The twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew is undoubtedly an extremely important passage in the arsenal of pre-millennial prophecy teachers. It is said to be an outline of signs and events that occur preceding and during the 7 year tribulation period. This tribulation period is derived from Daniel’s prophecy of the seventy weeks found in Daniel 9:24-27. The 69th week ends at the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus in AD 30-33 with the 70th week being in the future although that future may not be far off.
The 34th verse of Matthew chapter 24 is the decisive, pivotal verse for these same pre-millennial prophecy teachers. Why? Because the modern state of Israel was founded and recognized in 1948 and according to these teachers the countdown of “this generation” began. Of course there are issues and debates about the time frame of a generation – is it 40 years (already past tense), 70 years, or some other calculation – but most agree that a number of Jews, alive in 1948, will still be living at the initiation of the 7 year tribulation period.
The same bias that prompted the translators of the Authorized Version to distort the meaning of the Greek “ethnos” and render it as “gentiles” (see previous post: “The Origin of the English Word “Gentiles” is also evident with the Greek words genes, genos and gennema, whose primary meaning in each case is “race”.
The Word Study dictionary presents “generation” as a definition but then widens the meaning by adding: “a multitude of contemporaries” which indicates that an ethnic group of people is the subject and not an interval of time.
Defining “genos” as a time delineated generation in Matthew 24:34 presents a problem that detractors of the pre-millennial viewpoint are quick to point out – which is - the generation Jesus was speaking to has already passed away. To defend their position, pre-millennialists maintain that although Jesus was speaking to His disciples, He was referring to a future generation – that is, the generation living in 1948. If the Lord tarries then other dates may be considered such as the Six-Day war of 1967, the Yom Kippur War of 1973, or some other date.
However, if the Lord Jesus was referring to the whole house of Israel (Jacob) as a race – i.e. the kingdoms of Judah and Israel (Ephraim) then the problem goes away, although other problems now crop up for the pre-millennialist.
For the record, I am mostly in the pre-millennial camp. Preterists believe that Daniel’s seventy weeks prophecy and Matthew chapter 24 have already been fulfilled in the events leading up to and ending with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. There seem to be a few valid points in the Preterist view and there are valid points in the pre-millennial view. My goal is to understand prophetic scripture in the simplest, most straightforward, and most unified manner possible without bending or distorting the literal rendering within the context it was intended. Several popular prophecy writers claim to have the same goal but then travel the opposite direction when it comes to defending their biases and pre-conceived doctrines. In my opinion, the pre-tribulation rapturists are the worst offenders, although I don’t completely discount their viewpoint either.
The modern nation of Israel specifically and worldwide Jewry generally, do not constitute the sum total of the twelve tribes of Israel (Jacob). The majority are Khazar-Jews and Edomite-Jews. (refer to Your Father Is The Devil and Zionists, Jews, and the New World Order for information and history of “Those who call themselves Jews but are not”). There may be a few descendants of Judah and the other tribes scattered among world Jewry but they are unaware of their true identity – they just consider themselves Jews. The vast majority of true descendants of Israel (Jacob) and specifically the northern nation of Israel (Ephraim) are completely clueless and call themselves gentiles and the above mentioned Jews as the Chosen People of God.
Because world Jewry is not the twelve tribes of Israel (Jacob) then several prophecies touted by pre-millennialists were not fulfilled in 1948 as they so confidently teach. Two of these prophecies are found in Ezekiel chapter 37 – both involve the rejoining or reuniting of the divided kingdoms of Judah and Israel. The first is the prophecy of the dry bones found in verses 11-14 which is directed to the “whole house of Israel (Jacob). In verse 14 the Lord God states that he will but His spirit in them, which in 1948 would mean they would be Christians, which they are definitely not.
The second prophecy, found in verses 16-22, involves joining the house of Judah with the house of Israel (Joseph/Ephraim). As indicated in previous posts (The Origin of the English Word “Gentiles and Your Father Is The Devil) this has not happened by any stretch of the imagination.
Eze 37:11-14 KJV Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. (12) Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. (13) And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, (14) And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.
Ezekiel 37:16-22 KJV Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: (17) And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. (18) And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? (19) Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. (20) And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. (21) And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: (22) And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: