As high watch dates come and go it can be hard to hold on and easy to forget what we already know. And if we let faith and excitement turn to doubt, that doubt becomes criticalness. Criticalness turns to quarreling and division. Quarreling and division are fruits of the flesh (Gal. 5:19–21), not fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22–26).
The Philadelphian Church of grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone for the glory of God alone is the patiently enduring Church (Rev. 3:10). It’s the Church that knows the simplicity of the gospel and can discern the twisted lies from both lawlessness and legalism. It’s the Church that has crossed the threshold from unbelief to belief. We no longer walk by what we see, but by our faith. We know what God has promised and we know that the One who promised is faithful. He will keep His promises.
And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever He promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. (Rom. 4:19–22)
When I see creeping doubts among many regarding whether Jesus is coming soon, I have to ask: what Bible are they reading? Are they trusting their eyes or God’s promises? The words I read leave no room for doubt:
Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. (Rom. 13:11–12)
. . . you also be patient; establish your hearts, because the coming of the LORD has drawn near . . . (Jas. 5:8)
Now the end of all things has come near; be sober-minded, then, and be sober in [your] prayers. (1 Pt. 4:7)
A revelation of Jesus Christ that God gave to Him to show to His servants what things must quickly come to pass . . . (Rev. 1:1)
Blessed is he who is reading, and those hearing the words of the prophecy, and keeping the things written in it, for the time is near! (Rev. 1:3)
And he said to me, “These words [are] steadfast and true, and the LORD God of the holy prophets sent His messenger to show to His servants the things that must come quickly. Behold, I come quickly; blessed [is] he who is keeping the words of the prophecy of this scroll.” (Rev. 22:6)
Behold, I come quickly, and My reward [is] with Me . . . (Rev. 22:12)
The [One] testifying [to] these things says, “Yes, I come quickly!” (Rev. 22:20)
Jesus said this generation would not pass away until all these things be fulfilled (Mt. 24:34). According to Him, the things to be fulfilled include His second coming at the end of the Great Tribulation. Now you could take “this generation” to refer to those literally listening to Jesus as He spoke the words circa 30–33 AD as preterists do, but that requires dismissing what Jesus said would happen. Jesus said He would be coming back in the sky, with the clouds, and angels would come with the sound of a mighty trumpet reverberating through the air. He said it would come to pass on the heels of the worst time in human history, after the stars of Heaven fell and the powers of Heaven were shaken (cf. Rev. 12:7–9).
Sorry my preterist friends, 70 AD doesn’t work. Pattern doesn’t make prophecy. It just confirms that God’s sovereign voice echoes throughout history with repeating notes.
The other way to interpret “this generation” literally is that Jesus was speaking of the fig tree generation (the immediate context)—the generation experiencing the things He was speaking about in the Olivet Discourse. This is the only way to interpret “this generation” literally while also interpreting the signs and prophecies Jesus foretold literally. I’ll take Him at His word.
And Jesus’ utterance of “this generation” would have caused His disciples to hearken back to the end-times prophecies they knew. You see, they had no New Testament. They didn’t have 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, 2 Peter, or the Book of Revelation. They didn’t have J.D. Farag, or Jack Hibbs, or Unsealed.org. They had the Prophets and they had Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy, specifically chapters 31–32, would have been their foundation for understanding how the end times would unfold. And when they heard Jesus say “this generation” they would have immediately connected this to the prophetic Song of Moses they were much familiar with:
. . . for I have known that you act very corruptly after my death, and have turned aside from the way which I commanded you, and evil has met you in the latter end of the days, because you do evil in the eyes of YHWH, to make Him angry with the work of your hands. . . . (Deut. 31:29)
They are corrupt and not his children; to their shame they are a warped and crooked generation. . . . And He says: I hide My face from them, || I see what their latter end [is]; For they [are] a contrary generation, || Sons in whom is no steadfastness. They have made Me jealous by [what is] not God, || They made Me angry by their vanities; And I make them jealous by [what is] not a people [THE CHURCH], || I make them angry by a foolish nation [THE GENTILES]. For a fire has been kindled in My anger, || And it burns to the lowest [part] of Sheol, || And consumes earth and its increase [2 PETER 3], || And sets on fire [the] foundations of mountains. I heap calamities on them [21 TO BE EXACT!], || I consume My arrows on them [FIRST SEAL]. Exhausted by famine [THIRD SEAL], || And consumed by heat and bitter destruction [FOURTH BOWL]—I also send the teeth of beasts on them [FOURTH SEAL; ALSO REV. 13!], || With poison of fearful things of the dust [FIFTH TRUMPET]. The sword destroys from outside [SECOND SEAL], || And out of the inner-chambers—terror [FIFTH TRUMPET], || Both youth and virgin, || Suckling with man of grey hair. I have said: I blow them away, || I cause their remembrance to cease from man; If I do not fear the anger of an enemy, || Lest their adversaries know—Lest they say, Our hand is high, || And YHWH has not worked all this. For they [are] a nation lost to counsels, || And there is no understanding in them. If only they were wise, || They would deal wisely [with] this, || They would attend to their latter end! (Deut. 32:5, 20–29)
If, by God’s grace, we find ourselves on planet earth on May 15th of next year so that a few more pearls of great price can be found, I can hear the straw-man arguments already lined up: I guess that fig tree prophecy was false. Or, at the least, you were wrong to associate Israel with the fig tree. Ahem. I don’t think so. Connecting Psalm 90:10 is an attempt to define the length of the final generation. It stands completely separate from the biblical association of Israel and the fig tree (e.g., Jer. 24:5; Hos. 9:10; Jl. 1:6–7; 1 Kgs. 4:25; Mt. 21:18-20; Mk. 11:12–14; Lk. 3:7–9; 13:6–9; Jn. 1:47–49). On the third anniversary of the Revelation 12 Sign I demonstrated that the fig tree connection stands by itself, and, just as importantly, this generation is close to passing irregardless of Psalm 90:10 (see here).
Remember what you already know. Don’t get blown off course. Remember why this generation is our generation:
1. The Jews are back in the land after nearly 2,000 years (from the dispersion in 70 AD to the aliyahs of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries). And don’t be confused by the word “Jew”—though it refers to the Judahites etymologically, the ethnic Jews have representatives from all the tribes, especially Judah, Levite, and Benjamin. A sprinkling of the northern tribes are also present. And surely more will be gathered at a later time.
2. The nation of Israel is restored after nearly 2,700 years (the 722 BC dispersion to 1948 AD). And the nation of Israel is a united entity for the first time in nearly 3,000 years (from after the death of Solomon all the way to 1948)! The number of end-time prophecies specifically contingent on the existence of the nation of Israel is staggering.
3. Jerusalem is back in the hands of the Jews after millennia (from 70 AD to 1967 AD). Like with the restoration of the nation of Israel, there are a great number of end-time prophecies directly contingent on this.
4. The gospel has literally been preached to every nation on the face of the earth in fulfillment of Mark 13:10—at least in terms of geopolitical entities. This was only finally accomplished in the last century. And we know from Revelation that not every last person will be reached with the gospel until the Tribulation transpires. The ministry of the two witnesses, the 144,000, and the angels-in-flight is yet to come.
5. The primordial world government and beast system are already in place via the network of historically unprecedented global institutions like the United Nations, World Bank, World Health Organization, World Economic Forum, International Court of Justice, and so forth.
6. Earth-dwellers are living through the convergence of every dystopian novel ever written. The global pandemic has only hurried the furtherance of #5 along. Every day we see new elements emerge from the predictive programming in Orwell's 1984, Terminator, Minority Report, War of the Worlds, Soylent Green, Ready Player One, The Giver, The Matrix, and many others.
7. It’s the days of Noah and Lot all over again. The same violence (abortion, war, wanton killing) and normalization of demonic power/Nephilim as in the days of Noah. The same corruption and sexual immorality as the days of Lot. It’s even in just the last few years that the first full-scale replica of Noah’s Ark was built and the rainbow has once again become a viral symbol (via the LGBTQ movement). And it was just this year that reports came out likely identifying the remains of the Ark, as well as the remains of Sodom (see here).