Category Archives: Interpretation

WHO ARE THE SONS OF GOD IN GEN. 6?

PMW 2020-067 by R. C. Sproul (Ligonier Ministries)

In the twentieth century, the German biblical scholar Rudolf Bultmann gave a massive critique of the Scriptures, arguing that the Bible is filled with mythological references that must be removed if it is to have any significant application to our day. Bultmann’s major concern was with the New Testament narratives, particularly those that included records of miracles, which he deemed impossible. Other scholars, however, have claimed that there are mythological elements in the Old Testament as well. Exhibit A for this argument is usually a narrative that some believe parallels the ancient Greek and Roman myths about gods and goddesses occasionally mating with human beings. Continue reading

THE TRUE MEANING OF REV 1:1 AND 1:3 (2)

PMW 2020-066 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is the final installment of a seven part series on the interpretation of Revelation 1:1 and 3. This is the second and final part of the two-part conclusion of the series, where I focus on the positive evidence for the preterist interpretation. So now let’s consider:

4. Alternative options

Upon reading these several temporal statements we must ask: If John had intended to speak of the events as near, how could he have expressed that more clearly? By eliminating these phrases from his vocabulary we deny him common means of expressing shortness.

Two of these are particularly common expressions for indicating temporal proximity: eggus and tachos/tachu. The word eggus appears frequently in the NT, occurring thirty-one times (11 times in John’s Gospel and twice in Rev). Its verbal form eggizō occurs another forty-two times, with about half of those indicating temporal rather than spatial nearness. This is an important expression in the Gospels for declaring the nearness of Christ’s kingdom which he establishes during his ministry: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt 3:2). “From that time Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Mt 4:17). “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Mt 10:7). The words tachos appears eight times and its related term tachus thirteen. Thus, these terms appear a total of ninety-four times. Continue reading

THE TRUE MEANING OF REV 1:1 AND 1:3 (1)

PMW 2020-065 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

I have been doing a survey of various excuses made by scholars who seek to avoid preterist understanding of Revelation. It is incredible how many different interpretations of Revelation 1:1 and 3 have been created.

Now I have come to the end of the survey of views, so I will present the evidence to support the preterist analysis. Why do we believe the bulk of Revelation was near when John wrote? Let’s see.

NEARNESS EVIDENCE

Revelation 1:1 reads: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon [en tachei] take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John.”
Continue reading

WHAT DO REVELATION 1:1 AND 1:3 MEAN? (5)

PMW 2020-064 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is my fifth study in a survey of the scholarly options for interpreting the introductory verses of Revelation. Those verses are Revelation 1:1, 3. And they read:

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, . . . 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.

We have looked at seven options among scholars. We are now ready for three more!

8. John speaks from the future

George Beasley-Murray emphasizes “imminence” (Revelation, 168) and “no more delay” (170) but not for the original audience. Actually “in his vision John stands near the close of the period of messianic judgments” (Beasley-Murray 170). Thus, he sees John as speaking from within the future context when the events are about to explode on the seen. Continue reading

WHAT DO REVELATION 1:1 AND 1:3 MEAN? (4)

PMW 2020-063 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

I am continuing a survey of the various interpretations of the first three verses of Revelation. These are crucial for understanding what John’s mysterious book involves. Those verses read:

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, . . . 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.

We are now ready for two more interpretations that are found among scholars. And dispensationalists.

6. The events are always imminent

The events are imminent in that they could theoretically occur at any minute. Premillennialist Robert Mounce (Revelation, 41) takes this approach: “John writes that the events that constitute the revelation must ‘soon take place.’ That almost 2,000 year of church history have passed and the end has not yet come poses a problem for some. . . . The most satisfying solution is to take the expression ‘must soon take place’ in a straightforward sense, remembering that in the prophetic outlook the end is always imminent. Time as a chronological sequence is of secondary concern in prophecy. This perspective is common to the entire NT.” Continue reading

MORE ON THE DISCIPLES’ CONFUSION

PMW 2020-056 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Over the past few months I have written several articles on the disciples’ questions to Jesus in Matthew 24:3. Their two questions are: “Tell us, [1] when will these things happen, and [2] what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” Thus, their two questions are asking “when” (Gk. pote) and “what” (Gk. ti). Understanding their questions and their state-of-mind is important for us if we ourselves want to understand the Olivet Discourse (known in academia as the “Eschatological Discourse”).

In those earlier articles I pointed out that the disciples were frequently confused at Jesus’ teaching, which often caused them to misunderstand it. I noted that their tendency to confusion explains why they ask him about his “coming [Gk.: parousia] and the end of the age [Gk.: sunteleias tou aiōnos],” when he prophesies the destruction of the temple (Matt. 24:2). They obviously assumed that the temple’s destruction would occur at his Second Advent at the end of history. And they were mistaken in this Jew-centric supposition. Continue reading

REVELATION AND LITERALISM? (2)

Literal butterflyPMT 2016-031 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is part two of a two-part study on the question of literalism in Revelation. Despite televangelists and rapture-predictors, Revelation is not to be interpreted literalistically. I examined three reasons why this is so in the previous article. I now would like to present one final argument against literalism:

Even if we set aside John’s own opening announcement regarding the symbolic nature of his prophecy, and his explanation of his very first vision, and his interpretive practice elsewhere in Revelation, we should avoid literalism on the basis of common sense. Consider the following absurdities that would arise on the literalist approach. Continue reading