How long is a generation?
The founding of Israel and why this generation could be last generation
If you pay much attention to Bible prophecy, you will hear preachers and teachers use the word “generation” on a regular basis. This is because of something Jesus said when He was teaching His disciples about the end of the age, the Great Tribulation, and His Second Coming.
“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 24:34-35
In a single generation, Jesus says, we will see all end times events filled.
Those things didn’t happen in the disciples’ generation. That means Jesus wasn’t talking about His specific generation—but He could have been talking about the times we are living in today.
You might wonder: But why our specific generation? Hasn’t every generation had signs of the end times?
Yes! Previous generations have had earthquakes and famines. They’ve seen signs predicted in the Bible. They’ve seen leaders whom many thought were the Antichrist. This has caused them to make failed end times predictions:
A preacher named William Miller gained thousands of disciples in the northeast when he predicted the rapture would happen in 1843 or 1844.
Hal Lindsey was one of the first Bible prophecy teachers who caught my attention, and he predicted the rapture would occur in the 1980s.
Many of you probably remember when a broadcaster and preacher named Harold Camping predicted the Second Coming would happen in 2011.
Each of these leaders saw a few signs of the end times. But the final generation won’t have some signs. It will have every sign.
Behind many of these incorrect predictions were ideas and calculations about what Jesus meant when He referred to a generation. Since the Bible proclaims the end will happen within one generation, how long is a generation?
Psalm 90 might be helpful. According to this prayer of Moses,
“The days of our lives are seventy years;
And if by reason of strength they are eighty years…”
Could God’s Word be defining a generation as 70 or 80 years?
The Prophetic Super-Sign
I believe Israel is a super-sign announcing the arrival of the end times, and my upcoming book Tipping Point shares, in detail, five specific reasons this is true. Key among them is the fact that the State of Israel was founded on May 14, 1948. Ever since that day, we have seen God fulfilling His promises to the scattered Hebrew people, miraculously bringing them back to their homeland.
The year 2018 saw the 70th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel. Five months before that, President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s true and legitimate national capital. On May 14, 2018, he officially opened the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, making the U.S. the first nation to take such a vital step.
This was the first time a major world leader formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city since King Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem from their Babylonian exile. That was 2,500 years ago!
The establishment of Israel is so significant in Bible prophecy—and it happened 72 years ago. We are still in the generation of the birth of Israel’s nationhood.
If Jesus was referring to a generation of 70, then we are already past that milestone. If a generation is 80 years, then we are quickly approaching that number.
Regardless, the prophetic clock is moving forward rapidly, and what we are seeing happen in Israel is proof.
All Things Fulfilled
Despite the progress of predicted events, am I ready to pinpoint a date like Miller, Lindsey or Camping? No, I am not.
When people set specific dates for prophetic events to happen, they are inevitably proven wrong. They lose their credibility. I don’t believe I have the right nor the ability to pinpoint a specific year. While I am confident of the things I preach and teach, I’m not God. All I can do is point you to what the Bible says. I don’t mind highlighting signs and evidences, but I prefer to let God measure time and keep the dates.
One thing I absolutely know to be true is the generation that sees the beginning of the end will see all things fulfilled—because that is what Jesus said.
These are fascinating days.