“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” (Matthew 24:32-35)
“The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years.” (Psalm 90:10)
Christ’s words recorded in Matthew 24 have led to no small amount of controversy among biblical scholars. ‘Which generation?’, is always the question that must be asked. While Preterism holds that so much of prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70, with the destruction of Jerusalem. Yet it is patently obvious that so much of End Times prophecy has not come to pass. This is not to deny that Jesus did not predict the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 and the scattering of the Jews among the nations: He most certainly did. (see Luke 21:20-24) But then comes “the times of the gentiles” of undetermined length, before the remaining prophecies are fulfilled. The biggest problem they have is that so much in the way of prophecy did not come to pass in those days. Europe was not reunited into a new Rome. Nor have giant hailstones bombarded the earth, nor the sea turned-to-blood, nor have a third of the trees been destroyed,[i] nor did Damascus “cease from being a city”, as predicted in Isaiah 17:1. Where in history was the Antichrist, the mark of the beast, the army of 200 million from the East, or the Euphrates River gone dry?[ii] Where then is the promised Millennium? Why is there still suffering? Why did not Christ return in glory, seven years after the “abomination of desolation?” In contrast, we can see prophecy being fulfilled within the last century, – and increasingly so in our very lifetimes. The Jews have begun re-gathering back in to the Land. Israel was “born in a day” back in 1948. The alignment of nations that would come against Israel, – (especially Russia, (or Turkey), Iran and the former Soviet Republics), – is forming, – as predicted in Ezekiel. Plans are being made for the re-building of the Temple, as found in Daniel. We are living in days of prophetic fulfillment!
The generation of which Jesus spoke could not have referred to the 1st century one that saw the destruction of Jerusalem. Perhaps there is a clue in Psalm90:10: “The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years.” Still, 70 or 80 years from when? Look at Christ’s words that precede, his admonition that “this generation will not pass.” Jesus is comparing Israel here to the fig tree, a comparison long established in Scripture. “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.” If Israel is indeed the fig tree, and the budding is the reestablishment of the nation in 1948; – or even the retaking of Jerusalem in 1967: Then a 70 to 80 year generation would bring Christ’s return amazingly close at hand.[iii] We’re looking then at 70 to 80 years from the budding of the fig tree. Seventy years from 1948 is 2018. Eighty years takes us to 2028. Now I don’t believe in exact date setting. However we are to know the season. And it looks like we are certainly in the window.
So when we see the events of this last week we can note the pregnancy of the prophetic moment. The wheels were turning on both the prophetic clocks of Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38. The week started with a dramatic flair in the Middle East, the background provided by yet another ‘Day of Rage’; another Palestinian riot, with protesters throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails as they tried to rush the border. The Chicago Tribune reports: “The protests, dubbed the ‘Great March of Return,’ are to culminate in a mass gathering on the border on May 15, a day Palestinians mark as their “nakba,” or catastrophe, to commemorate their mass uprooting during the 1948 war over Israel’s creation.”[iv] [For the record, the abandonment of that land by the people that would later become the Palestinians, was an Arab idea. Their leaving was encouraged by radio transmissions before the Arabs invaded Israel, because the invading Arab states believed it would be easier to indiscriminately slaughter the Israelis that way.] The “culmination” of the Palestinian protests, will of course coincide with the celebration of Israel’s 70th anniversary as a nation – and the official move of the American embassy to Jerusalem, as per President Trump’s order. [The Forces of Darkness are none too happy with that.]
With that laying the groundwork, the week continued with a dramatic attack on Iranian bases in Syria. The first confused reports came solely from the Middle East and were unconfirmed by the mainstream press. There was speculation that a tactical nuke had been used, that the attacks came from the direction of Turkey or that it came in the form of British and American cruise missiles. As time passed, Israel emerged as the likely though unconfirmed attacker. In the event, the attacks set off munitions being stored at the base, destroying 200 surface-to-surface missiles that were being prepared for a massive Iranian attack against Israel. The explosions resulted in a man-made, 2.6 level seismic event.
The very next night, Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu addressed the world regarding the Iranian lies behind the nuclear deal that saw the US under Obama transfer billions of dollars to Tehran for empty promises of cooperation and a moratorium on nuclear weapons development. The backstory is a fantastic one. Israel’s security services had become aware of a warehouse in Tehran that housed all of Iran’s nuclear secrets. Somehow, back in January, Mossad agents had raided the facility and made copies of over 100,000 paper and electronic files related to Iran’s nuclear program. Iran had repeatedly claimed they had no plans, and no intentions to have plans – to build nuclear weapons. The files proved them wrong – in detail. “Netanyahu exposed that the regime simply changed the name of the nuclear development operation but has never stopped attempting to attain its ultimate goal, which is to fit several warheads to ballistic missiles.”[v] Another key problem is that the deal gives Iran the freedom to pursue unlimited enrichment, say it’s for peaceful purposes, and then when the agreement runs out in seven years, quickly convert it to military purposes – which they’ve been working on all along. The PMs Speech drove home a single key point. “Iran lied!” They lied about having the nuclear program. They lied about having records. They lied to the IAEA in 2015. In fact, the entire Iran nuclear deal is based on lies.
The whole point of Netanyahu’s presentation was to make the case for putting an end to the Iran nuclear deal. If the nuclear deal is not preventing Iran from working on nuclear weapons and fitting them to missiles, then it is not accomplishing anything at all. And President Trump does seem to be leaning in the direction pulling out of the agreement and reinstituting sanctions on Tehran. He is opposed in this by France and Germany, who are pressuring the US to remain in the deal – and perhaps just tweaking it. But Iranian President Rohani has squashed any hopes of that happening. “We will not add anything to the deal or remove anything from it, even one sentence. The nuclear deal is the nuclear deal.” In the past, Iran has said that it would immediately begin working on its nuclear weapons project if the deal went south.[vi] Iran along with Syria, have both threatened Israel with retaliation for the attacks, with one official of the alliance comprised of Iran, Syria and Hezbollah saying that the reprisal would come sometime after the May 6th elections in Lebanon, where Hezbollah is based.[vii] So we are brought again, so very close to that May 14th date of prophetically pregnant expectancy. Seventy years from the founding of modern Israel! The celebration occurring on the same day that the United States will officially move its embassy there. The rest of the world – (with some small exceptions) – American foes and allies alike – are all standing against Israel in this. All denying that Jerusalem rightly belongs to the Jews. In fact, the scripture tells us that there is coming a day, when all the world will turn against Israel over the issue of Jerusalem. Zechariah 14:2 reads: “For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem.” And in Zechariah 12:2, the Lord testifies: “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples.”
So who does really hold the title deed to the Holy City. It can be none-other than the Jews. David reigned there as king about 1,000 years before Christ. Solomon built the first Temple there. Jesus walked the streets of that very-Jewish, if Roman controlled city. The Muslims had no presence there until the 7th century. And though they call it Islam’s third holiest city, Mohammed had no connection there – except possibly in a dream. Even this was not taught by the Muslims until the time of the Crusades, when Saladin, changed an Islamic story to say that Mohammed visited there in a dream, – all to enhance the case for Muslim control of the city.[viii] The Bible speaks clearly on the matter. “‘Since the day that I brought My people out of the land of Egypt, I have chosen no city from any tribe of Israel in which to build a house, that My name might be there, nor did I choose any man to be a ruler over My people Israel. 6 Yet I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name may be there, and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel.’” (2Chronicles 6:5-6) The enemy can battle as he may – he will not overturn the purposes of God. Scripture tells us that the Antichrist will succeed for a time – during the Tribulation. But in the end, it is God who will stand triumphant.
[i] What is the Pretribulation Rapture?, Rapture Ready .Com
[ii] Todd, Preterism: I Can’t Believe It, Rapture Ready .com
[iii] Michael Hile, The Last Generation, Rapture Ready .com
[iv] Israel’s use of live fire in Gaza protests faces legal test, Chicago Tribune, April 30, 2018
[v] Jordan Schachtel, Bibi exposes Iran’s nuclear lies: 5 biggest takeaways, Conservative Review, April 30, 2018
[vi] What Happens if Trump Pulls Out of the Iran Nuclear Deal?, Haaretz, April 29, 2018
[vii] Report: Iran expected to attack Israel following Lebanon’s May 6 election, Jerusalem Online, April 30, 2018
[viii] Why History Says Jerusalem Belongs to the Jews, CBN, December 9, 2017