This article will use the “age of man” as a tool to get a rough idea of the expected time of the return of Christ.
Genesis 6:3 says, “Then the LORD said, ‘My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.'”
This is usually interpreted to mean that God ordained a limit in the age of individuals to 120 on this verse. Let’s use that interpretation here.
There are 2 ways we can apply this as a prophecy tool:
- Return of Christ before the age of man is overcome
- Return of Christ one generation after the return of Israel
1 Return of Christ before the age of man is overcome
Medical innovation is driving up people’s ages. There are even some people who have been claimed to live in excess of 120 years, although I have only heard about two or three cases, with more than dubious records of proof to say the least. Here’s one example.
It is conceivable that at some time in the future humans might overcome this limit in age. In order to maintain his ordination that man does not overcome this age, one possibility is that Christ could return before it happens.
Using these numbers for US life expectancy, average life expectancy is increasing at the rate of about 30 years expected increase per 100 years of real time, and life expectancy was about 77 in 1998. This means, using a very crumby forecasting methodology, average life expectancy will exceed 120 in about 150 years after 1998, or in 2148.
Keep in mind that the principal of man overcoming the age of man need not be tied to average life expectancy. It could be considered breached by an individual. We have people occasionally (with reliable documentation) living in excess of age 100 already. Perhaps it could become regular to breech 120 for some individuals in only 50 years after 1998 or less.
2 Return of Christ one generation after the return of Israel
One interpretation of Matthew 24 is that the generation which sees Israel, or perhaps the particular city of Jerusalem, reunified will not pass away before the second coming of Christ. Here are some other interpretations. Here is a related article.
The reunification of Israel and Jerusalem did historically, and remarkably, occur. Israel reunified in 1948 and Jerusalem was brought under the law of the new state of Israel on June 27, 1967. This gives evidence to the Bible in and of itself, but that’s not my point. I want to create a time frame.
The time frame will have a range because the way we interpret terms such as, “generation” can be squishy.
What is the generation which sees X return? To be as conservative as possible, let’s say that someone born in that year is the generation.
- Born 1948 “sees Israel return.”
- Born 1967 “sees Jerusalem return.”
- “Generation” variously defined as average life expectancy at time of birth or 120 years.
- Average life expectancy (US) in 1948 ~ 65 years.
- In 1967, ~ 70 years.
So the latest return of Christ would be 1967 + 120 = 2087, if this interpretation is correct.
Whether or not you actually believe the return of Christ is imminent, I would advise you to act as if it were.
Personally, I’m thinking 2035 – 2050 – ish. If the interpretation is correct.
The earliest predicted year would be 2013!