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If the reader is already acquainted with the popular commentators, or with the remarks of Universalist writers, on this chapter, we would apprize him beforehand that he will find but little important matter that is new in the following exposition. Still, it has cost us much time in ascertaining, as precisely as we could, the detail of particulars alluded to, and in tracing out the current of thought that runs through the whole, and also in verifying facts and authorities which others had adduced. We had found some inaccuracies of statement, and some confusion of arrangement, in the notes of Dr. A. Clarke, for instance; and we hoped, by unwearied vigilance, to avoid such blemishes, and, by strictly following out the tenor of the prophecy, to place its several parts in a clearer and more thoroughly consistent light.
smaller type, that run immediately under St. Matthew's. Let it, then, be observed, that the same discourse which is recorded in this twenty-fourth chapter of St. Matthew, is given also by Mark, in his thirteenth chapter; and again by Luke, mostly in his twenty-first chapter, but partly in his seventeenth. Now, it struck us that we might be aided in understanding Matthew's record, by consulting that of Mark and Luke, who sometimes express the meaning in plain language, where Matthew uses figures, and who frequently employ a different phraseology that offers some advantage for determining the leading idea. We have accordingly placed Mark's text immediately under Matthew's, and then Luke's below Mark's, with figures in the margin of both, answering to the parallel verses in Matthew's, so that the reader may
Our principal motive, however, in attempt-instantly strike on the corresponding pasing a regular exposition of the twenty-fourth sages. The figures denoting the number of chapter, was, to open the way to a similar the verses in Mark and Luke, are raised above exposition of the twenty-fifth. The two the line, like references, in their texts; those chapters belong together, consisting of but denoting the number of the verses in Matthew, one series of remarks; so that we cannot are inserted on the line in his text. We fairly come at the latter, without first going would suggest to the reader, and especially to through with the former,-unless, indeed, we the student, the importance of comparing the would begin in the middle of the discourse. texts of Mark and Luke, throughout, with that of Matthew.
A few words may be needed to account for the insertion of the two columns of text, in
DATE, OCCASION, PRECEDING CONTEXT.
THE interview and conversation, related in the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth chapters of St. Matthew, took place about A. D. 33; which was thirty-seven years before the destruction of Jerusalem. Matthew, Mark, and Luke agree in representing that Jesus had just been publicly teaching in the temple, (Matt. xxi. 23 to xxiv. 1; Mark xii. 35 to xiii. 1; Luke xx. 1 to xxi. 5;) and according to Matthew, (xxiii. 1,) his disciples, as well as the multitude, were present. He there denounced the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees in the most unsparing manner, (Matt. xxiii. 13-35,) rebuking them for their exclusive spirit, their rapacity under the pretence of piety, their zeal in proselytizing, their evasion of their oaths, their neglect of the im-lation, and also of his coming in the name of portant matters of the law, their inward cor- the Lord, seems to have struck the disciples, ruption under a fair outside, and their murder- and to have occasioned the conversation reons hostility. He forewarned them that upon lated in the twenty-fourth chapter, which imthem would come all the righteous blood diately follows, thus:
shed upon the earth. "Verily I say unto you," concluded he, "All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate; for I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord!" (xxiii. 35-39,) meaning, by their "house," either their national condition, or, more probably, that house of their pride, the temple, in which he was then standing. This mention of its speedy deso
1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple and his disciples came to him, for to show him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily, I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world,
11 And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones, and what buildings 2 are here! 2 And Jesus answering, said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he 2 said, 6 As for these things which ye behold, the days shall come in which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, 3 over against the temple, teter, and James, and John, and Andrew, asked him privately, 4 Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled, literally, ended?] 5 And 4 Jesus, answering them, began to say, Take
Ver. 2.-not be left here one stone upon another, &c.;] a strong, proverbial phrase, signifying only a complete demolition, (2 Sam. xvii. 13.) Accordingly, when Titus took Jerusalem, about thirty-seven years afterwards, he “ gave orders," says Josephus, "that they should demolish the whole city and temple," (J. War, vii. c. i. 1;) and he adds, that the entire circuit of the city, except the western wall and three towers, was so
And they asked him, saying, Master, but 3 when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to
Ver. 3.—on the mount of Olives;] the sum
Ver. 1. Having finished the foregoing ad-mit of which was but little more than half a dress to the Jews, Jesus, with his disciples, mile, on an air-line, from the temple, or now leaves the temple, to go towards (ver. 3) eastern wall of the city, and directly east from the mount of Olives. As they depart, the the temple. It was about 700 feet higher disciples point him to the buildings, &c. of than the intervening valley of Jehoshaphat; the temple, which they had just understood overlooked even the temple itself, and comhim to say (xxiii. 38) should be left desolate. manded a view of every part of the city.-The According to the more definite account given disciples came . privately, saying, &c.;] by Mark, it is but one of them who says, privately, or, by themselves, probably be"Master, see what manner of stones, and cause it was dangerous to speak openly of what buildings!" astonished, perhaps, that the destruction of the temple, (see Matt. so magnificent and solid a structure was to be xxvi. 61,) and because they also knew that destroyed. For, Josephus says, that the Christ was wont to speak more plainly with stones of this temple were about 45 feet long, them only, than before the multitude. It by 22 wide, and 14 thick; some of them, in- should be kept in mind, that all which follows deed, nearly twice as long. The temple in this and the next chapter, was a private itself, exclusive of the immense assemblage conversation, held on the mount of Olives. of courts, cloisters, and walls around it, was -When shall these things (viz. the things about 182 feet long, and 127 wide; and 182 just spoken of) be? and what the sign of high, above the lofty foundation-wall. thy coming, (parousia,) and of the end of was covered all over with plates of gold of the age,* (les sunteleias tou aiōnos?)] It great weight, and, at the first rising of the sun, reflected back a very fiery splendour, and made those, who forced themselves to look pon it, to turn away their eyes, just as they would have done at the sun's own rays. But this temple appeared to strangers, when they were coming to it, at a distance, like a mountain covered with snow; for, as to those parts of it that were not gilt, they were very exceeding white," that is, of white marble. (J. War, v. c. v. 4, 6. Ant. xv. c. xi. 3.)
thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it had ever been inhabited."
"End of the age:" so this text is translated by Ham fin du sicèle,) Doddridge, Macknight, and Paulus; besides mond, Le Clerc, Whitby, Pearce, Beausobre, and Lenfant, Wakefield, Improved Version, and Kenrick. Dr A. Clarke tween it and the common one. Dr. Campbell renders it am seems to prefer this rendering, and even Scout hesitates be biguously, conclusion of this state. The usual meaning of the original term, uzon, is age, or great length of time. It is a word radically different from these rendered world in other verses (14, 21) of this chapter. The Jews were accustomed the age before the beginning of the Messiah's reign, and the to divide the entire duration of time into two great ages, viz. age after this age, and the age to come; the present age, and the future. It was understood that the age then present, was to end when the Messiah should overthrow his enemies and establish his kingdom; and this was probably the idea that suggested the expression in the text. So St. Paul says, to the Corinthians, that certain facts in the Old Testament, were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the world (uges, ta tele tom, ainm,) are come " (1 Cor x. 11.) So, too, he says, to the Hebrews, "now once in the end of the world, (ages, suntelia, ton aiʊnën,) hath he [Christ] appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." (Heb. ix. 26.) On the same principle, we often find the phrase "the last days" applied, in the New Testament, to the time then present.
sometimes used by the Jews for the material world: as exMost critics, however, are agreed that the term, aion, was amples in the New Testament, they quote Heb. i. 2; xi. 3.
[literally, of the age?] 4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you: 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6. And
heed lest any man deceive you: 6 For many 5 shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; 6 and shall deceive many. And when ye
4,5 pass? And he said, Take heed that ye be
not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.
Ver. 4. Take heed, &c.] not to be deceived by the impostors who were soon to appear, as foretold in the next verse.
ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and
Ver. 5. many shall come in my name, &c.] before that end, (ver. 6,) which was the
shall hear of wars, and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet. 8 For nation 7 shall rise against nation, and kingdom against
kingdom; and there shall be earthquakes
is sometimes contended that here are three questions: 1. When shall these things (viz. the destruction of the temple, &c.) be? 2. What shall be the sign of thy coming (to bring this destruction)? and, 3. What shall be the sign of the end of the world itself?-a very different event! Now there are, at the most, but two questions here, or rather but one inquiry put in two forms; first, respecting the time, and, secondly, respecting the signs thereof, thus: 1. When shall these things be? and, 2. What the sign of thy coming and of the end of the world, or age?-not, What the sign of thy coming? and what the sign also of the end of the world? as of two separate events. The very form of the sentence shows that the disciples supposed that his coming, and what they called the end of the world, or age, would make but one event; and that the sign of the one would be the sign of the other. Were there any room still left for doubt here, it would be foreclosed by the form in which the other Evangelists record the question; Mark, thus: ". . . . . what the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled, or ended?"
notes on the next verse. -be not troubled,] Ver. 6. wars and rumours of wars;] see when ye hear of these wars, &c., as if "the end," about which you have inquired, were then to take place; "for these things must first come to pass, but the end is not immediately," (Luke.)
Ver. 7. For nation shall rise..... against
(panta tauta sunteleisthai? instead of Mat-kingdom;] occasioning those "rumours of
wars," ver. 6. The terms, nation and king-
9 But when ye shall hear of wars, and com- 6
and people of Judea on the one hand, and the Samaritans on the other, rose against each other, but were quelled by the Roman troops. The country was filled with bands of robbers,
But, should this be admitted, and should we even grant what some contend for, that in the text the disciples used the term in this rare sense, still it would not materially who openly carried on their murders even affect the interpretation of this chapter and the following; in the cities; such was the public disorder! Frit is evident that whatsoever the disciples understood
7 supposed would take place when the temple, &c, should be destroyed; and that their inquiry was meant to brdicted to the time and circumstances of that event, and to no other period. In this sense only, did Mark and Luke understand their question; in this sense only, did Christ reply to it throughout the conversation; and in this ease only does he repeat the expression, "the end:" see ver. 6, 13, 14, and the corresponding passages in Mark and
by the end of the world, or age, it was something which In A. D. 54, a massacre took place between the Jews and Syrians, in Cesarea, and a body of Roman troops was sent against them. Thus the outrages increased, till, in A. D. 66, an extensive revolt of the Jews broke forth throughout Palestine. They slaughtered the Roman garrison at Masada; new massacres
pestilences, and earthquakes in divers another, and shall hate one another. places. 8 All these are the beginning of 11 And many false prophets shall rise, sorrows. 9 Then shall they deliver you and shall deceive many. 12 And because up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: iniquity shall around, the love of many and ye shall be hated of all nations for shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall enmy name's sake. 10 And then shall dure unto the enu, the same shall be saved. many be offended, and shall betray one 14 And the gospel of the kingdom shall
8 in divers places, and there shall be famines. and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows. 9 But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in
divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights, and great signs shall there 9 be from heaven. 12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute at Cesarea and Jerusalem were followed by their laying waste the province of Perea, and the cities of Tyre, Cesarea, Samaria, and Askelon; while, on the other hand, the Syrians ravaged Scythopolis, &c. (Jos. Ant. xviii. c. viii. 1, 2. War, ii. c. x.-c. xviii. Ant. xx. c. v. and vi.)—there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes.] Accordingly, there were, in A. D. 45, and onwards, famines in Palestine, (foretold, Acts xi. 28,) which were so severe, particularly at Jerusalem, that many perished with hunger, (Jos. Ant. xx. c. ii. 5. c. v. 2.) Of pestilences and earthquakes in Palestine, at this time, we have no account in history, unless we include Josephus's notice of an earthquake in A. D. 67, (War, iv. c. iv. 5,) which seems, however, too late a period, (see ver. 8.) As earthquakes, however, are not unfrequent in Palestine, and as pestilences are the usual concomitants of famines, we may suppose there were some of which no mention has been preserved.*
Ver. 8. these are the beginning of sorrows;] the earlier and less aggravated evils. Sorrows: an allusion, in the original, to labourpains.
Ver. 9. Then,] i. e. in those times; partly before, as well as after, according to Luke. -shall they deliver you, &c.] All this took place, as is well known from the book of Acts. ye shall be hated of all nations, &c. ;] not only by the Jews, but by the Gentiles also. That this, too, was verified, see Acts and the Epistles.
Ver. 10. To be offended, in the New Tes
I retain the term "earthquakes," because such is the usual raeaning of the original word found here, and in Mark and Luke; but it might possibly be rendered commotions. Two remarks more: 1. I have confined the allusions, in the text, to Palestine: in other countries, this period was
marked with wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes, of which many commentators avail themselves. 2 Though I have applied these predictions thus in minute detail, yet, as a general rule, a prophecy, like a parable, should be interpreted more in the g-ss, and not by taking every par. ticular separately. Eve in these 6th and 7th verses, the correct way, perhaps, would be, to take the wars, rumours of wars, nation rising against nation, &c., famines, pesti tences and earthquakes, as denoting only in general a time of great public commotion and distress.
the synagogues ye shall be seate shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against [literally, to] them. 10 And the gospel must first be 14 published among all nations. 11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take
you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. 13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony. 14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate
tament sense, is to be induced to evil; (see Matt. v. 29; xiii. 21; xviii. 6.) Many Christians, when subjected to these persecutions, would be induced to apostatize, and then to betray the others.
Ver. 11.-false prophets, &c.] See note on ver. 5. Probably, however, false teachers among professed Christians are here meant; of whom we have abundant mention in the Epistles of the New Testament, written just before the siege of Jerusalem.
Ver. 12. Many Christians, on seeing the apostasy and treachery of their brethren, (ver. 10,) would grow discouraged, and suspicious of each other.
Ver. 13. -he that hall endure unto the
end;] neither overcome by persecution, not deceived by the false teachers, nor discourag ed by the defections of others, but who shall continue faithful until the end," concerning which ye inquired, (ver. 3,) &c. -shall be saved;] i. e. preserved, rescued from these dangers; or, as Luke expresses it, "there shall not a hair of your head perish." Accordingly, Eusebius says that the people of the church at Jerusalem, by the command of a divine revelation given to their principal men before the war, removed from the city, and dwelt at a certain town beyond the Jor dan, called Pella; so that those who believed
Christ forsook Jerusalem, and holy men abandoned the royal city itself, and the whole land of Judea." (Hist. Eccl. iii. 5.) Thus, they were saved; and after the dispersion of their bitter persecutors, the Jews, a period of relief and prosperity awaited them: as Christ told them, (according to Luke xxi. 28.) to "look up, ," when they should see the end of the Jewish nation, "and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."
Ver. 14. this gospel of the kingdom:] of Christ's kingdom, or reign. —shall be preached in all t world,] before that end come; (see Mark.) World, in the original, oikoumene, a word which was frequently applied,