21:29 Then 1 he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the other trees. 2 21:30 When they sprout leaves, you see 3 for yourselves and know that summer is now near. 21:31 So also you, when you see these things happening, know 4 that the kingdom of God 5 is near. 21:32 I tell you the truth, 6 this generation 7 will not pass away until all these things take place. 21:33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. 8
[21:31] 4 tn The verb γινώσκετε (ginwskete, “know”) can be parsed as either present indicative or present imperative. In this context the imperative fits better, since the movement is from analogy (trees and seasons) to the future (the signs of the coming of the kingdom) and since the emphasis is on preparation for this event.
[21:32] 7 sn This is one of the hardest verses in the gospels to interpret. Various views exist for what generation means. (1) Some take it as meaning “race” and thus as an assurance that the Jewish race (nation) will not pass away. But it is very questionable that the Greek term γενεά (genea) can have this meaning. Two other options are possible. (2) Generation might mean “this type of generation” and refer to the generation of wicked humanity. Then the point is that humanity will not perish, because God will redeem it. Or (3) generation may refer to “the generation that sees the signs of the end” (vv. 25-26), who will also see the end itself. In other words, once the movement to the return of Christ starts, all the events connected with it happen very quickly, in rapid succession.