By Pastor F. M. Riley
January 12, 2013
“God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth…….
…hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed and the bounds of their habitation: That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from everyone of us.”
I have reached no perfection yet, and it is with a grateful heart that I bow in the presence of Him who is absolutely perfect and inerrant, thanking the Lord God for lovingly revealing to me the errors that I am sometimes taken by. Praise the Holy Name of Father God, and of my precious Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Dear readers, the Lord God has brought to my attention an error in “interpretation” and calculation which I and many other students of Bible prophecy have made in respect to The Parable of the Fig Tree set forth in Matthew 24:32-35, Mark 13:28-31, and Luke 21:29-33. This study is written to acknowledge that error on my part, and to correct it in a manner which will magnify the truth of God’s Word and glorify His Holy Name. “…..yea, Let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightiest be justified in thy sayings, and mightiest overcome when thou art judged,” Romans 3:4. As I feel this is important, I hope every reader will pay careful attention to the truth that is set forth in this study, and share this truth with others as the Lord leads. Join us now for an enlightening study of the Word……
Matthew’s Genealogy of Christ
The very first thing presented in the Book of Matthew is the claim that Jesus Christ is “the son of David” and “the son of Abraham,” Matthew 1:1. This statement is simply a way of saying that the Lord Jesus Christ was the “seed” that was promised to Abraham in the Abrahamic Covenant as recorded in Genesis 15:5, and to David in 2 Samuel 7:12-14. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself was the promised “seed” sent into the world to fulfill both of those covenants. Glory to God!
Then immediately the proof that Christ in His humanity, was in the lineage of both Abraham and David is set forth in the genealogy of the Lord Jesus Christ recorded in Matthew 1:2-16. I urge our readers to carefully study these Scriptures.
Beginning in verse 2 count the names of the men given in the geneaology, but be careful to count them only once. In other words even though some of the names are mentioned twice due to how the Scripture is worded, only count them once. What you will be counting is each father who “begat” a son up to the arrival of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you count correctly you will count exactly 42 names in the entire lineage with Christ Himself being that 42nd name. The Lord God made this easy for His people by dividing this entire portion of Scripture into three divisions.
The first division is set forth in verses 2 –6, and in the first division there are 14 names of men who fathered children in the lineage, with David being the 14th name.
The second division is set forth in verses 7 – 11, and in the second division there are 14 names of men who fathered children, with Jechoniah being the 14th man in the second division for a total of 28 men in the lineage up to that point.
The third division is set forth in verses 12 – 16, and in the third division there are 14 names, but not all of whom fathered children, with “Christ” being the 14th name in the third division for a total of 42 men named in the whole geneaology.
Now notice the very next Scripture which explicitly states, “So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations,” Matthew 1:17.
Now isn’t this fascinating? It would absolutely require the hand of God guiding the affairs of men to make this work out in this manner. 42 men and 42 generations in the lineage of Christ. It is obvious to me that the Lord God is emphasizing the number 42 in this account. Why? Because all through the inspired Word of God, Old Testament and New Testament the number “42” is always associated with the coming of Christ. Those readers who want to verify this truth in more depth may want to order Ed Vallowe’s book entitled “Biblical Mathematics.” Check with your local Christian book store, or look up the publisher, The Olive Press, on the Internet.
I would not do this truth justice without pointing out that “14” is the Bible number which signifies “salvation or deliverance,”and the number “42” occurs exactly 14 times in the inspired Word.. Wow! Is God’s Word precise or not? Be careful how you answer. God is listening!
The Parable of the Fig Tree
But what does this have to do with the Fig Tree? I’m so glad you asked…..
I ask our readers to study this parable carefully. In this present study I am not going to expound on the parable in detail. For a detailed verse by verse exposition of this parable readers are encouraged to request my study entitled “Why? Here’s why…..” This study is actually an in-depth exposition of this parable.
Every serious student of Bible prophecy knows that the “fig tree” is a symbol of the nation and people of Israel. See Jeremiah 24:5-7; Hosea 9:10. Christ gave to His Jewish disciples the “Parable of the Fig Tree”in the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24:32-35, 40 years before their Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D., and the Jewish people were driven from their land and scattered among the nations of the world. I personally believe the Lord gave this parable to give future generations of Jews the encouragement they needed, that even while suffering in foreign lands, they would have the hope that one day their people would be going “home.” How gracious and kind is our God! And go “home” they did! On the 14th day of May, 1948, the provisional government of Israel declared their independence and the nation of Israel was re-established in the world again for the first time since 70 A.D. The Fig Tree had sprouted and put forth buds again. Read Job 14:7-9. Glory to God!
Significantly, in 1949, after winning their war of independence, the newly formed government of Israel issued their first money and postage stamps. The very first postage stamp issued by Israel had on it a picture of a fig tree putting forth buds. Coincidence? Or….. the mighty hand of God directing the affairs of men and nations? Every honest reader knows the answer! Praise the Lord!
Notice that in this parable the Lord God explicitly stated that the “generation” which sees “all these things” coming to pass will not “pass, till all these things be fulfilled,” 24:34. Christ is here speaking of all of the prophecies He had given in the first 31 verses of the chapter, which includes the re-establishment of Israel as a nation. Therefore the real questions which need to be considered are, “What is the length of a generation? And, “When did the generation begin?”
The Length of a Generation
Dear readers, “guesses” won’t do! We are dealing with the inspired Word of God and need to respect it as God’s Word. I have personally looked up and carefully studied every single place in God’s Word where the word “generation” occurs in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Therefore I am confident in stating that the Bible itself defines the length of a “generation” as being 33 years minimum and 42 years maximum. Most of the time a “generation” is defined as 40 years in length. Now before any reader gets “bent out of shape,” I am well aware that there are many different
“time periods” set forth in God’s Word which are important. But there is a big difference between a “generation” and a “time period.” They are not one and the same regardless of how many prophecy
teachers would like to make them the same. So when we go to searching for the length of the “generation” Christ spoke about in the Parable of the Fig Tree in Matthew 24:34, it is a period of time between 33 years minimum and 42 years maximum.
When did the “generation” begin?
But this presents a real problem! Christ explicitly stated that “all these things” would be fulfilled before the “generation” had passed away. It is then obvious that we cannot use the re-establishment of Israel in 1948 as the starting point for “this generation,” for it has now been 64 + years since Israel was re-established as a nation.
Notice carefully that what Christ actually said in 24:32 was, “When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh.” This refers to the expansion of Israel. Remember that when Israel was re-established as a nation, they occupied only a very small portion of land along the Mediterranean coast. There was no expansion of Israel for the next 19 years. Then in 1967 Israel was forced to fight what is now referred to as the “Six Day War.” In just six days little Israel with a population of about 450,000 people [men, women, and children] beat down and destroyed the combined armies of several Muslim and Arab nations who have a combined population of nearly 100 million people. In that six day war Israel gained control of the city of Jerusalem, the whole Sinai peninsula, the entire west bank of the Jordan, the Golan Heights, and most precious of all to the Jewish people, the holy Temple Mount. It ought to be obvious to any real Bible believer that the Lord God was fighting for and with Israel. What a vast expansion of territory in just six days.
Yet the governing PTB in Israel at that time were so foolish that they gave most of the conquered territory back to their enemies without even obtaining a “treaty of peace” with them. Yes, a “cease fire” was declared, but to this day most of those Muslim nations have never made a peace agreement with Israel, and technically speaking, are still in a “state of war” with Israel. Israel did retain Jerusalem and the west bank, or as they promptly began referring to it once again, Judea and Samaria. However, in spite of the great victory the God of Israel had given them, their leaders were so “faithless” that they gave the Temple Mount back to their Muslim enemies. A total lack of “faith” in the God of Israel on the part of those Jewish leaders and an act of unadulterated stupidity!
Nevetheless most prophecy teachers, myself included, have since that time, regarded Israel’s recovery of Jerusalem and the west bank in 1967 as the “time marker” for the beginning of “this generation.” In other words, we started the count for “this generation” at the time when the fig tree “putteth forth leaves” during the Six Day War. As the years passed and we came closer and closer to the end of “this generation” the expectancy of the Lord’s return has grown to an almost fever pitch among genuine, serious Bible believers. This is as it should be, for the inspired Word tells us who are true believers that we are to live daily “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ,” Titus 2:11-15.
A Problem and an overlooked Event
The past four years as I have thought about these events of the end-time, I have had this “nagging suspicion” that something just wasn’t right. From my own in-depth studies of the word “generation” in the Scriptures, I KNOW that a “generation” is defined by the inspired Word as being between 33 and 42 years. Yet as of this year  it has now been 46 years since the Six Day War and the Lord still has not come for His people in the pre-tribulation resurrection and rapture.
A few days ago I was asked to provide a beloved sister in Christ with a copy of my study on “The Parable of the Fig Tree.” I pulled the study up on my computer and begin reading it again for myself before printing it off to give to my beloved sister. As I read it once more my mind was racing over the history of modern Israel, for I am one of those living today who are fortunate enough to have been
alive throughout the modern history of Israel and saw their re-establishment as a nation, and the wars they have had to fight to be a free people in their own land. My mind reviewed each of the events in the modern history of Israel as they have occurred. Then suddenly the glaring truth of what has been missed by nearly all of God’s people who seriously study Bible prophecy was staring me in the face. It is needless to say that I was shocked and overwhelmed. It is so simple and yet just subtle enough to have easily overlooked it, especially if one depends on what is traditionally accepted rather than searching out the truth for themselves.
Dear readers, the Six Day War is not the correct place to start the count for “this generation!”
A Brief Review and an overlooked Event
The major events in the modern history of Israel…..
 Israel’s war of independence was fought and won in 1948-1949. Then Eight years later…..
 The Suez Canal War was fought and won in 1956. Then Eleven years later Israel was forced to fight…..
 The Six Day War in 1967. Then Six years later Israel was forced again to fight…..
 The Yom Kippur War in 1973. Then Five years later…..
 “Peace” was finally extended to Israel in 1978 in a most amazing manner.
It is this last major event in Israel’s modern history that has been commonly overlooked or ignored by myself and many others in studying God’s time line for the beginning of “this generation.” What was so important about this event? Let’s review…..
Egypt was the most bitter enemy of Israel from the day the provisional Israeli government declared Israel’s independence. In each of the four wars Israel fought, Egypt was their leading opponent. Yet on a lovely day in 1978 the radars in Israel lit up when a foreign plane showed up intruding into Israel’s air space. Almost at the same time the pilot of that plane requested permission to land at Tel Aviv’s International Airport. The pilot was requested to identify himself and their plane. His reply was that the plane was the Presidential plane of Egypt, bringing President Mubarak to Israel to meet with the government of Israel. Permission to land was immediately granted and the Presidential plane of Egypt flew into the airport at Tel Aviv. By the time the plane landed the airport was swarming with military personnel and Israeli government officials. President Mubarak was loaded into a limousine and taken directly to the Knesset, where he made a speech declaring Egypt’s intention to make peace with Israel and thereby “normalize” conditions in the Middle East. O glory to God! Any reader who can’t see God’s hand in what happened that day in Israel just isn’t looking. Israel’s most bitter enemy flying peacefully into Israel to make peace between the two nations. Praise the Lord!
The Last Generation
As I meditated on these events, I remembered that in studying the “generations” of the Bible the “last generation” in this present age is referred to three times in the Scriptures by those exact words in the Hebrew text. The three places this exact expression occurs are Psalm 48:13, 78:4, and 109:13, each of which are translated as “the generation following.” If our readers will look up the word “following” in 78:4 in your Concordance or Lexicon, this word is translated from the Hebrew word, “ahron,” which literally means, “last; end; at the back; latter; hinder; hindermost.” See Gesenius Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon, page 33, Strong’s No. 314. In other words, a literal translation of Psalm 48:13 in the Hebrew text actually reads, “Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye
may tell it to the last generation.” Notice the specific wording of this Scripture. This Scripture does not say that Psalm 48, correlating with 1948, begins the last generation. Only that these things were to be told to “the last generation.”
But now notice the difference in wording in Psalm 78:4, “We will not hide them from their children, showing to the last generation the praises of the Lord, and His strength, and His wonderful works that He hath done.” The wording of this Scripture indicates that “the last generation” has begun, and the people living in this “last generation” are to be shown “the praises of the Lord, and His strength, and His wonderful works.” Dear readers we are presently living in this “last generation” of this present dispensation. Oh glory to God! Praise the Lord!
And when did it begin? It began in 1978 exactly as indicated by this 78th Psalm. What was the major event of that year? Egypt, the most bitter enemy of Israel, making a “peace treaty” with Israel, thereby making it possible for Israel to take its rightful place among the nations of the Middle East, with Egypt acknowledging Israel’s right to exist as a nation and to live in peace with its Muslim neighbor. This is when “this generation;” “the last generation” in this present dispensation began; in 1978.
No, this is not a truth just because I say so! 1 Thessalonians 5:21 is still in the Bible and I have sought to put this command into practice all the years I have been in the Lord’s ministry. This will be no exception.
It has become glaringly obvious to me that the beginning of “this generation” mentioned by our Lord in the Parable of the Fig Tree could not have begun at the time of the Six Day War, for we are already four years beyond the time defined in the Scriptures as the length of a “generation.” Therefore we need to look elsewhere for the specific time to start our count. So I am asking our readers to humor me a bit as I point out the following truths…..
If we start our count in 1978 this year  would be the 35th year of “this generation.” 1978 + 35 years = 2013. I have already pointed out that a Biblical generation is defined by the Scriptures as being a minimum of 33 years and a maximum of 42 years. Anyone wanting to challenge that conclusion may feel free to look up every Scripture in the Bible where the word “generation” occurs and study the subject for themselves. I am not going to take the time to argue with anyone over what I KNOW to be Scripturally true. Now if we take 1978 as the starting point for “this generation,” here is how the whole prophetic scenario will work out…..
 2013 is the 35th year of “this generation” and the last year of this present dispensation for all true New Covenant believers.
 2014 will be the 36th year of “this generation” and the time for the Anti-christ to put in his appearance on the world scene in a big way. Significantly, “36” is the Bible number for “enemy.” It is then more than coincidence that each consecutive number from 1 through 36 adds up to 666. Add them up and see for yourself.
 The Tribulation period is seven years in length, regardless of how many today are attempting to deny this truth. Now add 7 years to 2013 and see what you get. 2013 + 7 = 2020. Since 2013 is the 35th year of “this generation,” then 2020 will be the 42nd year, and the year in which the Lord God returns to this earth to set up and establish God’s Kingdom on earth. Now study carefully Psalm 120 which correlates with 2020 and see what the Psalm actually speaks about. So..
2014 is the 36th year.
2015 is the 37th year.
2016 is the 38th year.
2017 is the 39th year.
2018 is the 40th year.
2019 is the 41st year.
2020 is the 42nd year, and the year of the Lord’s return.
Dear readers, since we KNOW that the resurrection and rapture of all New Covenant believers will occur preceding the beginning of the seven year Tribulation period, exactly as the Lord God Himself promised in Revelation 3:10, then it is obvious that at some point during this present year of 2013 the rapture of all New Covenant believers will occur. Othewise these numbers would not work out correctly according to their Biblical significance. Glory to God! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! God’s people are going “HOME” to glory this year! Look up and be encouraged in the faith!
I remind our readers that Christ was the 42nd person listed in the geneaology in Matthew 1, that “42” is the Bible number repeatedly connected with “the coming of Christ” throughout the Scriptures, and now it has been demonstrated that He will return to Israel and humanity still living on the earth at the end of the Tribulation in the 42nd and final year of “this generation” as set forth in The Parable of the Fig Tree in Matthew 24:32-35.
But WHEN this year?
I have repeatedly stated in my studies over these past two years that I do not know the “date” when our Lord is coming for His people, and I am not even trying to find a “date.” To know that He has promised to come again for us, and that His promise is now within our “spiritual sight” is entirely enough for me. I will wait until He calls, and I will answer Him. Read Job 14:14-15. When the Lord comes for us, He is going to call every one of His children by name, and those who are truly saved will joyfully answer His call and ascend up to Him, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. This is “the blessed hope” of all true believers, and it is ready to come to pass just any day now. Glory to God! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Thank you dear Lord Jesus!
Those readers who want to encourage themselves in the Word should perhaps read The Song of Solomon 2:8-13 and Joel 2:23. The first passage implies a coming of the Lord occurring in the Spring of the year. The beginning of Spring is only two months away. The second passage clearly states that the “former and latter rain” will be given to Israel in the first month of their calendar year. This means the month of Abib in the Spring of the year on the calendar that the Lord God Himself gave to Israel in Exodus 12. In view of what has been presented in this study, it certainly points to the Lord God coming for His New Covenant believers on some “date” this year, and highly likely in the Spring of this year. Praise the Lord! Thank you dear Lord Jesus! Glory to God! Hallelujah!
Dear reader, are you ready for the coming of the Lord? Really ready? If not, you had better be seeking Him as your Savior right now! Tomorrow may be too late! Read Luke 21:36.
If any reader has doubts about their salvation, then you need to be making your calling and election sure right now. Read 2 Corinthians 13:5 and 2 Peter 1:10 and act upon those Scriptures immediately.
It is entirely possible some will read this and simply “neglect” the matter of their eternal soul’s salvation, thinking that it sounds reasonable but they will take care of it later. Read Hebrews 2:3-4. Folks, with the very best of intentions, you can still “procrastinate” your way right into Hell. Get the matter of your eternal soul’s salvation settled today, John 3:16; 3:36; 5:24; 14:6; Acts 4:12; 16:30-31; Romans 10:8-13; Ephesians 2:8-10.
I would like to meet every reader of this study in glory when our Lord comes for us. Please don’t disappoint me.
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Permission is granted to any true believer or Bible believing Christian ministry to reproduce this study to share with others, or to quote from it in context as written.
This ministry is financed by the free will offerings of those who feel led of the Lord to help us send forth God’s Wornderful Word.
Please address all comments, questions, and correspondence to: Pastor F. M. Riley, Last Call Gospel Ministry, 184 County Raod 108, Harrisburg, Missouri 65256, or I can be contacted by email at:
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