34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. (Matthew 24:34)
How can this statement be true when it is evident that the generation of men which lived at the time the Lord was on the earth is long gone, and numerous other generations of men have occurred since then?
The “generation” that the Lord speaks about is not the issue of a ‘generation of time.’ In other words it is not a span of time that the Lord is talking about. It is not the issue of a span of time of about 30 to 40 years, which is what is usually given for a ‘generation of time.’ Often people think of it this way because it is the first meaning of “generation” that seems to come to their mind. But it is not the only meaning belonging to the term, and it is not the meaning in what the Lord is saying.
Instead the Lord is using “generation” in a more fundamental sense, and in the way that it has primarily been used by God since the commencement of the climactic stage in Israel’s program when the “gospel of the kingdom” began to be preached to Israel. The Lord is using “generation” in the sense of ‘something that has been produced, formed, or generated’; (like when we speak of a stereo system and its ‘generation of sound,’ or a car engine and its ‘generation of power.’) Wherefore the “generation” the Lord is particularly speaking about is the ‘generation of apostasy’ that has been produced, or generated, in Israel since the beginning of Israel’s rebelliousness and contrariness to God, but especially from the time of the beginning of the Fifth Course of Punishment.
When the climactic stage in Israel’s program began with the ministry of John the Baptist and the preaching of the “gospel of the kingdom” God pointedly began to indict Israel for the climactic level of apostasy that had developed or generated in them through their vain religious leadership and its system. He called them a “generation of vipers” and the like, declaring not only what they had generated from, but what they had generated into in His sight. In connection with this He also declared the issue of dedicating this ‘generation of apostasy’ to destruction in the day of His wrath, which would come to pass in the fifth and final installment to the Fifth Course of Punishment.
This ‘generation of apostasy’ was closing in on its ultimate state of apostasy during the Lord’s presence and ministry in Israel. Its next to last act of climactic apostasy, so to speak, occurred when they rejected the Lord Jesus Christ and killed Him. Its last act of apostasy, (and the one that will make it the generation of God’s wrath and that will bring the Lord’s day of wrath upon it), will take place during the opening section to the fifth and final installment to the Fifth Course of Punishment. During that time Israel’s apostasy will accept the Adversary’s christ for the real Christ. When that takes place God will declare Israel’s ‘generation of apostasy’ to be “the generation of my wrath,” as foretold in the prophets. God will then have His day of wrath against it in the remainder of the fifth installment to the Fifth Course of Punishment, destroying it for good.
The destruction of, and passing out of existence of, Israel’s ‘generation of apostasy’ is what the Lord is talking about in Matthew 24. There He outlines for His apostles the major events and occurrences in the fifth and final installment to the Fifth Course of Punishment. And as He says, it will take the fulfillment of all of the things He sets forth in that outline in order for “this generation” of Israel’s apostasy to pass, or to pass out of existence and be no more.
Now when God suspended His program with Israel and brought in this present dispensation of Gentile grace in accordance with “the mystery of Christ,” Israel’s ‘generation of apostasy’ was also mercifully prevented from culminating its apostasy. And it continues to be prevented from doing so for as long as this dispensation remains in effect. Nevertheless Israel’s ‘generation of apostasy’ continues to exist and the people of Israel continue to operate in accordance with it, and will do so throughout this present dispensation.
Howbeit when this present dispensation is concluded and God resumes His program with Israel, and the Adversary is then allowed to present them with his christ, the ‘generation of apostasy’ will then culminate its apostasy by accepting the antichrist. This will constitute it to be the generation of God’s wrath, which is doomed to pass away by the fulfilling of all the things the Lord sets forth in outline form in Matthew 24.
– K.R. Blades