Adapted from an article written by Dave Lindsey
(Dave and Sue Lindsey oversee a church in Indianapolis, Indiana, which participates in the STF-USA Church association)
“Timing is everything.” I’ve heard that statement many times in my life and certainly have witness of how true it is. It is also very important to keep this principle in mind when we read the Bible, and most especially when we read the Gospels. In Matthew chapter 24 there is the record of Jesus is telling his disciples about the coming Kingdom and the end of that age. Jesus often used a parable to explain a truth and this case was no exception.
The Parable of the Fig Tree
Matthew 24:32-34 (REV)
Now learn this parable from the fig tree: when its branch has become tender and sprouts its leaves, you know that the summer is near. Even so you also, when you see all these things, know that he (Christ at his second coming) is near, even at the doors. Truly I say to you, this generation will absolutely not pass away until all these things come to pass.
Sadly, verse 34, and its statement that “this generation will absolutely not pass away until all these things come to pass,” has been grossly misunderstood by many and caused many doctrinal errors in Christianity. Has the generation he’s speaking to somehow survived after nearly 2000 years? Or, was Jesus mistaken about the timing of his second coming?
Jesus certainly knew the entire Old Testament scriptures about him and often quoted them in his teachings. Based on the Book of Daniel and the other prophets, he knew that after his death and ascension there would be a time of great tribulation like was never seen before, and that the generation he was speaking to would be going through it shortly after his ascension.
What Jesus didn’t know, and what many people even today misunderstand, is that God had a secret, a special time of great grace. This Sacred Secret was kept hidden until God’s perfect timing to reveal it to the Christian church of today as recorded by Paul in the Church epistles (In essence, God inserted a new administration between the ascension and second coming of Jesus Christ, which has now lasted almost 2000 years, and is still ongoing today).
There are many times when misunderstandings about God and what He says is the result from our lack of knowing God’s timing, because when it comes to the plans and purposes of God, His moves, and His ways—timing is everything!