In Matthew 24:34, Jesus says: “…this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” Throughout Matthew’s Gospel, “this generation” always refers to the generation to whom Jesus was speaking. In other words, the people of the first-century generation. And throughout chapter 24, Jesus repeatedly uses the second-person plural, “you.” He was telling the people living at that time that all those events of which He spoke, in Matthew 24, would happen within their lifetime. This isn’t rocket-science. It’ basic grammar.
Nonetheless, since the rise of Dispensationalism, the generation to whom Jesus was speaking is supposedly not really the generation to whom Jesus was speaking after all. It’s another generation. A different generation. A generation in the far-distant future. In fact, it’s our own generation! We are the ones who will see “all these things take place.” Or so the pop-prophecy pundits tell us as they line their pockets selling sensationalism.
This entire scheme, of replacing their generation with our generation (“replacement theology” if there ever was such thing), is apparently justified on the sole basis that Jesus mentions something about a “fig tree” in verse 32. The “fig tree” supposedly budded when Israel became a nation again in 1948, and prophetic speculation was more than ripe by the early 70s. A generation, we were told, was “something like 40 years,” and “all these things” were supposed to start happening by 1988. Actually, 1981 if you factor in the Pretribulation rapture, but they didn’t do the math. At any rate 1981, along with 1988, came and went without a prophetic trace. Rather than throwing the now rotten fruit of prophetic speculation out the window, however, new replacement schemes (their generation for our generation) continued to “bud,” as it were.
Everyone is familiar with the failed predictions throughout the 90s, as the year 2000 closed in. They were basically the same songs that were played back in the 70s, only now they were being covered by different artists, and the lyrics were changed a little. But unlike Manfred Mann covering Springsteen’s “Blinded by the Light,” these tunes weren’t even a hit the second time around. That decade came and went, and the world still didn’t end. And God’s People are seemingly still blinded, but it’s definitely not by the light.
The same tired and worn-out tune is still playing today, and the rotting fruit of prophetic speculation smells worse than ever. 2028 is the new 1988 in the pop-prophecy paperbacks, and it looks like we have five more years before this song stops playing. Supposedly, a Biblical “generation” isn’t 40 years after all. It’s really 80 years (they use Psalm 90:10), and 1948 + 80 = 2028. So, on New Year’s Day 2029, will the prophecy-speculation timeclock finally stop ticking? Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it will. As the infomercials say: “But wait, there’s more!”
Based on Genesis 6:3, some are proposing that a Biblical generation is not 40 years, not 80 years, but 120 years. If this is the case, we have to wait until 2068 before all the insanity stops. “But wait, there’s more!” Again.
What if 1948 wasn’t the date after all? What if the real budding of the fig tree was the Six-Day War in 1967? If we go with the latest possible date for the budding of the fig tree (1967), and the longest possible length of time for a Biblical generation (120 years), this points us to the year 2087 before it all finally comes to an overdue “end.” Not the “end” of the world, but the “end” of these failed predictions. As sure as the sun comes up every morning, the year 2088 will dawn. If there was a chance I’d still be alive then, I’d put a lot of money on that bet.
In the meantime, our culture continues to crumble and we’re losing our Country. We are waiting for Jesus to take us out of this world while He’s waiting for us to finally start doing our job and start changing it. When the expiration date for the date setters finally arrives in 2087, I hope that generation will finally get “this generation” (Matt. 24:34) right and start making things right in this world. And if this post is still floating around in cyber space and someone reads it in 2087, I’m afraid my generation has left you with much work to do. We’ve spent our lives and years waiting for something that already happened nearly 2000 years when Jesus said it would.