What did Jesus mean by "this generation"?
This thread, along with many recent ones, are logical fallout in view of the Society's recently announced 6th position with regard to "this generation". Since they have always subscribed to "this generation" as being well beyond Jesus' day, they automatically class themselves as Adventists. Oh, they don't like to be called that but they simply cannot escape the facts. Here they are:
"The term Adventist generally refers to someone who believes in the Second Advent of Jesus (popularly known as the Second coming) in the tradition of the Millerites." Re Adventism, Wikipedia
William Miller is widely accepted to be father of the Adventist movement that began during the 1800's. Any JW's who've read early Watchtowers (known then as Zion's Watch Tower And "Herald of Christ's Presence) become surprised and shocked at the fact that Charles T. Russell greatly admired Miller and that Miller's view of of Christ's second advent merely missed Russell's then accepted advent target (1874) by only 30 years. To Russell, that was simply a bump in the road. To illustrate the degree of honor Russell had for William Miller is that he referred to Miller as Father Miller within Watchtower pages. Even Rutherford, during the 1920's referred to him as Brother Miller.
In his first issue of ZWT here's what Russell said, "I have been a Bible student since I first had my attention called to the second coming of our Lord, by Jonas Wendel, a Second Advent Preacher, about 1869, who was then preaching the burning of the world as being due in 1873. But though he first awakened my interest on the subject, I was not a convert, either to the time he suggested nor to the events he predicted." Russell here didn't deny adventism. He only disagreed with the time and the events that Wendel had settled on.
Further in that inaugural issue of JULY 1, 1879, Zion's Watch Tower under heading of Why will there be a Second Advent?, Russell teaches, "That the second coming of our Lord Jesus occupies a prominent and important position in the teaching of the apostles and prophets, as well as of Jesus himself, is a fact that can scarcely fail to have been noticed by every Bible student."
I can see the WT Adventist ship tacking once again, zig-zagging its way into its 6th teaching position on This Generation. How many sailors eventually jump ship as a result will probably never be known for certain.
Doug: So simple, so easy, so convincing - that i would never have thought about it myself!
I think proof that Jesus meant the generation living at the time he was talking is found in other related scriptures:
But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. Matt. 1023
Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom. Matt. 16:28
Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings.
"Do you see all these things?" he asked. "I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down."
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"
So when you see standing in the holy place "the abomination that causes desolation," spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—
Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house.
Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.
For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.
Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.
At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.
Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.
Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Matt.24:1-34
I agree with TD - the connotative accolade/criticism of "the generation" seems a little off-base to me, almost overlaying the straight-forward with a straw man (the opposition to "the generation" being complimentary becomes a kind of Holy Grail when limited to the paper itself). It might work for me a little better if the question were more along the lines of, "Does 'the generation' seem to be made up of Christ's followers or opponents?"
Very nicely done!
Many Christians believe that the generation began in 1948. I found this blip:
Question: "Will the generation that saw Israel re-formed as a nation still be alive for the Second Coming?"
Answer: This concept is usually drawn from Matthew 24:34 , “I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” The previous verses, Matthew 24:1-33 , describe end-times events in relation to Israel. As a result, some interpreters thought that the end times would begin when Israel was “reconstituted” as a nation (which happened in 1948). However, as more and more time passed from 1948, the time span of a “generation” began to lengthen and lengthen. It has now been nearly 60 years – which is far beyond any standard definition of a generation.
The biggest problem with this teaching is that it completely misunderstands Matthew 24:34 . What the context appears to say is that once the end-times events begin to happen, they will happen quickly. Further, Jesus’ prophetic words in Matthew 24 seem to have a “double fulfillment.” Some of the events occurred in A.D. 70 when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and Israel. Other events (24:29-31, for example) have clearly not yet occurred. Some of Jesus' words occurred shortly after He spoke them (this generation will not pass); others have not yet occurred. To answer your question directly, no, it is not scriptural to teach that the generation that sees Israel become a nation will also see the second coming of Jesus Christ. This may be the case, but Scripture does not specifically say so.
It was, in fact, fulfilled. Jesus meant "this generation" as meaning the one that was in charge at the time. That was in 33 AD. The fulfillment came in 70 AD, and many alive in 33 were still alive in 70. No need to string another generation to the end of it.
It was, in fact, fulfilled.
Matthew 24:27-34 (New International Version)
27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
29 "Immediately after the distress of those days
" 'the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.'
30 "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
32 "Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. 34 I tell you the truth, this generation[ a ] will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.
Interesting footnote in the NIV :)
- Matthew 24:34 Or race
Yes, the nation of Israel has not passed away, it was scattered across the globe and has returned, just as the bible prophesied.
Why would a son of god pusyfoot about what he meant? If he said "this generation" he meant "this generation", not some other 2000 years after his.
I think that, IF it wasn't for the part of Jesus describing his "return" that there would be NO CONFUSION about which generation he meant in regards to those signs/ events that happened in 70AD with the fall of the Temple to the Romans.
So, it begs the question, What did Jesus MEAN when he said:
At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
Was it literal? was if figurative? did he even say it ?