Insight on the News
“Generation” Still Here
“This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur,” said Jesus when describing “the conclusion of the system of things.” (Matthew 24:3, 34) The things he said would occur—major wars, food shortages, earthquakes, widespread fear, rampaging disease and Kingdom preaching—have all been fulfilled since the year 1914, when the first global war began. (Matthew, chapter 24; Luke, chapter 21) But how long would the generation last? Is it still with us?
A report on the recently released 1980 census, published in the South African newspaper Die Vaderland, gives evidence that many of that 1914 generation are still with us today. A large number of the population of South Africa are persons who were 14 years of age or older at the outbreak of the world war in 1914. At the time of the census, almost 50,000 men and women were still alive who were born in or before 1900—about one out of 500 of the population there. “The census figures also indicate that there are now 10,480 people over the age of 100 in South Africa,” reports the paper.
If such population figures are similar for most of the world, it becomes evident that a large number of the 1914 generation are still living today. Of course, their numbers are steadily dwindling, and, therefore, sometime in the near future, we confidently can expect “the end” to come, followed by the time when God’s Messianic Kingdom will be the only government ruling the earth.—Matthew 24:14; Revelation 21:1-5.
Redirecting Human Effort
“I have studied war and written against war most of my working life,” writes Herman Wouk, author of the historical novel The Winds of War. Now, he says, “we are trapped in a monstrous and incredibly frightening and dangerous closed loop of insanity” involving the “buildup and counter-buildup of destructive weapons” and “everybody has come to take the whole horrible lunacy for granted. . . . The ingenuity, labor, and treasure poured out on this closed loop of insanity truly stun the mind.” On the other hand, Wouk speculates: “If nations did not learn war any more, there would be nothing mankind could not do, and could not make of this frail little global island on which we float through black space.”
Happily, war will cease—albeit not by the efforts of men, among whom, says the author, “there persist a thousand quarrels.” Rather, according to the Bible, it is God who “is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth.” (Psalm 46:9) Soon he will intervene, and, by means of his direction and help, mankind will focus their efforts on remaking this globe into a Paradise of peace and happiness.—Isaiah 2:2-4; Psalm 72:7, 8.
Quake Clarifies Scripture
“Today we have the smell of the dead who have been asleep in the tombs,” said a Red Cross worker, describing one striking effect of a powerful earthquake that hit Popayán, Colombia, just before the Easter weekend. “The cemetery tombs opened up and corpses came out. . . . I’ve never seen anything like it.” As reported in the St. Petersburg Times, the Red Cross worker was stunned “by the sight of corpses bursting from their tombs in the cemeteries of this mountain town. The quake that Thursday shook this city of 200,000 struck with such force that the walls of mausoleums crumbled, spilling caskets. . . . The city was shaken as if God had taken a jackhammer to it.”
This unusual happening helps to verify as well as explain the Biblical record of a similar event that occurred in Jerusalem some 1,900 years ago at the time of Jesus’ death. Then, Matthew 27:51-53 tells us, “the earth quaked, and the rock-masses were split. And the memorial tombs were opened and many bodies of the holy ones that had fallen asleep were raised up . . . and they became visible to many people.” Then, as in Colombia, the dead thus exposed were seen by witnesses who told those in the city, as the Bible account indicates by saying that persons “coming out from among the memorial tombs . . . entered into the holy city.”—Mt 27 Verse 53.