Matthew 24:34 "this generation" (Point 1)

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ANTONINVS
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Matthew 24:34 "this generation" (Point 1)

#1 Post by ANTONINVS » 5 years ago

Topic: Matt. 24:34 "this generation"

In the interests of better understanding the many lines of reasoning associated with this topic, I thought it might be wise to deal with each argument on a point by point basis rather than one large article. In this way the topic can be thrashed out thourghly.

Point 1)

"The New Testament ... states that "the Son of God" himself "does not know the day or the hour" (Mark 13:32), and the disciples are not to know, according to Jesus' parting words, even "times and seasons" (Acts 1:5-7) for the great event. This makes it impossible that Jesus had given them any kind of time limit for the coming of the kingdom. The argument that he had declared that the end would come within at most 40 years, a generation, must be mistaken, unless we charge him with considerable confusion. If in fact "this generation will not pass until all these things have happened" (Matt. 24:34; Mark 13:30; Luke 21:32), then why only a couple of months later is Jesus saying that the disciples can have no idea about "spans of time or seasons" (Acts 1:7) relative to his return?

It defies common sense to believe that Jesus set and almost exact date of 40 years in Matthew 24:34, when soon after he denied that any knowledge of times and seasons is available to us (Acts 1:7) in regard to the coming of the future Kingdom (Acts 1:6)." A.B.

Somewhat paradoxically perhaps, the disciples were not meant to know or understand much of what Jesus said to them. (Acts 1:7)

Bobcat
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Re: Matthew 24:34 "this generation" (Point 1)

#2 Post by Bobcat » 5 years ago

First things first, welcome ANTONINVS!

In connection with "this generation" of Matthew 24:34 there is another way of seeing the problem.

Consider these points:

1. The disciples ask two questions in Mt 24:3. ("When will these things be?" And "What will be the sign of your parousia and the conclusion of the system of things?" - Incidentally, the Greek grammar in the second question lends itself to being one question, not two.

In the disciples minds, the parousia and the "conclusion of the system" [NWT] are expected to happen together.) And it appears, by the way they joined these two questions together, they saw the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple as something that would happen together with a world judgment expected with Jesus' return. But Jesus' answer (and history) shows that things would not happen like that. (On the meaning of the term "parousia" see here; On the meaning of the phrase "conclusion of the system of things" or "end of the age" see here.)

2. Matthew 23:36 ("all these things will come upon this generation") is part of the climax to Jesus' judgment of the Jewish religious leaders, leading him to describe the complete desolation of the temple and Jerusalem. (Mt 24:1-2) This is what prompts the disciples shortly thereafter to ask, "When will these things be?" (Mt 24:3) Note the repeat of "these things" in both Mt 23:36 and Mt 24:3. Then, after describing events to expect and giving other instructions (such as about fleeing), Jesus gives a summary illustration that includes both "these things" and "this generation." (Mt 24:32-35) "These things" and "this generation" form a bracket or an inclusio to all the things foretold between Mt 23:36 and Mt 24:35.

3. The very next verse, Matthew 24:36, starts with the words, peri de, which are only partly translated in the NWT. They mean, "But about," "But concerning..." See my comments here on Mt 24:36 and how this phrase is used elsewhere to change the subject or the aspect of a discussion. (Peri de also occurs at: Mt 22:31; See also Paul's use of it in 1 Cor 7:1, 25; 8:1; 12:1; 16:1, 12)

The point I am making, the literary evidence in the Olivet Discourse indicates that Mt 24:4-35 forms Jesus' answer to the disciples' first question, "When will these things be?" And Jesus does answer the question. He tells them that "these things" (the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem) will happen within "this generation." "This generation" in Mt 23:36 could be seen as the first part of an inclusio with "this generation" in Matthew 24:34. These literary clues, just by themselves, suggest that Mt 24:4-35 forms the answer to the question, "When will these things be?"

Coinciding with that, notice the localized detail within Mt 24:4-35. Mt 24:16 instructs the disciples to flee out of Judea, Mt 24:20 refers to problems encountered if it falls on the Sabbath. These are all Jewish details. Note also the summary parable that assures the disciples that "these things" would all take place within "this generation." (Mt 24:32-35) The summary parable indicates that this part of the discussion (the answer to the first question) is coming to an end. The bracketed discussion also gives a specific sign so as to know precisely when "these things" will begin (Mt 24:15), and what to do when that sign occurs. (Mt 24:16-20)

Now, if one takes from Mt 24:36 on as being part of the answer to their second question (about the parousia and the 'conclusion/end of the age'), then, there is no conflict of understanding. When the events of Mt 24:4-35 (destruction of temple and Jerusalem) are to take place can be known - they are to happen within the collective lifetime of the then present disciples and the Jewish nation as it existed at that time. "But concerning" (peri de) Jesus' presence and the conclusion of the system (the disciples second question), the disciples are not able to know the timing of that event. The world scene will appear like 'business as usual.' (Mt 24:37-39) The one to be saved and the one not to be saved will be engaged in life when they are suddenly separated. (Mt 24:40-41) They (i.e. the disciples) must therefore "keep awake" for Jesus' return which marks both his parousia and the "conclusion of the system of things." (Mt 24:42-44) The three following parables (Mt 24:45-51; 25:1-13; 25:14-30) go on to show what it means to "stay awake."

When the Olivet Discourse (Mt 24-25) is seen this way, then, there is no conflicting time problem. When the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem would occur could be known: It would happen within "this generation." And there was a specific sign given to let the disciples know when it was about to begin. (Mt 24:15) And specific instructions as to what to do when that sign was seen. (Mt 24:16-20)

On the other hand, the timing of Jesus' return could not be known. Therefore, one must "keep awake" in preparation for it.

(There are actually other time markers foretold in Daniel that describe events related to the Jewish-Roman War of 66-73 CE. See links to them in the index here.)


Bobcat

GodsWordIsTruth
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Re: Matthew 24:34 "this generation" (Point 1)

#3 Post by GodsWordIsTruth » 5 years ago

Bobcat wrote:
52 years ago
First things first, welcome ANTONINVS!

In connection with "this generation" of Matthew 24:34 there is another way of seeing the problem.

Consider these points:

1. The disciples ask two questions ("When will these things be?" And "What will be the sign of your parousia and the conclusion of the system of things?" - Incidentally, the Greek grammar in the second question lends itself to being one question, not two. In the disciples minds, the parousia and the "conclusion of the system [NWT] are expected to happen together.) And it appears, by the way they joined these two questions together, they saw the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple as something that would happen together with a world judgment expected with Jesus' return. But Jesus' answer (and history) shows that things would not happen like that.

2. Matthew 23:36 ("all these things will come upon this generation") is part of the climax to Jesus' judgment of the Jewish religious leaders, leading him to describe the complete desolation of the temple and Jerusalem. This is what prompts the disciples shortly thereafter to ask, "When will these things be?" Note the repeat of "these things." And again at Matthew 24:32-35, after describing events to expect and giving other instructions, Jesus gives a summary illustration that includes "these things" and "this generation."

3. The very next verse, Matthew 24:36 starts with the words peri de, which are only partly translated in the NWT. They mean, "But about," "But concerning." See my comments here on Mt 24:36 and how this phrase is used elsewhere to change the subject or the aspect of a discussion.

The point I am making, there is plenty of evidence that Mt 24:4-35 forms Jesus' answer to the disciples' first question, "When will these things be?" And Jesus does answer the question. He tells them that "these things" (the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem) will happen within "this generation." "This generation" in Mt 23:36 could be seen as part of an inclusio with "this generation" in Matthew 24:34.

Notice the localized detail within Mt 24:4-35. Mt 24:16 instructs the disciples to flee out of Judea, Mt 24:20 refers to problems encountered if it falls on the Sabbath.

Now if one takes from Mt 24:36 on as being part of the answer to their second question, then, there is no conflict of understanding. When the events of Mt 24:4-35 (destruction of temple and Jerusalem) are to take place can be known - they are to happen within the collective lifetime of the then present disciples and the jewish nation as it existed at that time. "But concerning" (peri de) Jesus' presence and the conclusion of the system, the disciples are not able to know the timing of that event. They must therefore "keep awake."

When the Olivet Discourse (Mt 24-25) is seen this way there is no conflicting time problem.

Bobcat
What a nice and neat way to explain this interpretation of these passages. As you probably know already it is one that I have believed in for quite some time. You (along with others) have a knack for flushing this teaching out and refuting it based on the scriptures.

ANTONINVS
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Re: Matthew 24:34 "this generation" (Point 1)

#4 Post by ANTONINVS » 5 years ago

Hi GodsWordIsTruth,

I'm sorry, I'm not sure I understand what mean. Please forgive me, can you rephrase?
Much appreciated.

Skuneel
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Re: Matthew 24:34 "this generation" (Point 1)

#5 Post by Skuneel » 5 years ago

Bobcat wrote:
52 years ago
they are to happen within the collective lifetime of the then present disciples and the jewish nation as it existed at that time."
Very thought provoking. I think you are on to something here.

What if, "They are to happen within the colective lifetime of the present disciples, or true worshipers."

ANTONINVS
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Re: Matthew 24:34 "this generation" (Point 1)

#6 Post by ANTONINVS » 5 years ago

Hi Bobcat,

Thank you for your explanation, much appreciated. Put simply my point in a nutshell is as follows:

1)The Jews of 70 AD partially experienced what is in effect, an ongoing fulfilment that has its terminus in the future when the Son of Man comes in glory. There is no dual fulfilment as such, one minor in 70 AD and one major in the future.

2)The language of Matt. 24:21, 29-31 fixes events squarely in the future, the language is unmistakeable. Not to mention these things did not happen in the first century. Verse 21 is self-explanatory. Jesus himself gives us all the details we need in order to fix the timing of the tribulation referred to herein. Firstly, the tribulation will be greater than any other thus far. Logically, this would include the flood of Noah's day. Was the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD greater than the deluge that engulfed the entire globe? Not by any stretch of the imagination! Secondly, the tribulation will be of such magnitude that the like of it will never be seen again. Did this happen in 70 AD? Certainly not! The Scriptures speak of a future, final Great Tribulation that encompasses the globe. The sheer scale of this tribulation will dwarf anything and everything experienced previously including, the flood and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

ANTONINVS
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Re: Matthew 24:34 "this generation" (Point 1)

#7 Post by ANTONINVS » 5 years ago

Hi Bobcat

The key is to understand what the word "generation" actually means in the context Jesus employed it. The Greek word "genea" is a direct translation of the Hebrew word "dor". "Dor" means "age" in Hebrew more correctly and more often than "generation".

What Jesus is referring to is an age that spans centuries. An age that would be characterized by a perverse Socitey that rejects him as the anointed one. The generation therefore, begins in the first century with the Jewish religious leaders in particular, but included the Jews as a whole, and over time has came to encompass all perverse society that rejects Christ. An age, is a cycle of existence. It has two aspects one temporal the other societal. Much like we would talk about the Bronze Age or Iron Age, etc. Therefore, this is an age characterized by a particular prevailing attitude, one of rejecting Christ.

Mark 8:31 identifies the generation. Verse 38 of the same chapter tells us when Jesus will reject (or deal with) that generation. He states that he will deal with them when he returns in glory, a future event. So a clear picture is emerging, the generation begins with the first century Jews in particular the religious leaders and goes on to encompass all humanity throughout the age that come to reject Christ. These ones display the same characteristics of rejection that the Jews did in Jesus' day.

One may argue, how can Jesus deal with people that have been dead for centuries when he returns? It is not the specific individuals Jesus will deal with, for they are long dead. He deals with those alive at the time that display the prevailing attitude that has stubbornly persisted since the first century. That is why the generation spans a period of time.

This understanding solves all the the supposed stumbling blocks. Yes, the first century Jews were part of the generation, no denying it. Yes, there is only one fulfilment not a dual fulfilment. Yes, it allows for all the phenomena that Jesus described and clearly did not occur in the first century, to occur in the future. It reconciles everything.

ANTONINVS
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Re: Matthew 24:34 "this generation" (Point 1)

#8 Post by ANTONINVS » 5 years ago

Hi skuneel

My apologies. I addressed my last reply to mistakenly to Bobcat. It was meant for you. Sorry.

ANTONINVS
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Re: Matthew 24:34 "this generation" (Point 1)

#9 Post by ANTONINVS » 5 years ago

Ask yourself this.

If Jesus said that is was not for the disciples to know "the times and seasons" (Acts 1:7) with regard to the tribulation, how could he pin point a specific time 40 years hence, and how could they fail to understand it? If Jesus according to his own admission had no knowledge of the day and the hour, how could he be referring to 40 years hence? If by "this generation", Jesus meant his first century contemporaries, would he not have been fixing a point in time that he admitted he did not know?

MeletiVivlon
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Re: Matthew 24:34 "this generation" (Point 1)

#10 Post by MeletiVivlon » 5 years ago

ANTONINVS wrote:
52 years ago
Ask yourself this.

If Jesus said that is was not for the disciples to know "the times and seasons" (Acts 1:7) with regard to the tribulation, how could he pin point a specific time 40 years hence, and how could they fail to understand it? If Jesus according to his own admission had no knowledge of the day and the hour, how could he be referring to 40 years hence? If by "this generation", Jesus meant his first century contemporaries, would he not have been fixing a point in time that he admitted he did not know?
Bobcat has already answered this question. The times and the seasons of Jesus return were not for the disciples to know. However, the times and the seasons concerning "all these things" to which Jesus referred in Mt 24:1-3 were for them to discern. He is referring to two separate events. The first, all the thing he referred to in Mathew chapters 22 and 23, and the second, his presence which was in answer to a specific, unprompted question on the part of his disciples.

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