Q. I recently heard a pastor respond to a question about the generation mentioned in Matthew 24. He stated the generation Jesus was referring to was the one that would see the tribulation, and it would not pass away until the 2nd coming. My understanding is the generation are the ones who have seen Israel become a nation. Could you please help me with this?
A. Since the Bible is so clear in explaining the duration of the Great Tribulation as being only 3 1/2 years long (Daniel 12:5-7, Rev. 11:1-2, Rev. 12:6) I don’t think it would have made sense for the Lord to say the generation that sees its beginning would live to see its end. I believe He was saying the generation being born when the End Times signs begin would not pass away until they are all fulfilled, and here’s why.
Earlier Jesus had implied there would be a covenant keeping people in the promised land as the signs begin. In Matt. 24:15 He spoke of a Temple there, in Matt. 24:16 He made reference to the people in Judea, and in Matt. 24:20 He told them to pray their flight would not take place on a Sabbath. Covenant keeping Jews are forbidden to travel on the Sabbath.
All these things require a national presence by the Jews in their homeland which wasn’t true until 1948. They’ll reinstate their national covenant relationship and rebuild the Temple at the beginning of Daniel’s 70th Week. But even that is only seven years long (Daniel 9:27), still much too short a peri0d to justify comparing it to a lifetime. Many scholars agree that the end times began with the re-birth of Israel and that’s the generation to which Jesus referred.