This Generation

In the "Introduction" to Last Days Madness  Gary DeMar states that his first dissatisfaction with the futurist system came because of Matthew 24:34:

"The first area of dissatisfaction came with how commentators handled Matthew 24:34: 'Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.'  At first reading one gets the distinct impression that Jesus is saying that the people with whom He was speaking would live to see and experience the events described in Matthew 24. This seemed impossible! And yet, there it was...If this is the correct interpretation, as I believe it is and hope to prove in the course of this book, then today s speculative madness relating to repeated failed attempts at predicting the end must be attributed to a gross misunderstanding of Bible prophecy"  [emphasis mine] (DeMar, Last Days Madness, 14-15).

Although the mistaken idea that the words "this generation" must refer to the generation living at the time the Lord Jesus walked the earth is but one link in a catena of errors promoted by the preterists, it is the first and most important. As already demonstrated, the generation living when the Lord spoke the words at Matthew 24:34 never saw a world wide judgment:

"And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory . Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth"  (Lk. 21: 25-27, 32-35).

Gary DeMar writes,"I believe the Bible. There is no way that it could err. This was my starting presupposition. Scripture had to be taken at face value" (Ibid., 14).

If Gary DeMar takes the Scriptures at face value then why does he continue to deny that the words penned by Luke in the twenty-first chapter of his gospel are speaking of a world wide judgment? Why does he continue to deny that the judgment at the "end of the age" is in regard to the whole earth?:

"The field is the world the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this age. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity" (Mt.13:38-41).

The Possible Meanings of "Genea"

In the Lidell-Scott Greek-English Lexicon where one of the meaninngs is "family":

"genea,, a/j, Ion. geneh,, h/j( h`, Ep. dat. geneh/fi: (gi,gnomai): I. of the persons in a family, 1. race, stock, family, Hom., etc.; Pria,mou g. Il.; evk geneh/j according to his family, Ib.; geneh/| by birth-right, Od.; geneh.n Aivtwlo,j by descent, Il.:-of horses, a breed, Ib.:-generally, geneh,n in kind, Hdt.:-also a tribe, nation, Persw/n g. Aesch. 2. a race, generation, oi[hper fu,llwn geneh. toih,de kai. avndrw/n Il.; du,o geneai. avnqrw,pwn Ib. 3. offspring, Orac. ap. Hdt.; and of a single person, Soph. II. of time or place in reference to birth: 1. a birth-place, geneh. evpi. li,mnh| Gugai,h| Il.; of an eagle's eyrie, Od. 2. age, time of life, esp. in phrases geneh/| new,tatoj( presbu,tatoj youngest, eldest, in age, or by birth, Hom. 3. time of birth, evk geneh/j Hdt.; avpo. g. Xen."

Therefore, there can be no doubt that one of the meanings of the Greek word translated "generation" is "family" and it will now be demonstrated that "family" is the correct translation at Matthew 24:34.

This Genea Shall Not Pass

By the Lord Jesus' own admission the "times" and "seasons" have been put in the Father's power (Acts 1:7; Mt.24:36). It is not as if He had been given a vision in regard to the time when all these things would be fulfilled. Instead, He was the Prophet described here:

"I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him" (Deut.18:18).

The Lord Jesus had no special knowledge in regard to when the things would happen so He certainly would not be pointing out any specific generation of men who would see the signs of which He spoke.

Therefore there is nothing in the Bible which indicates that the Lord Jesus would know that His prophecies would be fulfilled during the time of any specific generation. After all, in order for the Lord Jesus to be sent back to earth the Jewish nation was required to "repent," as witnessed by the following words of Peter on the day of Pentecost:

"Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you--even Jesus" (Acts 3:19-20; NIV).

Since the nation of Israel did not repent and turn to the Lord it is obvious that the Lord Jesus was not sent back to earth. Therefore the generation then living did not see all of the signs:

"And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory...So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fuffilled" (Mt.24:30, 33-34).

Therefore, the correct translation of the following passage is as follows:

"So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This family shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" (Mt.24:33-34).

The family refers to the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The Lord Jesus' sermon foretold of the "great tribulation," a time when Israel will be attacked unmercifully in an attempt to destroy the whole family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Therefore it would not be unusual for the Lord Jesus to assure them that they will not be wiped out and that they will continue to exist. Therefore, He told them that the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would still be in existence when He returned to the earth.

In fact, this is not the first time that such assurance had been given to the Israelites, as witnessed by these words:

"Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for light by day And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The LORD of hosts is His name: If this fixed order departs From before Me, declares the LORD, Then the offspring of Israel also will cease from being a nation before Me forever" (Jer.31:35-36).

According to the Lord as long as the sun and moon remain in the sky the nation of Israel will remain "being a nation" before Him. So there is nothing odd about the Lord Jesus telling the Israelites that "this family shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled," especially with the great tribulation in view.

"Ye" Shall See All These Things

Now let us look at the passage in question again:

"So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This family shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" (Mt.24:33-34).

Earlier the same day the Lord Jesus used the same pronoun "ye" in regard to those who were not members of the then present generation but instead will belong to a future generation:

"For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Mt.23:39).

Earlier His disciples had indeed said,"Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Mt. 21:9) so if we are to believe the words of the Lord Jesus then at some time in the future there will be some Jews belonging to a future generation who will say those words. And the Lord used the pronoun "ye" to refer to those who will belong to a future generation.

With that fact established we can understand that the word "ye" in the following verse can refer to Jews belonging to a future generation. Therefore the prounoun can be in reference to not only the Israelites living in the then present generation but also to all of Israelites throughout time:

"So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This family shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" (Mt.24:33,34).