Mark 13:30 and Ellen White


Koot van Wyk (DLitt et Phil, Thd)


Is Ellen White saying that this generation in Mark 13:30 is a reference to those who will see Him at the Second Coming? It appears not to be the case. But when I looked at it a second time later in this writing, I had to abandon my first analysis, which I leave here to show how theologians sometimes think. 

My first perception:

I have consulted online the Ellen White Estate citations including Desire of Ages page 632 but the conclusion that this generation is talking about the Second Coming only or referring to the First Resurrection (good) only and not the Second Resurrection (evil), is what should be considered again by some of our scholars.

“Christ gave special directions with regard to this event. “Now learn a parable of the fig tree,” He said. “When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation (the generation that see the signs) shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” [Verses 32-35.] “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” [Verse 36.] Christ stated plainly to His disciples that He Himself could not make known the day and hour of His second appearing. Had He been at liberty to make this time known, what need would there have been for Him to exhort them to maintain an attitude of constant expectancy, living and working and waiting as though each day was, not their own, but the Lord’s, cultivating fidelity, faith, and love, and purifying the soul through the truth? Christ tells His disciples that the time of His appearing is involved in secrecy. There will be those who claim to know the time of that great event. Very earnest are they in mapping out the future, which the Lord has placed in a thick cloud, that the day, the month, and even the year may not be known. Notwithstanding the continued failures of these time setters, they still continue their work. But their reasoning is false, and the Lord has warned them off the ground they occupy, for the coming of the Son of man is God’s mystery. “Secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever.” [Deuteronomy 29:29.] MS. 78  1897

Christ’s eschatological outlines sometimes do not end just at the Second Coming but goes beyond that to the Hell event as He did in His parables many times. It was also that way described in the Old Testament prophets and even Wisdom Literature. The case was always Investigative Judgment, Time of Trouble, Second Coming, Millennium, Hell, New Heaven and new earth. In that order.

“All these things happen” could have reference when the heavens and earth will pass away at the Hell event when Christ will then subsequently create them anew. God created this world originally without pre-existing material. Sorry, Quantum Theorists. That is also what Ellen White said if I am understanding Charles D. Brooks correct at the 2005 Chattanooga main sermon at the General Youth Congress online at Youtube.

Bacchiochi also suggested that “generation” should not be taken in a minimalist meaning as did the Preterists, = “only Jesus’ generation of people, period”. He showed convincingly that when Jesus used the term “generation” He used it with a maximalist scope in mind to sometimes include all evil since Adam and before and until the Hell event. This is also a good point to keep in mind in the understanding of this verse.

At least they do not try to talk like Albert Schweizer and other preterists that Jesus thought His coming will be soon and made an error and then changed to a delay-doctrine!

I am willing to adapt my writing here should EGW researchers prove otherwise to me. Let this be said here too.

My second perception:

I just noticed the addition of an explanation in the text of Ellen White, and wonder if that was inserted by someone else or whether it was by Ellen White inserted? It reads “This generation (the generation that see the signs) shall not pass”. Take note, if Ellen White wrote what is in brackets, then one has to consider the explanation as a reference to the Second Coming and the First Resurrection and not the Second Resurrection after the Millennium. There will be no signs during the Millennium or after the Second Coming. It then has to be before the Second Coming.

If this is the case, and it seems to me now that Desire of Ages do point to the Second Coming and the generation that would live in that time, it means that the “this” of “this generation” does not refer to Christ’s own time generation but basically “that generation” [i.e. the one in future of Christ and the Apostles that will live at the nearness of His coming, after 1780, after 1798, after 1833, after 1844] and that should be considered here. Bacchiochi did not explain it this way though. Paulien did not explain it this way in his End Time book. Some of our professors at the Seminary and theological schools did not teach it this way either.

It will mean, and I think following Ellen White here is better, is that Christ in His divine Mind-Eye could see after 1844 and after these signs happen, then that particular generation close to the nearness of His Second Coming, they will be alive as Paul also said, they will not pass away “die” before all these things including the Time of Trouble happened.

This is a reversal of the view I started out with but it makes completely sense and I think this the way we need to interpret it. I leave my thinking coming around here to illustrate how theology works when we interpret. Sometimes we think we are right but when we consult the Spirit of Prophecy then we get adjusted to the proper and precise truth. That is the way it should be. Not discarding EGW and run after Preterists in their commentaries.