How did Matthew Use the Word "Generation"?

by BluesBrother 18 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • BluesBrother

    Another "generation" thread....I know!

    When Splane wanted a scripture that demonstrated the Bible's use of the word he went all the way back to Moses and used Ex. 1.6. He could have stayed in the same book and used Matthew chapter 1,written by the same hand. In 17 verses he lists the genealogy of Jesus Christ, from Abraham to Jesus. In the interests of brevity I will just quote the last part .

    11 Jo·siʹah became father to Jec·o·niʹah and to his brothers at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
    12 After the deportation to Babylon, Jec·o·niʹah became father to She·alʹti·el;
    She·alʹti·el became father to Ze·rubʹba·bel;
    13 Ze·rubʹba·bel became father to A·biʹud;
    A·biʹud became father to E·liʹa·kim;
    E·liʹa·kim became father to Aʹzor;
    14 Aʹzor became father to Zaʹdok;
    Zaʹdok became father to Aʹchim;
    Aʹchim became father to E·liʹud;
    15 E·liʹud became father to El·e·aʹzar;
    El·e·aʹzar became father to Matʹthan;
    Matʹthan became father to Jacob;
    16 Jacob became father to Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.
    17 All the generations, then, from Abraham until David were 14 generations; from David until the deportation to Babylon, 14 generations; from the deportation to Babylon until the Christ, 14 generations."

    Now there can be issues with the counting here, as The Insight Book acknowledges :

    Insight bk1 pp 915/916

    Problems in Matthew’s Genealogy of Jesus. Matthew divides the genealogy from Abraham to Jesus into three sections of 14 generations each. (Mt 1:17) This division may have been made as a memory aid. However, in counting the names we find that they total 41, rather than 42. One suggestion as to how they may be counted is as follows: By taking Abraham to David, 14 names, then using David as the starting name for the second 14, with Josiah as the last; finally, by heading the third series of 14 names with Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) and ending with Jesus. Notice that Matthew repeats the name David as the last of the first 14 names and as the first of the next 14. Then he repeats the expression “the deportation to Babylon,” which he links with Josiah and his sons"

    Despite the quibbles about the count, it is absolutely clear that Matthew counted a father and son as two generations. No overlap even though they were contemporaries.

    Can you imagine a disciple raising his hand and asking "Excuse me Jesus, but when you say a generation do you mean what we think you mean or is this some kind of new play on the word"? ....No ! they knew exactly what he meant . BTW they could not have thought anything about "anointing " since that had not happened yet !

    When I raised this with the family they just said "That is the family meaning, a generation of mankind is different" .....In which case my selected scripture might have been Numbers 32.11-13 (which other board members have referred to)

    "11 ‘The men who came up out of Egypt from 20 years old and up will not see the land of which I have sworn to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because they have not followed me wholeheartedly— 12 except Caʹleb the son of Je·phunʹneh the Kenʹiz·zite and Joshua the son of Nun, because they have followed Jehovah wholeheartedly.’ 13 So Jehovah’s anger blazed against Israel and he made them wander about in the wilderness for 40 years, until all the generation that was doing evil in the eyes of Jehovah came to its end. "
  • nicolaou
    Nice one Blues.
  • John Aquila
    John Aquila
    Good one BB. I keeping this one for reference.
  • DesirousOfChange

    I don't see why Splane picked Ex 6:1 - "Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died,. . ."

    "Joseph and all his brothers" is still a man and his siblings. I think everyone sees that as "a generation".

    ". . . and all that generation. . . " doesn't include his grandparents, parents, children or grandchildren. It is just what is says: THAT GENERATION -- HIS GENERATION.

    I really thought they'd come up with some "better" New Light by now.


  • LostGeneration

    Ass clowns won't let 1914 go, that's why they come up with stuff like this.

    Course who am I to complain, they are creating "apostates" every day by shoveling this garbage down the throats of the rank and file.

  • Vidiot

    @ LostGeneration...

    Like I keep saying, I really do suspect that they want anyone with half a brain to f**k off.

  • CalebInFloroda

    The problem is they are looking at one word, "generation," and we are letting them do it.

    In language you cannot understand words in a vacuum. You must understand them in context.

    Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place.

    "This generation" from Matthew 24.34 reads in Greek:


    Which means, literally, "the generation, this one" or "the generation now" or "the current generation."

    This is what it means a few sentences before, at Matthew 23.36:

    Amen, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.


    Again, the expression means "the generation, this one" or "the generation now" or "the current generation."

    (The words may seem a little different, but that is because of syntax. In Koine Greek the words are inflectional and change spelling due to where the words appear in context, but the roots remain the same.)

    Matthew 23.36 and 24.34 are almost identical. And they both refer to the generation that saw the Second Temple fall. They can't refer to a future generation because Jesus is not referring to the "end of the world" when he uses this expression.

    The idea that wars, famines, and earthquakes will mark the end of days is countered by Jesus. In all three records of the Eschatological Discourse (Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21), Jesus always begins by telling his disciples that such things DO NOT mean the end is upon them.

    In Matthew 24, before he tells of wars, famines, and earthquakes, he states: "Do not be deceived." He then ends this discussion about wars, famines, and earthquakes with the words: "See that you are not alarmed, for these things must happen, but it will not yet be the end. "--Matthew 24.4-6.

    The same thing occurs in Mark 13, with Jesus stating: "See that no one deceives you...When you hear of wars and reports of wars do not be alarmed; such things must happen, but it will not yet be the end...These are the beginnings of the labor pains."--Mark 13.5-8.

    Note especially how it is worded in Luke: "See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’ Do not follow them! When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end"--Luke 21.8-9.

    In each instance Jesus is recorded as saying that people can be deceived by those who will use events like wars, famine, and earthquakes to declare that "the time has come." Jesus' own words about these: "Do not be deceived" and "do not follow them!"

    So the so-called "sign" used by Jehovah's Witnesses to proclaim we are in the end is the counterfeit sign used by those who will mislead others about the end.

    In Matthew the only true sign in the first part of the discourse regarding the true end of times has approached is the spreading of the Gospel everywhere. (Matthew 24.14) But it isn't a time indicator. The way it appears in Mark 13.10 and Luke 21.13 seem to resound with Jesus' instruction about ignoring the "times and seasons" and instead busying oneself with spreading the Gospel as recorded in Acts 1.6-8. In other words, Jesus never gives a real means to calculate the end. The comparison of these verses shows that Jesus is telling his followers to pay no attention to such nonsense because they have nothing to worry about but the assignment given.

    In Matthew 24.15-28 Jesus seems to be referencing the destruction of the Temple. This section, as you will note, also ends with a warning that his followers not to be deceived that the end of times is upon them, even though it means the Second Temple will be removed from its place.

    The Parousia, however, and the genuine end of times appears to be explained in apocalyptic imagery in Matthew 24.29-31. These expressions are very much like one finds in Daniel, Ezekiel, and Revelation, but they are void of the wars, earthquakes, and famines, etc.

    The discourse seems to have a primary conclusion with verses 32-35 (and it gets extended further, perhaps by redaction, not merely through the rest of the chapter but filling the following one as well). It appears that Jesus, having just used the expression when in the Temple (as noted at Matthew 23.36) along with the fact that this lead to his eventual discussion about the Temple's destruction, that here Jesus is again referencing merely his own current generation and speaking merely of the Temple's fall at Matthew 24.34.

    The truth of the matter is that the Second Temple really did fall during the time of "the generation this one" or the current generation of Jesus. Because Jesus is answering several questions at once doesn't mean all the words apply to both eras, that of the Second Temple's destruction and the End of Times. Nowhere does Jesus ever say that one event symbolizes the other, and there is no text in the New Testament that states the Temple's fall is a symbol of the Last Days. That is a post-Biblical idea.

    This isn't to say that the two events might not symbolize one another, but there is no definitive rule in Scripture declaring that they will of have to. The Jehovah's Witnesses have only said they would. But again the Witnesses are also the ones who claim that earthquakes, wars, famines, etc. are signs of the end. Remember, Jesus says they are not. We are being deceived if we believe those who say they are.--Luke 21.8-9.

    In light of this one cannot say that such counterfeit signs have anything to do with the words of Matthew 24.34. Events that Jesus say do not mean the end is upon us do not occur over the period of a "generation," neither can a future generation really fit the Greek phrase used by Jesus.

  • Village Idiot
    Village Idiot

    Let's review, it's singular.

  • berrygerry

    Posted this on another thread, but cannot locate it.

    The Collins dictionary says a generation is the average time between 2 generations of a species, about 35 years for humans.

    It's not the English definition of "generation." but the Greek definition of "genea."

    WTS' previous definition (the wicked) seems to have been the most accepted.

    The switch to "the anointed," and then "the anointed prior to 1992" is whack.


  • Fisherman

    Generation-How long? Must conform to Bible in terms of length and definition. The WT projected that the 1914 generation would be the same in length as 70 CE, about 80 years or so, and 1975 fit just right with that definition- But no disgusting thing standing in a Holy place. Albeit, 1914 is written in stone. Whatever any meaning of generation is applied to 1914,100 years of invisible ruling and letting everybody know that there is a new sheriff in town is the limit. I think that Oct 2015 to Passover 2016 is the time frame that JW are privately in expectation for the GT. If expectations do not realize by then, then who knows what, when.

    "New International Version
    "For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth."-Luke 21:35

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