Meditation for the week of July 15, 2012
Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
The message of the Bible is that all people need to be saved. But what are they saved from? Obviously, we need to be saved from the penalty that we deserve because of our sin. That penalty is called the second death, and it is eternal separation from God in a place of eternal conscious punishment. Because many people do not want to accept the fact that God would eternally punish those who reject His Son, they have subscribed to a universal type of salvation. They believe that ultimately the death of Christ will take everyone to heaven. Many believe that because God is merciful, everyone will one day be saved. However, that simply is not true. Only those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ during their time on earth will be saved. Bible says that this is only a “few.” (See Matthew 7:13-14 and Luke 13:23-25).
In addition, judgment is coming in a practical way on the earth. The Lord was rejected nearly 2000 years ago when He was nailed to a cross. God is offering salvation through the Lord at this present time, but He has not forgotten what people on this earth did to His Son. That is why in Matthew 24 we read about events that will take place at the end of this age before the Lord comes to establish His earthly Kingdom. Those events are called the tribulation period. There have been evil difficult days in the history of mankind but nothing will compare to the wars, disease, earthquakes and other disasters that will take place in this literal period of seven years. These judgments will come because of the wrath of God on unbelievers. Yet even though this will be a terrible period, a few, a very few, will not “pass away.” God will save a very few to be part of his earthly kingdom when He comes to reveal Himself as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
The statement that “this generation that will not pass away till all these things take place” has been understood in several ways. The early Christians thought “this generation” referred to them. But they were wrong. The Lord says that His Word will never pass away; therefore, since the promise can be depended upon, “this generation” cannot mean those who saw the resurrection of the Lord as they have all died. Others think that “this generation” refers to the Jewish race. They think that the Jews will not ever be completely destroyed. While this is true, in my opinion this is not what this verse is saying. Others think that the fig tree that blossoms in the passage refers to Israel becoming a nation. So within one generation of the establishment of Israel as an independent nation, the events in Matthew 24 should have taken place. The Lord should have come and the Kingdom should have been set up during the existence of “this generation.” But how long is a generation? Some say 20 years, some 40 and some 100. If this is the interpretation of the passage, a generation would have to be 100 years since it has been more than 40 years since Israel became a nation.
My view is that “this generation” refers to the Jewish people who see the tribulation period begin. Some of them will be miraculously saved to preach the Gospel. Many of them will be martyred. All Jews will be persecuted in at least the last half of the tribulation period. But they will not all die. God will save a few, a very few, to go with Him into the Kingdom that He will establish.
Instead of universal salvation, this passage again convinces me that those who are saved are always the few, the very few. Biblical Christianity is not popular today. To be a Biblical Christian, one must “repent and believe.” That belief or trust must be in the One whose name can hardly be mentioned in public in our “Christian” land. That belief must be in the Lord Jesus. Instead of teaching universal salvation, the Bible teaches the salvation of a “remnant” or of a very few—whether that salvation is from the tribulation period of from the eternal consequences of our unforgiven sins.
Thank God some from “this generation” will not die when judgment comes on this earth. But I am more thankful for everyone who is part of the very few who are trusting Christ Jesus for eternal salvation at present. I am one of those, are you?