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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood

 

The Last Generation?

Sept. 8, 2013

I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. (Mark 13:30,31, NIV)

Are we in the last generation before Christ returns?

Various prophetic teachers over the years have tried to establish a timeline for Jesus’ words about “this generation.”

The most popular “teaching” went like this. A generation is 40 years. Israel was established as a nation in 1948. Therefore, the rapture of the Church must be no later than 1981, with the Great Tribulation ending in 1988 — exactly 40 years after Israel’s independence. The problem is that 1981 and 1988 have now come and gone.

So, like other failed predictions, those who held this view moved the goalposts. They then took 1967 — the reunification of Jerusalem — as the starting point for 40 years. This meant the Rapture would take place by 2000. (Of course, all computers would also fail in 2000 — so this date became extremely popular with so-called prophetic experts!) Under this scenario, the Great Tribulation would end in 2007. What’s the problem? Well, 2000 and 2007 have now come and gone.

The real problem is a failure to stick with Jesus’ words. He links the “this generation will not pass away” with “until all these things have happened.” What things?

The “things” He has talked about in the discourse on the Mount of Olives. Go back to the question that initiated His teaching. The disciples had asked Him, “When will these things happen?” By that, they meant the destruction of the temple in conjunction with the signs fulfilled at the end of the age.

Jesus responds with four major “things” that will mark the course of human history, which we may summarize around the word “trouble.” There will be trouble in religion (vv. 5,6), society (vv. 7,8a), nature (v. 8b), and for disciples (vv. 9-23). These, Jesus says, will be the major movements of the course of the age between His first and second coming.

Did this all happen to the first generation of believers? Yes, indeed! That first generation did not pass away until all those things had been fulfilled. Thus, the coming of Christ is always “at the door.” We cannot set a timetable. He could have returned in the lifetime of the first generation; He could return even today.

“These things” continue to happen in all the generations between then and now. Just look at the events in today’s world for evidence of their fulfillment.

Jesus then follows with two affirmative statements.

First, He clearly asserts the heavens and earth are not going to last. He knew that long before astronomers and futurists came to the conclusion that one day our planet would flame out. He knows when and how life on earth will conclude.

Second, He clearly asserts His words are eternal. When you look at context, these words are amazing. He spoke them only 72 hours before His death on a cross. Who would have believed at that moment in time that the Galilean’s life and words would be the most remembered of anyone to ever live on earth? His enemies simply thought He would disappear from history like all others who had made outsized claims.

But, Jesus’ words not only live for time, but for all eternity. His Word is so powerful it never goes away. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of Jesus abides forever!

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, may Your words ever live in me!

DR. GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

 

 

 

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