Tag Archives: the disciples’ question

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)

PMW 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)

PMW 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)

PMW 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

MATTHEW 24:3 AND OLIVET’S STRUCTURE

PMW 2019-047 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Matthew’s version of the Olivet Discourse is significantly different from Mark’s. It does not differ, however, through contradiction, but by supplementation. Thus, it does not conflict with Mark’s version, but augments it.

This is not unusual in the Gospels. For we know that in the Gospels, recorded sermons do not appear verbatim in word-for-word fullness, but are summaries. Otherwise, Jesus would be traveling from place-to-place delivering one-minute messages, as in Matt. 11:20–24; Matt. 11:25–30; and 13:1–9. And sometimes after crowds were with him for three days (Matt. 15:32)! Furthermore, John the Baptist would have people coming from all over Judea (Matt. 3:5) to hear a sermon that lasted for only two sentences (Matt. 3:2–3). Continue reading