In Matthew 16 and Matthew 24, I personally cannot see any other interpretation other than Jesus is speaking specifically to "that" generation of His time. He was speaking to those disciples, specifically stating some of them would not "taste death" until those things had come to pass. He was not speaking of His transfiguration, as some have tried to explain. He states He will return with His angels and rewards at that time, not some 2000 or 3000 years into the future. I have tried to reconcile these two chapters to our present time, but it doesn't hold water. Jesus always declared He would return quickly, and very soon. There is no way the disciples understood that to mean some 2000 years in the future.
They understood parables and symbolism in that time. They understood that "666", as in the numerology that they knew, meant King Nero. If we were to write a book today, in our language and all of the terms that we understand, such as "kicking the bucket" (meaning someone died), do you think someone 2000 years from now would understand it? Not without a whole lot of researching and interpretation, and knowing that we understood this language in our time, not theirs. I would have no clue as to how to write a book so that a generation 2000 years from now would understand it. I don't know how they are going to talk and read and understand 2000 years from now.
Response from The Refiner's Fire:
Author Andrew Gabriel Roth explains:
The quick response is: In Aramaic, the word sharbata is translated into Greek as genea. While both words can mean "generation" the context of "this generation" in Y'shua's discourses is for sharbata's other meaning, which is TRIBE. Y'shua is saying his TRIBE (Yehudah) will not pass away until the end, so anyone else who tries to destroy the Jews is going against Mashiyach. Also it was very much a part of Hebraic thought that one's "generations" were thought of as extending until the last of the line was done, which in theory might have the whole of humanity as part of that tribe through obedience to YHWH's Torah and His Son's halakha (Ephesians 2:11-22). By contrast, if Y'shua had meant the literal 40 year generation of his present time, there are more precise Aramaic words he could have used in singular form that have that confining sense, such as DARA (Philippians 2:15, Hebrews 3:10).
Let's dig a little deeper:
As mentioned, SHARBATA can mean "tribe" and also "generation" and GENEA in Greek has these same meanings. Therefore, context must be our guide. In most cases "THIS GENERATION" means "THIS TRIBE", but not always. We must understand the nature of shadow and type or, better yet, embedded prophecies. These phenomena show one theme in the past and repeat it in the future. A good example: Yehoshua ben Yehozadak (Joshua), who in Zechariah 3 is said to be symbolic - along with his men - of places and things to come.
In any case, in Zechariah 6:12 we are told "This is the man whose name is the branch"; not that he is the Branch, his name is the Branch. That means that this Yehoshua is the SHADOW of our Y'shua (TYPE). This happens all over the place. Ahaz's sign in Isaiah 7-9 partly relates to a 65 year window and partly relates to Y'shua's day, linked by multiple meaning words and "sealing" and "opening" language. That 30 page study is in my book, "Path to Life".
Suffice it to say for now that two events are linked by words, names, and special language. That is why 666 = NERO CAESAR in Hebrew, because Yochanan (John) was writing both about his present and our future, at the same time.
So, what about Mattiyahu (Matthew) 24 then? Well, if you understand what I have said thus far, it should come as no surprise that part of that prophecy was fulfilled within 40 years of Y'shua saying it! Even the Mishnah says the glory departed Jerusalem and her Temple 40 years before it was destroyed, or 30 CE when He was crucified.
Did wars, rumor of wars, and from the Jewish perspective nearly the end of the world happen in 70 CE? Ask Josephus who tells us there 200,000+ Jews dead in the streets after Jerusalem burned. The learning infrasturcture was gone. The Torah almost completely destroyed. The "abomination that is desolation" was even partly fulfilled when the Romans put their pagan ensigns on the charred remains of the Temple, standing in the place of Elohim, as Rav Shaul (Apostle Paul) says.
So yes, this generation, 30-70-CE, saw the SHADOW of "these things" and ALL "these things" were accomplished. But the type, the second coming has yet to happen, and that is when they will be fulfilled all over again.