Re: Matthew 24:34

From: Steven Craig Miller (
Date: Sat Jan 29 2000 - 19:15:37 EST

<x-flowed>To: Paul Dixon,

PD: << I copy and paste the below for starters: (BAG): "1. lit., those
descended fr. a common ancestor, a clan ... then race, kind gener. This may
be the mng. in Lk 16:8 ... the children of this age are more prudent in
relation to their own clan (i.e., people of their own kind) than are the
children of light ... The meaning nation is possible, e.g., in Mt 23:36;
but s. also 2. (Bauer, Walter, Gingrich, F. Wilbur, and Danker, Frederick
W., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian
Literature, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979) >>

First of all, your quotation comes from BAGD [1979] and not BAG [1957].

Second, BAGD goes on to suggest: << 2. basically, the sum total of those
born at the same time, expanded to include all those living at a given time
'generation, contemporaries' ...; Jesus looks upon the who contemp.
generation of the Jews as a uniform mass confronting him ... (cf. Gen 7:1;
Ps 11:8) Mt 11:16; 12:41f; 23:36; 24:34; ...>>

Thus BAGD concurs with the interpretation which I presented in my earlier
message, with the exception that BAGD notes that with Mt 23:36 there are
two possible interpretations.

As for Mt 23:36, Davies & Allison [1997] write:

<< 'This generation' refers ... to the contemporaries of Jesus and his
followers" (3:319).

PD: << Then, we might want to consider the LXX has Deut 32:5, 20; Ps 12:;7;
78:8, etc where the GENEA evidently has a meaning that goes beyond a group
of contemporaries. Or, consider that the usage in Phil 2:15 and Heb 3:10
cannot be confined to a group of contemporaries. >>

Out of the six passages you have cited here, only one of them refers to
"this generation" and it IMO supports my position! The passage is Ps 11:7
LXX. Hans-Joachim Kraus, in his commentary on (the Hebrew text of) the
Psalms, writes that the Hebrew word at Ps 12:7 [11:7 LXX] translated as
"generation" (NRSV) << qualifies the entire generation now alive in the
sense of vv. 1ff. This manner of speaking is taken up in the NT: cf. Matt.
11:16; 12:41f; 23:36; and often >> (210).

PD: << This, coupled with the logical problem of requiring that Mt 24:29-31
be fulfilled history and not a reference to a yet unfulfilled prophecy
regarding the return of Christ, might cause us to consider that the meaning
in Mt 24:34 is something other than that group of contemporaries. >>

Your statement here doesn't seem to make much sense, at least I can't seem
to make any sense out of it. No one has suggested that Mt 24:29-31 was
"fulfilled history." In fact, I would think that everyone would assume that
Mt 24:29-31 has never been fulfilled, and thus it is obviously a "yet
unfulfilled prophecy regarding the return of Christ." So what was your
point here?

-Steven Craig Miller
Alton, Illinois (USA)
FWIW: I'm neither a clergy-person, nor an academic (and I have no post-grad

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