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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Are We In The Last Generation?

    This Generation Shall Not Pass, 
                                 Until All These Things Shall Be Fulfilled
                           ( Are we that generation)

   The Bible states in Matthew 24:34 says, "This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." As Jesus is the one who made that comment I certainly feel it is true.  The question I have and have discussed with many is,   What is a Generation.  Over the years I have heard 20 years, 30, 40, 70 and my preference which is 120 years.  Each has Biblical references to validate it.  The question is what does God have to say about it?  Which if any time frame does His Word reinforce. Many people tell me what does it matter? Why should I care?  Then they usually quote the Bible verse from Matthew 24:36. " Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the Angels of heaven, but my Father only." However he then goes on to describe what shall be happening at that time.  It evidently was important to Jesus.  We can know that by reading what he said..  Think about this.  Jesus was to die the next day.  He knew it was his last day, yet he took his time to give all kinds of warnings of what was to happen at the time of his return.   He did not spend it reminiscing about their time together or telling them of the wonderful times they would have in heaven later.  He spent that last day and that last time with his disciples warning them to prepare for what was to come.
      What is to come? Well you can read that in several of my earlier blogs that deal with things that could or might happen based on what the Bible says will happen.  However that is not the focus of this particular blog. My goal is to show that yes we do not know the hour or the day.  However Jesus made it clear that we would be able to tell from the events going on around us that we were in the "Time of the End."
    Matthew 24: 42-47 says " 42Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man comes. 45Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 46Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he comes shall find so doing. 47Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods."
      Verse 46 makes clear there is a blessing for his servants who are prepared and ready at his coming. It is our duty to teach people to be looking up and ready.  Yet in many churches today the attitude is. I don't want to hear what all that end time mumbo jumbo says.  I just need to "Love Jesus" and I am covered.  Really?  Those who feel that way need to read Matthew 7:21-27. Jesus makes it clear it is not just about hearing his Word, but doing his Word.  He makes clear many will hear the Word, but they are not doing it.  Those who do that are lost.
     It is really easy to get sidetracked when you are dealing with things from the Bible.  The key is staying focused on God and on His Word.  It contains everything we need to know.  We just need to take time to search his Word.  By studying his Word I came to understand the time frames that represent a generation. Numbers 32:11 says, "None of the men that came up out of the land of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward,shall see the land."  So those twenty and under represent one generation. In verse 13 it says, that they wandered in the wilderness till all of the generation that rebelled died in the wilderness. So if you add forty to the twenty years that they already were we get two different numbers.  If they were twenty and wandered forty years that would mean those being sixty and less were a generation.  So the time frame of that generation could be considered forty years also.  All those born more than twenty years before leaving Egypt died in the wilderness.  So we have 20, 40, and 60 year time frames.
     Genesis offers us a different time frame, but it requires paying attention to what the Bible says. God told Abraham his seed would be sojourners in a land that is not theirs. That is in Genesis 15:13, but it also says they shall enter in, then they shall afflict them four hundred years.  When they first went into Egypt they were not afflicted.  It was after they had been there some time that they became afflicted.  Exodus 12:41 makes it clear they left Egypt 430 years later to the day from when they went in.  Remember they were to be afflicted 400 years.  God did not say how long they would be in Egypt directly.  What he did say in Genesis 15:16 was that they would be there till the fourth generation.  Well we have seen the numbers 20, 40, 60, and 70.  Well none of those numbers work if they were to be there for 400 years. Four times 70 equals a period of 280 years, which is far short of 400 years.  So we need another number that works.
     Well in Genesis 6:3 God said the days of man would be 120 years.  This number will work.  Four times the number 120 equals 480 years. So if they left Egypt at 430 years and wandered in the wilderness for another 40 years they entered the promised land after a period of 470 years.  That is inside the fourth generation guideline that God gave.  The question is which generational timeline did Jesus mean when he said all these things would come to pass in this generation.
     It is clear that he did not mean the generation he was talking to as he told his disciples in Matthew 24:2 that the temple would be torn down.  So he had to mean another time.  Well when the temple was torn down the nation of Israel was dispersed and left the land and Israel ceased to exist until the "Time of the Gentiles was fulfilled." which Luke 21:24 makes clear began when the temple was destroyed.  However when these prophecies begin to come to pass as it says in verse 28-31 we will know that the end is near.
     In Matthew 23 37-39 Jesus laments over Jerusalem and says he would have gathered them under his wings, but they will not see him again till they say "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." In Luke 21:29-31 it mentions when you see the "fig tree" putting forth it's leaves.  You will know it is near the time. Most scholars feel that prophecy was fulfilled when Israel became a nation again.  That was passed or allowed by the United Nations in November 1947.  So if you are using the 70 year generational sign we could expect the end around 2017.  However if you add 120 years, which God used to determine the generations of the Egyptian period,  to the 1947 return of Israel as a nation you are looking at the year 2067.  Many people do not know it, but Sir Issac Newton was a person who tried to determine the end time.  He came to the conclusion the end would be in 2062.  Which when you allow for the error in the Julian calendar it is pretty close to right.
    Just remember Jesus said when you see all these things starting to come to pass, it is a sign.  There are many signs mentioned in the Bible but a few have come to pass in the last few years.  Revelation 11 mentions and deals with the two witnesses to the end time.  It said clearly they would lay dead in the streets of Jerusalem for three and a half days and then they shall rise up.  What makes it pertinent to this day and time is that it says clearly the whole world will see it and exchange presents.  That could not have happened till the last twenty years or so.  It can happen now though.
    Let me give two more signs of the end times that are spoken of in the Bible that are in the process of fulfillment. In Daniel 12:4 it says many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased.  Well almost anybody has to admit there has been a knowledge explosion in the last seventy years.  Actually it started right before the time of Martin Luther in 1517.  In 1436-1440 the printing press was invented.  Suddenly the Word of God could quickly and easily be shared with the whole world.  It allowed God's Word to reach the uttermost (farthest) parts of the earth just as it was told by Jesus in Acts 1:8.  The explosion of knowledge did not mean the prophesy of traveling to and fro was fulfilled, but when a sailor named Columbus took Isaiah 40:22 to heart, believing it meant literally what it said.  He was able to convince King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella that God's Word was true.  With their financial aid the farthest parts became accessible.  Other contemporaries of Martin Luther are noted for the explosion of knowledge, DaVinci, Michael Angelou, followed closely by Newton, Galileo, Sir Francis Drake and the explosion was underway.  It is just coming into its own in this day and age.
     There is a free book on my blog divided into seven parts.  It deals with the end time and will be the source for my next few blogs.  Hopefully I will be able to show how it also gives reference to sources of knowledge from the Bible that say we are in the end time.  Because of events in my life and in my past I felt and feel that I will be standing here on earth when the Lord returns in glory, but having been technically dead once already I realize that if I am or am not does not matter.  God's Word will be fulfilled either way.
    One of the few parts of the Left Behind story line that I agree with is that those of us still here on earth will go through a period of great tribulation before Christ's return.  If you read Matthew 24:29-31 you will come to understand that Jesus said there will be a period of "Great Tribulation" before his Angels return to gather the elect.  So those who are saying we are gone before the tribulation period are preaching a false doctrine.
It is also why we have to be prepared.  That is why he warned us.  So we can prepare for his coming, but also and mainly so we can share the promise of his coming with others.  How bad will it be.  Well Revelation  9:18 says a third part of mankind will be destroyed.  That is over 2 billion people in this day and age.  We have been warned to get ready.  If we are right with God, it does not matter if we go before, during or after the rapture.  We just know where we are going.  The Bible says the rain falls on the just and the unjust.  We will not be exempted because we are Christians, but we do know where we are going if we do not survive.  That is not the case for those who do not know Christ.  It is our duty to see that they do know him.  Let's get to work cause the time is short, either way.

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