The absolute truth of this statement, aside from the fact that it was uttered by our Lord God incarnate, is reinforced in the prophetic truth of what our Lord had said just moments before to the Scribes and the Pharisees. In Matthew 23:1-35 Jesus lays out in detail how all of the offenses committed over many years and the innocent blood spilled from the murder of Abel to their murder of Zacharias will come upon them in the following explicit way: “Truly I say to you, all these things shall come upon this generation.”
The generation of which Jesus spoke was living in the period from 66 to 136 AD when the Jews' three wars against the Roman Empire occurred, and with each war came more disaster, Diaspora and death upon the Jews, exactly as Jesus had foretold. The first Jewish-Roman war was also known as the Great Revolt which began in 66 AD, saw the siege of Jerusalem and the destruction of the city and the sanctuary at the hands of three Roman legions as prophesied by Daniel and culminated in the fall of Masada in 73 AD. The second Roman Jewish war was also known as the Kitos war and occurred throughout the Roman Empire between 115-117 AD. The third and final war is known as the Bar Kokhba Revolt from circa 132 to 136 AD. The sum total of years between 66 and 136 AD, consistent with Jesus declaration of “this generation,” was precisely 70 years in duration.
Psalm 90:10a defines for us the maximum duration of a generation:
“The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years…”
A generation is 70 years nominally, or 80 if there is strength.
Jesus also spoke in the Olivet Discourse about how one of the key signs would be the reemergence of the state of Israel, and for which He used the metaphor of a blossoming fig tree. In a recent poll by Lamb and Lion Ministries’ Christ in Prophecy Journal, the re-emergence of the State of Israel is the overwhelming factor (nearly 70% of respondents) identified as the “most important modern prophetic development.” Indeed, this is without question the truth of the matter.
In the Lord’s prophecy about the reemergence of Israel we have a sign and a starting date with which our Lord defined to the disciples the generation which would witness each and all of the signs He foretold would be fulfilled. The question I have prayerfully pondered and raised up to the Lord is whether our generation is one of 70 years, or if we have strength to last the maximum of 80 years. By sheer reckoning of the actual calendar and the prophetic timeline yet to be fulfilled, we may well be an 80-year generation. This number of years respective to our calendar is arrived at by adding eighty years to 1948 and summing to the year 2028. We now live in the nineteenth year prior to the expiration of this 80-year generation as will now be examined.
Now that Israel has begun the year 5770 and we conclude the year 2009 AD, a look back at the time since the rebirth of Israel is probably in order. There is no doubt that we are in the season of His return, the leaves of the fig tree are in full bloom.
The first twenty years of Israel’s rebirth began in late 1947 with the initial battles of Israel’s War of Independence. In May 1948, Israel was officially reborn into the modern community of the nations of the earth. The conclusion of those twenty years in 1967 saw Israel re-capture by military conquest the whole of Jerusalem. Israel controlled its holiest ground against all odds and the combined military might of many Arab countries for the first time in 1,897 years. So of the maximum possible eighty years, just sixty remained of this generation circa 1968 AD.
The next forty years were marked by a series of wars and rumors of wars, exactly as this year marks itself with the similar rumors of imminent if not existential war involving the State of Israel and its inner and outer ring of enemies. This forty-year period saw the nearly-nuclear Yom Kippur War of 1973, the Lebanon War of 1980, the Osirak Iraq preemptive nuclear strike of 1981, the continual state of Arab-Islamic terrorism, the Intifada of 2000, the Hezbollah War of 2006, and the incessant rocket and mortar attacks from HAMAS in 2008. Of the final sixty years of the eighty years just twenty remained as we entered 2009 AD.
The final 20 years began with the Israel-HAMAS War also known as Operation Cast Lead. This war resolved nothing except to all but guarantee another larger war in the south of Israel. This year also began with an American administration coming into power which clearly does not have the interests or blessing of Israel existent within its agenda. This year began with the election of Israeli conservative Bibi Netanyahu as the Prime Minister, and the spectre of the necessity of a pre-emptive strike against the nuclear weapons ambitions of the theocratic dictatorship of the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as the potential for another war against Hezbollah and Syria. The next wars will be wars that almost certainly include the previously unthinkable use of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction.