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MATT. xxiv.

he preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end

ceme.

15 When ye, therefore, shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him under

MARK Xiii.

no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak 10 ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. 12 Now, the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son: and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. 9 And ye shall be hated of all men for my 13 name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

15 14 But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him

MATT. XXIV.

16 Then let them which be in stand.) 17 Let Judea flee into the mountains: him which is on the house-top not come down to take anything out of his house 18 Neither let him which is in the field

nor resist.

LUKE XXI. 15 For I will before, what ye shall answer. give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay 16 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. 17 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. 18 But there shall not a hair of your head perish. 19 In your patience possess ye your souls.

15

And when ye shall see Jerusalem com

MARK Xiii.

that readeth understand,) then let them that 16
be in Judea flee to the mountains: 15 And 17
let him that is on the house-top not go down

into the house, neither enter therein, to take
anything out of his house: 16 And let him 18
17 But woe to them 19
that is in the field not turn back again for to
take up his garment.

by the New Testament writers, and Jewish uthors of their day, to a large part merely of the world then known, to the extent of the Roman empire, &c. Notwithstanding the scantiness of ecclesiastical records of that age, enough remain to show that, before the destruction of Jerusalem, the gospel was actually preached in almost every province of the Roman empire, and in some countries to the east of it. and then shall the end come,] of which the disciples had inquired, (ver. 3,) the end of Jerusalem and of the Jewish nation.

LUKE XXI. passed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. 21 Then let them 16 which are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the

11; where "the abomination that maketh
desolate," or, as the Septuagint renders it,
"the abomination of desolations," is express-
ly connected with the desolation of the tem
ple and city. Josephus says, (Ant. x. c. xi.
7,) that Daniel here foretold the desolation
of his country by the Romans, as well as by
Antiochus Epiphanes; and such was proba-
bly the general opinion of the Jews. The
Roman armies were an abomination to the
Jews, for they were idolaters, and carried
with them the ensigns as well as the rites of
idolatry; that they also made desolate, needs
not be shown. -standing in the holy place;]
not in the city itself, but on the ground im-
mediately "compassing" it, (see Luke,)
which also was regarded as holy. Jerusalem
was accordingly besieged by the Roman
general, Cestius Gallus, in Oct. A. D. 66,
who even penetrated into the lower town, and
might then, says Josephus, have taken the
whole city, had he persevered. But, appre-
hending treachery, and insidiously dissuaded
by some of his officers, he suddenly retreated,
to the astonishment of the Jews themselves,
(J. War, ii. c. xix. 6-9.) Thus, Jerusalem
was spared nearly four years longer, and
abundant opportunity afforded the Christians
to flee from the city and country; and this
was probably the time of their flight, mention-
ed by Eusebius; (see notes on ver. 13.)

Ver. 16.-them which be in Judea, &c.;]
not only those that should be in Jerusalem,
but all the Christians in Judea, were then to
flee, as it appears from Eusebius (see notes
to ver. 13) they actually did. Josephus says
that many of the most eminent Jews now
swam away from the city, as from a ship
(J. War, ii. c.
when it was going to sink."
XX. 1, and c. xix. 6.) From this time till the
overthrow of the city, the whole country lay
in all the horrors of a bloody anarchy; (see
notes to ver. 21.)

Ver. 17, 18. Strong, hyperbolic expressions, urging them to be instant in their flight. let him which is on the house-top not 135

Ver. 15. In this verse, Christ advertises them of the particular event which should betoken the near approach of that end, and be the signal for them to flee. Substituting the plainer language of Luke, for the obscurer expressions of Matthew and Mark, it was when they should "see Jerusalem compassed with armies."-the abomination of desolation] was accordingly, the Roman armies.- -spoken of by Daniel;] see Dan. ix. 27; xi. 31; xii.

*It is the word used in Luke ii. 1,-"There went out a

decree from Cesar Augustus, that all the world should be axed;" where it can, of course, include no more than the

Roman empire. It is used also in Acts xi. 28; xix. 27; xxiv. 5; where it must be taken with equal, and sometimes even more, restriction. Josephus repeatedly uses it, when he means to include only the extent of an empire, and some times merely of a province: see Ant. viii. c. xiii 4 where he says that Ahab sent persons over all the world to discover the prophet Elijah; he also makes Obadiah to remind the prophet that the king had sought for him over all the world; though it is evident, from the nature of the case, that no more is meant than the neighbouring countries.

MATT. XXIV.

MATT. XXIV.

return back to take his clothes. 19 And of the world to this time, no, nor ever woe unto them that are with child, and shall be. 22 And except those days to them that give suck in those days! should be shortened, there should no flesh 20 But pray ye that your flight be not be saved: but for the elect's sake, those in the winter, neither on the Sabbath-days shall be shortened. day: 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning

MARK Xiii.

that are with child, and to them that give 20 suck in those days! 18 And pray ye that your 21 flight be not in the winter. 19 For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from

LUKE XXI.

21 countries enter thereinto. 22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are 19 written may be fulfilled. 23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that 21 give suck in those days! for there shall be

great distress in the land, and wrath upon 17 this people. [Parallel with ver. 17 and 18 of Matt. is Luke xvii. 31. In that day he which shall be upon the house-top, and his stuff in

come down, &c.,] but hasten away. The houses of the Jews, like those in the same country at the present day, had flat roofs, on which the inhabitants spent much of their time; and as these roofs were often connected, they afforded a communication from one part of the city, or village, to another.- his clothes;] properly his tunic or robe,-a loose, flowing garment thrown over the other dress, but laid aside in the labours of the field.

MARK XIII. the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. 20 And except that the Lord had shortened 22 those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.

the Idumeans from without, distracted with
the fiercest, bloodiest factions within, overrun
by immense hordes of robbers and murderers,
(A. D. 67, 68,) who openly committed their
massacres in the very streets of the cities and
villages; and, at length, the country subdued
by Vespasian, in A. D. 69. Then came the
siege of Jerusalem, with its unequalled hor-
rors. From March, A. D. 70, to the follow-
ing September, multitudes without number,
who had come up to the feast of the Passover,
were caged within the narrow circuit of the
walls, butchered by the swords of the mad
factions within, as well as of the Romans
without; or wasting away under a famine
that at length drove mothers to devour their
own children. More than one million perish-
ed in the siege and capture of the city. (J.
War, b. ii. c. xx. to b. vi. c. ix.) Josephus
says, "It appears to me that the misfortunes
of all men, from the beginning of time, sink
in comparison with those of the Jews."
"Neither did any other city ever suffer such
misery, nor did any age ever breed a genera-
tion more fruitful in wickedness." (J. War.
Pref. 4, v. c. x. 5.) —from the beginning of
world.] World,-kosmos.
Ver. 22. Had not this tribulation been
brought to a speedy end, all the inhabitants,
Christians who had fled to the mountains, as
well as Jews who remained behind, must
have perished by famine or slaughter; as
will be evident to every reader of Josephus,

the

Ver. 21. For then, &c.;] i. e. from that time onwards, till the actual destruction of the city; for this, it is said, in verse 29, was to take place "immediately after the tribulation," &c. If the compassing of Jerusalem by armies, (ver. 15,) was the attack made by Cestius, (A. D. 66,) this " tribulation," it would seem from the order of the prophecy, must have been in the four following years, including the final siege of the city, and ending with its capture, A. D. 70. At any rate, the whole of this period was one of indescribable distress, with the Jews; Galilee and Samaria ravaged by Vespasian, (A. D. 67,) and nearly 100,000 of the inhabitants put to the sword, so that many villages were utterly depopulated; Perea invaded and conquered, (A. D. 68;) and, more wretched than all, each other, and burning the store-houses of Judea, under a reign of terror surpassing even provisions; "as if," says Josephus, "they that of the French revolution, was invaded by | had done it on purpose to serve the Romans,

for the elect's sake,] the believers, who are so often, in the New Testament, called the elect, or chosen. -those days shall be shorten ed.] Accordingly, the Jews themselves madly hastened the end of the struggle, by their mutual slaughters and devastations. After the unexpected retreat of Cestius, "there were disorders and civil wars in every city; and all those that were at quiet from the Romans, turned their hands one against another." J. War, iv. c. iii. 2.) While Titus was advancing to Jerusalem, the three factions within the city were daily butchering

Ver. 19, 20.-woe unto them that, &c.,] because their condition would be am impediment to their flight, and expose them to peculiar distress in the general commotion. that your flight be not in the winter,] when subsistence would be difficult. Snow often falls in the hill-country of Palestine, and the cold is sometimes so great as to endanger life. -neither on the Sabbath-day,] when the traditions of the Jews did not allow them to travel more than about two thirds of a mile, except on extraordinary occasions; nor even then, without many hindrances.

LUKE XXI.

the house, let him not come down to take it 18 away: and he that is in the field, let him like. wise not return back.]

MATT. xxiv.

23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25 Behold, I have told you before, [literally, I have foretold you.] 26 Wherefore, if they shall say

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23

21 And then, if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there, be24 lieve him not: 22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible,

LUKE XXI.

[Parallel with ver. 23, 26, 27, 28, of 23-26 Matt. is Luke xvii. 23, 24, 37. 23 And they shall say to you. See here! or, See there! 27 go not after them, nor follow them. 24 For as the lightning that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so also shall the

MATT. XXIV.

unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 28 For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

MARK Xiii.

even the elect. 23 But take ye heed: behold 25 I have foretold you all things.

24 But in those days, after that tribulation, 29 the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light. 25 And the stars of

LUKE XXI. Son of man be in his day. 25 But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.. 26 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 27 And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body 28, thither will 28 the eagles be gathered together.]

by destroying what the city had laid up against the siege, and by thus cutting off the nerves of their own power. So they were taken by means of the famine, which it was impossible they should have been, unless they had prepared the way for it by this procedure." (War, v. c. i. 4.) They continued this work of self-destruction, even during the siege, slaying great numbers, and burning entire streets. (J. War, v. c. iii-vi.) Finally, they deserted their strong holds; so that when Titus took the city, and beheld the strength of its fortifications, he exclaimed, "We certainly have had God for our assistant in this war, and it was no other than God who drove the Jews out of these fortifications; for what could the hands of men, or any ma--if possible, they shall deceive the very elect.] ebines, do towards overthrowing these tow-There was no natural impossibility of their ers!" (J. War, vi. c. ix. 1.) deceiving the Christians; otherwise Christ would not have taken so much care to forewarn his disciples. He "foretold" them, in order to secure them against such deception.

the siege of Jerusalem, (A. D. 70,) a false prophet persuaded the people that "God commanded them to ascend the temple, and that they should receive signs of their deliverance;" but the temple was burned that very day, and all his followers perished. Josephus also says, that, in the siege, "there was a great number of false prophets suborned by the tyrants to impose on the people, who announced to them that they should wait for deliverance from God; and this was in order to keep them from deserting." (War, vi. c. v. 1, 2.) One reason why these pretended deliverers, or Messiahs, were so readily believed, was, the strong persuasion among the Jews at this time, that their Messiah was then to appear. (Jos. War, vi. c. v. 4.)

Ver. 23. Then,] in the time of that tribulation; or, perhaps, reverting indefinitely to the whole period thus far described, as preceding the destruction of Jerusalem.

Ver. 24-26. We have accounts of many such impostors in Judea, at the period referred to. An Egyptian false prophet (about A. D. 58) led 4000 out into "the desert;" (Acts xxi. 38;) and also persuaded a multitude in Jerusalem to go with him to the mount of Olives, whence he would make the walls of the city fall down at his command. (Jos. Ant. xx. c. viii. 6.) In the same passage, Josephus mentions other impostors, who prevailed on many to follow them into "the de-no allusion intended to the eagles on the sert," where they would show "wonders and Roman standards; much less, any reference signs." Another impostor (about A. D. 60) to the direction in which the Roman army seduced a multitude, "promising them free-approached, from east to west,-which indom and deliverance from the miseries they deed does not appear to have been the course were under, if they would but follow him as it took. —the coming of, &c.] parousia. The far as the desert." (Ant. xx. c. viii. 10.) In Jews were accustomed to call any interposiall these cases, the deluded followers were of divine Providence, an appearing (epipha slain or dispersed by the Roman troops. In neia) or coming (parousia) of God.

Ver. 27, 28. His coming would not be like that of these false Christs, merely in the desert, or secret chambers, so that it could be said, lo here, or there; but, like the lightning which lights up the whole horizon, (see Luke,) his coming would be over all the face of the land. Or, to change the figure, whithersoever the carcass of the Jewish nation extended abroad, to the same extent would his coming be seen, like a multitude of eagles devouring the dead body. There is, perhaps,

MATT. XXIV.

MATT. XXIV.

29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days, shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth [or land] mourn,

and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, [Griesbach, with a trumpet of great sound,] and they shall gather together his elect, from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

MARK Xiii.

heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in 30 heaven shall be shaken. 26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds,

29

LUKE XXI.

24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. 25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth [or land] distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the

MARK Xiii. shall he send his angels, and shall gather towith great power and glory. And then 31 gether his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.

Immediately after the tribulation,] and be fore the end of the generation in which Christ spoke; (see ver. 34.) Accordingly, it is well known that the destruction of the Jewish state, and the dispersion of the people, "led captive into all nations," (A. D. 70,) followed immediately the tribulation just described, and in the life-time of some of the disciples.

LUKE XXI. waves roaring; 26 Men's hearts failing them 30 for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the pow ers of heaven shall be shaken. 27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud, with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads: for your redemption draweth nigh.

shall the sun be darkened.... heavens shall be shaken;] figures that should probably be taken together, as forming simply the usual imagery in prophecies of similar events, (see above,) and that should not be separately applied, as has often been done, making the sun the Mosaic religion, the moon the Jewish government, &c. &c. Powers of the

Ver. 29-31. A representation, in prophetic style, of the end, the actual dissolution of the Jewish state; when, as Luke expresses it in plainer language, the Jews should "fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations, and Jerusalem be trodden down of the Gentiles," &c. This fixes the event referred to. The bold, Asiatic figures here, though frequently mistaken for literal description, are no other than the Old Testament prophets habitually used in pre-heavens: same as the hosts or armies of dicting the overthrow of a kingdom, or a na- heaven,-a poetical imagery often used by the tional revolution. Thus, Isaiah represents prophets. the fall of Babylon, by the darkening of the stars, the constellations, the sun and moon, the shaking of the heavens, and the removing of the earth out of her place, (xiii.;) and, again, the destruction of Idumea, by the dissolving of the host of heaven, the rolling of the heavens together as a scroll, and by the falling of the stars like figs from a fig-tree, (xxxiv.;) Ezekiel, the fall of Egypt, by Covering the heavens, and darkening the stars, sun and moon, (xxxii.;) Joel, the devastation of lucusts, by the shaking of the earth and heaven, and the darkening of the sun, moon and stars; and the destruction of Jerusalem, by the turning of the sun into darkness, and the moon into blood, (ii.) (See, also, Ps. xviii.; Dan. viii. 10, &c.) Even the Latin poets, though their usual style is by no means so hyperbolical as that of the Asiatics, run similar figures when describing great Calamities. (See Ovid. Met. xv. 782; Virgil. Georg. i. 462.)

-the sign of the Son of man in heaven ;] manifest evidences of his agency, in these judgments from heaven. There may be an allusion, here, to the taunting request the Jews had sometimes made, that he would show them "a sign from heaven," (Matt. xvi. 1; xii. 38;) such a sign they might at length discover, in the terrible retribution coming on them. -shall all the tribes of the land,] land, gë,-a term often applied to Palestine, or to a particular region; seldom to the earth at large. These "tribes" were, of course, the Jews. -mourn;] beat their breasts in anguish: such is the force of the original. the Son of man coming... with power and great glory.] His power and glory were seen in the utter destruction of the Jewish state and religion, on the one hand, and on the other, in the rapid diffusion of his truth, after the overthrow of his enemies; see next ver. "Coming in the clouds of heaven," is poetic imagery, often employed by the prophets, in describing signal manifestations of divine providence; (see Deut. xxxiii. 26; Ps. xviii. 9-13; Isa. xix. 1; Dan. vii. 13; Rev. i. 7.)

-he shall send his angels,] alluding indirectly, perhaps, to the ministry of his preachers,*

the word rendered angels, which sometimes means simply *The indirect allusion is favoured by the ambiguity of

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which should then spread abroad so widely;
though we must not forget that the highly
poetic imagery of heavenly powers is still
continned, as is evident from the rest of the
expressions in this verse. The general fact
referred to, in the verse, is manifestly this:
that there should be a great and public in-
gathering of converts, in all nations over the
face of the earth, from the time when the
Jewish nation should be destroyed. It would
be a time of relief, of "redemption," to the
Christians, as Luke expresses it, so that they
should look up, and lift up their heads."
-with a trumpet of great sound;] imagery
taken from the custom of the Jews to call the
people together, or to proclaim their jubilee,
&c. by the sound of trumpet; (Lev. xxv. 9;
Num. x. 2; Judg. iii. 27, vi. 34.) -—from the
four winds. the other; i. e. from
every quarter throughout the world.
Ver. 32, 33. To illustrate, more familiarly,
how promptly the end" would follow
signs he had specified, and with what cer-
tainty the disciples might trace its approach,
Christ now frames a parable from the fig-
tree, which abounded on the mount of Olives,
where they were sitting. know that it is
near, &c.; viz. the coming of the Son of
man, or, as Luke says, "the kingdom of
God;" which, though already begun, was
not to come with power, till the overthrow of
the Jewish polity; (see Matt. xvi. 27, 28;
Mark viii. 38, ix. 1; Luke ix. 26, 27, &c.*)

messengers; so it is indeed translated in Mark i. 2: Luke v. 24, 27, ix. 52; James ii. 25; and so it is often used in the Septuagint.

Ver. 34. Accordingly, Jerusalem was taken, A. D. 70, on the 8th of September, about thirty-seven years after the delivery of this prophecy, while St. John, and probably the greater part of the other apostles, were still alive, as well as multitudes of the first converts and contemporary Jews. With the fall of the city, the confl ceased, that had raged so long and so terribly; but its scattered embers continued to burn in Judea for about a year and a half afterwards, when they went out in the total extinction or dispersion of the rejected race.

Ver. 35. A form of vehement assertion; the meaning of which according to the most approved interpreters, is, "Heaven and earth shall sooner pass away, than my word." See Matt. v. 18, for a similar form. See Rosenmüller, Kuinoel, &c.

Ver. 36. of that day and hour;] i. e. the precise time.. The phrase ought to be taken thus, as a whole, instead of separating the two terms, day and hour, as some have done. the-knoweth no one;] (see Mark.) Christ did indeed know that it would be before the end of that generation, (see ver. 34,) but still the precise time was unknown.

Ver. 37-39. It would be, however, like the

then its first beginning. This was the true establishment of Christianity; not that effected by the donations or conver sions of Constantine Till the Jewish law was abolished, over which the Futher presided as King, the reign of the Son could not take place; because the sovereignty of Christ over mankind was that very sovereignty of God over the Jews, transferred and more largely extended. This, therefore, being one of the most important eras in the economy of grace, and the most awful revolution in all God's religious dispensations, we see the elegance and propriety of the terms in question to denote so great an event, together with the destruction of Jerusalem by which it was effected. For, in the old prophetic language, the change and fall of principalities and powers, whether spiritual or civil, are signified by the shaking heaven and earth, the darkening the sun and moon, and the falling of the stars; as the rise and es tablishment of new ones are by procession in the clouds of

Dr. Warburton says "this prophecy doth not respect Christ's second coming to judgment, but his first, in the abolition of the Jewish policy, and the establishment of the Christian: that kingdom of Christ which commenced on the total ceasing of the theocracy. For, as God's reign over heaven, by the sound of trumpet, and the assembling tothe Jews entirely ended with the abolition of the temple-gether of hosts and congregations." Div. Leg, vol. ii. b. iv. service, so the reign of Christ, in spirit and in truth, had | sect. 4, quoted by Bp. Newton.

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