Category Archives: Israel

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF AD 70

Temple destroyedPMW 2021-060 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Today we are so distant from the events of AD 70, so removed from the ancient culture, so little acquainted with the first-century Jewish outlook, and so accustomed to the Christian perspective, we tend to overlook the enormous redemptive-historical significance of AD 70. Those events are not merely another sad instance in the history of “man’s inhumanity to man which makes countless thousands mourn.” They serve not as demonstration of “nature, red in tooth and claw.” Neither do they merely remind us of “the carnage of war, the blood-swollen god.”

But such is mistaken. Rather the devastating events of the Jewish War are the historical manifestations of the furious wrath of the offended God of Israel. Transcendent realities stand back of these temporal events. With Nahum we see the smoke of destruction as the dust clouds from God’s feet (Na 1). We learn that truly “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:27) for “our God is a consuming fire” (Heb 10:31). Continue reading

MATTHEW 23:39, DISPENSATIONALISM & PRETERISM

PMW 2021-047 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Matt. 23:39 is a favorite statement by Jesus that dispensationalism cling to as evidence of the future conversion of Israel. Read through their lens, it seems to state that Israel will one day be converted, and only then will the great tribulation begin (according to the order of verses following Matt 23:39). They hold that this would confirm dispensationalism and undermine preterism and postmillennialism.

Matthew 23:39 read:

“For I say to you, from now on you shall not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

Continue reading

DISPENSATIONALISM, JERUSALEM, AND SACRIFICES

Lamb sacrificePMW 2021-040 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

I try to keep up with correspondence as best I can. So in this posting, I am answering a question sent to me from a reader.

Reader question:

I have two questions on how you might respond to some Dispensational explanations of Ezekiel 40-48. (1) Some dispensationalists argue that the dimensions of Ezekiel’s temple are not a problem because the topography of the land will be radically changed in the millennium. They cite Zechariah 14 in defense of this topographical reconfiguration. They also cite the following passages to argue that Jerusalem will be much larger than what it is today: Jer. 31:38-40; Ezk. 48:30-35; Zech. 14;10-11. (2) The other thing relates to Ezekiel’s sacrificial system. They state that since the apostles did not have a problem with sacrifice in the New Testament, then why should we see it as problematic in the millennium? They cite Acts 21:17-26 in support of the idea that the apostles did not have a problem with sacrifice as a memorial and that Ezekiel’s sacrifices will have some efficacy for the unregenerate who are present in the millennium.

I have noticed that recently many Dispensationalists have felt the pressure of Covenant Theologians and have started an attempt to go on the offensive with their system via the internet and find ways to get around Covenant objections. Continue reading

NEW COVENANT CHURCH & OLD ISRAEL

New Covenant IsraelPMW 2021-039 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

As noted on various occasions, I do try to answer questions sent in by my readers. I hope that these answers will be be helpful not only for the individuals who asked them, but for anyone who is interested in studying biblical eschatology. So, here goes today’s question:

Reader’s question:

Dispensationalists point out that God promises the new covenant to Israel only. The Jeremiah 31 text clearly mentions only “the house of Israel and the house of Judah.” How can we say that the new covenant finds fulfillment in the Church?

My response:

Thanks for your question. I hope the following brief answer will be helpful. First, please note that Jesus and Paul both apply the new covenant to the Church. Continue reading

REVELATION’S DATE: INTERNAL EVIDENCE (3)

PMW 2020-107 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

The final evidence from Revelation’s self-witness that I will mention focuses on the relationship of the Jew to Christianity in Revelation. And although there are several aspects of this evidence, I will just briefly introduce it. We may illustratively refer to two important passages and their implications regarding:

Christianity and Israel

First, when John writes Revelation, by all appearances Christianity is in its early, formative, “Jewish” stage. Initially Christians tended to mingle with the Jews (since most of them were Jewish), considering themselves members of the true Israel, the “continuing Israel,” as it were. Continue reading

SUBTLE PRETERIST ANALYSIS IN LUKE

PMW 2020-085 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

God judged Israel in the first century because of her rejection of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The preterist analysis of the Gospels highlights indisputable evidence of Jewish rejection in numerous places, as do most evangelical readings of Scripture. However, preterism goes a step further by also pointing out several more subtle indicators of Israel’s rejection of Christ — even where such are not expected. A case in point in Luke 4:22–30.

As I will show, reading this passage surprises us. However, a Narrative Critical reading can highlight important subtleties that are both helpful for interpretation and significant for a preterist analysis. The point of Narrative Criticism i(NC) s to read a passage in its full context, i.e., here the whole Gospel of Luke. In Luke, for instance, NC recognizes that Luke is telling a full, unfolding story of Jesus and his earthly ministry. Thus, NC presses us to notice what is going on in the whole Gospel in order to better understand its various pericopes. These are not random collections of stories that are loosely strung together. Rather they are developing parts of the whole unfolding narrative.

Let’s see how a Narrative Critical reading impacts our preterist understanding of Luke 4. Continue reading

THE TEMPLE AS A TOOL OF EMPEROR WORSHIP (8)

StoningPMW 2020-084 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In this eighth entry in an 8-part series I am concluding my argument that the Jewish Temple in the first-century effectively functioned as tool of emperor worship, in that it was under the control of Roman-controlled priests. I recommend reading the previous articles first, and in order.

Conclusion

We must recall that Jesus called first century Israel under its unbelieving authorities an “adulterous generation” (Mt 12:39//; 16:4//). That charge harkens back to OT Israel’s unfaithfulness through idolatry. Thus, the first century temple system about which John is writing, is controlled by a corrupt, Messiah-denying high priesthood and has now become an idol linked with and likened to emperor worship. For this reason, Christ begins moving his people away from the temple because with his coming it no longer serves any God-approved purpose. As Wright (Jesus and the Victory of God, 182) observes: Jesus “prophesies that God will destroy the temple . . , not only because it was becoming obsolete but because of its flawed use and Israel’s rejection of Jesus.” Continue reading