Category Archives: Olivet Discourse

ANOTHER CONFUSED DISCIPLE (Matt 24:3) Part 4

PMW 2020-101 by Kenneth L Gentry, Jr.

This is my fourth and final installment regarding my confusion about Don Preston’s confusion about the disciples’ confusion in Matthew 24:3. To add to the confusion: I am interacting with his book, Were the Disciples Confused? Now you are probably confused!

While reading this article, you should keep in mind Matthew’s opening three verses that introduce the Olivet Discourse and which are at the center of my disagreement with Preston’s argument: Continue reading

ANOTHER CONFUSED DISCIPLE (Matt 24:3) Part 3

PMW 2020-100 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In this article I am continuing a brief, four-part analysis of Hyper-preterist Don Preston’s book Were the Disciples Confused? In my last two articles I noted some general frustrations with Preston’s attitude in presenting his material. In this one I will focus on a key problem with his argument. I will be (mostly) considering his book’s third chapter, titled “Jesus’ Earlier Predictions of The Destruction of Jerusalem.” And especially his interaction with my thoughts. (All parenthetical page references are to this book unless otherwise noted.)

In this chapter Preston is arguing against the view that the disciples were confused in their questions (Matt. 24:3) about Jesus’ prophecy of the temple’s destruction (v. 2). Yet I and many scholars [1] believe they were in fact confused when they asked: “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (v. 3). We believe that in this question they erroneously associate the destruction of the temple historically with both the Second Coming and the “end of the age” (i.e., the second coming which brings about the end of history). Continue reading

ANOTHER CONFUSED DISCIPLE (Matt 24:3) Part 1

PMW 2020-098 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

One of my readers who thought I was not busy enough sent me a copy of Don Preston’s book Were the Disciples Confused? (At least I think that is the title. The front cover of the book is itself very confusing in this regard. The largest typefont on the cover reads: “Watching for the Parousia.” The spine even has: “Watching for the Parousia: Were Jesus’ Apostles Confused?” It is not until you get to the title page that you find what perhaps is the official title: Were the Disciples Confused?)

As I read through the book I thought that Preston must have left the Church of Christ and joined the Disciples of Christ denomination. For while claiming to be a disciple, he himself is confused. Now having read the book, I too am confused!

Perhaps some day — if I ever finish my several current contractual obligations! — I may find time to engage Preston’s arguments presented in this book. Despite Preston’s insistence that I spend more of my time dealing with him, for now I want simply to show how that in especially one particular chapter (ch. 3) Preston thinks he has accomplished something that he has not. In fact, as he challenges me, he misses my point. Entirely. His third chapter is titled “Jesus’ Earlier Predictions of The Destruction of Jerusalem.” (Besides my many time-dominating obligations, this is another reason I do not set aside my life and deal with him: it is too frustrating to clean up after a bull in a china shop.) Continue reading

HAVE WE MISCONSTRUED MATTHEW 24:34?

PMW 2020-096 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

A reader recently wrote me with the following observations, for which he wondered how I would reply:

My reader:

I recently read your book, The Olivet Discourse Made Easy. I thought it was very good.

What is your view of the following?

1. “Take place” in Mt. 24:34 does not require completion but only inception. Compare with Luke 1:20. “ginomai” in the aorist subjective indicates coming into existence without speaking at all regarding completion.

2. The reason Jesus gave to flee Jerusalem when surrounded by armies was that the end is not yet. The end would be the Jews defeating Rome and ending the age of the Jews being without a king.

3. The tribulation of which Jesus spoke began prior to 70 A.D., but continues until the bodily return of Jesus to earth.

Thank you.

R.W. Continue reading

MATT 24:3 AND THE SECOND ADVENT. AGAIN.

PMW 2020-046 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In response to my published views on Matthew 24:3 and its influence on the structure and interpretation of the Olivet Discourse, a reader has sent me a question. I argue that the Discourse speaks to both AD 70 and the Second Advent. This is partly based on the Disciples’ question in v. 3, which (I argue) has them confusing the AD 70 judgment with the Final Judgment. Let me present then respond to his concern.

Reader:
In the light of Matthew, until that moment the Lord had not spoken of another “coming” but that of AD 70. The few texts (before Matthew 24) that speak of his coming or his return (Matt. 10.23; 16.27-28) are clearly connected with AD 70; this being so, why should the disciples ask about another “advent” unknown to themselves? And why should Jesus answer them about something that he never taught them before?

Gentry:
Actually your concern is mistaken. To answer your question, we need to keep several things in mind: Continue reading

OF PRETERISTS AND POSTMILLENNIALISTS (2)

PMW 2020-040 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is the second (and final) presentation of an interview conducted with me on preterism and postmillennialism.

Interviewer: Shifting to a related topic. Do preterist and non-preterist postmillennialists differ significantly in their reading of Matthew 24? Are there different interpretations of the two “days” even among preterists?

Gentry: Matthew 24 has been subjected to a fairly wide variety of interpretive approaches. Perhaps the more widely endorsed one holds that the Lord more or less jumbles together material on A.D. 70 and the Second Advent, in that A.D. 70 is a microcosmic precursor to the Second Advent. This view makes it difficult to sort out the verses in regard to which event the particular verses focus on. Among evangelical preterists two basic positions prevail: that 24:4–34 focus on A.D. 70 and 24:36ff focus on the Second Advent (this is my view, and the view presented by J. Marcellus Kik). The other view holds that all of Matthew 24–25 deals with A.D. 70. Continue reading

OF PRETERISTS AND POSTMILLENNIALISTS (1)

PMW 2020-039 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Awhile back I was interviewed about the relationship of postmillennialism with preterism. Here is the interview. I hope it will provide some insights for you as you discuss such issues with your friends.

Interviewer: Dr. Gentry, when we speak of “schools” of interpretation or theological opinion — like “theonomists,” or “postmillennialists,” or “preterists” — there is a tendency to think of these groups in monolithic terms, as if all their proponents hew exactly to a single “party line.” In what ways, if any, does the contemporary revival of biblical postmillennialism differ from earlier versions within the Reformed tradition (e.g., Puritan postmillennialism)?

Gentry: You are correct that we need to be aware of a lack of lock-step unanimity in any millennial viewpoint, including postmillennialism. “Puritan postmillennialism” is so widely variant that for sorting through the various positions, I highly recommend reading Crawford Gribben, The Puritan Millennium: Literature & Theology 1550-1682 (Dublin, Ireland: Four Courts Press, 2000).

But in broad strokes we may distinguish between an historicist postmillennialism (held by the Puritans) as opposed to a preterist postmillennialism which is currently the more popular view. Continue reading