After reading numerous posts on this site and doing some research on my own, I have a strong feeling that my whole belief will soon stand or fall with the understanding of 'this generation'.
Matthew 24:3 .."Tell us, When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?"
Matthew 24:7 For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another.
Matthew 24:34 Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.
Example: "They had to wait a generation for that prejudice to fade"
Gen. 2:4, "These are the generations," means the "history." 5:1, "The book of
the generations," means a family register, or history of Adam. 37:2, "The
generations of Jacob" = the history of Jacob and his descendants. 7:1, "In this
generation" = in this age. Ps. 49:19, "The generation of his fathers" = the
dwelling of his fathers, i.e., the grave. Ps. 73:15, "The generation of thy
children" = the contemporary race. Isa. 53:8, "Who shall declare his
generation?" = His manner of life who shall declare? or rather = His race,
posterity, shall be so numerous that no one shall be able to declare it. In
Matt. 1:17, the word means a succession or series of persons from the same
stock. Matt. 3:7, "Generation of vipers" = brood of vipers. 24:34, "This
generation" = the persons then living contemporary with Christ. 1 Pet. 2:9, "A
chosen generation" = a chosen people. The Hebrews seem to have reckoned time by
the generation. In the time of Abraham a generation was an hundred years, thus:
Gen. 15:16, "In the fourth generation" = in four hundred years (comp. verse 13
and Ex. 12:40). In Deut. 1:35 and 2:14 a generation is a period of thirty-eight
I read in a post on this site that the teachings of the WTS today are different from the things taught by the original bible students. The person who posted this statement also provided a link to the 'Bible Students'. After doing some reading on the bible students' site, it seems that they too, believe that the (invisible) return of Christ occured around 1914.
Looking up the word 'generation' in the dictionary was not satisfying. No matter how you twist or turn it, the meaning of 'generation' always seems to boil down to the same thing. The term is limited to a certain amount of time, and trying to stretch that period of time would be the same as trying to distort the meaning of the word. For example, an hour is sixty minutes, when you are in a dentist's chair, it might feel like 200 minutes, when you're at the beach watching a sunset, it might feel like 10 minutes, when you're at the KH listening to a boring talk, it might seem like forever, but it will always be 60 minutes. We can't try to change that.
Now, it seems that the generations were longer between Adam and Noah, people lived to be about 800 years, but then after Noah, God decided that the life span would be '120 years'. Had someone talked about 'this generation' back then, we could have assumed that they were talking about a span of about 800 years, but fact is that when Jesus mentioned 'this generation' he was mentioning it in a time where the life span was not as long as 800 years.
I don't believe for one second that the meaning of 'this generation' can be stretched in order to suit a certain purpose, it just cannot be done. But what is the problem then? The problem is that it is generally believed that Christ returned around 1914, but if I believe that, then I also have to believe that 'this generation will by no means pass away before..etc..' We all know that 'this generation' has pretty much passed away by now.
This leaves me to think that, either Christ has not returned yet, or the bible is not inspired by God (which would be a great disappointment to me), or the word 'generation' has been translated in a wrong way, and had a different meaning in the original language. Speaking several languages myself, I know how easy it is to make a mistake like that.
I am left with many questions, and really want to get to the bottom of this. Any opinions, thoughts, are welcome. Thank you.