw the rebirth of Israel would NOT pass away until Christ’s return.
This then leads to the next question. How many years are in a generation? Throughout the Bible there are several definitions regarding the time length of a generation. God made the Jews wander in the wilderness because of their failure to follow His Word for 40 years (they had already wandered for 2 years and had 38 more to go) until “…all the generation of men at war were wasted out from among the host, as the Lord sware unto them.” (Deuteronomy 2:14). God waited until that generation that had not followed his Word were dead before bringing the remaining Jews to Israel. In Psalms 90:10 we are told “The days of our years (generation) are threescore years and ten (70); and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years (80), yet it is their strength, labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off and we fly away.” Finally, in Genesis 15:13-16 we are told that a generation is 100 years. Here God refers to a 400 year time frame and the final generation in that period is the fourth generation.
What does all this mean to our study of Biblical prophecy and its relevance to today? We were emphatically told by Jesus that really bad things are going to happen in the world AFTER the Jews have returned to their land and established the nation of Israel. While we have already seen many of those events throughout human history, it is the fact that Israel is now in place that those events will get worse and be more global than at anytime in our history. And, it is the generation that is alive and still recognized as a generation that will not only see all these events but will also witness the Second Coming of Christ! Obviously, since Christ did not return in 1988 (1948 + 40) I doubt anyone could argue for 40 years being the term of a generation today. In my mind that leaves the other two Biblical definitions of a generation which stretches between 70, 80 or 100 years.
On May 14, 2018 Israel will celebrate the 70th anniversary of their founding. God works miraculously with numbers throughout the Bible and the number 70 is significant but I am NOT saying Christ’s return will happen on that day (the world still has to go through the 7 year Tribulation period) BUT there is no doubt that every year makes the world a worse place to be, not a better place and God’s Judgement is coming soon. IF 1948 is the beginning of God’s timeline than it is safe to say basically ALL those alive today will possibly/probably witness those events leading up to Christ’s return, regardless of whether they are Baby Boomers, Gen X’ers, Gen Y’ers, Millennials, etc.
The question for all of us do we want to be on earth and witness His coming to Judge us or do we want to come with Him in the clouds to witness His defeat of Satan and all unbelievers alive on the earth? If we accept Jesus as the Son of God that died for our sins and ask for His forgiveness of our sins, we are told that we will be “snatched” away (Raptured) PRIOR to the bad stuff happening so we will not have to endure the punishment coming on the world, probably in THIS generation. It is this belief and faith for which we should ALL “…comfort one another”.