In Mathew 24:35 when the Lord says this generation will not pass away or
taste death before you see these things happen, speaking of His coming.
What did He mean? Since it seems that every place the Lord says this
generation or age He means the one He’s talking to right then.

Many believe that Matthew 24:3-31 is talking about the second coming of
Jesus at the end of this age. It may be that all or part of 24:26-31 may
refer to the end of the ages, but one can say with confidence that Matthew
24:3-25 is a prophecy of the events of AD 69-70 when the Roman general
Vespasian and later his son Titus attacked, surrounded and finally
overcame and completely destroyed the city of Jerusalem. Luke 21:20 may
make this even more clear; “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies,
you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea
flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the
country not enter the city.” All this is exactly what happened. When
Jerusalem was attacked by the Roman armies in AD 69, the disciples of
Jesus who were there, recognizing the fulfillment of the prophecy of
Jesus, fled the city. As far as we know, no Christians were killed when
Jerusalem was destroyed. Jesus’ warning to his disciples had the desired

When Jesus said that “this generation will not pass away” before these
things were fulfilled, he was exactly right. The prophecies of Matthew 24
and Luke 20 were fulfilled with chilling accuracy. If you want more
details on these events you could read the Jewish historian Josephus’
account of the events in his book “The Jewish Wars.” This book describes
from an eye witness point of view the massive devastation and loss of life
which occurred when Jerusalem was destroyed.

Having said that Matthew 24:3-25 certainly refers to the destruction of
Jerusalem in AD 70, this leaves verses 26-31. Here you will find some
debate and disagreement. Some would say that this is an apocalyptic
description of Jesus coming in AD 70 in judgment on the Jews for their
rejection of Jesus Christ. Others would say that this shorter section
refers to the second coming of Christ. Let it be said that either
interpretation is possible, but the fact remains that all or nearly all of
the prophecy of Matthew 24 was fulfilled in the lifetime of many of his
hearers on that day.

John Oakes, PhD

Comments are closed.