Monday, August 3rd, 2009
"This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur." (Matthew 24:34)
It is true that when Jesus used the word “generation” negatively, he was speaking to or about the wicked people of his day. (Matthew 12:39; 17:17; Mark 8:38) But was that necessarily true of his statement recorded at Matthew 24:34? Recall that four of Jesus’ disciples had approached him “privately.” (Matthew 24:3) Since Jesus did not use negative qualifiers when speaking to them about “this generation,” the apostles would no doubt have understood that they and their fellow disciples were to be part of the “generation” that would not pass away. Jesus said that it was his disciples, soon to be anointed with holy spirit, who should be able to draw certain conclusions when they saw “all these things” occur. (Matthew 24:32, 33) So Jesus must have been referring to his disciples when he made the statement: “This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.”
(Watchtower issue: 02/15/08, 5:11-13)
*here's some additional info taken from this same Watchtower article, which elaborates on the modern day fulfillment of what's meant by the phrase "this generation."
"Christ's faithful anointed brothers--the modern-day John class...make up the modern-day "generation" of contemporaries that will not pass away until all these things occur" (footnote reads): "The time period during which "this generation" lives seems to correspond to the period covered by the first vision in the book of Revelation. (Revelation 1:10-3:22) This feature of the Lord's day extends from 1914 until the last of the faithful anointed ones dies and is resurrected. (See Revelation -Its Grand Climax At Hand! page 24, paragraph 4) This suggests that some who are Christ's anointed brothers will still be alive on earth when the foretold great tribulation begins."
And the box entitled "Can We Calculate the Length of "This Generation" goes on to add:
"The word "generation" usually refers to people of various ages whose lives overlap during a particular time period or event. For example, Exodus 1:6 tells us: "Eventually Joseph died, and also all that generation." Joseph and his brothers varied in age, but they shared a common experience during the same time period. Included in "that generation" were some of Joseph's brothers who were born before him. Some of these outlived Joseph. (Genesis 50:24) Others of "that generation," such as Benjamin, were born after Joseph was born and may have lived on after he died. So when the term "generation" is used with reference to people living at a particular time, the exact length of that time cannot be stated except that it does have an end and would not be excessively long. (Its been nine decades already since 1914) Therefore, by using the term "this generation," as recorded at Matthew 24:34, Jesus did not give his disciples a formula to enable them to determine when "the last days" would end. Rather, Jesus went on to emphasize that they would not know "that day and hour." (2 Timothy 3:1; Matthew 24:36)