Facebook Bible Notes

Select Bible Notes

42 Generations until Christ

By Chris McCann
March 27, 2015

Note: It’s important to point out that right now this information (and other information previously discussed) regarding the date of 2033 AD as the possible end of the world is all speculative. The information is being presented as an observation, and not as a conclusion in any way.

God opens up the gospel of Matthew with an interesting and unusual genealogy (unusual because some individuals are left out and one is named twice). God presents a contrived genealogy in order to make sure each of the ‘generations’ mentioned equals the number 14:

Matthew 1:17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.

In total 42 generations are given (14 x 3 = 42).

A believer suggested a while back that we could understand the 42 generations in a spiritual way:

From Abraham to David (Abraham began Israel / David /Beloved is a type of Christ). The spiritual meaning of the first fourteen generations would be:

From the founding of Israel (which dates back to Abraham’s birth year in 2167) to the coming of Christ (typified by David/Beloved in 7 BC).

1st period of 14 generations timeline: 2167 BC to 7 BC

Next, from David (Christ/Beloved as He went to cross /poured out Holy Spirit day of Pentecost and established Church Age-- 7 BC to 33 AD) to the carrying away into Babylon (end of the Church Age --1988 AD).

2nd period of 14 generations timeline: 7 BC /33 AD to 1988 AD

Finally, from carrying away into Babylon (end of the Church Age in 1988 AD) to Christ (the second coming of Christ at the end of the world--possible end of the world 2033 AD).

3rd period of 14 generations timeline: 1988 AD to (possible) 2033 AD

Spiritually, the 42 generations would span the time from Abraham (2167 BC) to the 2nd coming of Christ/ literal end of the world. If the literal end of the world occurred in 2033 AD, then that would make the 42 generations cover the following period of time:

2167 BC to 2033 AD = 4200 calendar years


Since God tells us the number of generations from Abraham to Christ (42) we wonder if the Bible might somehow speak of a certain number of years in connection with a generation? If God were to give some indicator that a generation was to last a specific number of years we could then multiply that number by 42 and maybe find some assistance in our search for a timeline of Christ’s coming and the end of the world.

When we read the book of Genesis we find that God prophesied to Abraham (then known as Abram, but he is the same man our 42 generations begins with in Matthew chapter 1) concerning his seed being afflicted for four hundred years:

Genesis 15:13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;

Right after telling Abram that his seed will experience affliction for four hundred years, God also told him this:

Genesis 15:16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.

The Lord assured Abram that his seed would return to the promised land in the ‘fourth generation’.

From these two statements we can see that God is associating the time frame of ‘four hundred years’ with ‘four generations’.

Let’s see what happens if we relate a ‘generation’ with a ‘100 year’ period:

42 generations x 100 years (length of a generation) = 4200 years.

As we noted earlier the 42 generations of Matthew chapter 1 began with Abraham and (spiritually went to the 2nd coming of Christ):

From Abraham, born 2167 BC, to possible 2nd coming of Christ in 2033 AD = 4200 calendar years.

The number of years between Abraham to the possible end of the world matches the number of generations (42 x 100) multiplied by one hundred (the length of a generation according to Genesis 15).