Did Jesus really say that everything he said would happen while the generation that listened to him was still alive?

MATTHEW 24:34 BLB "I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass away until all these things are fulfilled."

  • Are there two questions? 1. Was chapter 24 fulfilled 2. Did Jesus really say?
    – David D
    Commented Jan 19 at 14:08
  • @Azis Shatarov Welcome to BH. There are at least 6 questions on this site regarding Matthew 24:34. Until we know more exactly what you are asking it is difficult to say whether or not this is a duplicate.
    – C. Stroud
    Commented Jan 19 at 14:18
  • My question is this: In verse 34, Jesus says that all that He has spoken, the tribulation, the appearing of the sign of the Son of Man, and more, Christ says will take place while the generation listening to Him is still alive. Has grief passed by this logic? Has this chapter been completed? Commented Jan 19 at 19:38
  • @ Axis Shatarov Many and most of the prophecy students I know feel that when Israel began a nation again in May 1948 that that is the beginning of the end time fig tree. Remember that Jesus cursed the fig tree that had no fruit and his disciples were amazed that it had withered and died a day later. He then said in the last verses of MT 23 that the house of Israel was left desolate. So for Israel to become a nation again after 2600 hundred years ( based on the Babylonian captivity ) is truly a miracle. Unless you can think of any other nation that seemed gone, but has been reborn. If 1948 ?
    – RHPclass79
    Commented Jan 20 at 8:53
  • If 1948 fulfilled the beginning of the fig tree generation of end times, how long might that generation last?
    – RHPclass79
    Commented Jan 20 at 9:00

3 Answers 3



Firstly, chapter 24 of the Gospel according to Matthew was not fulfilled, yet. What happened in 70AD was only a foretaste of what was to happen at the end of the Age.

This is not surprising as some of the Biblical prophecies happen twice. One example is the “Abomination of Desolation” spoken in Daniel. The first occurrence was during the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. But Jesus says there is going to be a repetition of the same at the end of the Age.

Secondly, Jesus didn’t say that “the generation that listened to Him” will not pass away. He simply said, “this generation will not pass away”.


Jesus was not making any new prophecy in Matthew chapter 24. He was explaining the prophecies mentioned at several places in the Old Testament prophets.

In fact, He was referring to “the great and dreadful day of Yahweh” spoken by the prophets such as Malachi 4:5.

This is generally related also to “Jacob’s Trouble” as in Jeremiah 30:7:

“Alas! For that day is great, for none is like it. And it is a time of Jacob's trouble, but he will be saved out of it”.

In fact, several of God’s prophecies point to a fact: several persons in history will try to exterminate the people of God at different times. But God always keeps a remnant of His people.

Isaiah says:

“Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom (fully exterminated), we should have been like unto Gomorrah” (Is 1:9).

Jesus was referring to such prophesies when He said “this generation” will not pass away but a remnant will always be there.

This Generation

Generation comes from the Greek word “genea” which also means “men of the same stock, a family” (Thayer).

Jesus was talking about the Jews who were about to be killed and the remaining scattered all over the world:

“For there will be great affliction (also known as Jacob’s Trouble referring to Jewish generation), such as has not happened from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever will be” (Matt 24:21).

Here, Jesus was referring to Dan 12:1, Zech 11:9, 14:2 etc.

Last Days and Apostles

Though some of what Jesus prophesied came to happen in 70AD, all of them didn’t happen. So, the Apostles, after their initial enthusiasm gave way to more serious study of the Scripture, came to know that the End was still in the future.

See what Apostle Paul, as a representative of all the Apostles says:

“Now we (the Apostles) ask you, brothers, regarding the coming of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah, and our gathering together to him, not to be so quickly upset or alarmed when someone claims that we (the Apostles) said, either by some spirit, conversation, or letter that the Day of the Lord (same the Day of Yahweh) has already come. Do not let anyone deceive you in any way, for it will not come unless the rebellion takes place first and the man of sin, who is destined for destruction, is revealed. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god and object of worship. As a result, he seats himself in the sanctuary of God (the Abomination of Desolation in the Holy place) and himself declares that he is God” (2 Thess 2:1-4).

(Funny, the Temple of God is not yet there in Jerusalem for the “man of sin” to commit the Abomination of Desolation! The End is not yet).

  • It would seem that you missed the 2nd historical "Abomination of Desolation"- Dan, 24:15. The future "A of D" will constitute the 3rd and final. Also, IMO, there will be no 3rd temple built, that's just "Dispensational" misunderstanding. Although there will be a future tribulation, it will not center around Daniel's "70th Week", that IMO ran consecutively after the "69th Week" but that's another story, which we don't need to get into here. Nevertheless, I can't fault the rest of your answer, so it's an upvote from me. Commented Jan 21 at 20:05
  • @ Nephesh Roi, Olde English. I hope you both don't have a meltdown, but the desolation of abomination looks to already be in place. It was placed exactly 1260 years before Israel became a nation again. That might change everyone's perspective. Signed Ruwach Roi.
    – RHPclass79
    Commented Jan 21 at 21:44
  • @RHPclass79 - The third "Abomination of Desolation" may indeed have already been in operation for quite sometime and then again may not yet have. I don't think for one minute however, that it was "placed" 1260 years before 1948. I have my own thoughts on the third "A of D", which are mostly speculative but not entirely, and if brought to bare, you, as well as Nephesh, might truly have a meltdown. Commented Jan 22 at 1:33
  • @Olde English – Appreciate your support. Yes, I missed the 2nd historical “A of D”. Could you explain? IMO, if the Temple won’t be built, there could be a Tabernacle because the “A of D” must be standing in the “Holy Place” (Matt 24:15) which is “the Temple of God” (2 Thess 2:4). Commented Jan 22 at 4:48
  • @RHPclass79 – Thanks for the support. 1260 years before 1948 takes us to 688AD. Would you explain? Commented Jan 22 at 4:48

There are at least three understandings of Matt 24:34 about the "great tribulation".

  1. That it applied to the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem by the Romans, which was preceded by great tribulation for the Jews and Christians. See V15-18
  2. That it applies to the generation just before the second coming of Jesus and the destruction of the world which endure a great tribulation. see V26-31.

Now, I suggest that both these view are correct in what they affirm but wrong in what they deny. This leads direct to a third view based on the dual question asked by the disciples in V2 & 3 about (a) the destruction of the Temple and (b) the end of the age: 3. The generation that endured the great tribulation was actually two generations: (a) one before the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem and (b) the one before the end of the world when Jesus returns.

Thus, the prophecy in Matt 24:34 is currently only partially fulfilled.

  • @ Dottard Daniel 12:1 has Michael standing up for " his people" at the time of Jacob's trouble. If this occurred at 70 A.D. , did we miss Michael's standing up. Maybe that view point is not valid, or am I missing the point?
    – RHPclass79
    Commented Jan 20 at 13:47
  • @RHPclass79 - My answer concerns Matt 24. Now you are asking about Dan 12;1 which is about the end times but that is another question.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jan 20 at 20:02
  • @RHPclass79 - With regard to Dan,12:1, you might just like the following Q and A of mine:- hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/86609/… which also touches on Dottard's dual prophecy affirmation. Commented Jan 21 at 19:36
  • @Dottard - Dan, 12:1 aside (already covered by me, if you remember-see link above), this was a good answer, + 1. Commented Jan 21 at 19:41
  • @ Olde English I took a look at your Q and A. There are some parts I have to agree with because they are scriptural. However there are other things. I see a past and future fulfillment on. I am greatly handycapped trying to communicate with my thumbs. Is there a safe way to exchange personal e-mail or phone without it being worldwide. I tried chat but no one answered so I must have done something wrong. I do have a project on 2nd Th.2. that you might be interested in, but beware I don't use commentaries. Well, only a little and usually after the fact. Just to see what other minds are thinking.
    – RHPclass79
    Commented Jan 21 at 20:37

The main question asked of Jesus by his closest disciples (Mk 13:3 - Peter, James, John , Andrew ) was Mt 24:3

...Tell us when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

Since Jesus is there teaching them, it only makes logical sense that the disciples question of his coming has to reference his 2nd coming tied to the end of the world age. Anyone doing an indepth study on this topic needs to combine Mathew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 all refered to as the Olivet prophecy since Jesus expounded it to his inner circle on the Mount of Olives. There are some small variations of this account in each Gospel. These all combined give give a more complete picture than when studied separately.

Jesus first warns readers that there will be MANY false christs and prophets. Wars and rumours of wars. Earthquakes in many places. The list goes on. Some argue that these have occurred 2000 years ago. The biggest problem with that view point is proving the gospel (vs 10) has been published (preached) unto all nations. So has the great commission been finished? We are certainly closer now than ever before. According to Wycliffe translators there are still places on earth where they are trying to translate the native languages to the purpose of publishing the Gospel in these remote areas. Remember, before Jesus' ascension back to the Father in Acts 1:9 he had promised to be with the church always, even unto the end of the world. This speaking of the " great commission " in Mt 28:19&20.

To say that Jesus fulfilled all the 2nd coming prophecies in the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost denies far to many verses on his future glorious appearing. I hope the OP is not implying that the generation of the fig tree took place within 40-100 years after Jesus' death because that would invalidate about 2000 years of spreading the Gospel and carrying forward the " Great Commission ".

  • When Jesus gave the "Olivet Discourses" to his disciples, not long before his sacrificial act, he was primarily referencing what was to happen in and around 70 AD, within the disciples own generation. However, we are led to believe that the prophecy was of a dual nature, as already written about here within the other two answers. Similarly, when one talks about the "Great Commission", this initially took place, via the 12 disciples (Judas having already been replaced), between Jesus' ascension and the martyrdom of Peter & Paul, but of course people are still being reached even today. Commented Jan 22 at 1:10
  • Under Dottard's answer, you made reference to 2 Thess, 2. It might interest you to know that I've already written something on this, at least with regard to the 7th verse. Here's the link to that:- hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/48665/… Commented Jan 22 at 2:04
  • This is something no one has ever noticed or posted. It comes from Daniel.
    – RHPclass79
    Commented Jan 22 at 2:54
  • Excuse me! What something are you talking about? Commented Jan 22 at 4:38
  • Before I answer that, since you have access to more background info than I do: Did the King James translators translate the Old Testament into English at the same time using the same translators as was used on the new testament?
    – RHPclass79
    Commented Jan 22 at 5:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.