In Mark 13:30, Matt. 24:34, and Matt. 23:36 the bible makes the following statement:
“I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.”
Christians have used these scriptures for years to explain questions about the End Times. The current explanation is that “this generation” is some future generation. (It's not just the Jehovah's Witnesses who use this explanation, I found a similar one on gotquestions.org) Various official explanations state that it will be the generation that sees the things spoken about (the “Signs of the Times”) that hasn't happened yet. The problem is there are other scriptures, ones which officials don't seem to addresses, that are in support of the fact that Jesus was speaking about his own generation – the generation of the apostles.
“This generation” is just vague enough to be subjective speech. If you subject that phrase it very well could be understood as some future generation. But consider the following scriptures:
Luke 9:27, Mark 9:1, Matt. 16:28
“I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God."
Now in these scriptures Jesus is speaking of the people “standing here” or those listening to him speak. That's pretty hard to subject to a future tense. Perhaps, though, it could be understood in a different light. It said “before they see the kingdom”, maybe that was speaking about seeing it in a vision or having prophetic dreams. Perhaps it meant something other than seeing the kingdom coming to earth.
Unfortunately for believers the most damming of all the scriptures should put a stop to this erroneous theology. This scripture is when Jesus was sending out his disciples to preach:
“When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”
So, here you have a scripture saying that the disciples (who lived in Jesus time) will not finish preaching to the cities of Israel (cities that existed in Jesus time) before the Son of Man comes. You have the previous three scriptures speaking about people standing with Jesus listening to him speak that would not taste death before they saw the kingdom. There is too much evidence that the bible writers honestly believed that the end of the world was going to happen before they died. That may have been part of the reason the first bits of the New Testament weren't written down until well after the apostle's death. They saw no need in writing, passing it orally was well enough. The bible indicates that those who propagated Jesus teachings really believed that the End was coming in their generation; to the people standing there; before they could even finish telling the cities about their Lord.
This is a very important matter. If the bible writers believed that the end was coming in their time, in a matter of years, then there are only a few explanations for this. Either Jesus was delusional and believed the End was close, he purposefully lied about the End, the bible writers misunderstood him, or they put those words in later (perhaps as the result of attempting to clarify a teaching further along in the time-line of the ancient documents of the bible.)
If Jesus was delusional or if he deliberately lied about the End, then he wasn't who he said he was and he should be of no concern to theologians but of more concern to sociologists. If the bible writers were mistaken, or if this information was added in later, then God has failed in communicating, with a book, factual and correct information that will help save our lives. If one thing was misunderstood or changed the entire thing can be misunderstood or changed. But I believe that if God did something, he wouldn't fail at it. So God either didn't try because he doesn't exist or because he does exist but couldn't or wouldn't. Thoughts?
I'm struggling with God's existence -- and here is why.
In Mark 13:30, Matt. 24:34, and Matt. 23:36 the bible makes the following statement:
Common sense dictates that where a scripture become blatantly ridiculous to apply then, it doesn't mean what you think it does / is wrong / or you don't have a view of the events as described.
Our desire to apply scripture to ourselves plays both ways with prophecy - it means that from one viewpoint it is very easy to layer prophecy with meanings and applications so that many people can get something from them OR you can see it from the other side and lump prophecy in with the reliability of the local horoscope where true believers will constantly notice tall dark starngers because they want to rather than because of fate.
I suspect Jesus' meaning was a little clearer to those he spoke to and the transmission to us is problematic. In AD 70 many christian Jews will have seen ample fulfillment of prophecy, when the disciples saw the resurrected Jesus they may well have thought about Jesus' prophecy and then if there is a second coming and it happens in our lifetimes we would then find our fulfillment.
Personally I try to stay away from prophecy as my interpretation is normally fairly useless, mind you virgos today 'mustn't look too harshly at new ideas and thoughts' and you can take that to the bank.
Qcmbr ... ...
Don't worry Morocco... our end will come anyway (we will all die as human anyway) It could be now for me for instance ... dying is a part of our life ... but not the end as a spirit
if you're a good bro for your bro there is nothing to scare about ..
In my opinion what you're struggling with is simply words on the pages of some archaic old book someone told you was important.
Earnestly investigating into the Divine is a journey far, far wider and deeper than this.
You might have added the Pauline epistles where Paul counts himself in the last generation, among "the living" who will not die but be changed at Christ's parousia (1 Thessalonians 4, 1 Corinthians 15). Or the entire book of Revelation where the famous "soon" is clearly set in a late 1st-century Roman context.
Now this is fatal to a view of total inerrancy for the Christian Bible, but there are a number of logical "fuses" between that and the very notion of "God". Think of the following replies:
- "God" may not want to reveal him/her/itself at all and would not be affected by whatever any "sacred book" may say.
- "God" may want to reveal him/her/itself, but not through the Christian Bible.
- "God" may reveal him/her/itself in the Christian Bible without making it unfallible on any subject (that would definitely include eschatological scenarii).
As regards Jesus in particular, the orthodox view of "incarnation" doesn't necessarily make Jesus omniscient. It implies that "God" revealed himself in a man with the culture, language, and ideas of his time and place...
(N.B. That's a purely logical remark; I personally don't believe in "God" in any realistic sense, although I may use the word as a valuable -- but sometimes tricky -- metaphor.)
I have been drowning that thought most of my life. I guess the only way to find out is when you die. Faith too I guess but I'm not sure about it either.
I'm looking in the NWT and it says , you will by no means complete the circuit of the cities of Israel "until" the son of man arrives . not before the son of man arrives . The this generation is saying that they will not pass away until all that was stated comes to pass , it's not promising eternal life . The generation does pass away . There's apparently a difference between seeing the kingdom and actually being in the kingdom , the apostle John saw the kingdom and wrote in very fine detail what it was like in Revelation , then there was the part where jesus is transfigured and standing with elijah and moses , which is what the WTBTS says constitutes as "seeing the kingdom".
Just all how you look at it.
Morocco....The same short-term eschatology can be observed for Revelation, once you read it at face value rather than assuming a priori that it refers to our future. Thus the reader is repeatedly assured that Jesus "is coming quickly" (2:16, 3:11, 22:7, 12, 20), that the very people who killed Jesus will see him returning on the clouds of heaven (1:7, cf. Mark 14:62), that the Christians misbehaving in the cities of Ephesus, Pergamum, etc. would experience destruction when Jesus comes to them (2:5, 16, 21-25), that the reign of the Beast and his tribulation lies right ahead (17:10-11), just after the reign of the next king of Rome (who will reign only for a "short while"), etc.
i always explained those things away in my head ( usually by ignoring them)
what really shook my belief in God's exsistance was reading about the history of monotheism. it really seems as if men created god , not that god created men. ( i ignore that thought too.. a world without God is rather scary)
interesting thread, and interesting comments!
But I believe that if God did something, he wouldn't fail at it.
that's about it too, imo.
people will argue that God's ways are so vast and huge and mysterious and unknowable that we cannot say why he does and allows the things he does.
this explanation works as long as we have not developed our own moral structure. once you do, it's not the same anymore. the explanation gets tired really quickly.
plus, the concept of an omnimax God (omniscient, omnipotent etc.) is paradoxical and oxymoronic (sic).
if you are struggling with the idea of the conservatively presented christian God, the essays at http://ebonmusings.org/atheism/index.html tackle many similar concepts to the one you bring up.
and it's not that atheism is a final philosophical resting place. but rather a neutral place to analyze belief systems from.
peace out man,