PMT 2014-054 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
This article concludes a three-part discussion of the question of whether the Olivet Discourse focuses solely on AD 70, or if it also looks ahead to the Second Advent. I believe that it speaks of both events. This should not surprise us, since AD 70 is a preview of the Second Advent, like all the several “Day of the Lord” events in the OT anticipating the final “Day of the Lord.” Please consult the previous articles (PMT 2014-051 and 052). See my book The Olivet Discourse Made Easy for more detailed information.
10. Argument from flight opportunity
In the first section Christ urges desperate flight from the area, clearly implying there will be time and opportunity to flee: “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Matt 24:16). In fact, one particular sign — the abomination of desolation — will be the cue to leave the area. Because of this opportunity of flight, many lives of God’s elect will be saved: “unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days shall be cut short” (24:22).
But upon entering the second section of the Discourse we hear of no commands to escape, no opportunities for flight. Indeed, we witness just the opposite. Once again we can read through the warnings of the unpredictable nature of the second advent (as in # 6 given previously) and realize that by the very nature of the case no opportunity for flight will exist:
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (24:36)
“they did not understand” (v 39)
“you do not know” (v 42)
“if the head of the house had known” (v 43)
“coming at an hour when you do not think He will” (v 44)
“he does not expect him” (v 50)
“you do not know” (25:13)
Postmillennialism and Preterism (4 CDs)
by Ken Gentry
Sacramento eschatology conference lectures on postmillennialism, the beast,
the resurrection, and the great tribulation
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
11. Argument from narrative function
J. A. Gibbs (Jerusalem and Parousia) notes that when we compare the two sections of the Lord’s Olivet Discourse we may quickly note that the first section issues warnings regarding deception and danger. For instance, we hear: “see to it that no one misleads you” (Matt 24:4); “you will be hearing of wars” (24:6); “they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you” (24:9); and so forth.
The second section of the narrative differs in tone by issuing exhortations related to future judgment and reward, calling upon the reader to exercise faithfulness and diligence. The reader is exhorted to “be on the alert” (Matt 24:42); to “be ready” (24:44), with the result that he will be considered “the faithful and sensible slave” (24:45).
Then in Matthew 25:31–46 the Lord speaks of the final judgment “when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him” (Matt 25:31a). Here he “separates the sheep from the goats” (25:32b) based on the evidence of their true conversion exhibited by their love for Christ and his people (25:35–46). Thus, he so frames the final judgment that it serves as an exhortation to continuance in the faith and among God’s people.
Fearful warnings of imminent danger in the earlier section greatly differ from moral exhortations to long-term faithfulness and preparedness in the latter section. This difference demonstrates what we have seen on the basis of other considerations, that is, that these two sections are fundamentally different.
12. Argument from eschatological contrast
Jesus appears to use key terms that distinguish his metaphorical coming in AD 70 from his literal coming at the second advent. In Matthew 24:4–34 ne never uses the word parousia (“coming,” “presence”) — except in v 27 where he intentionally distinguishes his visible second advent from the first-century (24:34) deceptions which claim Jesus is hidden here or there (24:24–26).
This is significant in that the disciples’ original question regarding his “coming” uses the word parousia: “what will be the sign of Your coming [parousia]” (Matt 24:3). Yet Jesus studiously avoids the term to describe events occurring in the first section, though he does use the word erchomenos (“coming”) in the key verse at 24:30: “then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming [erchomenos] on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.”
After Matthew24:34, though, he twice uses parousia of that unpredictable coming in the distant future:
“For the coming [parousia] of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.” (24:37)
“They did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so shall the coming [parousia] of the Son of Man be.” (v 39)
13. Argument from temporal duration
In the early section of Matthew 24 the time frame is short. The disciples will be facing real dangers that will transpire in “this generation” (Matt 24:34). They are to be on the lookout for various signs, especially that one that occurs within the then-standing temple (24:15), for then they are to flee the area (24:16). This all fits with Jesus’ introductory warning of the judgment that will befall the scribes and Pharisees — also in “this generation” (23:34–36).
In the following section from Matthew 24:36 and into chapter 25 the time frame is much longer. No more do we hear of “this generation,” rather Jesus’ parables anticipate a distant future:
“But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming.'” (Matt 24:48)
“But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.” (Matt 25:5)
“After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.” (Matt 25:19)
Studies in Eschatology (4 CDs) Four lectures by Ken Gentry
This four lecture series was given in Vancouver, Washington.
It provides both a critique of dispensationalism, as well as positive studies of
postmillennialism in the Psalms and Revelation.
This provides helpful comparative insights into eschatological pessimism and optimism.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
The exegetical and contextual evidence in the Olivet Discourse strongly suggests that Jesus is separating the disciples’ questions into two separate events: AD 70 and the Second Advent. In their minds, they probably thought the destruction of the temple meant the destruction of the world. Such was their Judeo-centric focus. But Jesus is informing them that AD 70 is a distant adumbration of the larger, world-wide, history ending event: the Second Coming.
You may now go back to whatever you were doing before stumbling upon this three-part study. Be warmed and filled.
Tagged: Matthew 24:36, Olivet Discourse, transition text
Dear Dr. Gentry,
Can you give us all the passages in the New Testament that talks about the Second Advent (second physical coming of Christ)?
I couldn’t possible give them all. I don’t have that kind of time. But I will present an article that presents some of the key passages. Hopefully that will help.