PMW 2023-032 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
In response to a previous article I wrote on the Olivet Discourse, a reader challenged my interpretation of the division in the Discourse. He believes the Lord does not move to consider his second coming and final judgment until Matt. 25:31. He challenged me largely because he felt that the view I present (a division in the Discourse at Matt. 24:34–36) does not actually deal with the disciples’ question in Matt. 24:3. They expected the destruction of the temple would signal “the end of the age,” which my reader assumes is the end of the old covenant era, and therefore of the temple era in AD 70.
The Two-age Structure of Redemptive History
I am currently researching a book on the two-age structure of redemptive history. My view is that which is taught by most Reformed (e.g., B. B. Warfield, Geerhardus Vos, Richard Gaffin, Greg Bahnsen) and many orthodox evangelical (e.g., George E. Ladd, Grant Osborne, R. T. France, D. A. Caron) scholars. There is clear and compelling evidence that the two-age structure of redemptive history is not speaking of the old covenant versus the new covenant.
Rather, the two-age structure, which is presented most clearly by Jesus (Matt. 12:32; Mark 10:30; Luke 20:34–35) and Paul (Gal. 1:4; Eph. 1:21), counterpoises “this age” over against “the coming age.” That is, they set temporal history (history since the fall and until the Second Coming of Christ) over against the consummate order (which will be established at the Second Coming and Final Judgment at the end of history). This is why Paul speaks of a first Adam and a last Adam. He is dealing with fallen historical order under Adam vs. the perfected consummate order under Christ. He is not dealing with the first Moses and the second Moses.
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
The Jewish Confusion over Christ’s Ministry
In the Olivet Discourse Jesus answers his disciples’ question while simultaneously correcting their misunderstanding. He does this by warning them that he is not to be sought back on earth when the temple is destroyed (Matt. 24:23–26), for his coming at the end of the age will be like lightning (24:27), which no one could miss. Thus, regarding the destruction of the temple, he gives them many signs (e.g., Matt. 24:4–7, 15–20) of the event which he knows for certain will come in “this generation” (24:34). But in the second part of his Discourse (24:37–25:46), he distinguishes his future Second Coming/Final Judgment of “that day.” He does this by noting (surprisingly!) that he himself does not know when it will occur (Matt. 24:36) and that there will be no signs of it — so that people will be caught off guard (e.g., 24:39, 42, 44, 50; 25:13).
Not understanding the two-age structure of redemptive history and prophetic revelation, has enormous consequences. In fact, it led the first-century Jews to reject their Messiah in that they assumed when he came, he would deliver them from the Romans. They rejected him because he did not meet up to their conquering-Messiah expectations (e.g., John 6:15).
The militaristic conquering-Messiah expected by the Jews was the type of person which Pilate was concerned about. Thus, Pilate asked Jesus: “Are you the King of the Jews?” (John 18:33). But Jesus disavowed any militaristic kingdom-action: “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm” (John 18:26). So, once he heard this, Pilate declared him innocent and offered to free him: “I find no guilt in Him. But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover; do you wish then that I release for you the King of the Jews? (John 18:39). In response to this offer, “they cried out again, saying, ‘Not this Man, but Barabbas’” (John 18:40).
This widespread confusion among first-Jews, explains why Jesus kept quiet on his being the Messiah through most of his ministry. For instance, in Matt. 16:20, after Peter’s Great Confession of Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16), we read: “Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ” (Matt. 16:20).
Thine Is the Kingdom
(ed. by Ken Gentry)
Contributors lay the scriptural foundation for a biblically-based, hope-filled postmillennial eschatology, while showing what it means to be postmillennial in the real world.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
This also explains John the Baptist’s confusion, when he was thrown into prison for declaring the coming of the Messianic kingdom. In Matt. 11:2–3 we read: “Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, ‘Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?’” He had preached of fiery judgment by the Messiah (Matt. 3:12), but Jesus was not bringing such about. In fact, as his forerunner John was now in prison about to be capitally punished.
This also explains why the Emmaus Road disciples were so disheartened: They spoke of “Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people” and yet “the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to the sentence of death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:19–21). Jesus had not lived up to the apocalyptic expectations, and now he had even been killed.
Yet the Old Testament prophecies speak of Christ’s coming in two stages: first to suffer and die; then to come in mighty power conquering his enemies. By misconstruing the two-age revelation, the Jews rejected Christ and Jesus’ followers were greatly disheartened and confused.
THE TWO AGES AND OLIVET (advertisement)
I am currently researching a study of the Two-Age structure of redemptive history. My starting point is based on the disciples’ questions to Jesus in Matthew 24:3. Much confusion reigns among those unacquainted with the Two-Age analysis of history, which was promoted by Jesus (Matt. 12:32; Mark 10:29-30) and by Paul (Gal. 1:4; Eph. 1:21). The Two Ages are not the old covenant and the new covenant, but world history since the fall and the consummate order following the Second Coming and the Final Judgment.
If you would like to support me in my research, I invite you to consider giving a tax-deductible contribution to my research and writing ministry: GoodBirth Ministries. Your help is much appreciated!
Thank you Dr. Gentry.
The two age structure, the overlapping of the ages for the Christian, the end of the old covenant by Christ’s death burial and resurrection and the begining of the new, the last days, the last hour are clear from your research though sometimes I have to re read your books I have to keep the two different last days and hours separate.