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Accepting the Challenge:

 “This Side of the Whirlwind, the Coming Apocalypse”

We have a policy here at “This Side of the Whirlwind” in which we accept all challenges to the tenets of our book.

In the prophecy which prompted the writing of the book, “This Side of the Whirlwind, The Coming Apocalypse,” Habakkuk 2:2-3 verse three line two states:

“It speaks of the End and shall not prove false.”

After several years of writing the book and frequently responding to queries about elements within the book with,

 

“Well, if what the Lord is showing me is true…”

The Lord called me onto the red carpet and declared, “It speaks of the End and shall not prove false.” Then the Lord demanded in gentler tones, “Are you going to believe Me or are you not?”

That was the last time I used that phrase and the day I began challenging the world with, “Accept the Challenge! Prove the tenets of this book false.”

So far, years later, no one has proven even one element of the book in error.  Thank You, Lord.

Here is a good attempt.

We had fun with this one. Thanks!

 

Dear XXXX,

This Side of the Whirlwind declares the Parable of the Fig Tree as a significant prophecy relating to the Latter Days and End Times, providing critical timing and information for these last days. Check out the interpretation for this prophecy on pages 98-103 of,

“This Side of the Whirlwind, the Coming Apocalypse.”

Argument:

Prophecy Pitfall #6 – Parable of the Fig Tree Generation Calculations You cannot study prophecy without hearing some version of the idea that Israel being reestablished in 1948 or reclaiming land in 1967 began a “one generation” countdown to Jesus’ return.

Responses:

Hosea 3:4-5

ARG) For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days.

  • “We know” Israel’s restoration and reemergence as a nation takes place during the Latter Days. You can also reference Jeremiah 23:1-32;
  • We can also see from Jeremiah 30:1-24 the fulfillment of Jacob’s Trouble confirmed in Israel’s return to the lands of their forefathers.
  • That which is established in the book is the Latter Days and not a timeframe for a generation. We are living in the Latter Days based on fulfillment of six prophecies. Deuteronomy 4:25-31; Jeremiah 16:14-16; 23:1-32; Hosea 3:3-4; Ezekiel 38:16 to name a few affirming scriptures.
  • The span of a generation is not an element debated in my book for it is irrelevant to the prophecy.

ARG) I fell for it back in 2000 when it worked with the generation of 40 years established in the Bible: 1967 + 40 = 2007. But despite being way past its original expiration date, this theory stays alive thanks to imaginative redefinitions of a generation. For example, one popular Internet teacher who once taught a 40-year generation now teaches a generation of 48.33 years and Jesus’ return Fall, 2015 (June, 1967 + 48.33). If that does not sound very subjective or contrived to you, then try coming up with the same number from the verse she bases it on: Mt 1:17.

ARG) Others wonder if 70 years (Ps 90:10) and 120 years (Gen 6:3) are the correct magic numbers for a generation. They hold out hope that this parable holds the key to the timing of Jesus’ coming. But there is no need to withhold judgment until 2018 or 2068 to see if these are right. There are several serious problems with this theory now; enough to debunk it. In fact, if I had noticed these problems from the start, I never would have fallen for the theory

Psalms 90:10

The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

Establishing a date or timeframe isn’t the issue; rather, the parable of the fig tree “prophecy” declares,

“Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.” (Matthew 24:34 NKJV)

  • What generation?
  • Answer: The generation of the restoration. For a better explanation on this subject refer to, “This Side of the Whirlwind, The Coming Apocalypse” pages 98-103.

ARG) The proper time for a biblical generation is solidly established by two examples in the Bible, one of them from the actual fulfillment of this very prophecy. First, the Israelites wandered 40 years in the desert until the “unfaithful generation” died out (Nu 32:13; Ps 95:10). Later, Jesus pronounced certain things would come upon his “wicked generation” (Mt 12:34,39; 23:36) and “this” generation would not pass until the temple destroyed (Mt 24:34, Mk 13:30, Lk 21:32). He spoke those words in 30 AD and, sure enough, 40 years later, in the year 70, the Romans sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the temple. In fulfillment of Mt 24:2, not one stone was left on another and the judgment on the people he predicted came.

  • The span of a generation is not at issue; rather, the lifespan or less of an entire generation. We do not know the day or hour.

ARG) Which brings us to another problem, Jesus said “this generation” speaking to those present in the First Century. If he intended his words towards a later generation, he did not leave an opening for that.

  • The text and content thereof establishes to whom or what Jesus was referring:

Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! 34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. (Matthew 24:32-35 NKJV)

  • The passage is categorically referring to the timeframe and subject of the parable and not the current generation of Christ’s day and age. As in: …When its branch is already become tender…

ARG) In Luke’s version, Jesus compares the signs he told you to watch to how the “fig tree and all the trees” sprout before summer. Apparently Matthew and Mark abbreviated Jesus’ words when they mention only the fig tree. If Jesus was using the fig to indicate Israel, why mention all the trees sprouting? Are multiple nations to be reborn or created as the start of the “final generation”? Fair question.

  • The above paragraph is merely circular reasoning assuming all nations are called to be looked upon; when in fact, Jesus specifically states, “Learn the parable of the fig tree, when (pronoun) her/his branches are yet tender…”
  • Of the three renditions two specifically allude to a single entity, Israel.
  • In Luke the time in question is established in the preceding verses, 21:22 for example.

ARG)Now suppose Israel’s rebirth is what is intended and the standard of 40 is somehow not the definition of a generation here. If the generation would not pass, that means the last person who saw Israel reborn will not die before Jesus comes. Regarding the suggestion of 70, it is only an average life expectancy and it falls short of telling you how many years before that last person would die by. The number 120 would indeed be accurate as the maximum life span (if that is what the unclear passage of Gen 6:3 is trying to tell us). So if we use that number from 1948 and remember that Jesus said no man knows the day or hour, then the 120 years for a life span generation gives us from 0 to 120 years or 1948 – 2068 as the possible “this 120 year generation shall not pass” time frame of Jesus’ return. If that is what he is telling us, I do not know how useful that is

    • Excerpt from “This Side of the Whirlwind, The Coming Apocalypse” page 102.
    • Close but no cigar.   Matthew 24:34-35 below:
  • Verse 34a

 

    • Assuredly [truthfully], I say to you, this generation …” Jesus spoke to this generation of the Body of Christ, those born after Israel was reconstituted as a nation. The lives of these people were tethered to the prophecy, which began a seventy- to eighty-year or less countdown toward fulfillment (Psalm 90:10).
    •  
  • Verse 34b

 

    • Will by no means pass away …” indicates, this generation will not all die before the prophecy is fulfilled. The prophecy will be fulfilled before the average life span of these people has elapsed.
    •  
  • Verse 34c

 

    • Till all these things take place …” Before this generation dies, this prophecy and all related elements or components will be fulfilled.
    •  
  • Verse 35

 

  • Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away …” According to this verse, the world will sooner be destroyed and vanish than this prophecy not be carried out according to God’s purpose and plan.

ARG) Jesus said no man knows the day or hour of his coming. Yet this theory tries to set the year of Jesus’ coming off of things he said 2000 years ago when he said nobody knew.

  • No one does know the day or hour of Christ’s return; however, we are told to watch and observe the season so as not to be caught unaware:

Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. (Revelation 3:2-3 NKJV)

But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. (1 Thessalonians 5:4 NKJV)

ARG) But the biggest problem of all with turning this parable into a prophecy is that it ignores the plain sense meaning of the parable. When you read what he said carefully, you will see that parable had one point to it. The point was just as you can tell summer is nigh by noticing all the trees sprout leaves by the same token you can watch for “all these things” he spoke of to know when his coming was nigh. We are told to carefully watch those events mentioned from Mt 24:1-31, not to watch “Israel the Fig Tree” to know when he is coming.

  • Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. (Matthew 24:34 NKJV)
  • Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. (Mark 13:30 NKJV)

{Sidebar: For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. (Luke 21:22)}

Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. (Luke 21:32 KJV)

  • Do you think the Lord was trying to make a point through repetition of this phrase?
  • 1 Corinthians 13:1 By the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established…
  • Is it possible the point is greater-than “summer is nigh?”

ARG) Taking parables out of their context and overworking the metaphor is a common problem in Christian exegesis. It has lead to many false doctrines and theories. Of course, Jesus said he spoke in parables to hide the meaning of his teachings from the masses, and so we see he has been successful. In the future I hope to write a teaching on how to properly read the Bible. Proper reading of parables would be at the top of my list

  • In each reference Matthew, Mark and Luke the passage directly follows the signs foretelling Christ’s Second Coming and precedes a message of comfort with additional warning that we are to watch, be diligent for the coming of the Lord will take many who fail to pay attention.
  • AS in the days of Noah… (Matthew) Noah building the Ark for 120 years, the skies darkening and who knows what other signs the people of Noah’s day encountered.
  • (Mark) The Master taking a great journey and returning when some fail to pay attention.
  • (Luke) Don’t fret, but watch and prepare for the Coming of the Lord.

 

Again, check out pages 98-103 of, “This Side of the Whirlwind, The Coming Apocalypse” and discover, “The Parable of the Fig Tree” and the Return of Israel according to prophecy.

Steven R. Harrel

7/24/2017

 

 Now, wasn’t that fun?

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