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Thank you, Andrew.

re: “Finally, I would have thought that the general tenor of Jesus’ teaching is that the war was inevitable, not that it would be delayed.”

This stimulates the thought that perhaps Jesus did prophecy that the disaster would be delayed … for the better part of a generation, but would occur before the present generation had completely passed away.

If Mt 16:28 refers to Jesus’ understanding of the timing of the coming calamity, it suggests that Jesus thought that most but not all of the present generation would have passed away before the war and its desolations took place. This seems to imply that Jesus thought the war would not occur for a number of decades, until most but not all of the present generation had departed the scene. (I think I have seen this argument at P.OST, but perhaps it was somewhere else.)

Elsewhere Jesus asserted that only the Father new the details of when this would happen. Nevertheless Jesus was confident that it would happen before the present generation had completely passed away, but not until much of it had passed away.

Why would he expect that? That seems a remarkably precise prediction. 

Perhaps it was a “conditions-based prediction” — perhaps the passing away of much of the present generation was a precondition for the war breaking out. Why would that be?

Perhaps Jesus had in mind something that he would do that would create a memorable deterrent to the launching of the war, a deterrent that would be effective while living memory of it was strong in Israel. But when the current generation had substantially passed from the scene and a new generation had arisen, a generation that did not know Jesus from lived experience, a generation that did not remember the calamity of the AD30 Passover, when Rome executed Israel’s hoped-for redeemer king, it would no longer be an effective deterrent and the war would break out.

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