Alternative meaning of GENERATION in Matt. 24:34

“this Generation will not pass away till all is fulfilled”.

Can the word used in early text also mean ---- race, or tribe [of people] ?

Scholars are pretty certain that “generation” is meant to be the contemporaries at hand, when the piece was written. The only way to salvage the argument is if you subscribe to multiple (and muddled) prophecies in one sentence (which most biblical scholars/proponents do, conveniently enough), or take the position that Jesus is refering to the *beginning * of all these things. A dubious supposition.

No, like Paul and other Christians at the time, Jesus thought that the end times were near (saying that they were at hand). Of course, we know that the end times were not at hand because, quite frankly, we’re still here.

Draw liberally on your reasoning ability to come to whatever conclusions you see fit.

“This” in “This generation” means near in context, not in space and time. Jesus most likely meant that “When all of these signs and events I have just mentioned come to pass, My Coming will be so near, that the generation alive at that time will not pass away until all of these things I have foretold, including my Parousia, are fulfilled.”

Follow this link: thingstocome.org/whatgen.htm and go down a little over halfway to the “The Generation I Just Mentioned” View

Besides, how could Jesus definitively say that the current generation would not pass away if the Son did not know the day or hour of his return?

The greek word ‘genea’ … some translate as ‘race’ or ‘nation’. This meaning would negate your saying that Christ was mistaken on End-Time arrival.

It would, yes. I agree that some people translate to their docrtinal advantage. I think you’ll find that that is difficult to do in this case.

Or perhaps the question might alternately be re-phrased, what does “fulfilled” mean? Does it mean that all of those things will have happened and been completed? Or does it mean that now everything is fully set into unstoppable motion?

That whole article I linked to above gives a good examination of this verse.

He says at the end: “Genea hautey can mean “this offspring,” “this generation I just mentioned,” “this generation I am talking to,” or “this contemporaneous generation,” depending on the context. It is not other contexts, but the context of Matthew 24:34 that should be the determining factor as to what Jesus meant by the word genea. The context of the Olivet Discourse leads us to believe that Jesus was speaking either of the offspring of Jacob (the Jews), the generation of God’s children, or of a future generation among us he had just addressed."

[Matthew]
{24:34} Amen I say to you, that this lineage shall not pass away, until all these things have been done.

from the Catholic Public Domain Version (my translation)

D-R Bible, Haydock Commentary:

Ver. 34. This generation; i.e. the nation of the Jews shall not cease to exist, until all these things shall be accomplished: thus we see the nation of the Jews still continue, and will certainly continue to the end of the world. (Tirinus) — Then the cross, which has been a scandal to the Jew, and a stumbling-block to the Gentile, shall appear in the heavens, for the consolation of the good Christian. Hoc signum crucis erit in cœlo, cum Dominus ad judicandum venerit. — If it be to be understood of the destruction of Jerusalem, the sense may be, this race of men now living; if of the last day of judgment, this generation of the faithful, saith Theophylactus,[4] shall be continued: i.e. the Church of Christ, to the end of the world. (Witham) — This race, I tell you in very truth, shall not pass away till all this be finally accomplished in the ruin of Jerusalem, the most express figure of the destruction and end of the world. (Bible de Vence) — By generation, our Saviour does not mean the people that were in existence at that time, but the faithful of his Church; thus says the psalmist: this is the generation of them that seek the Lord. (Psalm xxiii, ver. 6.) (St. Chrysostom, hom. lxxvii.)

So … this verse can then be used to support the Futurist viewpoint on End-Time Eschatology. The Early Church first believed it applied to their literal generation, their day on Earth … but, in 1600 AD, several priests began teaching Futurism, to combat the Historicism the Protestants were teaching to deny Catholicism — claiming it was of satan, and the child of the AntiChrist.

Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. (Mt 24:34-35)

Jerusalem’s Temple was the architectural symbol of Heaven and earth. With the coming of Christ’s kingdom, the Old Testament age would end within 40 years.

Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." (Mt 16:28)

Jesus left the temple area and was going away, when his disciples approached him to point out the temple buildings. He said to them in reply, “You see all these things, do you not? Amen, I say to you, there will not be left here a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.” As he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached him privately and said, “Tell us, when will this happen, and what sign will there be of your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Mt 24:1-3)

The fig tree is a symbol of Old Covenant Israel.

**I will gather them all in, says the LORD: no grapes on the vine, No figs on the fig trees, foliage withered! Why do we remain here? Let us form ranks and enter the walled cities, to perish there; For the LORD has wrought our destruction, he has given us poison to drink, because we have sinned against the LORD. (Jer 8:13-14)

Like grapes in the desert, I found Israel; Like the first fruits of the fig tree in its prime, I considered your fathers. When they came to Baal-peor and consecrated themselves to the Shame, they became as abhorrent as the thing they loved. (Hos 9:10)**

Jesus applied it to his generation.

Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went over to it, but found nothing on it except leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again.” And immediately the fig tree withered. (Mt 21:19)

"Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, know that he is near, at the gates. Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. (Mt 24:32-34)

The end of the OT age ended with the destruction of the Temple and those in power.

Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.When they persecute you in one town, flee to another. Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. (Mt 10:21-23)

Seven times Jesus said to those in power, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees”.

You serpents, you brood of vipers, how can you flee from the judgment of Gehenna? Therefore, behold, I send to you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and pursue from town to town, so that there may come upon you all the righteous blood shed upon earth, from the righteous blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Amen, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. (Mt 23:33-36)

Then Jesus Laments over Jerusalem, and then. . .

Jesus left the temple area and was going away, when his disciples approached him to point out the temple buildings. He said to them in reply, “You see all these things, do you not? Amen, I say to you, there will not be left here a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.” As he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached him privately and said, “Tell us, when will this happen, and what sign will there be of your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Mt 24:1-3)

The end of the age happened within 40 years. He was talking to those who were listening at the time.

I think you’ve nailed his meaning ! Heaven & earth = the temple.

Now, the ‘some not tasting death til Christ comes with his kingdom’ … that also can be taken as being fulfilled in literal sense, since Christ ‘ushered in’ his Kingdom via Resurrection and Establishment of the Church.

Or said in another way … those disciples to whom Christ talked to were soon REBORN/Confirmed with the H.S.[seeing Christ with new ‘spiritual eyes’] @ Pentecost, BEFORE they later died physical deaths here on earth.

This further confirms it.

And he will send out his angels with a trumpet blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. (Mt 24:31)

It is an allusion to

On that day, A great trumpet shall blow, and the lost in the land of Assyria and the outcasts in the land of Egypt Shall come and worship the LORD on the holy mountain, in Jerusalem. (Is 27:13)

This depicts the restoration of Israel as they are saved from their exile among pagan nations. And the Lord refers to this as gathering his faithful into the Church, and rescuing the righteous of Isreal from the collapsing Old Covenant. And rescuing the Gentiles from paganism.

And of course this fulfillment can be seen as pointing to Christ’s Second Coming in glory at the end of the world.

This is the point. Early Christians believed the End of Time was near. They expected Jesus would come again within the life time of their generation (20 - 30 years). This is also one of the reasons almost nothing about Jesus was written down until 60 A.D. Everyone was expecting this order will come to an end, so there was no need for written documents.

How do we know that this verse was the reason the early Christians believed Jesus was returning in their lifetimes?

Not it taken alone, but part of many. Other verses also suggest a rapid return.

And it depends alot on how we understand “Coming” (Mt 24:3).

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.