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What did Jesus mean when He said, "this generation will not pass"?

Question: "What did Jesus mean when He said, "this generation will not pass"?"

This quote of Jesus in regards to the end times is found in Matthew 24:34, Mark 13:30, and Luke 21:32. Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place." The key to understanding what Jesus means is understanding the context; that is, understanding the verses that are surrounding verse 34, but especially the verses prior to verse 34. In Matthew 24:4-31, Jesus is speaking of events that have not yet happened. The generation of people living when those events occur is the generation that Jesus speaks of "not passing" until He returns. Jesus had already told those living during His first time on earth that the kingdom had been taken from them (Matthew 21:43). Therefore, it is imperative that Matthew 24-25 be seen as speaking of a future time and that the word generation is referring to the people alive when the events of Matthew 24-25 are occurring.

Another possibility is that Jesus was giving a prophecy with a "double fulfillment." Some of what He was predicting was going to occur in that generation. Some of what Jesus prophesied fits with what occurred when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Other aspects of Jesus' prophecy, however, did not occur in A.D.70; for example, Matthew 24:29-31. However, this view does not work with Jesus' statement that "all these things" will take place in "this generation." Therefore, it is best to understand "this generation" as referring to the generation in which the end-times events occur. Essentially, Jesus is saying that the end times will happen quickly. This concept is echoed in many other Scriptures (Matthew 24:22; Mark 13:20; Revelation 3:11; 22:7,12,20).

Recommended Resource: Understanding End Times Prophecy by Paul Benware.

Related Topics:

What is the abomination of desolation?

What is going to happen according to end times prophecy?

Was Jesus' statement to the disciples in Luke 9:27 (also Matthew 16:28; Mark 9:1) incorrect?

What is the Olivet Discourse?

What is the battle of Armageddon?

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What did Jesus mean when He said, "this generation will not pass"?