:: (Alan F) I think that the bottom line, fairchild, is that the things the NT records Jesus as saying about "the generation" are obviously applicable only to the people Jesus directly addressed, and that many of the things that Jesus expected simply did not happen. Many Christians know this perfectly well, and so, like the JWs, rationalize the failure by claiming that, because not everything Jesus said would occur occured in the 1st century, there must be a further and greater future fulfillment. Such rationalizations are common when prophecy fails
: How on earth can it be that many of the things that Jesus expected did not happen??
I have no idea, but the fact that they didn't is indisputable. The obvious conclusion is that, having made a bunch of false prophecies, Jesus was a false prophet.
: This just doesn't make sense to me. So, if 'this generation' ONLY entailed the generation living in Jesus' time, this means that we HAVE to conclude that Jesus was wrong, and that some of the things he expected didn't happen.
: Since it seems totally unlikey that Jesus could have been wrong,
Why? "By their fruits you will know them," right?
: don't we have to conclude then that there should indeed be a greater future fulfillment?
: Matthew 24:3 confuses me. While he was sitting upon the mount of olives, the disciples approached him privately, saying: "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?"
: According to that question, His presence and
You're using the incorrect Watchtower translation "presence" here. The proper translation of the Greek word "parousia" is not "presence", but "coming, arrival". All good Bible commentaries and lexicons show this. So, at the very least, this verse is consistent with your understanding that Jesus' coming and
: the conclusion of the system of things are tied together.
The WTS's separation of the events is entirely artificial, and based on C. T. Russell's misinterpretations that were in turn based on various rationalizations from Adventists as to why their many predictions had failed. All of them decided that Jesus' coming, having not been observed when they predicted, must have been invisible. Hence, the need to find a scriptural justification for an "invisible presence". Russell's teaching that Jesus had invisibly returned in 1874 was based on Nelson Barbour's failed predictions of Jesus' return in 1873 and 1874.
: Note that Jesus only gave one answer. He didn't say THIS will be the sign of my presence, and THAT will be the sign of the conclusion of this system of things. So, since He answered both questions with ONE answer, doesn't that mean that He considered His presence as well as the conclusion of the system of things to occur somewhat together, in the same period of time?
Most astute readers would so conclude.
: That takes me right back to where I started. If 'this generation' referred to the generation that was living back in His day, then the conclusion of the system of things did not occur as He had said it would, which again, does not make sense.
It makes perfect sense if you admit that Jesus was wrong.
However, there is a school of prophetic interpretation called preterism, which claims that everything Jesus predicted really did come true by the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. You can certainly find material on that by doing some web searching. However, be warned that a number of ex-JWs I know have done so, only to find that preterism creates at least as many problems as it tries to solve.
: And then, where does Matthew 24:14 fit in?
Yet another of Jesus' false prophecies.
: I am SO lost.
I think that it's time for you to begin expanding your horizons and start researching and thinking outside the Christian box. Until you do, you simply have no idea how much information is out there waiting for you to grab it.