Matthew 24:34
Truly I say to you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(34) This generation shall not pass . . .—The natural meaning of the words is, beyond question. that which takes “generation” in the ordinary sense (as in Matthew 1:17, Acts 13:36, and elsewhere) for those who are living at any given period. So it was on “this generation” (Matthew 23:36) that the accumulated judgments were to fall. The desire to bring the words into more apparent harmony with history has led some interpreters to take “generation” in the sense of “race” or “people,” and so to see in the words a prophecy of the perpetuity of the existence of the Jews as a distinct people till the end of the world. But for this meaning there is not the shadow of authority; nor does it remove the difficulty which it was invented to explain. The words of Matthew 16:28 state the same fact in language which does not admit of any such explanation.

Till all these things be fulfilled.—Better, till all these things come to pass. The words do not necessarily imply more than the commencement of a process, the first unrolling of the scroll of the coming ages.

24:29-41 Christ foretells his second coming. It is usual for prophets to speak of things as near and just at hand, to express the greatness and certainty of them. Concerning Christ's second coming, it is foretold that there shall be a great change, in order to the making all things new. Then they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds. At his first coming, he was set for a sign that should be spoken against, but at his second coming, a sign that should be admired. Sooner or later, all sinners will be mourners; but repenting sinners look to Christ, and mourn after a godly sort; and those who sow in those tears shall shortly reap in joy. Impenitent sinners shall see Him whom they have pierced, and, though they laugh now, shall mourn and weep in endless horror and despair. The elect of God are scattered abroad; there are some in all places, and all nations; but when that great gathering day comes, there shall not one of them be missing. Distance of place shall keep none out of heaven. Our Lord declares that the Jews should never cease to be a distinct people, until all things he had been predicting were fulfilled. His prophecy reaches to the day of final judgment; therefore he here, ver. 34, foretells that Judah shall never cease to exist as a distinct people, so long as this world shall endure. Men of the world scheme and plan for generation upon generation here, but they plan not with reference to the overwhelming, approaching, and most certain event of Christ's second coming, which shall do away every human scheme, and set aside for ever all that God forbids. That will be as surprising a day, as the deluge to the old world. Apply this, first, to temporal judgments, particularly that which was then hastening upon the nation and people of the Jews. Secondly, to the eternal judgment. Christ here shows the state of the old world when the deluge came. They were secure and careless; they knew not, until the flood came; and they believed not. Did we know aright that all earthly things must shortly pass away, we should not set our eyes and hearts so much upon them as we do. The evil day is not the further off for men's putting it far from them. What words can more strongly describe the suddenness of our Saviour's coming! Men will be at their respective businesses, and suddenly the Lord of glory will appear. Women will be in their house employments, but in that moment every other work will be laid aside, and every heart will turn inward and say, It is the Lord! Am I prepared to meet him? Can I stand before him? And what, in fact, is the day of judgment to the whole world, but the day of death to every one?This generation ... - This age; this race of people. A generation is about 30 or 40 years. The destruction of Jerusalem took place about forty years after this was spoken. See the notes at Matthew 16:28.

Till all these things ... - Until these things shall be accomplished. Until events shall take place which shall be a fulfillment of these words, if there were nothing further intended. He does not mean to exclude 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. Compare the notes at Matthew 1:22-23. So when "death" was threatened to Adam, the propriety of the threatening would have been seen, and the threatening would have been fulfilled, had people suffered only temporal death. At the same time the threatening had "a fullness of meaning" that would cover also, and justify, eternal death. 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 "entirely filled up" until the world was closed.

CHAPTER 24

Mt 24:1-51. Christ's Prophecy of the Destruction of Jerusalem, and Warnings Suggested by It to Prepare for His Second Coming. ( = Mr 13:1-37; Lu 21:5-36).

For the exposition, see on [1355]Mr 13:1-37.

See Poole on "Matthew 24:35". Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass,.... Not the generation of men in general; as if the 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 should be always a set of Christians, or believers in Christ in the world, until 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 these things were fulfilled; see Matthew 16:28 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 destroyed; as Rabban Simeon, who perished with it, R. Jochanan ben Zaccai, who outlived it, R. Zadoch, R. Ishmael, and others: this is a full and clear proof, that not anything that is said before, relates to the second coming of Christ, the day of judgment, and 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.

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.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 24:34. Declaration to the effect that all this is to take place before the generation then living should pass away. The well-nigh absurd manner in which it has been attempted to force into the words ἡ γενεὰ αὕτη such meanings as: the creation (Maldonatus), or: the human race (Jerome), or: the Jewish nation (Jansen, Calovius, Wolf, Heumann, Storr, Dorner, Hebart, Auberlen; see, on the other hand, on Mark 13:30), or: “the class of men consisting of my believers” (Origen, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euthymius Zigabenus, Clarius, Paulus, Lange), resembles the unreasonable way in which Ebrard, following up his erroneous reference of πάντα ταῦτα (see on Matthew 24:33), imports into the saying the idea: inde ab ipsorum (discipulorum) aetate omnibus ecclesiae temporibus interfutura, an imaginary view which passages like Matthew 10:23, Matthew 16:28, Matthew 23:39, should have been sufficient to prevent. This also in opposition to the interpretation of Cremer: “the generation of the elect now in question,” and that of Klostermann: “the (future) generation which is to witness those events,” both of which are foreign to the sense. Comp. Matthew 23:36.

The πάντα ταῦτα is the same as that of Matthew 24:33, and therefore denoting neither the mere prognostics of the second advent, or, to be more definite, “the taking away of the kingdom from Israel” (Gess), nor specially the destruction of Jerusalem (Schott, E. J. Meyer, Hoelemann, Bäumlein in Klaiber’s Stud. I. 3, p. 41 ff.). That the second advent itself is intended to be included, is likewise evident from Matthew 24:36, in which the subject of the day and hour of the advent is introduced.Matthew 24:34 Solemn assurance that the predicted will come to pass.—πάντα ταῦτα is most naturally taken to mean the same things as in Matthew 24:33, he main subject of the discourse, the impending destruction of the Jewish state. Jesus was quite certain that they would happen within the then living generation (ἡ γενεὰ αὕτη), not merely through miraculous foresight but through clear insight into the moral forces at work.34. This generation] See note, ch. Matthew 16:28.Matthew 24:34. Γενεὰ, generation) sc. an age of men. This notion, which agrees with the event, corresponds most properly with the question, when? etc., proposed in ver, 3; cf. Matthew 24:15; Matthew 24:20, ch. Matthew 23:36; Luke 23:38. From the date of this prediction to the destruction of Jerusalem was a space of forty years, and from the true year of our Lord’s nativity to that event was a space of about seventy-five years. The Jews, however (as, for example, in Seder Olam), reckon seventy-five years as one generation, and the words, οὐ μὴ παρέλθῃ, “shall not pass away,” intimate that the greater part of that generation, but not the whole of it, should have passed away before all the events indicated should have come to pass. The prediction is true with respect to either the forty or the seventy-five years.[1062] So accurately did the Evangelist describe it many years before the event took place.

[1062] Various things [agreeing with our Lord’s prophecy] can be brought forward from the writers of the Talmud, which are reported by them to have happened in the forty years before the destruction of the temple and the city, and which thus, with sufficient accuracy, harmonise with the history of the Passion.—Harm., p. 481.Verse 34. - This generation. Our Lord's assertion has given rise to sceptical observations, as if his prophecy had failed. Alford has endeavoured to remove objections by taking γενεὰ as equivalent to γένος, a race or family of people, and referring it to the continued existence of the Jews. He cites Jeremiah 8:3 (Septuagint); Matthew 12:45; Matthew 17:17; Matthew 23:36, etc., in confirmation of this signification. His examples, however, are not unassailable, though such use is certainly classical; but it the same time, it is unlikely that Christ should thus indefinitely postpone a period of infinite importance to his hearers. But there is no necessity for assuming any unusual meaning in the term "this generation." Its plain and obvious reference is to the contemporaries of the speaker, or those who shall live some thirty or forty years longer; this period would bring them to the siege of Jerusalem. And remembering that Christ has drawn no definite line between this crisis and the final consummation, we are justified in regarding all these things as meaning, primarily, the signs preceding or accompanying the downfall of the city. In a secondary sense, "this generation" may mean the spiritual Israel, the generation of them that seek the Lord (Psalm 24:6). "All these things shall surely come to pass," says Chrysostom, "and the generation of the faithful shall remain, cut off by none of the things that have been mentioned. For both Jerusalem shall perish, and the more part of the Jews shall be destroyed, but over this generation shall nothing prevail - not famine, not pestilence, not earthquake, not the tumults of wars, not false Christs, not false prophets, not deceivers, not traitors, not those that cause to offend, nor the false brethren, nor any other such-like temptations whatever." Some critics have combined the three meanings of "generation" given above, and have seen in Christ's words a threefold reference, first, to the contemporary people; secondly, to the Jewish nation; thirdly, to the Christian believers or dispensation. According to Lange, "this generation" means the generation of those who know and discern these signs.
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