Category Archives: Olivet Discourse

GENTRY COMMENTARY UPDATES

THE DIVORCE OF ISRAEL
Thanks for your interest in my forthcoming Revelation commentary titled: The Divorce of Israel: A Redemptive-Historical Interpretation of Revelation. I completed its research and writing in early 2016. It will be a two-volume set of around 1700 pages.

The publisher is Tolle Lege Publishers. They are currently working on a second proofing. Due to the size and complexity of the work (deeply exegetical; voluminously footnoted), it is taking them longer than anticipated to complete. In fact, in the Spring of 2018 they brought on another proofer to assist them.

They are currently estimating that they should be through the proofing by the end of January, 2019. This will lead to laying out the pages for printing, which may take about a month. After that it should only be a couple of months before it is available in print — Lord willing.

Though I am disappointed at the delay in its completion, I am thankful for the meticulous care (and expense!) that Tolle Lege is putting into the commentary’s final preparation. They want it to be right — just as I do. I hope that it may be available in Spring of 2019. It will be released first in hardcopy, then eventually in digital format. Thanks again for your interest.

In the meantime, you might appreciate two introductory works to Revelation that I have written: The Book of Revelation Made Easy, which hits the high points of Revelation, explaining the fundamentals of its preterist interpretation. Navigating the Book of Revelation, which focuses on several key issues of debate in the preterist interpretation of Revelation. They are available at my website: KennethGentry.com.


OLIVET DISCOURSE RE-VISITED

I am working on a commentary on Matthew 21–25, a distinct unit in Matthew’s Gospel. This is the narrative setting of the Olivet Discourse, Jesus’ climactic discourse of the five around which Matthew’s Gospel is constructed.

This literary unit is clearly marked off by Christ’s important movements (along with other editorial markers which I will present in my study): It opens with his coming (Gk.: erchomai, Matt. 21:1, 9) into Jerusalem (recorded for the only time in Matthew) to declare the judgment of the nation of Israel (Matt. 23:37–24:34). It closes with his coming (Gk.: erchomai, Matt. 25:31) to the world (in his Second Advent) to execute the judgment of all the nations (Matt. 25:31–46).

Thus, this distinct section in Matthew opens with prophecies about the conclusion of Israel’s special role in the history of the world (as the old covenant typological work ends). And it closes with the conclusion of world history itself (as the new covenant redemptive work is completed). All that is in between in Matthew 21–25 is designed to affirm his authority to do so — both over the nation of Israel and the nations of the world.

Consequently, as Matthew presents these crucial scenes: Jesus comes into Jerusalem in the presence of the Jewish crowds (Matt. 21:9) as the Messiah who will be rejected. Then at the end of this section, he comes to the world and gathers all nations before him, as the Lord who will judge all men, saving the elect and judging the non-elect. In this section, the transition from the AD 70 judgment of Israel to that which it pictures, the Second Advent at history’s end, occurs in Matt. 24:34-36.

This is a significant concern of Matthew since he is the only Gospel writing who provides Jesus’ Missionary Discourse, which limits the Disciples ministry to Israel. It is also significant in that Matt. 21-25 greatly emphasizes Jesus’ authority — an authority over Israel and the nations. This section is important to getting to Matthew’s conclusion: the Great Commission over all nations. Interestingly, Matthew intentionally ends his Gospel on an open note, with Christ on the earth giving his promise that he will be with his church “all the days” (literally). Unlike Luke, he does not mention his Ascension into heaven where he leaves the Disciples behind.

As one important feature of my commentary on Matthew 21–25, I will more fully draw out the transition occurring in Matthew 24:34–36 than in my The Olivet Discourse Made Easy. This is crucial for showing that Jesus is not simply a Jewish sage, interested only in the destiny of Israel and functioning as another John the Baptist, as it were. Rather, he is the universal Lord with all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18–19), determining the destiny of all men while functioning as the Lord of lords and king of kings.

The commentary will not be as large as the Revelation commentary. Nor will it be as small as The Olivet Discourse Made Easy. It will be “just right” — you might say, if you are a Goldilocks fan (as I am sure all of you are). I am aiming at somewhere around 250 or so pages. It will be semi-technical, but quite accessible.


Due to how long I worked on my Revelation commentary, and how long it is taking to get into print, I know you think this about me, so I created a shirt that I must wear around, called “I See Slow People.”

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TEMPLE DESTRUCTION AND FINAL JUDGMENT (3)

PMW 2018-082 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is the third and final article in a brief series showing how the destruction of the temple in AD 70 pointed to and even symbolized the destruction of the world at the Final Judgment.

In the last article I noted that the Jews believed the temple was permanent, existing as long as the world would last. Thus, many scholars comment on this religious perspective in Judaism regarding the temple’s relevance to the world order.

The temple’s relation to the world

Lee I. Levine (2002: 246) notes that the temple “was where God dwelled, this was the cosmic center of the universe (axis mundi), the navel (omphalos) of the world that both nurtured it and bound together heaven and earth.” Continue reading

MATTHEW 24:28 “EAGLES” OR “VULTURES”?

PMW 2018-073 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In the opening section of the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24–25), Jesus deals initially and significantly with the approaching AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem by Roman imperial forces (vv. 4–34). We may easily surmise this from the local context. After all, the Discourse is introduced by Jesus’ prophesying the destruction of the temple (Matt. 24:2), then linking his prophecy to the temple locale (“the holy place,” v. 15), warning the local residents to flee from the area (Jerusalem is in Judea, v. 16), and informing them generally when it will occur (in “this generation,” v. 34). [1]

The Roman eagle

Matt. 24:28 is an interesting verse embedded in this context. But its frequent mistranslation dulls the cutting edge of Jesus’ warning about the Roman invasion. Continue reading

MATTHEW’S OUTLINE; JESUS’ IDENTITY

PMW 2018-070 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

I am currently working on a commentary on Matthew 21–25. In this commentary I will be focusing on the Olivet Discourse in its contextual setting. I will be demonstrating this fifth and final major discourse of Jesus (Matt. 5–7; 10; 13; 18; 24–25) not only prophesies the destruction of the temple and God’s judgment on Israel in AD 70, but also the Final Judgment upon all the nations at the end of history.

Jesus’ teaching in this section dramatically declares his universal lordship over both Israel (e.g., Matt. 24:2, 16, 34) and all men and nations (Matt. 25:31–46). Earlier (and uniquely!) in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus specifically limited his mission to Israel (Matt. 10:5–6; 15:24). But now as the narrative of his life unfolds to its climax, he expands his mission to “all the nations” (Matt. 28:19). Thus, in this section he will begin repeatedly emphasizing the inclusion of the Gentiles in his program (e.g., Matt. 21:43; 22:8–10; 24:14, 31; 31–46). Continue reading

GATHERING THE ELECT (2)

PMW 2018-065 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In my last article I introduced a “problem” that arises in some Christians’ minds regarding the first-century fulfillment of the opening section of the Olivet Discourse. One problem that confuses many is Matt. 24:31, which reads:

“And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.”

We must note that just three verses later Jesus unequivocally declares: “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (Matt. 24:34). This clearly demands that the statement before us must come to pass in the first century. And as we shall see, so it does! Continue reading

GATHERING THE ELECT (1)

PMW 2018-064 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

The Olivet Discourse is a fascinating eschatological discourse given by the Lord to his disciples. It is the largest discourse of Christ recorded in Matthew (Matt. 24:4–25:46), the only one given over to issues beyond the temporal boundaries of Matthew’s storyline (which ends shortly after Christ’s resurrection, Matt. 28:1–7), and is his last (therefore, climactic) discourse in Matthew (Matt. 26:1). Hence, for Matthew it is clearly significant for his theological point (which I will be discussing in a new book I am working on, see note at the end of this article).

The key to understanding the first portion of the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:4–35) is to recognize its local, first-century focus. We see this from several angles: (1) The Discourse is prompted by Jesus’s declaration of the approaching destruction of the temple (Matt. 24:2), which we know happened in AD 70. (2) It is clearly a local event, for the tribulation surrounding it can be escaped by fleeing from Judea (Matt. 24:16). And (3) it will happen to the first-century generation of Jesus and his disciples (Matt. 24:34), the same generation in which the Pharisees resisted Christ’s earthly ministry (Matt. 23:36; cf. vv. 29–35). I have dealt abundantly with the Olivet Discourse in other blog articles.

However, some Christians become confused because of Matthew 24:31. Continue reading

OLIVET’S TRANSITION VERSE RE-VISITED

PMW 2018-059 by R. T. France

Gentry introductory note:
As I am researching my commentary on Matthew 21–25 (the contextual unit in which the Olivet Discourse appears in Matthew), I have stumbled across a helpful older work by R. T. France: Jesus and the Old Testament. (By the way, I literally stumbled over this work: I already owned, it was in my library, and it fell out when I reached for another book.)

In the Appendix to his study, he gives a brief exegesis of Mark 13, which argues for a transition from AD 70 to the Final Judgment (just as I argue in my work on Matt. 24

He puts the matter well, so I will share it with my readers.

So now, let us hear R. T. France on Mark 13 and the transition from Jesus’ prophecy regarding AD 70 to his prophecy of the Final Judgment. The following is taken from Jesus and the Old Testament  (p. 232): Continue reading