PMW 2021-051 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
As we enter the New Testament record Christ’s birth immediately confronts us. The birth of “the Son of David, the Son of Abraham” (Mt 1:1) gloriously echoes the Old Testament victory theme, showing that his first coming begins the fruition of the promises (Lk 1:46–55, 68–79). The fullness of time comes in the first century through Christ’s incarnation (Gal 4:4; Eph 1:10; Tit 1:2–3).
Christ’s covenanted kingdom comes near in his early ministry because the “time was fulfilled” for it to come (Mk 1:14–15; Mt 3:2). Thus, John Baptist is something of a marker separating the fading Old Testament era from the dawning kingdom era (Mt 11:11–14; Mk 1:14–15; Jn 3:26–30). Continue reading
PMW 2020-041 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
In Matthew 16:18 our Lord spoke these famous words to his leading disciple:
“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.”
This passage has generated significant debate because of grammatical difficulties within it. Some scholars even emend the text to “straighten out the problem.” There is an awkwardness in having stationary gates actively attempting to prevail or conquer the church. How can gates attack?
Another problem is determining what Jesus means by hades. This Greek word is the common translation for the Hebrew word sheol in the OT. Sheol (and therefore, its Greek translation hades) can refer to the place of the dead, signifying either the place of rest for God’s people or the place of torment for the sinner (hell). Or it may simply mean “the grave,” without any other connotation one way or the other (it represents death irrespective of reward or punishment). The NT uses each of these meanings in various places. Continue reading
PMT 2015-052 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
One of the greatest postmillennial teachers was the person who made the postmillennial hope possible: our Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord. Though postmillennialism seems to some Christians to depend mostly on the Old Testament, Jesus himself has much to say to encourage us to hope for the conversion of the world.
And this was the case even as his ministry opened.
The Kingdom Announced
Christ is introduced to Israel and the world through the ministry of John Baptist, who was prophesied in the Old Testament to be Messiah’s forerunner (Isa 40:3; Matt 3:3). John prepares the way for him by preaching: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 3:2). Jesus picks up this theme in Mark 1:14–15:
And after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel.”
I will note three crucial aspects of this declaration. Continue reading
PMT 2015-012 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
2 Tim 3 seems to undermine the postmillennial hope with it’s warning of “difficult times” (v 1), “arrogant revilers” (v 2), and “men of depraved mind” (v 8). But it actually does not — when properly interpreted.
In my last article I argued that Paul was specifically warning Timothy about evil people he is facing. In addition, I noted that the evil he must expect was not from external persecution, but internal defection by false teachers in the Ephesian church (as was Titus’ situation in Crete). And I observed that this is precisely what Paul predicted to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:29–31:
“I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.”
In 2 Tim 3:2-5 Paul presents a vice list which, as we will see, applies to the “savage wolves” who are “speaking perverse things” in the Ephesian church “to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:29–31). Continue reading
PMT 2015-010 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
I am engaged in a running exposition on 2 Tim 3. This is one of the most widely used passages urged against the postmillennial position. It seems to present a negative view of the future flow of history. But a careful study of the passage wholly removes it as a stumbling block to postmillennialism. It certainly does not positively present postmillennialism, but neither may it be used against this optimistic eschatology.
So let us move on in our explanation of 2 Tim 3:1:
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.
PMT 2015-008 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
The postmillennial hope is optimistic regarding the historical long-run. But it is frequently rejected on the basis of current world events. Yet current conditions should not undermine this hope. We must remember: postmillennialism is a theological construct that is built up from Scripture — not from the newspapers.
Postmillennialists clearly recognize and sadly accept the current dismal world conditions. But we respond by noting the actual definition of postmillennialism. Continue reading