Saturday , 20 December 2014

The Fig Tree Has Budded

Evidence from Matthew 24 That the Lord Will Return in the Span of a Generation from Israel’s Birth

Introduction

As a boy I remember feeling the rush of the wind strike my face, the sky grow dark as ominous clouds rolled in and covered the sun.  Then the sounds of the thunder could be heard in the distance and the sky flashed.  It was a time of great anticipation and excitement.  Even though the storm was several miles away, it was clear to all that it was coming.  The end times can be likened a great deal to a coming storm.  We can see the storm coming and feel its effect even though it has not yet arrived fully.  So it is with the Lord’s return, the signs are evident even though the event itself has not yet arrived.

Concerning the time of the Lord’s return, Jesus’ disciples asked him: “what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” (Matthew 24:3b ESV).  Jesus then began to describe the many things that would precede His second coming – many of which are being fulfilled before our eyes.  Jesus said “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many,” (Matt 24:5).  Since 1900 there have been many dozens who have either claimed to be Jesus or the Christ in one form or another.  Some of the most notable are Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church and David Koresh of the Branch Davidian religious sect, Ariffin Mohamed from Malaysia and Sergei Torop from Russia.

He then spoke of wars, rumors of war and nation against nation.

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows, (Matthew 24:6-8).

Only in the twentieth century have we seen the entire world at war not just once but twice.  The projected death toll for the Second World War alone is upwards of fifty million people – a number unheard of before in human history.  The past century could easily be classified as wars, rumors of wars, nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom.

There are many signs of the Lord’s second coming just as there were for his first coming and the Lord rebuked the leaders of his day for not picking up on the revealed signs that were evident of his first coming.

When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming.’ And so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and it happens.  You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time? (Luke 12:54-56, emphasis mine).

Just as the signs of the coming storm were obvious to me as a boy, so should those leaders have known that their Messiah was coming.  Jesus noted that they could easily and successfully forecast the weather by simply looking at the sky yet failed to see (or at least to accept) the Messiah in front of them.  We too see the last days’ signs that Jesus spoke about are either happening or about to happen in our day.

Knowing the Times and Seasons

Paul, in his letter to the Thessalonians wrote that believers could and should know the times and seasons of the Lord’s (second) coming since they were not in the darkness like others.

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness,” (I Thessalonians 5:1-5, emphasis mine).

 

Birth Contractions

Jesus likened all of the events mentioned above to birth pains by saying:  “All these are but the beginning of the birth pains,” (Matthew 24:8). Just like for a woman in labor, the contractions will get closer and closer until finally the child is born, so it is if we were to consider today’s events in terms of giving birth, we might say that prophetically all that is left is to push the baby out.  All that the Lord had said so far (discussed above) was a response to the disciples’ question “what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

The Fig Tree is the Sign of His Coming

Fig Tree

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, (Matthew 24:32-34, emphasis mine).

The Fig Tree Is Israel

There are two obvious questions concerning this parable: who or what is the fig tree and how long is a generation?  The answer to the first question is unmistakably Israel.  God clearly compares Israel with a fig tree.  The following verses are given in chronological order.

I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstfruits on the fig tree in its first season, (Hosea 9:10, emphasis mine).

Here God compares Israel to grapes and the fathers to fruits of the fig tree.  Then in Joel He speaks of “my land” as being comparable to “my fig tree” again showing that Israel (both ethnically/nationally and geographically) is symbolized as a fig tree.

For a nation has come up against My land, strong, and without number; His teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he has the fangs of a fierce lion.  He has laid waste My vine, And ruined My fig tree; He has stripped it bare and thrown it away; Its branches are made white, (Joel 1:6-7, emphasis mine).

Next God shows Jeremiah a vision of baskets of good figs and bad figs. Note that both the good and the bad are representative of Israel (Judah). The “good” are taken out of the land, that is, out of danger, and the “bad” are left to be judged. [1]

One basket had very good figs, like the figs that are first ripe; and the other basket had very bad figs which could not be eaten, they were so bad.  Then the LORD said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” And I said, “Figs, the good figs, very good; and the bad, very bad, which cannot be eaten, they are so bad.”  “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: “Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge those who are carried away captive from Judah, whom I have sent out of this place for their own good, into the land of the Chaldeans.  “And as the bad figs which cannot be eaten, they are so bad’–surely thus says the LORD–”so will I give up Zedekiah the king of Judah, his princes, the residue of Jerusalem who remain in this land, and those who dwell in the land of Egypt, (Jer 24:2, 3, 5, 8 emphasis mine).

Jesus continues the correlation of Israel with a fig tree during the final stage of His ministry.  Keep in mind that Jesus had been ministering in Israel for about three years when He gave this parable.  Just like the illustration of God seeking good fruit from His vineyard and finding none in Isaiah 5:1-7, so too Jesus, had come in person expecting to find some good fruit and found little or none.

He also spoke this parable: A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.  Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’  But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down,’ (Luke 13:6-9, emphasis mine).

That Jesus had Israel in mind is confirmed at the end of the chapter when Jesus laments over Jerusalem because of their unwillingness to receive their Messiah and declares that their house is left desolate.  Furthermore, the Jewish leaders of Jerusalem could in no way say “blessed is He…” so long as they were not living in the land of Israel (during the time of their exile).

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ (Luke 13:34-35).

The Cursed Tree

Jewish men were to present themselves before the Lord three times a year.  Jesus came up to Jerusalem via Jericho on a number of occasions during the three plus years of His ministry in order to celebrate the feasts.  There was a fig tree by the road (Matt 21:19) that He invariably must have seen on a number of occasions as He went up to Jerusalem.  The day of the triumphal entry, when He came up from Jericho on His way to Jerusalem, Jesus must have seen the tree noting that there was not any fruit on it – just as the land owner in the parable found none.  Coming into Jerusalem, He was hailed as the Messiah by the masses.  He then drove out the money changers from the temple foreshadowing his coming pronouncement that Israel, like the fig tree, was barren. In the evening He set out for Bethany to spend the night with His friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus (Bethany was on the same road which came up from Jericho).  Returning to Jerusalem in the morning, Jesus passed by the fig tree, noted that there was no fruit on it when there should have been at least some early fruit.  Seeing that the tree was unfruitful, He then cursed it.

And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” Immediately the fig tree withered away. (Matt 21:19)

Thus, just like His parable of the fig tree, He had come looking for fruit from the Jewish leadership for over three years finding none.  They were like the barren fig tree with no fruit was to be found and so He then pronounced judgment on the worthless tree causing it to die immediately which symbolized the nation.  With all of that as our backdrop, we then come to the time markers that He gave us during the Olivet discourse, this time reading Luke’s account:

Then He spoke to them a parable: “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, (Luke 21:29- 30).

When Jesus commanded them to learn a parable from the fig tree, they must have had swirling in their minds the recent events of the parable and the cursed fig tree.  The Hebrew Bible (OT) background makes it clear that Jesus is likening Israel to the fig tree and just as the fig tree withered, so too would Israel soon be destroyed by the Romans.

Israel was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD and then again in 135 AD.  After the second Jewish revolt they were warned not to return to Jerusalem upon the pain of death.  They were then dispersed to the four corners of the earth – without a home land for nearly 1900 years.  Furthermore, the curse appears to apply to the land itself as well.  Rabbi Menachem Kohen of Brooklyn discovered that the land of Israel “suffered an unprecedented, severe and inexplicable (by anything other than supernatural explanations) drought that lasted from the first century until the 20th – a period of 1,800 years coinciding with the forced dispersion of the Jews.” [2] Journalist Joseph Farah, prompted by the research of Rabbi Kohen, later discovered that only after the Jews returned did the rain begin to come:

For 1,800 years, it hardly ever rained in Israel. This was the barren land discovered by Mark Twain. So-called “Palestine” was a wasteland – nobody lived there. There was no indigenous Arab population to speak of. It only came after the Jews came back. Beginning in A.D. 70 and lasting until the early 1900s – about 660,000 days – no rain.

I decided to check this out as best I could and examined the rainfall data for 150 years in Israel beginning in the early 1800s and leading up to the 1960s. What I found was astonishing – increasing rainfall almost every single year – with the heaviest rainfall coming in and around 1948 and 1967. [3]

Then after those many years and just as Isaiah had foretold, Israel was born in one day:

Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth [4] be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion was in labor, She gave birth to her children, (Isaiah 66:8).

On May 14, 1948 Israel (the fig tree) declared independence and then was ratified as a nation by edict of the United Nations and literally was born in one day.  1948 [5] becomes the year by which a generation can be measured against.

Early Christian Commentary Confirms Israel is the Fig Tree

Getting a “second opinion” is always advisable when there is a lot riding on a decision or when contemplating a new perspective.  Thus investigating what early Christians thought about the fig tree parable would seem prudent.  An early Christian writing, the Apocalypse of Peter, clearly identifies the fig tree as Israel and the time of its budding as the time of the end. [6] While we do not consider extra-biblical sources to be Scripture, they can occasionally serve as a type of commentary from early Christians.  Scholars generally accept a date of composition [7] around A.D. 135.  This is a significant date because the early Christians had seen Israel destroyed once in AD 70 under Titus who destroyed the Temple, killed upwards of a million Jews and took the rest as slaves. However, not all of the Jews were taken away and those that remained made a comeback.

Caesar Hadrian visited the city in AD 130 and had intimated that he might rebuild the city as a gift to the Jews.  When he changed his mind and also outlawed circumcision, the Jews found themselves once again in a deadly conflict with the Romans a mere 62 years after the destruction of the temple.  The Jews rallied behind a man named Simon Bar Koseba.  Rabbi Akiva would later declare him to be the messiah at which point the Christians who had been helping in the battle left the non-believing Jews to fight for themselves.  Hadrian squashed the rebellion in AD 135.  He was so angry that he changed the name of the land from Judea to Syria Palestina and salted the land so that nothing would grow.  Jerusalem was renamed Aelia Capitolina and a temple to Zeus would eventually be built on the ruins of the Temple mount.  Hadrian also banished all Jews from the city on pain of death. With this in mind, to find a text that declares that Israel, which had been utterly decimated, would one day flourish again is truly incredible.

This text, which again, we are treating like a commentary on the Scripture (and not equal to Scripture), clearly states that when the fig tree has budded, the end of the world would come.  The text has interpreted Jesus’ parable of the fig tree to be speaking of Israel.  When Israel comes back as a nation, then the last days would come:

(learn a parable) from the fig-tree: so soon as the shoot thereof is come forth and the twigs grown, the end of the world shall come. […] Hast thou not understood that the fig-tree is the house of Israel? […] when the twigs thereof have sprouted forth in the last days, then shall feigned Christs come and awake expectation saying: I am the Christ, that am now come into the world. […] But this deceiver is not the Christ. And when they [Israel] reject him [the deceiver] he shall slay with the sword, and there shall be many martyrs. Then shall the twigs of the fig-tree, that is, the house of Israel, shoot forth: […] Enoch and Elias shall be sent to teach them that this is the deceiver which must come into the world and do signs and wonders to deceive. [8]

The correlation of the fig tree being Israel in the text is unequivocal.  According to this text, Israel, likened to a fig tree, was cut down (twice in fact) and exiled (in agreement with the parable of the land owner in Luke 13:6-9).  Thus the author clearly saw Israel removed from her land and the people no more.  But the author firmly believed that they would come back as a nation:  “when the twigs thereof have sprouted forth in the last days” and then the end will come in the days of their sprouting.  Notice also that the two witnesses (Enoch and Elias) will come back in the days of their shooting forth and be killed by the false Christ (Antichrist).  This text certainly proves that some in the ancient church interpreted the end times in a very literal fashion.  However, it also demonstrates that Israel was considered to be the fig tree and that the shooting forth of its branches would happen in the time of the end and more specifically, at the time of the Lord’s coming. Thus we have ancient testimony that Jesus’ mention of the fig tree was a reference to Israel.  Her putting forth branches and becoming tender was a reference to her rebirth in the last days which would also be the time of the two witnesses and the Antichrist.

All the Trees

We have seen that the fig tree represents Israel in the parable that Jesus told His disciples.  No less than three prophets clearly used the fig tree as a representation of Israel.  Jesus also did so in the parable of the land owner and the fig tree, He then cursed a fig tree and told the parable of the fig tree concerning the last days. However, when we read in Luke’s Gospel that Jesus also mentioned “all the trees” – just what are we to make of this?  Jesus said to learn the parable of the fig tree and all the trees. We learned what is the Scriptural meaning of the fig tree, but what do “all the trees” represent? Sometimes when Jesus would tell a parable He would then give its interpretation.  For example in Matthew 13:18, Jesus interpreted the meaning of the parable of the sower in which each ground represented a type of person and their particular spiritual condition.  So it is with our parable and for the answer, we need to go to God’s Word.

Since the fig tree represents Israel as a nation, then we should expect that “all the trees” would represent nations as well.  Looking in the pages of God’s Word we find this to indeed be the case.  In fact, we find that trees are often used to represent people and especially nations in at least eight passages of the Tanakh (Old Testament) alone.  We first encounter a parable of trees in Judges 9:7-16 where Jotham, a son of Gideon, addresses the men of Shechem who had just killed seventy of his brothers in order to follow his other brother Abimelech.

The trees once went forth to anoint a king over them. And they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us!’ But the olive tree said to them, ‘Should I cease giving my oil, With which they honor God and men, And go to sway over trees?’ “Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come [and] reign over us!’ But the fig tree said to them, ‘Should I cease my sweetness and my good fruit, And go to sway over trees?’ “Then the trees said to the vine, ‘You come [and] reign over us!’ But the vine said to them, ‘Should I cease my new wine, Which cheers [both] God and men, And go to sway over trees?’ “Then all the trees said to the bramble, ‘You come [and] reign over us!’ And the bramble said to the trees, ‘If in truth you anoint me as king over you, [Then] come [and] take shelter in my shade; But if not, let fire come out of the bramble And devour the cedars of Lebanon!’ Now therefore, if you have acted in truth and sincerity in making Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done to him as he deserves, (Judges 9:8-16).

In Isaiah 10:33 God refers to chopping off “the tops of trees” as to those who are arrogant and will be “hewn down”.   Similar imagery is used in the book of Ezekiel.  God in Ezekiel 15:2-6   likens the wood of the vine to the inhabitants of Jerusalem which will be burned in the fire because they are useless (that is idolatrous).   God uses the tree motif to speak of Judah being taken into captivity in chapter 17 as well.  “Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘A great eagle with large wings and long pinions, Full of feathers of various colors, Came to Lebanon And took from the cedar the highest branch.   He cropped off its topmost young twig And carried it to a land of trade; He set it in a city of merchants,’”  (Ezekiel 17:3-4).  In 606/5 BC Nebuchadnezzar took some of the leadership of Judah into captivity – thus Judah is likened to the cedar of Lebanon and the highest branch represents the leadership, which probably included Daniel. We know this to be the case because God gives the interpretation “Say now to the rebellious house: ‘Do you not know what these things mean?’ Tell them, ‘Indeed the king of Babylon went to Jerusalem and took its king and princes, and led them with him to Babylon,’” (Ezekiel 17:12).

God later in the chapter tells what He is going to do with the highest branches in contrast to what King Nebuchadnezzar had done.  Whereas King Nebuchadnezzar made it a “spreading vine of low stature” (Ezekiel 17:6) God would set up a king and a kingdom that would be great among the nations. “On the mountain height of Israel I will plant it; and it will bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a majestic cedar. Under it will dwell birds of every sort; in the shadow of its branches they will dwell.“ (Ezekiel 17:23).  God then makes reference to all the trees of the field, which represent the nations.  Whether all the trees represent all the nations of the world or just the nations of the area is not clear.  “And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the LORD, have brought down the high tree and exalted the low tree, dried up the green tree and made the dry tree flourish; I, the LORD, have spoken and have done it,” (Ezekiel 17:24).

Ezekiel 20:46-48 contains another example of nations represented as trees.  However, perhaps the most telling of all is Ezekiel 31:3-15.  There Assyria is likened to a cedar of Lebanon that was greater than all the other trees (which is to say nations).  “Therefore its height was exalted above all the trees of the field […] and in its shadow all great nations made their home,” (Ezekiel 31:5, 6). God describes how Assyria, the cedar of Lebanon was greater than other kinds of trees though God would send another to cut it down.

‘The cedars in the garden of God could not hide it; the fir trees were not like its boughs, And the chestnut trees were not like its branches; No tree in the garden of God was like it in beauty. I made it beautiful with a multitude of branches, So that all the trees of Eden envied it, That were in the garden of God’. Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Because you have increased in height, and it set its top among the thick boughs, and its heart was lifted up in its height, therefore I will deliver it into the hand of the mighty one of the nations, and he shall surely deal with it; I have driven it out for its wickedness,’ (Ezekiel 31:8-11).

Daniel 4:10-11 and Zechariah 11:2 also offer more examples of rulers and nations represented as trees.  With the background of the Old Testament, we can now turn back to the New Testament and find Jesus’ use of seed (Matthew 13:6, 40), vine branches (John 15:6) and trees (Luke 3:9; 21:29) to represent people or nations not surprising but very much in keeping with the Scriptures.  Therefore, let’s look again at Luke 21:29 “Then He spoke to them a parable: ‘Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.’” The fig tree is Israel and therefore all the trees are other nations.  The question then becomes which nations was He referring to?

The answer comes from the comparison with the fig tree; it was dried and then sprouted again.  Israel was dried for many years and then came back to be a nation.  It would appear therefore that Jesus was referring to other nations close to Israel which would also be reborn.  What is astounding to discover is that all of the countries that border Israel came back to be independent nation states around the same time as Israel.  The CIA World Fact Book discusses how Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Egypt gained their independence all between the years 1943 and 1952 – all within five years of the birth of Israel.

Lebanon

Following World War I, France acquired a mandate over the northern portion of the former Ottoman Empire province of Syria. The French separated out the region of Lebanon in 1920, and granted this area independence in 1943.

The Millennium Chronicles

Jordan

Following World War I and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the UK received a mandate to govern much of the Middle East. Britain separated out a semi-autonomous region of Transjordan from Palestine in the early 1920s, and the area gained its independence in 1946; it adopted the name of Jordan in 1950.

Syria

Following World War I, France acquired a mandate over the northern portion of the former Ottoman Empire province of Syria. The French administered the area as Syria until granting it independence in 1946.

Egypt

Following the completion of the Suez Canal in 1869, Egypt became an important world transportation hub, but also fell heavily into debt. Ostensibly to protect its investments, Britain seized control of Egypt’s government in 1882, but nominal allegiance to the Ottoman Empire continued until 1914. Partially independent from the UK in 1922, Egypt acquired full sovereignty with the overthrow of the British-backed monarchy in 1952, (CIA World Fact Book, emphases mine). [9]

These countries, like Israel, did not exist as independent countries until 1943 and after.  They were simply parts of the Ottoman Empire and then parts of the British Empire or a colony of the French.  Their birth around the birth of Israel strengthens the significance of 1948.

What is a Generation?

We have determined what the fig tree represents and now what we must determine is just what is a generation.  “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation [genea γενεά] will by no means pass away till all these things take place,” (Matthew 24:34).  When considering this question we might first of all do well to remember that Jesus was not speaking Greek to His disciples but Hebrew, which is documented in my book Discovering the Language of Jesus. Not only was Jesus speaking Hebrew to the Jews of His day, which most certainly included His disciples, but according to what are known as the fragments of Papias, the book of Matthew was first written in Hebrew and then later translated to Greek.

Papias was one of the early Church Fathers who lived from 70 to 155 AD.  The early church historian Eusebius notes that he “had the privilege of association with Polycarp, in the friendship of St. John himself, and of ‘others who had seen the Lord.’” (Eusebius 3.39.15)  […] He says about Matthew (fragment VI) “Matthew put together the oracles [of the Lord] in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could.” (Eusebius, III, 39, 1) (Hamp, 2005 Discovering the Language of Jesus).

Given that Jesus was speaking Hebrew, the word that we ought to be truly considering is the Hebrew word dor (דּוֹר), which underlies the Greek word genea (γενεά) (the Greek Septuagint translates dor as genea).  Dor is defined by Gesenius’ Hebrew Lexicon as “(1) an age, generation of men, as if the period and circuit of the years of life.” Brown Driver Briggs defines it primarily as “1. period, age, generation, mostly poet.: a. of duration in the past, former age(s)” and also as “2. of men living at a particular time (period, age).” Based on my own research where I examined the 79 times that word is used in the Hebrew Bible, the word should be defined as the period of a person’s life.  In other word, generation is defined both as period of time and a group of people which cannot be separated. The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT) explains the meaning of generation as it relates to the entirety of a person’s life:

Occasionally there is a Hebrew word wherein etymology, as a route to discovery of ancient thought patterns, is all-important in discovering the true life-situation in which the word must be understood. Such is the case here. Authorities all agree that dor, the noun, is derived from dur, the verb. The simple primitive sense, not expressly found in any biblical text, is to move in a circle, surround. […] In this manner an original meaning of “go in a circle” […] provide[s] the basis for a word of important theological meaning. […]  By a thoroughly understandable figure, a man’s lifetime beginning with the womb of earth and returning thereto (Gen 3:19) is a dor, (TWOT Dor).

While it is true that a new generation begins with the birth of one’s offspring, that still does not negate the fact that the length of a particular generation is the total lifespan.  In reality, the Hebrew or Greek word is not that different from their English equivalent.  If we talk about my parents’ generation it is the people group born around the similar time as them.  I am not in my parents’ generation – I am the second generation.  In fact, I was born some thirty years into my parents’ life.  However, we should not define the length of a generation as the interval between the two but rather as the lifetime of a given person.  After all, my mother is still alive and many people in her generation are too.  Some people in her generation, like my father, have already passed on.  However, there will be some that will live into their eighties and even a few into their nineties.

Let’s consider the following verses that show that the people group of a certain period of time all died: “And Joseph died, all his brothers, and all that generation,” (Exodus 1:6 emphasis mine). The verse clearly was not talking about people in Abraham’s day or people in Moses’ day.  It was the people group of a particular time that died – that is a generation. The Psalmist demonstrates a similar usage wherein he is exhorting those living at his time to not be like the generation (time of) their fathers: “And may not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not set its heart aright, And whose spirit was not faithful to God.” (Psalms 78:8).  Notice that generation is being used as both a people group (fathers) and also a time period (since fathers necessarily come before their progeny).  Therefore, when the psalmist says “a generation that did not set its heart aright” he is talking about a specific group of people who lived at a specific time.

This is reinforced by Deuteronomy 2:14 where Moses discusses the time that was spent in the desert as punishment against the generation that rebelled against the Lord.  “And the time we took to come from Kadesh Barnea until we crossed over the Valley of the Zered was thirty-eight years, until all the generation of the men of war was consumed from the midst of the camp, just as the LORD had sworn to them,” (Deuteronomy 2:14).  The generation was the lifetime (forty years plus twenty) of a group of men as derived from the book of Numbers in which God gives the minimum time of a generation [Hebrew: dor דּוֹר Greek: genea γενεά] as sixty years (twenty and above plus wandering forty years):

Surely none of the men who came up from Egypt, from twenty years old and above, shall see the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because they have not wholly followed Me…  So the LORD’s anger was aroused against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation [LXX reads: genea γενεά]  that had done evil in the sight of the LORD was gone, (Numbers 32:11, 13 emphasis mine).

Thus the minimum age of a generation is sixty years (forty years is never a generation in Scripture contrary to what many have claimed).  However, there is another verse that provides a more average lifespan of a human being which is also the key to see approximately when the Lord will return for the second time, (a fact pointed out to me by Dr. Kenton Beshore, Sr.).

The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away, (Psalms 90:10).

The fullness of a generation being 70 or 80 years is striking when one considers that Moses, the author of this Psalm, lived to be 120 years old.  Bible commentator Thomas Constable points out:

It is interesting that he said the normal human life span was 70 years. He lived to be 120, Aaron was 123 when he died, and Joshua died at 110. Their long lives testify to God’s faithfulness in providing long lives to the godly as He promised under the Mosaic Covenant, (Constable, Psalm 90)

It would seem that the Holy Spirit guided Moses to write of what a typical lifetime is, versus his (and other ancients’) lifetime.[10] We find further biblical evidence that a generation is a lifetime which is equivalent to 70 (or 80) years in Isaiah 23:15 which correlates: “seventy years like the days of one king.”

Modern Research Confirms Psalm 90:10

According to the CIA World Fact Book [11] the longest average life expectancy (by country) for 2009 was 84.36 years in the country of Macau.  The Swiss had the 10th longest life expectancy of 80.85.  Israelis ranked 12th in the world and on average lived to be 80.73 years old, Americans ranked 49th with an expectancy of 78.11 years and Guatemalans ranked 143rd with an expectancy of 70.29.  People in only 38 countries (out of 224) live less than 60 years on average.

Psalm 90:10 therefore provides a very realistic picture of how long a generation is.  The vast majority of people (by nationality) on the planet live until they are sixty (185/224 or 82.5%). Fewer, though a majority still, live into their seventies (144/224 or 64.2%).  However, only a fraction live on average into their eighties (22/224 or 9.8%).

Matthew provides our last clue in the beginning of his Gospel when discussing the number of generations from Abraham until Christ thereby demonstrating that generation (genea γενεά – the same word used in Matthew 24:34) signifies the lifetime of a person:

So all the generations [genea γενεά] from Abraham to David are fourteen generations [genea γενεά],  from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations [genea γενεά], and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations [genea γενεά], (Matthew 1:17, emphasis mine).

Here we see that a generation was the lifetime of a person and not the specific amount of years though we have learned that the duration of a generation is anywhere from sixty years to eighty.  We need to understand that generations overlap one another.  When a father and mother have children a new generation is born, but so long as all the people born around their birthdates are living, their generation has not passed away.  Think of it this way: the Baby Boomer generation (born between 1946 and 1964) has not yet passed away.  In fact, the oldest members would just now be reaching their mid 60’s. Certainly some of its members have passed away already, but the majority can expect to make it well into their 70’s and some into their 80’s.  In the same way, the generation spoken of by Jesus will not pass away until all the things he mentioned take place.  The following diagram depicts how generations overlap one another.  The 1st generation could be likened to the Baby Boomer generation.  Generation X (2nd Generation) was born toward the beginning of a Baby Boomers life (generation) but they are not of the Baby Boomer generation.  Considering all the evidence we explored, I’d like to propose that the Baby Boomer generation is the generation that will not pass away until the Lord comes back.

1st Generation (Total lifespan)
2nd Generation (Total lifespan) overlaps 1st
3rd Generation (Total lifespan) overlaps 1st and 2nd

Which Generation?

So you also, when you see all these things, know that itis near – at the doors!  Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place, (Matthew 24:33-34, emphasis mine).

The generation spoken of here must be the generation that would see all of the things that Jesus spoke of when the disciples questioned Him and specifically it would be the generation that would see the “fig tree budding”.  Since we have seen that the fig tree was Israel in both the prophets and according to Jesus, then “this generation” must be the one that began at the commencement of the new state of Israel. [12]

The Fig Tree Has Budded

Thus we see Israel was a dried tree for about 1900 years and then miraculously the branch put forth leaves in one day on May 14, 1948.  Jesus told us that when this happens His return is at the doors.  He said that the generation that saw this would by no means pass away.  A generation is the lifetime of a person and that is on average between seventy or eighty years.  Thus, according to the above considerations we could write out our equation in the following manner:

1948 + 70 ≈ 2018

OR if by reason of strength

1948 + 80 ≈ 2028

The parable of the fig tree was the answer to the disciples’ original question at the beginning of the chapter:

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” (Matthew 24: 3).

The observant student of the Word has noted that this reference to when the end of the age will be is in seeming contradiction to Jesus’ own words in Acts 1:6-8.

Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth,’ (Acts 1:6-8).

This apparent contradiction is resolved however, when we consider just who Jesus was talking to – the disciples that He was speaking to in Acts were the same men who, only some forty days earlier, He had told what to look for at the end of the age.  And the sign that He told them would definitively mark the beginning of the generation that would see the end was nothing less than the fig tree putting forth its branch and becoming tender.  Thus, the solution is the fig tree. They asked a question which he had already answered for them – look for the revival of the fig tree (which Jesus had pronounced cursed).  In other words, there was no point in looking for the end of the age so long as Israel was a dried tree!  There was no point in looking for the second coming so long as the fig tree remained cursed (that is: not a nation).  Only when it would become tender could the restoration of the kingdom occur.  That is why Jesus told the disciples of what they would receive in the meantime (“but you shall receive power”) and what their task was to be (“and you shall bewitnesses to Me”) until the revival of the fig tree and ultimately His coming.  Therefore, until the fig tree (Israel) was revived, there would be no restoration of the kingdom to Israel – which is of course only logical: Israel cannot have the kingdom if they do not exist as a national entity (a dried tree).  But within a generation (lifetime of a person) of the revival of the fig tree (Israel) the kingdom will be restored in the millennial/messianic era.

Occupy Until He Comes

We have seen that the biblical interpretation of the fig tree is clearly Israel.  We have also seen that a generation is the lifetime of a person which according to Psalm 90:10 is generally 70 or 80 years.  Whether or not the Lord is required to return within 80 years exactly we obviously cannot be dogmatic.  Nevertheless, in light of the incredible accuracy of His first coming, we ought to be persuaded that the above dates are both reasonable and likely.  The Lord’s second coming, therefore, appears to be between 2018 – 2028. [13] The beginning of the Great Tribulation (subtract seven years) then would most likely commence between 2011 – 2021. [14] Remember we are to know the times and the seasons yet Jesus said very literally that the day and the hour no one can know.  The Lord’s second coming between 2018 and 2028 is seemingly the time and the season, but is not predictive of the day or the hour.  In light of the events that are happening in numerous categories (economics, natural disasters, etc.) on a global scale, the Lord’s return within the 80 years from the reestablishment of Israel in 1948 appears almost certain.  Nevertheless, no matter when the Lord returns, occupy until He does and tell others the good news of the gospel.  Heed Jesus’ warning:

“Constantly be on your guard so that your hearts may not be loaded down with self-indulgence, drunkenness, and the worries of this life, or that day will take you by surprise like a trap. For it will come on all who live on the face of the earth. So be alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place and to take your stand in the presence of the Son of Man.”

(Luke 21:34-36 ISV).


[1] This is analogous to the rapture in that the “good” are taken out of the land and the “bad” are left to be judged.

[2] Retrieved October 4, 2010 from: http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.printable&pageId=65288.  Thanks to my friend Bob Rico for bringing this to my attention.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Could the earth be a representation of the UN?

[5] An interesting circumstantial confirmation of the 1948 date is found concerning the birth of Abraham.  According to biblical chronology (reading from the Massoretic text) he was born 1,948 years after creation (Anno Mundi).  While that calculation is based on the year of creation and not the Gregorian calendar, the same number is striking.  Furthermore, the date of Abraham receiving the covenant in Genesis 15 was given 2,018 years anno mundi. Given that the birth of Abraham, the father of the nation, and the rebirth of the nation both occurred in the same year (on their respective calendars), is it possible that AD 2,018 (on the Gregorian calendar) will also be significant?

[6] My study of the Scriptures was not influenced by the Apocalypse of Peter – I in fact found it after I had written most of the chapter.

[7] Retrieved July 15, 2010 from: http://www.ntcanon.org/Apocalypse_of_Peter.shtml.  The authorship of the work is uncertain though some suggest that it was Clement, Peter’s disciple since he is mentioned in the work itself.

[8] First published by the Abbe Sylvain Grebaut in Revue de l’Orient Chretien, 1910: a fresh translation from his Ethiopic text by H. Duensing appeared in Zeitschr. f. ntl. Wiss., 1913.

[9] https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/xx.html

[10] If we understand from Genesis 15 that Abraham’s descendants will be afflicted for four hundred years and that they would come back in the fourth generation, then the maximum lifespan would appear to be 100 years – which again demonstrates that generation is the lifespan of an individual.

[11] Retrieved May 3, 2010 from: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2102rank.html

[12] A speech given by Benjamin Netanyahu May 16, 2010 at Ammunition Hill in honor of Jerusalem Day confirms that he is of the generation that is saw the rebirth of Jerusalem.  Netanyahu was born in 1949 which makes him just one year younger than the nation itself. “We are the generation which was lucky enough to see our holy sites liberated and returned to our hands, and it is upon us to transfer this right to our children.” Retrieved May 20, 2010 from: http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=175392

[13] Thanks to my good friend Dr. Beshore for his valuable insights into these dates via personal communication.

[14] These dates seem to be confirmed extra-biblically by virtue of several discoveries: a massive Coronal Mass Ejection from the sun is expected between 2012-2014; there will be a series of four total lunar eclipses (tetrad) between 2014-2015 all of which fall on biblical feast days (as discovered by Mark Biltz) which potentially spells trouble for Israel; the all seeing eye on the back of the dollar bill (as discovered by Tom Horn) point to the coming of the antichrist between 2012 and 2016; both the Mayan and Aztec calendars have ending dates of 2012.

The Millennium Chronicles

The Fig Tree Has Budded Dec 2010


coming storm david koresh famines fig tree has budded First Century forty years matthew 24 religious sect Second Coming sun myung moon

About Doug Hamp

  • John

    I think that the “generation shall not pass” comment has to do with the 70 A.D. Temple destruction. You have to remember that, in Matthew 24, there are two questions: When will these things be (the temple being destroyed) and when are you coming back.

    There is a great apologist by the name of Joe Hinman (Metacrock) who thinks that Matthew 24 was cross-threaded:

    http://metacrock.blogspot.com/2011/07/was-jesus-wrong-in-his-olivette.html

  • iwillbeintherapture

    Use the King James and all will become clear.

  • iwillbeintherapture

    During the 6 day war Israel was aready a nation – 1948. I won’t be here during the tribulation to comment on any peace agreement. In Daniel a day is a year. It depends where in the Bible and what context they were talking about. Please don’t ashume all days in the bible relate to 1000 years because they don’t. Going on your theory your saying the thousand year reign of Christ on earth with his saints will work out at one day? If one day is a thousand years then a thousand years is one day. Nope my friend please study a bit more and use the word of God for answers and not mans theory.

  • Hans Kern

    To “all the (other) trees”: Assuming these are the surrounding Arab nations, they are budding indeed since 2010. Although basically revolution, chaos and terror, they call it “Arab spring” and spring is the time of budding.

  • Maria Booth

    What a wonderful day that will be! I believe that I’m part of the generation that will be raptured by the Lord Jesus before the seven years of tribulation. We will then be with Him on His second coming when He returns to rule the earth for a thousand years. Alleluya!

  • Gail

    Hi Mr. Hamp my name is Gail and I too have studied on what a generation is. What you have written is almost the same thing I wrote on understanding that a generation is the life of a person. If I didn’t know better I would think you copied me lol (I didn’t copy you: promise). It is clear to me that a generation is seventy years. If our generation is the same as what has taken place in the past according to Matthew 1:17 (which I also mention in my writings but in a somewhat different context) that King David lived 70 years, Babylonian captivity lasted seventy years, and the life (generation) of Jesus was seventy years then logically our generation will be seventy years. There is so much to this that I couldn’t explain all I’ve learned in just a few words. I thought maybe you would be interested in looking at what I have written on my blog: http://numberofhisname.blogspot.com/p/a-generationdeciphered-in-these-last.html

    There are more than just the one page concerning the subject. You can find these pages listed under the “HOME” tab on the right side of the page. Please feel free to leave a comment.

  • Margaret Collins

    So interesting that our Lord said that generation “shall not pass.” Do we realize what that means? It means we don’t have to have to be at the CLOSE of that generation ~ could be any time IN that generation. Are we ready any anxious? I am. “Even so come, Lord Jesus.”

    • https://profiles.google.com/doughamp Doug Hamp

      Amen!!

  • Anon

    But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
    Colossians 3:8  

    Everything that Brother Hamp has said is true.

    Also, we are not saved by baptism, immersion, or by keeping the commandments. The bible says that we are saved according to what the Word says:

    That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the d, thou shalt be saved. Romans 10:9

    Grace through faith plus nothing else.

  • Anonymous

    You have a problem. The State of Israel is not an Israelite State, it’s a Jewish State! If you use November 9th, 1938 you will find something of interest in your calculations. This is the actual date of the birth of Israel. Also the the actual year of the beginning of the end is 1977. I can’t remember which month but I believe it was July, 7th. The two witnesses will testify to what they witnessed. They will witness two events that they were there to testify about.

  • Thomas

    I would agree with your lesson, but you forgot about Genesis 6, when the days of men were to be 120 years, you must also calculate this as a generation also

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  • Pam

     Good point. I’d like to see a response to that.  Anyone have anything ot offer?

  • Nancy

    Good analysis, but the two witnesses are not Enoch and Elias. A servant is not greater than his master — they will be two ordinary people, a man and a woman representing Adam and Eve. They will show us how to get back into the garden through the Christ. Thanks and God bless you!

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  • Linda Brant

    We know there will be a great falling away of Christians in the last days. I pray daily that I will be part of the glorious bride, not the fallen away group. Thanks for your article

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mark-Penn/1826721969 Mark Penn

      From what I see from folks like Rick Warren, Joel Olsteen, and Creflo Dolar it has already happened.

      • guest

        Mark, are you saying that Joel Olsteen is one of the Christian who has fallen away? I love him and thought he was a wonderful preacher. Please explain…..

        • http://www.facebook.com/randy.curry.1428 Randy Curry

          Larry King Live, December 2009; King asked Osteen how long he had been a Christian oe when did he become a Christian. He replied something like this… Oh Larry I have always been a Christian. Always been a Christian? What about John chapter 3 which says that we MUST BE BORN AGAIN? The Bible clearly teaches that we must come to a realization that we are sinners and must REPENT & TRUST in the Lord Jesus alone for our salvation. I am not his judge, but by Joel Osteen’s own admission, he has never been born again. Go to YouTube and hear it for yourself. Matthew 7:21-23 says not all that do amazing things for God are truly born again. I pray that if he is not truly saved, that he will come to understand his error and repent & trust in the Savior.

      • marie swanson

        Mark, you are right on about Joel Olsteen, Rick Warren and Creflo Dollar……we are watching these people lead our brothers and sisters in Christ like lambs to the slaughter…..toward a New World Religion. There is a great falling away…..and it is swiftly moving through out the world…..I’ve never seen anything like before. Jesus Christ has been re-imaged and the Bible re-written and salvation is through socialism…..unbelieveable!  

        You can give me that old-time religion the one Moses and Daniel use to know…..

        • iwillbeintherapture

          Don’t forget the biggest blasphemer…Benny Hinn.

        • Short

          Add to that list T.D. Jakes and Joyce Meyer!

      • marie swanson

        Your right it has happened, but it is speeding up at quite a faster pace now. It will even speed up faster should the Pope die this year……there has been talk about his health and that he may retire…..and we all know that the next Pope will be “bad”…..

      • iwillbeintherapture

        The Bible doesn’t state there will be a falling away by Christians but in fact more than likely a general global falling away. When man kind thinks he has no escape, no salvation and no hope, that to me is the falling away. Global denial or forgetting about God.

  • marie swanson

    Great article Mr. Hamp!

    The signs are all around us. You’d have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to see how our world is imploding. I look to be going home (Heaven) anytime. So much is coming at us in so many different directions and on many levels….that it is mind boggling.

    My heart breaks for Israel. I was in Israel in 1986. The Bible speaks of the Dead Sea splitting into two separate seas before the Second Coming. When I was in Israel in 1986 it was one sea. …not so now! Just Google the Dead Sea! So many prophecies are being fulfilled in our Generation. When the Dead Sea dried up in some areas they found Sodom and Gomorrah (right where they thought it was), they have also found Egyptian chariots in the Red Sea. I never read any of this in the main line news media. Why not? It only confirms that the Bible is true …..the Word of God is true.

    Mankind wants it’s own ruler…..not God. And they will have him (the Anti-Christ). We are coming full circle to the tower of Babel….and the time of Noah! What was so different then? The Son’s of God mingled with the Daughters of man. …and their were “giants” in the land.

    Well, we have so called ET’s mating with humans in alien abductions! God only knows what is being cloned behind closed doors in secrecy. Nephilim??? And just like in Noah’s day the earth was filled with violence. The old saying, what goes around comes around….we are coming back full circle…..right back to the Middle East….with all it’s evil violence.

    Take Care and God Bless < marie

  • Philip

    Check out this collection of end time events confirming that the time of the return of Christ is near:

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/822379/Signs%20of%20the%20end%20times%205.doc

    Copy and paste in your browser and download the Word document.

    Shalom

    Philip

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ramona-Erdman/100000956904086 Ramona Erdman

    Great answer/comment about the fig tree, never have heard it put that way, it makes sense.
    I will have to agree.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ramona-Erdman/100000956904086 Ramona Erdman

    Great answer/comment about the fig tree, never have heard it put that way, it makes sense.
    I will have to agree.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ramona-Erdman/100000956904086 Ramona Erdman

    If we are talking about time then what about the AD 70 theroy where Christ was suppose to come back, a spiritual coming of Christ i believe it means, some say it was physical, which ever they say then they seem to be right because of the use of the words Generations or ages?? if generations is around 90 to 100 years then would not Christ had to come back then? No one seems to ever explain this. I am not stupid but i have no clue how “we” are using the words ages and eons in a time frame in years?? I have never thought the AD 70 theroy was right but now i am not so sure.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ramona-Erdman/100000956904086 Ramona Erdman

    If we are talking about time then what about the AD 70 theroy where Christ was suppose to come back, a spiritual coming of Christ i believe it means, some say it was physical, which ever they say then they seem to be right because of the use of the words Generations or ages?? if generations is around 90 to 100 years then would not Christ had to come back then? No one seems to ever explain this. I am not stupid but i have no clue how “we” are using the words ages and eons in a time frame in years?? I have never thought the AD 70 theroy was right but now i am not so sure.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ramona-Erdman/100000956904086 Ramona Erdman

    If we are talking about time then what about the AD 70 theroy where Christ was suppose to come back, a spiritual coming of Christ i believe it means, some say it was physical, which ever they say then they seem to be right because of the use of the words Generations or ages?? if generations is around 90 to 100 years then would not Christ had to come back then? No one seems to ever explain this. I am not stupid but i have no clue how “we” are using the words ages and eons in a time frame in years?? I have never thought the AD 70 theroy was right but now i am not so sure.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ramona-Erdman/100000956904086 Ramona Erdman

    If we are talking about time then what about the AD 70 theroy where Christ was suppose to come back, a spiritual coming of Christ i believe it means, some say it was physical, which ever they say then they seem to be right because of the use of the words Generations or ages?? if generations is around 90 to 100 years then would not Christ had to come back then? No one seems to ever explain this. I am not stupid but i have no clue how “we” are using the words ages and eons in a time frame in years?? I have never thought the AD 70 theroy was right but now i am not so sure.

  • Soulwinnerusa88@cox.com

    the JESUS in me loves you

  • Frank

    Great Post!!!

  • http://www.frenstork.com James M Despain

    Thanks for the great post.

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  • http://fidelpalermo.com Fidel L. Palermo

    My comment:

    Afriend just Emailed me your article about “The Generation”.
    I have written about this topic on my web page (www.fidelpalermo.com).
    It is amazing how we have come to the same conclusion. I am glad that you have put it in better writing terms. Thank you for a great job.

    Fidel L. Palermo

  • http://www.camperschristianfellowship.org David Soto

    There’s so much good stuff that can be said about this article but, suffice to say that I think Pastor Doug Hamp is spot on target with this entire article. Very well done, very well put! I pastor a small church at Silent Valley near Idylwild, CA called Campers Christian Fellowship. This article is so good and so well done that I plan on making several sermons out of Pastor Doug’s article in an attempt to further disseminate this vital information to our congregation up at CCF. Thank you so very much Pastor Doug for this all important info regarding Israel!

  • http://www.watchmanbiblestudy.com Phillip

    I’ve been working to put this exact conclusion together and must say your research is very insightful and I couldn’t say it any better. Thank you for sharing your insights!

  • http://douglashamp.com doug.hamp

    Dear Chris,

    It is great to hear that you like the article – yes, if the time is so short then we must double our efforts to live righteously and to share the Gospel!

  • http://www.apologete1.blogspot.com Chris Parker

    Amen Pastor Hamp! I was so thrilled to see your argument, as it is the very line of reasoning based on scripture (though your analysis is much more detailed, and takes into account more extra-biblical study) that I have been using in exhorting, warning and encouraging people about the Lord’s return. Most people, Christians included, do not receive the news welcomely, but are grieved.
    Thank you so much brother for your hard work and research, and work in making this proclamation known!

  • http://www.BlessedBooks.com edd hogeboom

    I am very impressed by your piece regarding “The Fig Tree” in Prophesy News Watch. I pray one day we have the chance to chat. I’m sure I would be greatly “enlightened” by your obvious Biblical and Spiritual knowledge and awareness.

    But until then, do you have any software that you would reccommend for Scriptural research, primarily by subject? I have tried several and not found that “one” that does what I need for my research. I have a mountain of Bible Dictionaries, etc., but I really need what I’ve described above. I pray you might have a suggestion or two.

    Merry Christmas and a meaningful and safe New Year to you and yours!!

    Blessings always,
    edd

  • Michael

    I have been studying eschatology since 1984. It has only been recently that, in my opinion, everything has come together.

    I anticipate the rapture of His Church imminently. When you see all these things, look up, for your redemption draws near.

    Thank you for an excellent article.

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  • http://www.cfc.uk.com Stuart Wall

    Josh,

    I agree that we are still expected to keep the law, but not to be saved. Read the book of Galatians and you’ll find out that you are teaching a false gospel.

    Regarding the article, does anyone think that Rev 6:13 may shed any additional light?

    • Soulwinnerusa88@cox.com

      obey JESUS word acts 2-38——-john 3-5——-joel 2-28-31——-acts 2-16-20 the JESUS JESUS JESUS JESUS JESUS JESUS JESUS in me loves you

  • http://www.1913intel.com Matt

    Pastor Hamp provides some good information about the timing of end-times events. Big things MUST start happening soon. I am going to explain why a “thief in the night” scenario is likely to take your life and happen soon. You will never see it coming.

    First, I will explain the signs you should be aware of:

    25+ Signs That Point to Nuclear War

    Nuclear war is approaching America. An attack is likely to happen at night while you sleep. It is also likely to be a complete surprise to everyone, or almost everyone.

    Let me explain why this attack will happen. Soon a nuclear war will occur in the Middle East. Israel will destroy all of its neighbors in the summer. This is described in Amos 1 and Isaiah 17. By the following spring Russia and China will launch a preemptive nuclear strike on America in retaliation. It will come as a complete surprise. The attack will occur while you sleep.

    Isaiah 18 describes the destruction of a powerful friend of Israel. This destruction occurs after Isaiah 17 which happens in the summer. The destruction of this powerful friend of Israel will occur shortly (perhaps that very night) after this friend brings gifts for the new Jewish temple on the Temple Mount.

    Please note that Amos 1 gives the timing for nuclear war in the Middle East. It occurs during the 4th war between Israel and its neighbors. The neighbors are now at war/conflict #3. That means the next war will go nuclear. The above link describes why the next war will be regional and will be huge.

    The bottom line is that if the Middle East blows up in the summer of 2011, then America may cease to exist before the end of spring in 2012. Are you ready?

  • http://cognanaimo.org Josh Patton

    Well written article.

    Looking at many of the comments it amazes me how so many could have an understanding of prophecy, and the identity of Israel yet still hold to a theory and tradition of men such as the rapture which is not supported in the scriptures.

    Christ is coming to set up his kingdom on earth for a thousand years, and then there will be a new heavens and a new earth. Read Revelation for yourself! The scripture talking about we will be caught up in the air to meet the Lord and will always be with him always is not in conflict with the above statements. Christ is coming back to rule the earth with a rod of iron, banish satan for 1000 years and give people a chance to live his way without the influence of satan. Those caught up in the air with him will come down as Spirit Beings as Christ himself descends to earth. These will faithful will be part of his government as kings and priests. These are the Saints, those who lived by every word of God, and kept his commandments and testimonies. (You cannot be saved by just accepting Jesus in to your heart, you must repent of your sins, be baptized in the Spirit by full immersion, and finally you must keep the teachings of the Old and New Testaments: these are the commandments and testimonies of Christ!)

    Where do you get the idea that we will spend eternity doing nothing but lounging around, playing harps in heaven? How do you reconcile that with the New Jerusalem coming to earth and John 14 where Christ says “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you”. Our citizenship is in Heaven and He is preparing the offices or rooms in his Father’s house for us that when he brings his kingdom to earth it will be there for us, and we will have a huge role to play in his government, and teaching of the physical nations.

    I challenge all who read this to prove me wrong, (prove by scripture that there is a rapture, that we do not have to follow God’s commandments like his Sabbath and Holy Days, that Christ nailed everything to the cross, that people go to heaven when they die, that we can do whatever we want so long as we say a few Hail-Marys).

    You may be surprised what the scriptures actually say on these things if you actually open your bibles as the author seems to have done.

    What I have said is based only in scripture, as it is the foundation of knowledge, and the beginning of wisdom, the very word breathed by God, inspired and Holy. Not one word, letter or punctuation mark will pass away until Heaven and Earth pass away. The last I checked we all live on a physical earth, so every word is valid. Do not take my word for it. Prove it for yourself through scripture and scripture alone!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1528052372 Robert Leonardo

      Liked everything you said except your disagreement with the rapture. It’s on you to prove their is not one–prove it!

    • Margaret Collins

      Hi, Josh – One mini challenge I’d like to share with you has to do with how “Jewish” our Lord’s ways are with His people. I became very enlightened back in the 1970′s (when Jews for Jesus was surfacing) in studying the Jewish Feasts and how out Lord is represented in each one. There are 4 Spring Feasts and 3 Fall ones, as you no doubt know. Do a Google search on the Seven Feasts of Israel, if you haven’t. Perhaps you’ve attended a Messianic seder (Passover) where it is explained how our Lord is represented in that marvelous feast. So, with that said, let’s go to the typical Jewish wedding of Jesus day. The bride would be looking for the arrival of the bridegroom — not knowing when he may come ~ when the “place he had gone to prepare for her” (John 14) would be ready. When he did arrive and take her away, they would be tucked away for 7 days together. We will be “tucked away” with our Bridegroom for 7 years ~ the 7 years of the Tribulation. Am I sure? No. But I think it makes sense. What I am sure of is that He will keep His promise about “preparing a place for us,” for us to be “forever with our Lord.” we can certainly rejoice in that! Blessings.

  • http://www.boilingspringshomesforsale.com/ Boiling Springs Real Estate

    I agree with this straight forward, bible based time line. There are many time lines out there and many point to this same period of time. We must all prepare spiritually and materially. By the later I mean store food, water, buy silver, etc. just in case we were not spiritually ready and have to go through the tribulation. What a great witnessing tool those things would be. Anyway, encouraging post!

  • http://www.dbws.biz Bob Wunderlich

    Your Comments

    Very good study. I agree with everything. Especially the two witnesses..

    http://www.apocalypsesoon.org/xfile-11.html

  • Jennifer Andrews

    This is soooo cool.. I wrote something 4 days ago about the same thing and I had no idea why I woke up and had to write it. It took me hours and I had been researching it for a while to check out facts and proofs. If you are on facebook you can read what I wrote. Here is the link..
    http://www.facebook.com/#!/note.php?note_id=178214388871054

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention The Fig Tree Has Budded- Douglas Hamp -- Topsy.com

  • Mart

    Enjoyed your article.

    Here is a way of predicting more percisely Jesus’s return.

    Hosea 6
    1Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.

    2After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.

    3Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.

    We know that a day in God sight is a thousand years so on the third day or the millenium kingdom we will be with God but what gave us new life or revived us?

    Was it not the Holy Spirit and when was the Holy Spirit given?

    At Pentecost, so a thousand years from Penticost is when Jesus will return, i.e. after the Tribulation which will happen 7 years before.

    In Daniel remember there is a passage about a big stone that destroy all man’s kingdoms and also in Revelation all the kings of the earth will try to hide under rocks and caves from the anger of God.

    This stone I believe to be the asteroid Apophis because

    1 it is predicted to hit the earth in 2036 so 2029 is the start of the Tribulation.

    2. It has an orbit of 7 years, exactly the time frame that is used in Daniel.

    99942 Apophis (pronounced /əˈpɒfɪs/, previously known by its provisional designation 2004 MN4) is a near-Earth asteroid that caused a brief period of concern in December 2004 because initial observations indicated a small probability (up to 2.7%) that it would strike the Earth in 2029. Additional observations provided improved predictions that eliminated the possibility of an impact on Earth or the Moon in 2029. However, a possibility remained that during the 2029 close encounter with Earth, Apophis would pass through a gravitational keyhole, a precise region in space no more than about 600 meters across, that would set up a future impact on April 13, 2036.

    1.Daniel 2:34
    Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.

    Daniel 9:24 (King James Version)
    24Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

    Note it is seventy weeks of years or 70 times a 7 year time period so what where they counting if not the orbit of Apophi’s appearance.

    • Soulwinnerusa88

      you must obey acts 2-38——- john 3-5——- ephesians4-5——- joel 2-28-31 ——-acts 2-16-20 look in newtestment please dont get upset the JESUS in me love you

  • primrose ong-veloso

    I am more clear about a generation span. Some say it’s 40 yrs., but i think you are right that it is 70-80 yrs., probably more towards 80 yrs. I Cant wait for Lord Jesus to come , Coz He entered flesh, so we believe from His mouth, about the good news of the coming KIngdom of the Lord to Earth ! We are so slow as sinful human beings to create so , tht’s why He is coming back to hasten it , for what’s called Millenial rule of Jesus Christ on Earth ! This is his 2nd amazing gift to men ! The first was His triumphant redemption of men ! When He died in the Cross And ressurected, Satan or Abaddon & his demons were totally defeated ! All our problems are just illusions coz the evil ones are still on earth, coz judgement for them was not done yet ! Praise the Lord ! THank you Father, Jesus, & Holy Spirit for loving us !

    • iwillbeintherapture

      Agree. If it was 40 years then we missed the rapture (1988). I think he’s spot on.The Lord could come back at any time. As soon as the Gospel is heard in all the land and maybe the 10 nations rising up against Israel we are gone. There are still tribes and lost people in jungles ect that have never heard of Jesus and anything remotely connected to the bible. These people need to be told for us to go home. I’m sure the Bible says at the time of the rapture every person alive or passed would have heard the Gospel. God wouldn’t punish people who have never heard of Jesus or that there is a salvation by sending them into hell. They need to have the choice by hearing Gospel.

  • Robert McMullan

    Jesus Christ is coming soon.So to be ready I’m doing “rapture Practice”
    That’s Right….”Rapture Practice”…..Looking up! Jumping up! one!….
    Looking up! ….Jumping up! Two! I’m going too be ready!
    Thing is….I have noticed at my Church I go too ,Nobody talks about the rapture and has …no Knowledge it seems.It’s terrible,because As Excited as I have been lately “You can feel it” no one ,including the Pastor breaths a word about it …so The Most Exciting Event in History that is about to take place ,it’s weird that no one at Church shares that Excitement .What’s more …it seems that where as many people who are Christians and believe in the Rapture seem too be toning it down alot.I realized that when the bible Speaks of “Scoffers” in the Last days It somehow doesn’t apply to Non Believers Rather Believers who apparently do not take it
    seriously as though it is going to happen at all let alone the idea that
    it’s going too Happen Soon.

    • Myles

      I see this same attitude by many around me, as if the light is still dim within them…
      Remember what our Lord said… Luke 12:35-46 (ESV)

      You Must Be Ready
      35 “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, 36and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. 38If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! 39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. 40You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

      41Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?” 42And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 45But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful.

  • http://www.jonathanreyes.com Jonathan

    Such a great presentation of Biblical truths and outline of the things to come. I really enjoyed this read and would recommend it in a heartbeat. It has many references to scripture and great lengths have been taken to preserve the context.

  • Mike Sternad

    The Fig Tree has Budded was very insightful and detailed. It definitely gave me perspective on the topic discussed and I will be using this paper as a resource to teach at my Church.

  • http://www.IsGodFirst.com Craig

    In this Appendix for the upcoming book, Corrupting the Image, the author is stating evidence from Matthew 24 that the return of the Lord is eminent.

    Jesus speaks about how a fig tree will begin to ripen and bud when the summer season is near. He references the sequence of these events as things to occur within a generation, at which point He will then return for judgment. The “fig tree” represents Israel, and just as He cursed a fig tree in Matthew 21, Israel will be judged for bearing no fruit and rejecting the Messiah. The period of a “generation” can be translated as an individual’s lifetime, or about 70 to 80 years (Ps 90:10, Is 23:15). This also seems consistent with government metrics.

    So, if Israel became a state in 1948, then the time span that would not pass before all the events of the budding tree would be witnessed is about 70 or 80 years. In other words, the second coming of Jesus would be somewhere between 2018 and 2028. Accounting for the 7 year tribulation, that would put the beginning of this event between 2011 to 2021. MARANTHA!

  • Ryan

    Well writen book. Thank you for the fresh perspective Doug.

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