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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 11:20-24 Encouragement for John and Reproach for cities 5 Reproached Cities a Lesson for Judgment Day

Matthew 11:20-24 – Reproached Cities a Lesson for Judgment Day

|| Luke 10:13-15

MT11:20 Then Jesus began to reproach the cities where most of his dynamic works[1] occurred, because they did not repent: MT11:21 “Woe to you, Chorazin![2] Woe to you, Bethsaida![3] Because if the dynamic works which occurred in you took place in Tyre[4] and Sidon[5] of old it is most likely they would have repented in sackcloth and ashes.[6] MT11:22 Also, I tell you: it will be more bearable[7] for Tyre and Sidon on Judgment Day[8] than for you. MT11:23 And you, Capernaum,[9] will you be exalted[10] heaven-high? Down to Hades[11] you will descend! Because if those dynamic works which occurred in you had taken place in Sodom it is likely it would have remained until today. MT11:24 So, I tell you that it will be more bearable for the land of Sodom on Judgment Day than for you.”

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[1] Dynamic works: The Greek is DYNAMEIS as it is in verses 21, 23. Others rendered this: KJV: mighty works; TCNT: miracles; GDSP: wonders; PME: demonstrations of God’s power.

[2] Chorazin: A town at the north end of Galilee. Compare Luke 10:10-16. It was not far from Capernaum, the early home base of the Nazarene.

Ruins of Bethsaida village in summer 2011 (7).JPG

Beth-tsaida = Bethsaida in Lower Gaulanitis

[3] Bethsaida: This village was also on the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee. Josephus mentions such a populous village near the Jordan River. This village was rebuilt by Philip the tetrarch and was named Julias in honor of the daughter of Caesar Augustus (Jewish Antiquities, XVIII, 28 [ii, 1]).

[4] Tyre: This city had a long history with Israel (1 Chronicles 14:1; 1 Kings 9:10, 11). It was destroyed in fulfillment of Bible prophecy (Ezekiel 26:7-12; Zechariah 9:3, 4).

The Peutinger Map showing Tyre and Sidon in the 4th century

[5] Sidon: An ancient city of Canaan, called Phoenicia by the Greeks. The city exists today as Saida (Jeremiah 25:22; 27:3; 47:4; Joel 3:4; Zechariah 9:2; Isaiah 23:4, 12; Jeremiah 25:17, 22; 27:1-8; 47:4; Ezekiel 28:20-24; 32:30; Joel 3:4-8; Zechariah 9:1-4).

[6] Repented in sackcloth and ashes: This is not a mere “I’m sorry.” The repentance is severe in the Biblical and eastern manner. The first such occurrence is Genesis 37:34 for a total of 48 occurrences of mourning in sackcloth (2 Samuel 3:31; Nehemiah 9:1; Esther 4:1-3; Job 16:15; Psalm 35:8; Jeremiah 4:8; 6:26; 49:3; Jonah 3:6). The exact phrase “sackcloth and ashes” occurs only about half dozen times in the Bible.

[7] More bearable: See footnotes on Matthew 10:15. Or, endurable, tolerable.

[8] Judgment Day: See notes on Matthew 10:15.

[9] Capernaum: See notes on Matthew 4:13. Jesus’ original home base.

[10] Exalted: Was the problem of those cities which witnessed Jesus’ early work one of pride?

[11] Hades: The Greek is HADES and means un + seen. This is the first occurrence in the teachings of the Nazarene. The word occurs only in Matthew and Luke. Jesus is to use the word in only three settings (Matthew 11:23; Luke 10:15; 16:23). It occurs only ten times in the Christian Bible (Matthew 11:23; 16:18; Luke 10:15; 16:23; Acts 2:27, 31; Revelation 1:18; 6:8; 20:13, 14). The English word “hell” (hel) is drawn from the Latin cel as in “cellar.” It meant an unseen storage place for such things as potatoes, thus the old English “helin potatoes.” In the Bible it is the abode of the dead who await Judgment Day and the resurrection from the dead. The idea of eternal torment of the soul in Hell is a Greek notion borrowed from Egyptians and older cultures. See dictionaries or encyclopedias on the subject. It is the equivalent of the Hebrew sheol (Job 14:12-14; Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10).

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Preceding

Matthew 11:1 Encouragement for John and Reproach for cities 1 Twelve Sent out to Teach

Matthew 11:2-6 Encouragement for John and Reproach for cities 2 Imprisoned Baptist Encouraged

Matthew 11:7-15 Encouragement for John and Reproach for cities 3 John the Baptist and the Kingdom Goal

Matthew 11:16-19 Encouragement for John and Reproach for cities 4 Impossibility of Pleasing Everyone

We are redeemed; we are “bought with a price”

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:12-17 – Galilee Saw A Great Light

Matthew 4:12-17 – Galilee Saw A Great Light

|| Mark 1:14, 15; Luke 4:14

MT4:12 Now, having heard John [the Baptist] was arrested, Jesus retired into Galilee.[1] MT4:13 Leaving Nazareth[2] Jesus took up residence in Capernaum[3] by the sea in the districts of Zebulun[4] and Naphtali,[5] MT4:14 so that it might be fulfilled as it as spoken by Isaiah[6] the prophet, saying, MT4:15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, by the sea on the other side of the Jordan, Galilee[7] of the nations, MT4:16 those people[8] sitting in a region of death’s dark shadow saw a great Light rise upon them.” [Isaiah 9:1, 2] MT4:17 From that time[9] Jesus started preaching, saying, “Repent,[10] for the Realm of the heavens[11] has drawn near.”

Wooden longboat, Israel. 02.jpg

Wooden longboat in the large freshwater lake Sea of Chinneret (Lake of Gennesaret, or Lake Tiberias) Sea of Galilee, Tiberias.

[1] Galilee: The place occurs 76 times in the Bible with the region first mentioned at Numbers 34:11 (Joshua 20:7). The fresh water “lake” is also called the Sea of Chinnereth (Numbers 34:11), the Lake of Gennesaret (Luke 5:1), and the Sea of Tiberias (John 6:1). Jesus begins his ministry here and essentially ends it also at Galilee (John 21:1, 4-19). The lake is green/blue 13 miles long and 7 miles wide. “The density of the shoals of fish in the Sea of Galilee can scarcely be conceived by those who have not witnessed them. Frequently these shoals cover an acre or more of the surface and the fish, as they slowly move along in masses, are so crowded, with their back fins just appearing on the level of the water, that the appearance at a little distance is that of a violent shower of rain pattering on the surface.” (The Natural History of the Bible, H. B. Tristram, 1889, p. 285) All of Jesus’ faithful apostles came from this area.

[2] Nazareth: Probably just after Luke 4:28-30.

[3] Capernaum: The name means “Comforting Place.” The place occurs 16 times in the Christian Bible. Mark 2:1 calls this Jesus’ “home.” (“his house”)

[4] Zebulun: The territory named after a son of Israel occurs 48 times in the Bible with the first at Genesis 30:20. Compare Psalm 68:27. The name means perhaps “Toleration” or “Lofty Abode.” Compare Revelation 7:8.

[5] Naphtali: The name means “My Wrestlings.” The territory named after a son of Israel occurs 55 times in the Bible with the first at Genesis 30:8. Compare Revelation 7:6.

[6] Isaiah: Isaiah 9:1, 2. The prophet Isaiah is named 22 times in the Christian Bible (Matthew, 6; Mark, 2; Luke, 2; John, 4; Acts, 3; Romans, 5). In addition to direct quotations there are many allusions which are subtle paraphrases (Compare John 5:29 with Isaiah 26:19 LXX).

[7] Galilee: A prophecy indicating where Messiah would begin his ministry. It is in this area where the Nazarene sees his greatest fruitage – the foundation of Christianity.

[8] Those people: Note Acts 1:11; 2:7. We have a great spiritual debt to these folks.

[9] From that time: About a year after John the Baptist began his own ministry.

[10] Repent: The first words of the “Gospel” in the mouth of Jesus. Repentance is part of the Lord’s Gospel.

[11] Realm of the heavens: Or, “kingdom of the heavens.” The meaning is two fold: a) the King is present; and, b) the opportunity to enter the Nazarene’s realm of profession by confessing him as Lord.

Capernaum, Sea of Galilee

Capernaum, Sea of Galilee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Preceding

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:1-4 A Wilderness Temptation

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:5-7 – A Temptation to Test God

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:8-11 – A Temptation to Gain World Rule

Next:

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:18-22 – The Calling of the First Disciples

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

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Additional reading

  1. Invitation for the Studyday about Isaiah Messenger of joy
  2. God showing how far He is willing to go to save His children
  3. John 4 exhortation: The one that broke the mould
  4. Repentance and conversion are not milestones which we pass on the way of life and never see again
  5. Salvation, Baptism and Re-baptism
  6. Together tasting a great promisse
  7. God receives us on the basis of our faith
  8. Doest thou well to be Angry?

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Further reading

  1. Man’s true destiny
  2. My People Do Not Know
  3. The carnal mind – January 25, 2017
  4. We Have Sinned
  5. God’s Plumb Line
  6. Surrender
  7. Having Faith in God 
  8. Scripture at Sunrise 2.7.2017
  9. God’s Faithful Are Forever Blessed
  10. Only Jesus Will Give You Eternal Life
  11. Choose good over evil – February 01, 2017
  12. What is your goal in publishing Christian Pharisees?
  13. Our God is a Holy God
  14. Two Selves: One Cannot Be Improved, the Other is Perfect in Christ (Part 1)
  15. Repent
  16. “Repent and Believe in the Good News”
  17. Repentance is More than saying I’m Sorry
  18. Am I Wired To Repent?
  19. Embracing Repentance
  20. Hold Fast In The Lord and Repent
  21. Repent While You Can
  22. Guilt — Why won’t it go away?
  23. How Does One Repent?
  24. Ask The Lord To Cast Away Your Sins
  25. Jesus sends you out for your sake
  26. Living in the Light
  27. Why A Christian Should Not Say “This” To A Non-Christian – Part II
  28. Do You Really Love Jesus?
  29. Stones Into Bread
  30. 3rd Sunday After Epiphany, January 22, 2017
  31. Third Sunday of Epiphany 2017 – Matthew 4:21-22
  32. 40 days
  33. 40 days and 40 nights
  34. Jesus Keeps Walking, God Keeps Moving
  35. Light to the Nations?
  36. Follow
  37. Follow Me
  38. Invited To Follow
  39. Immediate
  40. Repentance – Sermon on Matthew 4:12-23
  41. Jesus calls his first disciples
  42. Answering the Call (Mt 4:12-23)
  43. Called Together
  44. What Does ‘Fish for Men’ Mean?
  45. Are You Really Following?
  46. Faith & Fisherman
  47. Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!

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Save

The Truth About the Watchtower Judicial Committee Process, as Told By a Former Elder

He himself sat on several judicial committees and was more than once involved in disfellowshipping people, resulting in their friends and family shunning them until they changed their “sinful course.”

In sharing his experience and knowledge to help right the wrongs that he did as an agent of what he now realizes to be a rather malicious publishing company he lifts up the veil for the unknown to non Jehovah’s Witnesses.

*

To remember

Watchtower has created a rules-based religion

break one of their rules [breaking rules of a sexual nature (sex outside of marriage)] = invite you to such a judicial committee

secret book titled, “Shepherd the Flock of God” = regular Jehovah’s Witnesses not allowed to see

 

basic Star Chamber trial > elders= prosecutors + judges

accused = considered guilty > faces them alone = no support + no representative >> exception of minor children can have parents present + married women can have husbands present

Nobody ever invited to a judicial committee unless elders have some sort of proof or reason to believe the individual is guilty => to determine the appropriate punishment.

 

  1. individual reproved privately
  2. public reproof => congregation will severely limit any association with someone who has been reproved =  “disfellowshipping light.”
  3. disfellowshipping => friends and family will begin to shun until (or if) reinstated. The fourth, which is almost unheard of, is that the committee realizes that no offence worthy of disfellowshipping is committed, and the judicial committee is cancelled.

times when a sin is considered to be so serious that a plea of repentance won’t be accepted

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Preceding articles

A Society pleading poverty

Male domination and tyranny giving opportunities to defile the Name of God

Belonging to or being judged by

Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses preach?

Oklahoma City Regional Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Random Observations From My Most Recent JW Convention Experience

You Are The Truth

Jehovah’s Witnesses Circuit Assembly and a Pillar to freedom

Jesus’ footstep followers, irrespective of sectarian lines

Authority from the One God to one mediator between God and men

The Picture of the Governing Body

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JWvictims | Cult Exodus

“Hi, this is Brother Elder, and I’m calling to invite you to a judicial committee.” That statement is feared by every one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and in many ways it drastically affects the choices they make in their life. Why is that the case? Simply put, the results of the judicial committee can cause all of your friends and family to shun you. A scary prospect indeed! So why do people get invited to a judicial committee and how do they work?

Myself, I served as an elder as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses for almost 10 years, and I sat on several judicial committees. I was involved in disfellowshipping people, resulting in their friends and family shunning them until they changed their “sinful course.” I am now sharing that experience and knowledge to help right the wrongs that I did as an agent of what I now realize to be…

View original post 1,396 more words

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:10-14 – “What Shall We Do?”

Luke 3:10-14 – “What Shall We Do?”

LK3:10 So the crowds asked John: “What shall we do?”[1] LK3:11 John told them: “The person with two outer cloaks should share[2] with the person having none, and the person with food should do the same.” LK3:12 Then tax collectors came to be baptized and they asked John: “Teacher, what shall we do?” LK3:13 John told them: “Do not collect more tax than is required by law.”[3] LK3:14 Now soldiers also asked him: “What shall we do?” John answered them: “Do not extort money[4] from anyone, and do not slander any person.[5] Be satisfied with your wages.”[6]


[1] What shall we do: Likely the question is in response to the “fruitage that befits repentance.”

[2] Share: It is interesting to note the first answer to the question, “What shall we do?” The spirit is at the center of what the Nazarene is to teach later. [Luke 6:30-35] The early Christians did this in great measure. [Acts 2, 4, 5] For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on “sharing” at Romans 12:13 and 2 Corinthians 8:14.

[3] Do not collect more tax than is required by law: Or, WMS: stop collecting any more than is prescribed for you. Compare an example at Luke 19:8.

[4] Do not extort money: Or, molest no one, rob no one, don’t use threats. It is interesting John does not tell them to leave their military service.

[5] Do not slander any person: Or, blackmail, false accusation, informing. [Exodus 23:1, 7]

[6] Be satisfied with your wages: Or, supplies, provisions. The military is always under paid for what they do.

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Preceding articles:

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:1, 2 – Factual Data

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:3-6 – John Preaches Baptism of Repentance

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:7-9 – Vipers, Repent!

Connecting articles:

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:1-6 – A Wilderness Baptist Prepares the Way

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:7-12 – Opposition and Two Baptisms

Nazarene Commentary Mark 1:1-8 – The Beginning of the Good News

Next: Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:15-17 – The Baptisms of the One Coming

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Additional reading:

  1. Creator and Blogger God 4 Expounding voice
  2. Missional hermeneutics 4/5 call to repentance
  3. Bearing fruit
  4. Fruits of the spirit will prevent you from being either inactive or unfruitful
  5. God showing how far He is willing to go to save His children
  6. God receives us on the basis of our faith
  7. Breathing and growing with no heir
  8. Repentance and conversion are not milestones which we pass on the way of life and never see again
  9. Words to push and pull
  10. The Ecclesia
  11. The Ecclesia in the churchsystem
  12. Fellowship
  13. Re-Creating Community
  14. Bloggers for Christ and Bloggers for Peace
  15. A man who cannot forgive others
  16. God should be your hope
  17. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

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  • Preparing the Way (graceofourlord.com)
    If this writer kept a “top ten list” of the most important chapters of scripture in the Bible, Luke Chapter 3 would almost certainly be in that list, for reasons that will hopefully become apparent by the end of this blog.
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    All of these things together make up the crux of what John’s commission by God is all about, as far as “to prepare the way” is concerned. This is part of what makes this chapter of Luke one of the most important in the New Testament. There has been no word from God for 400 years – since Malachi foretold the coming of John the Baptist in Malachi 3:1 and 4:5. Now comes John the Baptist, filled with the Holy Spirit and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
  • Leviticus 3-4, Luke 3 (vesselsofclay.org)
    He told them that their lives needed to reflect a passion for the things that pleased God. “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise” (Luke 3:11 ESV). He told the tax collectors to “collect no more than you are authorized to do” (Luke 3:13 ESV). He told the soldiers to “not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages” (Luke 3:14 ESV).John was demanding life change. He was letting them know that their lives were going to have to be distinctively different than what they had been. It wasn’t going to be business as usual. They were to “bear fruits in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:8 ESV). Things were about to heat up. Expectations were about to ratchet up. He warned them, “even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Luke 3:9 ESV). God’s expectations for holiness hadn’t changed. His demands for a people who would live holy lives and act in accordance with His Word and in keeping with their character as one of His children, had not changed.
  • Matthew 3:1-10, Mark 1:1-6, Luke 3:1-14 (oh-mag.com)
    Now as John sees the Pharisees and Sadducees coming he is indignant and asks who warned them to flee from the coming wrath. He calls them a brood of vipers – not very complimentary – likening them to a mass of evil creatures who have seen the fire approaching. John tells them to produce fruit in keeping with repentance. This is a weighty command. Later in the New Testament we see what this fruit looks like: love, joy, peace, perseverance – all of these things come from a desire to continually repent and seek God in all matters. It is the ultimate way we can know Him as Lord. John then accuses them of their thinking that just because they are Abraham’s seed they will be safe from the fires of Hell. This would have shocked not only the teachers, but the Jewish people as well.
  • Fruit of Repentance (mfmdelaware.wordpress.com)
    The fruit of repentance should be seen in you as a Christian; this is the demand of John in Matt3:8. Ceremonies are by the way, fruit yielding is more important. Through fruits, you salt the world and give light to those in darkness. By your fruit Jesus derives satisfaction, Mark11:12-13. He made them to know that He never came to abolish the law but to fulfill it. In addition, He made them to know that doing the commandments will give you the status of heaven. These are to prepare them for what He was about to teach them; immorality, divorce, tolerance, anger, lack of love, worries etc. these are the areas where human logics are being utilized to excuse the law. He gave detailed explanation to all these areas.
  • “Bear Fruits In Keeping With …” Bible Reading Thoughts for March 12th (therugbychristadelphians.wordpress.com)
    What an incredible impact the preaching of John the Baptist had!  We do not realize this at first – but there are clues here and there – look at Acts 18 v.25 and 19 v.3.  Paul comes across those at Ephesus who knew only the baptism of John– a vast distance from the Jordan.     What stood out in our chapter 3 in Luke today was the bluntness of John’s message; it was far from being simply an appeal to love your neighbour as yourself – which is the substance of the preaching in many churches today.  They had to examine themselves and change their ways and “bear fruits in keeping with repentence” – to put it bluntly, to show they were repentant by actions – not just words.
  • The Gospel of Matthew: The Messiah of Promise 3:1-12 (anchorlongbeach.wordpress.com)
    Although the Greek word for “Repentance” is Metanoia, which carries the idea of a changed mind, theologian D.A. Carson writes; “What is meant is not merely intellectual change of mind or more grief, still less doing penance…but a radical transformation of the entire person, a fundamental turnaround involving mind and action and including overtones of grief, which results in ‘fruit in keeping with repentance.’
  • – The Baptism & Death of Jesus – (hiseternalword.wordpress.com)
    Believer’s baptism is not an act of repentance but an expression of personal identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. By being baptized, those who are born again announce their severance from their former lives of sin and their possession of a new life in Christ.
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