Matthew 21.32 “This generation will not pass until all these things be fulfilled”
Someone has asked – ‘what does this Bible verse mean?’
One is tempted to say ‘I don’t know’, but I will suggest some detail to help fit it into it’s context.
Luke 21.6, 12-24 can generally be seen as fulfilled e.g. The stones of the temple were torn down in AD 70 by the Roman general Titus and his army. The Christians were persecuted intensely, and the city of Jerusalem was surrounded by the Roman army, just as Jesus said. It is reported that the Christians saw this prophecy being fulfilled before their eyes, so the fled and thus were saved the dreadful destruction of the city!
The end of verse 24 is most significant – “the times of the Gentiles” It was God’s intention that Israel be the head of the nations. But since the destruction of the temple in AD 70, Israel has been dispersed across the face of the earth. This last 2000years has obviously been the ‘times of the Gentiles’ The resurgence of Israel since 1948 along with disasters and political tensions may well be the new leaves of the ‘fig tree’.
Now what about verses 25,26,27,28 - there have been times of strange solar happenings (some have taught that Jesus did return at the end of the 1st century!). Others see the last days as encompassing all the last 2000 years with its many seasons of disasters and wars.
I think rather like Daniel 9, there is an unexplained gap. Daniel 9 lays out a timetable of years (sevens) between the building of Zerubbabel’s temple and the cutting off of the Messiah AD30 and the destruction of the temple AD70. Others have verified the accuracy of Daniel’s prophetic timetable. However Daniel’s timetable goes on to predict a covenant treaty between Israel and some world power. This treaty will then be broken after three and a half years. This seems to not be yet fulfilled, like Luke 21.25-27.
Could it be that God has inserted the ‘mystery’ of the church into this gap? – a period of time when not only do we have the Gentiles political domination, but also God at work, calling out of the nations, a people for Himself, for His Son, as distinct from the purpose given to Israel.
The Lord did say in one parable, that the master of the vineyard would be away for a ‘long time’ to receive a kingdom, before he would return to claim the inheritance of the vineyard (Israel).
Well I can accept that explanation, but what of our verse V32 “this generation “ A different translation reads “this tribe” Israel has never been extinguished, (against all odds). Some have tried but I rather think that God has a future for Israel. Israel is in blindness and unbelief as a nation (Romans 11), but God has yet to fully fulfil His promises to Abraham and David. God is able to bring them to new birth, gathering the dead bones to life so that His prophetic word will be vindicated. So I am suggesting that the “generation” of our verse is Israel as a tribe.
Other thoughts may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org