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be in Judea flee into the mountains ; let him which is on the 17 house-top not come down to take any thing out of his house ; neither let him which is in the field return back to take his 18 clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them 19 that give suck, in those days! But pray ye that your flight be 20 not in the winter, neither on the sabbath-day. For then shall 21 be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the
prophet. Dan. ix. 26, 27, xi. 31, other critics, reads, the things in his xii. 11. – Whoso readeth, let him house. understand. These were undoubt 18. Return back to take his clothes. edly the words of the Evangelist, as By which are meant the outer garif he had said, Reader, attend. As ments, which were laid aside during Matthew wrote between the time labor. Another sentence somewhat when the prediction was made and of a proverbial and hyperbolical its fulfilment, he warns the Chris- kind, denoting the necessity of the tians to be on the alert, and observe greatest despatch. the signal of flight to the moun 19. Woe unto them, fc. i. e. alas tains.
for them, woe is them. 16. Instead of taking refuge in 20. In the winter. On account of the city of Jerusalem, with the vain the cold storms of rain and hail, and hope of its being able to hold out bad travelling. This season has against the Romans, they were to considerable severity in Judea, as seek safety in flight. The moun we learn from the uniform testimony tains with their caves and defiles of historians and travellers. It is would furnish a secure retreat. Be- mentioned in the Jewish books, as sides, as the mountainous regions the token of a gracious Providence, were at peace with the Romans, that, when the first temple was dethose who resorted thither would be stroyed, the event occurred in sumsafe. The disciples obeyed their mer, not in winter. – Neither on the Master, when the time came, and Sabbath-day. Because on that day 'escaped to Pella, and other places they were allowed to travel only a beyond the Jordan.— The next four short distance. A Sabbath-day's verses dwell upon the necessity of journey was not far from one mile. a speedy departure, when the signs This was granted the people to enaof danger showed themselves. ble them to attend worship in their
17. On the house-top, fc. Houses synagogues. The gates of towns in the east are constructed with flat and cities were also closed on the roofs, upon which persons may Sabbath-day: Neh. xiii. 19, 22. walk and enjoy retirement. Stairs Most of the Jewish Christians were built on the outside. Hence, would, of course, retain the scruples an individual might descend without of their previous faith, in regard to entering the house, or he might travelling on that day. pass from house to house on the 21. Great tribulation. Luke xxi. roofs. It is a figurative expression, 24. That the expression here used implying that the utmost expedition is not altogether hyperbolical is was to be used. They were to flee plain from the thrilling account of at once, without delay. — Anything Josephus. He remarks, that, if the out of his house. Griesbach, with miseries of all mankind from the
22 world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those
days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved ; but 23 for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. Then if
any man shall say unto you : Lo, here is Christ, or there ; 24 believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false
prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders, insomuch 25 that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Be26 hold, I have told you before. Wherefore, if they shall say
creation were compared with those what could the hand of man or any which the Jews suffered, they machines do towards overthrowing would appear inferior. The siege any of these towers ?" --No flesh of Jerusalem furnishes the bloodiest be saved, i. e. none who were enpage in all history. One million gaged in this affair. — For the elect's and one hundred thousand perished sake, sfc. Out of regard to the in the city. The streets ran with Jewish Christians, who had espousblood. Multitudes were crucified ed the vital cause of the Gospel, outside the walls. Before the ea that period would be shortened. pitulation, the famine rose to such a Christians were called the elect, pitch that the most loathsome sub- because they were now the chosen stances were used for food, and a or the choice people of God. mother killed and devoured part of 23. Lo, here is Christ, or there, her own child. Deut. xxviii. 57. In times of such commotion, persons Nearly one hundred thousand were claiming to be the Messiah, would taken captive, of whom some were abound, for the Jews were intently slain in cold blood; some were sent looking for deliverance. See note to the mines of Egypt; some were on verse 5. Jesus warns his discireserved to fight with wild beasts in ples not to trust these pretenders, the theatres; and others were sold since they were assured that the as slaves.
All that was most dread- Christ had already come. ful in ignominy or suffering, was 24, Shall show great signs and concentrated in this awful over- wonders. Acts viii. 9, xiii. 8, xix. throw. How vividly true the words 14. Shall profess to perform miraof Jesus !
cles; not that they would be actu22. Except those days should be ally competent to do it; for we have shortened. "Josephus mentions vari no evidence that the power of workous circumstances, which abridged ing miracles was ever granted to imthe period of these unspeakable suf- postors or wicked men. Josephus ferings. The dissensions of the relates that several made the atJews among themselves very much tempt. -- If it were possible, $c. hastened the crisis. Titus, the Ro- More correctly, if possible, expressman general, was so struck with ing not an impossibility, but exadmiration at the vast strength of treme difficulty. Even Christians the walls as he surveyed them after themselves would run the risk of the capture, that he exclaimed: being led astray by them. 2 Tim. “We have certainly had God for iii. 13. This verse affords no counour assistant in this war, and it was tenance to the doctrine of the final no other than God who ejected the perseverance of the saints. Jews out of these fortifications ; for 25. He reminds his disciples that
unto you: Behold, he is in the desert ; go not forth ; Behold, he is in the secret chambers ; believe it not. For as the light- 27 ning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. For where- 28 soever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
Immediately after the tribulation of those days, shall the 29 sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heaven
he had given them seasonable warn- become, as it were, a carcass withing, and that they should, therefore, out the soul. By the eagles are to be upon their guard.
be understood the Romans, who, 26. He, i. e. the Messiah. - In like eagles or vultures, would hasthe desert. The remarkable coinci- ten to their prey, and whose ensigns dence of the fact with the predic- were the figures of eagles. Wicktion is shown by Josephus, who edness soon attracts its retribution. states, that many impostors and de- Similar phraseology is found in othceivers persuaded the people to fol er parts of Scripture. Deut. xxviii. low them into the desert, promising 49; Job xxxix. 30; Lam. iv, 19; to show them signs and wonders Hos. viii. 1. This prediction met done by the providence of God. with the most exact fulfilment. The In the secret chambers, i. e. retired Roman eagles hovered over the places. As much as to say, that, ruins of the once beautiful city, while some would adopt one meth- and preyed upon its wretched inod, others would adopt another, to habitants. secure adherents. The Jewish his 29. Shall the sun be darkened, fc. torian relates that a vast multitude These vivid figurative expressions was decoyed into the temple, under are descriptive of the destruction of the pretext, that the signs of de- the city and nation of the Jews. liverance would be there manifest- As the sun, moon, and stars are ed, and that about six thousand of the sources of light to the globe, them perished in slaughter.
and as their eclipse or destruction 27. As the lightning, fc. He would be the most appalling of cagoes on to say, that they would not lamities, the imagery here used exfind the Messiah by resorting to the presses, with intense power, the tredesert, the secret chambers, or any mendous ruin impending over the particular place, but that his com devoted nation. The prophets ofing would be sudden, startling, and ten resorted to these brilliant figsplendid, like the lightning, filling ures, to portray the convulsions and the whole heavens, and flaming overthrow of states and kingdoms. across from horizon to horizon. Isa. xiii. 10, 13; Ezek. xxxii, 7, 8; Thus conspicuous and terrific was Dan. viï. 10; Amos viii. 9; Joel the destruction of Jerusalem, in all ï. 30, 31.. We never shall underits fancied strength, and the vain stand the full and rich significance security of its inhabitants.
of the Sacred Scriptures, unless we 28. By the carcass is here repre- remember, that they are written in sented the Jews, out of whom the a highly oriental, poetical style, true life had departed, and who had which abounds far more in bold
30 shall be shaken. And then shall appear the sign of the Son
of Man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth
mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds 31 of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his
angels with a great sound of a trumpet ; and they shall gather
together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven 32 to the other. Now learn a parable of the fig-tree ; when
his branch is yet tender and putteth forth leaves, ye know that
metaphors, personifications, and pro- tian church and association of beverbs, than the writings of the cold- lievers, an object which was accomer western nations.
plished after the destruction of Je30. The sign of the Son of Man rusalem; for the faithful in heart in heaven. The Jews had often in every place were united by the demanded of Jesus signs and won- Apostles and first preachers into a ders. They would now witness holy society, that might fitly be them on a magnificent scale. His called elect or choice. From the sign would appear in the heavens, four winds, fc. i. e. from every his star be in the ascendant. · The quarter, from every nation. Acts tribes of the earth, i. e. of the land. ii. 9-11. Jesus Christ, as the secThe tribes of Israel. — They shallond Adain, the spiritual Adam of a see the Son of Man coming. It will new human race, collected the elethen be as clearly manifest, that he ments of his church out of all kinis the Messiah, as if he were ac dreds and tongues and nations. The tually present in person. — In the dispensation limited to one people clouds of heaven with power, fc. was superseded by a universal reDenoting the terribleness and maj- ligion. esty of his approach. Jesus had 32. Learn a parable of the figbeen persecuted, rejected, and cru tree. Or, take an illustration from cified by the Jews, but the day of the fig-tree. Parable sometimes vengeance was at hand. His Gos- means illustration, comparison. pel was soon to triumph glorious- Summer is nigh. Rather, Spring. ly in the world, while his enemies In Hebrew there are no terms to. would be destroyed, their temple express Spring and Autumn. As burnt, their city razed to its founda- certainly as Spring and Summer tion, and their wretched nation dis- follow the leafing of the fig-tree, so persed to the four winds of heaven. surely shall the fall of Jerusalem Such were the signs and coming of succeed the signs before mentioned. the Son of Man.
As much as to say, the retributions 31. His angels, i. e. his messen of Providence will be as unerring, gers, the Apostles, and early teach as the course of Nature. — Mount ers of Christianity. With a great Olivet, on which Jesus was now sound of a trumpet. The Gospel sitting, abounded in figs as well as with its thrilling messages, would olive-trees. Though the mind of resound, like a trumpet, through the Jesus was filled with the pictures world. - They shall gather togeth- of astonishing events to come, we er his elect, i. e. he shall, through still find him gracefully drawing the instrumentality of his disciples, from Nature, at his side, the embelgather together and form a Chris- lishments of his speech.
summer is nigh. So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these 33 things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily, I say 34 unto you, this generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away ; but my words 35 shall not pass away. - But of that day and hour knoweth no 36 man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But 37 as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. For, as in the days that were before the flood they 58 were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until 39
33. All these things, i. e. the signs 18 with Luke xvi. 17. The whole he had before so graphically de- material universe shall sooner crumscribed — It is near. Or, he, the ble to pieces, than the declarations Christ, in his kingdom, is near. of Christ be falsified.
34. This generation shall not pass, “ Not earth stands firmer than thy word, $c., i. e. those then living would Nor stars so nobly shine." witness the fulfilment of Jesus' pre 36. But of that day and hour dictions; which was the case, for knoweth no man. Or, no one. Jethe destruction of Jerusalem took sus had mentioned many harbingers place about forty years after, and of the great event, but the exact many then living were involved in time was disclosed to no one : neithe great catastrophe. John long ther to men, angels, nor to the Messurvived the event, and Lightfoot siah himself ; Mark xiii. 32 ; Acts speaks of some Rabbins who also i. 7 ; but was reserved in the omoutlived it. It is apparent from this niscience of the Father alone. This verse, that Jesus had been previ- must ever stand as an invincible ously speaking of the downfall of proof of the superiority of the Faththe Jews, not of future judgment. er over the Son, an evidence clear At the time Jesus uttered these as the sun at mid-day, that Jesus words there was peace with the Christ is not God. To suppose, as · Romans, and no prospect of the is done by most commentators, that Jews venturing to contend with " Jesus said this of his human and them; or, if they did, of the tem not of his divine nature, and that ple, city, and nation being wholly one might know what the other was destroyed. Yet forty years accom- ignorant of, is to attribute a mental plished it all. What boundless reservation to our Saviour, fit only confidence ought we ever to repose for a Jesuit.” in the promises and warnings of 37 - 39. Noe. The Greek, of Jesus, since he has so clearly estab- which the Hebrew form is Noah. lished his claim of an unerring They were eating and drinking, &c. prophet!
They were engaged in the ordinary 35. Shall pass away, $c. This occupations and amusements of life, verse contains a Hebrew compari- when the deluge burst upon them;
It is not asserted that heaven so the manifestation of the Son of and earth shall pass away, but the Man, the overthrow of the Jewish essence of the declaration is, that state, would take the nation by surthey shall sooner pass away than prise, while buried in a vain secumy words fail. Compare Matt. v. rity, and still expecting some deliv