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In the same manner, when you see what I have predicted, the signs around Jerusalem, then know that its destruction is at band. 'Is near.' Luke says, xxi. 28, that your redemption draweth nigh, and, xxi. 31, the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Your deliverance from the dangers that threaten the city approaches, and the kingdom of God will be set up in the earth.
34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
'This generation.' This age; this race of men. A generation is about thirty or forty years. The destruction of Jerusalem took place about forty years after this was spoken. See note, Matt. xvi. 28. Till all these things,' &c. Till these things shall receive a full accomplishment. He does not mean to exclude here the reference to the judgment, but to say that the destruction of Jerusalem would be such as to make the words of the prediction appropriate, were there nothing beyond. But there was a fulness of signification that would meet also the events of the judgment, the meaning of which would not be filled up till the world was closed.
35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
You may sooner expect to see the heaven and earth pass away and return to nothing, than my words to fail.
36 ¶ But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no not the angels of heaven, but my Father only
Of the precise time of the fulfilment. The general signs of its coming have been given; as the budding of the fig-tree is a certain indication that summer is near. But the precise time is not indicated by these things. Knoweth no man, no, not the angels,' &c. Mark adds, xiii. 32, 'neither the Son.' He was man as well as God. As man, possessed of a human soul, he must have the properties of a human soul, and, among the rest, limited knowledge. Thus it is said, he increased in wisdom, Luke ii. 52. As man, therefore, he might be ignorant of a future event, which his Father had not chosen to communicate to him. A passage of the same kind is found in John iii. 13: 'he that came down from heaven, the Son of man, who is in heaven.' In heaven, in regard to his Divine nature; on earth in his human nature. So in his Divine nature he knew the day and hour of the destruction of Jerusalem; in his human nature he was ignorant of it.
37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Noe.' The Greek way of writing Noah. See Gen. vi. vii. viii. ix.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark.
It does not mean that these things were wrong, but only that such was their actual employment, and that they were regardless of what was coming upon them.
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
That is, they knew not the exact time, until it came upon them. 'So,' says he, it shall be when the Son of man shall come. They shall not know the precise time until he comes, and then they shall be found so engaged in the ordinary business of life as to be unconcerned about the Divine threatenings.
40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
'Then shall two be in the field,' &c. The calamity shall come suddenly. There shall be no escape for those whom it overtakes. 'One shall be taken.' The word 'taken' means to be taken away by death.
41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
Grinding in the east was performed, as it is now, chiefly by hand. The mill-stones were about two feet in diameter, and half a foot in thickness. The lower one was fixed, and the upper one was turned by a handle, or crank. This was done by two persons, who sat opposite to each other. One took hold of the mill handle, and turned it half way round; the other then seized it, and completed the revolution. This was done by women; by servants of the lowest order; and was a very laborious employment. See Ex. xi. 5. Isa. xlvii. 2. Judges xvi. 21. The meaning of this verse is similar to the former. Of two persons sitting near to each other, one shall be taken, and the other left. The calamity would be sudden, and would come upon them before they were aware.
Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
'Watch.' Be looking for his coming. coming, and be ready.
Watch the signs of his
43 But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he
would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
If a man knew the hour, or about the hour when a robber would come, he would be ready for him. So you know not the exact hour, but you know it is near, when the Son of man will come. He will come suddenly, as a thief comes, without giving previous warning, 1 Thess. v. 2. 2 Pet. iii. 10. Rev. iii. 3; xvi. 15. Good man.' See Matt. xx. 11. Thief.' A robber. The original word means one who does it by house-breaking, or by highway violence, Luke x. 30. 'Broken up.' Broken into either by the doors or windows. In what watch.' In which of
the four quarters of the night. See note, Matt. xiv. 25.
44 Therefore be ye also ready for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
Luke, xxi. 36, says that he charged them to pray always, that they might be accounted worthy to escape those things-the judgments coming upon the wicked; and to stand before the Son of man-that is, to stand there approved by him, or admitted to his favour. He also charged them, Luke xxi. 34, to take heed and not to suffer their hearts to be overcharged with surfeiting, or too much eating, or drunkenness, or the cares of this life, lest the day should come upon them unawares; things improper if there were no judgment-peculiarly mad and wicked when the judgment is near.
45 Who, then, is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
This passage (ver. 45-51) is in fact a parable, though it is not expressly so called. The design is to show that his disciples should act as if they were each moment expecting his return. Who, then, is a faithful and wise servant,' &c. By the conduct of a faithful and wise servant he intends to denote a faithful christian, a servant of God, or a teacher of religion. Whom his lord. His master. Applied to christian teachers, in the spiritual meaning of the parable, it refers to Christ, who has appointed them as teachers, and who is their Lord and Master, John xiii. 13, 14. 'Over his household.' His family. Christian ministers are the servants of God appointed over the church, the family of Christ, 1 Thess. v. 12, 13. 1 Cor. iii. 5; iv. 1, 2; xii. 28. Meat in due The word meat' here means all kinds of provisions requisite to support and nourish life. In due season.' At the proper time. As they need it, or in the accustomed times. This was the office of a steward. Applied to christian ministers, it means that they are to feed the flock of God, to minister to their wants, and to do it as they need it, John xxi. 15--17. Acts xx. 28.
46 Blessed is that servant whom his lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing. 47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
Shall make him ruler,' &c. This is a circumstance of the parable or story, designed to show the effect of faithfulness. Faithful servants of Christ shall be rewarded. This will be done by his approbation, and by the rewards of the heavenly world.
48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart. My lord delayeth his coming;
'That evil servant. If that servant, so appointed, having this office, should be evil or wicked. 'Say in his heart.' Secretly suppose. Delayeth his coming.' Will not return in a long time; or does not return as soon as was expected, and perhaps may not at all.
49 And shall begin to smite his fellow-servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
Smite his fellow-servants,' &c. This is designed to represent the conduct of ministers who should be unfaithful, overbearing, and abusing their trust in the church.
50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Shall cut him asunder.' This kind of punishment was anciently practised. Sometimes it was done by the sword, sometimes by saws. It was practised among the Chaldeans, Dan. ii. 5; iii. 29; among the Hebrews, 2 Sam. xii. 31. 1 Sam. xv. 33. Heb. xi. 37. It was also practised by the Egyptians and Romans. It here signifies, that the wicked servant shall be severely punished. 'Hypocrites.' See note, Matt. vi. 2. They are spoken of here as the worst of men. Weeping and gnashing of teeth.' See note, Matt. viii. 12, 13. The unfaithful and wicked minister of God, who lives without expectation or fear of judgment, shall suffer the severest punishment inflicted on sinners in the world of woe.
1 THEN shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
"Then shall the kingdom of heaven.' to his coming in the day of judgment.
The phrase here refers 'Shall be likened.' Or
shall resemble. The meaning is, it shall be, when the Son of man returns to judgment, as it was in the case of ten virgins in a marriage ceremony. The coming of Christ to receive his people to himself is often represented under the similitude of a marriage-the church being represented as his spouse or bride. The marriage relation fitly represents the union of believers to Christ. See Matt. ix. 15. John iii. 29. Rev. xix. 7; xxi. 9. Eph. v. 2532. Ten virgins. These virgins, doubtless, represent the church-a name given to it because it is pure and holy. See 2 Cor. xi. 2. Which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. The lamps used on such occasions were rather torches or flambeaux. They were made by winding rags around pieces of iron or earthenware, sometimes hollowed so as to contain oil, and fastened to handles of wood. These torches were dipped in oil, and gave a strong light. Marriage ceremonies in the east were conducted with great pomp and solemnity. The ceremony of marriage was, performed commonly in the open air, on the banks of a stream. After the ceremony, succeeded a feast of seven days if the bride was a virgin, or three days if she was a widow. This feast was celebrated in her father's house. At the end of that time the bridegroom conducted the bride, with great pomp and splendour, to his own home. This was done in the evening or at night, Jer. vii. 34; xxv. 10; xxxiii. 11. Many persons attended them; and besides those who went with them from the house of the bride, there was another company that came out from the house of the bridegroom to meet them and welcome them. These were probably female friends and relatives of the bridegroom, who went out to welcome him and his new companion to their home. These are the virgins mentioned in this parable. Not knowing precisely the time when the procession would come, they probably went out early, and waited by the way till they should see indications of its approach.
2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish, 3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
And five of them were wise.' The words wise and foolish, here, refer to their conduct in regard to the oil. The one part was wise in taking oil, the other foolish in neglecting it. The conduct of the wise refers to those who are prepared for the coming of Christ; prepared by possessing real piety, and not merely profession. The conduct of those without oil expresses the conduct of such as profess to love him, but are destitute of true grace, and are unprepared to meet him. In this parable the scope is to teach us to watch or be ready, ver. 13. It is not to teach us the number of those who shall be ready, and those who shall not. There is no authority for saying that our Lord meant to teach