Waiting the Lordís Return
ďNow 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.Ē Matthew 24:32-34
This passage of Scripture is well-worn ground for those concerned with the Last Days. The fig tree is understood to be the symbol of Israel and the tender branch has to do with time near the national rebirth as an independent people. Israel, except for a brief period of time, had been under foreign domination for over five hundred years, and the Lord had foretold another destruction of the Temple and national scattering yet to come. The Lord tells His disciples to look beyond the coming judgment on Israel to the time when God would fulfill His promises to them as a people. It would happen after Israel experienced a rebirth as a nation, which itself is a unique event in history.
The problem interpreters get into is determining how long it will be before the Lord comes to set up His millennial rule and reign after fulfillment of the things He had spoken of in preceding verses? The world has gleefully lumped Hal Lindsey with his rapture prediction to occur by 1988 in with all those who had made false rapture predictions before him. But let us pause a moment and consider the basis of his idea. One held by others, but not always interpreted the same.
Our Lord said the generation that saw Israel as a tender young nation would not pass before His return. The question is how long is a generation and at what point does one begin marking time? Lindsey thought the generation was forty years and the time to start counting was when the nation was declared in 1948. He based that on the Davidic reign and the average time it takes for one generation to give place to another. Other like LeHaye had considered the generation to be seventy years, the time God spoke of as the time of a manís life. But LeHaye had also found a different counting point from which to look for the Lordís return as well.
I had privately thought the time to start counting would be when Jerusalem was restored to Jewish hands and the countdown would be forty years as well. But I was proven wrong in my idea when the Lord had not returned by June of 2007. So the question remains. What is truly a biblical generation and where do you begin the countdown for the Lordís return? I am quite sure that Benny Hinn is wrong in his extra-biblical assertion a generation is one hundred years, for it has no basis in Scripture. But, that does not tell me what is the right time marker or where to start counting? These two sticking points keep man from knowing with certainty the day or the hour of the Lordís return.
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