Thoughts on Matthew 24: Part II

As we saw earlier, the language in Matthew 24 is not language about the end of the world, but rather language about the end of a world, the world of the Temple. We saw how Christ uses Old Testament de-creation language to describe the coming destruction of the Temple. I want to look now at another way this passage is twisted to fit certain theological paradigms.

Generation Means Generation

Here is Matthew 24:34: “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.” Anyone who believes this passage refers to the end of the world must find a way to redefine the word generation. (It is odd that Dispensationalists frequently say they interpret the Bible literally, but here they do not, indeed they cannot.) How is this word redefined? Usually they say this word means “race” or “this sort of people.” By this interpretation, what Jesus would be saying is “Assuredly, I say to you, this race/group of people…” Is there any justification for interpreting the word this way? The best way to solve this is to look at other uses of the word, in particular those other uses by Matthew, thus allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture.

The word “generation”, genea in Greek, is used 10 times in Matthew. I am not going to quote all of the references for you, but here they are: Matthew 1:17, 11:16, 12:39, 41, 42, 45, 16:4, 17:17 and 23:36, along with the verse used above. I encourage you to look up these verses. In every verse, there is no reason to interpret the word in any way other than it’s normal usage. If you want to go one step further look at all the uses of this word in Luke. Here they are: Luke 1:48, 50, 7:31, 9:41, 11:29, 30, 31, 32, 50, 51, 16:8, 17:24 and 21:32. Again there is not a single passage where the normal term generation does not fit the context. The only reason to reinterpret the word in Matthew 24:34 is because of a preconceived theological idea. Those who do this are squeezing the Bible into their system, instead of revising their system based on what the Scriptures say. Jesus was not talking about the end of the world, but the destruction of the Temple, which occurred in the generation to which Jesus was speaking.