Thursday, October 23, 2008

"This" Generation or "That" Generation? What Did Jesus Really Mean?

Continuing with the topic of
Gary DeMar writes in "Is Jesus Coming Soon?" page 20, "Like all of Scripture, Matthew 24 cannot be understood fully without surveying it's context which flows from chapter 23." He continues, "Furthermore, the prophetic words Jesus spoke in chapter 24 are directly related to the events describe in chapter 23". Just to note, this is how Matt 24:34 reads using the ESV translation,
"Truly, I say to you, [His Disciples] this generation will not pass away until all these things take place." ("things": temple destruction, signs leading up to the end of the age [of old covenant], persecution, etc.)
And this is the way traditional evangelical dispensational churches read Matt 24:34,
"THE generation that 'sees' these things will not pass till all is fulfilled."
Here are some problems when it's read that way; "First, projecting this passage into a future fulfillment ignores its clear, literal interpretation. Jesus said, 'this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.' Some try to get around the clear meaning of the phrase by claiming that there was a partial fulfillment in A.D. 70 but there will be a greater or secondary fulfillment sometime in our future.
"This is not the plain and literal reading of the text."
'All these things' were clearly to take place within the 'this generation' time frame. The text does not support the interpretation that there is a gap between the A.D. 70 events and some future events two thousand years from the time when Jesus first made the prophecy. ' This generation' and 'all these things' are tied together. There is nothing in the Olivet Discourse to lead us to believe in some type of 'double fulfillment' where these events repeat themselves in a future tribulation period with a rebuilt temple."

And to add, many of my pre-trib, dispensational brothers like to quote this fortune-cookie theology,
"If the literal sense makes good sense, seek no other sense lest you come up with nonsense."
I then ask them, "Then why don't you apply that to your own literal reading of the Scriptures? Especially when it comes to Matthew 24, Ezekiel 38 & 39."

Let scripture interpret scripture. What do you say? Thanks for reading. God Bless.

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