In Matthew 24 Jesus is responding to the question "what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"
He replies that there will be false prophets claiming to be Christ, wars, famines, earthquakes, persecutions. He says that "the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."
Then continues that when we see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel, there will be the worst times our world has ever seen.
"Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.'""At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
OK, so this all sounds like the end of the world stuff to me... but then what follows makes no sense to me at all.
Matt 24:34 (NIV)
"I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened."If "this generation" means what I think it should mean, Jesus was saying that all the stuff above would happen with the next 40 ish years of when he spoke it.
Preterism has a way of explaining it by claiming all these things did occur in 70AD with the destruction of Jerusalem. But I'm not sure where that leaves us now... are we waiting for a 3rd coming? Or is this related to the kingdom of God which has already started which I also don't completely understand.
Others have tried to explain that "generation" could mean something other than what it means. Or that "this" should have been "that". Or others say that Jesus made a mistake.
I'd rather just admit I am lacking enough intelligence to figure this out right now. And I'm OK with that:
1 Corinthians 1:27-31 (NIV)
"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."