After seeing another poster having trouble with the Ollivet Discourse and the words of Jesus that “this generation shall not pass before all this takes place”, I have been looking through the fragment a lot, invoking the Holy Spirit. I’ve got an idea how to possibly understand it. :newidea: Please, correct me if I’m wrong.
It seems to me, the prophesy of the Lord is addressed: a) personally to the Apostles and b) to the faithful readers in general.
A) The main prophesy to the Apostles is contained in the description of the main Tribulation (Mt. 24:15-22) and contains some practical advice to survive the destruction of Jerusalem. In this context, the Lord’s prophecy that “this generation shall not pass” before everything, including the darkening of the Sun and the sudden appearance of the Son of Man in the clouds, was technically fulfilled when St. John saw the Revelation on Pathmos.
B) The most important prophecy, however, is addressed to the reader. The message is that the Second coming will be sudden, without a real public apocalyptic event to warn of its approach. But there are signs, similar to the fig tree leaves, which the Lord describes in the Fig tree narrative. A faithful Christian can identify the imminent disaster by the signs the Lord enumerates: namely, 1) proclamation of the Gospel to all the nations and 2) persecution of Christians.
There might also happen something epic and apocalyptic in the future, but most of the anti-Christians will not pay heed to it, hence the Lord’s reference to the carefree people before the Noah’s Flood and the Parable of an Unfaithful Servant.
In this context, when the Lord tells us “this generation shall not pass away until…”, “this generation” may mean the generation of any reader of the Gospel, i.e., you and me. As soon as we see the signs the Lords predicted (persecution and proclamation of the Gospel), we should be prepared to see the Second Coming in our generation, i.e., our lifetime.
It seems to me, Our Lord is intentionally ambivalent in His prophecy. He wants us to be vigilant and be prepared to meet His Second Coming at any moment. Of course, we might be mislead by the signs, but it is better than being nonchalant, like the Unfaithful Servant.