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(copyright 2006 – first published over the Internet under the title:
Gospel Eschatology:  “A Better Resurrection”)


Virtually every futuristic eschatological view interprets the Olivet Discourse to be addressing two prophecies:  1) The destruction of Jerusalem and her temple in A.D. 70, and 2)  A future return of Jesus to destroy the planet, end time, or bring an end to the current Christian age.  Because they all fail to consistently take the discourse in its original context and see that the judgment upon Jerusalem and the destruction of her temple in A.D. 70 is the same thing as the end of the old covenant age, they can never agree on what verses address AD 70 events and what verses address alleged future ones.  A classic example of this futuristic confusion over identifying which events speak to A.D. 70 events and which ones are alleged future events can be found in the written debate between premillennial dispensatioanalist author Thomas Ice and reformed postmillennial partial preterist author Kenneth Gentry in the their book, THE GREAT TRIBULATION PAST OR FUTURE?  I will be interacting with both of these authors throughout my interpretation of the Olivet Discourse since they have both sought unsuccessfully to disprove exegetical preterism or my favorite term – Gospel Eschatology.  I will also be refuting my former Pastor, College President, and author  John MacArthur.  MacArthur has also come out in print attempting to disprove my view and the view of another former pastor and friend of mine Ward Fenley.  Therefore, I will examine MacArthur’s claims that Jesus “virtually ignores” the disciples questions about the destruction of the temple and his eisegesis of the discourse in general.  I will be interacting with a wide rage of positions and authors but primarily Thomas Ice, John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, Kenneth Gentry, Gary DeMar, and N.T. Wright. 

As far as a flow and topics to be considered in our exegesis of (Mt.24:3), I will be answering the question of whether or not the disciples were “confused” on associating Christ’s return with the destruction of the temple and thus identifying what “end of the age” they were asking about in light of Jesus prediction of the destruction of the temple.  In identifying what “end of the age” the disciples are asking about it is imperative to go back through Matthew’s gospel to identify what Jesus taught them concerning the time frame of His return (Mt.10:17-23; Mt.16:27-28) and the declarations of Jesus’ ministry of an “at hand kingdom.”  It is at this point that the theme of John the Baptist’s declarations of an “at hand” kingdom, judgment, and harvest/resurrection will be woven in and out throughout this section. 

I will have to deal with a wide rage of futurists errors over what age would end at Christ’s parousia and which one would take it’s place.  Because futurists can’t agree upon what verses are A.D. 70 events and which ones speak of an alleged future return of Jesus and they seem to be divided at times as to the meaning of the “end of the age,” it will take some time to sort through the various views and point out the flaws in each of them.  Most futurists cannot deal with the straight forward statements of Jesus in the discourse that state “all these things” would be fulfilled in Jesus’ “this generation.”  And for those futurists that have attempted to take a biblical definition of “this generation” in the Olivet Discourse as speaking to A.D. 70 events — they are then forced to interpret “all these things” as “some of these things” or they end up with the doctrine of two second comings, one to destroy Jerusalem in A.D. 70 (Mt. 24:1-34) and another one in the alleged future (Mt. 24:36f.).  At this point the reader is saying, “Man this is going to be confusing!”  And yes, thank you for making my next point which is, the interjection of a topic that isn’t in the text to begin with – “the end of the Christian age” or planet earth, as opposed to the end of the OC age, makes the discourse very difficult to understand let alone explain, chart out, and refute the many faulty approaches that have sought to interact with preterist theologians. 

Upon reading Paradise Restored on one of my breaks from The Master’s College I traveled to David Chilton’s home and began asking him many questions as to why he seemed to divide the OD into two different comings of Christ.  I struggled why David didn’t go any farther in the OD in his writings than he did and I struggled with his lack of an answer to my straight forward questions.  David didn’t even bother answering the questions I gave him on any exegetical level let alone had much to say about them, but simply smiled and said, “It sounds to me like you need to read a book by James Russell.”  Of course I wasn’t real impressed with the interaction of my new eschatological hero at the time, but I did take his advise and began to read Russell’s exegesis of Mt.24 – 25 and felt like a burden rolled off my back!  Here was a man that had written an exegesis of Mt.24 – 25 that was not divided into two different comings of Christ – but one.  So in honor of him and David Chilton who eventually made it through the smile of being a partial preterist in writing (but a closet full preterist in conscience) and then a full preterist eventually in writing and public testimony as well, I shall quote Russell here at length in order to identify what “end of the age” the disciples asked about and what “end” is consistently discussed throughout the discourse and the rest of the N.T for that matter:


“It is not easy for the ordinary reader to follow the ingenious critic through his convoluted scheme; but it is plain that the disciples must have been hopelessly bewildered amidst a rush of crises and catastrophes from the fall of

Jerusalem to the end of the world. Perhaps we shall be told, however, that it does not signify whether the disciples understood our Lord’s answer or not: it was not to them that He was speaking; it was to future ages, to generations yet unborn, who were destined, however, to find the interpretation of the prophecy as embarrassing to them as it was to the original bearers. There are no words too strong to repudiate such a suggestion. The disciples came to their Master with a plain, straightforward inquiry, and it is incredible that He would mock them with an unintelligible riddle for a reply. It is to be presumed that the Saviour meant His disciples to understand His words, and it is to be presumed that they did understand them.


3. The interpretation which we are considering appears to be founded upon a misapprehension of the question put to our Lord by the disciples, as well as of His answer to their question.


It is generally assumed that the disciples came to our Lord with three different questions, relating to different events separated from each other by a long interval of time; that the first inquiry, ‘When shall these things be?’—had reference to the approaching destruction of the temple; that the second and third question—, ‘ What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?’—referred to events long posterior to the destruction of

Jerusalem, and, in fact, not yet accomplished. It is supposed that our Lord’s reply conforms itself to this threefold inquiry, and that this gives the shape to His whole discourse. Now, let it be considered how utterly improbable it is that the disciples should have had any such scheme of the future mapped out in their minds. We know that they had just been shocked and stunned by their Master’s prediction of the total destruction of the glorious house of God on which they had so recently been gazing with admiration. They had not yet had time to recover from their surprise, when they came to Jesus with the inquiry, ‘When shall these things be?’ etc. Is it not reasonable to suppose that one thought possessed them at that moment—the portentous calamity awaiting the magnificent structure, the glory and beauty of Israel? Was that a time when their minds would be occupied with a distant future? Must not their whole soul have been concentrated on the fate of the temple? And must they not have been eager to know what tokens would be given of the approach of the catastrophe? Whether they connected in their imagination the destruction of the temple with the dissolution of the creation, and the close of human history, it is impossible to say; but we may safely conclude, that the uppermost thought in their mind was the announcement which the Lord had just made, ‘Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another which shall not be thrown down.’ They must have gathered from the Saviour’s language that this catastrophe was imminent; and their anxiety was to know the time and the tokens of its arrival. St. Mark and St. Luke make the question of the disciples refer to one event and one time—‘When shall these things be, and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?’ It is not only presumable, therefore, but indubitable, that the questions of the disciples only refer to different aspects of the same great event. This harmonises the statements of St. Matthew with those of the other Evangelists, and is plainly required by the circumstances of the case.


4. The interpretation which we are discussing rests also upon an erroneous and misleading conception of the phrase, end of the world, (age) [sunteleia ton aiwnov]. It is not surprising that mere English readers of the New Testament should suppose that this phrase really means the destruction of the material earth; but such an error ought not to receive countenance from men of learning. We have already had occasion to remark that the true signification of aiwn is not world, but age; that, like its Latin equivalent aevum, it refers to a period of time: thus, ‘the end of the age’ [sunteleia ton aiwnov] means the close of the epoch or Jewish age or dispensation which was drawing nigh, as our Lord frequently intimated. All those passages which speak of ‘the end’ [to telov] ‘the end of the age,’ or, ‘the ends of the ages’[h sunteleia tou aiwnov ta telh twn aiwnwn], refer to the same consummation, and always as nigh at hand. In #1Co 10:11,

St. Paul says ‘The ends of the ages have stretched out to us;’ implying, that he regarded himself and his readers as living near the conclusion of an aeon, or age.


So, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, we find the remarkable expression: ‘Now, once, close upon the end of the ages’ (erroneously rendered, The end of the world), ‘hath be appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself’; {#Hev 9:26} clearly showing that the writer regarded the incarnation of Christ as taking place near the end of the aeon, or dispensational period. To suppose that he meant that it was close upon the end of the world, or the destruction of the material globe, would be to make him write false history as well as bad grammar. It would not be true in fact; for the world has already lasted longer since the incarnation than the whole duration of the Mosaic economy, from the exodus to the destruction of the temple. It is futile, therefore, to say that the ‘end of the age’ may mean a lengthened period, extending from the incarnation to our own times, and even far beyond them. That would be an aeon, and not the close of an aeon. The aeon, of which our Lord was speaking was about to close in a great catastrophe; and a catastrophe is not a protracted process, but a definitive and culminating act. We are compelled, therefore, to conclude that the ‘end of the age,’ or [sunteleia ton aiwnov] refers solely to the approaching termination of the Jewish age or dispensation.



We all know that in archery if one is the slightest bit off in his aim of the target at the outset, by the time the arrow reaches the point of destination it is quite removed from the bull’s-eye.  In the case of futurism in claiming that the Olivet Discourse and the destruction of the temple is somehow describing the end of the church age instead of the “end” of the OC or Mosaic age of the law, futurists aren’t even attempting to aim at the bull’s-eye but are rather shooting into the crowd and maiming anyone attending their performance.  To miss the context and bulls-eye of identifying the “end of the age” with the OC age and the one to replace it as the “age about to come” as the NC Christian age, is to miss THE TIME FRAME AND MEANING OF EVERY ESCHATOLOGICAL PASSAGE IN THE BIBLE.  I will go one step further and say if one misses it here on their eschatology, they have missed it in the soteriology as well.  Are you sitting there thinking to yourself, “Hey man I’m a Calvinist and understand my soteriology!  Maybe I’m still working through my eschatology but that’s okay.”  No it’s not “okay” and if you don’t adhere to gospel eschatology, you not only do not consistently believe in the  sovereignty of God, but you proclaim a Christ who FAILED.  I reject the Christ of Arminianism who cannot save all He came to save, and I reject the futurist Christ who cannot save all He came to save WHEN He promise to save them!  One cannot separate their soteriology from their eschatology – this kind of thinking has surfaced from a  systematic theology approach to Scripture rather than developing a progressive redemptive approach. 

The futurists first and most crucial error in seeking to defend that the OD is about the end of the planet and church age and not the OC age, other than just assuming it, is to try and create a problem that isn’t in the text and they will go on to “fix” that problem with their particular brand of futurism.  They state that the disciples were “confused” in thinking that the destruction of the temple they were looking at and the one Jesus is stating will be destroyed in their generation – A.D. 70 has anything to do with his parousia or the “end of the age.”  If they can persuade their audience that the disciples were “confused” in thinking that the destruction of the temple somehow meant the end of the planet earth, then they can come along a “fix” their confusion for us – thereby slipping in this alleged second topic (the end of time) into the discourse at this early stage.  I will demonstrate that this is a purely an eisegetical assumption that cannot be proven and rips the OD out of it’s immediate context and the context of the entire Bible for that matter.  But first let’s examine those who are guilty of this folly before giving an answer to them lest they think they are wiser than the disciples and our Lord in the Discourse.  Let’s take a look at how a “PhD” “prophecy expert” attempts to make the case that the Olivet Discourse is addressing two prophesied events and not one.  Please pay close attention at how these writers create a problem that is not in the text and then their approaches to “fix” it.  Within these quotes are some excellent admissions that I will use later on:    

“However, they (the disciples) were wrong to relate the impending judgment upon Jerusalem and the Temple with the return of Messiah.” 

 “The disciples apparently thought that all three elements – the destruction of the Temple, the sign of Christ’s coming, and the end of the age – would occur at the same time.  Yet this is not what Jesus was saying.”


“The disciples asked Jesus, “Tell us, when will these things be…? (Matthew 24:3).  Thus, the first question relates to the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70.” [ii]


“J. Dwight Pentecost tells us:  ‘The questions showed that they had arrived at certain conclusions… To these men Christ’s words concerning the destruction of

Jerusalem was the destruction predicted by Zechariah that would precede the advent of the Messiah.  In Jewish eschatology two ages were recognized:  the first was this present age, the age in which Israel was waiting for the coming of the Messiah; the second was the age to come, the age in which all of Israel’s covenants would be fulfilled and Israel would enter into her promised blessing as a result of Messiah’s coming.’[iii] 

“Stanley Toussaint echoes this notion:  ‘This sequence is so clearly in view that Luke records the question concerning the destruction of Jerusalem only (Luke 21:7).  That is, the disciples took the destruction of Jerusalem to be completely eschatological.  Therefore, Luke records this question only, as though Jerusalem‘s destruction would mark the coming of the King to reign.  Bruce is correct when he asserts, ‘The questioners took for granted that all three things went together:  destruction of temple, advent of Son of Man, end of the current age

“While the disciples merged these three events into a single time period, Christ did not.  In fact, Matthew and Mark do not deal with the destruction of Jerusalem in their accounts of the Olivet Discourse (what?!?).  Rather, they focus upon the future days of tribulation leading up to Christ’s return.  Only in Luke’s account do we find Christ’s comments about Jerusalem’s impending destruction (21:20-24).  But Luke goes on to deal with future days of tribulation and Christ’s return as well (21:25-36).  For whatever reason, Matthew and Mark’s entire focus is upon Jesus’ answer regarding “the sign of [His] coming, and of the end of the age.”[iv]

According to Ice’s erroneous presuppositions that he imposes upon the text, the disciples ask “mistaken” questions that for “whatever reason” (Ice’s dispensational “reasons”) Jesus doesn’t address at all in Matthew or Mark but arbitrarily does in Luke!  He admits that in Matthew and Mark the disciples ask about the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem in regards to “when will these things be…”, but then states that Matthew and Mark in their accounts NOT ONCE deal with the A.D. 70 “these things” which are GRAMATICALLY LINKED to “…and what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?”  It is impossible to separate the phrase “these things” from “the signs” “the coming” and “the end of the age” that the disciples asked about!  Jesus clearly goes on to discuss in Matthew, Mark, and Luke the “when will these things be” and they are inseparable linked with “the end” (“end of the age”), the signs, and Christ’s coming!  And “all these things” would be fulfilled in the contemporary generation of Jesus and the disciples (Mt. 24:34, Mrk. 13:30, Lk. 21:32).  This is a deplorable attempt at exegesis of the parallel harmony of the Olivet Discourse among the gospel writers indeed. 

To suggest that the “these things” in Luke’s account is not the same “these things” in Matthew’s and Mark’s is simply untenable and we will cover this faulty approach more when we get to that section of the discourse but I can’t help but cover some of it here.  Ice realizing that he has to find some reference to the A.D. 70 prediction to the disciples question “when will these things be…,” arbitrarily decides that Luke’s desolation and the flight of the Jews from Judea in that account is a DIFFERENT desolation and flight from Judea than the ones recorded in Matthew and Mark’s accounts.  In Luke Jesus says that the flight and desolation He speaks of is in fulfillment of “all of the prophets.”  In Matthew and Mark’s accounts, Jesus says it’s in fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy.  How in the name of reason can one make these speak of two different events separated by thousands of years?!?  Obviously “Daniel’s prophecy” is included in “all of the prophets!”  According to Jesus did Daniel foretell two “time of the end” abomination of desolations in which the disciples were to flee the city when they saw it’s approaching fulfillment with the Zealot or Roman armies (Dan. 9:27, 12:11; Mt.24:15f.; Lk.21:20f.)?  The pure exegetical observation and obvious reading of the text is that He did not.  It doesn’t take a PhD to figure out that Luke describes the same abomination of desolation and flight that Matthew and Mark do, but differently do to his gentile audience.  And before leaving this issue, somehow the “you” throughout the Olivet Discourse in Matthew and Mark according to Ice’s eisegesis is not an audience related to the disciples or their contemporaries, nor does the “you” speak of them in Lk. 21:8-19, only does “you” take on a contemporary meaning in (Lk.21:20 – 24), and then magically “poof” from (vss. 25f.) they somehow refer to people 2000 + years away. 

John MacArthur in his book attempting to refute preterism or gospel eschatology, makes similar assumptions upon the text and Jesus’ reply to the disciples that I find disturbing not only on an exegetical level, but on a moral level: 

Whether they fully realized it or not, the disciples were actually raising multiple questions in Matthew 24:3.  “When will these things be?” refers to the destruction of the temple and the events surrounding that catastrophe.  “What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” deals with a larger eschatological subject – the question of how Christ’s victorious coming as Israel’s Messiah fits into the whole prophetic timetable. 

As we shall see in chapters to come, Jesus’ answers by no means erased all the mystery from those questions.  The interpretation of the Olivet Discourse is no easy undertaking.[v]    

Hence according to MacArthur,

“…Christ’s only explicit remarks about the destruction of the temple are those recorded in verse 2, as Jesus and the disciples were departing from the temple (v.1).  In the Olivet Discourse itself He makes no clear reference to the events of A.D. 70.  His entire reply is an extended answer to the more important question about the signs of His coming and the end of the age.  Virtually ignoring their initial question, He said nothing whatsoever about when the destruction of Jerusalem would occurThat is because those events were not really germane to the end of the end of the age. They were merely a foretaste of the greater judgment that would accompany His return, previews of what is to come ultimately.”[vi] 

Wow, Jesus “ignores” their question and does not tell the disciples when the destruction of Jerusalem would occur because it wasn’t really that important!?!  The only “mystery” here is how MacArthur can’t see that the OT prophets taught that when the temple was destroyed and judgment rendered upon Jerusalem was the event that would mark and bear witness of “Christ’s victorious coming as Israel’s Messiah!”  The “end” that the disciples are asking about in regards to the destruction of the temple and the “end” that Jesus discusses throughout the discourse (hardly “ignoring” it!), is found in (Dan.9:24-27; Dan.12).  When judgment of the “HolyCity” and thus the abominations and a desolation of Her temple occurs is when Messiah comes in His victory and consummates ALL not some of Israel’s salvation promises!  Therefore MacArthur with some eisegetical slight of hand seeks to minimize the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70 (Jesus allegedly “ignoring it”) so that he can replace the temple that is under discussion by Jesus and the disciples with the destruction of another future temple associated with a future tribulation period somewhere at the end of the Christian age which he obviously has to read into the context with his dispensational “previews” of things to come.  It is very clear at this early point that John MacArthur is imposing his carnal dispensational system upon the text and thus violating all sound and normal rules of hermeneutics.  John’s statements are not just completely removed from the context of Jesus bring up the temple, the context of the disciples question about that temple, the context of Jesus answering their question, the context of Daniel’s prophecy, but the context of all the OT prophets – because they ALL predicted their fulfillments to come in the disciples day and generation (Lk.21:22/Mt.24:15/1Pet.1:4-12/1Cor.10:11) and were NEVER described as “foretastes” or “previews” of something more “ultimate” to come!  As Christian’s apparently we are in need of ANOTHER BIBLE, The MacArthur Study Bible to teach us these things since we can’t seem to be finding them from the teachings of Christ or His inspired writiers of the NT!     

The disciples were not “mistaken” nor did Jesus “ignore” their questions per Ice and MacArthur, for they and Jesus understood that the destruction of the temple they were looking at would bring an “end” to the Jewish or OC age.  Ice is quite correct though in quoting Dwight Pentecost when he states that the Jews understood from the prophets that there were only two ages – “this age” (the OC age), and then the one to come – ushered in by Messiah (the NC age).  Daniel clearly prophesied it and Jesus reinforced Daniel’s teaching.  Both Daniel and Jesus clearly taught that when the “time of the end” which was also described as when “the power of the holy people was completely shattered” [the temple and judgment upon Jerusalem], was when “all of these things”, that is all of the eschatological things [The judgment, abomination of desolation, great tribulation, & resurrection would occur (Dan. 12:1-7à Mt. 10:17-23à Mt. 13:40-49à Mt. 24:15-34=Lk. 21:20-32).  So no the disciples were not “mistaken” in either understanding Daniel’s prophecy or Jesus’ teaching leading up to His Olivet Discourse concerning the “end of the age.”  Jesus clearly asked the disciples if they understood His teaching on the parables concerning the kingdom and the “end of the age” and they stated:

“Jesus said to them, Have you understood all these things? They say unto him, Yes, Lord.” (Mt. 13:50)

It is clear that the disciples understood Jesus’ teaching about the resurrection and kingdom occuring at then end of “this age” (v.40) as the OC age – the one in which they were living and the one that was experiencing the harvest/resurrection (Jn.4).  According to futurists the NC age (their alleged “this age”) hadn’t even begun yet so how can “this age” even remotely be considered the Christian age!?!  The only ones “mistaken” and “confused” on the identity of the “end of the age” are futurists in their various degrees.

In dealing with the Dispensationalists statements and to a certain degree partial preterists, the variations of the questions in Matthew are due to his Jewish audience as even the additional use of parables (over that of Mark and Luke’s accounts) would validate.  Any good Jew knew that according to Daniel’s prophecy the destruction of the temple and the coming of the Son of Man would be the “time of the end.”  If Matthew is recording a second and separate question [per futurist and some partial preterists such as Greg Bahnsen and others] regarding a completely different topic “and the end of the age/world,” then this would portray Mark and Luke as fools to miss such very important information on Christ’s teaching in the Olivet Discourse.  More importantly, the Holy Spirit would have only brought back to remembrance Jesus’ teaching concerning “things to come” for Matthew but failed to bring them to Mark and Luke’s remembrance in regard to a major question introducing the alleged “second topic.”  Besides if according to Thomas Ice Matthew and Mark are in harmony in predominately addressing only the future second coming associated with the end of the planet, then why doesn’t Mark like Matthew record this from the beginning in the form of the question?  According to Ice’s unsound theory, if it were to be recognized, we might consider Luke’s omission of “and the end of the age?” (Since he is the only one allegedly dealing with some A.D. 70 events – per Ice) but if Matthew and Mark are so in tune with each other in regard to post A.D. 70 second coming events then we would expect that harmony in the form of the questions as well.   

Remember we today have the privilege of reading all three accounts but most likely the readers of Mark and Luke had to rely on those accounts alone.  Mark and Luke correctly gave their readers the accurate information – that the disciples only wanted to know when the temple would be destroyed and what signs would precede it’s destruction.  No other separate subject was in view and therefore needed to be given.  Matthew’s account of the questions agrees with Mark’s and Luke’s except adds Jewish overtones to the destruction of the temple, which would be when the “coming of the Son of Man” would occur thus the “end” of her “age/world.”  Therefore, no separate subject matter in Matthew is added outside the destruction of the temple context for the destruction of the temple is equivalent to the end of the OC age and thus perfectly harmonizes the same subject matter in all three accounts.       

When we acknowledge this we can see that in the case of synoptic gospel parallel’s all three accounts are accurate and no vital information is lost to the respected audiences.  Matthew’s account of the Olivet Discourse in using “and the end of the age” is not introducing a new topic (the end of the planet), but this phrase and Greek word for “end” is used only in His gospel account (Mt. 13:39, 40, 49; Mt. 23:3; Mt.28:20).  The only other example of a complete synoptic parallel is found in the great commission (Mt. 28:20, Mk.16, Lk. 24:47).  When we examine these texts I don’t see anyone concluding that Mathew’s use of “end of the age” is addressing a different time frame or subject matter than the variations of the same teaching in Mk and Lk’s accounts.  Just as there is no reason to do it in regard to the great commission, there is no need to do here in the OD.  The only other place this word or phrase is used is in another Jewish audience setting found in the book of Hebrews (Hebs. 9:26) which is addressing the superiority of the in-breaking spiritual new covenant age/kingdom upon and over against the physical old covenant age/kingdom and has nothing to do with the planet earth or time ending at Christ’s return!  Taking these matters in consideration, Matthew is only communicating that “the end” and destruction of the temple are equivalent with each other and describing the end of Israel’s OC age!

 Kenneth Gentry on the “end of the age”

We shall examine another futuristic brand that seeks to portray the disciples as “bewildered” – even postmillennialist partial “preterist” Kenneth Gentry in his debate with Thomas Ice in their book, The Great Tribulation Past or Future?  claims the disciples were confused and likewise divides the discourse into two prophetic subject matters:

“In these questions we sense once again the bewilderment among the disciples at Jesus’ teaching—a bewilderment such as is seen elsewhere in Matthew, as in their confusion about the “leaven of the Pharisees” (16:6-12), Christ’s death (vv. 21-23), the purpose of the Transfiguration (17:4-5), Christ’s interest in children (19:13-15), and the nature of kingdom service (20:20-25).  Quite clearly Christ divides their question into two episodes in His answer:  (1) He speaks about the coming Great Tribulation resulting in the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in A.D. 70 (24:4-34, which is in “this generation,” v. 34); and (2) His distant future second coming at the end of history (24:36-25:46, which is after a “long time,” 25:19).”[vii] 

And joining hands in the fundamental error of Thomas Ice Gentyr writes,

“As House and Ice admit:  “It is probably true that the disciples thought of the three events (the destruction of the temple, the second coming, and the end of the age) as one event.  But as was almost always the case, they were wrong.”  Thus, Christ divided up the events for them.  The coming “tribulation” (24:36; 24:34; cp. 1Thess. 2:16) and was to be foreshadowed by certain signs (Matt. 24:4-8).  But the Second Advent was to be at “that” far day and hour, and was not to be preceded by particular signs of its nearness, for no man can know it (24:36).”



R.C. Sproul on the “end of the age”

But according to another partial preterist R.C. Sproul, Gentry is the one who is confused and not really arguing within preterist hermeneutic or frame work.  Sproul when he points out the error of John Calvin on the disciples question in regard to the “end of the age,” likewise refutes fellow partial preterist Gentry whom he quotes extensively in his book.  Sproul writes,

“Calvin regarded as erroneous the disciples’ assumption that the destruction of Jerusalem would coincide with the coming of Christ and the end of the world.  This means that Jesus was answering a question that contained false assumptions.  The preterist view of J. Stuart Russell differs sharply from the view of Calvin.  Russell argues that the disciples’ assumption was correct – with one crucial qualifier:  the disciples were asking not about the end of the world, but abut the end of the age.  This distinction is critical not only to Russell, but to virtually all preterists.  The end in view is not the end of all time but the end of the Jewish age.”[ix]


“Fundamental to preterism is the contention that the phrase “the end of the age” refers specifically to the end of the Jewish age and the beginning of the age of the Gentiles, or church age.  J. Suart Russell begins his exposition of this concept by referring to the content of Matthew 13:” 

“…Kosmos in ver. 38, 40, refers to a period of time, and should be rendered age or epock… It is of the greatest importance to understand correctly the true meaning of this word, and of the phrase “the end of the aion, or age.”  Aion is, as we have said, a period of time, or an age.  It is exactly equivalent to the Latin word aevum, which is merely aion in a Latin dress; and the phrase, sun-teleia tou aionos, translated in our English version, “the end of the world, should be “the close of the age.”1

Russell argues that the end of the age signals not merely an “end,” but a consummation of one age that is followed immediately by another.  This was part of the traditional view of the Jews with regard to their Messiah.  The new age that would be called the “kingdom of heaven.”  The existing age was the Jewish dispensation, which was drawing to a close.  This idea was central to the preaching of John the Baptist, who spoke of the time that was “at hand.”


Sproul is saying that according to “virtually all preterists,” himself and Gentry included, the disciples are not asking questions with false assumptions.  In other words the disciples are not confused or need “correction” (per Gentry and Ice) in associating “the end of the age” with Christ coming to bring judgment upon Jerusalem and lay waste her temple.  We wish that Mr. Sproul were correct on this point but partial preterist Kenneth Gentry apparently does not consistently admit or make the “critical distinction” that needs to be made in order to cease from falsely accusing the disciples of being confused – and thus promoting his confusing “exegesis” of the discourse.  And if Sproul sees no false assumptions made by the disciples in the form of their question(s), then how does Sproul justify Christ teaching a future return of Himself to bring an end to the planet or end to the current Christian age when this was never the topic to begin with?  No matter what version of the partial preterist position you take (which is confused futurism), you have the introduction of an end of an age and coming of Christ that is not in the context (or in the OT for that matter) and thus the partial preterist is just as guilty of eisegesis (reading something into the text) at this early stage of interpreting the Olivet Discourse as is the premillennialist (historical or dispensationalal), amillennialist, or postmillennialist.   

N.T. Wright on the “end of the age”

N.T. Wright has become a popular and controversial N.T. scholar over the last 10 years or so and has made some helpful comments regarding the context, harmonizing the gospel accounts of the questions, allowing the disciples to have a more Jewish and apocalyptic understanding of the OT Scriptures than is commonly admitted, and identifying the age to come with Christ’s parousia in A.D.70.  I will quote his comments on the OD and the disciples questions about the end of the age and likewise quote some more of his statements about the “end of the age” that he has made elsewhere in the gospel of Matthew and briefly critique them.  He states:   

 “The questions the disciples ask Jesus are explicitly related to this prediction.  In Mark (13.4) there is no unclarity about this:  ‘When will this be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to happen?’  In Luke (21.7) it is even clearer:  ‘When will this be, and what will be the sign when this is about to take place?’  We have already seen that Matthew’s use of the word parousia is not a sign that he has altered this meaning…” “…that has given scholars, and popular readers and preachers, the idea that the discourse is really about the end of the space-time universe.  There was no reason, either in their own background or in a single thing that Jesus had said to them up to that point, for it even to occur to them that the true story of the world, or of Israel, or of Jesus himself, might include either the end of the space-time universe, or Jesus or anyone else floating down to earth on a cloud.  They hand not yet even thought of his being taken from them, let alone that he might come back; nor did they have any idea of another figure, earthly, heavenly, or something in between, who would one day come on a literal cloud.102  Had Jesus wished to introduce so strange and unJewish an idea to them he would have had a very difficult task; as often find in the gospels, their minds were not exactly at their sharpest in picking up redefinitions even of ideas with which they were already somewhat familiar.

The disciples were, however, very interested in a story which ended with Jesus’ coming to Jerusalem to reign as king.  They were looking for the fulfillment of Israel’s hopes, for the story told so often in Israel’s scriptures to reach its appointed climax.  And the ‘close of the age’ for which they longed was not the end of the space-time order, but the end of the present evil age (ha’olam hazeh), and the introduction of the (still very much this-worldly) age to come (ha ‘olam haba’) – in other words, the end of Israel’s period of mourning and exile and the beginning of her freedom and vindication.103  Matthew 24.3, therefore, is most naturally read, in its first-century Jewish context, not as a question about (what scholars have come to call, in technical language) the ‘parousia’, but as a question about Jesus ‘coming’ or ‘arriving’ in the sense of his actual enthronement as king, consequent upon the dethronement of the present powers that were occupying the holy city.104  The disciples were pressing Jesus to give them details of his plan for becoming king, as David had become king, in the city that was at present still rejecting him.  They were longing for their own version of the great event for which all Israel had been on tiptoe.  Matthew is not, in other words, out on a limb from Mark and Luke at this point.105  The question at the start of all three versions, seen from within the story the disciples have in their minds, must be read to mean:  When will you come in your kingdom?106  When will the evil age, symbolized by the present Jerusalem regime, be over?”[xi]    

In another work of Wright’s he states of the “age to come,”

“The final promise, that Jesus will be with his people ‘until the close of the age’ (hoes tes synteleias tou aionos), belongs closely within the ‘two-age’ structure of chronology which we have seen to be characteristic of mainstream Pharisaic/rabbinic Judaism, and also of early Christianity, particularly Paul.42  The point here is that the ‘age to come’ has now been launched with Jesus’ resurrection, and that the risen Jesus represents and embodies this new age, and hence becomes the human bride between it and the present one.  His promise to be ‘with you always’ is thus at the same time the fulfillment of the Emmanuel promise, and with it of YHWH’s promise to be with even a small group of worshippers as though they were actually in the Temple itself.43  It is also the sign that in him the eschaton has come to birth, so that his people are guaranteed safe passage through the present age and into the long-awaited age to come.”  Footnote 42 reads, “On ‘the close of the age’ in Mt., cf. 13:39f., 49; 24:3 (where it is linked with the fall of Jerusalem and the parousia of Jesus).  See too Heb. 9:26; 1 En. 16.1; 4 Ezra 7.113.”[xii]  

Futurist N.T. Wright is correct here in identifying Christ’s parousia in the OD with the dethronement of the then present powers of the holy city and thus Christ coming into His kingdom.  However, Wright and others such as Gary DeMar paint themselves into a corner and violate the analogy of Scripture when they separate the time frame of Jesus’ parousia in the OD from Paul’s parousia in (1Cor.15:23).  Wright and DeMar play Paul against Jesus when allegedly Paul is now discussing a different parousia, a different “end,” and covering a different time period of Christ ruling over His enemies than Jesus predicts in the OD.  But according to Jesus, ALL the OT prophets and the N.T. inspired ones, bore testimony to a fulfillment no further than the contemporary generation or lifetime of the first century church (Lk.21:20-32/1Pet.1:4-12/1Cor.10:11).  Partial Preterists such as Wright and DeMar want to have two different sets of “enemies” before Christ returns twice – once in AD 70 and another coming to end different enemies in the alleged future. 

Who Were The “Enemies” (Ps.110:1)?


1)  Lets allow the NT to identify who the “enemies” are.  We of course are dealing with (Ps.110:1).  Jesus addresses it in (Mt.22:41-46) to not only explain who He is, but the fact that He had just earlier in His parables identified them (primarily the Pharisees) (Mt.21:33-45; Mt.22:1-14) as the “enemies” which caused them to not ask Him any more questions.  He further addresses these enemies in (Mt.23 – 25) and would deal with them at His parousia in “this generation.”  So partial preterists futurism is contradicting there  ”very preterist” interpretations of various texts.  

2)  Again, Peter understands (Ps.110) to be fulfilled with the “enemies” of “this corrupt generation” (Acts 2:34-40) and would likewise be put under the feet of Christ at the end of the “last days” at the “Great and glorious Day of the Lord” (Acts.2:21).  The resurrection and judgment in Acts is used with the Greek word “mello” (“about to be” or “on the point of”) so it coincides with the time statements of the resurrection to take place in Rev.20 as well.  Not only this but the resurrection is the “hope of Israel” and therefore would be fulfilled when the law would be fulfilled (Mt.5:17-18) which obviously included (Ps.110). 

3)  Along with quoting (Isa.25 and Ho.13) Paul echos (Ps.110) in (1Cor.15:25-26; 56-57) and again relates it’s fulfillment as victory over ”the Law” and ”the death” in Christ’s parousia occurring at the “end” (cf.Mt.24 – “end” of the OC age).  If Wright sees (Mt.13:39 – 43) fulfilled at the end of the OC age in AD 70, then he must take the resurrection in (Dan.12:2) as fulfilled at that time as well.  And since the resurrection of (Dan.12) is tied to it’ parallel subject matter in (Dan.9) concerning the tribulation and abomination of desolation, he needs to see Daniel’s 70 weeks fulfilled at the same time of Mt.13/Dan.12 is fulfilled.  And that being the case Wright needs to take the “putting away of sin” (Dan.9:24) to have occurred at the end of the OC age in AD 70 as well.  Paul identifies the victory over sin and death as the time when the “power of the law” would be dealt with (Dan.9:24/1Cor.15:56-57).  Paul is very much in harmony with Jesus in identifying Christ’s parousia with a time when victory over “the law” would occur.  The fading glory of the OC law was soon to pass and did pass in AD 70 (2Cor.3-4; Heb.8:13).  This was the time that the enemies of (Ps.110) as identified with the Pharisees, Jerusalem, and “the death” that were all associated with the OC law would be put under Christ’s feet and the law fulfilled.  

4)  Hebrews addresses (Ps.110) in chapter 1 and alludes to it in chapter 12.  The “enemies” are once again tied to the “last days” and to the “change” (Ps.2) of the covenatal worlds. Those “enemies” would not enter His rest and would “shrink back” and be destroyed at His “in a very little while” return (Hebs.10:37-39). 

5)  Virtually everyone agrees that the judgment over Christ’s enemies and the resurrection of (Mt.13, 1Cor.15, and Rev.20) are dealing with the same time period.  The ”books” and judgment of (Dan.7) and (Rev.20) are the same.  One was “far off” the other was “at hand.”  Scripture affirms and identifies who the “enemies” were and when they would be judged and placed under Christ’s feet – at the “end” of the OC age in AD 70.

Again, for partial preterist futurists such as N.T. Wright and James Jordan[xiii] to admit that the resurrection in (Mt.13) occurred at the end of the OC age in A.D. 70, is to admit that the resurrection Daniel foretold occurred at this time as well (Dan.12:2-3/Mt.13:42-43).  To admit this is to admit that everlasting righteousness and an end to sin came in A.D. 70.  To claim that the parousia and resurrection in Mt.24, Mt.13, and Dan.12 happened in A.D.70 is to claim that ALL of the 70 weeks prophetic events occurred at that time as well.  Therefore, exegetically and logically, to say that (Dan.12 and Mt.13) were fulfilled at the end of “this age”—the OC age in A.D.70, is to believe that Christ “put an end to sin” and that ALL prophecy has been fulfilled – “seal up vision and prophecy” (Dan.9:24).  But to believe that Christ put an end to sin at His parousia in the OD is to believe that Christ at the same time would bring the victory over the sting of death which was SIN, and thus the victory over the power of SIN which was THE LAW (Dan.9:24-27/1Cor.15:55-57).  To believe that Dan.9 and Dan.12 were fulfilled at the end of the OC age in A.D.70 is once again to claim that all prophecy contained in the law and prophets has been fulfilled.  But wait, isn’t (Dan.7, 9, 12; Ps.110; Isa.25:7-8 and Hos.13:14) of which Paul quotes or echoes in (1Cor.15) apart of the “jots and tittles” of the “law and prophets” (Mt.5:17-18)?!?  Those futurist partial preterists such as James Jordan, David Chilton (who eventually became a Biblical Preterist), and Gary DeMar, that followed John Brown’s preterist interpretation of the “heaven and earth” in (Mt.5:17-18) as the OC law “heaven and earth” passing in AD 70 run into all kinds of problems when it comes to the resurrection needing to be fulfilled at this time as well.  I will cover this more when I get to (Mt.24:35) and expound (Mt.5:17-18).  

Wright cannot claim that Israel’s prophecies found in the law and the prophets were all fulfilled by A.D. 70 and then claim at the same time that (Isa.25:8, Hos.13:14) have yet to be fulfilled and are prophecies predicting the end of the Christian age.  Were not these resurrection passages that Paul quotes in (1Cor.15) made too and thus included into “the hope of Israel” (Acts 24, 26, 28:20)?!?  Was it not Paul’s testimony and defense that he said no “…other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come” (Acts 26:22)?  This destroys the partial preterist (futurist) position that try’s to dichotomize between resurrection promises made to Israel that ended her OC age at “a” coming or parousia of Christ in A.D. 70; but then invent another resurrection promise to occur at the end of the current Christian age at another or “the” parousia of Christ.  This is an eisegetical myth propagated by those “scholars” who want to keep their high paying jobs funded by creedal employers and their financial supporters but having nothing to do with being faithful to the Gospel Eschatology of Scripture.  However, we should thank Mr. Wright in at least having the boldness to correctly identify the “end of the age” or “this age” in (Mt.13) with A.D.70 even if it’s in a footnote.  To Wright’s credit, by at least addressing (Mt.13’s) “this age” and making this A.D. 70 admission, he goes farther than most partial preterists as we will now take a look at.

Gary DeMar on the “end of the age”

Popular partial preterist speaker and author Gary DeMar admits that the “end of the age” in the OD refers to A.D.70 and does a fair job of developing the context: 

“The “woes” of Matthew 23 and the destruction of the temple and the city of 
Jerusalem were a result of all that John the Baptist and Jesus had been warning the scribes, Pharisees, and chief priests regarding the judgment that would come upon them if they did not repent“All these things,” Jesus cautioned, “shall come upon this generation” (23:36).  It is after hearing about the desolation of their “house” – the temple – that the disciples ask about the “temple buildings” (24:1).  Jesus answered the disciples’ questions relating to the time and signs of Jerusalem’s destruction, always with the background of Matthew 23 in view, since His comments in that chapter had precipitated the questions (24:3).  The Old Covenant order would end with the destruction of Jerusalem.  This would be the “sign” of the “end of the age,” the end of the Old Covenant, and the consummation of the New Covenant.”[xiv]


Gary does a good job of laying the immediate context of the OD by discussing Jesus’ prediction in (Mt.23) and likewise the impending “at hand” kingdom judgment that John the Baptist warned was coming in (Mt.3).  In this same book Last Days Madness, Gary DeMar also attributes the coming of Christ and judgment of (Mt.10:22-23; Mt.11-12; Mt.16:27-28; Mt.21:33-45) as referring to A.D.70.  But did you notice something?  There is absolutely no reference anywhere in his book where he discusses the end of “this age” in (Mt.13:36-51).  Notice in the above quote how DeMar italicizes “this generation” and applies it to AD 70 but avoids a discussion of (Mt.13:40) “this age” when identifying “the end of the age” in (Mt.24:3) as A.D.70!  DeMar elsewhere in his book claims that had Jesus intended the generation under discussion to be speaking to a future generation some 2000+ years away he would have stated “that generation.”  Apparently partial preterists want to make the argument that “this generation” is referring to Jesus contemporary audience but when it comes to the resurrection occurring in Jesus’ contemporary “this age” it just can’t be so – for the creeds don’t allow it.

Peter J. Leithart on the “end of the age” 

Reformed theologian Peter Leithart steps out on a limb from a traditional reading and understanding of the end of the age in Matthew 13 and correctly identifies it as the end of the old-covenant age Jesus is addressing: 

“Jesus parable of the tares has been interpreted for centuries as a parable about the church age, but it makes much better sense as a parable about the parabolic description of the post-exilic history of Israel.  With the return from exile, Yahweh sowed the land with the seed of man and beast, but since that time Satan has been busy sowing tares among the wheat.  Jesus has now come with His winnowing fork, and before the end of the age, the wheat and tares will be separated.  The end of the age thus refers not to the final judgment but to the close of “this generation.”[xv]  

Now getting back to the question of the disciples and their alleged “confusion” about the “end of the age” in relation to the temples destruction.  Granted the disciples were amazed at Jesus’ prediction of the destruction of their temple but they also knew that according to Dan.9:24 and Dan.12:7 that Israel’s “end” would be when “the power (that resided in the temple sacrificial system) of the holy people has been completely shattered.” As I will soon demonstrate and supported by the comments above by futurists N.T. Wright and indirectly and directly stated by R.C. Sproul, and Gary DeMar, by the time we reach (Mt.24) the disciples correctly understood that judgment upon Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple would be the end of their OC age and no other! 

What Gentry, Ice, and other futurists don’t tell their readers is that Jesus clearly asked the disciples about His teaching on the kingdom parables concerning the “end of the age” (Mt.13:49) or “ THIS age” in (Mt.13:40) and if they understood and they answered, “yes Lord” (Mt. 13:51).  The only “bewilderment” here is how Gentry deceitfully overlooks the disciples understanding that the parable was speaking to the end of their “this age” as to the OC age and then try’s to give the reader some “proof texts” that the disciples experienced “bewilderment” over this phrase in (Mt.24:3) because of their history of “confusion” elsewhere in the gospel of Matthew.  In other words Gentry is likewise guilty of trying to create a problem in the text that isn’t there.  He wants to “prove” the disciples confusion at this point to justify the Olivet Discourse teaching a second topic – the end of the planet/history Second Advent (Mt. 24:36f.) into it’s discussion.  How can any discussion of whether the disciples were confused or not confused over the term “end of the age” in (Mt.24:3) be taken seriously when futurists deliberately do not examine the rest of Matthew’s teaching on this phrase let alone a passage where the disciples are explicitly asked whether or not they understand Christ’s teaching on the “end of THIS age” (Mt.13:40)?!?  In Gentry willfully passing over this crucial text he likewise passes over a crucial hermeneutical step, and then goes on to pretend that he is doing some kind of thorough exegesis of this phrase and whether the disciples were confused or not when they asked Jesus about it.  Enough said on what Gentry obviously can’t deal with and now on to what he seeks to deal with in order to “prove” his case of the disciples “bewilderment.”  Will these “proof texts” that Gentry offers prove his case or strengthen mine? 

The first text Gentry cites is (Mt. 16:6-12) where the disciples were confused over the “leaven of the Pharisees.”  The text clearly states that they didn’t understand and thought Jesus was talking about literal bread (v.7) and then Jesus rebukes and corrects them (vss.8-11).  From there Matthew tells us that they then understood (v.12) “then they understood.”  So on the first “proof text,” it only proves our case in that when the disciples are confused about something Matthew explicitly states it! 

The second text Gentry cites is (Mt. 16:21-23) where the disciples are confused over Jesus’ statements of His impending crucifiction.  The text clearly explains this confussion in the words of Peter trying to correct Jesus and then the following rebuke of Jesus (vss.22-23).  Again, where there is confussion or error Matthew clearly points it out.

The third text Gentry cites is (Mt.17:4-5) concerning the disciples confussion over the transfiguration.  Again, the text states their error of seeking to pitch tents for Moses and Elijah because the Father rebukes them (v.5).  I will have more to say on the transfiguration later.  The first part of the disciples confussion was in their seeking the abiding (“let’s make tents”) of the glory of the OC (Moses = law & Elijah = the prophets) with the EVERLASTING NC (Jesus = NC), (cf. Also 2Cor. 3 & 4; Mt. 24:35).  The second thing they were confused on was why Jesus didn’t want them to speak of the vision (vss.9-10)?  After all wasn’t Elijah coming in the vision a fulfillment of prophecy they asked (v.10)?  Jesus corrects their understanding of this by pointing out that Elijah’s prophecy had already been fulfilled in John (vss.11-12).  Then Matthew the narator clearly tells the readers that then they “understood” (v.13).

The fourth text that Gentry gives is the disciples being rebuked by Jesus because they were rebuking those who were brining children to Him (Mt. 19:13-15).  Jesus rebuking them makes it clear in the text that the disciples were in error and then He instructs them on the kingdom using the children.  Again, the text is clear. 

The fifth example Gentry gives is that of the disciples understanding of being great in the kingdom (Mt. 20:20-25).  Jesus clearly states, “You do not know what you are asking,” (v.22).  Then He proceeds to instruct them that there can be no crown in the kingdom without suffering first (vss.22-23).  Then He follows this with instruction on humility (vss. 24-27). 

To conclude these “examples” in Matthew’s gospel we are forced to a DIFFERENT conclusion than Gentry.  For in each of these Matthew is a very responsible narrator and explains when there is confussion on the part of the disciples and when there isn’t.  When we come to the one question broken down in three parts in (Mt.24:3) there is no hint at all from Matthew that the disciples were confused let alone Jesus “correcting them” or “ignoring” (MacArthur).  At this point Gentry is just as an irrisponsible “exegete” as MacArthur and Ice and has read his personal creedal confussion of the second coming into the Olivet Discourse.  We should however thank Mr. Gentry for taking the time to go over these passages that explain when the disciples were confused over something for in doing so Gentry has proved too much and made our point!  And that is according to Matthew’s gospel if the disciples were confused in the OD Matthew would have pointed it out to his readers as he does everywhere else.  But on the topic of “bewilderment” I should ask some questions in regard to Mr. Gentry’s statements quoted below where he seeks to speak out of the other side of his mouth and be a “preterist” in addressing the “end of the age,”

“Christ’s teaching here is extremely important to redemptive history.  He is responding to the question of His disciples regarding when the end of the “age” (Gk., aion) will occur (24:3).  In essence, His full answer is:  when the Romans lay waste the temple…”[xvi]

And that,

“The change of the age is finalized and sealed at the destruction of Jerusalem; allusions to the A.D. 70 transition abound:  “Assuredly, I say to you tht there are some standing here who will not taste of death till they see the kingdom of God present with power” (Mark 9:1)”[xvii]

And therefore this “change of the age” judgment in the context of the gospels is to be found earlier on in John the Baptist’s teaching,  

“Matthew records John’s warning that “the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (3:10).  Here John draws his imagery from God’s judgment against Assyria (Isa. 10:33-34):  that sort of judgment soon will break upon Israel.  Indeed, “his winnowing fork is in his hand” already (Matt. 3:12).”[xviii]

Gentry unconsciously or consciously opposes another partial preterist and his mentor Dr. Greg Bahnsen because when I asked Dr. Bahnsen when I invited him to the Master’s College in the early 90’s where he saw the introduction of a different coming of Jesus than the one on Jerusalem to allegedly destroy the planet and to end time in the Olivet Discourse he stated, “In the disciples question – ‘and the end of the age?’”  At least Bahnsen was seeking to be a consistent futurist at this point and interpret “the end of the age” to the church age but in reading Gentry one get’s the feeling that he can’t make up his mind what arguments he wants to use – preterist ones or futurist ones, especially when he agrees with Ice in claiming that the disciples were confussed in understanding all of the things they asked about to be fulfilled in one event ie. the destruction of Jerusalem.  It is clear that Gentry then begins speaking out the other or preterist side of his mouth by telling us that the destruction of Jerusalem is the “full answer to the disciples question” in regard to “end of the age” and identifies it with the end of the Jewish or OC age.  Well, WHICH IS IT?  If the destruction of Jerusalem marks the “end of the age” (OC age) per Gentry, and that was the age the disciples asked about, then how does that make the disciples confused again?!? 

The only reason Gentry has to agree with Dispensationalist Thomas Isce and others that the disciples were allegedly confused is because Gentry like Dispensationalists has to SLIP in or read into the text  the end of the Christian or NC age (Mt.24:35ff.) to justify a future (to us) second (or third – per partial “preterism”) coming that IS NOWHERE IN THE DISCUSSION – either in the form of the disciples question or in Jesus’ response to their question.  


We are told by Kenneth Gentry, Gary DeMar, N.T. Wright, and R.C. Sproul that prior to Jesus’ teaching in the OD that He instructed the disciples He would return in the their contemporary generation: “in this adulterous and sinful generation,” to rewarded every man according to what they had done at the fall of Jerusalem in (Mk.8:31 – 9:1/Mt. 16:27-28).  Therefore, if He returned with His angels and “rewarded every man” at “the end of the OC age” which was the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, then why is the judgment scene in Mt. 24:36 – Mt.25 linked to a different coming of Christ and a different judgment? 

In regard to Gentry’s statements of John’s declaration that an “at hand” time for Israel’s harvest and judgment of “unquenchable fire” and Sproul’s earlier quote in linking John the Baptists preaching of the kingdom of heaven with the end of the OC age and the fall of Jerusalem; we must ask these men how and why is this fire judgment and harvest resurrection different than the one pictured in (Mt.13; Mt. 24:36 – Mt. 25; Rev. 14; and Rev. 20)?!?  And if according to Gentry when he is speaking out of the preterist side of his mouth – that Jesus’ “full answer” to the disciples question as to when the “end of the age” in Mt.24 was going to take place was when the Romans would “lay waste the temple,” then how does this prove that the disciples were “bewildered” again?!?  I think the real “confusion” here lies in the question of wether Gentry wants to be a preterist or futurist?  According to R.C. Sproul a four point “Calvininst” is really “a confused Arminian.”  I would agree with that statement but would add to it that a “partial preterist” such as Gentry, DeMar, Wright, and Sproul are really “confused futurists.”  And as the Arminian gospel proclaims a Christ who fails to save whom He wants, so the partial preterist gospel fails to save all He came to save WHEN and HOW He promised too!

Since Sproul sees no confusion on the part of the disciples question I challenge him to produce the exegetical evidence that demonstrates that Jesus goes on to talk about the end of another age (the end of the Christian/Church or NC age) which is not associated with the temples destruction (per partial preterism) and in which it is allegedly taught will bring an end to the planet earth – per Gentry, Sproul, and “orthodox preterism”?  I publically ask and challenge these men with the question -  “Does not the abominations and destruction of the temple mark the “end” to  ALL and not some of the eschatological “things” predicted by Daniel’s prophecy (Dan.9:24-27, Dan.12:1-7)?!?  And is not the resurrection that Daniel foretold included within the list of “these things” that would occur when the abomination of the temple would take place?!?”  If partial preterists such as R.C. Sproul, Gary DeMar, Kenneth Gentry, and the like, admit that John the Baptist and Jesus early on in the Gospels are discussing Israel’s “at hand” kingdom/age, and thus Israel’s “at hand” judgment and harvest/resurrection, and that the “full answer” to the “end of the age” in (Mt.24) is the end of the OC or Jewish age, then, why is the “end of the age” in Mt. 24  different from the “end of this age” as found in (Mt. 13)?  Partial “preterism” becomes unraveled at an exegetical level when these questions are asked.   

It seems that Gentry arbitrarily uses the “end of the age” to be both the end of our current Christian or Church age, and the end of Jerusalem’s / OC age both at the same time in some places and however he feels like using it in others to satisfy “Mother Church”! 

If John the Baptist’s  “at hand” kingdom, judgment, and harvest/resurrection for Israel was understood by the disciples to be speaking to their day in (Mt.3), then how would they not understand Jesus’ kingdom parables of judgment and harvest at the “end of this  age” as anything other than the end of of the age in which they lived – the OC or Mosaic age?  Since there is consensus among futurists whereby they agree that the prophets, the Jews of Jesus’ day, and the NT writers only taught two redemptive ages “this age” and the “age about to come,” and that the “this age” would give way to Messiah’s ETERNAL age/kingdom to come, why would Jesus be teaching, or the disciples to be understanding Him to teach – an end to an age and kingdom that the OT prophets predicted would have no end?  Is Jesus such an irrisponsible communicator and exegete of the OT Scriptures – or Matthew such an irrisponsible narrator that their use of the phrase “end of the age” or the “end of THIS age” mean two totally different things in (Mt.24) and (Mt.13)?!?  Only in the confused presupostional world of futurism – no matter what form it is found in

I should press the matter further by asking partial preterists such as Kenneth Gentry, whom admit (Mt.10) discusses a “near” kingdom that is associated with Christ’s “coming” to bring and “end” to the OC kingdom in A.D.70 (Mt.10:7; Mt.16-23) why and how when we come to (Mt.24) do the terms the “end” and “coming” of Christ get arbitrarily changed to the end of the Christian age?  Approaching (Mt.24) there was nothing in Jesus’ earlier teachings about the kingdom, His coming, judgment, the “end,” harvest/resurrection, etc. that would warrant them being “confused” about the time frame of His parousia in associating it with the “end of this age” or “end of the age” as being anything other than the end of the age in which they were living – the OC or Mosaic age.  Jesus does nothing but explain the spiritual nature of the kingdom throughout Matthew for those who have “eyes to see” and “ears to hear” and emphasises it’s “at hand” appearance and judgment when He further bears witness to John’s ministry – stating very clearly that John was the predicted Elijah to come (Mt.11).  John came to “prepare the way” not just for Jesus’ earthly ministry but for the judgment coming of Christ which is described as the “great and deradful day of the Lord” (Mal.3-4, see also context of Isa.40 – time of rewards and judgment).  The phrase to “prepare a way” was a military phrase.  If you saw someone outside your country preparing a way and laying level ground (Isa.40:4) it meant that they were making a road to come and concour you.  When we hear the word “way” we tend to only think in salvation and blessing terms such as a “highway of holiness” or “I am the Way…,” but in Isaiah and the theological context of John being the Elijah to come before the “great and notable day of the Lord,” this phrase marks a conquering “way” of judgment for those who had pierced and rejected Him as their King. 

After going into a “far country” first, Christ would come back to this city as a victorious king to destroy those murderers in avenging Himself and his disciples.  Although His kingdom and attended judgment was still very much “at hand” it would not occur “immediately” for He would come again and bring vengeance upon those “murderers” and “citizens” of the OC kingdom who questioned His authority to rule over them.  He would do all of this by destroying and burining their city and thus transfering the OC kingdom/nation to the NC kingdom/nation within their existing generation – ie. AD 70 (Lk.19:11-27; Mt.21:33-45; Mt.23:29-36).  Granted some of the people who had heard Jesus teach an “at hand” kingdom and judgment thought it to come “immediately” so Jesus corrects this notion in the parable of the pounds (Lk.19:11f.).  Both premillenial dispensationalist Thomas Ice and postmillennialist partial preterist Kenneth Gentry error in thinking the parable of the pounds along with (Mt.24:48 and Mt.25:5, 19) teach a 2000 + year “long time delay in Christ’s return.”[xix]

These texts however teach no such notion but do exhibit how an audience could get confused as to an “at hand” kingdom coming judgment to mean something that could happen “immediatly” when the truth was that “some standing here will not taste of death,” and “this generation” or 40 year period was actually a “long time” to someone who was in their 20’s or 30’s when Jesus made these predictions.  There is no inconsistency here for Scripture or the one defending gospel eschatology or preterism. 

In terms of redemptive history a period of forty years was “at hand” but in terms of those who thought these events would transpire “immediately” in their lifetimes, forty years may also be considered a “long time” to them.  Thus when the lifespans of the original audiece is consistently adhered to, “at hand” and “long time” are easily and exegetically reconciled.     

Concluding Part 1 on the end of the age

There simply is no exegetical evidence that the disciples were “confused” or “mistaken” in associating the destruction of the temple with the end of the planet earth or the end of time.  The destruction of the temple is tied to the end of the old-covenant Mosaic age of the law which “soon” (Heb. 8:13) would pass and did pass within Jesus’ “this generation” (Mt. 24:34) time frame – in A.D. 70. The “confusion” lies at the feet of the futurist and his eisegesis, not at the feet of the disciples or a preterist exegesis of the passage.   



James Stuart Russel, The Parousia The New Testament Doctrine of Christ’s Second Coming, pp. 57 – 59, IPA pub. 1996 – this book has been published by Baker Books 3 times 1983, 85, 99.  By IPA 2 times 1996 & 2003, emphasis MJS.  Also being used is the Online Bible’s software where Russell’s book is available electronically.  This is an extremely helpful addition to Russell’s influence on future generations and I public ally express my appreciation to the Online Bible’s ministry. 


[ii] Tim Lahaye & Thomas Ice, The End Times Controversy, Harvest pub. 2003, pp. 155, 156, & 159, emphasis MJS.


[iii] Lahaye & Ice, ibid., p. 155-156, emphasis MJS


[iv] Lahaye & Ice, ibid., p.155-56, emphasis MJS.


[v] MacArthur, John, The Second Coming Signs of Christ’s Return and the End of the Age, p.77, Crossway Books pub. 1999


[vi] MacArthur, ibid, p.80


[vii] Ice, Thomas, & Gentry Jr., Kenneth, The Great Tribulation Past or Future?  p. 26, Kregel pub. 1999, emphasis MJS   


[viii] Bahnsen, Greg, & Gentry, Kenneth, House Divided The Break-up of Dispensational Theology, p. 267, ICE pub. 1989, emphasis MJS   


[ix] Sproul, R.C., The Last Days According To Jesus, p. 32, Baker Books pub., 1998, emphasis MJS.


[x] Sproul, Ibid., pp. 73-74


[xi] Wright, N.T., JESUS AND THE VICTORY OF GOD, pp. 345-346, Fortress Press, 1996


[xii] Wright, N.T. THE RESURRECTION OF THE SON OF GOD, p.645, Fortress Press, 2003


[xiii] In James Jordan’s debate with full preterist Don K. Preston, Jordan conceded that the “end of this age” in (Mt.13:39-43, 49) was referring to AD 70.  


[xiv] DeMar, Gary, Last Days Madness Obsession of the Modern Church, p.41, American Vision pub. 1994, bold emphasis MJS


[xv] Peter J. Leithart, THE PROMISE OF HIS APPEARING AN EXPOSITION OF SECOND PETER (Moscow, ID:  Canon Press Pub., 2004) 95.



Ice & Gentry, ibid., p. 58, emphasis MJS 


[xvii] Ice & Gentry, ibid. p.63


[xviii] Ice & Gentry, ibid. p.18  


[xix] Bahnsen and Gentry, House Divided The Break-up of Dispensational Theology, p. 222,  p.230, ICE pub. 1989