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The Olivet Prophecy is fulfilled (1st half)


“this generation” – in our future?

There is ample evidence that the Olivet Prophecy is fulfilled – the first half that is. There is ample evidence both exegetical and historical to establish Matt 24 verses 4 thru 34 are already fulfilled. In our Bible study a couple questions came up about “this generation” in Mark 13 or also in Matt 24. Here is an explanation that combines a couple of discussion questions that came up.  

How is the word “this” used in Mark 13 when referring to “this generation”? Does the use of “this” instead of “that” in the original Greek have any special meaning not apparent in English? The short answer that “this” is used in similar ways as in English (though not always exactly the same).   So when Jesus said, “this generation” in the Olivet Prophecy was he referring exclusively to the 1st century? What if he had said, “that generation” would it have indicated a future generation instead of the 1st century generation? I believe that when Jesus said “this generation” his words cannot be understood any other way than to be referring to the generation to which he was speaking, the generation in which he was living.  

An example is helpful. Here is one in Peter’s sermon that shows us “this” and “that” used side by side. Peter said in Acts 2:16, “…this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.” The word “this” is referring to the events happening in front of Peter in the 1st century. The word “this” to Peter means his here and his now, the now of the 1st century.   For Peter the word “that” is referring to the pronouncement of the prophet centuries earlier. So then, the word “this” refers to what is near and the word “that” is used to refer to what is at a distance, in this case in the past.  

Back to the Olivet Prophecy.

Context helps us a great deal. Flow of context is just as important. Pastor Mazak mentioned this morning about the unfortunate placement of the chapter division between Mark 11 and 12. I agree. This is also the case between Matthew 23 and 24. Notice what Jesus said at the end of Matthew 23. He opined that “all these things will come upon this generation” (the 1st century, see v36).

Then just 5 verses later the discussion about the Temple (not a future one) and its corruption continues into Matt 24. Jesus continues to talk about “these things,” the things that will come about on “this generation” (the 1st century, see Matt 24:1 through Matt 24: 34.   Then in Matt 24:35 and following Jesus goes on to talk about his Second Coming.   Another thing that helps us is to see that in the Gospels every time the phrase “this generation” appears it refers to the 1st century, the era in which Jesus and his disciples were living. Josephus, a 1st century historian is very helpful on this.  

I am currently going through Misreading Scripture With Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blindness to Better Understand the Bible. The authors do a great job in calling out the tip of the iceberg of our Western America modern lens. This WAM often clouds our interpretation of Scripture because we are immersed in WAM. We travel very little to non-Western cultures. We have imbedded in our culture a negative bias against non-Western cultures. We tend to read the Bible through popular theological lenses of the day (which tend to be mostly Futuristic).  

The authors of Misreading Scripture write that “…reading the Bible is a cross-cultural experience. To open the Word of God is to step into a strange world where things are very unlike our own” (KL, 74). Compounding the strangeness we take a modern system of interpretation such as Dispensationalism (originating around 1830) and layer it over the text of Scripture.  

By taking a Futurist view of the Olivet we remove the ancient 1st century historical context in order to make its predictive value more relevant to our own Western American modern context. In this way “this generation” in its native context ceases to be moored to its original proclamation as it was from the lips of Jesus.  

The simplest and plainest reading of “this generation” in the Gospels refers to the time in which Jesus lived and taught, the 1st century.

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Is there a gap in the 70 Weeks of Daniel? NO


The seventy weeks is as single block of time

The Gap View (Dispensational, Pre-Tribulation interpretation) requires a growing gap between the 69th Week and the 70th Week. Certainly there are several obvious reasons why this is not possible. Is there a sinkhole in this Messianic prophecy?

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Gerhard Hasel gives us a linguistic proof as to why it is not possible to split the 70th Week away from the other 69 Weeks. He demonstrates that in Daniel 9 the Hebrew phrase “seventy weeks” functions as a collective noun. This means that “seventy weeks” must be understood as a whole unit, a complete set of time, a unified sequence without a gap.

Even in English we cannot use the word ‘week’ to mean 6 days in succession and the 7th day of that same week floating out in the future at some unknown point. That is not customary speech for us and it isn’t in Hebrew either.

To go outside the plain sense of “week” is to allegorize it. Hasel explains in great detail why Hebrew linguistics will not allow for placing a gap in the expression “seventy weeks.” See his article, The Hebrew Masculine Plural for ‘Weeks’ in the Expression ‘Seventy Weeks’ in Daniel, Andrews University, 1993.

Another problem with putting a gap between 69 and 70 is that it alters the “decreed” time frame. It is a definite time frame, not open ended, subject to completion in the future. In other words, this set of years is a determined unit of time. It’s not an indefinite period. Peter preached that “this Jesus, [was] delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23).

The 490 years is the unit of time “determined” as the KJV translates it. This passage is not written in an allegorical mode.

Gabriel is not telling Daniel,

“You may think it’s 490 years, but really it’s 490 years plus 2000 years with no end in sight as far you can see. God may be saying 490 years, but His doesn’t mean it. You have to re-interpret His words correctly as an indeterminate period of years overall – proly, 2400 years, but you still can’t be sure.”

The Gap View pushes pause within a unified set of time. The Gap View requires an awkward cessation before the unit is complete. It’s like sitting down to watch a play and being told by the cast that we the audience need to leave and come back in 2 or 3 decades to see the conclusion, the final act of the play. The 70 Weeks of Daniel 9 is not like a stop action film.

The Gap View misunderstands that the 6 blessings promised (Dan 9:24) are “decreed” to come within that set period of years, the 490 years (more on these blessings in note B). The Gap View has the most blessed event in history – the Cross and Resurrection – happening outside the 70 Weeks in an ambiguous gap.

Daniel is appealing to Yahweh for assurance of covenant renewal after the Babylonian Captivity. God does not build up Daniel’s faith by doing a bait and switch. God does not give a definite period and then expect him to use a method of interpretation that re-configures His divine decree into an indefinite period (483 + growing gap + 7 = ?).

In fact, some interpreters see the 490 years leading to the ultimate Jubilee in the person of Christ at his 1st Advent. As we see in Leviticus 25 the period leading up a jubilee doesn’t allow for a gap. In fact, was deemed a sin to postpone a jubilee set for the 49th year. In Christ we are now enjoying the progression of the Ultimate Jubilee as it heads to it consummation.

It is also incongruous to argue, as many do, for literal days continuously running in the Creation account and then to argue, as they also do, that in Daniel 9 a literal unit of years does not literally run in succession. If one holds to a literal interpretation of Scripture, then that should be applied consistently.

The plain sense reading of Gabriel’s words speak of a definite and continuous period without amputation of its tail portion to be held in reserve for an indeterminate future moment.

The idea of an end time 7 Year Tribulation Period rests on the 70th week being future. Dispensational views on the Olivet or parts of the Apocalypse are not possible if the 70th week is already complete.

Both Scripture and history show the 70th week is past.

These differences notwithstanding we should continue working alongside each other WHILE giving time and space to work out these areas of eschatology. The subject of Last Things can be complex at times. As we  seek truth we can cultivate grace and love.


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When does Eschatology begin?


Sipping a double shot espresso he ponders about when Eschatology (the sequence of last things or the unraveling of history) is to begin?

So he asks around.

*   *   *   *

Some want to say it done and over.

Others want to say it is still off in the future. It hasn’t begun yet. It could at any moment, but it hasn’t yet (not as of the writing of this blog post, they would say).

Yet, in Jesus Christ are we not seeing the true and glorious finale of human History even if it takes another 10,000 years to unwind?