Jesus would return in the same generation?

Hey everyone! I recently heard of a topic where a person made quite a case that Jesus promised to return in the same generation of his hearers? Referencing to passages that say he will return soon and within a generation and how grand the final thing would be. Any thouhts?
If you need more data on the case being brought up here please ask!

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Are you referring to Matthew 24:34?

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Ill post a persons telling of the issue! ex-apologist: Why Mainstream Historical Jesus Scholars Think Christianity is False

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Thanks for this! This is a long post, and bears many things in mind. His original point of view is that Jesus thought of himself as apocalyptic (end times). There are many different ways of looking at Jesus’ plan, (there was a book written by a Muslim scholar called “Zealot,”), and I think that the error lies in attributing all of the NT to just one view. No grand change in history results from one. I remember learning that from history class–we read 3 opposing books on the American Revolution’s cause (economic, rebellion, etc) and had to explain our reason we chose one on the exam as a surprise question. I thought hard at the exam, and realized that it was a trick question, there were elements of all 3, in truth–wrote that–and the teacher gave me an A (whew, I was worried). The point is that yes, of course there were apocalyptic elements–second temple Judaism was distraught over the loss of the land (as in Enns’ book, “The Bible Tells Me So” and “Inspiration and Incarnation”), and they searched the OT hard for ways to predict David’s heirs would come back to the throne of Judah–so much so that they used some pretty kinky interpretations that didn’t seem to really relate to the original text. Jewish apocalyptic literature also used lots of imagery and was quite popular at the time apparently (Revelation was a type), so it would appeal to all sorts of Jews. However, the point was that this wasn’t the only interpretation. Yes, Jesus was a Zealot in some ways (but not militarily; which was the opposite of Rome). In contrast to the above, others think that Jesus’ appeal was to the value of the individual–that God died for each of us. We’re not just some expendable cog in the world of the Roman empire and emperor worship (that’s why Nero and others fought so hard against Christianity–in contrast to pagan religions, there was no room for an emperor god in the pantheon).

Some think that the generation refers to the temple destruction in AD 70, as he says. Even in my own very conservative church, the pastor admits that the writers of many of the letters thought that Jesus was coming back in the next few years.

There are several reasons people put forward as to why Jesus talked about a generation, but that’s a very loose term, as all apocalyptic terms are (have you tried to read Revelation? The reason for the blessing for those who read it was a congratulations for having gotten through it. No one understands it, I think). Denis Lamoureux also believes in his online course that John in Revelation is trying to make symbolically convey sense of Nero’s persecution, and writing to the churches in Asia to not fall away after things got better–that the 616 and 666 were Greek and Hebrew gematriya for Nero Caesare (backwards) as the mark of the beast. This would not, then, refer to the end times 2000 or more years from then. I don’t know, personally.

Matthew 24:34 - Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary - may help–lots of different interpetations here.

Jeffery Jay Lowder, who comments lower in this link, helped the Christian apologist Randal Rauser write a book, “is the Atheist My Neighbor?” I enjoyed it quite a bit. It gives credibility to atheists for honestly questioning things, and asks us to treat them as Jesus would.


Read the book The Human Faces of God, by Thom Stark, where he tackles apologetic defences of these verses, including NT Wright’s view that it refers to the destruction of the temple (No, the language in Matthew 24 is consistent with the language used to describe the judgement of gentile nations, not Israel), and in my mind settles the issue, just as he settles the issue of the Canaanite genocide and human sacrifice (anyone denying that it exists in the OT has their head in the sand, and ignores the ANE context of the Cherem). Still he concludes in the final chapter that these passages can still have meaning to Christians.


Well i found a place where people lay it all out pretty well! Jesus’ Failed Prophecy About His Return – Black Nonbelievers, Inc.

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I think that’s roughly the explanation I have heard too. The whole chapter of Matthew 10 is difficult to understand. I think being so far removed from that time and place, it’s difficult to understand just how “apocalyptic” the destruction of the temple would have been to the Jewish people at the time, and that’s primarily who Jesus’s audience was.


But did Jesus say he would return soon? As in a lifetime? If so this would mean he was wrong no?

Well, in Matthew 24 Jesus says that even he doesn’t know the day and hour when he’ll return, and that he’ll come when we don’t expect him. So I would assume he’s referring to something different in chapter 10 – perhaps his resurrection.


Another one used to claim a failed prophesy is Matthew 16:27-28 " For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom. “

But of course, the words “second coming” are not in this passage and Christians have taken this to mean His resurrection. A skeptic, however, might argue that the resurrection was all invented in order to explain away this prophesy. Obviously, Christians have been handling these sorts of arguments for 2000 years and they haven’t convinced many Christians.


The common reply to this is that Jesus said he’d return soon…Even in this generation. So he may not know when exactly but he will still come soon. Just like i can say i know it’s going to snow soon but i cant say exactly when. But it is coming soon.
It’s all put out in the above link i gave!

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In a sense, he did return soon – but it was his first return, not his second coming. I’m not sure the disciples at that time would have had any reason to anticipate a second coming after his first, so I would be careful not to read too much into it.

I think I understand what the site you shared is going for, but for one thing they lump a bunch of verses together that are completely out of context, and could be referring to different things (plus many of the references are just the same scene in different gospels).

Here’s one take on the Matthew 10:23 passage that believes Jesus was referring to his resurrection:

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I see, thanks for the replies and help guys. I dont fully understand yet so im going to do more reading! Also sorry for the typos on my posts ive been writing these on the phone while on the move so its a bit difficult!


this is a very good topic --thanks for bringing it up. you might want to read Enns, The New Testament use of the Old Testament, as well as “inspiration and incarnation,” to get an idea for incarnational (cultural) influence on apocalyptic and 2nd Temple Judaism–


Ive read a 3 part series on Peter enns his site and he does seem to agree that jesus prophecied his return within a lifetime. But he then goes to say that prophecies arent set in stone and can change. So thats why he didnt come yet.
I dont know much about prophecies so i dont know if thats true.

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A commentary on prophecy! :slight_smile:

Here’s another

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