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 →
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  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 →
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 Jesus’ Apostles 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 Jesus’ Apostles 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 →
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,  when will these things happen, and  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 →
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 →
PMW 2020-026 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
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 →
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 →