Category Archives: Second Coming

IS CHRIST’S RETURN “IMMINENT”? (1)

PMW 2019-086 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

A most remarkable feature of prophetic interest is the Christian’s conviction that we are living “in the shadow of the second coming,” that we are in a “countdown to Armageddon.” We often find linked with a radical misunderstanding of the last days the doctrine of the imminent return of Christ, especially among dispensationalists and premillennialists — but also even with amillennialists.

I will deal with the question in two articles. In this one I will set up the matter; in the next one I will answer it. I will focus largely on the dispensational approach to the question. Interestingly, the doctrine of imminence is simultaneously one of dispensationalism’s most potent drawing cards while being also its most embarrassing error.

John F. Walvoord explains imminency for us: “The hope of the return of Christ to take the saints to heaven is presented in John 14 as an imminent hope. There is no teaching of any intervening event. The prospect of being taken to heaven at the coming of Christ is not qualified by description of any signs or prerequisite events.” Continue reading

AD 70: POINTER TO SECOND ADVENT

AD 70 anticipates Second AdventPMT 2014:026 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

AD 70 prefigures the Second Advent; it is theologically linked to it. But this does not imply any concept of double-fulfillment. There is a fundamental difference between prolepsis and double-fulfillment. Let me explain.

In the OT we have several “Day of the Lord” events: against Babylon (Isa 13:9), Jerusalem (Joel 2:1), and others. Each of these is a pointer to the final Day of the Lord (2 Pet 3:10), though each OT version is spoken of as THE (singular) Day of the Lord. This is much like our spiritual resurrection in salvation (John 5:24-25; 1 John 3:14) pointing to our final resurrection at the end of history. Or like the Christian’s being a “new creation” (2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15), which is a picture of the consummate new creation (2 Pet 3:10). Continue reading

MORE ON THE DISCIPLES’ CONFUSION

PMW 2020-056 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Over the past few months I have written several articles on the disciples’ questions to Jesus in Matthew 24:3. Their two questions are: “Tell us, [1] when will these things happen, and [2] what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” Thus, their two questions are asking “when” (Gk. pote) and “what” (Gk. ti). Understanding their questions and their state-of-mind is important for us if we ourselves want to understand the Olivet Discourse (known in academia as the “Eschatological Discourse”).

In those earlier articles I pointed out that the disciples were frequently confused at Jesus’ teaching, which often caused them to misunderstand it. I noted that their tendency to confusion explains why they ask him about his “coming [Gk.: parousia] and the end of the age [Gk.: sunteleias tou aiōnos],” when he prophesies the destruction of the temple (Matt. 24:2). They obviously assumed that the temple’s destruction would occur at his Second Advent at the end of history. And they were mistaken in this Jew-centric supposition. 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

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

2 THESSALONIANS 1:7 AND “RELIEF”

PMW 2020-025 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

A reader contacted me with this question:

“Why do you think 2 Thessalonians 1:7 is referring to the final return while denying the doctrine of the imminent return of Christ? That is, if 2 Thessalonians 1:7 is not the AD 70 coming but the final return, then didn’t Paul believe the final return could happen in his day since he wrote to the believers in his day, ‘and to grant relief to you.’ Just wondering how you deal with that?” Continue reading

POSTMILLENNIALISM AND THE DAYS OF NOAH (2)

PMW 2020-024 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is the second in a two-part series explaining how postmillennialism can be true even though Jesus warns of “the days of Noah” that lay in our future. A reader asked me about postmillennialism in light of Jesus’ statement in Matthew 24:37–39, which reads:

“For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Matt. 24:37–39)

This is a good question, which is frequently brought up in eschatological discussions. It needs answering. And as I am showing, it can be answered by the postmillennialist — even more easily than many expect. Continue reading