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Matthew 24

SUMMARY.--The Temple to Be Utterly Destroyed. The Questions Asked on the Mount of Olives. Wars and Rumors of Wars Predicted. False Prophets and Christs. The Sign for Flight from Jerusalem. The Great Tribulation. How the Son of Man Shall Come. The Sun Darkened. The Coming of the Son of Man. This Generation. The Time of Christ's Coming Unknown. Injunction to Be Always in Readiness.

      28. The carcase is, there will be the eagles. The term "carcase" well represents the utterly corrupted Jewish state; the "eagles" is a fit symbol of the Roman army, every legion of which bore the eagle as its standard.

      29. Immediately after the tribulation of those days. The first question, When shall these things be? has now been answered. Here begins the answer to the second, concerning the coming of the Lord. For other passages on the second coming, see 1 Thessalonians 2:19 1 Thessalonians 3:13 1 Thessalonians 4:15 1 Thessalonians 5:23 1 Thessalonians 2:2 Th 2:1 Th 2:8 Th 2:9 Th 2:1 4:15 Jam 5:7 Jam 5:2 Pe 1:16 Pe 3:12 Pe 1:1 1 Cor. 15:23 . "Immediately" after the destruction of Jerusalem (the tribulation) the series of events begins that leads to the coming of Christ. The sun shall be darkened. I take what follows to be symbolical, as is usual for prophecy, rather than literal. Christ is "the Sun of Righteousness." After the destruction of Jerusalem, the causes began to work that led to the great apostasy of the church and produced "the Dark Ages" of the church. The moon shall not give her light. The moon shines by reflected light of the sun and if it is darkened so will be the moon. So, too, the church shines by the light of Christ. When Christ's light was darkened by taking the Bible from the people the church give forth little light during the long night of the Middle Ages. The stars shall fall. Stars represent great teachers of the church, apostles and evangelists. See Rev. 1:20 . When the apostles were dethroned by the Romish apostasy, "the stars fell from heaven," figuratively. Other stars, great church lights who apostatized, fell from heaven in another sense.

      30. Then. After the long period of apostasy. Shall appear the sign of the Son of man. Some sign of his coming that every one will recognize when it is manifested. All the tribes of the earth mourn. Because of their sins. They shall see the Son of man coming. It will be visible to every eye and will be in splendor.

      31. With a great sound of a trumpet. Compare 1 Thess. 4:16 . Shall gather his elect. Before the judgment on the world. The believers will be in all countries, mingled with the population of earth, and then shall be separated. Four winds. The four quarters of the earth.

      32, 33. Learn a parable from the fig tree. The putting forth of the leaves is the sign that summer is near. It puts forth leaves usually in April. So "all these things" show when the Lord is at hand.

      34, 35. This generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled. Some hold that "all these things," in Matthew 24:32 Matthew 24:33 , refer only to what was said of the fall of Jerusalem, ending with verse 28 . Others have contended that the phrase includes the second coming, but refers directly to the end of Jerusalem, which was a type of the end of the world. I believe, rather, that "all these things" embraces all thus far predicted, and that "this generation" means the Jewish race, instead of only those then living. The Greek word so rendered is used in the sense of race in the Greek classics, and as examples of such use in the New Testament, Alford points to Matt. 12:45 and Luke 16:8 , as examples of such use in the New Testament. Christ has described the awful end of the Jewish state; after such a destruction and scattering of the remnant to the ends of the earth, all the examples of history would declare that the Jewish race would become extinct. Christ, however, declares that, contrary to all probability, it shall not pass away until he comes. They still exist, 1850 years after the prediction, distinct, but without a country.

      36. Of that day and hour knoweth no one. How foolish then to be figuring out the time of the Lord's coming.

      37-41. As were the days of Noah. As the deluge surprised the world, so will the Lord's coming. Two women shall be grinding at the mill. The hand-mills still used in the East. The grinding is done by women, usually two, as the work is hard for one. It will be the time of separation of the evil from the good.

      42. Watch therefore. Because the coming will be unexpected. Mark adds, "pray."

      43. If the master of the house. The lesson of the illustration is a constant state of preparation. Elsewhere in the New Testament Christ's coming is compared to that of a thief in the night ( 1 Thess. 5:1-10 Revelation 3:3 Revelation 16:15 ).

      44. Be ye also ready. The duty enjoined is not to watch for Christ, but to watch ourselves to see that we are ready.

      45. Who then is a faithful and wise servant? In Luke 12:42-46 , is given a similar parable in answer to a question of Peter. There the Lord speaks of "the faithful and wise steward;" here he describes a steward, but speaks of him as a servant. Ruler. Preachers, elders, deacons, Sunday-school superintendents, teachers. Household. All under their religious charge.

      46, 47. Blessed is that servant, whom his lord . . . shall find so doing. The blessedness applies equally to those who are faithful unto death and those who are so found at the Lord's coming. This blessedness is in the reward the Lord will give. `He shall make him ruler over all his goods. The parables of the talents and the pounds show that those who have been faithful to the trusts given them here shall receive additional trusts in the Savior's eternal kingdom.

      48. My lord delayeth his coming. The worst enemy of Christ is the professed servant of the Lord who practices are evil, and who supposes he can evade punishment for his crimes.

      49. And shall begin to smite his fellow-servants. There is no sin more common among those who are clothed with authority than oppression. There have been no worse oppressors than priests. And to eat and drink with the drunken. What first disgusted Luther with the faith in which he had been reared was the profligacy of the priests and monks. It has often been the case that the Vatican was the very hot-bed of scandal.

      50. The lord of that servant shall come. He will certainly come, and come when the servant is unprepared for him. The majority of the wicked who die in their sins have expected to be better prepared for the end of life.

      51. And shall cut him asunder. An ancient method of punishment which was practiced among the Israelites. See 1 Samuel 15:33 1 Samuel 15:2 and 2 Sam. 12:31 . The idea here is that very severe punishment shall be inflicted upon him, while weeping and gnashing of teeth would indicate a life of intense suffering. Indeed both these expressions must be regarded as metaphors, indicating nothing more clearly than a terrible and certain punishment.

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