PMW 2020-096 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

A reader recently wrote me with the following observations, for which he wondered how I would reply:

My reader:

I recently read your book, The Olivet Discourse Made Easy. I thought it was very good.

What is your view of the following?

1. “Take place” in Mt. 24:34 does not require completion but only inception. Compare with Luke 1:20. “ginomai” in the aorist subjective indicates coming into existence without speaking at all regarding completion.

2. The reason Jesus gave to flee Jerusalem when surrounded by armies was that the end is not yet. The end would be the Jews defeating Rome and ending the age of the Jews being without a king.

3. The tribulation of which Jesus spoke began prior to 70 A.D., but continues until the bodily return of Jesus to earth.

Thank you.

The Olivet Discourse Made Easy

Olivet Discourse Made Easy (by Ken Gentry)

Verse-by-verse analysis of Christ’s teaching on Jerusalem’s destruction in Matt 24. Shows the great tribulation is past, having occurred in AD 70, and is distinct from the Second Advent at the end of history.

See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com

My reply:


Thanks for reading. And for interacting. However, I believe each one of the points you are concerned about is mistaken.

Actually the first observation you mention about the inceptive nature of the verse is mistaken. The eos (“until”) is linked with the particle an (untranslated) that immediately follows it. Thus, the subjunctive genetai simply implies the indefinite time of the events. That indefinite time is when “all these things take place,” i.e., all the things predicted before this verse. These will occur in “this generation” (of Jesus’ day) but we don’t know how long that will take — though they must occur before that generation vanishes away.

Your second observation is also mistaken. The reason the Jewish believers are to flee Jerusalem is NOT because “the end is not yet.” Rather it is because they will be destroyed if they remain in Jerusalem (vv. 17–22). Thus, they are not to worry about their property items; they are to be concerned for their very lives. And how are “the days cut short” (v. 22) if they have already lasted 2000 years? Your view doesn’t make good sense.

If “the great tribulation” began in AD 70 and continues until Christ’s return, then is isn’t so “great” after all. For I am comfortable — as would be anyone taking their time to use our technology-produced computer to access the Internet to share ideas about Christ, while sitting in an air conditioned room looking through their Christian books that have been widely published for personal study.

Actually, the greatness of the great tribulation is to involve intense warfare from the Roman invaders in that generation long ago (Luke 23:28–30) because of its great evil in rejecting Christ and persecuting his followers (Matt. 23:34–38) — in “this generation” (Matt. 23:36).

I hope these thoughts are helpful!

Keep studying!

Reader responds:

Thank you for your response. I thought it was very good and I see your point.
Are you saying that “take place” in Mt. 24:34 absolutely cannot be in the ingressive sense, or that the best interpretation is that it is not ingressive?

How would this apply to Luke 1:20? It clearly seems to use the ingressive sense there.

Blessed Is He SMALL (Larry Ball)

Blessed Is He Who Reads: A Primer on the Book of Revelation
By Larry E. Ball

A basic survey of Revelation from the preterist perspective.
It sees John as focusing on the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in AD 70.

For more Christian studies see: www.KennethGentry.com

My second reply:

Grammatical rules are not mechanical and invariable mathematical formulas, to be sure. That is why we have so many Greek text commentaries making different assertions on the same texts. That is why we have so many different functions of the aorist tense and subjunctive mode, etc. Greek grammars would be much shorter if we could just give one meaning for a tense or mode.

But I do not see how Luke 1:20 is evidence in the inceptive direction. In fact, it appears to be the exact opposite.

The context shows that Zacharias was being disciplined (v. 20) for not believing that his old wife (v. 7) would have a baby. (v. 18). That is the basic point of the angelic prophecy — for the angel Gabriel came to answer that particular prayer or petition to God about having a child (v. 13). All the other factors of John’s future life are not the issue: Zacharias did not pray for those things; they were additional blessings. Thus we read that “your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John” (v. 13). This is the fact that would bring him joy (v. 14).

So then, on the day of John’s birth wherein he is formally named “John,” Zacharias was “suddenly, immediately, at once” (Gk., parachrema) able to speak (v. 62-64). This is just as the angel prophesied (v. 20).

I hope this is helpful!

Click on the following images for more information on these studies:

Keys to the Book of Revelation

Four Views

Great Tribulation Past Future


5 thoughts on “HAVE WE MISCONSTRUED MATTHEW 24:34?

  1. Jason Elliott November 3, 2020 at 6:50 am

    Good points here, Dr. Gentry. I agree about the tribulation must be for a limited time in the first century (Revelation 1:9). A verse that seems to be misunderstood because it is not read carefully is 2 Timothy 3:1, This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. If the entire “church age” was in tribulation I think Paul would indicate that the last days as a whole are perilous rather than perilous times within the scope of the last days. Also, if we take Isaiah 2:2-4 to also show us the “last days” we see a glorious victory of Christ over the nations in very desirable conditions, not things getting worse and worse or even a spurring on of Satan’s kingdom as many eschatologies believe today. The Great Commission, by its very giving of the One who has ALL authority over heaven and earth guarantees victory. All who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution, however the “great tribulation” is over in my opinion. On a side note, many who believe in a pessimistic eschatology never sing from the book of Psalms (commanded in the New Testament), which I believe would correct much of this negative, church-bumbling-through-history thinking.

  2. Joshua K. Stevens November 3, 2020 at 9:35 am

    I recently went to a pastor’s retreat, wherein I was served a three-course meal, including boiled shrimp, mahi-mahi, baked chicken, etc. I had to turn down desert because I was too full. A young pastor’s wife at our table said to me something along the lines of “With all that’s happening in our country today, I’m beginning to wonder about this whole “pre-trib rapture thing.”

    On the one hand, I thought, it’s good that she was beginning to question such novel doctrines in church history as the “pre-trib” rapture. On the other hand, the intense irony wasn’t lost on me with this young lady mentioning “tribulation” as I dipped my latest fresh piece of boiled shrimp in cocktail sauce. Can you imagine Paul, who was shipwrecked, beaten, persecuted, etc. sitting at the table with us at a pastor’s retreat? (Peter probably would have gotten up when they brought out the shrimp).

    I don’t think it’s an understatement to say that we don’t know how good we’ve got it here. It’s cringeworthy for American Christians to talk about the hardships we face in America–or prospects of gloom and doom on the horizon if the “right person” doesn’t get in the oval office. We consider it a “great tribulation” if our A/C stops working in August, or if the ice cream shelf is empty at Wal-mart (as it was at times in the Covid-19 panic).

    All I could think of as I, along with hundreds of other pastors, enjoyed our country boil by the bay was, “We’ve come a long way from Nero.”

  3. Robert Cruickshank Jr November 5, 2020 at 8:45 am

    This was a good post Ken. I’ve experienced this as well: people look for every reason to stretch the doom and gloom of the last days and the great tribulation out to our own time. I honestly believe the underlying reason is to look for an excuse to justify the modern Church’s all out failure to effect our culture for Christ. If God’s People don’t wake up soon, we are going to lose our freedoms and our country. Some future generation will have to start all over again.

  4. saosin242 June 8, 2022 at 4:08 pm

    I know a lot of orthodox preterists argue the futurist by appealing to the fact that Jesus says “you” will see these things, or “you” will experience these things, and so on. I know that is not a solid foundation for defending the preterist position though because there are instances in the Bible where prophets used what’s called the “prophetic you”. Meaning that “you” is referring to those who will experience the prophecy. I recently saw Michael Vlach (dispensationalist) though arguing for the use of the prophetic you when Jesus says “this generation”. Is there any validity to that argument you think? Can the “prophetic you” be applied to the near demonstrative “this generation”? Thank you!

  5. Kenneth Gentry July 11, 2022 at 10:56 am

    The argument from the second person plural “you” is not a strong argument at all. We still have to determine if he is speaking only of those particular individuals standing before at that point in time. Or is he speaking to them as representatives of the the body of Christ, the global church. In his letter “to the saints who are at Ephesus” (Eph. 1:1), Paul declares “you were dead in your trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). This is true of them, of course, but not just of them but of all God’s people. Similarly, when Paul says “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” in Ephesians 1:4, he is not saying this only of those to whom he is speaking in his letter. This is a corporate “us.”

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