The introductory post explains the purposes, goals and scope of this blog. If you have not read it, I suggest you start there and then, look through the posts to get a feeling for where I have gone and where I am going. But, if you don’t have the time, feel free to read this post alone. However, the blog is meant to be a series and so if you find it interesting you can go back and read it or, if you would prefer you can download a PDF of the entire blog. This PDF will be updated every Saturday so that it will have the entire blog, from first post to last, through the latest Saturday.
The phrase, this generation or, this evil generation or, this evil and adulterous generation is found twenty-five times in the synoptic gospels. It is spoken by Jesus each of the times. There is great debate about what this generation means among theologians. Liberal theologians, who do not see Jesus as the Son of God, to a person, claim that generation means just that, the forty year period that it takes for children to grow up and have children of their own. Many evangelical theologians argue that it could mean a future generation and, some claim that it could mean this type of people meaning Jews and not a specific generation as we know it today.
The phrase this evil generation is found in the Old Testament in Deu 1:34-35 "And the LORD heard your words and was angered, and he swore, (35) 'Not one of these men of this evil generation shall see the good land that I swore to give to your fathers,” In this passage it means generation, a forty year period. The Hebrew word is DOR which means generation, forty year period.
Theologians who understand Jewish midrash agree that Mat 12:39-42 is a reference by Jesus to Deu 1:34-35. “But he answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. (40) For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (41) The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. (42) The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here”.
In this passage, Jesus is speaking to and about the Pharisees that are questioning him and, accusing him of getting his power from Satan. In this passage he is speaking of a forty year generation… a specific forty year generation…the forty year generation that is alive right then with him. That is the generation that he was preaching to and this was the generation which saw one greater than Solomon.
Now look at Luke chapter seventeen. Luke 17:25 But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.This has to mean the generation that is alive during his ministry….a forty year generation. They are the generation that rejected him.
So, now we come to Luke chapter twenty-one. Luke 21:32 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. It does not make sense that he would be referring to this class of people, i.e., these Jews will not pass until all has taken place but, that the forty year generation… the one alive at the time of his earthly ministry would not pass until all ways fulfilled. He predicted that all would be fulfilled within forty years.