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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Matthew 24

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-40

Matthew 24 f. The Eschatological Discourse, and the Parables of Parousia (Mark 13*, Luke 21:5-36*, Luke 17:23-37).—Mt. follows Mk. fairly closely, but appends other eschatological sayings and illustrative parables (ch. 25). The discourse arises out of a prediction of the destruction of the Temple, and is spoken in Mt. not to four disciples but to the Twelve, who ask for "the sign of Thy coming (i.e. as Messiah, parousia), and of the end of the world (or age)." Jesus enumerates the events that must first occur (Matthew 24:4-14). With Matthew 24:4-8 cf. Mark 13:5-8. Most of Mark 13:9-13, perhaps originally in Q, has been already used by Mt. in Matthew 10:17-22, so here he summarises and varies, e.g. "hated of the nations" and the prediction of deterioration among the brethren themselves, Matthew 24:10 ff.). The actual end is heralded by a season of dire distress (Matthew 24:15-22; cf. Mark 13:14-20). "Let him that readeth" (Matthew 24:15), i.e. the Book of Daniel. Note the addition of "the Sabbath" in Matthew 24:20; flight on such a day would be against the Law, or if one limited oneself to a "Sabbath day's journey," would hardly enable one to escape the enemy. Christians still observed the Sabbath when Mt. was written. Matthew 24:22 b may mean that the presence of the chosen ones (Christians), who are to meet the Messiah, saves many others from death (cf. Genesis 18:32). Matthew 24:26 ff. is not in Mk., but cf. Luke 17:20-25; when the hour strikes, there will be no need to search for the Messiah. His presence will be as obvious as that of the lightning.

Matthew 24:28. This proverb (cf. Job 39:30), which only loosely fits the context, need not be forced into a picture of the elect gathering round their Lord, or of the Messiah and His angels swooping down for judgment on a wholly corrupt world. With Matthew 24:29 ff. cf. Mark 13:24-27; notice Mt.'s "immediately" (Matthew 24:29) and the addition in Matthew 24:30 ab. The evangelist expects that the fall of Jerusalem will speedily be followed by the sign of the Son of Man, i.e. some unique portent which precedes His advent; or perhaps there is a reference to Daniel 7:13. The mourning of the tribes of the earth (Zechariah 12:12) resembles but is hardly due to Revelation 17. It is lacking in Syr. Sin., which in Matthew 24:30 c has "Ye shall see"; if this was the original reading, it has been changed to "they" to suit the fact that disciples had passed away without seeing the sign. For the "trumpet" (Matthew 24:31) cf. Isaiah 27:13, Ps. Sol. 11:1-3; with 11:32-36 cf. Mark 13:28-32*. "Nor the Son" should probably (with good authority) be omitted from Mt.; we know how he usually treats statements of Mk. which humanise Christ. Lk. replaces the saying by an admonition against carelessness. Lk. (Luke 17:26 ff.) also gives, and more fully, the analogy with the Flood (Matthew 24:37 ff.), which is not found in Mk., and is from another source which regarded the Parousia as coming without signs and warnings.

Matthew 24:40 f. taken: i.e. for life; left: i.e. to destruction, or vice versa. For "in the field" Lk. (Luke 17:34) has "on one bed."


Verses 42-51

Matthew 24:42 to Matthew 25:13. Abbreviating Mark 13:33-37, with its simile of the absent householder, into one verse (Matthew 24:42; cf. Luke 21:36), Mt. inserts (a) the short simile of a householder off his guard, (b) the longer one describing the absent master and the careful and careless stewards (for these cf. Luke 12:39-48), (c) the parable of the bridesmaids (Mt. only). At Matthew 25:13 he repeats Mark 13:33, the starting-point of his inserted material. Note that in (a) the Parousia is boldly likened to the coming of a thief (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:2), in (b) the lesson is taught that every disciple must play his part loyally in the brotherhood. In its present form the parable may point to the contrast between faithful and heedless leaders of the early Church. "One looks after his flock, the other neglects and maltreats them, and seeks his own advantage" (Montefiore, p. 743).—cut him asunder (Matthew 5:1) possibly means" discharge him from his service." See Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary, p. 165, and cf. EGT. In (c) the Parousia is compared to a wedding procession. The contrast between the ready and the unready is again brought out, and the moral is the same as in the preceding illustrations. "Be prepared for Messiah's advent; it is too late to repent after His arrival." This parable is a good instance of the futility of trying to squeeze a meaning out of every detail. Montefiore thinks the parable (which is not one of the best) is later than Jesus, and "grew up to explain the delay in the coming of the Kingdom, and to point out how the intervening time—of uncertain duration—should be spent."

Matthew 25:1. After "bridegroom" add "and the bride."

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Matthew 24:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/matthew-24.html. 1919.

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