Kenneth Gentry: Confused, Confusing – Desperate! My First Response to His Fourth Article

Were Jesus’ Apostles Confused in Matthew 24:3

Kenneth Gentry: Confused, Confusing and Desperate–
My First Response to his Fourth Article

As with Gentry’s first three articles I am copying and pasting the entirety of his article so that the reader and see all that he says. I have deleted ads for his books and irrelevant verbiage that is not germane to his article.
This is my first response to his fourth article.

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ANOTHER CONFUSED DISCIPLE (Matt 24:3) Part 4
AD 70, Matthew 24, Olivet Discourse November 20, 2020

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!

Response:

Is it the final installment or not? He tells us below that he will continue. Is Mr. Gentry confused about what he will do?

Gentry Continues:

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:

1. In Matthew 24:1, as Jesus is dramatically leaving the temple, his disciples “came up to point out the temple buildings to him.” The aorist infinitive action verb epideixai (“to show, point out,” an emphatic form of deiknumi) demonstrates purpose. That is, it informs us of the reason the disciples “came up” [prosēlthōn] to him: to “point out” the temple buildings. This results from his dramatic departure from the temple which Matthew emphasizes in three ways. He states: Kai exelthon ho Iēsous apo tou hierou eporeueto. Thus, he says: (1) “Jesus came out [exelthōn],” (2) “away [apo signifies separation] from the temple,” and (3) “was going away [eporeueto].” Through prophetic theater he is dramatically re-enacting God’s abandoning of the temple in the Old Testament (Eze. 11:23).

2. In Matthew 24:2, Jesus responds to the disciples’ pointing out the temple buildings to him by prophesying their destruction: “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.” Jesus was well aware of the temple and its majesty (cp. Mark 13:1) and he had just come away from it. The disciples are surprised and confused about his negative words (Matt. 23:38) and actions (Matt. 24:1) against the temple. As Hagner (Matthew, 687) puts it: “the disciples must have been astounded at the response of Jesus” in rejecting the temple. Or as Davies and Allison (Matthew, 3:334) surmise: “they find it incredible.”

3. In Matthew 24:3, the disciples respond in confusion to the prophecy of the temple’s absolute destruction by asking two questions: “Tell us, [1] when will these things happen, and [2] what will be the sign of Your coming [parousia], and of the end of the age?” These questions are what my whole four-part series is about.

In this series, I am defending the widespread scholarly evangelical consensus that the disciples’ questions about Jesus’ prophecy of the temple’s destruction show their surprised confusion. For they immediately (and wrongly) associate the demise of the temple with his second coming in judgment at the end of history. That is, at his parousia (“coming”) and “the end of the age” (Matt. 24:3b). This, of course, goes against the Hyper-preterist doctrines that Jesus is not physically coming again, that there will be no physical resurrection of the dead at the end of history, and that history goes on forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and then forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and then forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and then forever ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and then forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and then forever ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and then forever ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and then forever ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and then forever ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and then forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and then forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and then forever ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and then forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and then forever ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and then forever ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and then forever ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and then forever ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever, so that God must always endure a fallen and rebellious universe, never finally ridding it of sin.

Response:

The reader needs to know that what you just read is not a typo, not a grammatical error on Gentry’s part– or mine. The reader needs to know that, Yes, Gentry actually did type, or cut and paste, or however he did it, the word “ever” 1079 times (according to my Word Perfect word counter). Maybe his keyboard malfunctioned?? Is this supposed to be a serious, scholarly response of some kind?

Gentry is guilty of falsely assuming that at his imaginary end of time, that sin, all sin, is annihilated. Now, this is or has been, the historical, orthodox view of the church, no doubt. But is it accurate and true?

Remember: Gentry is claiming that the apostles imagined and believed that the dissolution of the temple would be at the end of the Christian age, the end of human history, the end of time. But as I have done so previously, I want to ask the reader to consider: Did that Herodian temple represent, did it symbolize in any way whatsoever, the current Christian age?

Unless Gentry can prove definitively and beyond dispute that the Herodian Temple represented the Christian age, the New Covenant age, our current age, then his entire position – and his upcoming book on the Olivet Discourse– are built on a rotten foundation.

Gentry Continues:

We should note that the disciples are extremely focused on the issue. For the text says they twice approached Jesus about his denigration of the temple! (1) In Matthew 24:1 we read that “His disciples came up to point out the temple building to Him” after he declared it “desolate” (23:38) and then dramatically departed from it (24:1a). Then (2) after he prophesies its destruction (24:2), the disciples approach him once again to ask their questions: “the disciples came to Him privately, saying” (v. 3).

In my previous article, I presented evidence of Preston’s mistaken argument. He claims the disciples are not confused at Jesus’ prophecy when they link the temple’s destruction with his parousia and “the end of the age.” In this current article I will present additional evidence of his book’s confusion in this regard. This problem undermines Preston’s entire argument in that his book is asking the question: Were the Disciples Confused? and answering that question, “No.” In other words, his confused arguments destroy the whole purpose of his book! So I will continue a little longer in my analysis by noting that this issue is for Preston:

A recurring problem

I encourage my reader to recall all of Preston’s mistakes which I pointed out in my previous article. Now in this current article I will demonstrate that those are not merely evidence of a momentary stumble by Preston. He has not simply slipped a time or two as he is briefly blinded by his rage at the arrogance (p. i, 92), and “lamentable ignorance” (p. 93) of “most commentators” (pp. 34, 35) who are “desperate” (pp. 80, 83) to “forcibly impose” their views on Scripture (p. 103).

No! Rather, he continues flailing about by repeatedly and erroneously broadening the scope of the disciples’ questions to Jesus. That is, he broadens the scope of the disciples’ very specific concern by extending it beyond the temple (which is their very point, Matt. 24:1–3) to include the dismal end of the Jewish leadership and the city of Jerusalem. Of course, AD 70 does greatly impact both of these elements of Jewish society and culture. But these issues are not the concern of the disciples’ two questions.

Note the following quotes from Preston, where we see him shifting back-and-forth between a proper presentation of their questions (which focus on the temple) and his broadened presentation (which brings in the Jewish leaders and their capital city). And we must understand that Preston’s error is a sleight-of-hand that is necessary for him — if his “evidence” for his argument against the disciples’ confusion is to work.

Very early on, Preston rightly states regarding the disciples’ questions: “Matthew 24:3 stands in the cross hairs of the eschatological controversy. Jesus had just predicted the demise of the awesome Herodian Temple” (p. i ¶1). This is certainly true! And Jesus’ disciples’ response to this prophecy reads: “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

Response:

1. No, I am not guilty of a sleight of hand. A sleight of hand is a purposefully deceitful maneuver. And I was not and am not guilty of that. I do not shift back and forth from a proper emphasis on the temple (only) to a broader discussion, because I (nor the great consensus- unanimous view- of scholarly opinion! See what I did there?) accept Gentry’s “temple not city” hermeneutic! This is a pejorative false accusation. But, let’s look closer.

2. Gentry falsely claims that: “he (me, DKP) continues flailing about by repeatedly and erroneously broadening the scope of the disciples’ questions to Jesus. That is, he broadens the scope of the disciples’ very specific concern by extending it beyond the temple (which is their very point, Matt. 24:1–3) to include the dismal end of the Jewish leadership and the city of Jerusalem. Of course, AD 70 does greatly impact both of these elements of Jewish society and culture. But these issues are not the concern of the disciples’ two questions.”

Response:

We see here a good bit of projection going on.

Gentry claims that the apostles were concerned ONLY with the impending destruction of the Temple. According to his claim, the apostles were not the least bit concerned with the fate of the City– just the Temple! Gentry admits that the Jewish leadership and the city were involved in the coming catastrophe, but that the apostles were not concerned with that! Gentry has the apostles saying to Jesus: “We know that you are predicting the destruction of the city, the people and the land (Matthew 23:37, Luke 21:20-24, DKP), but we are not concerned with that. We just want to know about the fate of the Temple.”

Thus, Gentry dichotomizes between the fate of the city and the fate of the temple, as if those two things could be distinguished in any substantive way. This is nothing less than amazing – and desperate! Would any Jew believe– and more importantly– would scripture support the idea that the fate of the city was independent and unrelated to the fate of the temple, or vice versa? Just below, in more of his quote, Gentry doubles down on this claim.

Let me remind the reader at this point that Gentry understands that Daniel 9 was a prophecy of the destruction of both “the city and the sanctuary” (Daniel 9:26): “The original Old Testament context mentions both ‘the city and the sanctuary” (Gentry, Dominion, 2009, 351). So, here is what that means:

The prophecy of Daniel 9:26 involved the destruction of the city and the sanctuary– in AD 70 – Kenneth Gentry.

Jesus’ prophecy of the coming destruction of the temple would be the fulfillment of Daniel 9:26– Kenneth Gentry.

Therefore, Jesus’ prediction of the coming destruction of the temple, included the destruction of the city, not just the temple.

This inescapable and irrefutable. Gentry’s “temple not city” argument is falsified. I should also note that in his comments on the Abomination of Desolation- which would of course lead to the Great Tribulation, Gentry says, “The Lord summarily designates the events leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by the Romans by citing Daniel’s phrase, the ‘abomination of desolation.’” (Ibid).

Did you catch that? Notice that “leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple.” But this cannot be, since, per Gentry, in Matthew 24:2 Jesus was not speaking of the destruction of the city! Gentry’s paradigm demands that the abomination and tribulation simply led up to the destruction of the temple – not the city! Yet, he (evidently inadvertently) tells us that those two horrific occurrences led to the destruction of the city and the temple!

Notice also that Gentry, commenting on Daniel 9:27, says that “‘the end’ of Daniel 9:27 occurs in AD 70, exactly as Christ makes abundantly clear in Matthew 14:14-15 (cp. 23:38; 24:2, 34)” (Dominion, 2009, 319- My emphasis). So, Gentry is clear, there can be no denying it: Daniel 9:27 foretold the destruction of “the city and the sanctuary” and Jesus, “makes abundantly clear,” that that destruction of the city and temple was the fulfillment of Matthew 23:38 and, did you catch it– Matthew “24:2”? That means that Matthew 24:2 was not and could not be as Gentry claims, a prediction of the destruction of the temple and not the city.

When Gentry admits that Matthew 24:15f is about the destruction of Jerusalem, not just the temple and that the destruction of the city was the fulfillment of Matthew 24:2-3 he has totally falsified his “temple not city” argument on Matthew 24:2-3. If Gentry is right – and he is – to apply Daniel 9 to Matthew 24:15f and Matthew 24:2, then his claim that 24:2-3 was limited to the destruction of the temple only- is patently false. His entire atomistic hermeneutic goes up in flames, fueled by his own words!

So, on the one hand Gentry tells us that Matthew 24:2-3 had nothing to do with the destruction of the city. It was solely and exclusively concerned with the destruction of the temple. On the other hand, Gentry says that Jesus “makes it abundantly clear” that Daniel 9:26-27 foretold the destruction of both the city and sanctuary in AD 70, He tells us that event – the destruction of both city and sanctuary– was the fulfillment of Matthew 24:2! Nothing could be more self contradictory. To say that Gentry has impaled himself on his own keyboard is an understatement. There is no escaping this self contradiction.

For Gentry’s atomistic application of Matthew 24:2 to be accurate, i.e. that Jesus and his apostles were not concerned with the fate of the city, but the temple only, then of necessity, he has to divorce Daniel 9 from AD 70 – which he does not do. He has to show that Matthew 24:2 had no application to Daniel, and that Daniel (evidently) had a different destruction of the city and temple in mind from that which Jesus was predicting. But again, don’t forget that Gentry is adamant that Daniel 9 was a prediction of the AD 70 judgment of the city and the temple and that the fulfillment of Daniel was also the fulfillment of Matthew 24:2. However, Gentry wants to convince his readers that Matthew 24:2 was not about “the city and the temple” just the temple. Confused yet? You should be!

You have to see that Gentry is claiming that I actually know that the apostles were focused exclusively on the fate of the temple, but, to avoid some imaginary conundrum, I continue “flailing about by repeatedly and erroneously broadening the scope of the disciples’ questions to Jesus. That is, he broadens the scope of the disciples’ very specific concern by extending it beyond the temple (which is their very point, Matt. 24:1–3) to include the dismal end of the Jewish leadership and the city of Jerusalem.”

Well, first of all, I did not realize “I was flailing around.” Just more verbiage from Gentry, that is not true at all. As I stated above, I do not accept Gentry’s atomistic view of Matthew 24:2-3. I do not accept, the universal consensus of scholarship does not accept, and Gentry’s previous teaching rejects – the idea that only the temple was in view of the apostles and Christ in these verses.

Gentry is falsely accusing me of (privately, conscientiously) holding to his restrictive view, but, purposefully and deceitfully hiding my true convictions by “erroneously broadening the scope of the disciples’ questions.” No, I am not “erroneously broadening the scope” of either Jesus’ prediction or of the apostles’ questions. I am actually agreeing with what Daniel said and with what Kenneth Gentry said in his Dominion book! I am honoring what Jesus said. Was Gentry flailing around when he said that Daniel’s prophecy of the destruction of the city and temple would be the fulfillment of Matthew 24:2? And let me say again that I have not found any scholar, not one commentator, who agrees with Gentry’s atomistic, restrictive application of Matthew 24:2-3. So, where is Gentry’s appeal to the “consensus of orthodox scholarship”?

The real issue here is, did the apostles understand that Jesus was focused exclusively on the fate of the temple, without any concern for the land, the city or the people? Well, if that is true, then both Jesus and the apostles were completely ignoring and dismissing what Jesus had just said in Matthew 23– only a few moments before Matthew 24:1!:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate (Matthew 23:37-38).

Gentry would have us ignore the direct connection between the fate of the city and the temple in these verses. Yet, Gentry knows that Jesus foretold the destruction of both city and temple in this verse:

“In Matthew 23:37-24:2 Jesus weeps over Jerusalem and declares that its temple will be destroyed stone by stone, despite his disciples’ surprise. Regarding these actions and statements the disciples ask, ‘When shall these things be?” (Dominion, 2009, 161).

We simply cannot ignore the fact that — noted by Gentry himself – it was this prediction of the fate of the city and the temple that prompted the apostles to begin to show Jesus the marvelous temple stones and surrounding buildings! The apostles were not saying, “Ok, so you are saying that the city and temple will be desolated, but, forget the city, what about the temple!”

(Ad for a Gentry book deleted)

Gentry Continues:

But Preston rejects the view that: “the apostles simply could not imagine that marvelous edifice being destroyed” (p. i ¶2). He argues this even though in his We Shall Meet Him in The Air (p. 2) he himself states about the disciples’ reaction to Jesus’ prophecy: “Jesus’ response shocked the disciples.” He argues that the disciples would not have been confused about the temple’s coming destruction. Then in the next paragraph he starts inaccurately broadening the point of their questions. He writes: “Were the apostles confused. Did they wrongly connect Christ’s coming, the end of the age and the destruction of Jerusalem?” (p. i ¶3; emph. KLG). But Jerusalem’s destruction is not the issue; the temple’s destruction is. At this point Preston is as confused as Jesus’ disciples were.”

Response:

Let me allow Gentry to falsify Gentry at this point, and his contention that the focus of Matthew 24:2-3 was exclusively the temple, having nothing to do with any concern for the city.

Gentry,in his Dominion, (2009, 355) said:

“The final collapse of Jerusalem will be the sign that the Son of Man, whom the Jews reject and crucify, is in heaven (Matthew 24:30). The fulfillment of his judgment-word demonstrates his heavenly position and power (cf. Dt. 18:22). …Through these events the Jews would ‘see’ the Son of Man in his judgment-coming in terrifying cloud-glory: clouds symbolize his divine majesty by stormy destruction (Is. 19:16-21; Is. 61:1-3; cf. Lev. 25:9-10).”

But, if Gentry’s atomistic “temple not city” claim is correct, then “the final collapse of Jerusalem” lies completely outside the discussion of v. 4-35, because Jesus nor the apostles were (supposedly) concerned with the fate of the Land, the city and the people! Why is Gentry having Jesus describe the “the final collapse of Jerusalem” if the only thing that he predicted, the only thing the apostles asked about and if the only thing he is answering are the questions about the destruction of the TEMPLE? It is self-destructive for Gentry to claim on the one hand that the only thing Jesus predicted and the only thing the apostles asked about was the destruction of the temple, and then say that in verses 4-35 Jesus was discussing the destruction of Jerusalem- as well as the temple. After all, verses 4-35 are supposedly Jesus’ answer to the apostles’ questions about nothing but the destruction of the temple. So why would Jesus include any discussion at all about the city, oh, and the land and the people, per Gentry’s own writings?

But then, you must catch the power of what I am about to share about his “temple not city” argument. Let me give you again Gentry’s own words. Discussing the Great Tribulation and the Abomination he says

This refers to the AD 70 event, as we may discern from several angles: (1) The temple is then standing in “the holy place’ (Jerusalem, Mt. 4:5; 27:53). (2) In the context of the disciples point to that particular temple (Matthew 24:1), giving rise to this very discourse (Matthew 23:38-24:3). (3) Christ points to that temple, when he speaks of the temple’s destruction (Matthew 24:2). (4) The specific time frame demands and AD 70 reference for the ‘abomination’ (24:34). (Dominion, 2009, 351).

The ‘abomination of desolation’ will be so awful that it will result in desperate flight from the area (24:16-20). It will occur ‘in the holy place.’ Surely this involves the temple, but it may be broader, speaking of both the city and the temple. Two problems present themselves to the temple-only view: (1) Luke 21:20 interprets the phrase as the surrounding the city, which does indeed happen (Josephus, J. W. 5:12:1). Jerusalem itself is a holy place, being the capital of the ‘holy land’ (Zechariah 2:12). (2) The original Old Testament context mentions both ‘the city and the sanctuary.

Do you see that Gentry addressed, head on, the proposal that Jesus predicted the destruction of the temple only- not the city– and emphatically rejected that claim! So, when not flailing around, futilely trying to refute the truth of preterism, Gentry himself asks the question of whether just the destruction of the temple was the focus of the apostles’ questions and Jesus’ answers, and he categorically rejects that view!

So, here is what we have:

If Jesus predicted the destruction of Jerusalem in Matthew 24:2 as Gentry affirms, but the apostles were not asking about the destruction of the city, then:

1. Jesus did not answer their question at all, he skirted the issue,

OR,

Gentry is wrong- dead wrong- to delineate between the prediction of the destruction of the city and the destruction of the temple. The bottom line is that since Gentry admits and affirms that in Matthew 24:2 Jesus foretold the destruction of the city, he has totally negated his own “temple not city” hermeneutic, and falsified his attack on my book!

We will allow this to suffice for our first response to Gentry’s fourth article. Stay tuned for the second response– perhaps after the holidays.

In the meantime, be sure to get yourself a copy of my two books that Gentry assails:
We Shall Meet Him in the Air: The Wedding of the King of kings
Watching for the Parousia: Were Jesus’ Apostles Confused?

The Wedding of the King of Kings
https://www.store.bibleprophecy.com/product/we-shall-meet-him-in-the-air/
Were Jesus’ Apostles Confused in Matthew 24:3

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