Q. If there were other prophecies that needed fulfilling in this generation before the Rapture could happen why did Paul expect Jesus to come back in his generation?
A. Jesus could have come back during Paul’s time. Israel was in the land, there was a temple in Jerusalem and there were no prophecies that had to be fulfilled first. Once the Temple was destroyed and Israel ceased to exist as a nation, things that happened after Paul’s death, their rebirth became a precondition to the Lord’s return.
If you hold that God’s dealings with the Church and Israel are mutually exclusive, as I do, then there have to be signs of Israel’s return to signal that God is is wrapping up His work with the Church. Acts 15:13-18 and Romans 11:25 hint at this. In the generations between 135 and 1948, there was no such signal.
I view the Doctrine of Imminence to be confirmed in the fact that in every generation the Lord has returned for His people at a day and hour they couldn’t have predicted as through accident, illness, foul play, etc. they were suddenly ushered into the presence of the Lord.
These were partial fulfillments that demonstrated the validity of the complete fulfillment in the End Times, since there would only ever be one generation where without warning all would go simultaneously with out tasting death first. (1 Cor. 15:51-52)