One of the prophetic Scriptures most poured over by those who hold the pre-Millennial, pre-Trib view of eschatology is the following.
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. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. (Matthew 24:32-35)
Despite the fact that the seminaries more often than not teach that Jesus, in the Olivet Discourse, addresses only the Jews (Israel), many, including this writer, believe Jesus is speaking not just to Israel. He is speaking here to all, Jews and Gentiles alike, who will accept Christ for salvation down through the ages.
Although there are differences of opinion in precisely what the prophecy means, most agree that the fig tree in Scripture refers most often to the nation Israel.
This prophecy, given by the Lord Himself, is thought by many to be among the strongest scriptural reasons to believe that this present generation will experience Christ’s return to planet earth. Israel, as is said, is God’s prophetic timepiece. The view holds that this generation will see the prophecy fulfilled within the definitive timeline framed by Israel being back in the land God gave them.
Certainly, recent history, in combination with current events, seems to present a strong case that gives this view credibility.
That case is built upon the following:
1) The Bible gives the definition of a generation as 70 years.
2) The nation Israel was reborn–in a single day, as prophesied–in 1948.
3) We are in the year 2018–70 years since Israel came back into the land as a nation following World War II.
4) America is scheduled to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, letting all the world know that we consider Jerusalem the Jewish state’s capital.
5) This is scheduled to happen May 14, the exact anniversary of the month and day of Israel’s rebirth into modernity.
These factors are not all to consider in thinking on Jesus’ prophecy. There is strong reason to believe that this foretelling speaks clearly to a pre-Tribulation Rapture, admittedly the view held today by fewer and fewer pastors and professing Christians.
The Lord next said the following:
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. (Matthew 24:36)
Jesus is here talking of a specific day and hour that no one will know. It will be an unannounced event, so far as timing is concerned. This cannot be the Second Advent when Christ returns as given in Revelation 19:11. There are precise number of days when that great event will take place, as measured from the midway point of the 7-year Tribulation. This unknown day and hour Jesus talks about is, rather, the first phase of His Second Coming–the Rapture of the Church!
Immediately after Jesus talked about the generation that would see all the prophecies fulfilled, He spoke of the human condition that will be prevalent at the time of His return. In fact, He spoke of several conditions that will mark that last generation before the first phase of His Second Coming.
We have been over these conditions many times over the past number of years. I refer to Christ’s “days of Noah, days of Lot” prophecy.
The Lord spoke with precision as to what that generation will be doing with regard to carrying on life in general. This is all outlined immediately following Him saying that no man knows the day or hour when His next intervention will take place into the affairs of mankind.
Read again Matthew 24:36-42 and Luke 17: 26-30 to understand the time of His sudden, catastrophic intervention into life on earth.
My contention has been for many years that this time when he suddenly comes for His Church will be in the middle of an economic boom. Economists and others have for years been predicting an economic downturn–even another Great Depression. And, admittedly, by all fiscal principles one can bring forth from economic physics, the world should have long ago fallen into depression.
Then came Trump. He came out of the prayers of those called by the Name of Jesus Christ, who implored the Lord to act leading up to the 2016 presidential election. The miracle occurred. The nation was given, as I’ve said before, not a godly man, but without a doubt–in my mind at least–God’s man for the hour, a president who has put in place policies and structure for a profound economic uptick.
All of this appears to be God’s preparation for bringing this generation to very near the moment of Christ’s shout: “Come up here!” (Revelation 4:1)
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Preach it, Terry! Glory!!!
Very astute observation. Nobody knows when the rapture will take place. Whereas, we know by the count of days when the rapture will be mapped out. So, when Jesus said in Matthew 24:36 “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” That is when God the Father tells His son to go get His bride. Only the Father knows when that will be. Mankind knows that it will happen when the last Gentile is brought into the Kingdom by conversion and repentance at the cross… but not when, only God. This observation makes perfect sense. Thank you for the enlightenment. because I had been thinking that Jesus was talking about when the Tribulation itself begins. Not when the rapture is to happen.
Correction: We know by the count of days when the Tribulation will be mapped out.
There is nothing that has to happen for the Rapture to occur. There will be many more Gentiles who are saved DURING the Tribulation.
I hope you are correct that more Gentiles will be saved during the tribulation, but I have heard that the “time of the gentiles” will be over and only the Jews who have rejected Jesus will come to salvation during that time. The Gentiles will be deceived in the tribulation. Again, I hope you are correct in your assessment.
No man knows the day of the hour is an idiom. The Feasts of Trumpets (Rosh ha Shanah) was known by this phrase. Because it’s the only feast that falls on the first day of the Jewish month, and that was determined by the new moon, they couldn’t specify when the month (and feast) actually began until the new moon was sighted. Therefore, Jesus was giving a clue that the Rapture would happen at the Feast of Trumpets. We don’t know which year.
I have ears to hear….may those who are lost, find Jesus, and accept Him as their Lord and Savior, 🙏
I understand the biblical significance of the number 70, but where does the Bible define a generation as 70 years?
The scripture used to define a generation as 70 years is in the Psalms.
90:10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
Using 70 years as defining the generation in Jesus’ words about the fig tree is iffy. Although Psalms 90: 10 is believed by many to indicate 70 years is the length of a generation referred to by the Lord, many others say this is an inappropriate interpretation. They say Jesus was simply saying that time of all prophetic fulfillment he had spoken about will pass swiftly as given in reference to the analogy to the fig tree. I.e., a generation in terms of actual number of years, these are saying, is irrelevant in figuring whether 1948 was the beginning and 2018 will see the consummation of fulfillment.
Although I won’t be dogmatic, I believe that 70 years in this matter is very significant.
I could be wrong about this, but I have always looked at a generation as being the time between a fathers birth to his firstborn, or God’s chosen heir. In the case of Adam and Seth that was 130 years. In the case of Abraham and Isaac, that was 100 years. The psalm also allows for 80 years. I think the greater truth in Jesus’ words is that the generation living at the time of Israel’s rebirth will see His coming. That would still fit if it is this year or ten years from now or anytime in between. Many of those born around the time that Israel was reborn are still around. I was born in 1950, so I expect to witness His return (provided He allows me to live until then.) Either way, I am always looking up while “occupying” until He comes. Thank you, Brother!
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