Here's a very short article on This generation~mine are over fifty pages, but this one can be read in five minutes or less.
This Generation Shall Not Pass, Till All These Things be Fulfilled.............By Tony Warren
Matthew chapter 24 has been a very difficult chapter for many people to understand, and one of the questions that I frequently receive about it, is in regard to verse 34:
"Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled."
Many who understand that this Chapter speaks of later day occurrences, are puzzled as to what generation this verse is speaking of. But something which is not well known is that there are several ways in which this word generation is used in scripture. There is the literal family generation, the family generation of evil, and the family generation of Christ. Three very distinct applications of this word.
Another point worthy of note is that scripture has always dated itself by Patriarch fathers. Even to this day we date this way (probably without even giving it much thought). For whenever someone says that, "this is the year 1999," we are dating by the Patriarch reference, Christ (though not accurately). In other words, we are saying that we are living 1,999 years after the birth of of Christ (AD, anno domini, or the year of our Lord). He is the Patriarch reference by which most of the world dates today. This is a biblical and historical practice which goes back to the beginning, and is explained in depth in the paper on the Biblical timeline. So this year is a Patriarch family reference.
The word translated Generation in the New Testament is [genea] or [genos] which means a 'family or kin.' By implication it can also mean a period of a their family, or offspring. For example, someone saying something occurred in the 4th generation, would be telling us that it happened in the period of the family of the 4th born child. It is illustrating a particular family relationship to the Patriarch reference. Understanding this, we can see how God uses the word Generation in scripture to signify not only the family of God, but the family of the adversary, the devil. This is easily proven. Children of God, and children of Satan are two diverse generations. And the way the Generation of evil is applied in scripture, makes it synonymous with the children (or family) of the Devil. It does not refer to an immediate family group only, but all in that families' patriarchal relationship throughout time. Just as the Children of God refer to the whole family of God, which is a chosen generation throughout time, and not just people living at the time in which it was spoken.
"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
Jesus is clearly elucidating that they are part of a particular spiritual family group, and identifies their father as the devil, a murderer from the beginning. Satan is the Patriarch reference for their generation, and he has many children, and not just these who Christ was immediately speaking to. All those under Satan's control are the generation or family of evil. His children which existed from the beginning, and which are under the judgment of God. They are the spiritual offspring of their Patriarch reference, that old Serpent (Satan). The phrase 'generation of vipers' identifies only that family group who serve their father Satan, not everyone in that physical time period.
"And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.
O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things."
This generation of vipers is not the Apostles, not John the Baptist, not Mary, Elizabeth, or the Church, it is the unregenerate 'family' of evil who cannot escape the damnation of Hell.
It is self evident that if this word meant that physical generation were all vipers who couldn't escape the damnation of hell, then it would mean all, including the Apostles who themselves were part of that 'time generation.' But obviously, Christ is not talking about all that physical generation, He is talking about those who are children of Satan, these are the generation of vipers (Psalms 140:1-3). Evil and wicked men who out of the evil in their hearts bring forth evil things. And so we see that there is not only precedence for the word generation not to be understood to mean that particular time, but many times the context itself demands it not be understood that way. Generation of vipers did not mean everyone there, so it could not mean that physical Generation. It is most obviously speaking about a spiritually wicked family [gennema], not a time period or literal generation there.
We should not lose sight of the fact that in order for the 'All' to be fulfilled in that generation which Christ spoke about in Matthew 24, the time He refers to must be at the end of the world/age. When we study the context and content of Matthew 24, it becomes abundantly clear that this end time is what God is referring to.
"And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?"
Of course we are well aware of the Preterist claim that the end of the age was in 70 A.D., but that is a Biblically untenable position. The proponents of this theory come to this conclusion by selectively interpreting age/world [aion], and then arbitrarily making the supposition that there was an end of the age in 70 A.D. This, despite the fact that there is absolutely no Biblical warrant for declaring 70 A.D. the end of an Age. Not one scripture makes that claim! And while they insist Matthew 24 (the end of the world) is a mistranslation of the word [aion], which means age, they are still unable to coherently explain verses like:
"Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting".
This is the exact same Greek word [aion], meaning world/age. If that present time Jesus spoke in was before 70 A.D., (Jesus spoke this before the cross) is when they received manifold more, and the age to come is Eternal life for them, then obviously 70 A.D. being the coming next age (according to their theory), must have been the age of eternal life Jesus spoke of. But did Life Everlasting start in 70 A.D? No, not at all. The theory is bankrupt! Jesus is obviously speaking not about an alleged age to come in 70 A.D., but about the end of the world/age when He would return and "all" would be fulfilled. That is that world or age to come when we would receive the everlasting life.
This doctrine is confused on many fronts, because there was never any Biblical foundation for making such a prophecy in the first place. Reformed or Biblical Theology must be established on biblical foundations. Of necessity these Theologians would have to place another age in between the cross, and the end of the world, in effect splitting the New Testament period into diverse ages. In essence, the last days, and then the last, last days, because their position on 70 A.D. is untenable without it. However, it is also unbiblical with it!
In matthew 24 God is warning not only the disciples about false teachers, but the Churches throughout time. The Bible isn't just written for those it is addressed to. That is our basic fundamental truth. The Book of Thessalonians is addressed to the Thessalonians, but is written to all the Church, throughout time. The Book of Romans is written to the Romans, but is for the Church, throughout Time. When Jesus told the disciples to do this in remembrance of Him (Communion) it was not simply talking to them, but to the Church, throughout time. This is simply basic hermeneutics and sound exegesis! Likewise, when Jesus said this generation shall not pass till 'all these things' be fulfilled, He was talking to all of the Church throughout time. We will always have false prophets, we will always have wars, we will always have the wicked, because we will always have the generation of evil. ..at least until, 'all is Fulfilled!'
Let's review the context of Matthew 24 for our answer to the question of the generation. Jesus is warning the disciples (and us all) about the coming wickedness (Particularly of those who call themselves of Christ), and how they will come 'as wolves in sheep's clothing,' as false prophets, as false Christ's, with all the signs so clever that it would deceive even the Chosen (Elect) if it were possible. He tells us to watch, for these are the signs that will alert us of His soon Coming. And He says this generation shall not pass until all these things be fulfilled. Note carefully that He says not some, but 'All.' And the only generation which shall not pass until all these things be fulfilled (e.g., false Prophets, nation against nation, abomination of desolation, Gospel preached to the world for a witness, The Great tribulation, the sun be darkened, the moon not giving light, the stars falling from heaven, powers of heaven being shaken, the Son of man coming on the clouds of Glory, etc.), is the Generation of evil. A physical generation will pass, and indeed has passed, and we still have these things. But the generation of evil, producing false Christs', a family of vipers, will be on this earth until Christ returns on the clouds of Glory and all is fulfilled! Every family apart! And this generation of evil will be the family which shall be Judged of God.
"That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;"
Is all those people standing there (the physical generation) guilty of the blood of all the Prophets, and will be judged of God for it? God Forbid! The Apostles and all believers there won't have the Blood of the Prophets required of them. That is quite obvious to anyone who knows scripture. God says every man is responsible only for his own sin, not the sins of others Deuteronomy 24:16). Which is why The Blood of these prophets will be required of 'that generation.' ..How? Because Those who killed the Prophets, though they lived hundreds of years before, were part of 'that Generation.' They are part of the family of Satan their father, for the generation of evil spans time.
This couldn't either logically, rationally, or Biblically mean everyone physically there at the time, so what it does mean should be evident with a little thought. It is a kinship of evil. Those of the lineage of Satan. Jesus called them, 'Children of the Devil.' Moreover, let's be clear that this phrase I use (Generation of evil) is not something that I privately dreamed up to support my generation views, it is one which God Himself elucidated upon. It's the Word of God itself:
"And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet".
Was Christ speaking of the Apostles or the 70? No, He wasn't talking about the physical generation of that time here, anymore than He was in Matthew chapter 24. He indeed has given signs to the family of God (Mark 16:20, Hebrews 2:4), but He was talking about a specific evil people (particularly of the congregation) who were evil and looked for miracles, signs, and wonders. In Matthew 12:24 Jesus calls them a 'generation' of vipers who cannot escape the damnation of Hell. If we're only to understand the word generation to mean those living there at the time (as some insist we must), then none of the Apostles or anyone else could escape the damnation of hell. But the truth is a lot more simple and in agreement will 'all' of scripture. It is that the generation of evil which cannot escape, and it is those children of Satan. It is the Reprobates, the exact opposites of the Christian family. Christians are called a Chosen Generation. Ask yourself, "How then can the people living at the time be both called of God, a Chosen Generation, and a generation that cannot escape the damnation of hell?" Simple, they are two separate families. Would we say everyone living there at the time must be part of that chosen generation, because someone arrogantly insists the word Generation demands it? Of course not. The 'Chosen Generation' is the family of God, selected by God. It's not everyone, and it's not merely those in that physical time period only.
1st Peter 2:9
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:"
Here we see the "truth" of the matter. We have two distinct generations coexisting at the same time. A Generation of Evil, and a Chosen Generation. They don't last simply a lifetime, they last until Christ returns. One shall not escape the damnation of Hell, and the other is a special people who shall escape the damnation of Hell. A classic illustration of exactly this concept is found in the book of Luke, chapter 16:
"And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light".
The wicked, in their generation? The wicked in their family are wiser than the 'children of Light.' i.e., Children of God verses Children of the Devil. Two Generations. Again, therein is our answer! This is the generation which the Lord was warning the Church against in Matthew chapter 24, was it not? The family or Children of this world. Their Generation is that which shall not pass until 'ALL' be fulfilled. Comparing scripture with scripture, it would be ludicrous for anyone to insist that the word generation always means a physical (at that present time) generation, considering all the pertinent scriptures. Yet there are many who choose to make such untenable statements.
We know certain things for sure. Number one, While some make this claim that the end of the age was at 70 A.D., there is not one single scripture that supports such a conclusion, and many which preclude it. There is a new dispensation when Christ died and was resurrected, but no new age in 70 A.D. Number two, there is nothing in scripture which says the word generation must always be understood as those physical people at the time, and much of scripture which precludes it (as I've clearly shown). Number three, there is abundant proof texts in scripture that the entire New Testament period was (and still is) the end times, the last days, the last age, 'indicating' that there would not be any other age following this one 'except' it be the age to Come (Christ's return and everlasting life). That's when "ALL" will be fulfilled, as required by Matthew 24 and indeed all of scripture. That is when this evil generation shall pass (post millennialism notwithstanding), and the kingdom delivered up to the father, and righteousness be over all. For all this tribulation and evil has not passed, and all has not been fulfilled. That will occur at 'The last Day.'
"And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled."
When will all be fulfilled? When this evil generation is no longer ruling with the prince of this world. In other words, when Christ returns! There is no age in between. That's the whole purpose of God using the terms 'last days.' There are no more days after these 'last' days, no more dispensations, no more ages. Else Paul would have spoken of being in the next-to-the-last days. It is self evident that contrary to interpretive license, the last days started at the Cross, not in 70 A.d., and the age to come is when Christ returns. No new age was occurred in 70 A.D. The generation which will not pass till all be fulfilled, is the generation which the whole Chapter of 24 warned of. In context, the false prophets, false teachers, deceivers, false Christs', abomination, tribulation, and all that this evil generation brings forth, will not pass until Christ's return. Then, and only then, will 'ALL' be Fulfilled, as required of the prophecy of matthew 24.