Thursday, April 08, 2010

This generation will not pass away...?

In Matthew 24:34, Mark 13:30, and Luke 21:32. Yeshua (Jesus) is quoted as saying, "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place." But, what did he mean by this statement? In order to understand, it is important of look at the context of the statement, and also to look at the word meaning.

In context, this statement must be speaking of the future. According to Matthew 24:3 (Syriac versions), Yeshua is responding to his disciples' question regarding "your coming and the age of shalom."

Some believe that Yeshua was proposing a rapid emergence of the "Kingdom of God," and anticipated that those living would see such an end. Others say that Yeshua was giving a prophecy with a "double fulfillment"--Some of what He was predicting was going to occur in that generation, some later. Yet another tortured explanation holds that Yeshua did not mean "this" generation, but "a" generation, meaning that the end would take place quickly (rather than soon).

Of course these explanations are not needed if one understands the meaning of the words used. The extant Greek versions of the Bible use the word genea, which is translated (normally) as the English "generation," which is understood to refer to related people living around the same time and making up a single step in a line of descent. Also, many commentators have pointed out that other references using the word genea refer to a single step or "generation." This, however is clearly untrue. The word appears thirteen times in the TR text of the gospels, and each time, it can (and does) refer to the Jewish race. In fact, in Luke 11:30, the word is equated to a race by the statement, "For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so the Son of Man will be a sign to this generation (genea).

More importantly, the word appearing in extant Syriac texts for genea is sarbeta, "continuing." The words is also defined as "family stock."

The Syriac for Matthew 24:34 says:

amyn amrna lkwn dla tabr Shrbta hda adma dhlyn kwlhyn nhwyn

A better translation:

Truly I say to you (all) not abolished is this race until all these things they come to be.