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Old 9th November 2008, 05:11 AM
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Default Before this generation passes away....

Generally speaking in Scripture, what does "this generation" refer to? Is it something other than a 20-30 year span of time? (Aka, baby boomers, GenX, GenY).

Luke 21....
{21:1} And looking around, he saw the wealthy putting their donations into the offertory.
{21:2} Then he also saw a certain widow, a pauper, putting in two small brass coins.
{21:3} And he said: “Truly, I say to you, that this poor widow has put in more than all the others.
{21:4} For all these, out of their abundance, have added to the gifts for God. But she, out of what she needed, has put in all that she had to live on.”
{21:5} And when some of them were saying, about the temple, that it was adorned with excellent stones and gifts, he said,
{21:6} “These things that you see, the days will arrive when there will not be left behind stone upon stone, which is not thrown down.”
{21:7} Then they questioned him, saying: “Teacher, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when these things will happen?”
{21:8} And he said: “Be cautious, lest you be seduced. For many will come in my name, saying: ‘For I am he,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ And so, do not choose to go after them.
{21:9} And when you will have heard of battles and seditions, do not be terrified. These things must happen first. But the end is not so soon.”
{21:10} Then he said to them: “People will rise up against people, and kingdom against kingdom.
{21:11} And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and pestilences, and famines, and terrors from heaven; and there will be great signs.
{21:12} But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, handing you over to synagogues and into custody, dragging you before kings and governors, because of my name.
{21:13} And this will be an opportunity for you to give testimony.
{21:14} Therefore, set this in your hearts: that you should not consider in advance how you might respond.
{21:15} For I will give to you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries will not be able to resist or contradict.
{21:16} And you will be handed over by your parents, and brothers, and relatives, and friends. And they will bring about the death of some of you.
{21:17} And you will be hated by all because of my name.
{21:18} And yet, not a hair of your head will perish.
{21:19} By your patience, you shall possess your souls.
{21:20} Then, when you will have seen Jerusalem encircled by an army, know then that its desolation has drawn near.
{21:21} Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and those who are in its midst withdraw, and those who are in the countryside not enter into it.
{21:22} For these are the days of retribution, so that all things may be fulfilled, which have been written.
{21:23} Then woe to those who are pregnant or nursing in those days. For there will be great distress upon the land and great wrath upon this people.
{21:24} And they will fall by the edge of the sword. And they will be led away as captives into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles, until the times of the nations are fulfilled.
{21:25} And there will be signs in the sun and the moon and the stars. And there will be, on earth, distress among the Gentiles, out of confusion at the roaring of the sea and of the waves:
{21:26} men withering away out of fear and out of apprehension over the things that will overwhelm the whole world. For the powers of the heavens will be moved.
{21:27} And then they will see the Son of man coming on a cloud, with great power and majesty.
{21:28} But when these things begin to happen, lift up your heads and look around you, because your redemption draws near.”

{21:29} And he told them a comparison: “Take notice of the fig tree and of all the trees.
{21:30} When presently they produce fruit from themselves, you know that summer is near.
{21:31} So you also, when you will have seen these things happen, know that the kingdom of God is near.
{21:32} Amen I say to you, this lineage shall not pass away, until all these things happen.

{21:33} Heaven and earth shall pass away. But my words shall not pass away.
{21:34} But be attentive to yourselves, lest perhaps your hearts may be weighed down by self-indulgence and inebriation and the cares of this life. And then that day may overwhelm you suddenly.
{21:35} For like a snare it will overwhelm all those who sit upon the face of the entire earth.
{21:36} And so, be vigilant, praying at all times, so that you may be held worthy to escape from all these things, which are in the future, and to stand before the Son of man.”
{21:37} Now in the daytime, he was teaching in the temple. But truly, departing in the evening, he lodged on the mount that is called Olivet.
{21:38} And all the people arrived in the morning to listen to him in the temple.

FYI: Ron's translation above uses the term lineage which I think essentially solves my problem, which I haven't even described yet. The .NET study bible, which is a great source of translation/original language/textual criticism info has the following commentary:

2 sn This is one of the hardest verses in the gospels to interpret. Various views exist for what generation means. (1) Some take it as meaning “race” and thus as an assurance that the Jewish race (nation) will not pass away. But it is very questionable that the Greek term γενεά (genea) can have this meaning. Two other options are possible. (2) Generation might mean “this type of generation” and refer to the generation of wicked humanity. Then the point is that humanity will not perish, because God will redeem it. Or (3) generation may refer to “the generation that sees the signs of the end” (vv. 25-26), who will also see the end itself. In other words, once the movement to the return of Christ starts, all the events connected with it happen very quickly, in rapid succession.

So, the problem is:
This verse is oftentimes interpreted to refer to both the destruction of the temple in AD70, and the return of Christ, the tribulation, etc. Some people, however, have used the verse about "this generation" not passing away to indicate that it only refers to the destruction of the temple, since no one from that time period is still alive to witness the return of Christ. In protest to that, I respond that the destruction of the temple does not deliver on all the "great signs from Heaven" rhetoric that is included above. To that, the retort given is that such things are just a manner of speaking about really bad things in Jewish apocalyptic language.

So, I can't actually thing of a specific question related to that, but I think there's something there.

Ron, I do wonder on what merit you choose the term lineage as I wasn't able to find any translation which chose anything other than "generation", including all the versions of Douay-Rheims I was able to sample.

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Old 9th November 2008, 01:12 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 12,630

"But it is very questionable that the Greek term γενεά (genea) can have this meaning."

This is a dictionary argument, as if the meaning of a book written by God Himself were constrained by the dictionary definitions of words, as if Jesus Who is God-made-man cannot use words in such a way as to transcend the usual meaning of the word in ancient society and culture.

It is hypocritical for theologians to speak in this way (using a 'dictionary argument') because most theologians use certains words that are in the dictionary, but with a new specialized meaning that they give to the word. Sometimes this newly-defined word will be unique to that theologians work, other times it is more broadly used by Catholic theologians (e.g. the specialized use of the terms 'circumstances,' 'direct,' 'indirect,' and 'certitude' in moral theology.

Consider also that Jesus used terms like shepherd, sheep, sheepgate, etc. in his teaching in ways that are certainly beyond the dictionary definition. He also referred to Lazarus as 'sleeping' when he meant dead. He used the term 'Promise' (the Promise of the Father) to refer to the Holy Spirit. Jesus often used words in a way that extended their meaning so as to teach a truth that transcends ordinary human thinking.

So it would be foolish to claim that Jesus would never use the word generation to mean lineage. Also, the term generation is used in the OT and elsewhere in the NT to refer to lineage:

[Matthew 1]
{1:1} Liber generationis Iesu Christi filii David, filii Abraham.
{1:1} The book of the lineage of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Matthew then goes on to list the lineage of Joseph, the legal father of Jesus.

{5:1} Hic est liber generationis Adam. In die, qua creavit Deus hominem, ad similitudinem Dei fecit illum.
{5:1} This is the book of the lineage of Adam. In the day that God created man, he made him to the likeness of God.

~ Notice that generation is singular; this is because the word ‘generation’ in this context refers to lineage, not to each successive generation.

Finally, Jesus did not generally teach using Greek, but using Aramaic and Hebrew. But the argument given is based on Greek. Genesis and Matthew were both written originally in Hebrew, and they both use generation to refer to lineage.

Jesus was not speaking mainly about the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in the first century; that interpretation, along with the claim that the text was written after the destruction of Jerusalem (as if Jesus never said it, and as if He could not know the future), is lacking in faith.
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Old 9th November 2008, 01:20 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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