Immediately after explaining how he would appear after the tribulation Jesus Christ stated in Matthew 24:34
"Truly I say to YOU that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur. "
Jesus identified a generation which would be alive to see some truly profound bible prophecies take place.
What is a generation?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a generation as:
Main Entry: gen·er·a·tion
1 a : a body of living beings constituting a single step in the line of descent from an ancestor b : a group of individuals born and living contemporaneously c : a group of individuals having contemporaneously a status (as that of students in a school) which each one holds only for a limited period d : a type or class of objects usually developed from an earlier type
2 a : the action or process of producing offspring : PROCREATION b : the process of coming or bringing into being
3 : the average span of time between the birth of parents and that of their offspring
It usualy takes between 20 and 25 years before an adult human being produces offspring. So the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition above gives us a reasonably good ball-park number to measure the significance of Jesus Christs' words.
Would Jesus not know what our contemporary definition of a "generation" is? If he had used the word "generation" and yet wanted it to mean something other than our common definition then he certainly would have used a more correct word. In defense of their own failed prediction the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society would prefer that we do believe that our King Jesus Christ must have used the wrong word or intended it to have some other meaning than the immediately obvious one.In order to break the mystery of how long a generation should be could we not use the bible itself? I hope you agree this is what Jesus would most often do when faced with contentions from the pharisees. A usefull scripture which Jesus himself was likely also familiar with is Genesis 50:22-23
So Joseph lived to 110 and saw 3 generations of his own son's children. If you now count his son Ephraim as a generation also then we can say that 4 generations occured within a period of 110 years. Now all that is required is some simple math to determine that a biblically understood generation is approximately 110/4 or 27 1/2 years.
22 Joseph stayed in Egypt, along with all his father's family. He lived a hundred and ten years and saw the third generation of Ephraim's children. Also the children of Makir son of Manasseh were placed at birth on Joseph's knees.
Jesus' own understanding of a generation would certainly comply with the understanding exhibited within the remainder of the bible.
Many people, including the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Jehovah's Witnessess have made presumptuous claims in regard to the identity of this generation. Rather than criticise their failures however, this blog will now dissect what the bible actually says about "the generation" in regards to its identity and chronology.
First of all, it should be understood that we will not know an exact date.
42“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come."
We are however, admonished that some discerning and righteous ones may have a good idea about the timeframe during which Jesus should arrive in judgement. They should know before he arrives to judge.
This is alluded to in the following verse:
"43But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into."
The reader should agree that it is Jesus Christ's coming in judgement that we are watching for however, all that Jesus assures us is that it will occur during a certain "watch". Once this happens Jesus is no longer just "present" as a ruling king but by judging the world he is actively bringing it to an end. The system of things is being concluded. Although we do not know the exact time of day or night that Jesus is coming, the scriptures indicate that we should at least be aware of the watch during which this event will take place.
If we are admonished to keep on the watch we should at least be aware of the length of the watch period and also the time the watch starts.
In the above scripture it is referring to a night watch.
During ancient times a night was divided up into intervals of time, each of these was a watch.
Here is the Merriam-Webster definition
2 a : any of the definite divisions of the night made by ancient peoples b : one of the indeterminate intervals marking the passage of night -- usually used in plural
So in order to "keep on the watch" the watchman would have to know:
1/ The length of time the watch would be.
2/ When the watch starts
From the discussion of events in Matthew chapter 24 it is not possible to determine the length of the watch.
I hope you agree these scriptures in Matthew Ch 24 do in fact infer however, that it should be possible to determine the length of the watch.
Coming to this important conclusion gives the impetus to continue the research.
In a similar manner to many other scriptural revelations it is very likely that a scripture exists elsewhere in the bible which will give us the required information.
Are there any scriptures with similar expressions or parallels to Matthew Chapter 24?
The best way to discover this is with a bible concordance, which very quickly reveals that Daniel Chapter 12 not only has some startling similarities to Matthew Chapter 24, it also has the actual length of many different time periods recorded within it's same verses.
Are these the "watch's" being reffered to in Mathew Ch 24?
The very first verse of Daniel Chapter 12 alludes to a period of Judgement or action being taken:
"At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people-everyone whose name is found written in the book-will be delivered."
Certainly Daniels writings are referring the same judgement and tribulation as that described by Jesus in Matthew chapter 24.
There also seems to be a large separation between the faithfull and the evil or the righteous and the wicked as brought out by Daniel 12:10
10 Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.
This is much like Matthews' reference to the Faithfull and Evil Slave in Matthew 24:45-51.
Notice also the reference to the breaking in pieces of the Holy people in both Daniel and Matthew as follows:
Daniel 12:7 - ASV
" 7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and a half; and when they have made an end of breaking in pieces the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. "
"50The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Certainly these scirptures are referring to the things which are to happen during the same "watch". Breaking or cutting the holy people, servants of God, the Evil Slave to pieces.
If you are satisfied with the parallel, we can then apply the time period mentioned in Daniel to the length of the "watch" in Matthew.
The period in Daniel is said to be "a time, times and a half."
It is interesting to contemplate that the length of a "time" can not be understood until it was revealed by the writings of the Apostle John in Revelation chapter 12 many centuries later.
So now, how long is 'the time, times and half a time' so that we can calculate the length of this "watch"?
"The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days."
The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent's reach."
time, times and half a time = 1260 days
So the "watch" we should be concerned with is 1260 days long or about 3 and 1/2 years.
In their calculation of Jesus Christ's presence in kingdom power starting in 1914 the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Jehovah's Witnessess correctly applied "a year for a day" to this time period.
The generation which sees the start of the watch however, should also see all these things pass. Therefore applying a "year for a day" does not fit with Jesus Christ's words and the 1260 days must be literal days or approximately 3 and 1/2 years in order to properly fit into the lifespan of a generation.
We now have the length of the watch however, this information is of absolutely no value unless we know when we should start watching. This time is important to understand as it is crucial to identify "this generation". Would our King, Jesus Christ leave us with such a dilemma? That would contradict his renowned benevolent character. Would Jesus not know what our contemporary definition of a "generation" is? Of course not!
In Matthew Chapter 24 Jesus Christ tells us what to look for in regard to "signs of his presence".
Have we seen them all?
This is an important question.
"Likewise also YOU, when YOU see all these things, know that he is near at the doors."
Who is it that is at the doors?
Look! The Judge is standing before the doors. "
For this reason I believe the tribulation (judgement) will start during the generation which sees all the things recorded in Matthew 24 prior to verse 29.
Why verse 29?
The entire of Matthew Chapter 24 is devoted to answering two questions posed to Jesus by his disciples.
3Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"
"What will be the sign of your coming" (or presence)
"When does the age conclude" (world or system of things)
Up to verse 29 Jesus describes signs of his presence or coming in power as a king and so answers question number one.
Here is Matthew CH 24 verse 29;
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken."
Everything up to that point the Judge is still "near at the doors".
Once that door opens the tribulation (judgement) starts. Jesus Christ is no longer just "present" but will stand up and begin judging. Therefore at verse 29 Jesus is now giving attention to question number 2, the end of this system or age.
It is the generation which sees those things recorded prior to verse 29 which Matthew 24:34 refers to:
"Truly I say to YOU that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur. "
So the generation which sees "all" of the signs prior to verse 29 will be the one that witnesses the entire course of Jesus Christ's judgement from begining to end. The generation which sees the "conclusion of the system of things" or in some bible translations it is referred to the "end of this world".
The immediate question to ask then is; "have all these things been seen"?
My examination of the scriptures and also historical events will show that of those things recorded prior to Matthew 29 the events described in verse 27 have now been seen!
Here is what Matthew Chapter 24 verse 27 says;
"For just as the lightning comes out of eastern parts and shines over to western parts, so the presence of the Son of man will be. "
Jesus Christ is not talking about an ordinary manifestation of lightning here. If it is lightning which comes out of eastern parts and shines over to western parts then it must be an extraordinarily powerful manifestation of lightning. If he was referring to ordinary lightning it would make no difference. If these scriptures are to be fullfilled then, this lightning also must be one of those things that we should see.
If you now want to "see" this lightning please read the following very important blog entry:
Did you see it?
If you did then you will be included in the very small number of those who are aware they will be a part of the generation which sees the end of this world.
There should no longer be any doubt in your mind that you should do everything possible to ensure not only your own survival, but also that of your friends, family and neighbours.
An astute reader should now be able to discern that on the date of my writing this we must be already well within this "watch"!
We can now positively say that it is this generation which will not pass away until all the events described in Matthew 24 are completed.
So when did the watch actually start?
I have estimated that we have at the most just over one year left of the "watch".
Please read the letter written several months after this entry in order to understand how this was calculated and make certain you come back here to complete this blog entry:
Letter to the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses. <-- Click Have you understood this blog entry? Daniel reveals this as an important question: Daniel 12:10
"10 Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand."