This Generation

israel-born-in-a-day

Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.   (Matthew 24:34)

The cross loomed menacingly just days away. Jesus’ mind was already on that fateful day as He traversed the crowded streets of Jerusalem. As His disciples marveled at the grand architecture of Herod’s Temple, Jesus’ thoughts were on the future of His impending death and beyond.  “See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Matthew 24:2). This prediction literally came to pass just 40 years after His crucifixion when the Roman general Titus razed Jerusalem in 70 AD and leveled the Jewish Temple. Not a single stone of that edifice remains. For those who unknowingly point to the Wailing Wall that stands next to the Muslim Dome of the Rock, I must point out that the Wailing Wall is the remains of the Roman Antonia Fortress that surrounded the Temple and was not actually a part of the Temple.

That remark gave pause for thought, and when they arrived at the Mount of Olives, the disciples naturally wanted to know, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3). As we assess that state of our world, the same question comes to mind. In response to the disciples’ question, Jesus launched into his “Olivet Discourse” where He spoke of the rise of false Christs, wars and rumors of wars, the increase of iniquity, the demise of love, and the rise of the Antichrist (the “abomination of desolation”).

Jesus described the “Great Tribulation” as a period of seven years that will precede His return. This period was predicted by the Prophet Daniel (Daniel 9:24-27) and detailed in Revelation 6-19. However, the timing is not provided and that is what the disciples and we want to know. Jesus did not provide that information either. “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36). He did, however, give us a hint:

Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. (Matthew 24:32-34, emphasis mine)

 The fig tree has often been seen as a symbol of the nation of Israel. Jesus uses this symbol to indicate the proximity of the time. When the fig tree, i.e., Israel, is tender and begins to bud, we know that summer, i.e., the time of His return, is near. After the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, the nation of Israel ceased to exist until May 14, 1948 when the “fig tree” budded and the nation was reborn. “This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” Jesus was not referring to the disciple’s generation, because even though they witnessed the destruction of the Temple, Jerusalem and the nation of Israel, they did not see the return of Christ as reigning King. They did see Him after He rose from the grave, but then He returned to heaven (Acts 1:9). Jesus referred to the generation that would see the rebirth of Israel.

            The question remains, how long is a generation? It could be 100 years when we consider that Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born (Genesis 21:5). It could also be the span of Abraham’s life, 175 years (Genesis 25:7). But the answer is more basic than that. Jesus was not giving a definite number of years. Recall that He said that no one except the Father knows the time or the hour. Instead, Jesus said that the generation that witnessed the rebirth of Israel will also see His return. The generation born in 1948 is now 67 years old, and most of them are still going strong. If we consider the “Greatest Generation” that fought in World War II, many of them are still living, but they are declining in number – that narrows the time even more.

Either way the time is drawing very close for the Lord’s return. Before He does, there precedes seven horrible years of Great Tribulation that will engulf the entire world. I am concerned for friends and loved ones that will live though that dreadful time. While there will still be opportunity turn to Christ during that time, the decision will be costly. For those of us who have placed our trust in Christ, our Lord will come for us sometime before that dreadful day – maybe today. This Generation, the one in which we live, will see the return of Christ. Are you ready?

10 Comments

Filed under Apologetics, Christianity, End Times, Evangelism, Gospel, Religion, Salvation, Second Coming of Christ

10 responses to “This Generation

  1. Thank you for confirming and reaffirming this great truth from God’s Word, Ernie. I pray many will read, heed, repent and turn to Jesus Christ. for salvation…for rebirth…ready to praise God with “joy inexpressible at the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

    • Thank you, DiAne.

      As I see the state of the world these days, I just know that Jesus is at the door ready to return and reclaim His creation. For those of us that are “the sheep of His pasture” and “called by His Name” we have the hope that He will take us out before “all hell breaks loose.” I don’t worry about us; it’s those who are not numbered as part of His that I worry about because I know many. Those are the ones I hope to reach with this message. Thank you for your prayerful support and encouragement.

  2. Reblogged this on DiAne Gates and commented:
    This is written by friend, blogger, and member of ICR. If you read only one post on my blog site, let this be the one you read and heed.

    DiAne

  3. Not denying the time could be close, but there are other ways God uses the word generation. I don’t want my kids throwing prophecy out the window because the last WWII survivor has passed off the scene during their lifetime.
    The same word can refer to a group of people aligned by time *or* ideology. For example see Acts 2:40 and Psalm 24:6. Proverbs 30:11-14 is the passage that taught me to be careful of this concept.
    BTW preterists use the same verse to *prove* Jesus’ words had to be fulfilled in AD 70.

    • Thank you, Cheri. I hope I did not come across as dogmatic. All things considered, I think my reasoning is sound, but I am certainly not infallible. 🙂

      • I’ve been following prophecy teaching for years. I’ll never forget the lesson I learned when everyone was so sure Jesus was coming back Jan. 1, 1992 because the EU was being formed (for sure the ten kings of Rev. because there were ten of them!).
        Jesus seems to have expected and desired for us to focus on His soon return. It makes today more bearable and helps us keep an eternal focus, too.
        God bless!

      • I agree. I instantly stop listening when someone sets specific dates. As I pointed out, Jesus said that not even He Himself knew the day or the hour. Only the Father knows for sure. Speculating (and that is what I was doing) about the “proximity” of His returned based on Jesus’ words identifying the generation that would see His return, is not date-setting — I don’t think. I hope that is not what I was doing. However, the older I get, the closer is His return. Whether He takes me in death or in the clouds of the air, I know He is coming very, very soon, and I am so ready for that. Perhaps Today! 🙂

  4. Beth Mull

    Great post, Ernie. The Wailing (or Western) Wall, though, is actually a remnant of the original retaining walls holding up the platform of the Temple Mount, rather than the remains of the Antonia Fortress. The fortress was perched next to the Temple complex and didn’t surround it.

  5. Great summary, Ernie. Thank you! Your “all hell breaks loose” is a masterful way to duck a contentious, disputable issue in when that time will hit and whom.

    Blessings and shalom!