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Bible Commentaries

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

Matthew 24

 

 

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Verse 1-2

The Judgment of God upon Jerusalem and upon the World.

Of the destruction of the Temple:

v. 1. And Jesus went out and departed from the Temple; and His disciples came to Him for to show Him the buildings of the Temple.

v. 2. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down.

In this chapter, as Luther writes, there is described the conclusion and the end of both kingdoms, that of the Jews and that of the whole world. Jesus had spent a strenuous day on this Tuesday, teaching and preaching from early morning till the shadows of evening fell. He now left the Temple and the city, in order to return to Bethany for the night. As He was passing out through the Temple-gate, one of His disciples admiringly pointed out to Him the massive, beautiful stones and the rich ornamentation of the Temple, the pride of the Jews, and other disciples eagerly came forward to call attention to special features, to the various porticoes, halls, courts, and other structures. The conversation thus begun continued for some time, probably till they reached the hill opposite the city where they looked down upon the splendor of Herod's most magnificent building. But the summary of Christ's words is given in the solemn prediction—all the more impressive since they were standing or sitting in a place which afforded the most comprehensive view of the Temple—that there would not remain one stone in its proper position upon the other, which would not be completely demolished. The beautiful foundation and walls of white marble, the splendid Corinthian columns, the heavy gold ornamentation and veneering, all would be destroyed completely.


Verses 3-5

The question of the disciples as to details:

v. 3. And as He sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of Thy coming and of the end of the world?

v. 4. And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

v. 5. For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

The blunt prediction of Christ made a deep impression upon the disciples, and therefore they took advantage of the fact that Christ sat down by the wayside, opposite the city, to ask Him concerning the fulfillment of this prophecy, which they associated with the end of the world. Peter, James, John, and Andrew were the ones that were most insistent. Mar_13:3. They were interested above all in the time of Christ's return, and in the sign which would precede and foretell His coming to Judgment upon the city and upon the world. Note the three questions: When will the destruction of the Temple, city, and the Jewish state take place? What special sign will indicate Christ's coming? When will the end of the world be, the judgment of the living and the dead take place? There is no trace of an idea of a millennium in this question. The belief which the Jews held, and which Christ here supports, is that the present age of the world, the age of sin and death, will end with the Last Judgment, without any intervening time of millennial glory. This is indicated also in the answer of Christ, when He tells them to see to it, to take heed, to guard against deception and terror. For the signs that would precede both the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world would be of a nature to demand calm minds and brave hearts. The first sign would be the coming of false teachers, of false Christs. They would come in His name, they would claim identity with Him. By the very boldness of their manner they would make an impression. Many would be deceived, many would listen to their lies and put their trust in them. This was true at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, as Josephus relates, and it is true today. The number of false teachers with their sects is multiplying so rapidly that it is extremely difficult to keep records of them all.


Verses 6-8

Other external signs:

v. 6. And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that ye be not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

v. 7. For nation shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in divers places.

v. 8. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Christ's recital is impressive, dramatic: It will so happen, there is no question about it. he multiplicity of wars, the restlessness preceding, following wars, leading to new wars, wars in which the nations to which the Christians belong are involved, and wars of which they only hear by way of report and rumor; all these things are bound to happen, they are the result of the rejection of the Messiah; and so the Christians should not give way to perturbation, to excessive terror. They need calmness and strength, for that is not yet the end of sorrows. It was not the end before the destruction of Jerusalem, and it will not be the last thing before the end of the world. The wars, on the contrary, will assume a definite form. There will be uprisings, rebellions, of nation against nation, of people against people, of kingdom against kingdom, the Jews against the Syrians, the Tyrians against the Jews, the Jews and Galileans against the Samaritans, the Jews against the Romans and Agrippa, and civil war in Rome itself. As it was in the days before the destruction of Jerusalem, so the instances could be cited and multiplied from contemporaneous history, presaging the dissolution of the world, according to Christ's word. Even so it is with famines and pestilences and earthquakes: A famine in the days of Claudius Caesar, Act_21:28, famines involving millions of people in our days; pestilences mentioned by the historians of those days, a most fearful, unexplainable pestilence sweeping over the earth in our times; earthquakes in Crete, in Asia Minor, on the islands of the Aegean, at Rome, in Judea, in those days, similar ones in our days devastating large cities and whole provinces. And these are only the beginning of the intolerable dolors.


Verses 9-14

Persecutions:

v. 9. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you; and ye shall be hated of all nations for My name's sake.

v. 10. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

v. 11. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

v. 12. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

v. 13. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

v. 14. And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

It is a prophecy of the fate which was in store for the apostles and disciples during the generation preceding the fall of Jerusalem, as well as the persecutions that would fall to the lot of the confessing Christians of all times, especially that time just preceding the final dissolution of the world, the Last Judgment. Then they, the enemies, would deliver them into affliction, that the pressure of every form of hatred would encompass them. And this hatred would not hesitate at times, since this is its favorite mood, to put some of them to death, Luk_21:16; Joh_16:2. All this abundantly fell to the lot, not only of the early disciples and the Christians of the first three centuries, as in the ten persecutions, but also to the Bible Christians of the later centuries, when they became the victims of the inquisition, of religious wars, and of political machinations. The position of the followers of Christ of all times has been that of the hated ones for the sake of the Lord's name. The mere bearing of the Christian name, in some of the early persecutions, was a crime to which was attached the death penalty. And the same hatred is abroad in the land today, intolerance and bigotry, not directed primarily against languages, but against the truth of Christianity. To the hatred of the enemies of Christ would be added betrayal by members of the Church themselves, who would finally take offense at the crosses which were laid upon the disciples. Offense, betrayal, hatred, is the natural course of events in a case of that kind, not only in the apostolic and ante-Nicene Church, where such former members of the congregations were designated by special names, but also in our days, when science, falsely so called, is causing many members to stumble and fall, and finally to become enemies of the Bible and of the Church.

These conditions would be rendered still more difficult to bear because false prophets would arise in the very midst of the congregations, Act_20:29-30; 2Ti_2:17-18, as they do today, counteracting the effect of the pure Gospel-preaching and causing further offense by leading many into error. And in the same measure and degree as godliness and iniquity increase, real love and charity among the Christians would decrease, would be chilled and killed by the winds of affliction. There the combined admonition and promise stands out like a glorious emblem. He that endures patiently, bearing all for the sake of the Lord's name, he whose faith remains unwavering, and whose life bears witness to that faith, he shall be saved, shall finally be delivered from all evil and receive eternal glory as a reward of mercy. "This is what matters here, where we have a life full of crosses, and the devil and the world place many obstructions in the way, that the exponents of Christianity endure to the end, that is, valiantly conquer all obstructions and offenses, if thou desirest to be saved before God. For the kingdom of heaven, Christ says elsewhere, Mat_11:12, suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. Therefore a Christian must not only begin in faith, hope, love, patience, and continue for a while, but also continue to the end. Otherwise, if all the good would materialize that we attempt, heaven would be on earth. ")

There is also a great deal of comfort in the second promise of the Lord, that the end of the world will come when the Gospel has been preached throughout the inhabited world. Jesus purposely does not fix exact limits, but makes His statement very general, in order to prevent the foolish reckoning of time, which has become such a fad in our days. Very extensively, throughout the heathen world, to and among all nations, to prevent false accusations as to favoritism, this Gospel, the Gospel of His grace and mercy, would be proclaimed. It is both promise and encouragement, promise of a shedding forth of His gracious message in abundant measure, encouragement to carry on the mission-work which thereby fell to their lot, with undaunted courage and willingness.


Verses 15-18

The abomination of desolation:

v. 15. When ye, therefore, shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, stand in the Holy Place,

(whoso readeth, let him understand,)

v. 16. then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains;

v. 17. let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house;

v. 18. neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.

This is true above all of the time of Jerusalem's fall. The disciples are to bear everything in mind that the Lord said, remember what promises He made them, what hopes He held out before them. Then they shall be able to maintain that poise which is so necessary in these latter days, in the troublous times that are then to come. Luther and others have thought the abomination of desolation referred to here was a statue of the Emperor Caius Caligula, which the governor caused to be placed in the Temple for adoration. That indeed was an abomination, a defiling of the Temple consecrated to the true God. But it is used here in even a wider sense, Luk_21:20-24. The abomination of desolation, the blaspheming horde that carried death and destruction with it, that carried out the terrible, but just sentence of God upon the Jewish people, was the army of Rome, with its military ensigns, its eagles and idols. This, as Daniel describes it, chapter 11:25-27; 9:27; 11:31; 12:11, would indicate that the Holy Place had fallen into the hands of the heathen, and that sacrifices to the living God would cease. Such a condition of affairs would be so terrible, so far exceeding all imagination, that they must force their mind to understand what that really means. This sign, the abomination of desolation, indicates the final period beyond which they should not delay; the Christians should not attempt to stay in the city any longer. The most abrupt flight is advised. Those that are still in Judea should flee into the mountain fastnesses, an advice followed literally by the Christian congregation of Jerusalem in fleeing to Pella. Any one that happens to be on the flat housetop when the news comes should not even endeavor to make his way out through the house, but should use the stairway leading down into the street immediately, in order to lose no time. In the same way he that happens to be engaged in the field should make no attempt to get his good clothes. Precipitate flight is the one way to be saved.


Verses 19-22

Further advice:

v. 19. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days

!

v. 20. But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day.

v. 21. For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

v. 22. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved; but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.

Naturally, such circumstances would be especially unpleasant and dangerous for such women as were about to become or had just become mothers, since quick flight would be attended by many difficulties. Another evil possibility would be that the time of flight would fall in the season of winter, when the weather would further increase the difficulties and hardships of traveling. And if the flight should fall on a Sabbath, when a false understanding of God's will might endanger their lives, or occur in a Sabbath year, when the land was lying fallow, they might have trouble in obtaining the necessary food on the way. All such factors would tend to bring out still more strongly the extraordinary tribulations, the great distresses of that period in the history of the Jews; God would be pouring out the vials of His wrath in full measure upon their city and nation. If God would not temper justice with mercy and pity, all the people would be consumed in the general destruction. But even in the midst of His anger He has compassion; for the sake of His people, the believers in Him, He will shorten the time of punishment, lest all perish.


Verses 23-28

The attack upon the faith:

v. 23. Then, if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there, believe it not.

v. 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.

v. 25. Behold, I have told you before.

v. 26. Wherefore, if they shall say unto you, Behold, He is in the desert, go not forth; behold, He is in the secret chambers, believe it not.

v. 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.

v. 28. For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

The Lord still has in mind principally the days preceding the destruction of Jerusalem, though His words may be said to find a general application. The external afflictions would become still more unbearable owing to the fact that the attacks on the faith of the disciples of Christ would be more subtle and be managed with much boldness. False Messiahs would attempt to gain power, at least for a time. The manner and circumstances of their conduct are here briefly sketched, and they find their application to this day. They would present to an astonished world great signs and wonders, such in appearance as well as such in truth, such as are easily explained by reference to religious psychology and plain swindle, and such as baffle the investigators. There is need of careful distinction here to keep the false Christs separate from the true Christ, the false teachers from the true teachers. "Here you may consider whereon the right doctrine, from which we dare not budge, depends. Here remember: The right doctrine does nothing else than to show and set before thee Christ, in order that thou mayest comfort thy heart through Him against sin and death. This is done thus that we are taught Christ is the true, eternal, almighty God, together with the Father and the Holy Ghost, come down to us men on earth, conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary into this world; that He finally died on the cross, not on account of His sins, for He, as God, could not sin, but on account of our sins, in order that God by such death might be satisfied and our debt be paid, and we by Christ's resurrection from the dead might also come to eternal life; that therefore Christ conquered sin and death for our benefit, that sin and death should not harm us; and now henceforth sits at the right hand of God, in order to defend us against the devil, mercifully grant us His Spirit, and hear us in all things which we need for body and soul and ask in His name. That is preaching correctly concerning Christ, and agrees in every detail with the Word; therefore one need not worry about the Antichrist and his lies in that case. " In case one's faith is firmly based upon this Gospel of Jesus, he will not be disturbed by the signs and wonders of the false Christs. "This we should remember, in order that we may meet such as praise the miraculous signs so highly and say: I know the devil, he can imitate God (for he is God's ape), he can do all miraculous signs, but they are false miraculous signs. The people imagine, indeed, that they are true signs; even those upon whom they are performed, have no other feeling than that they are blind, dead. But they are false signs, which are done for the purpose that we desert God and pledge ourselves to some saint. But when the people have pledged themselves, then the devil removes the ghost. Then the people say: This or that saint has helped me, and are strengthened in their idolatry. Such false miraculous signs, which the devil has done to substantiate his lies and errors, and that idolatry might become all the greater in the world, the Pope has confirmed and strengthened with his indulgences. " Thus the subtlety of the false Christs might succeed, if such a thing were possible, if God should permit such an outrage, in deceiving even those that are believers. But no man can pluck them out of His hands, Joh_10:28.

Two further characteristics of false teachers are that they always aim to pique curiosity by making their teachings as obscure as possible, either by going out into desert places or by hiding themselves in inner chambers. Such cases are mentioned not only in the Bible, Act_21:38, and by the historian Josephus, but they have had their logical successors in the ascetics, the monks and nuns of all times, that shut themselves away from the world in the foolish effort to know Christ more fully. Many such people were regarded with the greatest veneration by the ignorant and vested with the personality and power of Christ Himself. Such fanaticism is branded in the words of Christ: Behold, I have told you in advance; believe it not! And He emphasizes His words by a picture, that of the unexpectedness of the lightning, whose brightness nevertheless illumines the earth. So will Christ come to Judgment, first of all upon the Jews that had rejected Him and His Word. The clouds may have been coming up for some time and the thunder reverberated in the distance, but the sudden flash of lightning, sending its bolt in fearful destruction, is unexpected. So the signs preceding the fall of Jerusalem, as those presaging the Judgment Day, will make the watchful more alert, and yet the actual appearance of the Judge will be like a bolt of lightning, sudden, terrible. Hence the striking, though homely admonition: wherever the dead body is lying, there the carrion vultures will assemble. Where Christ is, there shall His elect also be. "Thus the Lord has made use of two parables, first of a heavenly one, that of the lightning, which is a fine light, to indicate that His kingdom is unfettered and uncaptured. For since Jerusalem is now destroyed, where the kingdom of Christ was formerly, the question is asked where the kingdom will now be, since Jerusalem is now torn to pieces. There it is said: Where the lightning and where the carcass will be, that is, where the divine Word will be, whether it be here or in another place, there will the Church be."


Verses 29-31

The signs of the Last Day:

v. 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.

v. 30. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

v. 31. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

The entire passage is intensely vivid. Note: A striking feature of prophetic utterances in general is the absence of the element of time according to human standards. Events that may be years and centuries apart are connected as though they would take place in one continuous action. The eternal God, who inspires prophecy, is not subject to time. Whatever happens, takes place before Him in one great Now. Another significant fact: Jesus connects the prophecies concerning Jerusalem and concerning the final judgment in such a way that they almost overlap. The judgment upon Jerusalem is not only a type of the last, great Judgment Day, but the judgment of the world has, in a way, begun with the fall of Jerusalem. —There are solemn lessons contained in this chapter. When the day which is destined to be the last day of this world dawns, most unusual and terrible signs will appear. The sun will be darkened, the moon will lose her splendor, the stars wall fall from the sky, the powers which control the heavens will be agitated, all the laws of nature will be overthrown. No ordinary eclipses, shooting stars, meteors here, that are merely acting in accordance with nature's laws; here is chaos, here is the subverting of all the powers that have held the universe in its accustomed path. The same Creator that formed the heavens and. framed the laws which regulate the great machinery of creation will at that time recall the laws, and deal with the universe according to His further plan and will. And then, amid the uproar of the elements and the quaking of the heavens, the great sign, the Son of Man Himself, will appear in the sky, clothed with His eternal power and majesty. The former despised Nazarene, the Son of Man in His humiliation, will show that His claims of supernatural endowments were only too well founded. Then all the tribes, all the nations of the earth, shall wail and lament, as the Judge comes in the clouds of the sky, with power and much glory. And there will be the sound of a mighty trumpet, and the angels will be sent out as His messengers to collect those that are His own in faith. From the four winds and corners of the earth, from every people and tongue and nation, they will come together at the great call.


Verses 32-35

The lesson of the fig-tree:

v. 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:

v. 33. so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.

v. 34. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled.

v. 35. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.

Even as the person with ordinary common sense and powers of observation needs no further evidence for the fact that summer is near when he sees the fig-tree's branches become soft with the swelling sap and the young leaves pushing forth from the buds, so the disciple of Christ who sees the signs of which Christ speaks in the whole chapter, including the destruction of Jerusalem, understands and knows that the final judgment is upon him, at his very door. And here is another sign, a further proof for the truth of His saying, for the soundness of His prophecy: This generation will not pass away till all this will come to pass. He means to say, either: The Jewish nation will remain on earth as a race, with all the racial characteristics, till the Day of Judgment; or: The generation of children which I have chosen, My Church, will not pass away, it will stand against all attempts to overthrow it, to all eternity. Amid the crash of worlds, when heaven and earth turn back into chaos and are destroyed, the Word of the Lord abideth forever.


Verses 36-41

The time of Judgment Day:

v. 36. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only.

v. 37. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.

v. 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,

v. 39. and knew not until the Flood came, and took them all away, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be

v. 40. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

v. 41. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

Here is material for careful pondering, above all for those that make it a practice to predict the exact date of Christ's coming to judgment, as many sects have been in the habit of doing since the beginning of the Christian Church, but especially since the year 1000 A. D. Neither men nor angels have a knowledge of the exact season and time, day and hour, when the Day of Judgment will break upon the world, not even Jesus according to His humanity, in the lowliness of His human nature only, Mar_13:32. It is a secret which is hidden in the councils of God the Father. The Son of God, according to His humanity, has renounced the right to this knowledge for the sake of men, lest they inquire after the day and the hour and give themselves over to a false security. But so much is sure: there will be a repetition of the confident carelessness which characterized the days before the Flood. As the time of Christ's coming to Judgment draws near, there will be a continuous round of feasting and pleasure-seeking, without in any way regarding the gravity of the situation. Note: The Lord's words, "marrying and giving in marriage," are not meant to discountenance the holy estate of matrimony, but they throw a spotlight upon conditions of the present time. For instead of understanding the holiness of the wedded estate, and seeking and entering into it in the fear of the Lord, people in our days have only the gratification of their lusts in mind. The sanctity of the marriage vow has been relegated to the rubbish heap, and while the majority of so-called Christian people do not yet openly profess free love, a great many come dangerously near sanctioning and practicing it. For them, as for the people in the time of Noah, the Day of Judgment will truly be a cataclysm, bringing them sudden, terrible punishment. For the guilty cannot escape, even if he be associated outwardly with the innocent, with the believer. Of two men working together, as partners, in the field or elsewhere, one will be accepted, the other will be left and thus rejected. Of two women busy with their housework, attending to the duties that fall to their lot, one will be accepted as a believer, the other will be rejected as an unbeliever. Christ here, in a single vivid flash, shows the routine of Oriental life—the men in the field, the women in the kitchen. "When the grain was cut, threshed, and winnowed, there were no mills to which it could be taken for grinding. This process had to be done in each home, and the labor of doing it fell to the women of the household. Grain was reduced to flour either by rubbing or by pounding. The process of rubbing or grinding was accomplished either by a flat, saddle-shaped stone over which another was rubbed, or by crushing between two stones, the top one of which was Revolved somewhat as a modern millstone. It required two women, as Jesus said, to grind at such a mill—one to feed it, while the other manipulated the rubbing stone. The upper stone was apparently rotated by twisting the wrist. It could thus be turned half-way round and then back again."


Verses 42-44

The Need of Watchfulness.

A summary:

v. 42. Watch therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

v. 43. But know this, that if the goodman 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.

v. 44. Therefore be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh.

Therefore: Since the exact time is unknown and since faithfulness is required, watch, be on your guard, do not even for a day, an hour, a moment, relax your vigilance. Like a thief in the night His day is coming. The housefather, knowing that a thief is coming some time during the night, will far rather watch all night than take chances, with the result that his house is searched through, as if with his permission. Thus the believers of the last days cannot afford to take chances, there is too much at stake. A state of unremitting watchfulness is required of the followers of Christ, in which they are aware every minute of the seriousness of the situation, one fact always standing out in their minds and being brought out in their lives: The Son of Man is coming, a stern and implacable Judge upon the unbelievers that left His warning unheeded, a merciful and kind Judge upon the believers that were always ready for His coming.


Verses 45-47

The faithful servant:

v. 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?

v. 46. Blessed is that servant whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

v. 47. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.

If a master entrusts to one of his slaves, during his absence, the care of the entire household, the supervision of all the servants, such a slave will show that the trust has not been misplaced by being doubly faithful and judicious at such a time. He will not become negligent and careless on account of some delay of his lord in returning, but will redouble his efforts every day, in order to be found worthy by the master. Such faithfulness will be rewarded by happiness and blessing upon the lord's return. The slave will be given still more authority; he will be placed in charge of the entire estate. Even so the disciples of Christ, to whom He has entrusted His means of grace, will be undaunted by the taunts of the world and by the seeming delay of their Lord in returning: they will remain faithful in the discharge of their duties as Christians and not grow lax.


Verses 48-51

The unfaithful servant:

v. 48. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming,

v. 49. and shall begin to smite his fellow-servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken,

v. 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,

v. 51. and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The opposite side of the picture: the servant that takes advantage of the supposed delay of his master. Frivolously, exultingly, he says in his heart: There is no danger, the master is tardy about coming. The very remark proves that his work is mere eye-service. And this is borne out by his behavior: playing the tyrant in beating his fellow-slaves, especially such as are anxious to do their duty, indulging to excess in eating and drinking with such as are willing to join him in his debauch. Here the unexpected arrival of the master brings the curse and punishment, an unmerciful thrashing and a condemnation to the lot of the hypocrites, the dungeon with a remorse of weeping and gnashing of teeth. The same doom awaits the false Christians that abuse the trust of their Lord Jesus Christ, delay true repentance, are unmerciful in their dealings with others, join with the children of the world in all the lusts and vices of the flesh, and try to console themselves with the thought: The Day of Judgment is not yet coming. While the Lord rewards the true believers with the fullness of His heavenly blessings and all the riches of the mansions above, the false servants will be doomed to everlasting torment in hell. And not without reason have commentators of all times made special application of this parable to the ministers of the Word, upon whom special responsibilities devolve. The greater the trust placed by God in any man, the more exact will be the reckoning.

Summary.Jesus foretells the destruction of the Temple and of the city of Jerusalem, with all the signs that are intended as a warning to believers; He makes this a, type of the coming to Judgment, which He briefly describes, adding an earnest admonition to be watchful and faithful.

 


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Bibliography Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Matthew 24:4". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/matthew-24.html. 1921-23.

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