(Luke 21:32 HCSB)
It all boils down to the meaning of the Greek word genea which is translated as "this generation." According to Strong's Greek Lexicon, it can mean either generation or nation. These two meanings account for all of the various interpretations out there. In a nutshell, it is thought to be this nation shall not pass away, or this generation alive at the time of the end will not pass away, or there are those who believe that it is the forty-year generation alive at the time of Jesus.
My answer to this interpretative conundrum is that he indeed meant the forty-year generation alive at the time he spoke. This of course has implications that tend to fly in the face of orthodoxy, but that should not alarm any of my regular readers as I challenge orthodoxy all the time. It is however very important to unbelievers and believers alike. We will look at this from several angles, but the first one that I would like to deal with is this: what was the question from his disciples that he was answering? This is an important question in establishing meaning as it provides context for the meaning of this generation.
"Teacher," they asked Him, "so when will these things be? And what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?"
(Luke 21:7 HCSB)
(Matthew 24:3 HCSB)
"Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign when all these things are about to take place?"
(Mark 13:4 HCSB)
You can read Part 2 Here