Category Archives: Temple

THE DISCIPLES’ CONFUSION AT OLIVET (2)

PMW 2019-003 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is the second in a four-part series on the disciples’ confusion regarding Jesus’ prophecy of the temple’s destruction in Matt. 24:2. In Matt. 24:3 they ask privately: “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” It is important that we recognize that Jesus untangles their confused thoughts in the Olivet Discourse that follows. What the disciples have joined together, the Son of Man has separated, you might say.

In my forthcoming commentary on Matt. 21–25 and very briefly in this blog series, I will be explaining Jesus’ resolution to the disciples’ confusion. I will be showing that the disciples assume the destruction of the temple will occur at the end of history, the end of the age when the Final Judgment is to occur (of which he had taught them earlier, Matt. 13:39–43, 47–50). Though they claim to understand Jesus’ teaching (Matt. 13:51), Jesus will correct their error by unscrewing what to them was inscrutable. That is, though he will affirm the theological linkage of AD 70 and the Final Judgment, he will declare the historical distinction of these two events: one occurs at the beginning of Christian history, the other at the end of human history. Continue reading

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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

TEMPLE DESTRUCTION AND FINAL JUDGMENT (2)

PMW 2018-081 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is the second in a three-part study of the temple’s AD 70 destruction as an historical judgment on Israel that pointed to the Final Judgment on the nations.  The last article set up this and the next article by pointing out: (1) the two-schema structure of history (Heb. 1:1–2) and (2) the nature of the Final Judgment (in Matt. 24:31–46). Having laid this groundwork, we can now start looking at the temple to begin considering how its destruction speaks of the destruction of the world at the Final Judgment

The Olivet Discourse can flow quite easily and most naturally from the destruction of the temple in AD 70 to the destruction of the world at the Final Judgment. Continue reading

TEMPLE DESTRUCTION AND FINAL JUDGMENT (1)

PMW 2018-080 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

The destruction of the temple in AD 70 not only points to the judgment of God on Israel, but also pictures the judgment of God on the world at the Last Day. We can see this in many ways, one of which is by understanding the temple structure itself — and how it’s meaning pictures the future end of the world.

As noted in previous articles on this site, I am currently working on a commentary on Matt. 21–25 (see conclusion of article below). This section forms a discrete literary unit in Matthew’s Gospel in which we find the Olivet Discourse as its climax. In this commentary I will be demonstrating that the Discourse opens with a prophecy of judgment against the Temple in AD 70, which ends the old covenant era, but then shifts to the Final Judgment of the world, which ends the new covenant era (and history itself). Those who limit all prophecy-fulfillment to AD 70 effectively promote a Jesus who is a Jewish sage, not realizing the fullness of his ministry and the significance of the Olivet Discourse. [1]

In this three-article series I will very briefly offer an interesting insight into the fact that the temple’s judgment not only serves as a judgment on Israel, but also pictures the final judgment upon all nations. But before I do that, I must note the biblical structure of redemptive-history. Continue reading

THE TEMPLE’S FAILURE AND DECLINE (3)

PMW 2018-045 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

As we conclude our focus on Israel’s temple (see previous article), we must note that Jesus prophesies the temple’s destruction so clearly (Jn 2:19-20; Mt 24:1ff) that the Jews mock him on the cross regarding the matter (Mt 27:40//). Later they recall this statement against his disciples (Ac 6:14). After cursing the fig tree as representing Israel (Mt 21:19) he declares that the temple mount will be cast into the sea (Mt 21:21//) (Morna Hooker The Gospel according to Mark 269). His trials specifically recall his statements about the temple’s destruction (Mk 14:58; Mt 26:61), though falsely claiming he said he would personally destroy it. Late in his ministry he presents a major discourse on the temple’s coming destruction (Mt 24:2ff //). Continue reading

THE TEMPLE’S FAILURE AND DECLINE (2)

PMW 2018-044 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

I am continuing a brief study on the Jewish temple’s decline through abuse, showing the necessity of its destruction under God’s wrath in AD 70. My previous article should be consulted for context.

Interestingly, on several occasions before Christ’s coming, the temple undergoes cleansings because of profanations by Ahaz (2Ch 29:12ff), Mannaseh (2Ch 34:3ff), Tobiah (New 13:4-19), and Antiochus (1Mac 4:36ff; 2Mac 10:1ff). The temple of Christ’s day is also corrupt, for Christ himself symbolically cleanses it when he opens his ministry (Jo 2:13-17) and as he closes it (Mt 21:12-13) — even though it is under the direct, daily, fully-functioning administration of the high priesthood. Continue reading

THE TEMPLE’S FAILURE AND DECLINE (1)

PMW 2018-043 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

AD 70 is an important date in redemptive-history. In that year the ancient temple of Israel was destroyed, never to be rebuilt. This catastrophe is anticipated in the OT. Over and over again the temple cult is disparaged by the OT prophets when Israel falls into sin: Isa 1:10-17; 29:13; 43:23-24; Jer 6:20; 7:1-6, 21-22; 11:15; Eze 20:25; Hos 6:5-6; Am 4:4-5; 5:21-25; 9:1; Mic 6:1-8; Mal 1:10. Jeremiah even presents God as dramatically denying he ever directed Israel to sacrifice: “For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you’ “ (Jer 7:22-23). Continue reading