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Did Jesus err by affirming that the signs of the end time would be fulfilled in His era? MATTHEW 24:34

MATTHEW 24:34—Did Jesus err by affirming that the signs of the end time would be fulfilled in era?

PROBLEM: Jesus spoke of signs and wonders regarding coming. But Jesus said “this generation” would not end before all these events took place. Did this mean that these events would occur in the lifetime of hearers?

SOLUTION: These events (e.g., the Great Tribulation, the sign of Christ’s return, and the end of the age) did not occur in the lifetime of Christ’s hearers. Therefore, it is reasonable to understand their fulfillment as something to come. This calls for a closer examination of the meaning of “generation” for meanings other that of Jesus’ contemporaries.

First, “generation” in Greek (genea) can mean “race.” In this particular instance, Jesus’ statement could mean that the race would not pass away all things are fulfilled. Since were many promises to , including the eternal inheritance of the land of Palestine (Gen. 12; 14–15; 17) and the Davidic kingdom (2 Sam. 7), then Jesus could be referring to God’s preservation of the nation of in order to fulfill promises to them. Indeed, speaks of a future of the nation of when will be reinstated in God’s covenantal promises (Rom. 11:11–26). And Jesus’ response to disciples’ last question implied would be a future kingdom for , when asked: “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to ?” Rather rebuking them for their misunderstanding, He replied that “It is not for you to times or seasons the Father has put in own authority” (Acts 1:6–7). Indeed, in Romans 11 speaks of the nation of being restored to God’s promised blessings (cf. vv. 25–26).

, “generation” could also refer to a generation in commonly understood sense of the alive at the time indicated. In this case, “generation” would refer to the group of who are alive when these things come to pass in the future. In other , the generation alive when these things (the abomination of desolation [v.15], the great tribulation such as has never been seen before [v. 21], the sign of the Son of Man in heaven [v. 30], etc.) begin to come to pass will still be alive when these judgments are completed. Since it is commonly believed that the tribulation is a period of some seven years (Dan. 9:27; cf. Rev. 11:2) at the end of the age, then Jesus would be saying that “this generation” alive at the beginning of the tribulation will still be alive at the end of it. In any event, is no to assume that Jesus made the obviously false assertion that the world would come to an end within the lifetime of His contemporaries.

[1]

 

[1]Geisler, N. L., & Howe, T. A. (1992). When critics ask : A popular handbook on Bible difficulties (358). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

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