Category Archives: Olivet Discourse

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

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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

OLIVET REVISITED

PMW 2018-058 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

The Olivet Discourse is a key eschatological passage in the New Testament (which appears in Matthew, Mark, and Luke). In Matthew, it is not only Jesus’ last discourse, but the largest (Matt. 24:3–25:46). Matthew, therefore, sets it as the climax of Jesus’ teaching, which underscores its significance.

I have a special interest in Olivet. This can be seen in that I have written several works dealing with Olivet: Continue reading