Fundamentalist Christians often talk about Bible predictions and how Jesus fulfilled all of them. Aside from the fact that there really aren’t any messianic predictions, the Bible does make at least one prediction and surprise, surprise, it didn’t come to pass.
In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus talks about the end of the world. Interestingly enough in verse 13:30, Jesus says this:
“Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.”
What things is Jesus talking about here? Well, let’s look at the context. In the earlier part of chapter 13 of Mark, Jesus rolls off a litany of calamities starting with the destruction of the Temple and continuing into the moral decay of society, natural disasters, wars, false prophets, the sun and the moon darkening, cats and dogs living together, etc.
According to Jesus, even he doesn’t know the exact moment, but all this will come to pass before that current generation ends. The rest of the chapter confirms this too. Jesus warns to stay alert and to be ready for this. Paul also reminds follows to watch for the signs because it will come like a “thief in the night.” They were not talking to people living in 2012; there were talking to people living in their own time. Everyone understood that Jesus and Paul were clearly predicting the End of Days to be soon.
In Matthew 16:28, Jesus again talks about the end times although the context is a bit confusing. He may have only been discussing the crucifixion itself. But that seems unlikely because telling the crowd that some of them may live to see his death is not much of a prediction and from Jesus’s tone, he clearly intends this to be a prediction. It is akin to me predicting that some of the people reading this blog will live longer then I.
Later in the Gospel of Matthew (Chapter 24), we see the same conversation Jesus had in Mark. Again, he says that a generation shall not pass until all these things come to pass. Those things are again the long list of doomsday warning signs which have not actually come to pass despite Jesus’s clear prediction that it would happen soon. If your boss told you that you would get a raise soon, would you expect to wait a month or two or would you expect to be still waiting for that raise in two thousand years?
The point here is that these are not just a verse or two taken out of context. This is the message that Jesus is trying to convey in the Gospels. He is predicting that a single generation will not pass before the End of the World. Verily he says it. This is a prediction that Jesus made in multiple Gospels and is believed by Paul who wrote most of the rest of the New Testament. It did not come to pass.
Jesus did not mean that a generation for a state of Israel will not pass and he did not mean that a generation according to God will not pass. He clearly meant that a generation as in a generation of human beings living at that time will not pass. Some of the very people standing there listening to him will still be alive to see the End of the World. Verily I tell you, Jesus was wrong!