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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
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
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.
the beginning of the creation which God
the Idumeans from without, distracted with
Ver. 19, 20.-woe unto them that, &c.,] because their condition would be am impedíment 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.
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.
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-for the elect's sake,] the believers, who are armies, (ver. 15,) was the attack made by so often, in the New Testament, called the Cestius, (A. D. 66,) this "tribulation," it elect, or chosen. those days shall be shortenwould seem from the order of the prophecy, ed.] Accordingly, the Jews themselves madmust have been in the four following years, ly hastened the end of the struggle, by their including the final siege of the city, and end- mutual slaughters and devastations. After ing with its capture, A. D. 70. At any rate, the unexpected retreat of Cestius, "there the whole of this period was one of indescri- were disorders and civil wars in every city; bable distress, with the Jews; Galilee and and all those that were at quiet from the Samaria ravaged by Vespasian, (A. D. 67,) Romans, turned their hands one against and nearly 100,000 of the inhabitants put to another." J. War, iv. c. iii. 2.) While the sword, so that many villages were utterly Titus was advancing to Jerusalem, the three depopulated; Perea invaded and conquered, factions within the city were daily butchering (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 at of the French revolution, was invaded by | had done it on purpose to serve the Romans,
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
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,
[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
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 machines, do towards overthrowing these towers!" (J. War, vi. c. ix. 1.)
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.
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.
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 desert," where they would show "wonders and signs." Another impostor (about A. D. 60) seduced a multitude, "promising them freedom and deliverance from the miseries they were under, if they would but follow him as far as the desert." (Ant. xx. c. viii. 10.) In all these cases, the deluded followers were slain or dispersed by the Roman troops. In
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 18, thither will 28 the eagles be gathered together.]
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.) -if possible, they shall deceive the very clect.] There was no natural impossibility of their 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.
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, whither soever 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, no allusion intended to the eagles on the Roman standards; much less, any reference to the direction in which the Roman army approached, from east to west,-which indeed does not appear to have been the course it took. the coming of, &c.] purousia. The Jews were accustomed to call any interposi of divine Providence, an appearing (piphaneiu) or coming (parousiu) of God.
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
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,
with great power and glory. And then 31
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 beers of heaven shall be shaken. 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
LUKE XXI. waves roaring; 26 Men's hearts failing them 30 for fear, and for looking after those things 27 And then which are coming on the earth: for the powshall 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.
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 fall by plainer language, the Jews should “ 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, gē,-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, his enemies; see and on the other, in the rapid diffusion of his truth, after the overthrow
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.)
Immediately after the tribulation,] and be fore the end of the generation in which Christ Accordingly, it is spoke; (see ver. 34.) well known that the destruction of the Jewish state, and the dispersion of the people, "led captive into all nations," (A. D. 70,) follow-ly, perhaps, to the ministry of his preachers,* The indirect allusion is favoured by the ambiguity of ed immediately the tribulation just described, and in the life-time of some of the disciples. the word rendered angels, which sometimes means simply
-he shall send his angels,] alluding indirect
32 Now learn a parable of the fig-tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass,
32 29 Now learn a parable of the fig-tree: When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:
So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is 34 nigh, even at the doors. 30 Verily, I say unto you, That this generation shall not pass, till
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 your ownselves that summer is now nigh at hand. 33 3 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of 34 God is nigh at hand. 22 Verily, I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till
till all these things be fulfilled. 35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days
messengers; so it is indeed translated in Mark i. 2: Luke
which should then spread abroad so widely; though we must not forget that the highly poetic imagery of heavenly powers is still continued, 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 ingathering 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 certainty the disciples might trace its approach, Christ now frames a parable from the figtree, which abounded on the mount of Olives, where they were sitting. know that it is &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.*)
[Parallel with ver. 37-41, of Matt. is Luke xvii. 26-30, 34, 35. 26 And as it was in the 37 days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in mar
Ver. 34. Accordingly, Jerusalem was taken, thirty-seven years after the delivery of this A. D. 70, on the 8th of September, about 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 conflict 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 two terms, day and hour, as some have done. thus, as a whole, instead of separating the 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 effected by the donations or conver sions of Constantine Till the Jewish law was abolished, over which the Father presided as King, the reign of the Son could not take place; because the sovereignty of Christ Jews, transferred and more largely extended. This, thereover mankind was that very sovereignty of God over the fore, being one of the most important eras in the economy of grace, and the most awful revolution in all God's religious terins in question to denote so great an event, together with dispensations, we see the elegance and propriety of the the destruction of Jerusalem by which it was effected. For, palities and powers, whether spiritual or civil, are signified in the old prophetic language, the change and fall of princiby the shaking heaven and earth, the darkening the sun and moon, and the falling of the stars; as the rise and establishment of new ones are by procession in the clouds of heaven, by the sound of trumpet, and the assembling to gether of hosts and congregations." Div. Leg. vol. ii. b. iv. sect. 4, quoted by Bp. Newton.
that were before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark. 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away: so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
42 Watch, therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 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. 44 Therefore be ye also ready for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh. 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? 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. 48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not
no man, no, not the angels which are in
heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
riage, until the day that Noe entered into
they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed 39 them all: 30 Even thus shall it be in the day
34 For the Son of man is [or, It is] as a 45-47 when the Son of man is revealed. 31 In that day, he which shall be upon the house-man taking a far journey, who left his top, and his stuff in the house, let him not and to every man his work, and commandhouse, and gave authority to his servants, 40 come down, &c. 34 I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grind. ing together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.]
ed the porter to watch. 35 Watch ye there-
34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at 42-44
unawares. 35 For as a snare shall it come
days of Noah, in one respect, viz. it would come unexpectedly on the people, notwithstanding the abundant warnings, and overtake them unprepared. Accordingly, we find in every stage of the Jewish war, as related by Josephus, that the multitude were confident of ultimate success, continuing, with a des-ed in the preceding verses, and to signify, in perate infatuation, to trust in their impostors general, how critical and difficult would then and false Messiahs, one after another, who be the chance of escape. Two women shall promised them the miraculous protection of be grinding at the mill.] It was then, as now, Heaven. "Now, what did most elevate the custom in the East for women to grind them in undertaking this war," says Jose- the bread-stuffs by hand-mills. These conphus, "was an ambiguous oracle that was sisted of two circular stones fitted together, found also in their sacred writings, that about of which the upper one had a hole in the that time, one from their country should become centre to admit the corn, and was, by means governor of the habitable earth. The Jews of a handle, rapidly moved around on the took this prediction to belong to themselves lower, which was fixed. The word women in particular, and many of the wise men were should not have been italicised by our translathereby deceived in their determination.... tors, since it is sufficiently implied in the However, it is not possible for men to avoid original. fate, although they see it beforehand. But these men interpreted some of these signals according to their own pleasure, and some of them they utterly despised, until their madness was demonstrated, both by the taking of the city, and their own destruction." J. War, b. vi. c. v. 4. —so shall also the coming (parousia) of the Son of man be;] i. e. so unexpectedly.
Ver. 40, 41. Here are two cases, very strongly stated, to illustrate the idea express
Ver. 42-44. From all the considerations just stated, it became the urgent duty of the disciples to "watch," so that the event might not take them unawares, as it would the people at large; (see Luke.) If a householder, who knew in what part of the night the thief was to come, would watch to prevent his house from being broken open, still more ought the disciples to be constantly vigilant, since, as he had already told them, (ver. 36,) the precise time was unknown.