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Posts tagged ‘Light’

Mark 4 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Mark 4:21-23 – Light Exposes

Mark 4:21-23 – Light Exposes

|| Matthew 5:15;[1] Luke 8:16

MK4:21 Jesus said to them: “Is a lamp brought [into the room] and put under a basket, or under a bed, and not put on the lamp-stand? MK4:22 For nothing is hidden that will not become manifest. MK4:23 Any person with ears to hear – listen!”

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[1] Matthew 5:15: For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Matthew.

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Preceding

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:13-16 Salt and Light shining bright

Mark 4 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Mark 4:1-9 – Teaching in Parables

Mark 4 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Mark 4:10-13 – How Will You Understand?

Mark 4 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Mark 4:14-20 – Sower Parable Explained

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Additional reading

  1. Today’s Thought “Given for a light to the Gentile” (June 24)

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Related articles

  1. Morning Musing: Mark 4:21-23
  2. This Little Light of Mine….I’m Gonna Let It Shine
  3. Day 3: Revealing
  4. A Matter of Perspective
  5. Today’s Word With Joel and Victoria Osteen – Do It In Spite Of The Fear
  6. Today’s Word With Joel and Victoria Osteen – Quit Hiding What God Gave You
  7. Drawn to the Light
  8. Listen for His Voice
  9. Listening to Jesus
  10. Listening to Jesus on Easter Sunday
  11. Talk With Jesus

The no one or nothing in the darkness

When we look at our life, sometimes it can make us depressive, having us feel the “emptiness“, the missing of like-minded people.

How many of us do not build upon many aspirations, hopes, dreams and expectations?

Our head tolls from the many questions we have going one ear in and one ear out. And every moment we try to look to the right or to the left it is like we are getting hit by a boxing glove.

Noticing it looks like we are alone with our faith in Jesus and the coming Kingdom, we sometimes feel abandoned. Though we should know God does not abandon us, like He did not abandon Jesus. But Jesus also had a moment to despair and was calling onto his heavenly Father crying unto HIm, why He had left him.

46 About the ninth hour, Jesus called out with a loud voice, saying: “Eʹli, Eʹli, laʹma sa·bach·thaʹni?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”+ (Matthew 27:46)

Like Jesus crying out from the wooden stake, we also have moments that we want to cry to God. Yes, it might happen to any believer that he or she questions God’s presence. It is understandable that we can have such moments that we have doubts about ourselves, about our faith, about God.

It is in such moments of doubt, in moments of fear and despair, that we are invited by our Creator and Sustainer to seek hope. He has given us His Word to give us daily food, to be able to go step by step and day by day. That Word of God we can take it up every moment of the day. It is God’s Love letter to us. From that great Book of books, we should be able to receive strength and hope. Hope comes from our trust that even when we don’t feel like God is present, God will show up for us. Often when we feel most abandoned, hurt and broken, we shall come to remember those moments as the ones where Jehovah God has shown up most powerfully for us. Those are the moments that shape our life and our faith.

Like Jehovah God had not forsaken Jesus, He shall not leave alone those who love Him.

28 For Jehovah loves justice, And he will not abandon his loyal ones.+ ע [Ayin]They will always be guarded;But the descendants of the wicked will be done away with.+ (Psalm 37:28)

Even when God might be with us, we can have that feeling to be just on our own with our faith, being surrounded by a majority who does not want to know about God or the Biblical Truth.

Constantly we seem to be confronted with an emptiness that draws us into the darkness. Sometimes it feels like we are a “no one”, or a “nothing”.
Without being someone and without having someone around us, we remain unfulfilled and incomplete. Our instinct wants us to mix with others. We are not made to be alone.

This primal instinct to be something is what drives our efforts towards avoiding being nothing.

The threat of which is the root to losing ourselves to the distraction of everything, when we lose hope of ever being something…to someone…but not just anyone. {Elusive peace…}

When we get older, this seems a bigger problem, than when we were young. Then comes a time when we want to scan our life and want to see what we established. How much effort we put in things and into what it resulted. What is clinging to our memory? What do we find worthwhile to remember?

Around us we see so many people who seem to be more successful than us. They can get a lot of listening ears, eager to hear their philosophies which give people only a shade of what they would love to see. Though we do know they can not offer that comfort or assurance that we love to offer people, because we live by our hope in Jesus Christ. Constantly we are confronted by those people who find that their way is the best way. But what they do not see is that what we want them to come to see: the way that seems right for so many men its end is the way of death.

12 There is a way that seems right to a man,+ But in the end it leads to death.+ (Proverbs 14:12)

We live in that world full of vanity, where man even thinks he can play for god and create whatever he wants.

20 For the creation was subjected to futility,+ not by its own will, but through the one who subjected it, on the basis of hope+ (Romans 8:20)

We would love to show those who think they can do it without God, that it is better to come under the wings of God. There is namely an alternative to the ultimate conclusion of doom and the futility of human philosophy.

23 For the wages sin pays is death,+ but the gift God gives is everlasting life+ by Christ Jesus our Lord.+ (Romans 6:23)

In this world, we do even have to struggle against those who say they are Christian but do not want to recognise who Jesus is and how important it is to I believe in him who God called His beloved son.

25 Jesus said to her: “I am the resurrection and the life.+ The one who exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life; 26 and everyone who is living and exercises faith in me will never die at all.+ Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

Jesus said to him: “I am the way+ and the truth+ and the life.+ No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
Constantly we are confronted with those stubborn people who do not believe that Jesus existed, or who think that Jesus is God, instead of believing in the God of Jesus and accepting that Jesus is the way to God and not to himself.That unbelief makes us so sad, and when you stand there surrounded by so many unbelievers, it can feel so lonely, so dark in a world that offers so much but oh so little. Coming closer to the end times it worries us also so much, certainly when we see more lies encircling peoples heads. Fake news seems to have won the battle for attention.Though we should find the strength to continue calling people to come to follow the real Christ, the Jewish Nazarene Jeshua, the son of David and son of God. Continuing on our path to God, we should find comfort in the fact that there shall not be so many who shall believe in Jesus and do their best to stay on the right track, and that shall be able to enter the small gate to the Kingdom of God. We should see and follow that light in the world, which is given by God.

8 12 Then Jesus spoke again to them, saying: “I am the light of the world.+ Whoever follows me will by no means walk in darkness, but will possess the light+ of life.”  (John 8:12)

13 “Go in through the narrow gate,+ because broad is the gate and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are going in through it; 14 whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are finding it.(Matthew 7:14-15)

We, when feeling down, should remember that the apostles and other first followers of Christ, also were just with a few who were not liked by the majority. They also had often to struggle. They also could find strength by knowing they could get to encounter many tribulations, but always would there be a way out, and the gate to God’s Kingdom, which would be much better than any kingdom here on earth.

22 There they strengthened the disciples,+ encouraging them to remain in the faith and saying: “We must enter into the Kingdom of God through many tribulations.”+ (Acts 14:22)

18 “And if the righteous man is being saved with difficulty, what will happen to the ungodly man and the sinner?”+ (1 Peter 4:18)

All those who believe that Jesus is the son of God and the way to life, let them strengthen each other. Let us all be conscious that the road leading off into destruction is a road taken by the majority. When not being part of that majority we should not worry so much, because we should know there is Someone Who wants to carry us over the swamps and deserts of this world.

Let us not get the sand of the desert in our eyes by the many false teachings which encircle this materialist world. Instead of being a little grain of sand let us stick together as a lump of earth and join hands as sowers of productive seed.

44 It is sown a physical body; it is raised up a spiritual body.+ If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual one. (1 Corinthians 15:44)

Let our voice keep going through the air and into the darkness so that somewhere a person might see the little spark of light.

We always should be aware of the importance of our own free choice. We always shall have to come to decide which way to go, the broad way of the world or the small way of God.

The question comes down to who will I believe. Will I trust the world that can give no guarantees and an uncertain future?

Or will I trust the sent one from God who proved himself by paying for my sins on the stake, dying in my place, and then arose from the dead in victory just as he said he would (Matthew 17:23, 20:19, 28:5-6)?

He too felt at moments on his own. He, too, had to trust his God. He put his own will aside for doing the Will of his heavenly Father.

Are you prepared to put your own will aside to do the Will of God?

Are you willing to go into the desert, like Jesus did, to talk about God and to spread the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God?

When reading the Scriptures we shall become aware that Jehovah God is really the only One Whom we fully can trust. By the knowledge that He is trustworthy and faithful, we should get more trust in Him and allow HIm to take away our fear and sad, depressive mood. With Him in our heart, we shall not be disappointed.

To you they cried out, and they were saved; They trusted in you, and they were not disappointed.*(Psalm 22:5)

When feeling depressed or down because it looks like we can not reach people, let us  put on a spiritual kind of armour that comes only from God because we are engaged in a spiritual struggle rather than a physical one.

10 Finally, go on acquiring power+ in the Lord and in the mightiness of his strength. 11 Put on the complete suit of armor+ from God so that you may be able to stand firm against the crafty acts of the Devil;+ 12 because we have a struggle,+ not against blood and flesh, but against the governments, against the authorities, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the wicked spirit forces+ in the heavenly places.+ 13 For this reason take up the complete suit of armor from God,+ so that you may be able to resist* in the wicked day and, after you have accomplished everything, to stand firm. (Ephesians 6:10-13)

When we accept Jehovah’s help and rely on Him completely, we can succeed in opposing the adversaries of God. When we can have the same kind of confidence that the apostle Paul had. He wrote:

“If God is for us, who will be against us?” (Rom. 8:31)

So, let us step out of the darkness, stretch out our hands to those who also love Jesus and his God. Let us join forces and focus most of our attention on learning about Jehovah and serving Him.

 Cause me to walk in your truth and teach me,For you are my God of salvation. ו [Waw]

In you I hope all day long. ז [Zayin]

(Ps. 25:5)

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Preceding

When feeling alone, afraid to connect with others in order to grow in faith

The Nazarene master teacher learning people how they should behave

As Christ’s slaves doing the Will of God in gratitude

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Additional reading

  1. Lonely so lonely
  2. Fear, struggles, sadness, bad feelings and depression
  3. This was my reward
  4. Trouble in my brain
  5. Walking through the valley of the shadow of death
  6. A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow
  7. What loneliness is more lonely than distrust?
  8. In defence of Doubt
  9. A person is limited only by the thoughts that he chooses
  10. Life’s challenges may not paralyse you
  11. Faithfulness when most necessary
  12. He Becomes a Fool Through His Endless Desire
  13. Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement
  14. A Million Ways To Live: Al Muhyi (The One Who Gives Life)
  15. He who beams never walks in the dark
  16. Confidence
  17. Hope begins in the dark
  18. It is not try but trust
  19. Give your tears to God
  20. Crying and trusting ones do not get disappointed
  21. A Living Faith #1 Substance of things hoped for
  22. Jesus son of God or God the son
  23. The Prophets Inquire into and Testify About Salvation
  24. A new decade, To open the eyes to get a right view
  25. Gospel or Good News
  26. Good News Breakers
  27. Bringing Good News into the world
  28. Preaching of the Kingdom

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Related

  1. The Void In Us
  2. Lonely… Empty… Why ?
  3. “Empty”
  4. Emptiness
  5. Emptiness “The space in time experienced as Emptiness is the predicate for Inspiration.
  6. An emptiness inside of me
  7. Why have you abandoned me?
  8. Ache
  9. Do you think Loneliness and Emptiness are two same words?
  10. When I Get Lost in My Loneliness
  11. Treatments for Depression
  12. A Conversation with Lama Shenpen about Emptiness and the Heart Sutra
  13. Emptiness Versus Hope
  14. A Moment’s Worth of Peace

When feeling alone, afraid to connect with others in order to grow in faith

In this life where there does not seem to be much interest in Jehovah God, sometimes we can feel just on our own, certainly when we have no church to connect with.

To break that chain of loneliness we should try to be courageous to make others know we are loving God and following the real Christ. We may be proud of our heavenly Father, Jehovah, and want others to come to know Him, but often, because we do feel so lonely we do feel on our own and too weak to go out to let others know our choice for life.

One of the best ways we can show love to others is by sharing the good news with them.

19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of people of all the nations,+ baptizing them+ in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.+ And look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.”+(Matt. 28:19, 20)

Often, when we are on our own, we think we shall not be able to “make learners”, because we do not see people who want to be around us. The Greek verb ma·the·teuʹo has the basic meaning “to teach” with the intent of making pupils or disciples. As such we encounter situations when there are no direct people around us to be taught, but when we look around we shall see there are people whom we could attract by the right words to hear and follow our words.

There is given a command to those who want to be followers of Christ. This command to reach “people of all the nations” was new in the first century. Prior to Jesus’ ministry, the Scriptures indicate that Gentiles were welcomed to Israel if they came to serve Jehovah.

41 “Also concerning the foreigner who is not part of your people Israel and who comes from a distant land because of your name*+ 42 (for they will hear about your great name+ and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm), and he comes and prays toward this house, 43 may you then listen from the heavens, your dwelling place,+ and do all that the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you,+ as your people Israel do, and may know that your name has been called on this house that I have built. (1Ki 8:41-43)

Today we cannot hear the Name of Jehovah resound over the land. We do not hear the Great Name of Jehovah mentioned often. Because of the Name not being known and not being spoken about a lot, people can not easily come to meet with others who love that Great Name and want to praise that Divine Creator.

What if we are timid? How can we become bold? How can we find the guts to go out and speak about that Great Name?

We grow bold when we focus on how happy we can make Jehovah and how much others will benefit from learning about him. Though we might feel on our own, without people feeling likewise about Jehovah God, we should come to know and come to feel that This Great God above all gods, is willing to help us when we are willing to work for Him.

Jehovah will give us the courage we need. He helped our first-century brothers to become bold, and he will help us too.​

For although we had first suffered and been insolently treated in Phi·lipʹpi,+ as you know, we mustered up boldness* by means of our God to tell you the good news of God+ in the face of much opposition.* (1 Thess. 2:2).

Even when we live in a country where the government is not having people to talk about Jehovah, we should think about the first Christians and their prosecution.
At the beginning of the expansion of the movement of followers of Christ, those true Christians bore the consequences of their faith. In the first centuries after Christ had died, his followers expected to be persecuted.

True Christians expect to be persecuted.  No matter where we live, secular authorities may suddenly and unexpectedly ban us from worshipping our loving God, Jehovah. If a government bans our worship, we might wrongly conclude that we do not have God’s blessing. But remember, persecution does not mean that Jehovah is unhappy with us. Take, for example, the apostle Paul. He certainly had God’s approval. He had the privilege of writing 14 letters of the Christian Greek Scriptures, and he was an apostle to the nations. Yet, he faced intense persecution.

23 Are they ministers of Christ? I reply like a madman, I am more outstandingly one: I have done more work,+ been imprisoned more often,+ suffered countless beatings, and experienced many near-deaths.+ 24 Five times I received 40 strokes less one from the Jews,+ 25 three times I was beaten with rods,+ once I was stoned,+ three times I experienced shipwreck,+ a night and a day I have spent in the open sea; 26 in journeys often, in dangers from rivers, in dangers from robbers, in dangers from my own people,+ in dangers from the nations,+ in dangers in the city,+ in dangers in the wilderness, in dangers at sea, in dangers among false brothers, 27 in labor and toil, in sleepless nights often,+ in hunger and thirst,+ frequently without food,+ in cold and lacking clothing.  (2 Cor. 11:23-27)

We learn from the apostle Paul’s experience that Jehovah allows his faithful servants to be persecuted.

Jehovah is not partial, He does not judge by outward appearance, favouring people because of their race, nationality, social standing, or any external factors and He is happy when He sees us show love to others, no matter what their background may be.

34 At this Peter began to speak, and he said: “Now I truly understand that God is not partial,+ 35 but in every nation the man who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.+ (Acts 10:34, 35)

Out of love for our neighbours or fellow man, we should be willing to step out of our isolation and should dare to come to talk about Jehovah. We should master our fear for the other, and dare to speak to them around using our neighbourhood. We should know we have something special to offer. Those who listen to us can improve their lives now and gain the prospect of enjoying everlasting life in the future.​

16 Pay constant attention to yourself and to your teaching.+ Persevere in these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.+ (1 Tim. 4:16).

Jehovah is a loving parent, so He wants His family to be happy.

65 “I have let myself be searched for by those who did not ask for me; I have let myself be found by those who did not look for me.+

I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’ to a nation that was not calling on my name.+ (Isaiah 65:1)

14 Look! My servants will shout joyfully because of the good condition of the heart, But you will cry out because of the pain of heart And you will wail because of a broken spirit. (Isa. 65:14)

Even when we are just one servant of God in isolation, not having it easy to feel connected with other believers, we in our heart should be pleased that we can be partakers of the Body of His son and be part of His widespread family. It is true our spirit may often being hurt and feel like a piece of crystal glass thrown on the ground completely shattered into many pieces. Our courage can often sink deeply into our shoes, yet we have to put our hope that one day there will be more people around us who want to be connected with us. In the meantime, we should not let ourselves be caught by depressed moods from feeling lonely.

We should look up and aim for Jehovah God as our Sustainer and Inspirer.

Trusting God we shall have to find the courage to keep going on in our solitude and to prepare the path for others still to come. Trust and patience are what should keep us going. This should make us not afraid to invite others to dwell with us in the house of the Highest God above all gods, all the days of our life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.

 One thing I have asked from Jehovah  —It is what I will look for— That I may dwell in the house of Jehovah all the days of my life,+ To gaze upon the pleasantness of Jehovah And to look with appreciation* upon his temple.*+ (Psalms 27:4)

We can remain happy because we have the sure hope that life will get even better in the future. We know that soon Jehovah will remove all the wicked and that under the direction of His Kingdom, the earth will be restored to Paradise. We also have the wonderful hope that those who have died will be raised to life and reunited with their loved ones.

28 Do not be amazed at this, for the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice+29 and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, and those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment.+30  (John 5:28, 29)

What a joy that will be! And most important, we are sure that soon everyone in heaven and on earth will give our loving Father the honour, praise, and devotion that he deserves.

So let us find the courage to overcome our sadness of being alone. Jehovah God is always with us, like our shadow, and it is Him Who can give us wings and strength.

 I will be a guest in your tent forever;+ I will take refuge in the shelter of your wings.+ (Selah) (Psalm 61:4)

We might feel in the dark, but by our faith in the resurrection of Christ light should shine in our life. We should let others know that he is the way to God, the light and life, but also the one who provides us with a grand hope. With our hope for a better life out of brotherly love, let us share our hope with others. Those who listen to us can improve their lives now and gain the prospect of enjoying everlasting life in the future.

16 Pay constant attention to yourself and to your teaching.+ Persevere in these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.+ (1 Tim. 4:16).

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Preceding

Let us not fret or worry about next season

There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving

Inculcate God’s words and speak of them

Testimonies to observe, inspired by God

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:17-20 – The Nazarene Rabbi’s Commentary on the Torah

Matthew 10:24-31 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Do Not Fear – Preach!

As Christ’s slaves doing the Will of God in gratitude

Good or bad preacher

A Society pleading poverty

Be strong

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Additional reading

  1. “Unnoticed”
  2. Alone in the cold and dark
  3. Loneliness (as seen by Tess Connor)
  4. What loneliness is more lonely than distrust?
  5. When I Get Lost in My Loneliness
  6. So many people are shut up tight inside themselves like boxes
  7. Walking alone?
  8. What loneliness is more lonely than distrust?
  9. God’s forgotten Word 2 Lost Lawbook 1 Who has still interest
  10. The Field is the World #4 Many who leave the church
  11. The post-Christian world
  12. Dealing with worries in our lives
  13. Not staying alone in your search for truth
  14. Measure of loneliness whilst time drags
  15. Christadelphian Support Network Meeting: The Age of Loneliness
  16. Pascal’s Possibility
  17. Today’s thought “Ability to receive ableness from God” (May 11)
  18. The Big Conversation – Christadelphians in the United Kingdom
  19. Being in isolation #2 Looking at the word “Isolation”
  20. Being in isolation #3 Gathering and Sharing
  21. Being in isolation #5 Isolated Biblical figures and Confessional isolation
  22. When not seeing or not finding a biblically sound church
  23. Avoiding the big questions
  24. Life’s challenges may not paralyse you
  25. Determine the drive
  26. Courage is fear that has said its prayers
  27. Courage for every day living
  28. Be strong and take courage
  29. Be Not Thou Weary
  30. Courage doesn’t always roar
  31. Fearing the right person
  32. Commit your self to the trustworthy creator
  33. God is my refuge and my fortress in Him I will trust
  34. Trust God to shelter, safety and security
  35. Trust the future to God
  36. Finding our identity in serving God
  37. Believe that moves stones
  38. Companionship
  39. Creating Community and Togetherness
  40. How should we worship God? #4 Christian Congregations
  41. Ecclesia – Church – Minding your reference
  42. Church indeed critical in faith development
  43. Parish, local church community – Parochie, plaatselijke kerkgemeenschap
  44. In all circumstances preaching Christ
  45. Blogging in the world for Jesus and his Father
  46. Daily thought for July the 8th and the Summer months
  47. Prayer theme in this Corona time: Compassion
  48. Bijbelvorser looking for ways to reach others
  49. The Most Appropriate teacher and Scoffers in our contemporary age
  50. Today’s thought “A blessing and a curse” (April 25)
  51. Today’s thought “When approaching the battle against your enemies today” (May 03)
  52. Today’s thought “When in need of encouragement” (May 18)
  53. Today’s thought “If we endure” (May 26)
  54. The Big Conversation
  55. The Big conversation Why it matters
  56. Reason to preach #5 Trained to do it God’s way
  57. Beautiful feet of those who announce the good news
  58. Abound To Every Good Work (2 Cor. 9:8)
  59. Only once and with consequences
  60. Missional hermeneutics 4/5
  61. Learning from ourselves
  62. Reflections on Existence and Teaching
  63. Preaching by example
  64. Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News
  65. Evangelizing in the “Time of the End”
  66. A Million Ways To Live: Al Muhyi (The One Who Gives Life)
  67. God is Positive
  68. When God Moved a Mountain
  69. A way to prepare for the Kingdom
  70. From house to house #2: Continuing to bring the good news right to the world
  71. God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supplies
  72. Paradise restored

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Related

  1. Lonely and Depressed…
  2. “Empty”
  3. Changing the World
  4. When is a ‘Church’ Not a ‘Church’?
  5. Church: Mind Your Reference!
  6. The Good and The Bad Within the Church Part-1 – Unleashed
  7. Darrell L. Guder – The Continuing Conversion of the Church (2000)
  8. Seeing is Disbelieving (2020)
  9. Power and authority (Part two)
  10. Proverbs 25:21-22
  11. Selah – סֶלָה
  12. Easter Sunday 2021: out of darkness
  13. Walk and talk!
  14. What the church needs
  15. Daily Bible Verse For The Day 7th April, 2021
  16. The wind blows where it wishes
  17. Matthew 13:44
  18. Making Disciples
  19. Why do we make disciples
  20. Yes To The Cost
  21. Who do we Listen to God or Man
  22. Making Space to Do What We are Called to Do–Make Disciples
  23. In Search of More Mountain Guides: Making Disciples by “Traveling With” Instead of “Talking At”
  24. Making disciples is the Biblical-mandate
  25. Bringing Up Baby
  26. What Snacks Teach Us About Making Disciples
  27. The Supply and Demand of Making Disciples
  28. Where are the Shepherds?
  29. How Deeply Do You Care?
  30. Belief and Behavior
  31. Celtic Evangelism and a New/Old Way to Win a World
  32. What makes a man cry
  33. Scripture for Meditation #1
  34. Scripture for Meditation #2
  35. Do You Care If Anyone Knows Jesus? (Christian Leadership In Today’s Culture Part 5)
  36. Tumbling Stones and the Art of Pastoral Care
  37. Don’t Be Ashamed
  38. Forget Public Opinion…Keep Your Eyes on God’s Opinion of You.
  39. A Passionless Christian Asked a Question.
  40. Preaching to the Hard hearted with Joy
  41. Making Disciples
  42. The Master “Group Plan” of Discipleship
  43. Mentoring: Harnessing God’s Overflowing Love
  44. Who is the “Buddy” that is Pushing You to Grow in Christ?
  45. Christ’s Church – Part 3
  46. The Spread of the Gospel
  47. Harvest Workers; February 27, 2021
  48. Where is the Harvest?
  49. Straight Methods, Narrow Message

Matthew Henry’s commentary on Matthew 25

INTRODUCTION TO MATTHEW CHAPTER 25

This chapter continues and concludes our Saviour’s discourse, which began in the foregoing chapter, concerning his second coming and the end of the world. This was his farewell sermon of caution, as that, #Joh 14:15,16, was of comfort to his disciples; and they had need of both in a world of so much temptation and trouble as this is. The application of that discourse, was, Watch therefore, and be ye also ready.

Now, in prosecution of these serious awakening cautions, in this chapter we have three parables, the scope of which is the same — to quicken us all with the utmost care and diligence to get ready for Christ’s second coming, which, in all his farewells to his church, mention was made of, as in that before he died (#Joh 14:2), in that at his ascension (#Ac 1:11), and in that at the shutting up of the canon of the scriptures, #Re 22:20. Now it concerns us to prepare for Christ’s coming;

I. That we may then be ready to attend upon him; and this is shown in the parable of the ten virgins, #Mt 25:1-13.

II. That we may then be ready to give up our account to him; and this is shown in the parable of the three servants, #Mt 25:14-30.

III. That we may then be ready to receive from him our final sentence, and that it may be to eternal life; and this is shown in a more plain description of the process of the last judgment, #Mt 25:31-46. These are things of awful consideration, because of everlasting concern to every one of us.

Ver. 1. thru Ver. 13.

Here,

I. That in general which is to be illustrated is, the kingdom of heaven, the state of things under the gospel, the external kingdom of Christ, and the administration and success of it. Some of Christ’s parables had shown us what it is like now in the present reception of it, as Matthew 13. This tells us what it shall be like, when the mystery of God shall be finished, and that kingdom delivered up to the Father. The administration of Christ’s government, towards the ready and the unready in the great day, may be illustrated by this similitude; or the kingdom is put for the subjects of the kingdom. The professors of Christianity shall then be likened to these ten virgins, and shall be thus distinguished.

II. That by which it is illustrated, is, a marriage solemnity. It was a custom sometimes used among the Jews on that occasion, that the bridegroom came, attended with his friends, late in the night, to the house of the bride, where she expected him, attended with her brides-maids; who, upon notice given of the bridegrooms’ approach, were to go out with lamps in their hands, to light him into the house with ceremony and formality, in order to the celebrating of the nuptials with great mirth. And some think that on these occasions they had usually ten virgins; for the Jews never held a synagogue, circumcised, kept the passover, or contracted marriage, but ten persons at least were present. Boaz, when he married Ruth, had ten witnesses, #Ru 4:2. Now in this parable,

1. The Bridegroom is our Lord Jesus Christ; he is so represented in the 45th Psalm, Solomon’s Song, and often in the New Testament. It bespeaks his singular and superlative love to, and his faithful and inviolable covenant with, his spouse the church. Believers are now betrothed to Christ (#Ho 2:19); but the solemnizing of the marriage is reserved for the great day, when the bride, the Lamb’s wife, will have made herself completely ready, #Re 19:7,9.

2. The virgins are the professors of religion, members of the church; but here represented as her companions (#Ps 45:14), as elsewhere her children (#Isa 54:1), her ornaments, #Isa 49:18. They that follow the Lamb, are said to be virgins (#Re 14:4); this denotes their beauty and purity; they are to be presented as chaste virgins to Christ, #2Co 11:2. The bridegroom is a king; so these virgins are maids of honour, virgins without number (#So 6:8), yet here said to be ten.

3. The office of these virgins is to meet the bridegroom, which is as much their happiness as their duty. They come to wait upon the bridegroom when he appears, and in the mean time to wait for him. See here the nature of Christianity. As Christians, we profess ourselves to be,

(1.) Attendants upon Christ, to do him honour, as the glorious Bridegroom, to be to him for a name and a praise, especially then when he shall come to be glorified in his saints. We must follow him as honorary servants do their masters, #Joh 12:26. Hold up the name, and hold forth the praise of the exalted Jesus; this is our business.

(2.) Expectants of Christ, and of his second coming. As Christians, we profess, not only to believe and look for, but to love and long for, the appearing of Christ, and to act in our whole conversation with a regard to it. The second coming of Christ is the centre in which all the lines of our religion meet, and to which the whole of the divine life hath a constant reference and tendency.

4. Their chief concern is to have lights in their hands, when they attend the bridegroom, thus to do him honour and do him service. Note, Christians are children of light. The gospel is light, and they who receive it must not only be enlightened by it themselves, but must shine as lights, must hold it forth, #Php 2:15,16. This in general.

Now concerning these ten virgins, we may observe,

(1.) Their different character, with the proof and evidence of it.

1. Their character was that five were wise, and five foolish (#Mt 25:2); and wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness; so saith Solomon, a competent judge, #Ec 2:13. Note, Those of the same profession and denomination among men, may yet be of characters vastly different in the sight of God. Sincere Christians are the wise virgins, and hypocrites the foolish ones, as in another parable they are represented by wise and foolish builders. Note, Those are wise or foolish indeed, that are so in the affairs of their souls. True religion is true wisdom; sin is folly, but especially the sin of hypocrisy, for those are the greatest fools, that are wise in their own conceit, and those the worst of sinners, that feign themselves just men. Some observe from the equal number of the wise and foolish, what a charitable decorum (it is Archbishop Tillotson’s expression) Christ observes, as if he would hope that the number of true believers was nearly equal to that of hypocrites, or, at least, would teach us to hope the best concerning those that profess religion, and to think of them with a bias to the charitable side. Though, in judging of ourselves, we ought to remember that the gate is strait, and few find it; yet, in judging of others, we ought to remember that the Captain of our salvation brings many sons to glory.

2. The evidence of this character was in the very thing which they were to attend to; by that they are judged of.

First, It was the folly of the foolish virgins, that they took their lamps, and took no oil with them, #Mt 25:3. They had just the oil enough to make their lamps burn for the present, to make a show with, as if they intended to meet the bridegroom; but no cruse or bottle of oil with them for a recruit if the bridegroom tarried; thus hypocrites,

1. They have no principle within. They have a lamp of profession in their hands, but have not in their hearts that stock of sound knowledge, rooted dispositions, and settled resolutions, which is necessary to carry them through the services and trials of the present state. They act under the influence of external inducements, but are void of spiritual life; like a tradesman, that sets up without a stock, or the seed on the stony ground, that wanted root.

2. They have no prospect of, nor make provision for, what is to come. They took lamps for a present show, but not oil for after use. This incogitancy is the ruin of many professors; all their care is to recommend themselves to their neighbours, whom they now converse with, not to approve themselves to Christ, whom they must hereafter appear before; as if any thing will serve, provided it will but serve for the present. Tell them of things not seen as yet, and you are like Lot to his sons-in-law, as one that mocked. They do not provide for hereafter, as the ant does, nor lay up for the time to come, #1Ti 6:19.

Secondly, It was the wisdom of the wise virgins, that they took oil in their vessels with their lamps, #Mt 25:4. They had a good principle within, which would maintain and keep up their profession.

1. The heart is the vessel, which it is our wisdom to get furnished; for, out of a good treasure there, good things must be brought; but if that root be rottenness, the blossom will be dust.

2. Grace is the oil which we must have in this vessel; in the tabernacle there was constant provision made of oil for the light, #Ex 35:14. Our light must shine before men in good works, but this cannot be, or not long, unless there be a fixed active principle in the heart, of faith in Christ, and love to God and our brethren, from which we must act in everything we do in religion, with an eye to what is before us. They that took oil in their vessels, did it upon supposition that perhaps the bridegroom might tarry. Note, In looking forward it is good to prepare for the worst, to lay in for a long siege. But remember that this oil which keeps the lamps burning, is derived to the candlestick from Jesus Christ, the great and good Olive, by the golden pipes of the ordinances, as it is represented in that vision (#Zec 4:2,3,12), which is explained #Joh 1:16, Of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

(2.) Their common fault, during the bridegroom’s delay; They all slumbered and slept, #Mt 25:5. Observe here,

1. The bridegroom tarried, that is, he did not come out so soon as they expected. What we look for as certain, we are apt to think is very near; many in the apostles’ times imagined that the day of the Lord was at hand, but it is not so. Christ, as to us, seems to tarry, and yet really does not, #Hab 2:3. There is good reason for the Bridegroom’s tarrying; there are many intermediate counsels and purposes to be accomplished, the elect must all be called in, God’s patience must be manifested, and the saints’ patience tried, the harvest of the earth must be ripened, and so must the harvest of heaven too. But though Christ tarry past our time, he will not tarry past the due time.

2. While he tarried, those that waited for him, grew careless, and forgot what they were attending; They all slumbered and slept; as if they had given over looking for him; for when the Son of man cometh, he will not find faith, #Lu 18:8. Those that inferred the suddenness of it from its certainty, when that answered not their expectation, were apt from the delay to infer its uncertainty. The wise virgins slumbered, and the foolish slept; so some distinguish it; however, they were both faulty. The wise virgins kept their lamps burning, but did not keep themselves awake.

Note, Too many good Christians, when they have been long in profession, grow remiss in their preparations for Christ’s second coming; they intermit their care, abate their zeal, their graces are not lively, nor their works found perfect before God; and though all love be not lost, yet the first love is left. If it was hard to the disciples to watch with Christ an hour, much more to watch with him an age. I sleep, saith the spouse, but my heart wakes. Observe, First, They slumbered, and then they slept. Note, One degree of carelessness and remissness makes way for another. Those that allow themselves in slumbering, will scarcely keep themselves from sleeping; therefore dread the beginning of spiritual decays; Venienti occurrite morbo —  Attend to the first symptoms of disease. The ancients generally understood the virgins’ slumbering and sleeping of their dying; they all died, wise and foolish (#Ps 49:10), before judgment-day. So Ferus, Antequam veniat sponsus omnibus obdormiscendum est, hoc est, moriendum —  Before the Bridegroom come, all must sleep, that is, die. So Calvin. But I think it is rather to be taken as we have opened it.

(3.) The surprising summons given them, to attend the bridegroom (#Mt 25:6); At midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh. Note,

1. Though Christ tarry long, he will come at last; though he seem slow, he is sure. In his first coming, he was thought long by those that waited for the consolation of Israel; yet in the fulness of time he came; so his second coming, though long deferred, is not forgotten; his enemies shall find, to their cost, that forbearance is no acquittance; and his friends shall find, to their comfort, that the vision is for an appointed time, and at the end it shall speak, and not lie. The year of the redeemed is fixed, and it will come.

2. Christ’s coming will be at our midnight, when we least look for him, and are most disposed to take our rest. His coming for the relief and comfort of his people, often is when the good intended seems to be at the greatest distance; and his coming to reckon with his enemies, is when they put the evil day furthest from them. It was at midnight that the first-born of Egypt were destroyed, and Israel delivered, #Ex 12:29. Death often comes when it is least expected; the soul is required this night, #Lu 12:20. Christ will come when he pleases, to show his sovereignty, and will not let us know when, to teach us our duty.

3. When Christ comes, we must go forth to meet him. As Christians we are bound to attend all the motions of the Lord Jesus, and meet him in all his out-goings. When he comes to us at death, we must go forth out of the body, out of the world, to meet him with affections and workings of soul suitable to the discoveries we then expect him to make of himself. Go ye forth to meet him, is a call to those who are habitually prepared, to be actually ready.

4. The notice given of Christ’s approach, and the call to meet him, will be awakening; There was a cry made. His first coming was not with any observation at all, nor did they say, Lo, here is Christ, or Lo, he is there; he was in the world, and the world knew him not; but his second coming will be with the observation of all the world; Every eye shall see him. There will be a cry from heaven, for he shall descend with a shout, Arise, ye dead, and come to judgment; and a cry from the earth too, a cry to rocks and mountains, #Re 6:16.

(4.) The address they all made to answer this summons (#Mt 25:7); They all arose, and trimmed their lamps, snuffed them and supplied them with oil, and went about with all expedition to put themselves in a posture to receive the bridegroom. Now,

1. This, in the wise virgins, bespeaks an actual preparation for the Bridegroom’s coming. Note, even those that are best prepared for death, have, upon the immediate arrests of it, work to do, to get themselves actually ready, that they may be found in peace (#2Pe 3:14), found doing (#Mt 24:46), and not found naked, #2Co 5:3. It will be a day of search and enquiry; and it concerns us to think how we shall then be found. When we see the day approaching, we must address ourselves to our dying work with all seriousness, renewing our repentance for sin, our consent to the covenant, our farewells to the world; and our souls must be carried out toward God in suitable breathings.

2. In the foolish virgins, it denotes a vain confidence, and conceit of the goodness of their state, and their readiness for another world. Note, Even counterfeit graces will serve a man to make a show of when he comes to die, as well as they have done all his life long; the hypocrite’s hopes blaze when they are just expiring, like a lightening before death.

(5.) The distress which the foolish virgins were in, for want of oil, #Mt 25:8,9. This bespeaks,

1. The apprehensions which some hypocrites have of the misery of their state, even on this side death, when God opens their eyes to see their folly, and themselves perishing with a lie in their right hand. Or, however,

2. The real misery of their state on the other side death, and in the judgment; how far their fair, but false, profession of religion will be from availing them any thing in the great day; see what comes of it.

First, Their lamps are gone out. The lamps of hypocrites often go out in this life; when they who have begun in the spirit, end in the flesh, and the hypocrisy breaks out in an open apostasy, #2Pe 2:20. The profession withers, and the credit of it is lost; the hopes fail, and the comfort of them is gone; how often is the candle of the wicked thus put out? #Job 21:17. Yet many a hypocrite keeps up his credit, and the comfort of his profession, such as it is, to the last; but what is it when God taketh away his soul? #Job 27:8. If his candle be not put out before him, it is put out with him, #Job 18:5,6. He shall lie down in sorrow, #Isa 50:11. The gains of a hypocritical profession will not follow a man to judgment, #Mt 7:22,23. The lamps are gone out, when the hypocrite’s hope proves like the spider’s web (#Job 8:14 &c), and like the giving up of the ghost (#Job 11:20), like Absalom’s mule that left him in the oak.

Secondly, They wanted oil to supply them when they were going out. Note, Those that take up short of true grace, will certainly find the want of it one time or other. An external profession well humoured may carry a man far, but it will not carry him through; it may light him along this world, but the damps of the valley of the shadow of death will put it out.

Thirdly, They would gladly be beholden to the wise virgins for a supply out of their vessels; Give us of your oil. Note, The day is coming, when carnal hypocrites would gladly be found in the condition of true Christians. Those who now hate the strictness of religion, will, at death and judgment, wish for the solid comforts of it. Those who care not to live the life, yet would die the death, of the righteous. The day is coming when those who now look with contempt upon humble contrite saints, would gladly get an interest in them, and would value those as their best friends and benefactors, whom now they set with the dogs of their flock. Give us of your oil; that is,

“Speak a good word for us”;

so some; but there is no occasion for vouchers in the great day, the Judge knows what is every man’s true character. But is it not well that they are brought to say, Give us of your oil? It is so; but,

1. This request was extorted by sensible necessity. Note, Those will see their need of grace hereafter, when it should save them, who will not see their need of grace now, when it should sanctify and rule them.

(2.) It comes too late. God would have given them oil, had they asked in time; but there is no buying when the market is over, no bidding when the inch of candle is dropped.

Fourthly, They were denied a share in their companions’ oil. It is a sad presage of a repulse with God, when they were thus repulsed by good people. The wise answered, Not so; that peremptory denial is not in the original, but supplied by the translators: these wise virgins would rather give a reason without a positive refusal, than (as many do) give a positive refusal without a reason. They were well inclined to help their neighbours in distress; but, We must not, we cannot, we dare not, do it, lest there be not enough for us and you; charity begins at home; but go, and buy for yourselves. Note,

1. Those that would be saved, must have grace of their own. Though we have benefit by the communion of saints, and the faith and prayers of others may now redound to our advantage, yet our own sanctification is indispensably necessary to our own salvation. The just shall live by his faith. Every man shall give account of himself, and therefore let every man prove his own work; for he cannot get another to muster for him in that day.

2. Those that have most grace, have none to spare; all we have, is little enough for ourselves to appear before God in. The best have need to borrow from Christ, but they have none to lend to any of their neighbours. The church of Rome, which dreams of works of supererogation and the imputation of the righteousness of saints, forgets that it was the wisdom of the wise virgins to understand that they had but oil enough for themselves, and none for others. But observe, These wise virgins do not upbraid the foolish with their neglect, nor boast of their own forecast, nor torment them with suggestions tending to despair, but give them the best advice the case will bear, Go ye rather to them that sell. Note, Those that deal foolishly in the affairs of their souls, are to be pitied, and not insulted over; for who made thee to differ? When ministers attend such as have been mindless of God and their souls all their days, but are under death-bed convictions; and, because true repentance is never too late, direct them to repent, and turn to God, and close with Christ; yet, because late repentance is seldom true, they do but as these wise virgins did by the foolish, even made the best of bad. They can but tell them what is to be done, if it be not too late, but whether the door may not be shut before it is done, is an unspeakable hazard. It is good advice now, if it be taken in time, Go to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. Note, Those that would have grace, must have recourse to, and attend upon, the means of grace. See #Isa 55:1.

(6.) The coming of the bridegroom, and the issue of all this different character of the wise and foolish virgins. See what came of it.

1. While they went out to buy, the bridegroom came. Note, With regard to those that put off their great work to the last, it is a thousand to one, that they have not time to do it then. Getting grace is a work of time, and cannot be done in a hurry. While the poor awakened soul addresses itself, upon a sick bed, to repentance and prayer, in awful confusion, it scarcely knows which end to begin at, or what to do first; and presently death comes, judgment comes, and the work is undone, and the poor sinner undone for ever. This comes of having oil to buy when we should burn it, and grace to get when we should use it.

The bridegroom came. Note, Our Lord Jesus will come to his people, at the great day, as a Bridegroom; will come in pomp and rich attire, attended with his friends: now that the Bridegroom is taken away from us, we fast (#Mt 9:15), but then will be an everlasting feast. Then the Bridegroom will fetch home his bride, to be where he is (#Joh 17:24), and will rejoice over his bride, #Isa 62:5.

2. They that were ready, went in with him to the marriage. Note, First, To be eternally glorified is to go in with Christ to the marriage, to be in his immediate presence, and in the most intimate fellowship and communion with him in a state of eternal rest, joy, and plenty. Secondly, Those, and those only, shall go to heaven hereafter, that are made ready for heaven here, that are wrought to the self-same thing, #2Co 5:5. Thirdly, The suddenness of death, and of Christ’s coming to us then, will be no obstruction to our happiness, if we have been habitually prepared.

3. The door was shut, as is usual when all the company is come, that are to be admitted. The door was shut, First, To secure those that were within; that, being now made pillars in the house of our God, they may go no more out, #Re 3:12. Adam was put into paradise, but the door was left open and so he went out again; but when glorified saints are put into the heavenly paradise, they are shut in. Secondly, To exclude those that were out. The state of saints and sinners will then be unalterably fixed, and those that are shut out then, will be shut out for ever. Now the gate is strait, yet it is open; but then it will be shut and bolted, and a great gulf fixed. This was like the shutting of the door of the ark when Noah was in; as he was thereby preserved, so all the rest were finally abandoned.

4. The foolish virgins came when it was too late (#Mt 25:11); Afterward came also the other virgins. Note, First, There are many that will seek admission into heaven when it is too late; as profane Esau, who afterward would have inherited the blessing. God and religion will be glorified by those late solicitations, though sinners will not be saved by them; it is for the honour of Lord, Lord, that is, of fervent and importunate prayer, that those who slight it now, will flee to it shortly, and it will not be called whining and canting then. Secondly, The vain confidence of hypocrites will carry them very far in their expectations of happiness. They go to heaven-gate, and demand entrance, and yet are shut out; lifted up to heaven in a fond conceit of the goodness of their state, and yet thrust down to hell.

5. They were rejected, as Esau was (#Mt 25:12); I know you not. Note, We are all concerned to seek the Lord while he may be found; for there is a time coming when he will not be found. Time was, when, Lord, Lord, open to us, would have sped well, by virtue of that promise, Knock, and it shall be opened to you; but now it comes too late. The sentence is solemnly bound on with, Verily I say unto you, which amounts to no less than swearing in his wrath, that they shall never enter into his rest. It bespeaks him resolved, and them silenced by it.

Lastly, Here is a practical inference drawn from this parable (#Mt 25:13); Watch therefore, We had it before (#Mt 24:42), and here it is repeated as the most needful caution. Note,

1. Our great duty is to watch, to attend to the business of our souls with the utmost diligence and circumspection. Be awake, and be wakeful.

2. It is a good reason for our watching, that the time of our Lord’s coming is very uncertain; we know neither the day nor the hour. Therefore every day and every hour we must be ready, and not off our watch any day in the year, or any hour in the day. Be thou in the fear of the Lord every day and all the day long.

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Preceding

Matthew 22:11-13 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: King’s Inspection and Marriage Garments

Making sure to be ready and to belong to the escaped ones

Matthew 24 about temples or Houses of God and the end of the age

Matthew 24:29-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer Part Two – Sign 2: The Parousia. A Sign after the Great Oppression

Matthew 25:1-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Judgment by the King and Ten Virgins

Matthew 25:13 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Keep on the Watch

Matthew 25:14-30 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Keep Busy until the Parousia

Matthew 25:31-46 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Judgment on the Realm of Heaven #1 Matthew 25:31-34

Matthew 25:31-46 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Judgment on the Realm of Heaven #2 Matthew 25:34-36

Matthew 25:31-46 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Judgment on the Realm of Heaven #3 Matthew 25:37-40

Matthew 25:31-46 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Judgment on the Realm of Heaven #4 Matthew 25:41-46

Calvin looking at Matthew 25:1-12: The kingdom of heaven and foolishness

Calvin commenting at Matthew 25:15: To every one according to his own ability

Calvin commenting at Matthew 25:20: And he who had received five talents

Calvin commenting at Matthew 25:24: A harsh man

Calvin commenting at Matthew 25:31: The Son of man shall come in his glory

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Additional reading

  1. Together tasting a great promise
  2. Atonement And Fellowship 7/8
  3. God receives us on the basis of our faith
  4. Today’s thought “My soul thirsts for God” (January 23)
  5. Today’s thought “To proclaim … the day of vengeance” (July 5)
  6. Today’s thought “… and have no knowledge” (July 24)
  7. Date Setting
  8. Preparing for the Kingdom
  9. Only once and with consequences
  10. Time to be strengthened, thankful and to be prepared

Matthew 24:29-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer Part Two – Sign 2: The Parousia. A Sign after the Great Oppression

Matthew 24:29-35 – Part Two – Sign 2: The Parousia. A Sign after the Great Oppression

|| Mark 13:24-31; Luke 21:25-33

MT24:29 “But immediately after the oppression[1] of those days {LK21:25 there will be signs in sun and moon and stars:} the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light[2] and the stars will fall from the heaven[3] and the heavenly dynamics will be shaken.[4] [Isaiah 13:10] {LK21:25 And upon the earth anguish of nations in perplexity (noise of an agitated sea)[5] LK21:26 men fainting from fear[6] and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth.} MT24:30 And then there will appear[7] in the sky the sign of the Son of Humankind.[8] [Daniel 12:1; Isaiah 11:12] Then all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in lamentation.[9] They will see the Son of Humankind[10] coming on the clouds of the sky[11] [Daniel 7:13, 22; 12:1] with power and much glory.[12] {LK21:28 But as these things start to occur[13] rise and look upward[14] because your deliverance is drawing near.[15]} MT24:31 And the Son of Humankind will send off his angels[16] with a great trumpet[17] and they will gather his Chosen Ones[18] from the four winds[19] {MK13:27 from the extremity of earth to heaven’s extremity} from one extreme of the sky to another extreme.[20] [Isaiah 11;12] MT24:32 {MK13:28} But learn from the fig tree,[21] {LK21:29 and all the trees,} this parable: when the branch becomes tender and the tender leaves begin to sprout you know that summer is already near. MT24:33 {MK13:29} So, also, when you see these things you will know that he is near at the doors.[22] {LK21:31 Know the Kingdom of God is near![23]} MT24:34 I tell you this truth: this generation will not pass away[24] until all these things occur. MT24:35 {LK21:33} The heaven and the earth will pass away[25] but my words will never pass away.[26]

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[1] Immediately after the oppression: An interesting and perplexing problem develops here which has been interpreted in various ways. Jesus has been dealing wholly with Jerusalem up to this point and what follows with regard to the Great Oppression can also apply to the years 66 to 70. Remembering Jesus admits to not knowing “the day and hour” when he says “immediately after” he may mean what occurs next in the prophetic stream of events, telescoping centuries or millenniums to the next important occurrence. Paul does something like this at 1 Corinthians 15:23, 24 where his words EPEITA (then) and EITA (next) may span more than a thousand years.

On the other hand, there may be an overlap as the Nazarene moves from the subject of Jerusalem’s “end” and now on to the Parousia. The events of Daniel 12:1, 2, 7 have not all been completely fulfilled. Precisely, there has been no resurrection or judgment. Thirty years after the destruction of Jerusalem the Apocalypse paraphrases Luke 21:24 with another application of three and a half years (Revelation 11:2; 13:5-7; see also Daniel 7:18-22). So there may a device used here as a transition or pivot of thought as Jesus uses this point of the Great Oppression to shift to the subject of the Parousia. Following the verse about the oppression Jesus never uses the word “end” as he has not used “arrival” (or, parousia) before the Great Oppression.

[2] The sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light: One way for God to get everyone’s attention at once is to turn out the lights, something only He could do. Obviously when Christ returns as described in the following verses it will be night on one side of the planet where mankind would be in different degrees of sleep (Luke 17:34). If the moon and stars are bedarkened the news of this will flash like lightning. Certainly it will not be longer than a dozen hours or so (except above the Arctic Circle) before this phenomenon comes to the attention of virtually everyone. Such a dark background provides a perfect backdrop for the “sign” about to appear causing the entire globe to break out in great lamentation. Jesus draws this picture from various sources which may have to do with a gloomy or dark situation: the fire and smoke from a burning city, or literal sights (Compare Isaiah 13:10; 34:4; Joel 2:31; 3:15; Amos 8:9; Acts 2:20; Revelation 6:12, 13; 8:12; 9:2). Note Peter’s use of Joel 2:31, adding the paraphrased words “last days,” at Acts 2:20 applying this darkness and rising smoke to the “last days” of Jerusalem.

[3] The stars will fall from the heaven: The word for “stars” in Greek is ASTERES and might also include asteroids. The word OURANON (heaven) may also mean the sky or atmosphere.

[4] The heavenly dynamics will be shaken: Not just an earthquake but seismic activity in the celestialum. Events hard to miss by earth’s population and with startling reactions. Some have pointed to the Space Age with its rockets, moon visits, satellites, deep solar probes, and Star Wars technology as being part of this ‘shaking.’ But, the Nazarene places all of this “after the oppression.”

[5] Sea: Many would make this symbolic of mankind (Isaiah 57:20, 21), but since that is obviously already being discussed it may be more likely that agitation of the sea is a result of solar and lunar and possibly asteroids.

[6] Fainting from fear: The one major emotion from all of this is “fear” on the part of all those who do not understand what is occurring. The reaction to these sudden events, taking place within hours, affects the entire planet. They must actually have “seen” something.

[7] Appear: Interestingly, the Jewish Tanakh version by the JPS translated Daniel 12:1, ‘At that time, the great prince, Michael, will appear.’ The Hebrew here, amad; (Strong’s #5975), may be translated “appear” according to BDBG which lists Daniel 12:1 as an example. If this be the source for Jesus’ words now he was justified in making the statements which follow his mention of the “oppression.” Compare Isaiah 11:12 where SEMEION, the disciples’ word “sign” in their question, occurs in the LXX. The context of Isaiah deals with the gathering of Israel from ‘the four corners of the earth’! Could Matthew 24:30, 31 be a conflated paraphrase of Isaiah 13:10, Daniel 12:1, and Isaiah 11:12? This would be the compound paraphrase: ‘For the stars of heaven shall not give their light and it shall be dark at sunrise and the moon shall not give her light.… And Michael will appear.… and he will lift up a sign for the nations and he will gather the lost ones of Israel from the four corners of the earth.’

[8] The sign of the Son of Humankind: Nowhere is this “sign of the Son of Man” described but many assume it will be a vision like that of Daniel 7:13 only in reverse direction. Not an ascending Son of Man, but a descending one in harmony with Daniel 7:22 and the “arrival of Yahweh” to deliver the Saints following the “great oppression.” (Daniel 7:18-22)

[9] All the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in lamentation: The peoples of the earth would not all be lamenting if they had not seen something quite startling. Compare Revelation 6:12-17.

[10] They will see the Son of Humankind: The Parousia or Arrival of Christ is visible (Hebrews 9:28). To “see” something it must be visible in some form. The Greek for “see” here is OPSONTAI the same word as at Matthew 28:7 where the disciples “see” the Risen Christ; and Revelation 22:4 where the Saints are promised they will “see” God’s face. If the Nazarene meant the idea of “mentally seeing” he could have used a word similar to NOOUMEN in Ephesians 3:20 (NWT). Note OPSONTAI is used with regard to viewing the resurrected Jesus at Matthew 28:10. At Acts 10:42 Peter says that God gave Jesus the authority to become “visible” to witnesses appointed beforehand (John 14:19). Jesus was also seen (OPSTHE) by two non-believers after his ascension (1 Corinthians 9:1; 15:7). We have discussed this, when most will find it obvious, because some Bible students developed the idea of an “invisible presence” in which Jesus does not actually “return,” though Acts 1:9-11 and Acts 3:20, 21 would make it clear he does. Jesus came to the earth and his people (John 1:9-11) having “descended” (Ephesians 4:9). He promised to return or “come again” after his “ascension” (John 6:64; Ephesians 4:9) at John 14:3. In all of these cases he actually left heaven, and was thus absent, to come to the earth to be present; and, then he leaves earth to become absent from his disciples but promises them he will “come again” and thus become present once again. Does 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 state that our Lord “descends” (or, comes down) from heaven to the “air”?

[11] Coming on the clouds of the sky: This is a phrase from Daniel 7:13 but it should be noted in Daniel the idea is one of ascending (John 6:64) to the very Presence of God. Note Daniel’s position at Daniel 7:10, 16. However, according to the Nazarene’s own promise (John 14:3), as well as that of the angel (Acts 1:9-11), the Lord is to “return” in the same type of “clouds” in which he vanished heavenward upon his ascension. This is confirmed by Paul at 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 where the Lord descends into the “air” where clouds are formed. We have refrained from referencing Revelation 1:7 in this matter for reasons which will be explained later. We feel the words of Revelation 1:7 part of a hymnal praise, with Daniel 7:13 and Zechariah 12:10 as its theme, dealing with the ascension and not the return of Christ.

[12] With power and much glory: This is not a king who has come to receive his royal power, but one who already ‘rules as king waiting for his enemies to be made subject to him.’ (1 Corinthians 15:25; Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 10:12,13) He has waited ‘a long time’ to be reunited with his disciples (Matthew 25:19; Luke 19:12, 15). This phrase drawn from Daniel 7:13 and Psalm 110:1 is used at Matthew 10:23; 16:28; 26:64 where it likely means, “In your lifetime you will see the fulfillment of Daniel 7:13 and Psalm 110:1.” That is, upon the ascension of Jesus described in Acts 1:9-11, these disciples and those Jewish priests, would still be alive during this historical experience. Compare Matthew 26:57, 59, 64 with Acts 4:6; 7:1, 56, 57. In a very real sense these same priests were on hand to hear the martyr Stephen’s words, ‘Look! I behold the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ Surely, they remembered the Nazarene’s words of promise to them. The degree of power and glory is described by Daniel 7:14 and Ephesians 1:20-22.

[13] As these things start to occur: What “things”? The “great oppression”? The celestial darkness? The “sign” of the Son of Man? “These things” may include the “great oppression” itself if such an experience three and a half year period of oppression befell the Nazarene Saints, they would suspect the Arrival of the King is very near.

[14] Look upward: Or, “lift up your heads”; that is in the direction of the descending Lord in the atmospheric “air.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17)

[15] Is drawing near: It generally means imminent, at the doors, within days, if not hours (Matthew 26:18, 45; Luke 2:38; 22:1; John 2:13), though it can mean several years (Luke 21:20). With the forthcoming parable about ‘summer being near’ the nearness would seem to be a month or less.

[16] The Son of Humankind will send off his angels: Note that Christ does not mention any Saints alive in heaven beside him at this time. The Saints can expect to be raised, awaken, changed or resurrected at this moment of the angelic gathering (1 Corinthians 15:23). Compare 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and Revelation 7:1-4. It is interesting that in Matthew 25:31 the Son of Man comes with his “angels” but not with his Saints. One might expect that the very “judges” would be present with Christ if they were already in heaven with him. Would this be enough to indicate that this “arrival” is for the parousia-Judgment upon the Household of Faith and the reason the Saints are missing in Matthew 25:31 is because they have yet to be raised or raptured?

[17] A great trumpet: Note 1 Corinthians 15:50-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; Revelation 11:15, 18.

[18] Chosen Ones: The Elect gathered. Compare 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1. “Chosen Ones,” or “the Elect,” may here be limited to the Christian Saints, both those dead and those alive at the Arrival or Parousia of Christ.

[19] Four winds: Note Revelation 7:1 and Isaiah 11:12. The parallels with Matthew 24:31 might establish that the 144,000 of Revelation 7:1-4 are sealed and delivered at this time.

[20] From one extreme of the sky to another extreme: If the Saints were all in one place this would make no sense. For example, if the vast majority were already with Christ in heaven why would the angels have to be sent out to gather what is already present with the King? However, if the living Saints were in fact scattered across the globe, some in the fields, some at work in the grinding mill, and some asleep (Matthew 24:40, 41; Luke 17:34), then it seems to be that “harvest” the Nazarene illustrates at Matthew 13:30, 40, 41.

[21] Fig tree: Some see Israel in this fig tree, but note the Nazarene mentions all the other trees.

[22] He is near at the doors: Extremely imminent as someone who has come to the house and now stands at the door ready to knock. Here it means within days if not hours, perhaps limiting the observable things to the darkening cosmos and the “sign of the Son of Man.”

[23] The Kingdom of God is near: Luke adds this and thus removes any notion that Jerusalem’s “end” is the subject. The Nazarene has shifted to his own Arrival or Parousia.

[24] This generation will not pass away: This has been applied to Jesus’ contemporaries or that race of Jews still alive at the parousia-Judgment. But, it may well be limited to those lamenting tribes of the earth, and those “Chosen Ones” about to be gathered, and thus still alive (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17) at the Return of Christ, who have observed the celestial phenomenon.

[25] The heaven and the earth will pass away: If this is understood to be the literal stellar universe and the planet Earth then it would seem to contradict texts like Psalm 104:5 and Ecclesiastes 1:4 (Psalm 72:8). Note 2 Peter 3:5-7, 10, 12, 13 and Revelation 21:1. This likely refers to that “heaven” and “earth” over which Satan had ruled for thousands of years (2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 6:12; Isaiah 51:16).

[26] My words will never pass away: The Nazarene’s words will exist forever and thus be a beneficial guide throughout that “day of eternity.” (2 Peter 3:17)

+

Preceding

Matthew 24 about temples or Houses of God and the end of the age

Matthew 24:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Desolation, Oppression and the Parousia – The Setting

Matthew 24:3 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Desolation, Oppression and the Parousia – The Apostles’ Question

Matthew 24:4-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Part One – Beware Being Misled

Matthew 24:9-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Part Two – The Acts of the Apostles Foretold

Matthew 24:15-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Sign 1: Encamped Armies. The Sign Great Oppression Is Near

++

Find also to read

  1. Looking into the Future
  2. Looking forward for what is to come
  3. The resurrected Lord
  4. Memorizing wonderfully 52 Acts 7:56: the Son of man standing on the right hand of God
  5. Jesus Christ will return to earth
  6. You know neither the day nor the hour
  7. To be prepared for the Day of Judgment
  8. The New Testament and Judgement
  9. Prophecies over coming days
  10. Memorizing wonderfully 24 the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father
  11. Memorizing wonderfully 35 When the son returns it shall be As it came to pass in the days of Noah
  12. Signs of the Last Days
  13. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #2 Wars, natural disasters, famine and false Messiahs
  14. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #3 Coming events revealed in the prophetic writings
  15. Today’s thought “Sun, moon and stars” (January 22)
  16. Today’s thought “And they feared greatly” (February 6)
  17. Today’s Thought ” … the earth will be shaken” (May 23)
  18. To be prepared and very well oiled
  19. Preparing for his coming
  20. Jesus … will come in the same way as you saw him go
  21. Not about personal salvation but about a bigger Plan
  22. God’s Plan, Purpose and teachings
  23. What I Hope For Is What You Hope For
  24. As you see the Day approaching
  25. The Rapture Wars

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