Good points all. Question: What if Jesus was only referring to his generation? Then this is all moot.
The best explanation of Matthew 24 and 'This Generation', that I've read so far
The only truth to the matter of "This Generation" as spoken about in the writings of the bible is that
the men at the time were bullshitting in an effort to conjure up followers to build a larger base of
established believers, believers that would eventually create a self supporting recognized group of people
and perhaps into making themselves the leading heads of that group.
If you read the bible carefully, as Cofty has pointed out, you can see that
this specific generation died along with the Gospel writers.
No wonder religious organizations do not want people to read the Bible alone by itself ...... like the WTS.
if you read it in context, it was him saying to them that they would see Jerusalem fall in their lifetime (it was written after 70ce and written retrospectively) and that they would have to start involving non-jews (other sheep not of this fold) in the future.
Now realise that the gospels were written at earliest (Luke) 30 years after Jesus supposedly died, the rest sround 70 years, by gentiles i.e. roman / greek believers and it all makes total sense.....
Remember too Jesus told them that he would be back before they were finished going through Israel.
Here is another view expressed by combining three parallel passages
THE OLIVET DISCOURSE - A Collation of Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21
TWO JUDGMENTS: The Destruction of the Temple and the Second Coming
The Temple’s Fate:
1 And as He went forth out of the temple, one of His disciples says to Him, “Master, behold, what manner of goodly stones and what manner of buildings and offerings!”
2 And Jesus said to him, Do you see these great buildings? the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another, which shall not be thrown down.
The Disciple's Questions:
3 And as He sat on the mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,
4 “Tel l us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are all about to be accomplished, and of your coming (parousia) and of the end of the age?”
Beginning Troubles Leading to Jerusalem's Destruction:
5And Jesus answered and said to them, “Take heed that no man lead you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ/I am He’, and ‘the time is at hand’, and will lead many astray.”
6 “And when you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars, be not troubled/terrified, it is necessary for these things to come about first; but the end is not yet/immediately.”
7 Then said He to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom,”
8 “And there will be great earthquakes, and in divers places famines and pestilences; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. But all these things are the beginning of birth pains.”
9 “But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you, and will persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake, for a testimony to them. Then will they deliver you up to tribulation, and will kill you.” 10 “But you will be delivered up even by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolk, and friends, and some of you will they cause to be put to death. And then will many stumble, and will deliver up one another, and will hate one another. And you will be hated o f all men for My Name’s sake”
11 “And brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise up against parents, and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated of all men for My Name’s sake.”
12 “And when they lead you to judgment , and deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand what you will say, but whatever will be given you in that hour, that speak, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.”
13 “Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries will not be able to withstand or to gainsay.”
14 “And many false prophets will arise, and will lead many astray, and because iniquity will be multiplied, the love of the many will wax cold.”
15 “But not a hair of your head will perish. 16 In your patient endurance you will win your souls for he who endures to the end, the same will be saved.” 17 “A nd this gospel of the kingly rule will be preached in the whole world for a testimony to all the nations, and then will the end come.”
The Sign to Flee Jerusalem’s Destruction:
18 “When therefore you see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not in the holy place (let him who reads understand), that is to say, when you see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that her desolation is at hand.”
19 “Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let him who is on the housetop not go down to take out things that are in his house, and let him who is in the field (countryside) not return back to take his cloak.”
20 “For these are days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.”
21 “But woe to those who are with child and to those who are breast feeding in those days!”
22 And pray that your flight be not in the winter, neither on a Sabbath,”
23 “For then will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the creation which God created, until now, no, nor ever shall be, for there will be great distress on the land, and wrath to this people.”
No Second Personal Coming (Parousia) During Jerusalem’s Woes:
24 Then if any man shall say to you, ‘Lo, here is the Christ’, or, ‘Here’; believe it not. For there will arise false Christs, and false prophets, and will show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if it were possible, even the elect. But take heed. Behold, I have told you beforehand.”
25 “If therefore they shall say to you, ‘Behold, he is in the wilderness’, go not forth, ‘Behold, he is in the inner chambers’, believe it not.”
26 “For as the lightning comes forth from the east, and is seen even to the west, so will be the coming (parousia) of the Son of man.”
The Onslaught (Christ's Coming in Judgment) on Jerusalem and its Aftermath:
27 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days there will be signs in the sun, moon and stars, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give her light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and on the earth there will be distress of nations, in perplexity for the roaring of the sea and the billows, men fainting for fear, and for expectation of the things which are coming on the world, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken,”
28“And then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then will all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
29 “And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations, and Jerusalem will be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. And except those days had been shortened, no flesh would have been saved, but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.”
30 “Wherever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.”
31 “And He will send forth his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
32 “But when these things begin to come about, look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”
33 “Now from the fig tree learn her parable. When her branch is now become tender, and puts forth its leaves, you know that the summer is near, even so you also, when you see all these things, know you that He is near ( the Kingly Rule of God is near), even at the doors.”
34 “Truly I say to you, This generation will not pass away, until all these things are accomplished.”
35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.”
The Future Second Coming (Parousia) of Christ and its Distinctiveness:
(Worldwide Event, Normal Times, No Signs Given, Timing impossible to Anticipate, No Running Necessary, Saints Taken)
36 “ But of that day and hour knows no one, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” 37 “And as were the days of Noah, so shall be the coming (parousia) of the Son of man.”
38 “For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and they knew not until the flood came, and took them all away. So shall be the coming ( parousia ) of the Son of man.”
39 “Take heed, watch and pray, for you do not know when the time is, lest haply your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day come on you suddenly as a snare, for so will it come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth.” 40 “But watch you at every season, making supplication, that you may prevail to escape all these things that will come about, and to stand before the Son of man .”
41 “It is as when a man, sojourning in another country, having left his house, and given authority to his servants, to each one his work, commanded also the porter to watch.”
42 “Watch therefore, for you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, whether at eventide, or at midnight, or at cock-crowing, or in the morning, lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say to you I say to all, Watch.”
43 “Then will two men be in the field, one is taken, and one is left. Two women will be grinding at the mill, one is taken, and one is left. Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what watch the thief was coming, he would have watched, and would not have allowed his house to be broken through.
44 “Therefore you also be ready, for in an hour that you do not think the Son of man is coming.”
It was certainly well defined article, but I tend to agree with cofty and finkelstein that it was a failed prophecy on longer scale. 2000 years later, 75 generations, nothing of the parousia had fulfilled. There is a also a desperation moment in 2 Petr 3:8 where suddenly immediate returns turns into thousands of years. Jews did not accept Jesus, nor believe he was their messiah. Jews do not believe in 2nd Coming.
2nd coming...... he came back several times in the first week after his death..... the whole thing is a farce....
Well, if you are still of the opinion that a colossal "Armageddon" is going to occur at the behest of Jesus Christ, then that article is far more reasonable than any of the half-dozen or so attempts the WTS has come up with (so far) to explain "this generation".
There's liitle doubt that the first-century Christians thought the second coming would take place during their lifetime, their "generation".
If one applies Jesus' words only to the first-century, the generation is basically wrapped up quite neatly, spanning from 33 to 70 AD, a nice, neat 37 years.
But there's that nagging little problem - no return by Jesus in 70 AD or any time shortly thereafter. No rapture, no meeting Christ "in the air".
If we apply the "generation" to a later time than that, we're back to all the problems that the WTS has faced all these years - trying to figure out when it applies.
But as I stated earlier, I think the linked article from that Boreans site is the best guess in view of the fact that no other post- 70 AD applications have succeeded.