Matthew 24In the prophecy of this chapter, there is a double reference: first, to the destruction of the temple, and as connected with this the overthrow of the Jewish state and nation; secondly, to the end of the world. Both these events are included in the question of the disciples, ver 3, who seem to have connected them as inseparable from each other. The providential coming of the Son of man to destroy the city and temple, which was to be fulfilled before that generation had passed away, shadows forth, therefore, his more awful and majestic personal coming at "the end of the world." So far as the outward form of the prophecy is concerned, the first part is more occupied with the nearer event; the later, with the more distant. But it was not our Lord's purpose to reveal distinctly the separation of the two by a vast interval of time. The signs of the approaching catastrophy--wars, famine, pestilence, earthquakes, persecution, false prophets, etc.--were all fulfilled, as the history of these times shows, in respect to its nearer fulfilment in the destruction of Jerusalem. Another fulfilment remains for the last days. The darkening of the sun, moon, and stars, ver. 29, was fulfilled symbolically at the overthrow of the Jewish temple and city, this being a well-known emblem of revolutions and the fall of nations. See note on Isa 13:10, and the references. But it shall be literally fulfilled when heaven and earth shall pass away.The temple; this temple was built by the Jews after their return from the Babylonish captivity, and greatly enlarged and beautified by Herod. Thrown down; expressive of the utter destruction which took place about forty years after. It is a great privilege to be permitted to apply to Christ for instruction; for he can give us what we need, and in the best time and way. False teachers abound in all ages, and seek in various ways to draw away disciples after them. We should not believe every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God. 1Jo 4:1. In order to do this, all should study the Scriptures, and compare what they hear with the word of God. My name's sake; on account of their attachment to him. The hatred of men to Jesus Christ often shows itself in hatred to his people; and the manner in which men treat them, shows how, were he embodied and dwelling among men, they would treat him. Offended; let to forsake him, and apostatize from his religion. Endure; continue to obey Christ, notwithstanding all opposition. The sure and decisive test of friendship to Christ, in distinction from all counterfeits, is love to his character shown by perservering obedience to his commands. All the world; all the countries then known. The abomination of desolation; commonly understood of the eagles of the Roman standards, regarded as objects of idolatrous worship.Stand in the holy place; encamped about Jerusalem.Whoso readeth; Da 9:27; 12:11.Let him understand; that the destruction foretold by the prophet Daniel more than five hundred years before, is now about to be accomplished. Flee into the mountains; to save themselves, and prevent their being taken by the Romans. House-top; the tops of houses were then made flat, and persons often sat, walked, prayed, took their meals, and spent their nights upon them.To take any thing; but flee by the shortest way, and in the quickest manner. Woe; on account of the increased difficulty of fleeing. Winter--sabbath-day; because it would then be more difficult to escape. God's arrangements for the future are not so fixed that it is improper for us to pray that we may be favored in escaping from evils, and obtaining needed good. But while we pray, we must act; for in answering prayer, God encourages action, not idleness--the discharge of duty, not the neglect of it. Then shall be great tribulation; great distress. It is stated that eleven hundred thousand were slain, and in the neighborhood two hundred and fifty thousand more. Ninety-seven thousand were sold into perpetual bondage, and multitudes perished by famine, pestilence, and cruel treatment. Those days; days of distress.No flesh be saved; all the covenant people would perish.Elect's sake; those whom God had chosen to be his people. God orders the dispensations of providence and the manifestations of grace with special reference to his people; and in such a manner as shall secure their salvation. If it were possible; this implied that it was not possible. He is in the desert; that is, the Messiah is there. So shall--the coming of the Son of man be; it shall be so public that all must see it. Wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be; wherever the Jews are, the Romans will be upon them, as eagles are upon their prey; the eagle being the ordinary standard of the Roman armies. Shall the sun be darkened; on the twofold reference of these words, see the introductory note to the chapter. From this point onward the form of the prophecy has more immediate reference to Christ's final coming, yet not so as to exclude its earlier fulfilment. The language which Christ used to describe his coming in his providence to separate the righteous from the wicked at the destruction of Jerusalem, and the end of the Jewish commonwealth, was designed and strikingly adapted to carry our minds forward to his coming at the end of the world, when before him shall be gathered all nations, and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. Chap Mt 25:32. The sign of the Son of man in heaven; the sign of his speedy coming.Shall see the Son of man; fulfilled in a lower figurative sense when Christ came providentially to destroy the Jewish city and nation: to be fulfilled in the highest sense at his final personal coming. The same is true of the gathering together of his elect, mentioned in the following verse. This generation shall not pass--be fulfilled; that is, in the nearer event foretold. See the introductory note to the chapter. That day; the day of "The coming of the Son of man," ver Mt 24:37; 2Ti 1:12,18. Christ did not tell them when it would be, and none but God know. He warned them to be prepared for it, and to be always ready. Noe; the Greek method of spelling Noah. Ge 7:1. Taken; and saved as a follower of Christ.Left; to perish through unbelief and rejection of him. Ye know not; this was true with regard to the destruction of Jerusalem. It is also true with regard to each one's death; and it will be true with regard to the day of judgment. The day of our death, and of our being called to judgment, though known to God, is not revealed to us, that we may always be found in the path of duty, and thus, through grace, be prepared for those great events which are certain and near. Ready; for the coming of your Lord, in whatever way. Made ruler; given him the care of providing for his family. Cut him asunder; the reference is to the punishment of cutting or sawing asunder. The meaning is, he shall punish him with awful severity.
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