A member on my private forum asked this Question:
Hey Tim I got one more question. We are 100% sure we are in the last generation right? If this is true then do you have any idea how long a generation actually is? It seems like no one has a clear cut answer. Ive heard 40, 50, 70, but no one really knows.
Answer: Actually there is no “last generation” described in Scripture. That concept came from a popular misapplication of the Parable of the Fig Tree (Mt 24:32-35).Â This view posits that the thing to watch is the fig tree (Israel) putting forth leaves (take Jerusalem) and that “this generation shall not pass until all is fulfilled” refers to the people alive when the fig tree does this still being alive when Jesus returns.
If this were true, then again we’d have a calculation for the absolute single time of Jesus’ return far in advance which contradicts what he expressly said about the impossibility of no man knowing the time (“day or hour”) of his return (Mt 24:36). This is the reason all such calculations have failed throughout history: Jesus said they never will work since even he the Son of God (and the entire Word of God) does not know. The Bible is just a subset of the Word of God and so we can never use it to figure out Jesus’ return (further in advance than 1290 days from the Abomination of Desolation probably).
In truth, the Parable of the Fig Tree does not refer to Israel at all. It tells us to watch for “all these things” that the Olivet Discourse listed as the precursors to his return. Just as seeing leaves on any tree (not just a fig treeâ€”Lk 21:29) tells you summer is nigh, so do all these events happening tell you Jesus’ return is near.
Read Mt 24 to see what all those things listed are. Ironically, none of them match Jerusalem getting return to Israel and instead one of them is Jerusalem taken from Israel by the Antichrist (Lk 21:20)!
Now that you know it won’t help you figure out the Second Coming’s timing, do you still want to know the length of a biblical generation? It’s established at 40 years from more than one precedent (Heb 3:9-10; Ps 95:10). Sign up for my free newsletter for a series on the Seven Prophecy Pitfalls that discusses this in more detail.