(Are We) THE OMEGA GENERATION?
“Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 22: 12-13). These are the very words of Jesus Christ, Son of God, Son of Man, Son of David, Messiah. And they are found in the last chapter of the last book of the Bible.
I am from the Baby Boomer generation. What generation do you belong to? Silent Generation? Generation X? Generation Y (Millennial)? Generation Z (Coming of Age)?Lost generation? We love to name our generations. But how often do we think about the final generation? Or, will there even be a final generation? If so, will it have a name? I think so … let’s call it the Omega Generation!
Old Testament prophetic books such as Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Zechariah and New Testament books such as I & II Thessalonians and Revelation give us a wealth of information about the end times or the last days of this age. Of equal or even greater consequence are the words of Jesus, himself, given to his disciples on the Mount of Olives just a few days before his crucifixion and resurrection. This impressive disclosure of the signs of the last days can be found in Matthew 24 & 25, and the companion text in Luke 21.
Yet, from what I’ve seen and heard, many Christians don’t fully understand these passages. One reason is that the events announced by Jesus are not necessarily in chronological order. Or they refer to a period of time that precede and precipitates the final days … meaning events that take place during the birth pains; such as wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes. Or, as in the case of Luke 21: 20-24 and Matthew 24:2, Jesus is predicting (referring to) the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple that subsequently occurred in 70 AD.
“And when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you will know that the time of its destruction has arrived” (Luke 21:20). We know that this refers to the Roman conquest of Israel by the Roman Generals Vespasian and Titus, as that is exactly what happened in 66-70 AD. This is further confirmed in verse 24: “They will be killed by the sword or sent away as captives to all the nations of the world…” That, too, took place in 70 AD and continued for hundreds of years through the horrific Holocaust during WWII.
Then we read the words of Jesus in the last part of Luke 21:24: “…And Jerusalem will be trampled down by the Gentiles until the period of the Gentiles comes to an end.”
The God-ordained and time-specified prophecy of seven times over as found in Leviticus 26, has been the subject of our previous three articles. As explained and documented in these articles, God’s final (phase four) discipline of Israel resulted in eviction of the people from the land of Israel and subsequent exile to nations all over the world. Because God himself designed the sequential phases of punishment, he alone would determine exactly when the discipline would begin and end. The vast majority of Bible scholars agree that the Times of the Gentiles began with Babylon’s final conquest of Israel in 586 BC. We then found that the 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 paradigm measured in historical years (including 49 Jubilee years) did, in fact, come to an end in 1967.
Furthermore, the year 1967 was/is a monumentally significant year in Jewish modern-day history as that’s when the Six-Day War occurred. One outcome of this stunning victory was the final capture of all of Jerusalem by the Israelis, including Temple Mount. This was God’s predetermined plan to end Gentile domination of the Jews, of Israel, and of Jerusalem.
That doesn’t mean, however, that Israel will not be attacked again; or, for a specified period of time (42 months), be under partial control by Gentile nations … specifically led by Antichrist. “Then I was given a measuring stick, and I was told, ‘Go and measure the Temple of God and the altar, and count the number of worshipers. But do not measure the outer courtyard, for it has been turned over to the nations. They will trample the holy city for 42 months’” (Revelation 11: 1-2).
This allotted time matches precisely with the time given to the beast of Revelation (Antichrist). “Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God. And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months. And he spoke terrible words of blasphemy against God, slandering his name and his temple—that is, those who live in heaven. And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation” (Revelation 13: 5-7).
But notice one thing that is transparently missing from this temporary 42-month period of God-permitted domination by Antichrist: The Jews are NOT exiled or taken captive to other nations on earth, as they were before the Times of the Gentiles ended in 1967.
Both in terms of method and time, the seven times over prophecy was very precise in its fulfillment; with the 4th and final phase incorporating God’s use of Gentile nations to discipline God’s chosen people. This was accomplished through exile of Jews to nations all over the earth. Until, that is, the rebirth of Israel in 1948, then the seizure of other sectors of Israel during the Six-Day War in June, 1967; not the least of which was all of Jerusalem, the Holy City of the Holy Land.
Scripture is very clear—through many of the Old Testament prophets: Once the Jews return to Israel, they will never again be under constant Gentile domination. As we have seen, that continuous rule ended in June, 1967. Thus, the Tribulation period of 42 months is but a temporary interlude to the cessation of Gentile rule over the Jews. In the book of Ezekiel, we find one of many promises throughout the Old Testament that, once God ends his punishment of the Jews and restores his people to the land of Israel, never again will they be held captive by Gentile enemies.
“And from that time on the people of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God. The nations will then know why Israel was sent away to exile—it was punishment for sin, for they were unfaithful to their God. Therefore, I turned away from them and let their enemies destroy them. I turned my face away and punished them because of their defilement and their sins” (Ezekiel 39:21-24).
The passage continues with good news: “So now, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘I will end the captivity of my people; I will have mercy on all Israel, for I jealously guard my holy reputation! They will accept responsibility for their past shame and unfaithfulness after they come home to live in peace in their own land, with no one to bother them. When I bring them home from the lands of their enemies, I will display my holiness among them for all the nations to see. Then my people will know that I am the Lord their God, because I sent them away to exile and brought them home again. I will leave none of my people behind. And I will never again turn my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit upon the people of Israel. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!’” (Ezekiel 39: 25-29, italics for emphasis).
Now it’s time to examine more words of Jesus’s prophecy as to a potential or projected time-frame starting with the return of the Jews to Israel and their final spiritual restoration … “pour out my Spirit upon the people of Israel.”
Generational Measurements of the Last Days
Another well-known, but nevertheless spectacular prophecy given by Jesus during the Mount of Olives discourse is as follows: “Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things take place” (Matthew 24:32-34).
When Jesus says, “this generation” he is not referring to some vague, unspecified, undefined, ambiguous period of time. Rather, he is identifying the precise generation that will be alive and witness the amazing end time’s events described in Matthew and Luke. In other words, this is a literal, identifiable generation. Scripture gives us two primary designations or parameters of a generation, both of which are measured in real time.
1. One Hundred Years: “Then the Lord said to Abram, ‘You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years … After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction’” (Genesis 15: 13-15).
This is a phenomenal prophecy given to Abraham even before Isaac was born, in which God not only talks about the (many) descendants of Abraham; but hundreds of years before the fact announces that they (the Israelites) would be slaves in a foreign land (Egypt), only to return to the Promised Land of Israel. Moreover, God equates a generation to 100 years … 400 hundred years equals four generations. Think about it for a moment. Although unusual (perhaps even rare), there are people the world over who live to be one hundred … some even a few years more. Yet, 100 years of age is pretty much the maximum scope of any given lifetime or generation.
2. Seventy Years: “Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty” (Psalms 90:10).
This insight as to the customary lifespan of a human being was given to Moses, who is the author of Psalms 90, the only Psalm credited to Moses. Again, think about it. By and large, the normal or average lifespan of most people the world over is between 70 and 80 years of age. By seventy, virtually no more children are conceived and birthed by a woman. For all practical purposes, a person who reaches 70 years of age (perhaps a few more years) has lived a generational life-time. They have children and grandchildren who are the progeny of the next generation. King David, himself, died at exactly 70 years of age.
Application of Biblical Generations to the Last Generation
If Jesus is referring specifically to the last generation, and I believe the text/context is crystal clear that he is; then this generation must have a designated start-up date or dates. Without an actual event (which can be identified by a specific calendar year) to begin the generation, the 70-year or 100-year generational time frame is much too vague … meaning there’s too much overlap or ambiguity as to the actual decades involved. If you were explaining your generation to someone, what would be your reference point? How would you describe it? Wouldn’t you say, “In my generation….” Essentially, then, your reference or starting point is the date of your birth!
Using our first example of four generations of Israel’s enslavement in Egypt, God gave Abraham the point-in-time commencement of this 400 hundred years (four generations) captivity, i.e. from the time that the Jews no longer enjoyed freedom in Egypt, which was not too long after Joseph died. Another example is the 70-year Babylonian captivity, which just happened to be the exact length of the 2nd measurement of time for a generation … 70 years. Historically, we know the beginning (586 BC) and end date (516 BC) of this time-designated punishment of Israel.
Is it, then, possible to select or identify events/dates in Israel’s contemporary history that correspond to the Biblical definition of a generation … that is one hundred years and/or seventy years? The answer is a resounding, YES. In fact, we’ve already touched on these dates in the previous three articles. In addition, I partially addressed these events some time ago in the Eye of Prophecy article, entitled, When the Rapture, published 8-10-13, as well as The End of the Age article published 11-23-13.
Some Christians are confused about or don’t entirely understand the role of the Church and Israel during the last days beginning with the Rapture. Please fathom one critical premise/truth: Although the Mount of Olives discourse indirectly applies to the Church (composed of all Jews and Gentiles who have been redeemed by Messiah Jesus), the whole purpose of Christ’s majestic return is to set up the Kingdom of Heaven (Kingdom of God) on the earth IN the Holy Land and THROUGH / FOR his chosen people, the Jews. And what triggers the need for Christ to return to Israel is none other than the ultimate and final rescue of the Jews (Israel) from conquest and destruction at the hands of Antichrist.
Concerning the Church, the sole purpose of the Rapture is to snatch away believers from the earth so that we do not have to experience the final wrath of God poured out on an ungodly generation of unbelievers. Otherwise, ALL of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Last Days or End Times focus on Israel, not the Church; in fact, the Church (consisted of all Jews/Gentiles who place their trust in Christ’s sacrificial death) doesn’t even come into existence for over 400 years after the last book of the Old Testament was written. Moreover, from the 4th Chapter through the 18th Chapter of the book of Revelation, the Church is not even mentioned, as such.
So, let’s look again at the three monumentally crucial events of the last 100 years, relating to the return of the Jews to Israel.
A. Balfour Declaration of November, 1917: England extended official support that Palestine could be a home for the Jews. This was the beginning of Jewish autonomy in Israel, although the land was still called Palestine at that time.
Recognizing this very important event/date, we can then apply the Biblical generational measurement of 100 years. Once again, however, we need to convert Roman calendar years to Jewish years. Doing the math we come up with 101.4 Jewish years which translates to 101 years and 5 months. From November, 1917, this would take us to March or April, 2019.
B. United Nations Resolution of November, 1947: UN voted to grant statehood rights to the Jews; the nation would be called Israel. (May 14, 1948, David Ben Gurion proclaimed the reborn existence of the State of Israel!).
This was the 2nd significant milestone in fulfillment of hundreds of Biblical prophecies concerning the Abrahamic Covenant, i.e. the physical restoration of Israel. Most Bible scholars and historians select the statehood date of May 14, 1948 as the historical landmark, which it certainly is; however, the actual declaration of statehood was almost anticlimactic. Reason: officially, the British Mandate (rule) over Palestine expired on that date. But it was the UN Resolution that delivered the pivotal turning point or breakthrough. Without the UN resolution of November, 1947, there would have been no recognized Israeli State in May, 1948. Yet, there is only a period of 6 months separating these two events; thus, selection of either one would be a legitimate application to the 70-year generational measurement of time.
Again, doing the conversion math, we arrive at a total of 70.97 or (rounding it off) 71 Jewish years. Adding 71 years to November, 1947, we arrive at November, 2018. If we utilize May, 1948 as the benchmark date, the 71 years would take us to May, 2019.
C. June, 1967 Six-Day War (Jubilee Years): In addition to the two Biblical measurements of a generation (100 years and 70 years), what happens if we also select the Jubilee time-frame of 50 years? As stressed in the previous seven times seven articles, the 50-year Jubilee was part of God’s formula for disciplining Israel, as the Jews also failed to keep the Jubilee. Consequently, I believe the Jubilee will also be a component part of God’s magnificent restoration of Israel.
In this instance, we will use the next epic milestone in Israel’s brief modern-history … that of the June, 1967 Six-Day War. We talked about this at great length in last week’s article, to include the fact that it occurred 50 years (not coincidentally, a Jubilee period of time) from the Balfour Declaration of 1917.
Once again we convert 50 Roman calendar years to Jewish time and we come up with: 50.7 years which is 50 years and 8.4 months (8-9 months). From June, 1967, this would take us through February or into March, 2018.
Combining All Three Events
Now comes the really exciting feature of all these conversion tables and what you might consider to be some boring mathematics. First, none of these three possibilities give us an exact day/hour of Christ’s return that begins with the first phase which is the Rapture and ends with his physical return at the end of the Tribulation. And that’s good. Why? Because Jesus, himself, said that no one can possibly know the day or hour of his return. I emphasize that almost to a fault in my article, When the Rapture. Therefore, I wouldn’t even pretend to know the exact date of Christ’ return, nor would I ever venture a guess. Forget it!
On the contrary, Jesus did advise us to recognize the seasons, the times, the signs, and the symptoms if you will, of his glorious return. If he didn’t want us to put 2 and 2 together, then why did Jesus provide so many clues and signals? Why would he have even used the metaphor of the fig tree in bloom? Even more challenging: Why would he have selected a time-measured or time-dedicated point of reference (generation), if he didn’t want us to identify the noteworthy bench mark events of the final days, aligned alongside the pre-Rapture birth pains and post-Rapture (Tribulation) incidents that he describes.
With these questions in mind, what other specific events have occurred relating to Israel during the 20th or 21st century that would surpass or supplant the 1917, 1947 (48), and 1967 highlights that we’ve selected as commencement dates for both the 100 and 70-year generations, as well as the equally important Jubilee? In answer to this question, I’ll give you a hint: There are NO other events that even come close to these historical mileposts. In fact, take a look at what constitutes the Jubilee year in Leviticus Chapter 25. Among other things, it is a time to free servants, debts, and captives, which is exactly what happened when the IDF captured Jerusalem and freed all Jews to return to and live in all of Jerusalem—at least in principle.
Here’s what we find when we combine all three projected dates of generational or Jubilee time-lapse… meaning 100 years, 70 years, and 50 years (Roman calendar). From our three (four, if we also use Israel’s statehood of May, 1948) examples, we will select the earliest possible month/year all the way to the latest month/year.
It’s conceivable that we will hear the blast of the last Rapture trumpet: BETWEEN FEBRUARY, 2018 and MAY, 2019!!
Of course, Christ may Rapture the Church any day between now and the above listed dates, or even after those dates. For the following reasons: God will determine the next Jubilee in Israel’s history. Concerning a generation (whether 70 or 100 years): unless the prophecy specifies actual periods of time such as found in Daniel 9, there is normally some flexibility built-in to God’s use of numbers in Scripture. For example, there are, relatively speaking, a handful of people on the earth who live to be 105 or 110, or whatever. Also, the average life expectancy in many developed countries is in the vicinity of 76, 77, or 78 years.
But, if the Lord decides to combine all three time-frames, then I would be very surprised if we Christians are still on this earth after the year 2020. Although that is a speculative statement, I believe that it is a sanctified speculation! Meaning that it is based on some solid evidence from Scripture, particularly the passages quoted in this article and prior articles.
Things to Ponder
Once again, listen to the words of Jesus. He says: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 22:13).
Are we the Omega generation?