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The signs that shall precede
the destruction of Jerusalem. 4,13,009. unto you, "There shall not be left||" Take heed that no man deceive you. An . Olymp. here, one stone upon another, that 5 For many shall come in my name, An. Olymp. shall not be thrown down.
saying, I am Christ; and shall de3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, ceive many. the disciples came unto him privately, saying, 6 And ye shall hear of wars, and rumours *Tell us, when shall these things be? and what of wars : see that ye be not troubled: for all shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end these things must come to pass, but the end is of the world? 4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, 7 For % nation shall rise against nation, and
round about it, that the saying might be fulfilled, Zion shall them the signs of liberty, meaning redemption from the Robe ploughed as a field.” This Turnus, or rather Terentius man power: and that an Egyptian false prophet led 30,000 Rufus, was left general of the army by Titus, with commis men into the desart, who were almost all cut off by Felir. sion, as the Jews suppose, to destroy the city and the temple, See Acts xxi. 39. It was a just judgment for God to deliver as Josephus observes.
up that people into the hands of fulse Christs, who had reThe temple was destroyed 1st. Justly; because of the sins jected the true one. Soon after our Lord's crucifixion, Simon of the Jews. 2y. Mercifully; to take away from them the Magus appeared, and persuaded the people of Samaria that occasion of continuing in Judaism : and 3dly. Mysteriously; he was the great power of God, Acts viii. 9, 10. and boasted to shew that the ancient sacrifices were abolished, and that among the Jews that he was the son of God. the whole Jewish economy was brought to an end, and the 2. Of the same stamp and character was also Dositheus, Christian dispensation introduced.
the Samaritan, who pretended that he was the Christ foretold : Verse 3. Tell us, when shall these things be ?] There ap
by Moses. pear to be three questions asked here by the disciples. 1st.
3. About twelve years after the death of our Lord, when When shall these things be? viz. the destruction of the city, Cuspius Fudus was procurator of Judea, arose an impostor of Semple, and Jewish state. 2dly. What shall be the sign of thy the name of Theudas, who said he was à prophet, and percoming? viz. to execute these judgments upon them, and to suaded a great multitude to follow him with their best effects exublish thy own church: and 3dly. When shall this worlu 'to the river Jordan, which he promised to divide for their end? when wilt thou come to judge the quick and the dead ? passage; and saying these things, says Josephus, he deceived But there are some who maintain that these are but three many: almost the very words of our Lord. parts of the same question, and that our Lord's answers only 4. A few years afterwards, under the reign of Nero, while refer to the destruction of the Jewish state, and that nothing Fælir was procurator of Judea, impostors of this stamp were is spoken here concerning the last or judgment day.
so frequent, that some were taken and killed almost every Eed of the world) Tou aowros; or, of the age ; viz. the day. Jos. Ant. b. xx. c. 4. and 7. dewish æconomy, which is a frequent accommodated meaning
The second sign, wurs and commotions. of the word awy, the proper meaning of which is, as Aris Verse 6. The next signs given by our Lord are Wurs and farle (De Cælo) observes, ETERNAL. Abwr, quasi cet wy conti
rumours of wurs, &c.} These may be seen in Josephus, Ant. nual being: and no words can more forcibly point ont eternity' b. xviii. c. 9. War, b. ii. c. 10. especially as to the rumours than these. See the note on Gen. xxi. 33.
of wars, when Caligula ordered his statue to be set up in the · Verse 4. Tuke heed that no man deceive you.] The world temple of God, which the Jews having refused, had every is full of deceivers, and it is only by taking heed to the reason to expect a war with the Romans; and were in such counsel of Christ, that even his followers can escape being consternation on the occasion, that they even neglected to till ruined by them. From this to ver. 31, our Lord men- i their land. dions the signs which should precede his coming.
Verse 7. Nation shull rise uguinst nation] This portended The first sign is false Christs.
the dissentions, insurrections, and mutual slaughter of the Verse 5. For many shall come in my name] Josephus says | Jews, and those of other nations, who dwelt in the same cities (War, b. ii. e. 13.) that there were many, who pretending to together; as particularly at Cæsarea, where the Jews and dirine inspiration, deceived the people, leading out numbers Syrians contended about the right of the city, which ended of them to the desart, pretending that God would there shew there in the total expulsion of the Jews, abore 20,000 of
Signs that shall precede
the destruction of Jerusalem. 4.M.403.8
. kingdom against kingdom: and there 8 All these are the beginning of A. M. 4039 An. Olgnip! shall be famines and pestilences, and sorrows. earthquakes, in divers places.
9 * Then shall they deliver you up
B. C. 99 An. Olymp. CCII. 1.
•Ch. 10. 17. Mark 13. 9. Luke 21. 12. John 15. 20. & 16. 2.
Acts 4. 2, 3. & 7. 59. & 12. 1, &c. 1 Pet. 4. 16. Rev. 2. 10, 13.
whom were slain. The whole Jewish nation being exasper- several in those times to which our Lord refers; particularly ated at this, flew to arms, and burnt and plundered the one at Crete in the reign of Claudius : one at Smyrna, Miletus, neighbouring cities and villages of the Syrians, making an Chios, Samos. See Grotius. One at Rome, mentioned by immense slaughter of the people. The Syrians, in return, Tacitus: and one at Luodicea in the reign of Nero, in which destroyed not a less number of the Jews. At Scythopolis the city was overthrown, as were likewise Hierapolis and Cothey murdered upwards of 13,000. At Ascalon they killed losse. See Tacit. Annal. lib. xii. and lib. xiv. one at Campania, 2,500. Al Ptolemais they slew 2000, and made many pri- mentioned by Seneca ; and one at Rome in the reign cf Galsoners. The Tyrians also put many Jews to death, and im-ba, mentioned by Suetonius, in the life of that emperor. Add prisoned more: the people of Gadara did likewise, and all to all these, a dreadful one in Judea, mentioned by Josephus the other cities of Syria in proportion, as they hated or feared (War, b. iv. c. 4.) accompanied by a dreadful tempest, viothe Jews. At Alexandria the Jews and heathens fought, and lent winds, vehement showers, and continual lightnings, and 50,000 of the former were slain. The people of Damascus thunders; which led many to believe that these things porconspired against the Jews of that city, and assaulting them tended some uncommon calamity. unarmed, killed 10,000 of them. See Bishop Newton, and
The Fifth sign, fearful portents. Dr. Lardner.
To these St. Luke adds that there shall be fearful sights and Kingdom against kingdom] This portended the open wars great signs from heaven, (chap. xxi. 11.) Josephus in his of different tetrarchies and provinces against each other. Ist. | preface to the Jewish war, enumerates these. Ist. A star That of the Jews and Gnlilcuns against the Samaritans, for hung over the city like a sword; and a comet continued a the inurder of some Galileans going up to the feast of Jeru- || whole year. 2d. The people being assembled at the feast of salem, while Cumanus was procuralor. 2dly. That of the unleavened bread, at the ninth hour of the night, a great light whole nation of the Jews agaiust the Romans and Agrippa, | shone about the altar and the temple, and this continued for and other allies of the Roman empire; which began when || half an hour. 3d. At the same feast, a cow led to sacrifice Gessius Florus was procurator. 3dly. That of the civil war | brought forth a lamb in the midst of the temple! 4th. The in Italy, while Otho and Vitellius were contending for the castern gate of the temple, which was of solid bruss, and very empire. It is worthy of remark, that the Jews themselves heavy, and could hardly be shut by twenty men, and was fastsay, “ In the time of the Messiah, wars shall be stirred up in ened by strong bars and bolts, was seen at the sixth hour of the world; nation shall rise against nation, and city against the night to open of its own accord! 5th. Before sun-setting city.” Sohar Kadash. Again, Rab. Eleasar, the son of Abi- there were seen over all the country, chariots and armies fightna, said, When ye see kingdom rising against kingdom, then ing in the clouds, and besieging cities. 6th. At the feast of expect the immediate appearance of the Messiah.” Bereshith | pentecost, when the priests were going into the inner temple Rabba, sect. 42.
by night, to attend their service, they heard first a motion and The THIRD sign, pestilence and famine.
noise, and then a voice as of a multitude, saying, LET US DEIt is farther added, that There shall be famines, and pesti- PART HENCE. 7th. What Josephus reckons one of the most lences] There was a famine foretold by Agabus, (Acts xi. 28.) terrible signs of all was, that one Jesus, a country fellow, which is mentioned by Suctonius, Tacitus, and Eusebius ; | four years before the yar began, and when the city was in which came to pass in the days of Claudius Cæsar; and was peace and plenty, came to the feast of tabernacles, and ran so severe at Jerusalem, that Josephus says (Ant. b. xx. c. 2.) crying up and down the streets, day and night; " A voice many died for lack of food. Pestilences are the usual attend from the east ! a voice from the west! a voice from the four ants of famines : as the scarcity and badness of provisions ge- winds! a voice against Jerusalem and the temple! a voice nerally produce epidemic disorders.
agaivst the bridegrooms and the brides ! and a voice against The Fourth sign, earthquakes, or popular commotions. all the people!”. Though the magistrates endeavoured by Eirthquakes, in divers places.) If we take the word oil fuos stripes and tortures to restrain him, yet he still cried with a from ollw to shake, in the first sense, then it means particu- | mournful voice, “ Woe, woe to Jerusalem !” And this he larly those popular commotions and insurrections which have continued to do for several years together, going about the already been noted: and this I think to be the true meaning | walls and crying with a loud voice; “ Woe, woe to the city, $f the word: but if we confine it to curthquakes, there were and to the people, and to the temple ;” and as he added
Persecutions to which the
disciples should be exposed. A. M.4083. to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and || 11 And many false prophets shall A. M. 4033. An. Olymp. ye shall be hated of all nations for my rise, and shall deceive many.
An. Olymp CCII. 1. name's sake.
12 And because iniquity shall a10 And then shall many a be offended, and bound, the love of many shall wax cold. shall betray one another, and shall hate one 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, another.
the same shall be saved.
*Ch. 11. 6. & 13. 57. 2 Tim. 1. 15. & 4. 10, 16.
2 Pet. 2. 1.
och. 7. 15. Acts 20. 29.
1 Tim. 4. 1. ver. 5. 24.
_d ch. 10. 22. Mark 18. 13, Hebr. 3. 6, 14.
Rev. 2. 10.
*“ woe, woe to myself!" a stone from some sling or engine 25. Some were imprisoned, as Peter and John, chap. iv. 3. struck him dead on the spot! It is worthy of remark that Some were beaten, as Paul and Silas, chap. xvi. 23. Some Josephus appeals to the testimony of others, who saw and were put to death, as Stephen, chap. vii. 59. and James the heard these fearful things. Tacitus a Roman historian, gives brother of John, chap. xii. 2. But if we look beyond the very nearly the same account with that of Josephus. Hist. book of the Acts of the Apostles, to the bloody persecutions lib. v.
under Nero, we shall find these predictions still more amply Verse 8. All these are the beginning of sorrows.] ndiyev, fulfilled : in these, numberless Christians fell, besides those travelling pains. The whole land of Judea is represented two champions of the faith, Peter and Paul. And it was, as under the notion of a woman in grievous travail; but our says Tertullian, nominis prælium, a war against the very name Lord intimates, that all that had already been mentioned, were of Christ ; for he who was called Christian, had committed only the first pangs and throes, and nothing in comparison crime enough in bearing the name, to be put to death. So of that hard and death-bringing labour, which should after- | true were our Saviour's words that they should be hated of wards take place.
all men for his name's sake. From the calamities of the nation in general, our Lord But they were not only to be hated by the Gentiles, but passes to those of the Christians; and indeed the sufferings of they were to be betrayed by apostates : his followers were often occasioned by the judgments sent Verse 10. Then shall many be offended, and shall betray one upon the land, as the poor Christians were charged with another] To illustrate this point, one sentence out of Tacitus being the cause of these national calamities; and were cruelly || (Annal. I. xv.) will be sufficient, who speaking of the persepersecuted on that account.
cution under Nero, says, At first several were seized, who conVerse 9. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted] Ra- || fessed, and then by their DISCOVERY, a great multitude of others ther, Then they will deliver you up to affliction, as brofov. By were convicted and executed. : a bold figure of speech, affliction is here personified. They Verse 11. False prophets) Also were to be raised up; such are to be delivered into affliction's own band, to be harassed as Simon Magus and his followers; and the false apostles comby all the modes of inventive torture.
plained of by St. Paul, 2 Cor. xi. 13. who were deceitful Ye shall be hated of all nations] Both Jew and Gentile will workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. unite in persecuting and tormenting you. Perhaps TartWY TWY || Such also were Hymeneus and Philetus, 2 Tim. ii. 17, 18. ofron means all the Gentiles, as in the parallel places in Mark Verse 12. The love of many shall wax cold.) By reason of xiii. 9–11. and in Luke xxi. 12-15. the Jewish persecution these trials and persecutions from without, and those apostasies is mentioned distinctly. Ye shall be delivered up to Councils and false prophets froni within, the love of many to Christ and be beaten in syNAGOGUES, and ye shall stand before go- || and his doctrine, and to one another, shall grow cold. Some Ferrors and kings for my name's sake-be not anxiously care-l openly deserting the faith, as ver. 10. others corrupting it, ful beforehand what ye shall speak-for ye are not the speak- || as ver. 11. and others growing indifferent about it, as ver. 12. 'ers, but the Holy Spirit will speak by you, I will give you Even at this early period there seems to have been a very utterance and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be considerable defection in several Christian churches; see Gal. able to contradict or resist. We need go no farther than ii. 14. 2 Thess. iii. 1, &c. 2 Tim. i. 15. the Acts of the Apostles for the completion of these particu- Verse 13. But he that shall endure] The persecutions that lars, Some were delivered to councils, as Peter and John, shall come--unto the end; to the destruction of the Jewish poActs iv. 5. Some were brought before rulers and kings, as Paul | lity, without growing cold or apostatizing—shall be saved, beføre Gallio, chap. xviii. 12. before Felix, xxiv. before Festus shall be delivered in all imminent dangers, and have his soul and Agrippa, xxv. Some had utterance and wisdom which their at last brought to an eternal glory. It is very remarkable adversaries were not able to resist : so Stephen, chap. vi. 10. that not a single Christian perished in the destruction of Jeand Paul, who made even. Felix himself tremble, chap. xxiv. / rusalem, though there were many there when Cestius Gallus
A. M. 40.33.
The gospel of the kingdom
to be universally preached. 14 And this gospel of the king- the prophet, stand in the holy place, A. 11,40s An. Olymp. dom shall be preached in all the (whoso readeth, let him understand:) An. Olymp.
world for a witness unto all nations; 16 Then let them which be in Judea and then shall the end come.
flee into the mountains: 15 . When ye therefore shall see the abo- 17 Let him which is on the house top not come mination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel down to take any thing out of his house :
4 Ch. 4. 23. & 9. 35.- Rom. 10. 18. Col. 1. 6, 23.
CMark 13. 14. Luke 21. 20.-a Dan. 9. 27. & 12. 11.
Le Dan. 9. 23, 45.
invested the city; and had he persevered in the siege, be EARTH, and their words unto the end of the world. What would soon bave rendered himself master of it; but when he but the wisdom of God could foretell this? and what but the unexpectedly and unaccountably raised the siege, the Christ- | power of God could accomplish it? ians took that opportunity to escape. See Eusebius, Hist. Then shall the end come.) When this general publication Eccles. lib. iji. c. 5. and Mr. Reading's note there; and see of the gospel shall have taken place, then a period shall be the note here on ver. 20.
put to the whole Jewish economy, by the utter destruction Verse 14. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached of their city and temple. in all the world) But notwithstanding these persecutions, Verse 15. The abomination of desolation, spoken of by Dathere should be an universal publication of the glad tidings niel] This abomination of desolation, St. Luke (chap. xxi. of the kingdom, for a testimony to all nations. God would 20, 21.) refers to the Roman army; and this abomination have the iniquity of the Jews published every where, before standing in the holy place, is the Roman army besieging Jeruthe heavy stroke of his judgments should fall upon them; salem : this our Lord says, is what was spoken of by Daniel that all mankind as it were, might be brought as witnesses : the prophet, in the ninth and eleventh chapters of his proagainst their cruelty and obstinacy in crucifying and reject-iphecy; and so let every one who reads these prophecies un. ing the Lord Jesus.
derstand them : and in reference to this very event, they are In all the world, worn on osxovurun. Perhaps no more is understood by the Rabbins. The Roman army is called an meant here than the Roman empire ; for it is beyond contro- abomination for its ensigns and images, which were so to the versy that matuv thy crxovusvny, Luke ii. 1. means no more Jews. Josephus says (War
, b. vi. c. 6.) the Romans brought than the whole komun empire : as a decree for taxation or en- their ensigns into the temple, and placed them over against rolment from Augustus Cæsar, could have no influence but the eastern gate, and sacrificed to them there. The Roman in the Roman dominions ; but see on Luke ii. 1. Tacitus army is therefore fitly called the abomination, and the abomiinforms us, Annal. l. xv. that as early as the reign of Nero, nation which maketh desolute, as it was to desolate and lay the Christians were grown so numerous at Rome, as to excite waste Jerusalem : and this army besieging Jerusalem, is the jealousy of the government; and in other parts they were called by St. Mark, chap. xiii. 14. standing where it ought in proportion. However, we are under no necessity to re- not, that is as in the text here, the holy place; as not only strain the phrase to the Roman empire, as, previously to the the city but a considerable compass of ground about it was destruction of Jerusalem, the gospel was not only preached deemed holy, and consequently no profune persons should in the lesser Asia, and Greece, and Italy, the greatest theatres stand on it. of action then in the world; but was likewise propagated as Verse 16. Then let them which be in Judea flee into the far north as SCYTHIA; as far south as ETHIOPIA; as far east as mountains] This counsel was remembered, and wisely folPARTHIA and India; and as far west as Spain and Britain. lowed by the Christians afterwards. Eusebius and Epiphanius On this point Bishop Newton goes on to say, That there is say, that at this juncture, after Cestius Gallus had raised the some probability that the gospel was preached in the British siege, and Vespasian was approaching with his army, all who nations by St. Simon the apostle; that there is much greater believed in Christ left Jerusalem and fled to Pella, and other probability that it was preached here by St. Paul; and that places beyond the river Jordan; and so they all marvellously there is an absolute certainty that it was planted here in the escaped the general shipwreck of their country; not one of times of the apostles, before the destruction of Jerusalem. them perished. See on ver. 13. See his Proofs. Dissert. vol. ii. p. 235, 236. edit. 1758. St. Verse 17. Let him which is on the house top] The houses Paul himself speaks Col. i. 6, 23. of the gospel's being come of the Jews, as well as those of the ancient Greeks and Rointo ALL THE WORLD, and preached TO EVERY CREATURE under i mans, were flat-roofed, and had stairs on the outside, by heaven. And in his Epistle to the Romans, chap. x. 18. very which persons might ascend and descend without coming elegantly applies to the lights of the church, what the Psalm- || into the house. In the eastern walled cities, these flat-roofed ist said of the lights of heaven, Their sound went into all the houses usually formed continued terraces from one end of
Directions how to
escape from Jerusalem.
A. D. 29.
A. M. 4053. 18 Neither let him which is in the the winter, neither on the sabbath- A. M. 4033.
An. Olymp. CCII.1.
19 And a woe unto them that are with 21 For then shall be great tribulachild, and to them that give suck in those days! | tion, such as was not since the beginning of the 20 But pray ye that your flight be not in world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
the city to the other; which terraces terminated at the gates. provide amply for this. In the twelfth year of Nero, Cestius He therefore who is walking on the house top, let him not || Gallus, the president of Syria, came against Jerusalem with come down to take any thing out of his house ; but let him in- a powerful army. He might, says Josephus, war, book ii. stantly pursue his course along the tops of the houses, and c. 19. have assaulted and taken the city, and thereby put an escape out at the city gate as fast as he can.
end to the war; but without any just reason, and contrary Any thing] Instead of tı any thing, we should read ta, the to the expectation of all, he raised the siege and departed. things, which reading is supported by all the best MSS. Ver- || Josephus remarks, that after Cestius Gallus had raised the siege, sions, and Fathers.
“ many of the principal Jewish people, too. TWY ETIQUE Verse 18. Neither let him which is in the field return back] || loudatus, forsook the city as men do a sinking ship.” VesBecause when once the army of the Romans sits down before pasian was deputed in the room of Cestius Gallus, who having the city, there shall be no more any possibility of escape, as subdued all the country, prepared to besiege Jerusalem, and they shall never remove till Jerusalem be destroyed.
invested it on every side. But the news of Nero's death, and Verse 19. And woe unto them (alas ! for them) that are with soon after that of Galba, and the disturbances that followed, child, &c.) For such persons are not in a condition to make and the civil wars between Otho and Vitellius, held Vestheir escape; neither can they bear the miseries of the siege.pasian and his son Tilus in suspense. Thus the city was Josephus says the houses were full of women and children that not actually besieged in form, till after Vespasian was conperished by the famine; and that the mothers snatched the firmed in the empire, and Titus was appointed to command food even out of their own children's mouths. Seę war, b. v. the forces in Judea. It was in those incidental delays, that c. 10. But he relates a more horrid story than this, of one the Christians, and indeed several others, provided for their Mary the daughter of Eliezar, illustrious for her family and own safety, by flight. In Luke xix. 43. our Lord says of riches, who being stripped and plundered of all her goods and Jerusalem, thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and provisions by the soldiers, in hunger, rage and despair, killed compass thee round, und keep thee in on every side. Accordand boiled her own sucking child, and had eaten one half of ingly, Titus having made several assaults without success, him before it was discovered. This shocking story is told resolved to surround the city with a wall, which was with war, book vi. c. 3. with several circumstances of aggravation.incredible speed, conipleted in three days! The wall was
Verse 20. Byt pray ye that your fight be not in the winter) | thirty-nine furlongs in length, and was strengthened witla For the hardness of the season, the badness of the roads, the thirteen forts at proper distances, so that all hope of safety shortness of the days, and the length of the nights, will all be was cut off; none could make his escape from the city, and great impediments to your flight. Rabbi Tanchum observes, no provisions could be brought into it. See Josephus, wax, " that the favour of God was particularly manifested in the book v. c. 12. destruetion of the first temple, in not obliging the Jews to go Verse 21. For then shall be greut tribulation] No history out in the winter, but in the summer.” See the place in can furnish us with a parallel to the calamities and miseries Lightfoot.
of the Jews: rapine, murder, famine, and pestilence within. Neither on the sabbath-day] That you may not raise the Fire and sword, and all the horrors of war without. Our indignation of the Jews by travelling on that day, and so Lord wept at the foresight of these calamities; and it is alsuffer that death out of the city, which you had endeavoured most impossible for any humane person to read the relation of to escape from within. Besides, on the sabbath-days, the them in Josephus without weeping also. St. Luke chap. xxi. Jews pot only kept within doors, but the gates of all the || 22. calls these the days of rengeance that all things which were cities and towus in every place were kept shut and barred, written might be fulfilled. 1. These were the days in which so that if their flight should be on a sabbath, they could not all the calamities predicted by Moses, Joel, Daniel, and other expect admission into any place of security in the land. prophets, as well as those predicted by our Saviour, met in
Our Lord had ordered his followers to make their escape one common centre, and were fulfilled in the most terrible from Jerusalem when they should see it encompassed with manner on that generation. 2. These were the days of venarmies; but how could this be done? God took care to | geance in another sense, as if God's judgments had certain