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Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

Matthew 16



Verse 1

1. οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ Σαδδουκαῖοι. In Mark οἱ Φαρισαῖοι alone. The coalition between these opposing sects can only be accounted for by the uniting influence of a strong common hostility against Jesus.

πειράζοντες. The participle sometimes expresses in a condensed form what might be expanded into a final or consecutive sentence. See Campbell’s Soph. Essay on the language, &c., § 36. [5] b., ἔβας | τόσσον ἐν ποίμναις πίτνων (Ajax, 185) = τόσσον ὥστε πίτνειν. Cp. Ant. 752, ἤ κἀπαπειλῶν ὦδʼ ἐπεξέρχει θρασύς; see Jebb’s note on Ajax, loc. cit.

σημεῖον ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ. They could not conceive the inner beauty of Christ’s teaching, but they would follow the rules of a Rabbi who, like one of the ancient prophets, should give an external sign—a darkening of the glowing sky—a flash of light—a peal of thunder. The answer of Christ teaches that the signs of the times, the events of the day, are the signs of God, the sign that Christ gives.

Verse 2

2. εὐδίαχειμών. For this contrast cp. ἀλλὰ νῦν μοι | γαιάοχος εὐδίαν ὄπασσεν | ἐκ χειμῶνος. Pind. Isth. (VII) VI. 37–39.

Verse 2-3

2 and 3. ὀψίαςοὐ δύνασθε. The genuineness of this passage is doubtful. It is omitted in several uncials (among them א B) and cursives. Origen passes over the passage in his Commentary, and Jerome notes its omission plerisque Codicibus. Still the internal evidence is strong in its favour and it is retained by the leading editors, though bracketed by Tischendorf and Westcott and Hort. See Scrivener’s , p. 49 [3].

Verse 3

3. στυγνάζων, late. Polybius uses στυγνότης of the weather.

τὸ πρόσωπον τοῦ οὐρανοῦ. Perhaps Jesus and His questioners were looking across the lake towards the cliffs of Gergesa, with the sky red from the reflected sunset. In Luke the signs are ‘a cloud rising in the west’ and the blowing of the ‘south wind.’

σημεῖα τῶν καιρῶν. The meaning of passing events—some of which point in many ways to the fulfilment of prophecy, and to the presence of Christ among men; others to the overthrow of the national existence through the misguided passions of the people, and the absence of true spiritual life. In Luke 13, two events of typical importance are reported to Jesus who shews how they are σημεῖα τῶν καιρῶν: they were not, as the Jews interpreted them, instances of individual punishment for sin, but they were warnings to the nation. Perhaps no clearer proof of this want of political or spiritual insight, and of blindness to facts, could be given than the pretension to political liberty made by the Jews, John 8:33, οὐδενὶ δεδουλεύκαμεν πώποτε. Neither Babylonish captivity, nor tribute to Caesar, nor presence of a Roman Procurator were σημεῖα to them.

The work and life of Christ were in the highest sense σημεῖα. He was Himself σημεῖον ἀντιλεγόμενον.

Verse 4

4. μοιχαλίς. See ch. Matthew 12:39.

τὸ σημεῖον Ἰωνᾶ. See ch. Matthew 12:39-41, where the same word occurs in the same connection. An estranged people cannot see signs. The words in Mark 8:12 are ‘there shall no sign be given unto this generation,’ i.e. no such sign as they demanded.

Verses 5-12


Mark 8:14-21, where the rebuke of Christ is given more at length in stirring language; and Luke 12:1, where the context and occasion are different. ἐπισυναχθεισῶν τῶν μυριάδων τοῦ ὄχλον ὥστε καταπατεῖν ἀλλήλους ἤρξατο λέγειν πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ πρῶτον.

Verse 6

6. τῆς ζύμης. Teaching, which like leaven is corrupt and penetrating, cp. 1 Corinthians 5:7, ἐκκαθάρατε τὴν παλαιὰν ζύμην ἵνα ἦτε νέον φύραμα καθώς ἐστε ἄζυμοι, where the reference is to the putting away of leaven before the passover. See Schöttgen on 1 Corinthians 5:7, and cp. Hosea 7:4, and note ch. Matthew 13:33.

Verse 7

7. ὅτι ἄρτους οὐκ ἐλάβομεν. ὅτι, probably not causal but recitativum i.e. used to introduce the words of the speaker. εἰ μὴ ἕνα ἄρτον οὐκ εἶχον (Mark). It is possible that Jesus may have employed figurative language even more than was usual with Eastern teachers; certainly this special metaphorical use of leaven was new. See Lightfoot, Hor. Hebr. ad loc. Again, the Pharisees had rules of their own as to what kind of leaven it was lawful to use, and what kind it was right to avoid. Hence it was not strange that the disciples should imagine that their Master was laying down similar rules for their guidance.

Verse 8

8. ὀλιγόπιστοι. Their πίστις had failed in two respects: they had shown [1] want of spiritual insight by taking ζύμη in a literal sense. [2] Want of loving trust in thinking that Jesus intended a rebuke to their forgetfulness.

Verse 9

9. οὔπω νοεῖτε. In Mark the rebuke is conveyed by a reference to the prophecy quoted ch. Matthew 13:14-15 (Isaiah 6:9-10), with the striking variation of πεπωρωμένην καρδίαν for ἐπαχύνθη ἡ καρδία.

κοφίνουςσπυρίδας. See notes ch. Matthew 14:20 and Matthew 15:37.

Verse 11

11. ἂρτων for ἄρτου, a certain correction.

Verse 12

12. συνῆκαν. See note on ἀσύνετοι, ch. Matthew 15:16.

Verse 13

13. Καισαρείας τῆς Φιλίππου. The most northerly point in the Holy Land reached by our Lord. The city was rebuilt by Herod Philip, who called it by his own name to distinguish it from Cæsarea Stratonis on the sea coast, the seat of the Roman government, and the scene of St Paul’s imprisonment.

The Greek name of this Cæsarea was Paneas, which survives in the modern Banias. Cæsarea was beautifully placed on a rocky terrace under Mount Hermon, a few miles east of Dan, the old frontier city of Israel. The cliffs near this spot, where the Messiah was first acknowledged, bear marks of the worship of Baal and of Pan. See Recovery of Jerusalem, and Tristram’s Land of Israel.

τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου. See note ch. Matthew 8:20. The question of Jesus is: In what sense do the people believe me to be the Son of man? In the sense which Daniel intended or in a lower sense? Observe the antithesis in Peter’s answer:—the Son of man is the Son of God.

Verses 13-20


Mark 8:27-30 : The question is put ‘while they were on the way,’ the words ‘the Son of the living God’ are omitted, as also the blessing on Peter. Luke 9:18-21 : Jesus was engaged in prayer alone; the words of the confession are ‘the Christ of God;’ the blessing on Peter is omitted.

Verse 14

14. Ἱερεμίαν. Named by St Matthew only. The mention of Jeremiah as representative of the Prophets is explained by Lightfoot (Hor. Hebr. Matthew 27:9) by reference to a Talmudic treatise, according to which the book of Jeremiah came first of the Prophets, following the books of Kings.

Verse 16

16. σὺ εἶ ὁ Χριστὸς ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ζῶντος. This confession not only sees in Jesus the promised Messiah, but in the Messiah recognises the divine nature. It was this claim that brought upon Jesus the hostility of the Jews. Trypho the Jew in his dialogue with Justin Martyr declares that his nation expected a human Messiah: such a claim made by Jesus might even have been admitted: it is the claim to divinity not to Messiahship that rouses the popular fury (John 8:58-59) and decides the judgment of the Sanhedrin (Matthew 26:64-65).

Verse 17

17. Βὰρ Ἰωνᾶ, ‘son of Jonah,’ or ‘son of John.’ The Greek form may stand for either name (see Bp. Lightfoot on a Fresh Revision of N.T., pp. 159, 160); but the reading adopted by the best editors John 1:43, υἱὸς Ἰωάνου, seems conclusive in favour of the latter rendering. Bar is Aramaic for son; cp. Bar-abbas, Bar-tholomew, Bar-nabas.

ὅτι σὰρξ καὶ αἷμα κ.τ.λ. Not man, but God; ‘flesh and blood’ was a common Hebrew expression in this contrast. The recognition was not by material test or human judgment, but by the witness of the Holy Spirit.

Verse 18

18. σὺ εἶ Πέτρος κ.τ.λ. The precise meaning of πέτρα in relation to Πέτρος has been keenly disputed. To suppose no connection between Πέτρος and πέτρα is opposed to candid criticism. On the other hand, to view πέτρα as simply equivalent to Πέτρος, and to regard the personal Peter as the rock on which the Church is built, narrows the sense. Πέτρα is the central doctrine of the Christian Church—the Godhead of its Lord. Yet Peter is not named in connection with the πέτρα without cause. To Peter first was granted spiritual insight to discern, and courage to confess this great truth; and therefore it was his privilege to be the first scribe instructed to the kingdom of heaven, and to Peter as such the blessing is addressed. For an illustration of this view of Peter, regarded, not as an individual, but as a representative of a truth, cp. Apol. Soc., p. 23 b., καὶ φαίνεται τοῦτʼ οὐ λέγειν τὸν Σωκράτη, προσκεχρῆσθαι δὲ τῷ ἐμῷ ὀνόματι, ἐμὲ παραδεῖγμα ποιούμενος, ὥσπερ ἂν εἰ εἴποι ὅτι οὗτος ὑμῶν, ὦ ἄνθρωποι, σοφώτατός ἐστιν ὅστις ὥσπερ Σωκράτης ἔγνωκεν ὅτι οὐδενὸς ἄξιός ἐστι τῇ ἀληθείᾳ πρὸς σοφίαν.

On these words mainly rest the enormous pretensions of the Roman pontiff. It is therefore important [1] To remember that it is to Peter with the great confession on his lips that the words are spoken. The Godhead of Christ is the πέτρα—the keystone of the Church, and Peter is for the moment the representative of the belief in that truth among men. [2] To take the words in reference: (a) to other passages of Scripture. The Church is built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Ephesians 2:20, on Christ Himself, 2 Corinthians 3:11. (b) To history; Peter is not an infallible repository of truth. He is rebuked by Paul for Judaizing. Nor does he hold a chief place among the Apostles afterwards. It is James, not Peter, who presides at the Council at Jerusalem. (c) To reason: for even if Peter had precedence over the other Apostles, and if he was Bishop of Rome, which is not historically certain, there is no proof that he had a right of conferring such precedence on his successors.

μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν. The word ἐκκλησία occurs twice in Matthew and not elsewhere in the Gospels. See note ch. Matthew 18:17 where the Jewish ἐκκλησία is meant. From the analogy of the corresponding Hebrew word, ἐκκλησία in a Christian sense may be defined as the congregation of the faithful throughout the world, united under Christ as their Head. The use of the word by Christ implied at least two things: [1] that He was founding an organized society, not merely preaching a doctrine: [2] That the Jewish ἐκκλησία was the point of departure for the Christian ἐκκλησία and in part its prototype. It is one among many links in this gospel between Jewish and Christian thought. The Greek word (ἐκκλησία) has passed into the language of the Latin nations; église (French), chiesa (Italian), iglesia (Spanish). The derivation of the Teutonic Church is very doubtful. That usually given—Κυριακόν (the Lord’s house)—is abandoned by most scholars. The word is probably from a Teutonic root and may have been connected with heathen usages. See Bib. Dict. Art. Church.

πύλαι ᾅδου. Cp. Eur. Hec. I., ἥκω νεκρῶν κευθμῶνα καὶ σκότου πύλας | λιπὼν ἵν Ἄιδης χωρὶς ᾤκισται θεῶν. Theocr. Idyll. II. 159 (Schol.) τὴν τοῦ ᾄδου κρούει πύλην. τοῦτʼ ἐστιν ἀποθανεῖται. Verg. Aen. VI. 126, Noctes atque dies patet atri janua Ditis. Here the expression symbolises the power of the unseen world, especially the power of death: cp. Revelation 1:18, καὶ ἔχω τὰς κλεῖς τοῦ θανάτου καὶ τοῦ ᾄδου. 1 Corinthians 15:55, ποῦ σου, θάνατε, τὸ κέντρον, ποῦ σου, ᾄδη (var. lect. θάνατε), τὸ νῖκος. Ἅιδης is used for the Hebrew Sheol, the abode of departed spirits in which were the two divisions, Paradise and Gehenna. The introduction of such Greek religious terms to translate Hebrew religious terms is full of interest. It may be thought to ratify in part, at least, Greek religious ideas, to blend and modify those ideas with Jewish doctrine, and to bring the result of both to be raised and enlightened by the teaching of the Master.

οὐ κατισχύσουσιν αὐτῆς. The gates of Hades prevail over all things human, but the Church shall never die.

Verse 19

19. τὰς κλεῖδας τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν. This expression was not altogether new. To a Jew it would convey a definite meaning. A key was given to a Scribe when admitted to his office as a symbol of his authority to open the treasury of the divine oracles (ch. Matthew 13:52). Peter was to be a Scribe in the kingdom of heaven. He has received authority to teach the truths of the kingdom. Again the key was symbolic of office and authority generally; cp. Isaiah 22:22 : ‘The key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder, &c.’—words which are transferred to Christ Himself Revelation 3:7. These words of his Lord would afterwards gain a fresh force for Peter, when he found that through him God had opened ‘the door of faith to the Gentiles.’ Acts 14:27.

ὃ ἐὰν δήσῃς κ.τ.λ. ‘To bind’ (cp. ch. Matthew 23:4) is to impose an obligation as binding; ‘to loose’ is to declare a precept not binding. Such expressions as this were common: ‘The school of Shammai binds it, the school of Hillel looses it.’ The power is over things, not persons. The decisions of Peter, as an authorized Scribe of the Kingdom of God will be ratified in heaven. Such decisions of the Scribes of the Kingdom of Heaven were the sentence pronounced by James, Acts 15:19, and the judgments of Paul in the Corinthian Church.

Compare with this passage John 20:23, λάβετε πνεῦμα ἄγιον, ἄν τινων ἀφῆτε τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἀφέωνται αὐτοῖς· ἄν τινων κρατῆτε κεκράτηνται, where the reference is to the judicial authority of the apostles; here a legislative power is conferred. Observe carefully the force of the perfect ἀφέωνται and κεκράτηνται, ‘whosesoever sins ye shall remit, they have been remitted.’ Your spiritual σύνεσις will enable you to recognise and ratify the divine judgment on offending persons. So here note the future perfect ἔσται δεδεμένον. your decision will have been anticipated in heaven.

Verse 20

20. ἵνα μηδενὶ εἴπωσιν ὅτι αὐτός ἐστιν ὁ Χριστός. Lest the Galilæan enthusiasm should endeavour to make Him a king.

Verse 21

21. ἀπὸ τότε. An important note of time. Now that the disciples have learned to acknowledge Jesus to be the Messiah, He is able to instruct them in the true nature of the Kingdom.

δεῖ conveys the idea of duty, of a course of life not led haphazard, but determined by principle, of the divine plan which rules the life and work of Christ from first to last. This thought is specially prominent in the third gospel:—in His childhood, ἐν τοῖς τοῦ πατρός μου δεῖ εἶναί με. Luke 2:49 : in His preaching, καὶ ταῖς ἑτέραις πόλεσιν εὐαγγελίσασθαί με δεῖ τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ ὅτι ἐπὶ τοῦτο ἀπεστάλην. Luke 4:43, in the fulfilment of the prophecies of His sufferings and death and exaltation, οὐχὶ ταῦτα ἔδει παθεῖν τὸν Χριστόν, καὶ εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ, Matthew 24:26. Cp. Acts 17:3. The same thought is applied to St Paul’s life and work in the Acts 18:21; Acts 23:11, and in other passages. It was felt to be the motive of noble lives before the gospel: οὗ ἄν τις ἑαυτὸν τάξῃ ἥ ἡγησάμενος βέλτιον εἶναι ἥ ὑπʼ ἄρχοντος ταχθῇ, ἐνταῦθα δεῖ, ὡς ἐμοὶ δοκεῖ, μένοντα κινδυνεύειν, μηδὲν ὑπολογιζόμενον μήτε θάνατον μήτε ἄλλο μηδὲν πρὸ τοῦ αἰσχροῦ, Plato, Apol. Socr. p. 28.

πολλὰ παθεῖν. πάσχειν strictly means to ‘feel,’ or ‘experience,’ without any thought of pain or suffering. The history of the word is a melancholy comment on the experience of mankind. To feel was to suffer. In the language of Christianity πάσχειν is used specially of the sufferings and death of Christ, as here, and Luke 22:15, πρὸ τοῦ με παθεῖν. 1 Peter 2:21, Χριστὸς ἔπαθεν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν. Hence through the Vulgate, ‘passion’ has passed with this technical sense into English as in ‘Passion-tide,’ ‘Passion-week.’

τῶν πρεσβ. καὶ ἀρχ. καὶ γραμ. = the Sanhedrin. See ch. Matthew 2:4, and Matthew 26:3.

ἀποκτανθῆναι. As yet there is no mention of the Roman judge or of the death upon the cross; this truth is broken gradually, see Matthew 16:24.

ἀποκτανθῆναι. A rare late form. The Attic writers as a rule used θνήσκω and its compounds to supply the passive of κτείνω. Veitch cites ἐκτείνοντο, Thuc. III. 81, as the one known exception. In Homer the passive forms occur; e.g. aor. 1 ἐκτάθην, Od. IV. 537. Also rarely in late authors ἀπεκτάνθαι, Polyb. 7. 7, and in LXX. and N.T. (Veitch, sub voc. κτείνω).

τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ ἐγερθῆναι. How can the plainness of this intimation be reconciled with the slowness of the disciples to believe in the Resurrection? Not by supposing that obscure hints of the Passion were afterwards put into this explicit form; but rather [1] partly by the blindness of those who will not see; [2] partly by the constant use of metaphor by Jesus. “Might not,” they would argue, “this ‘death and rising again’ be a symbol of a glorious visible kingdom about to issue from our present debasement?”

Verses 21-23


Mark 8:31-33; Luke 9:22. St Luke omits the rebuke to Peter. St Mark adds καὶ παρρησίᾳ (without reserve) τὸν λόγον ἐλάλει, both add καὶ ἀποδοκιμασθῆναι.

Verse 22

22. ἵλεώς σοι. Understand θεὸς γένοιτο or γένοιο, and translate literally: ‘may God pity thee,’ i.e. ‘give thee a better fate,’ or [2] ‘pity thyself.’ ἵλεως is used of divine pity, in this way especially by late authors: σὐ δʼ ἵλεως Ἀφροδίτη γενοῦ, Lucian. Amor. 30; δέσποτα Παλαῖμον, ἵλεως ἡμῖν γενοῦ, Eur. Iph. T. 271; ταῦτʼ ὦ Λύκεἰ Ἄπολλον, ἵλεως κλύων | δὸς πᾶσιν κ.τ.λ., Soph. El. 655. Hence like Latin di avertant of events to be shunned or deprecated.

Verse 23

23. ὕπαγε ὀπίσω μου, σατανᾶ. Peter takes the place of the tempter, and argues for the false kingdom instead of for the true (see notes ch. Matthew 4:8-10).

σκάνδαλον ἐμοῦ, i.e. a snare to allure me, as tempting me to forsake the divine plan of self-denial and sacrifice.

οὐ φρονεῖς τὰ τοῦ θεοῦ ἀλλὰ τὰ τῶν ἀνθρώπων. ‘Thou mindest not the things of God but the things of men,’ i.e. thine are not God’s thoughts but man’s thoughts. Cp. τὰ τῆς σαρκὸς φρονοῦσιν (have a carnal mind), Romans 8:5; τὰ ἄνω φρονεῖτε, Colossians 3:2. In the classics φρονεῖν is used of political partisanship: φρονεῖν τὰ Φιλίππου, or τὰ τοῦ δήμου (Dem.), ‘to be on the side of Philip or on the side of the people.’ μήτʼ ἐμοὶ παρέστιος | γένοιτο μήτʼ ἴσον φρονῶν (i.e. of the same party in the state) ὅς τάδʼ ἔρδοι, Soph. Ant. 374. Thus the expression in the text = ‘thou art not on God’s side but on man’s, and therefore a Satanas or διάβολος, an adversary of God thwarting his plan of humility’.

With the exception of the parallel passage in Mark, and Acts 28:22, φρονεῖν is confined in N.T. to St Paul’s epistles where it is frequent, especially in Romans and Philippians.

Verse 24

24. ἀράτω τὸν σταυρόν, ‘take up his cross,’ St Luke adds καθʼ ἡμέραν. The expression, ch. Matthew 10:38, differs slightly, ὃς οὐ λαμβάνει τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ, where see note. ἀράτω τὸν σταυρὸν implies death; this explains the γὰρ (Matthew 16:15), let Christ’s follower lose on the cross the lower life, as the Master lost His, crucify also his earthly affections, of which the ψυχὴ was the seat (ψυχήἀναπαύου, φάγε, πίε, εὐφραίνου, Luke 12:19), and he shall win the higher spiritual life here and hereafter. Another thought of the Cross is slavery—it was especially a slave’s death (‘cives Romani servilem in modum cruciati et necati,’ Cic. in Verrem I. 5); ‘you must be slaves not kings;’ cp. ch. Matthew 20:25-28 and Philippians 2:8, ἐταπείνωσεν ἑαυτόν, γενόμενος ὑπήκοος μέχρι θανάτου, θανάτου δὲ σταυροῦ.

For the thought of the Christian’s crucifixion with Christ cp. among many other passages Galatians 2:20, Χριστῷ συνεσταύρωμαι.

Verses 24-28


Mark 8:34 to Mark 9:1; Luke 9:23-27.

Verse 26

26. ἐὰν τὸν κόσμον ὅλον κερδήσῃ. One of the false Messianic notions was that the Christ should gain the whole world, i.e. the Roman Empire. This was the very temptation presented to our Lord Himself ‘the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them.’ What is the value of universal dominion, of the whole power of Cæsar, compared with life? ψυχὴ had a wide range of meaning to the Greek; it was ‘life’ in all its extent, from the mere vegetative existence to the highest intellectual life. Christianity has deepened the conception by adding to the connotation of ψυχὴ the spiritual life of the soul in union with Christ.

The higher and the lower sense are both present in these verses, it is true that the world is worthless if life be lost, still more true if the union of the soul with Christ should be sacrificed. The Greek poet discerned that there is a greater gain than external prosperity, ἐπεί σʼ ἐφεύρηκα μοίρᾳ μὲν οὐκ ἐπʼ ἐσθλᾷ | βεβῶσαν· ἃ δὲ μέγιστʼ ἔβλαστε νόμιμα, τῶνδε φερομέναν | ἄριστα τᾷ Ζηνὸς εὐσεβείᾳ. Soph. El. 1094.

κερδήσῃ ζημιωθῇ. κέρδος and ζημία … are often thus opposed in the classics. Cp. Philippians 3:7, ἀλλʼ ἄτινα ἦν μοι κέρδος ταῦτα ἥγημαι διὰ τὸν Χριστὸν ζημίαν—a passage which reflects the thought of this.

ἀντάλλαγμα. Cp. κέκρισθεμήδʼ ἀνταλλάξασθαι μηδεμίας χάριτος μήδʼ ὠφελείας τὴν εἰς τοὺς Ἕλληνας εὔνοιαν (Dem. Phil. II. 10); no external gain, it was felt, would tempt Athens to abandon her loyal and pro-Hellenic policy—for that she would make every sacrifice.

Verse 27

27. γάρ. The reason given why the higher life—the soul—is of priceless value: [1] The Judge is at hand who will condemn self-indulgence and all the works of the lower life, and will reward those who have denied themselves. [2] Further (Matthew 16:28) this judgment shall not be delayed—it is very near. The same motive for the Christian life is adduced by St Paul, Philippians 4:5, τὸ ἐπιεικὲς ὑμῶν γνωσθήτω πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις. ὁ Κύριος ἐγγύς. Cp. 1 Corinthians 16:22.

Verse 28

28. οὐ μὴ γεύσωνται θανάτου κ.τ.λ. Compare

The valiant never taste of death but once.

SHAKSPEAR, Jul. Cæs. Act II, 2.

St Matthew’s version of this ‘hard saying’ indicates more plainly than the other Synoptic Gospels the personal presence of Christ. St Luke has, ἕως ἂν ἴδωσιν τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ: St Mark adds to these words, ἐληλυθυῖαν ἐν δυνάμει: but the meaning in each case is the same. Various solutions are given. The expression is referred to [1] the Transfiguration, [2] the Day of Pentecost, [3] the Fall of Jerusalem. The last best fulfils the conditions of interpretation—a judicial coming—a signal and visible event, and one that would happen in the lifetime of some, but not of all, who were present. To take ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ αὐτοῦ in a literal external sense would be to repeat St Peter’s error, and to ignore the explanation of the Kingdom just given.


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Bibliography Information
"Commentary on Matthew 16:4". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". 1896.

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