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In Matthew 24, what does Jesus mean by “this generation”?

“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Matthew 24:32-34

“This generation” means. . .this generation.

“To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others.” Matthew 11:16


He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it.” Mark 8:12


Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all. Luke 11:50-51

A generation was approximately 40-70 years of life span. So if the people standing before him were in their 30s, Jesus was saying "in another 40 years you will understand what I’m saying." In 70 AD, the temple and Jerusalem were totally destroyed and never returned to the glory it once had.

Over 20 times in the Gospels the term “generation” means the same thing.

Jesus told them that this generation will be alive when “all these thing have happened.” They will see it with their own eyes.

They did.

Jesus told them earlier in Matthew 16, being very specific about who will see his coming judgment and in what time frame that would occur.

"For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." Matthew 16:27-28

Those standing in front of him will live to see Him judge this Jewish kingdom and the beginning of a new kingdom (without the temple).

We can’t make “this generation” mean “this era of man extending the meaning of "soon" another 2,000 years to fit our end times eschatology.

In Matthew 24, what does Jesus mean by “this generation”?