A New Testament Eschatological Study of Greek
Part Two – “genea” [γενεά]
Strong – G1074
From (a presumed derivative of) G1085; a generation; by implication an age (the period or the persons): – age, generation, nation, time.
Thayer – G1074
1) fathered, birth, nativity
2) that which has been begotten, men of the same stock, a family
2a) the several ranks of natural descent, the successive members of a genealogy
2b) metaphorically a group of men very like each other in endowments, pursuits, character
2b1) especially in a bad sense, a perverse nation
3) the whole multitude of men living at the same time
4) an age (i.e. the time ordinarily occupied be each successive generation), a space of 30 – 33 years
Part of Speech: noun feminine
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from (a presumed derivative of) G1085
Citing in TDNT: 1:662, 114
King James Concordance – Total KJV NT Occurrences: 42
Mat_11:16, Mat_12:39, Mat_12:41-42 (2), Mat_12:45, Mat_16:4, Mat_17:17, Mat_23:36, Mat_24:34, Mar_8:12 (2), Mar_8:38, Mar_9:19, Mar_13:30, Luk_1:50 (2), Luk_7:31, Luk_9:41, Luk_11:29-32 (4), Luk_11:50-51 (2), Luk_16:8, Luk_17:25, Luk_21:32, Act_2:40, Act_8:33, Act_13:36, Heb_3:10
Mat_1:17 (4), Luk_1:48, Col_1:26
Concordance to the Greek Scriptures – G3195
Total NT Occurrences: 42
Mat_12:39, Mat_12:45, Mat_16:4, Mat_17:17, Mat_24:34, Mar_8:12 (2), Mar_8:38, Mar_9:19, Mar_13:30, Luk_9:41, Luk_11:29-30 (2), Luk_21:32, Act_13:36, Heb_3:10
Mat_1:17 (4), Luk_1:48
Mat_11:16, Mat_23:36, Luk_16:8, Act_8:33
Mat_12:41-42 (2), Luk_1:50, Luk_7:31, Luk_11:31-32 (2), Luk_11:50-51 (2), Luk_17:25, Act_2:40, Eph_3:21, Php_2:15
Luk_1:50, Act_15:21, Col_1:26
NT GREEK Concordance
Mat_1:17 Mat_11:16 Mat_12:39 Mat_12:41-42 Mat_12:45 Mat_16:4 Mat_17:17 Mat_23:36 Mat_24:34 Mar_8:12 Mar_8:38 Mar_9:19 Mar_13:30 Luk_1:48 Luk_1:50 Luk_7:31 Luk_9:41 Luk_11:29-32 Luk_11:50-51 Luk_16:8 Luk_17:25 Luk_21:32 Act_2:40 Act_8:33 Act_13:36 Act_14:16 Act_15:21 Eph_3:5 Eph_3:21 Php_2:15 Col_1:26 Heb_3:10
Red Scripture Text = Words of Christ
Original study by Donald Hochner in purple, copied from http://www.ecclesia.org/truth/genea.html)
(with additional scripture references and comments in green by Kingdom Christian)
This is the second of five articles to examine the Greek words, since the full Preterist view is consistent with the Scripture, the Greek words in the NT, and the historical records. Most Futurists’ views have fallen short in their failure to properly take into account the historical-grammatical-cultural context of the prophecies (specifically what they meant to their first-century audience). One of many problems some futurists have is identifying the correct definition of the word, “generation.” They interpret the word, “generation” as it is used today or in the future. The Bible was written for us, but it was not written to us. We will look into the eschatological passages of the Bible with this word “generation.” The Bible I am using is the New American Standard Bible Authorized King James Version (KC).
When you see the phase “this generation,” ask yourself, the question, “which generation?” We can look up the word “generation” in Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the NT, and we can see that the Greek word is “genea.” It says, “The whole multitude of men living at the same time.” Also we find in William F. Arndt and Wilber Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the NT and Other Early Christian Literature: “basically, the sum total of those born at the same time, expanded to include all those living at a given time. Contemporaries.”
I have noticed that many Bible commentators dance around the meaning of the word “generation.” Some say that Jesus was speaking to a generation that was not going to exist until thousands of years in the future. Others claim that the whole Jewish “race” was in view. Those are NOT sound Biblical interpretations. The Greek word “genos” rather than “genea” is the best translated “race” as in Acts 7:19; 17:28; Gal. 1:14; Phil. 3:5; 1 Peter 2:9. Take a look at the following passages that contain the word “generation,” which is the period from 30-70 AD (40 years):
Mat 1:17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations [genea]; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.
Mat 11:16 But whereunto shall I liken this generation [genea]? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, (In previous verses Jesus was talking about John the Baptist, who was Elijah the prophet in Mal. 4:5,6 (see Luke 1:13-17 & Matt. 17:10-13) before the great and terrible day of the Lord in 66- 70 AD. I would recommend you to read some of articles in other links at the end of this article [see http://www.ecclesia.org/truth/genea.html ]. So, Jesus cannot compare “this” generation of the wicked with any other generation.)
Mat 12:39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation [genea] seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: Clearly, Jesus was speaking to the Jewish leaders, an evil and adulterous generation that was seeking for a sign. Let us look at the illustration of Jonah which Jesus said applied to Him:
- There was a great storm in which Jonah was caught and he was sleeping. The men on the boat were afraid. Then the sea was calmed supernaturally (Jonah 1:4-16).
- There was a great storm in which Jesus was caught and He was sleeping. The disciples on the boat were afraid. Then the sea was calmed supernaturally (Mark 4:37-39).
- Jonah was in the great fish for 3 days and 3 nights (Jonah 1:17).
- Jesus was in the tomb for 3 days and 3 nights (Matt. 12:40).
- God had supernaturally raised Jonah out of the great fish’s belly of Sheol (2:2, 10).
- God had supernaturally raised Jesus out of the tomb and Hades “vomited” Him (Acts 2:31).
- Jonah was a sign to Nineveh.
- Jesus was a sign to Jerusalem.
- Jonah preached to the Ninevites that God was going to destroy them in 40 days (Jonah 3:4).
- Jesus (and His apostles) preached to the Jews in Jerusalem that God was going to destroy them in that generation (40 years – Matt. 23:31-38).
- 40 days of preaching caused Nineveh to repent.
- 40 years of preaching did not get Jerusalem to repent!
- God called Nineveh the great city (Jonah 1:2; 3:2; 4:11).
- God called Jerusalem the great city (Rev. 11:8; 17:3, 5, 18).
Mat 12:41-42 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation [genea], and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation [genea], and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. (Jesus was saying that the men of Nineveh and the Queen of the South would rise up (from the dead) with this generation at the judgment. This is CRITICAL! Obviously, it has occurred in the first century, otherwise Jesus is a false prophet. Case closed and court adjourned.)
Mat 12:43-45 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation [genea]. (When Jesus says “Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.” He was talking about how the demoniac spirits will get worse in the generation to which He was speaking.)
Mat 16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation [genea] seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed. (Jesus was repeatedly saying that the Jewish leaders were still seeking after a sign in an evil and adulterous generation.)
Mat 17:17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation [genea], how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. (Jesus knew many were in the unbelieving and perverted generation He was addressing- a generation with much demoniac activity around them.)
Mat 23:34-36 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. [genea] (Jesus pronounced His “woes” on the Jewish leaders in this chapter (read all of Matt. 23). Jesus ended His indictment of Israel’s first century religious leaders with this shocking surprise: “Behold, your house (temple) is left unto you desolate!” (v. 38). The temple was burned and destroyed in 70 AD by the Roman armies.) (Mat 23:35 speaks of “all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias.” This blood, along with that of Jesus’ own prophets and apostles that would be shed starting with the stoning of Stephen until 70 AD, is the blood of the martyrs spoken of in Revelations 6:9-11 which is to be avenged at the “wrath of the Lamb” coming in judgment of the “city that killed the prophets,” which is Jerusalem.)
Mat 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation [genea] shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. (Clearly, Jesus answered His disciples’ questions stating the events in this chapter would come upon their generation. Read some of Jesus’ parables that apply to that generation to whom He was speaking (Matt. 21:33-46; 22:1-14 and Luke 19:11-27, 41-44). We should not miss the straightforward manner of which Jesus spoke concerning the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
Let me add something about Matt. 24 from Eusebius, the Christian historian from the late third century. He said, “The whole body, however, of the church at Jerusalem, having been commanded by a divine revelation, given men of approved piety there before the war, removed from the city, and dwelt at a certain town beyond the Jordan called Pella. Here, those that believed in Christ, having removed from Jerusalem, as if holy men had entirely abandoned the royal city itself, and the whole land of Judea; the divine justice, for their crimes against Christ and his apostles, finally overtook them, totally destroying the whole generation of these evildoers from the earth…these facts, as well as the whole tenor of the war, and each particular of its progress, when finally the abomination of desolation, according to the prophetic declaration, stood in the very temple of God, so celebrated of old, but which now was approaching its total downfall and final destruction by fire; all this, I say any one that wishes may see accurately stated in the history written by Josephus.” (Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, Book 3, Ch. 5)) (Some scholars even go so far as to assert that the inspired apostles must have been mistaken and simply misunderstood or failed to comprehend what Jesus was saying about “this generation.” It is the epitome of arrogance and folly to insinuate that Holy Spirit-inspired apostles of Christ MUST have been “mistaken” in their understanding of their MASTER’S VERY OWN WORDS in order to attempt to validate and justify one’s own erroneous eschatological predilections 2000+ years after-the-fact. Such blatant, unadulterated psychopathy should not be tolerated as “biblical exegesis.”)
Mar 8:12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation [genea].
Mar 8:38-9:1 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation [genea]; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. (This is one of clearest and most powerful messages by the mouth of Jesus. We cannot get around this one with the Futurist’s views because the Lord was talking to His disciples, and not some absent and future third parties. Bingo! Case closed!) (It is difficult to imagine a more direct, unequivocal, unvarnished statement from Christ that his Parousia would occur in the first century timeframe. All suppositions and theories to the contrary fail here at the words of our Lord himself who puts all doubt out of reach of designing men who would have you believe that a future “coming of the Lord” is still somehow miraculously due to occur. To believe that, one would have to hallucinate that John the apostle himself is somehow still alive on Patmos, yet awaiting his redemption to “draw nigh.”)
Mar 9:19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation [genea], how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. (See Mat 17:17 comments above.)
Mar 13:30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation [genea] shall not pass, till all these things be done. (See Mat 24:34 comments above.)
Luk 1:48, 50 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations [genea] shall call me blessed. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation [genea] to generation [genea].
Luk 7:31 And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation [genea]? and to what are they like?
Luk 9:41 And Jesus answering said, O faithless and perverse generation [genea], how long shall I be with you, and suffer you? Bring thy son hither.
Luk 11:29-32 And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation [genea]: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation [genea]. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation [genea], and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with this generation [genea], and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. (The same as in Matt. 12:41, 42. Jesus repeatedly said “this generation” seven times in this chapter. How does the Futurist deal with this???) (My answer to “how does the Futurist deal with this???” is that he deals with it by trying to wrest the clear message of the scripture in ways that fit his pre-existing, hand-me-down futurist paradigm. Why? It is because modern Christendom is HEAVILY invested in a futurist eschatological perspective. Enormous credibility stands to be LOST if the general futurist eschatological narrative which has been handed down through two millenniums of church history is suddenly acknowledged to be patently FALSE. This is a potentially cataclysmic issue which I believe needs to be considered from many perspectives. But I am convinced that, even if it causes upheaval within the Church, then it will ultimately be for the best because TRUTH MUST PREVAIL! The Church cannot possibly continue to build upon a foundation of sinking sand and THAT is what the futurist eschatology represents. It is an outright repudiation of Christ’s credibility as a Prophet to hold that he did not return exactly, in both time and manner, as he predicted would happen…in HIS generation. It’s time to face the truth and begin proclaiming what is RIGHT about the Kingdom of God to the world. It’s time we started doing what we were redeemed to do…and that is glorify God and his Messiah!! It’s time we actually begin to DISCERN THE KINGDOM in the fullness of TRUTH, rather than through the “rose colored glasses” of two millenniums of hand-me-down ERROR. Once again, Let GOD be true, but every man a LIAR!)
Luk 11:50-51 That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation [genea]; From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation. [genea] (Jesus was saying from the beginning (from Abel) to that generation (by 70 AD), all of these people shall rise up in the judgment. Read the context in verses 46 to 54 and the other passages from this article. Also see Mat 23:36.) (This passage is speaking about the vengeance of the martyrs which is a motif that is spoken of in Revelation 6:9-11 with the opening of the Fifth Seal where the martyrs are told rest yet for a little season until their brethren and fellowservants should be killed as they were. The avenging of their deaths (and Christ’s!) was a major real and spiritual event that is associated irrefutably with the Parousia.)
Luk 16:8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation [genea] wiser than the children of light.
Luk 17:25 But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. [genea] (Read in this context, verses 22-37. All these things Jesus said would be upon His generation but first He must suffer many things and be rejected by the Jewish people.)
Luk 21:32 Verily I say unto you, This generation [genea] shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. (As we have already read, Jesus said this in Matt. 24:34 (and Mark 13:30) but notice in Luke 21:22 says “For these be the days of VENGEANCE, THAT ALL THINGS WHICH ARE WRITTEN MAY BE FULFILLED.” This is a very important passage because it teaches that all things written in Scripture were fulfilled by 70 AD. Also notice in verse 23, “But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.” Of which land and people was Jesus speaking this context? It was the land of Israel and the Jewish people of HIS GENERATION. (KC))
Act 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation [genea]. (Read Acts 2:16-21 in Peter’s sermon. He told the Jewish people they were living in the last days (Heb. 1:2) before the great and glorious day of the Lord in their generation. Read Moses’ warning for the Jewish people in the future generations in Deut. 28-32.)
Act 8:33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? [genea] for his life is taken from the earth.
Act 13:36 For David, after he had served his own generation [genea] by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:
Act 14:16 Who in times [genea: GENERATIONS] past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. (Although there is the element of time involved in the etymology of genea, it is only within the strict context of a specific group of people having been born within the same general timeframe, usually recognized roughly to be a span of from 30 to 40 years. “Generation” would be a more accurate, rendering of genea here.)
Act 15:21 For Moses of old time [ex genea archaios: FROM GENERATIONS OF OLD] hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. (I can see no valid reason to eliminate the word “generations” here in favor of “old time.” To do so, completely destroys the context of “people born in relation to time.” It is completely insufficient to convey what was actually written. Truly, the phrase “something was lost in the translation” applies here.)
Eph 3:5 Which in other ages [genea: GENERATIONS] was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; (The rendering here of genea as “ages” is baffling to me. If Paul had truly meant “ages” he simply would have used the Greek aion which relates directly to time without regard to people. But he specifically chose the term genea which relates uniquely to a combination of “people born in relation to time.” This translation is just erroneous. See notes on Col 1:26 below!)
Eph 3:21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages [genea: GENERATIONS], world without end. Amen. (Again, Paul is speaking in the context of “people born in relation to time” which is “generations” not “ages.” Same problem as Eph 3:5 above. See notes for Col 1:26 below! The translators for the KJV completely TRASHED the ending of this verse. There are also two instances of the Greek word “aion” from our fifth study which are rendered arbitrarily as “world without end.” Here is the same verse from Young’s Literal: Eph 3:21 [YLT] “to Him is the glory in the assembly in Christ Jesus, to all the generations of the age of the ages. Amen.)
Php 2:14-16 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation [genea: GENERATION], among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. (Clearly, Paul knew he was in the midst of perverse generation because the day of Christ is at hand.) (This is another example of the complete mistranslation of genea as if it were genos or ethnos.)
Col 1:26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages [aion: AGES] and from generations [genea: GENERATIONS], but now is made manifest to his saints: (This verse illustrates PERFECTLY what I spoke about in regards to Eph 3:5, 21! Here Paul specifically uses BOTH aion and genea in the very same verse because he wants to emphasize (and understands) the differences between both terms….one relates to time only and the other relates to people IN time.)
Heb 3:7-11 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation [genea], and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) (The writer warned the Jewish Christians not to fall back into Judaism as the Israelites did in the wilderness for 40 years with Moses. He further shows that many did not enter the typical rest (promised land) because of unbelief or apostasy, thereby exhorting the believers to remain faithful lest they fall after the same example of unbelief. That generation was a “wilderness” period for the church (30 to 70 AD). Now we have entered His rest and inherited the kingdom of God, New Jerusalem since 70 AD. Read and study carefully in chapters 3 and 4 of this book. [Hebrews])
Lastly, here is a quotation from the Jewish historian, Josephus, which he wrote about the Jewish War in his generation. When the Jews revolted against Rome, he wrote, “It is, therefore, impossible to go distinctly over every instance of these men’s iniquity. I shall, therefore, speak my mind here at once briefly, that neither did any other city ever suffer such miseries, nor did any age ever breed a generation more fruitful in wickedness than this was, from the beginning of the world” (Josephus’ War V:X:5 c.f. V:XIII:6; Matt. 24:21; Dan. 12:1) (emphasis mine DWH). What Josephus saw after the destruction of Jerusalem, he wrote, “…and made the whole city run down with blood, to such a degree indeed that the fire of many of the houses was quenched with these men’s blood. And truly so it happened, that though the slayers left off at the evening, yet did the fire greatly prevail in the night; and as all was burning, came that eighth day of the month Gorpieus [Elul], upon Jerusalem, a city that had been liable to so many miseries during this siege, that had it always enjoyed as much happiness from its first foundation, it would certainly have been the envy of the world. Nor did it on any other account so much deserve these sore misfortunes, as by producing such a generation of men as were the occasion of this its overthrow” (Josephus’ Wars VII.IX.5).
Now, I challenge you to determine which of these verses refers to a time of our future. Did you know that the liberal responds about this in the following way: “We know Jesus didn’t return in the first century. Therefore, the NT writers were mistaken in their predictions of an imminent return; and since inspired men cannot write mistaken things, they must not have been inspired!” When God communicates time to man, He reasons with His people in a way that man can understand Him. So, if the futurists really want to get to the heart of the issue, they had better deal with the immanency statements. In other words, to say that “this generation, at hand, quickly, or near” meant two thousands years is to put the integrity of the NT at risk.
Since I am Reformed in my soteriology (doctrine of salvation), I have gladly adopted the full or consistent Preterist position of eschatology. I have realized that it is the only Biblical system that truly cries “sola scriptura!” It allows the Scripture to interpret itself and upholds the law of hermeneutics – the grammatical-historical hermeneutic.
This study of “genea” has revealed additional insights as to how the KJV translators arbitrarily chose words which are inaccurate and which do not convey the true meaning of the original writers in many instances, especially so in passages with eschatological import. This was true on a much larger degree with “mello,” but is also seen consistently with “genea.” Translation issues aside, the real problems with “genea” stem from its misapplication by futurist scholars who refuse to acknowledge that Christ was definitively referring ONLY to HIS particular generation of people actually living when he walked the earth. They insist that the word “generation” simply CANNOT be limited with regard to a SPECIFIC PEOPLE born at a SPECIFIC TIME and, like the translators, arbitrarily choose to endow the word “generation” with the magical properties of open-ended, multi-millenial elasticity! And they MUST do this in order to pervert the true meaning of words to maintain their futurist eschatological heritage. This is both dishonest and ridiculous. It makes Jesus Christ out to be a false prophet and completely annihilates the established meaning of words. Futurist Dr. Michael Brown repeatedly used the phrase “If words have ANY meaning…” (while ignoring it himself repeatedly) in his debate with Full Preterist Dr. Don Preston in early June of 2014 to defend his position that the Parousia could not possibly have already happened. I use the very same phrase “If words have ANY meaning…” to demand that we stop WRESTING the scriptures and CEASE burdening them with our own private interpretations! Let the scriptures interpret themselves! Again, as it is written, may GOD be true, but every man a LIAR!