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„Verily I say unto you this generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled.” Matt. 24:34
This passage has puzzled us many times, and our experience may be the same as some others with regard to it, but we think we have the solution of it now. It may not be new to some, but it is to us. However, it is not because it is new, but because it is true (as we believe) that it satisfies us.
The disciples had been asking Jesus (ver. 3) about the destruction of Jerusalem, what should be the sign of his coming, and of the end of the world (age), and after answering their questions with regard to it, he adds the words referred to above. We understand some to think that this prophecy was fulfilled at the transfiguration; and a careless reading of Mark 9:1, with 2 Peter 1:17,18, might seem to justify that conclusion; but when we reflect that not alone was his coming inquired after, but the end of the age („what shall be the sign of the presence and of the end of the age” [Emphatic Diaglott]) and in accordance with their questions he gave the signs all along up to the end of the age, and then says, „Verily I say unto you this generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled.” This could not be fulfilled by any events recorded in the above scriptures, but Mark 9:1 was fulfilled „six days after,” and is referred to by Peter.
We think Jesus, as he was not talking to the multitude, used plain language, no figure nor symbol, but that the whole difficulty centres in the meaning of the word generation. We think the key to it is found in Matt. 19:28. „Verily I say unto you that ye who have followed me—in the re-generation when the son of man shall sit upon the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
We understand that he used the word generation in distinction from the word re generation; in other words, that he gave them to understand that he would be present before the re generation, and before the people of this age should pass away („this generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled”) for (ver. 38) „as in those days, those before the deluge … thus will be the presence of the Son of man.” E. Diaglott.
We consider this, in harmony with other scriptures, is clearly opposed to the post millennial view, and strongly in confirmation of the pre-millennial view.
Now, then, are „all these things” fulfilled? Are they nearly all fulfilled? This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations.” Has that been done? Yes.
„Then shall the end (of the age—The harvest is the end of the age. Matt. 13:39,) come.” HEKO, have come, be here; (see Young’s Analytical Concordance.) „Therefore let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering, for he is faithful that promised, and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another, and so much the more as ye see the day approaching.” Heb. 10:23,24,25.
The end of one day (Gospel day) having come, „another day,” Heb. 4:8, is approaching. „He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
J. C. SUNDERLIN.
— April, 1882 —