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

THE DISCIPLES’ CONFUSION AT OLIVET (2)

PMT 2020-019 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is the second in a series on the confusion of Jesus’ Disciples when they ask him about his prophecy of the temple’s destruction. They assumed that the temple would last until the end of the world. Thus, they understood Jesus’ prophecy of its destruction to be a prophecy regarding the end of the world.

Jesus’ prophecy and the Disciples’ questions are found in the following verses:

Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.” (Matt. 24:1–3)

I will be highlighting Matthew’s emphasis on their continual confusion throughout Jesus’ ministry. But I must point out, first, that their assumption of the temple’s indestructibility was common among first-century Jews (despite the fact that Solomon’s temple had been destroyed in the OT!). Consider the following. Continue reading

THE DISCIPLES’ CONFUSION AT OLIVET (1)

PMT 2020-018 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

A year ago I published a three-part series of articles noting that the Disciples were often confused about Jesus’ teaching (PMW 2019-002; PMW 2019-003; and PMW 2019-004). This observation is significant for properly understanding the nature and implications of their question, which prompts the Olivet Discourse. Their question appears in Matthew 24:3:

“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?’”

I noted — as do a great many orthodox, evangelical scholars — that the Disciples mistakenly assumed the destruction of the temple prophesied by Jesus in v. 2 would occur at the end of the world, when Jesus returns in judgment. Their confusion explains their double question, which leads Jesus to divide their double question. His division of their question has him present the near-term fulfillment of the temple’s destruction in AD 70, which serves as a distant adumbration, a typological harbinger of the Second Advent/Final Judgment conclusion of world history. Continue reading

GOD’S DIVORCE DECREE IN REVELATION (8)

PMW 2020-016 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is my final article on the study of Revelation’s seven-sealed scroll. In this one I will be focusing on Revelation 5 and the divorce grounds.

Covenantal marriage requires formal, legal grounds for divorce. In Deuteronomy 24:1 we read that the husband must find something morally “unclean” (ervah) in her. Jesus affirms the moral grounds for issuing a covenantal divorce in Matthew 5:31–32 and 19:7–9: “fornication” (porneia). In Isaiah 50:1 God’s divorce decree against Israel mentions her “iniquities” (peshaim). In Jeremiah 3 her divorce decree appears in the context of a statement regarding her being covenantally “faithless” (meshubah) and “treacherous” (bagad) (Jer 3:6, 8). Whatever these terms mean, they show the necessity of moral grounds for divorce. In biblical law no one could secure a divorce for “any cause at all” — contrary to the Pharisees’ challenge to Jesus (Mt 19:3; see also: Jos., Ant. 4:8:23; m. Gitt. 9:10). Continue reading

GOD’S DIVORCE DECREE IN REVELATION (7)

PMW 2020-015 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

As we continue our study of Revelation’s seven-sealed scroll, we must continue with our insights into Jesus’ earthly ministry, which I began in the last article.

During his three and one-half year ministry, the Lord comes to his own but they do not receive him (Jn 1:11). The Apostle John is particularly concerned to demonstrate this recurring problem (Jn 12:37–41), so that he characteristically calls them “the Jews” in order “to denote the Jewish nation as hostile to Jesus.” And no wonder! They are of their father the devil (Jn 8:44). Early in John’s Gospel we witness the Baptist’s wilderness message (Jn 1:23) which reminds us of God’s marrying Israel in the wilderness (Ex 19:1–2); see an allusion to the coming destruction of the temple (Jn 2:19); learn of the dullness of Israel’s leaders (Jn 3:10); and discover that worship will be de-centralized away from the temple (Jn 4:21–23). In John’s Gospel “Jesus is largely rejected in Jerusalem and Judaea” whereas “it is in Galilee and Samaria that he is received and that many believe in him.” In Jerusalem “‘the judgment of this world’ and of its ruler takes place.” Continue reading

GOD’S DIVORCE DECREE IN REVELATION (6)

PMW 2020-014 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In this, the sixth installment of a study of Revelation’s seven-sealed scroll, we must consider Christ’s coming and its consequences.

Interestingly, Christ alludes to the Old Testament marriage imagery and relates it to his own coming and ministry. In the several places where he touches on this theme, he “moves wholly within the circle of ideas of His contemporaries when he expresses the meaning and glory of the Messianic period in the images of the wedding and wedding feast.”

Early in his ministry Jesus uses wedding imagery to explain why John the Baptist’s disciples fast though his do not: “While the bridegroom is with them, the attendants of the bridegroom do not fast, do they? So long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast” (Mk 2:19∥). “It is clear . . . that in this connection the bridegroom is an allegorical indicator of the Messiah,” with the wedding imagery being built upon the Old Testament relationship of God to Israel. Continue reading

GOD’S DIVORCE DECREE IN REVELATION (5)

PMW 2020-013 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This article continues an eight-part series on the seven-sealed scroll in Revelation 4–5. This scroll occurs early in Revelation: it opens the plot-line of Revelation.

So now let us note that in the Old Testament economy God’s prophets function as his lawyers. They prosecute Israel’s breaches of God’s covenantal law by bringing his legal case (riyb) against them. Just as God was married to Israel at his throne (Ex 24:10), so her divorce issues from his throne.

In Isaiah 1:2 the heavens and earth are called as witnesses against Israel, as per the Mosaic example (Dt 4:26; 30:19; 31:26, 28). In Isaiah 3:14 the Lord “enters into judgment with the elders and princes” (cp. Isa 41:21; 43:26; 45:21). In Micah 6:2 we read: “Listen, you mountains, to the indictment of the Lord, / And you enduring foundations of the earth, / Because the Lord has a case against His people; / Even with Israel He will dispute.” The passage in which Micah 6:2 appears is “an elaborate representation of a legal case ‘Yahweh v. Israel,’ in which God brings a grievance against his people” in this “covenant lawsuit.” In Jeremiah 30:13–14 the Lord speaks through Jeremiah stating “there is no one to plead your cause” for “all your lovers have forsaken you.” Continue reading