2 THESSALONIANS 1:7 AND “RELIEF”

PMW 2020-025 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

A reader contacted me with this question:

“Why do you think 2 Thessalonians 1:7 is referring to the final return while denying the doctrine of the imminent return of Christ? That is, if 2 Thessalonians 1:7 is not the AD 70 coming but the final return, then didn’t Paul believe the final return could happen in his day since he wrote to the believers in his day, ‘and to grant relief to you.’ Just wondering how you deal with that?” Continue reading

POSTMILLENNIALISM AND THE DAYS OF NOAH (2)

PMW 2020-024 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is the second in a two-part series explaining how postmillennialism can be true even though Jesus warns of “the days of Noah” that lay in our future. A reader asked me about postmillennialism in light of Jesus’ statement in Matthew 24:37–39, which reads:

“For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Matt. 24:37–39)

This is a good question, which is frequently brought up in eschatological discussions. It needs answering. And as I am showing, it can be answered by the postmillennialist — even more easily than many expect. Continue reading

POSTMILLENNIALISM AND THE DAYS OF NOAH (1)

PMW 2020-023 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

A reader sent me a question regarding postmillennialism’s glorious hope in light of Jesus’ statement in Matthew 24:37–39. Jesus’ statement reads:

“For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Matt. 24:37–39)

The problem we face

This statement appears to undermine postmillennial expectations for the improvement of world conditions under the spread of the gospel. In fact, it seems actually to teach the opposite: that history will descend into wholesale corruption equivalent to the worldwide debasement experienced in the days of Noah. Continue reading

IS MATTHEW 25:31-46 A PARABLE?

PMW 2020-022 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

A reader recently responded to an aside comment that I made in an article on the Olivet Discourse. Though the issue is not a major one, it is an interesting one nevertheless. And it is at least potentially helpful for better understanding the matter before us.

THE INTERPRETIVE CONCERN

The reader writes:

“I can’t imagine why you would think that Mt 25: 31 & 32 is not a parable. Sheep and goats are metaphors which is exactly what makes a parable a parable.”

My response:

Thanks for reading my posts, and taking the time to interact. Much appreciated!

However, I believe you are mistaken in assuming that because “sheep and goats are metaphors” that this is what “makes a parable a parable.” Just a quick observation regarding your statement about metaphors and parables: we speak in metaphors all the time today without anyone claiming we are speaking in parables. You are apparently working with an inadequate definition of a parable.

Your comment indicates that you have not done any extensive work in dealing with parables. Defining a “parable” is a lot more complex than you suppose. I have a dozen books on the parables of Jesus in my library. They invariably have to wrestle with the definition of a “parable.” Defining “parable” is a widely debated issue in New Testament interpretation.

But now regarding your basic concern, which is found in your statement: “I can’t imagine why you would think that Mt 25:31 32 is not a parable.”

I would admit that there are, in fact, many scholars who believe that the Sheep and Goats Discourse is a parable. However, I do not believe they are correct; and I am not alone in this. I will be presenting numerous observations on Matthew 25:31–46 by leading scholars that deny that the passage is a parable. No one should respond to these men by complaining: “I can’t imagine why you would think that Mt 25: 31 & 32 is not a parable.” Continue reading

THE DISCIPLES’ CONFUSION AT OLIVET (4)

PMW 2020-021 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is the fourth and final installment in a series highlighting the tendency for the Disciples to confuse Jesus’ teaching. This is relevant to a study of the Olivet Discourse in that the very question that prompts the Discourse is rooted in the Disciples’ confusion.

In their question, the dull Disciples assume that the temple’s destruction would occur at the end of the world. That is, they believe it cannot happen until the parousia which occurs at “the end of the age”:

“As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming [Gk. parousia], and of the end of the age?’” (Matt. 24:3)

I ended our last study in Matthew 16. Moving along, we notice that shortly after the Matthew 16 events, we have the dramatic Transfiguration episode (Matt. 17:1–8). But though Peter recently declared Jesus to be “the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matt. 16:16) and though he saw Jesus gloriously transfigured before them (Matt. 17:2–3), he nevertheless asks to make three tabernacles, one for Moses, Elijah, and Jesus (Matt. 17:4). God immediately rebukes him, declaring “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” (Matt. 17:5). Peter did not understand what was happening before his very eyes. He effectively put Moses and Elijah on an equal footing with Jesus. Continue reading

THE DISCIPLES’ CONFUSION AT OLIVET (3)

PMT 2020-020 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

The Issue before Us

This is the third installment in a series highlighting the Disciples’ confusion regarding Jesus’ prophecy of the temple’s destruction. As proud first-century Jews and slow-learning Disciples, they assume that the temple’s destruction would signal the end of the world, that is, that it would occur at the parousia at “the end of the age” (Matt. 24:3).

My previous two articles were spent setting-up this study on the Disciples’ confusion. I am now ready to directly demonstrate what many evangelical Narrative Critics and orthodox preterists have argued regarding the Disciples as presented in Matthew’s Gospel: Though they spent three years of intensive instruction under Jesus’ ministry, they were too often mistaken in their defective perception of Jesus’ message. Continue reading

THE DISCIPLES’ CONFUSION AT OLIVET (2)

PMT 2020-019 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is the second in a series on the confusion of Jesus’ Disciples when they ask him about his prophecy of the temple’s destruction. They assumed that the temple would last until the end of the world. Thus, they understood Jesus’ prophecy of its destruction to be a prophecy regarding the end of the world.

Jesus’ prophecy and the Disciples’ questions are found in the following verses:

Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.” (Matt. 24:1–3)

I will be highlighting Matthew’s emphasis on their continual confusion throughout Jesus’ ministry. But I must point out, first, that their assumption of the temple’s indestructibility was common among first-century Jews (despite the fact that Solomon’s temple had been destroyed in the OT!). Consider the following. Continue reading