« AnteriorContinuar »
Mat. xxiv. 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 ? ”
In the minds of the disciples, the coming of Christ and the end of the world were inseparably connected with the destruction of the temple ; and their two questions related, not to different events, but to the same events ; the first question relating to the time, and the second to the sign, of these events. This is obvious from the parallel passages in Mark and Luke.
Mark xiii. 3, “ And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, over against the temple, Peter, 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 ? ” — Luke xxi. 7, “ And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be ? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass ? "
Our Saviour, in his very minute and explicit reply, was so far from intimating to his disciples that they were erroneously connecting events between which millenaries were to intervene, that, on the contrary, he himself associated, in the following unequivocal and emphatic language, the destruction of Jerusalem, his own coming, and the establishment of the kingdom of God.
Luke xxi. 20, “ And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. (21) Then let them 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 countries enter thereinto. (22) For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. (23) But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days ! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. (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 distress of nations, with perplexity ; the sea and the waves roaring; (26) Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth : for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. (27) And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud, with power and great glory. (28) And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads : for your redemption draweth nigh.
“ (29) And he spake to them a parable ; Behold the fig. tree, and all the trees ; (30) When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of yourselves that summer is now nigh at hand. (31) So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. (32) Verily, I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. (33) Heaven and earth shall pass away : but my words shall not pass away. (34) And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. (35) For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. (36) Watch ye, therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”
V. The general character of replies to questions, and of other statements, respecting the time of his coming and kingdom.
An examination of these replies and statements will show us, that, —
1. The Saviour never speaks of this time as far off, but repeatedly as near.
2. He never states the precise time, but says expressly that this is known only to God.
3. He commonly makes some practical application.
Mat. xxiv. 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 ? ... (34) Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. ... (36) But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. ... (42) Watch therefore : for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”
Luke xvii. 20, “ And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation. ... (24) For as the lightning that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. (25) But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. ... (xviii. 1) And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; (2) Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man. ... (6) And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. (7) And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? (8) I tell you that he will
avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth ?”
Acts i. 6, “ When they therefore were come together, they asked of him saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel ? (7) And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father hath put in his own power. (8) But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
Mat. iv. 17, “ From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Mat. x. 5, “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not. (6) But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (7) And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. ... (22) And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. (23) But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another : for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.”
The last verse strongly implies, to say the least, that the coming of the Son of man was not far distant. The following, addressed by our Saviour to the eleven Apostles shortly before his ascension, implies the same in respect to the end of the world, unless the promise is made to refer to more than Christ's special presence with the Apostles themselves, which is all that is expressed.
Mat. xxviii. 19, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost ; (20) Teaching them to observe all
things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
Luke xix. 11, “ And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.”
This parable was suited to correct the expectation of the immediate appearance of the new kingdom, and yet at the same time to confirm the impression that it was not very far distant. It contains an evident and striking representation of Christ's approaching ascension to heaven to receive kingly power, and of his subsequent return with this power to reward his faithful servants, and to destroy " his citizens,” the Jews, who would not that he should reign over them.” The practical lessons of the parable are obvious.
“(12) He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. (13) And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. (14) But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. (15) And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.... (27) But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither and slay them before me.”
VI. The express declaration that the generation then upon the earth would not pass away before the fulfilment of certain great events, of which his coming was one.
This declaration is contained in the remarkable discourse upon Mount Olivet, two days before the cruci