This Generation Of Matthew 24

This Olivet Discourse Deception study discusses the context of Messiah proclaiming that ‘this generation‘ would not pass away before the warnings and sign of Matthew 24 would be fulfilled.

Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” Matthew 24:34

When Messiah makes a plain statement, we should not dismiss it, just because we don’t understand the fulfillment.

He was clearly saying that all of the things that He just stated in the previous verses would be fulfilled in that generation.

The fact that I have to prove what ‘this generation‘ means, tells you how grand the enemy’s deception is.

The enemy has caused people to assign the fulfillment of the Olivet Discourse to the end times, so that they don’t understand the truth about what happened in the first century.

Messiah had just berated the Jewish leaders (recorded in Matthew 23), and told them that all of the righteous blood of the killed prophets would be poured out on ‘this generation‘, meaning it would be poured out on them.

Messiah then told the disciples in the Olivet Discourse (recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21) that during ‘this generation‘ the temple would be desolated.

We must take Messiah at His word, for any other explanation is out of context.

The discussion started because the disciples pointed out the beautiful temple, and Messiah proclaimed that it would be desolated, with not one rock left standing on another.

And in 70 A.D., the people of the Prince of Daniel 9, the Roman army, was so angry at the Jews, that they went against Titus’s command to preserve the temple; and they destroyed it, pulling down every stone to steal the gold.

We have a clear statement from Messiah that the temple would be destroyed in that generation, and we have historical proof that indeed it was desolated in that generation.

Please put aside any preconceived notions of what Pastors have told you, and just look at what Scripture is proclaiming.

The Olivet Discourse was preceded by Messiah condemning the Pharisees and Lawyers saying,

Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.” Matthew 23:34-36

He was saying that they will kill some of the Apostles and that they would pay for it, their generation, not some future generation, as that would not make sense.

Here are other examples of Messiah speaking to the current generation of Jews, whom He referred to as “this generation”.

And while the crowds were thickly gathered together, He began to say, “THIS IS AN EVIL GENERATION. It seeks a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. For as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation. The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon IS HERE. The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah IS HERE.” Luke 11:29-32

But He sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.” Mark 8:12

Messiah proclaimed that the current generation would reject Him.

But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.” Luke 17:25

We know that generation did reject Him as their Messiah and they delivered Him up to be killed.

Messiah told the High Priest who condemned Him, that he would see Messiah come in power and glory.

And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

So the context of what Messiah means when He says “this generation” is quite clear.

During Pentecost, Peter admonished the Jews who witnessed the Apostles being who were filled with the Spirit and speaking the Gospel in different languages, once again pointing to the current generation:

`Be saved from this perverse generation;’ Acts 2:40

Quotes from the great theologians about the meaning of ‘this generation‘:

Albert Barnes Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible (1832)

This generation, etc. This age; this race of men. A generation is about thirty or forty years. The destruction of Jerusalem took place about forty years after this was spoken. Cmt. on Mt 16:28.
Till all these things, etc. Till these things shall receive a full accomplishment. Till events shall take place that shall be a complete fulfillment, if there were nothing farther intended. He does not mean to exclude here the reference to the judgment, but to say that the destruction of Jerusalem would be such as to make appropriate the words of the prediction, were there nothing beyond. So when death was threatened to Adam, the propriety of the threatening would have been seen, and the threatening would have been fulfilled, had men suffered only temporal death. At the same time, the threatening had a fulness of meaning, that would cover also, and justify, eternal death in hell. Thus the words of Christ, describing the destruction of Jerusalem, had a fulness of signification that would meet also the events of the judgment, and whose meaning would not be filled up till the world was closed.

Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible (1837)

“it is literally true in reference to the destruction of Jerusalem. John probably lived to see these things come to pass; compare Matthew 16:28, with John 21:22; and there were some rabbins alive at the time when Christ spoke these words who lived till the city was destroyed, viz. Rabban Simeon, who perished with the city; R. Jochanan ben Zaccai, who outlived it; R. Zadoch, R. Ismael, and others. See Lightfoot.” (Adam Clarke’s Commentary On Matthew 24)

C.H. Spurgeon (1868)

“The King left his followers in no doubt as to when these things should happen: “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled.” It was just about the ordinary limit of a generation when the Roman armies compassed Jerusalem, whose measure of iniquity was then full, and overflowed in misery, agony, distress, and bloodshed such as the world never saw before or since. Jesus was a true Prophet; everything that he foretold was literally fulfilled.” (The Gospel of the Kingdom, p.218)

Geneva Bible Notes from the Protestant Reformers (1599)

“Matthew 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This {t} generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
(t) This age: the word “generation” or “age” is here being used for the men of this age.” (in loc.)

“For within fiftie yeres after, Jerusalem was destroied: the godlie were persecuted, false teachers seduced the people, religion was polluted, so that the worlde semed to be at an end.” (Matthew 24:34)

Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible 1871

“Whether we take this to mean that the whole would be fulfilled within the limits of the generation then current, or, according to a usual way of speaking, that the generation then existing would not pass away without seeing a begun fulfillment of this prediction, the facts entirely correspond.  For either the whole was fulfilled in the destruction accomplished by Titus, as many think; or, if we stretch it out, according to others, till the thorough dispersion of the Jews, a little later, under Adrian, every requirement of our Lord’s words seem to be met.” (Commentary, Practical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, 979)

John Calvin’s Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible

“The meaning therefore is: “This prophecy does not relate to evils that are distant, and which posterity will see after the lapse of many centuries, but which are now hanging over you, and ready to fall in one mass, so that there is no part of it which the present generation will not experience.” (in loc.)

“For within fifty years the city was destroyed and the temple was razed, the whole country was reduced to a hideous desert, and the obstinacy of the world rose up against God.” (Commentary on the Harmony of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, vol. 3, trans. by William Pringle (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1949), 151.

“Though Christ employs a general expression, yet he does not extend the discourses to all the miseries which would befall the Church, but merely informs them, that before a single generation shall have been completed, they will learn by experience the truth of what he has said. For within fifty years the city was destroyed and the temple was raised, the whole country was reduced to a hideous desert, and the obstinacy of the world rose up against God. Nay more, their rage was inflamed to exterminate the doctrine of salvation, false teachers arose to corrupt the pure gospel by their impostures, religion sustained amazing shocks, and the whole company of the godly was miserably distressed. Now though the same evils were perpetrated in uninterrupted succession for many ages afterwards, yet what Christ said was true, that, before the close of a single generation, believers would feel in reality, and by undoubted experience, the truth of his prediction; for the apostles endured the same things which we see in the present day. And yet it was not the design of Christ to promise to his followers that their calamities would be terminated within a short time, (for then he would have contradicted himself, having previously warned them that the end was not yet;) but, in order to encourage them to perseverance, he expressly foretold that those things related to their own age. The meaning therefore is: “This prophecy does not relate to evils that are distant, and which posterity will see after the lapse of many centuries, but which are now hanging over you, and ready to fall in one mass, so that there is no part of it which the present generation will not experience.” So then, while our Lord heaps upon a single generation every kind of calamities, he does not by any means exempt future ages from the same kind of sufferings, but only enjoins the disciples to be prepared for enduring them all with firmness (Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, vol.3, tr. William Pringle, Eerdmans, 1949, pp. 151, 152).

John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible (1809)

“Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, etc. Not the generation of men in general; as if these sense was, that mankind should not cease, until the accomplishment of these things; nor the generation, or people of the Jews, who should continue to be a people, until all were fulfilled; nor the generation of Christians; as if the meaning was, that there would always be a set of Christians, or believers of Christ in the world, till all these events came to pass; but it respects that present age, or generation of men then living in it; and the sense is, that all the men of that age should not die, but some should live till all things were fulfilled; see Matt. xvi.27-28, as many did, and as there is reason to believe they might, and must, since all these things had their accomplishment, in and about forty years after this: and certain it is that John, one of the disciples of Christ outlived the time by many years; and, as Dr. Lightfoot observes, many of the Jewish doctors now living, when Christ spoke these words, lived until the city was destoryed; as Rabbi Simeon, who perished with it, R. Jochanan be Zaccai, who outlived it, R. Zadoch, R. Ishmael, and others: this is a full and clear proof, that not any thing that is said before, related to the second coming of Christ, the day of judgment, and the end of the world; but that all belong to the coming of the Son of man, in the destruction of Jerusalem, and to the end of the Jewish state.” (vol 2, 1809, p. 240)

John Wesley’s Notes on the Bible (1754)

“This generation of men now living shall not pass till all these things be done – The expression implies that great part of that generation would be passed away, but not the whole. Just so it was; for the city and temple were destroyed thirty-nine or forty years after.”

It’s illogical, and out of context, to assign Messiah’s clear declaration of ‘this generation’ to the end times.

David Nikao

Next Olivet Discourse Study: The Abomination Of Desolation

The scriptural context of the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24

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