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Doesn't Matthew 24:34 say Y'shua would return in the First Century?
Matthew 24:34 says:
Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.I am occasionally asked variations of this question:
"Considering Matthew 24:34 and the fact that the prophecies were not all fulfilled in his generation, doesn't this make Y'shua a false prophet?
But it does highlight the importance of understanding context.
Matthew 24 is Y'shua's second most important sharing of prophecy. The first being the Book of Revelation that he revealed to John his disciple.
Let's take a few minutes to consider what the Master was saying in verse 34.
Chapter 23 ends with Y'shua (Jesus) explaining that due to their unbelief HaShem (the God of Israel) will be (would be) turning away from Israel for a time (compare Romans 11). Then in chapter 24 he continues (remember the chapter and verse numbers were added later to make referencing easier, they do not exist in the originals):
Matthew 24:1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
Mat 24:2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the age? [the Greek here is clearly "age" not "world").
24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you....
The rest of this chapter records Y'shua presenting an overview prophecy about what would occur prior to the End of the Age in response to the question by his talmidim (disciples).
Verses 5 and 6 speaks of Simon bar Kokhba (who the Jews accepted as Moshiach (132-136 CE) and others who claimed the role of Moshiach and led many people astray.
Verses 7-9 speaks of the chaos his hearers would experience leading up to the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash (the Second Temple) that, as he predicted in verse 2, was destroyed in 70 CE by the Romans. Following the Bar Kokhba Revolt all Jews was barred from Jerusalem.
Verses 10-14 speaks of the persecutions the Believers would experience and also the heresies that would lead many astray (Y'shua describes these false teachings as the Nicolaitan Heresy elsewhere -- Revelation chapter 2 and 3).
At verse 15 the Master cites the Daniel 9 prophecy about the coming false Christ (Daniel 9:27), the Antichrist (II Thessalonians 2:4), who will commit certain atrocities during the final seven years of the age (the Tribulation Period).
Verses 16-20 gives advise to those who are alive at that time and who witness this abomination. Y'shua says they are to flee Judea (Israel) and head for the hills (many will go to Petra according to related prophecies) as is described at Revelation chapter 12 where Israel, as a woman, gives birth to a son (the Kingdom) but must flee Lucifer's wrath for three and a half years.
Verse 21 refers to this period as the Great Tribulation. The Master actually uses it as a descriptor rather than a name, but this is where we get the term: the first three and a half years are called "the Tribulation" and the second just-shy of three and a half year period is known as "the Great Tribulation".
Verse 22 tells us that this seven year period of tribulation will be unlike any other in terms of severity and that without divine intervention everyone on earth would die. Around 3/4 of the population will die during these seven years even with divine intervention! To save the Jews (the Elect) however HaShem will directly intervene in human affairs (with the War of Armageddon). He will destroy the Novus Ordo Seclorum of Rex Mundi (the global empire now being established).
Verses 23-25: Rex Mundi will be proclaiming himself the Messiah and many will believe him. The false prophet will be singing his praises and blasphemous heresies will abound.
Verse 26 specifically speaks to the belief by certain groups that Y'shua has entered a heavenly sanctuary in secret. This doctrine is directly rejected here.
Verse 27 tells us that when the true Moshiach comes it will be apparent to everyone then alive.
Verse 28 tells the condition under which Y'shua will return: Armageddon: For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
Verse 29-31 says that immediately after the War of Armageddon the Kingdom will be established.
At verse 32 Y'shua addresses the logical question of WHEN all this is going to happen, which was their initial question.
From a different version of this same conversation Y'shua says:
Mark 13:32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
Even Y'shua could not tell them exactly when the end of the age would come. Only HaShem knew that. However he did know and share the conditions that would be prevailing at the time. This information is what he shares in Matthew 24 (and Mark 13) so that those alive at the time will know and not be left in the dark (II Thessalonians 2:).
We continue with the next verses in Matthew 24:
Mathew 24:32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
24:33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
So now, he says, understanding the overall future as presented, I will answer your question:
When you see the "fig tree" putting forth its leaves again, THAT will be the final generation of the age. That generation will not pass away until all the prophecies he just shared have been fulfilled. When the context is considered this is the clear meaning of these verses.
As Bible students witnessed the rebirth of Israel, the fig tree, in 1948 we knew that the final generation had finally dawned. The only possible question has to do with certain rather obscure prophecies where the phrase "Zion" is used. These prophecies COULD mean the generation in question will be the one that witnesses the Jews regain Jerusalem (1967) which would make it the generation of 1967 rather than the generation of 1948. In either case, both dates are well behind us now and we are fast approaching the revelation of Rex Mundi and the Kingdom that Y'shua will establish just shy of seven years later. This is why the now emerging Global Union is so intent on dividing Jerusalem. Y'shua and other prophets say that once Jerusalem comes back under Jewish control it will never again be taken from them (compare Zechariah 12:8-11):
Luke 21:24 And they [the Jews] shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
If Barry Sotero (aka Hussein Obama) manages to give East Jerusalem to his Muslim brothers many believe it will mark this as a failed prophecy. The unity of Jerusalem is a HUGE deal.
The question though had to do with verse 34. Our generation will not pass away until the prophecies are fulfilled. We are the first generation that could accurately say this because we have witnessed the rebirth of Israel.
Verse 37-39 tell us that some people will recognize the times and, like later day Noah's, will be (are) preaching this truth to the world.
Even so, Come Master Y'shua!