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

Matthew 24:15-28 – Sign 1: Encamped Armies. The Sign Great Oppression Is Near

|| Mark 13:14-23; Luke 21:20-24

MT24:15 “Therefore, when you see The Disgusting Thing[1] of The Desolation[2] [Daniel 9:27] {LK21:20 (encamped armies encircling Jerusalem)[3] [Daniel 9:26, 27; 11:15-17, 44, 45]} (as spoken by Daniel the prophet) standing in a Holy Place[4] [Daniel 8:11-14; 9:26] (let the reader be mindful)[5] {LK21:20 know, then, her desolation has drawn near.[6] [Daniel 8:13; 9:26, 27; 11:31; 12:11]} MT24:16 Then, let those in Judea[7] flee into the mountains[8] {LK21:21 and those within her depart. And those in the regions let them not enter into her LK21:22 because these are days of vengeance to fulfill all the things written[9]} MT24:17 The one on the housetop,[10] let him not come down to enter his house. MT24:18 And the one in the field, let him not return to grab his outer garment. MT24:19 But, woe to the pregnant[11] in those days {LK21:23 for there will be great necessity upon earth and wrath to this People.[12] LK21:24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword and they will be led captive[13] into all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations[14] [Daniel 8:10, 13; 12:7] until the fulfillment of the appointed times of the nations.[15] [Daniel 12:7]} MT24:20 But keep praying your flight be not in winter[16] nor on the Sabbath.[17] MT24:21 For then those days will be a great oppression[18] of a sort not to have occurred from the beginning of the world[19] {MK13:19 which God created} until now but will never occur again.[20] [Daniel 12:1] MT24:22 And if [YHWH][21] {MK13:20} did not shorten those days[22] it is unlikely any flesh[23] would be saved. But for the Elect[24] {MK13:20 He chose} those days will be shortened. MT24:23 {MK13:21} And then if anyone says to you: ‘Look! Christ is here!’[25] Or, ‘There!’ you should not believe it.[26] MT24:24 {MK13:22} For many pseudo-anointed[27] and false prophets[28] will rise. They will give great signs and wonders[29] so as to mislead, if possible, The Elect.[30] MT24:25 {MK13:23} Look! I have foretold everything![31] MT24:26 Therefore, if ever they say to you: ‘Look! He is in the desert!’[32] you should not follow them. Or, ‘Look! He is in the inner chambers!’[33] you should not believe them. MT24:27 For as the lightning[34] comes out of the east and shines to the west so will be the Arrival of the Son of Humankind.[35] [Daniel 7:14, 22] MT24:28 Where the carcass is there the eagles will gather.[36]

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[1] The Disgusting Thing: The translation from the Aramaic by Lamsa has this as disgusting “sign.” If this is the case, it makes it clear Jesus gave two “signs”: a) one with regard to Jerusalem; and, b) one with regard to the Arrival or Parousia. In a way it shows Jesus has reversed the order of the disciples’ question which had the PAROUSIA first and then SYNTELEIAS or consummation, fulfillment, conclusion. Jesus addresses “The End” of Jerusalem first and then goes on to the Parousia.

[2] Disgusting thing of The Desolation: This phrase is from the Jewish Greek Bible the Septuagint (LXX) at Daniel 9:27 (See also Daniel 12:11). DNTT, Vol 1, page 74ff: “Matthew 24:15 is taken from the LXX of Daniel 12:11 and appears with slight variations in Daniel 9:27 and Daniel 11:31… E. Nestle demonstrated that the phrase originated as a typical Jewish term of contempt for a heathen deity.… To Jesus the term would probably connote idolatry of some sort. It is observed that Luke paraphrases his words by the expression ‘Jerusalem surrounded by armies’ (Luke 21:20). It is possible that this is closer to the intention of Jesus than is commonly recognized, for the Roman armies were notorious for the idolatrous images affixed to their ensigns.” The Nazarene makes one of his many paraphrases of the Hebrew Bible and here shows that Daniel had foretold the ultimate desolation of Jerusalem’s Temple. So it would seem Daniel 9:27 may be the closest, though all three occurrences of the key phrase may bear on the same thing: the destruction of Jerusalem’s Temple.

[3] Encamped armies encircling Jerusalem: This phrase is from Luke and is added here as the explanation of what the Disgusting Thing was to prove to be: the Roman armies in their assault against Jerusalem beginning in the year 66. For details on this event read Josephus’ Wars of the Jews. The Romans minted special coins beginning with Year One and on into the Fifth Year culminating in the spring of 73. Luke 19:43, 44 recorded the Nazarene’s earlier prediction drawing on other words of Daniel: ‘For days will arrive upon you when your enemies will throw up a palisade encircling you. They will distress you on every side. They will dash your children to the ground; and they will not let a stone remain upon a stone.’ Many of these words and phrases are so similar to those in Daniel 8:9-12; Daniel 9:26-27; Daniel 11:15-17, 44, 45; Daniel 12:7, 11 so as not to be ignored and it is for these reasons we believe Jesus cautioned the reader of Daniel.

[4] Holy Place: Read Josephus for details on the Jews’ war with Rome. The Romans actually minted coins for the years of the Jewish campaign and then built the Arch of Titus in Rome to commemorate their final overthrow of the Jewish revolt. This relief pictures the Jewish prisoners and the Great Menorah being carried off as booty. The Temple, called the “holy place” or “sanctuary,” also features in Daniel’s prophecy: Daniel 8:11, 13, 14; Daniel 9:26; Daniel 11:31. This is the very subject before Jesus and the disciples in Matthew ch 24, Mark ch 13, and Luke ch 21.

[5] Let the reader be mindful: Does the Nazarene assume his disciples will be reading the Book of Daniel for details? He asks them to be “mindful,” or to ‘take note of this.’ (PME)

[6] Her desolation has drawn near: Thus the SYNTELEIAS of the disciples’ question about “the end.” The word “desolation” features in Daniel 8:13; Daniel 9:26, 27; Daniel 11:31; 12:11. Jesus had chosen it carefully.

[7] Those in Judea: Not just those within the city of Jerusalem but also within the whole region. In Daniel this region or area of Palestine is called “the land of Decoration (or, Beauty).” (Daniel 8:9; Daniel 11:16, 41) Josephus records the exact campaign of the Romans beginning in the north.

[8] Flee into the mountains: There is some evidence certain Christians did flee to the mountains of Perea.

[9] To fulfill all the things written: Particularly in Daniel chapters 8, 9, 11, 12. In the Book of Daniel there is a unique phrase often bandied about, ‘the time of the end,’ or ‘end-times.’ (Daniel 8:17, 19; Daniel 11:13, 35, 40; Daniel 12:4) These seem to always apply to the “end” of Jerusalem. Neither Jesus, nor his disciples, ever used such a phrase as “time of the end.”

[10] The one on the housetop: Interestingly, the Nazarene has “one” on the housetop and another “one” at work, not at some Christian meeting or involved in missionary preaching. This would have been a good time to say so if that was his meaning. The flight is extremely urgent. Now, it would seem the Nazarene could have anticipated, not the “day and hour,” but the length of the “days of distress” for the prophetic evidence was right there in Daniel 8:13, 14, 17, 19; Daniel 12:7 that the whole period of war would cover 2,300 days, with a particular period of three and a half years. As it turns out it is exactly 2,300 days from the autumn of the year 66 to the spring of 73 and the fall of Masada. It is three and a half years from the fall of 66 to the spring of 70. Jesus avoids this, other than a subtle reference in Luke 21:24, perhaps because of human nature to put things off to the last moment. He encourages all to flee without hesitation at the first “sign” of encircling armies.

[11] Pregnant: This is not a period of time longer than nine months or covering many years as Jesus’ warning to women shows. It may include those years during which a mother nurses. He has lovingly not ignored them in their plight. The disaster which befell Jerusalem was a horror on women and their children as recorded by Josephus (Luke 19:44; 23:27-30).

[12] This People: The Jews. Remember the Christians, or Messianists, were generally viewed as a Jewish sect, the Nazarenes, by the Jews and the Romans. During the wave of persecution by Nero Jews and Christians suffered. Paul and Peter were executed within the period of 66 to 70 AD. Thus viewed, the “chosen ones” may include all Jews but with the emphasis on those Christian saints. The Great Oppression involves the Jews and spreads outside of Judea (Acts 18:2; 24:5).

[13] They will fall by the edge of the sword and they will be led captive: The words “sword” and “captive” are from Daniel 11:32 in the prophetic context of the Temple and The Abomination. Also, note these two words at that future time of oppression in Revelation 13:10. In 70 AD more than one million died in the destruction of Jerusalem alone. Almost 100,000 were led off captive which the Arch of Titus in Rome commemorates.

[14] Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations: It is possible Jesus is referring to the whole period of oppression beginning in 66 through 70 AD. If Jerusalem is destroyed along with her Temple then she cannot be trampled on. It is during the three and a half years of 66 to 70 that Jerusalem is trampled. Note this word “trample” in Daniel as it is associated with Jerusalem (Daniel 8:10, 13; Daniel 12:7). Also note that the 2,300 days of Daniel 8:14 might well fit that period from 66 to 73 and the conquest of Masada, a word possibly meaning “fortress.” (Daniel 11:31)

[15] The appointed times of the nations: What length of time would this be? By comparing Daniel 12:7 (likely the source of Jesus’ words) and Revelation 11:2 it would seem this period, “the appointed times of the nations,” is three and a half years long and covers that space from 66 to 70 AD.

[16] Winter: A space of three or four months.

[17] Sabbath: Does Jesus still have his Jewish disciples and the Jewish peoples in mind?

[18] Great oppression: In the Greek translation of Matthew this is THLIPSIS MEGALE and is borrowed from the LXX at Daniel 12:1 with hints from Daniel 7:25’s bela (Strong’s #1080) which is rendered “oppress” by some. The words THLIPSIS MEGALE is repeated in Revelation 7:14 for reasons we will see later.

[19] Of a sort not to have occurred from the beginning of the world: This tribulation is without parallel in human creation. Does Jesus not still have Jerusalem in mind? So this is to be the worst disaster in Jerusalem’s history. Note how the Jewish Tanakh (JPS) renders Daniel 12:1, ‘It will be a time of trouble, the like of which has never been since the nation came into being.’ This would refer directly to the nation of Israel.

[20] Will never occur again: Does Jesus the Jew mean Jerusalem will never again experience such a disaster as that by the Romans between 66-70 AD? We shall see later in our consideration of Apocalypse.

[21] YHWH: Or, [the] Lord. The Greek KYRIOS in Mark 13:20 is without the article suggesting God’s Name may have originally appeared here [Compare the Diaglott].

[22] Shorten those days: The period of oppression against Jerusalem.

[23] Flesh: Jewish flesh according to the context.

[24] The Elect: Or, “the chosen ones.” The Greek is EKLEKTOUS. This may well apply to the Jews as a People including the Christian saints. It is during this widespread oppression, with its center in Jerusalem, that Peter and Paul were executed. They did not survive “the great oppression.” They were not “saved” out of it. Note how the term “elect” or “chosen ones” can be applied to Israel (Psalm 105:6, 26, 43; 106:5, 23; Isaiah 65:9, 15, 22, 23; Luke 18:7) and to the Christian disciples (Romans 8:33; Colossians 3:12; Titus 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1; 2:9).

[25] Christ is here: With these events and the destruction of Jerusalem it would be the appropriate time for someone to claim to be the Messiah or for others to predict the Return of Christ. Throughout history there have been those who claimed Christ had actually returned. “Christ is here!” they cried, though their interpretations of this varied greatly.

[26] You should not believe it: The Nazarene makes it clear his Arrival or Parousia does not take place with the destruction of Jerusalem as the disciples might have anticipated.

[27] Pseudo-anointed: Or, “false christs (messiahs).” Jesus foretold his “field” would be sown with “weeds” (zizania) or counterfeit “sons of the Kingdom.” (Matthew 13:38) “Apostasy” was foretold by Paul (Acts 20:29; 2 Thessalonians 2:2-7; 1 Timothy 4:1, 2; 2 Timothy 3:5-9). Peter foretold “false prophets.” (2 Peter ch 2) Jude and John stated this process was already in deep ferment (Jude 4, 11-19; 1 John 2:19, 26; 4:3). Any who claimed to be “The Anointed” and yet made false prophecies claiming, “The Time is at Hand!” (Luke 21:8 Byington) were a danger to the true Elect.

[28] False prophets: Read Deuteronomy 18:20-22 on how to know when a prophecy is not from God. Certainly, one of the main themes of these prophets is to go counter to the Lord Jesus who they claim to represent: ‘The Time is at Hand!’ They mislead by complicated and obscure time chronologies which they have worked out. Most of these have used Daniel, particularly chapters 4 and 8.

[29] Great signs and wonders: The more “signs” a prophet points to, the more one ought to be cautious. Paul says something similar at 2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10 when he discusses “the Man of lawlessness.” Some in modern times hail their powers to heal, or cast out demons, or point to grand buildings, or international publishing, or great radio and television satellite communication networks. Paul stresses it is “the truth” one ought to hold dear (2 Thessalonians 2:10).

[30] To mislead, if possible, The Elect: Jesus may cover the centuries in this warning for throughout the ages the false prophets have misled millions who have failed to do exactly what Jesus directed: ‘Do not believe them.’

[31] I have foretold everything: At John 14:29 the Nazarene taught, ‘I have told you before it occurs so when it does occur you will believe.’

[32] He is in the desert: There are to be no isolated appearances of the Christ in deserted locations, or wilderness areas where some false prophets might try to gather their followers, where others in general cannot view him.

[33] He is in the inner chambers: There are to be no private appearances of Christ to individuals in their bedrooms or elsewhere. Any who claim to have had the Christ appear in their private rooms would be false prophets. This may include private and personal visions or dreams. Three of the four Christian religions actually founded in America during the 1,800’s make such claims.

[34] As the lightning: Lightning is something visible and discernible with the naked eye from horizon to horizon by all under its illumination. Lightning can be seen even with the eyes closed. Compare Luke 17:24 where the ‘revealing of the Son of Man’ is compared to lightning.

[35] Arrival of the Son of Humankind: For the first time the Nazarene uses the disciples’ word PAROUSIA as Matthew translates the Hebrew. Jesus is to use PAROUSIA three times (Matthew 24:27, 37, 39) according to the Greek translator of Matthew’s Hebrew. The word PAROUSIA only occurs here in the Gospels. It should be kept in mind that Jesus most likely spoke in Hebrew (Acts 26:14) and the disciple Matthew recorded his original Gospel in that language (Irenaeus, a Christian teacher of the Second Century wrote: “Matthew published a written gospel for the Hebrews in their own tongue.” The History of the Church by Eusebius, page 210). So, it was a later translator, possibly Matthew himself, who put the Greek word PAROUSIA in the mouths of Jesus and his disciples.

What Hebrew word might the Nazarene have used? Since PAROUSIA is always connected with the “Son of Man” it is likely Jesus borrowed a word from Daniel 7:13 or 22: athah (Strong’s #857, #858) which means “arrive,” the same meaning of PAROUSIA. See notes on Matthew 24:3 for more details. PAROUSIA means the arrival or visit of a king or important person. The English word “coming” has become a common noun referring to such a royal visit. Paul uses PAROUSIA in the context of the Second Coming only once outside of his Thessalonian letters (1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 8).

Mark and Luke do not use PAROUSIA but choose other synonyms: ERKHETAI, ERKHOMENOS, ELTHON which mean “come” or “arrive.” Matthew does this himself (Matthew 24:30, 42, 44, 45, 25:19). ERKHOMENOS happens to be the word used in the Jewish Greek Bible, the Septuagint (LXX), at Daniel 7:13 with ELTHEN being used at Daniel 7:22. Is this enough to establish that PAROUSIA (presence) is roughly the same as ERKHOMENOS (coming) or ELTHON (arrive)?

[36] Where the carcass is there the eagles will gather: This sudden cryptic is not the first time the disciples heard it. See something similar at Luke 17:37 when the disciples respond to certain ones being “taken along.” The disciples ask, ‘Where, Lord?’ The Nazarene responds in words similar to Matthew 24:28. If the “eagles” are those “taken along” (a word similar to that in John 14:3 and Luke 17:34) and these are raptured or gathered, then the “body” is the returning Christ (Compare 2 Thessalonians 2:1 with Matthew 24:30). Luke uses SOMA (body) whereas Matthew uses TO PTOMA (fallen body, carcass, corpse) which happens to also occur at Revelation 11:8, 9, 12 in a context suggesting the Rapture following words paraphrased from Luke 21:24 (Revelation 11:2).

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Preceding

Matthew 13:36-43 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Zizania in the Field Explained

Matthew 13:47-50 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Dragnet

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

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Additional reading

  1. Prophecies over coming days
  2. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #1 The Son of man revealing
  3. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #2 Wars, natural disasters, famine and false Messiahs
  4. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #3 Coming events revealed in the prophetic writings
  5. Thought on the first day of the new civil year 2020
  6. Today’s thought “My times are in your hand” (January 14)
  7. 1st thought for today “The world may be wicked” (January 16)
  8. Today’s thought “The eyes of man are never satisfied” (April 17)
  9. Today’s thought “When approaching the battle against your enemies today” (May 03)
  10. To be prepared for the Day of Judgment

Matthew 22:14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Many Invited – Few Chosen

Matthew 22:14 – Many Invited – Few Chosen

MT22:14 “For many are invited[1] but few chosen.”[2]

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[1] Many are invited: The Greek is KLETOI and is rendered by either “invited” or “called.” We can say with a surety that this “many” includes millions of Jews who as a nation had the promise of Exodus 19:6.

[2] Few chosen: The Greek is EKLEKTOI from which comes “elected.” The phrase may be: “many called but few elected.” Research the word chosen as a common term used for disciples of the Nazarene. Compare Revelation 17:14. See notes on Matthew 7:14 and read Luke 13:23. It is one thing to be “invited” and it is another to be finally “chosen.” As Jesus’ parable at Matthew 13:3-9 shows there are many who hear the invitation but do not last. Compare 1 John 2:19.

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Preceding

Matthew 22:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of Invitation to a Marriage

Matthew 22:7-10 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Invitations after City’s Destruction

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

intent

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Additional reading

  1. Memorizing wonderfully 31 Son of David and God’s Kingdom
  2. Not about personal salvation but about a bigger Plan
  3. Songs of Moses and the servants of God
  4. What is the Kingdom of God?
  5. Colour-blindness and road code
  6. Do those who want to follow Christ to be Jews
  7. Living stones 5 Abraham’s seed and gentiles
  8. The revival of Israel
  9. Redemption #9 Only way
  10. Memorizing wonderfully 67: Galatians 3:29 Heirs according to promise.
  11. Jerusalem and a son’s kingdom

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Related articles

  1. Sanctification Isn’t An Event, It’s A Process (a really, really long process)
  2. #Abundance of Invitation Seeds: #Lent #Liturgy & #Prayer Resource March 24
  3. Many are called
  4. The “chosen” people – Marilyn Armstrong
  5. Salvation to the Jews

Matthew 22:7-10 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Invitations after City’s Destruction

Matthew 22:7-10 – Invitations after City’s Destruction

|| Luke 14:23, 24

MT22:7 “Now the king became extremely angry.[1] He sent off his armies and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. MT22:8 Then he told his slaves, ‘The wedding feast is prepared but those invited were unworthy.[2] MT22:9 So now be on your way onto the trade routes[3] and invite everyone[4] you meet to the wedding feast.’ MT22:10 Having left on the roads those slaves gathered together everyone[5] they found, both wicked and good.[6] And the wedding room[7] was filled with all[8] those reclining at the table.

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[1] Extremely angry: Or, KJV: wroth; KNX: fell into a rage; NEB: furious; RHM: provoked to anger.

[2] Those invited were unworthy: Or, NEB: the guests I invited did not deserve the honour; PME: were not good enough for it.

[3] The trade routes: Or, KJV: highways; RHM: crossways of the roads; RSV: thoroughfares.

[4] Invite everyone: This is the second invitation. The first was one of natural birthright for the Jews who as a nation proved unworthy. Now “everyone” (the Greek is HOSOUS; compare John 1:12, 13) is invited without a limit to the number of those called.

[5] Gathered together everyone: The Greek is SYNEGAGOU. Or, TCNT: collected.

[6] Wicked and good: Or, KJV: bad and good; KNX: rogues and honest. Peoples with different kinds of pasts.

[7] Wedding room: Or, TCNT: bridal-hall.

[8] Filled with all: There will come a time after the Gospel Age when the room is full.

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Preceding

Matthew 22:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of Invitation to a Marriage

Matthew 22:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of Invitation to a Marriage

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO:
QUESTIONS ANSWERED AND UNANSWERED

[“Trick Questions”]
(Key word: Marriage)

Matthew 22:1-6 – Parable of Invitation to a Marriage

|| Luke 14:16-22

MT22:1 Jesus continued to answer the priests, Scribes and Jewish elders with more parables, saying: MT22:2 “The Realm of Heaven may be compared to[1] a human king[2] who prepared a wedding feast[3] for his son.[4] MT22:3 Now the king sent out his slaves[5] to call everyone invited[6] to the wedding feast but they were unwilling to come.[7] MT22:4 Again the king sent out more slaves, saying, ‘Tell everyone invited, “Look! I have prepared my supper.[8] My bulls and fattened animals have been slaughtered. Everything is ready! Come to the wedding feast!”’ MT22:5 But those [invited] were disinterested[9] and went away, one person to a field,[10] another person to the emporium.[11] MT22:6 However, others grabbed the slaves of the king and after abusing them murdered them.[12]

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[1] Realm of Heaven may be compared to: Research Realm of Heaven and notes elsewhere. There is something about the Church (the realm of profession; the Kingdom of Heaven). Of course, there are elements in the parable directed to the Jewish religious hierarchy.

[2] King: Yehowah, God of the Jews, the Father of Jesus Christ.

[3] A wedding feast: Or, KJV: wedding; RSV: marriage feast; TCNT: banquet. Compare Revelation 19:9 and 2 Corinthians 11:2 (Ephesians 5:32).

[4] Son: ‘Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God,’ as Peter declares.

[5] Slaves: Some would include the ancient prophets here, however, it is more likely these slaves represented John and his disciples as well as those seventy Jesus sent out to invite Jews to the Realm of Heaven.

[6] Invited: The Greek word is KEKLEMENOUS (KEKLEMENOIS) and is either rendered by “invite” or “call.” Or, KNX: summons. Jesus said he came “only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Those invited here are those Jews in the nation of Israel who have the covenant promise of a “kingdom.” (Exodus 19:6)

[7] Unwilling to come: As a nation the Jews reject Jesus and the opportunity he offers. Compare what the prophet foretold – Isaiah 52:13-53:3.

[8] I have prepared my supper: Whether one viewed the entire outworking of God’s purpose involved in this preparation, with the coming of Messiah “preparations” have reached a key phase now.

[9] Those [invited] were disinterested: Or, KJV: made light of it; KNX: paid no heed; LAM: sneered at it.

[10] To a field: Or, KJV: farm; MOF: estate; WEY: his home in the country.

[11] The emporium: The Greek is EMPORIAN. Or, KJV: merchandise; MOF: business; NW: commercial business.

[12] Abusing them murdered them: Or, ASV: treated them shamefully and killed them; NEB: attacked them brutally; MON: maltreated.

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Preceding

Matthew 21:45-46 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Religious Leadership Fearful

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Additional reading

  1. God doesn’t call the qualified
  2. God’s Plan, Purpose and teachings
  3. The Call of Christ
  4. Ability (part 7) Thought about the ability to grow as a member of the Body of Christ

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Related articles

  1. Narrative Lectionary: Invitations (Matthew 22:1-14)
  2. You are called
  3. It’s a Trap!

Matthew 8:5-13 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Servant of Army Officer Healed

Matthew 8:5-13 – Servant of Army Officer Healed

|| Luke 7:1-10; John 4:46-53

MT8:5 Entering Capernaum a centurion[1] approached Jesus begging him MT8:6 saying, “Sir, my servant-boy[2] is house-bound, a paralytic, in terrible agony.” MT8:7 Jesus told him, “When I arrive I shall[3] cure him.” MT8:8 But the centurion replied: “I am unfit[4] to have you enter under my roof; but only say the word and my servant-boy will be healed. MT8:9 For I am a man in a position of authority with many soldiers under me. And I tell this one, ‘Get up and go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes. And to my own slave,[5] ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” MT8:10 Hearing this Jesus marveled and told those following him, “I tell you this truth,[6] I tell you, I have never discovered such faith[7] in all of Israel![8] MT8:11 But, I tell you that many from sunrise to sunset[9] will come and recline with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob[10] in the Realm of the Heavens, MT8:12 but the sons of the kingdom[11] will be cast out into the outer darkness, and there they will weep and grind their teeth.”[12] MT8:13 And then Jesus spoke to the centurion, “Be on your way: just as you believed,[13] let it happen to you.” And the servant-boy was healed in that very hour.

[1] Centurion: The word occurs ten times in the Christian Bible between Matthew and Acts. This Roman army officer was in charge of one hundred soldiers. Roman legions, despite the number of troops were divided into 60 centuries under the command of a centurion. This is an occupying soldier often disliked by the Jews. However, some Roman soldiers became quite favorable to the Jews, giving charitable gifts, and at least in one known case, built a synagogue. Compare a later centurion, Cornelius in Acts chapter 10 (Note John the Baptist’s suggestions to such soldiers at Luke 3:14).

[2] Servant-boy: The Greek is PAIS meaning “boy.” “Boy” is an old English word for a male slave or servant. “Girl” designated a female slave. “Boy” in certain racial contexts is derogatory in many cultures today. Some women object to “girl” because of its historical roots in slavery.

[3] I shall: Note our Lord’s confident faith.

[4] I am unfit: Actually Jews had little to do with Non-Jews and the “religious” among them had no dealings at all.

[5] Slave: This is a different Greek word than PAIS above – DOULO meaning a slave or servant. The word group “slave” occurs 400 times in the Bible, most often in the Christian Bible in Matthew and Luke. The first occurrence is Genesis 9:25 following the Flood. In Paul’s epistles the word “slave” is often applied as a designation for a disciple of the Nazarene. One of Paul’s letters, Philemon (verse 16), was written to a Christian slave owner.

[6] I tell you this truth: The literal Greek word is AMEN and is variously rendered: verily, solemnly, truly. The word usually precedes a sober statement.

[7] Faith: This is the second occurrence of the word “faith” in Matthew. The first was in the Sermon on the Mount at Matthew 6:30. The Greek is PISTIN and is usually translated by the Latin biased word “faith” or the old English bias word “belief.” Paul defines “faith” in Hebrews 11:1. The words “faith” and “believe” occur over 700 times in the Bible. The first occurrence is Genesis 15:6 in the case of the father of all the faithful, Abraham. The word occurs most often in the Letter to the Romans. The last occurrence deals with those lacking faith (Revelation 21:8).

[8] Such faith in all of Israel: This must have struck his disciples hard! Observers may already have been questioning the propriety of such contact with a Gentile, let alone an occupying soldier. And, then to be told this Roman centurion’s faith was so outstanding. How much basis did the centurion have to place his faith and trust in this carpenter from Nazareth? Surely the humble solider serves as an example two thousand years later?

[9] Sunrise to sunset: Or, east and west; orient and occident.

[10] Abraham and Isaac and Jacob: This verse has been very controversial with a variety of opinions. Some view it as evidence these ancient patriarchs would attain to heavenly life. Jesus repeats something similar in another context at Luke 13:29 where he amplifies the compass directions. Judging from Matthew 11:11, 12 these honorable forefathers would only equal John the Baptist who would not be a member of the Kingdom Realm of heaven. So, what may this verse mean? Judging from the context of Luke 13:29 it may be understood in this manner: The phrase “kingdom of the heavens” likely refers to the Realm of Profession (Christendom) over which the Lord Messiah reigns, that is, the Christian Church. The three patriarchs possibly stand as a symbol for the Jewish roots of those first members of Christ’s church/kingdom. As in that “root of fatness” which comprises the Olive Tree of Romans chapter 11. In the year 36 the first Gentile convert to Christianity joined the Church along with his family. This was the first to come to the spiritual table within that Realm of Christian Profession. Meanwhile the religious hypocrites found themselves outside in the darkness. Near the end of his ministry when Greeks wish to speak to them, Jesus assured that following his ascension he “would draw all kinds of men.” (John 12:20-32) The names of the patriarchs are used as synonyms for the nation of Israel [Abraham – Isaiah 29:22; Isaac, Amos 7:9; Jeremiah 33:26; Psalm 105:9. Jacob in particular is a cryptic for Israel – Psalms 14:7; 44:4; 47:4; 53:6; 59:13; 78:5, 21, 71; 79:7; 85:1; 87:2; 99:4; 105:10; 135:4; 147:19; Rachel is also used for all of Israel, Jeremiah 31:15]

[11] Sons of the kingdom: That is the Jews who were promised such a “kingdom of priests” upon their obedience to God’s covenant (Exodus 19:5, 6). Jesus uses the phrase only one other time in Matthew 13:38 as he applies it to the wheat class of Christians within “the kingdom of the heavens.” This kingdom is that of the Son, in which there prove to be the lawless. It contrasts with the Father’s Kingdom where the Saints will shine like the sun in glory (Matthew 13:41-43; Daniel 12:3).

[12] Grind their teeth: Note how this begins at Stephen’s martyrdom (Acts 7:54, 57).

[13] Believed: Or, conviction, trust, faith. The Greek is EPISTEUSAS.

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Preceding

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:23-25 – Kingdom Preaching and Healing Draws Crowds

Matthew 8:1-4 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Jesus a Miracle-working Son of God

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Further reading

  1. Are We a Kingdom of Priests?
  2. Israel will be a kingdom of priests “if” & decline in true church in USA
  3. “Assembling His Kingdom of Priest”
  4. You Were Chosen For A Divine Purpose
  5. How to Find Healing In a Sick World
  6. Healing Christ
  7. Prayer- Jesus, only speak the word (Matthew 8.5-11)

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