Category Archives: Olivet Discourse

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

GIBBS, MATT 24:3 AND THE DISCIPLES

Introduction by Ken Gentry

I have mentioned several times in various postings how much I appreciate the exegetical work on Matthew by Jeffrey A. Gibbs. Gibbs is a professor of Exegetical Theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. He earned his Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Va. (1995). His three volume commentary on Matthew is one of the best evangelical works on this Gospel. I highly recommend this commentary and the one by R. T. France as the best you can get.

I will be citing several paragraphs from Gibbs’ analysis of Matthew 24:3, which he titles “The Disciples’ Confusion.” This material is drawn from his third volume on Matthew: Matthew 21:1–28:20 (Saint Louis: Concordia, 2018, pp. 1252–54). This will supplement my study on the Disciples’ confusion in several recent PostmillennialWorldview postings. Gibbs is the commentator who put me on this trail! Continue reading

THE DISCIPLES’ CONFUSION REVISITED

PMW 2020-026 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Article introduction

Recently I offered a series on the Disciples’ tendency to be confused at Jesus’ teaching (see March 6, 10, 13, 17 articles). I did this to show the Disciples’ confusion regarding certain issues in Jesus’ eschatological teaching. I was showing that they wrongly assumed that the end of the world/age would come in conjunction with the destruction of the temple.

We see this problem dramatically exhibited in the Olivet Discourse setting. For after Jesus prophesies the temple’s destruction (Matt. 24:2), the Disciples immediately show their confusion by their question: “As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’” (Matt. 24:3).

That they are confused is seen in several ways: (1) Through Jesus’ carefully structuring his Discourse to sort out the issues arising from their double-question (see my article: “Matthew 24:3 and Olivet’s Structure”). (2) Through Jesus’ using distinctive language, which is recorded only in Matthew’s version (e.g., parousia, Matt. 24:3, 27, 37, 39). And (3) Matthew’s distinctive wording of the Disciples’ question regarding “the end [sunteleias] of the age ” (24:23). Matthew’s version of the Discourse is extremely helpful in that it is by far most extensive and detailed record of the Olivet Discourse. Continue reading

THE DISCIPLES’ CONFUSION AT OLIVET (4)

PMW 2020-021 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is the fourth and final installment in a series highlighting the tendency for the Disciples to confuse Jesus’ teaching. This is relevant to a study of the Olivet Discourse in that the very question that prompts the Discourse is rooted in the Disciples’ confusion.

In their question, the dull Disciples assume that the temple’s destruction would occur at the end of the world. That is, they believe it cannot happen until the parousia which occurs at “the end of the age”:

“As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming [Gk. parousia], and of the end of the age?’” (Matt. 24:3)

I ended our last study in Matthew 16. Moving along, we notice that shortly after the Matthew 16 events, we have the dramatic Transfiguration episode (Matt. 17:1–8). But though Peter recently declared Jesus to be “the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matt. 16:16) and though he saw Jesus gloriously transfigured before them (Matt. 17:2–3), he nevertheless asks to make three tabernacles, one for Moses, Elijah, and Jesus (Matt. 17:4). God immediately rebukes him, declaring “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” (Matt. 17:5). Peter did not understand what was happening before his very eyes. He effectively put Moses and Elijah on an equal footing with Jesus. Continue reading

THE DISCIPLES’ CONFUSION AT OLIVET (3)

PMT 2020-020 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

The Issue before Us

This is the third installment in a series highlighting the Disciples’ confusion regarding Jesus’ prophecy of the temple’s destruction. As proud first-century Jews and slow-learning Disciples, they assume that the temple’s destruction would signal the end of the world, that is, that it would occur at the parousia at “the end of the age” (Matt. 24:3).

My previous two articles were spent setting-up this study on the Disciples’ confusion. I am now ready to directly demonstrate what many evangelical Narrative Critics and orthodox preterists have argued regarding the Disciples as presented in Matthew’s Gospel: Though they spent three years of intensive instruction under Jesus’ ministry, they were too often mistaken in their defective perception of Jesus’ message. Continue reading