In the Gospels, John the Baptist and his cousin Jesus Christ made declarations regarding their generation, reported in the Gospels as, “This generation”. Now, my Oxford dictionary defines a generation as all the people born at a particular time. This will be my interpretation throughout this article. There are other applications where a generation is considered the time for a generation of children to replace their parents, considered about thirty years. By including children in my generation, I know that I am including innocents with those who have outgrown the state of innocence, having acquired the right of choice, most certainly in matters of religion and morality.
We read in Luke 3: 7, “Then said he [John] to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” For clear understanding, the dictionary defines “viper” as a venomous snake or a malignant or treacherous person. So, this was the perceived condition of John’s generation by John the Baptist. Apparently, it was also Jesus’ perception as recorded in Matthew 12; 34, “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh. “In verse 39, He adds, “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign and there shall be no sign given it save the sign of Jonas the prophet.” This is followed by an interesting codicil, “The men of Ninevah shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it; because they repented at the preaching of Jonas and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.” Then in verse 42, Jesus provides the double witness by saying, “The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation and shall condemn it; for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, a greater then Solomon is here.”
Jesus used further descriptors in His dialogue recorded in Matthew 23; note the following. “Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye devour widows’ houses. Woe unto you, ye blind guides. Ye fools and blind; for whether is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? Ye pay tithe of mint, anise and cummin and have omitted weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith; these ought ye to have done and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides which strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. For ye are like whited sepulchures which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones and all uncleaness. Even so, you appear outwardly righteous unto men but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” So, this is a sample of the elite of that generation contained in Jesus’ condemnation.
In the book of Mark, chapter 7, there is a discussion of what defiles a man, that which enters his body or that which the man speaks. In verses 20-23 we read, “And He said, that which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness; all these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” In Mark 9:19, Jesus also called His generation a faithless generation.
For me, the final condemnation comes in Mark 7: 6 – 9, “He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esiais prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups; and many other such like things ye do. And He said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.”
DO WE HAVE ANYTHING IN COMMON WITH THAT GENERATION?
Jesus directed comments to some cities in Matthew 11:21-24, Quoting from verse 23 we read, “And thou Capernaum which are exalted under heaven shall be brought down to hell; for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for thee.” I would add that the mighty works have been done in our generation too, since we have the testimony of the apostles in the four gospels and New Testament letters.
In Mark 9: 1, Jesus says, “Verily I say unto you, there be some of them which stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.” Well, they are all dead now. What did Jesus mean? In my opinion, Jesus was referring to the second death after He has come with power and established His kingdom. This would be the second resurrection since all who are resurrected in the first resurrection enter the kingdom with Christ to rule the kingdom with him. So he is referring to those who are raised to see the kingdom in all its glory and to be denied entrance. Jesus makes another reference to it in Matthew 7: 21 – 23 where we read, “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Jesus also refers to those who are cast into outer darkness with weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Jesus said, “If you love me, keep My commandments.”
Editor’s Note: Occasionally someone will write and ask a question about a writer’s background. So in response to the request about Don Robson, let me record this. Certainly Jesus words, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” apply to our senior correspondent, Don Robson. He has been showered with many blessings throughout life. He is a fine writer, his articles attest to this, yet music is his great passion and it has been expressed by playing hymns on the piano as a boy in Sunday school, at British Israel conferences and meetings, through compositions and a fifty year stint in the church choir. Business beckoned him after obtaining his Chartered Accountant designation and until his retirement in 1992, he spent 37 years with IBM, progressing through many financial positions, including project manager. Success followed him everywhere, even in his family life to which he is devoted. It’s easy to see that God certainly mapped out Don’s future, even acquainting him with the Israel Truth when he was still a teenager. His articles speak for themselves.