Revelations from the Word

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This generation will not pass away...

by Jean-Louis Coraboeuf

"But when you see the abomination of desolation, standing where it ought not be (let him that read understand), then let them that be in Judea flee to the mountains... Now learn a parable of the fig tree: When her branch is yet tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you in like manner, when you shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass till all these things be done. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away" (Mark 13:14,28-31).

According to the dictionary, "generation" is "the production of a being similar to its parents" and "the totality of those who are descended from the same source". In the biblical sense of the term, a generation lasts as long as anyone of its members survives, for example the generation of Joseph's brothers (Exodus 1:6). There is in a generation, a direct filial line from father to son such as we see in the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:17). But a generation is also a set of men living at the same time; when Jesus spoke of an "evil generation asking for a sign", he spoke about the whole people of God living in His time (Luke 11:29).

In Matthew 24 as in Luke 21, here Jesus also addressed all the people of Israel living at the same time in the land of Israel. And there we must distinguish two different generations, that of the time of the first coming of Jesus (Mark 13:14-18) and that at the time of His second coming (Mark 13:24-27). Because of its disobedience, the generation present at the first coming of Jesus was to see the fulfilment of the prophetic words of Jesus in 70 AD, "As some were remarking about the Temple, how beautiful its stonework and memorial decorations were, He said, 'The time is coming when what you see here will be totally destroyed – not a single stone will be left standing'" (Luke 21:5-6). That of His second coming will see the Son of Man coming in His glory on the clouds.

The generation of the second coming of Jesus began with the creation of the state of Israel in 1948; it is the fig tree of which He spoke, which grows green and lasts until His appearance on the Mount of Olives. This is the last generation of the Jewish people who live in hard times (for armies will invade Israel and Jerusalem), but who will also see the Messiah coming to deliver them. This generation "will not pass away", that is to say, it will not end until it has seen all that Jesus said accomplished. This is the generation of which the psalmist spoke, "The last generation (or generation to come) to be created to praise the Lord" (Psalm 102:19), "The generation that will gather from all countries of the earth to serve the Lord" (Psalm 102:23), "The generation that will live in his land" (Psalm 102:29). This is a generation that came at the time appointed by God (Psalm 102:14), that is to say, after the Shoa (Psalm 102:1-12). This generation will see the renewal of the earth after the coming of the Messiah (Psalm 102:26-27).