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said unto them, Take heed that | nation, and kingdom against no man deceive you. kingdom and there shall be 5 For many shall come in famines, and pestilences, my name, saying, I am Christ; earthquakes, in divers places. and shall deceive many. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

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

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

7 For nation shall rise against

unawares. While giving these injunctions as to watchfulness, in view of the destruction of the city, the Saviour passed on, insensibly as it were, to the duty of watchfulness in general, in respect to another coming of the Son of man, in which all would be concerned; namely, his coming at the end of the world. To this the Saviour could easily pass, as the disciples had probably, in their minds, connected the two events together; and the proper distinction between them could be happily made by the nature of his exhortations, those which related to the latter being of a more general character. The exhortation thus enlarged, and leading onward to the final coming of the Messiah, extends to the 30th verse of the 25th chapter; and then commences a description of the general judgment of the world, the closing of the present dispensation, and the entering of all men on the endless retributions, for bliss or for woe, of the future world.

Thus he replied to all the inquiries of his disciples. His replies were eminently practical, without indulging the curiosity of his disciples. Hence he said nothing specific in respect to the continuance of the world after the coming of the Messiah to destroy Jerusalem. But by his continued and repeated exhortations, he let them know that, at the appointed period, there will come an end of the world, for which they ought to be prepared, so as to render up their account. But when this end would be, it was

not necessary for them, nor for any men, to know, since, as to all practical purposes, the day of one's death is as important to him as the day of the world's dissolution.

5. In my name; assuming my dignity. || Saying, I am Christ; pretending to be the Messiah. Many, accordingly, did pretend to be the Messiah, between the death of Jesus and the destruction of Jerusalem. They were deceivers, whose objects were solely selfish and worldly; exciting among the people the spirit of insurrection, and provoking the violent interference of the Roman power.

6. Wars, and rumors of wars. For some time before the destruction of Jerusalem, the land of Palestine and the surrounding regions were in much military commotion. The end; the end of the Jewish state.

7. Nation shall rise, &c. The particulars specified in this verse are images of troublesome times. There were also many civil disturbances both in and around Palestine at the time spoken of. There were also distressing famines; twice in Rome, once in Greece, and once in Palestine. Pestilences are a frequent accompaniment of famines. Some remarkable earthquakes are also recorded as having taken place a few years before the destruction of Jerusalem.

9. Hated of all nations; very generally hated, not only by Jews, but also by the Gentiles. The troubles peculiar to the Saviour's followers are here mentioned.

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

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

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

13 But he that shall endure

10. Be offended; be induced to renounce their professed attachment to me, and become hostile to my true followers.

11. False prophets; pretended religious teachers.

12. Iniquity—the love of many, &c. The great prevalence of impiety shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem, and the cruel treatment which the adversaries of the Messiah's followers would exercise towards them, would, the Saviour predicted, chill mutual love, make men more anxious about their own safety than about the good of others, and cool their love to their Master. Iniquity did indeed attain a fearful height among the Jews just before the destruction of their city.

13. Unto the end; that is, of his life. It was also true that the persecutions and calamities which the followers of Christ would suffer in consequence of their attachment to him would furnish a severe test of their characters; and if they should abide this trial, and maintain their Christian integrity to the end of these sufferings, they would have very satisfactory evidence of true love to Christ and of final salvation. The sufferings of many, too, would end only with their lives. || Endure; that is, in attachment to me. Such a person would certainly enjoy salvation, while apostates would fail of eternal life. See 10:22.

unto the end, the same shall be saved.

14. This gospel of the kingdom; the announcement of the Messiah's reign, and the doctrines of his religion. See on 4: 23. || In all the world; very

14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

15 When ye, therefore, shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place,

extensively, throughout Palestine, the neighboring regions, and the Roman empire in general. This expression was frequently used to denote the Roman empire. There is satisfactory evidence, that some years before the destruction of Jerusalem, the gospel was preached in all the countries around Palestine; in Egypt, Ethiopia, and other parts of Africa; very extensively in Asia, and in various parts of Europe. || For a witness to all nations; so that testimony to the truth may be very extensively borne. || The end; that is, of the Jewish state."

15. The abomination of desolation; the desolating abomination, or the abominable destroyer. The Roman army was meant, which Jerusalem and the temple were to be destroyed. Compare Luke 21: 20. This name was given to it on account of its being a heathen army, invading the soil, and destroying the building, which had been regarded as peculiarly sacred. | By Daniel the prophet; Dan. 9: 26, 27. || In the holy place. The country of Palestine was sometimes called holy, because it was inhabited by the people whom the Lord had set apart for himself; but more particularly the city Jerusalem and the country around it were called holy, on account of the temple's being situated in Jerusalem. The immediate vicinity of Jerusalem was probably meant by our Lord. In this verse, he began to give his disciples special directions respecting their conduct when they should see the Roman army encamped near Jerusalem. Instead of the ex

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pression holy place, Mark (13:14) uses the more general expression "where it ought not." || Whoso readeth, &c. This clause, in a parenthesis, appears to have been thrown in by the evangelist, so as to excite the readers of his times to greater attention. It was important that each one should particularly note this commencement of certain ruin to the city, so that he might take suitable and seasonable measures for escape.

16. Into the mountains; the mountainous tracts in the vicinity of Judea. In these ridges of mountains there were extensive caverns, affording a safe retreat. When the Romans, at an early period of the war, were besieging Jerusalem, a favorable opportunity presented for taking it, by some of the people within opening the gates. But the Roman general, suspecting the designs of the people, unexpectedly withdrew from the city. The Christians in the city and other prudent citizens took warning and fled to Pella and to other places beyond the Jordan. In besieging the city, Titus at first encamped at so great a distance from it, as was favorable to the escape of those who desired to flee. He permitted those who wished to escape to pass through his camp and go wherever they chose.

17. It would be requisite to make all possible haste in fleeing from the scene of danger. On the house-top. The roofs of houses in Palestine were nearly flat, and afforded a suitable place for taking a view of what might be passing. Such a place would

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

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

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

frequently resorted to, when an invading army was near. || Not come dawn. The steps leading to the roof of a house were on the outside. It was also possible to pass from house to house on the roofs, till a person should arrive at the city wall. Thus, in order to escape, there was no need of coming down into the house. The Saviour directed, that his followers should make their escape as soon as possible, without losing any time in collecting their goods.

18. To take his clothes. Should a person be laboring in the field without his full dress, let him not return to his house, lest he should be overtaken by the enemy, or be shut up in the city. Let him flee at once.

20. In the winter. The wintry season in Palestine was peculiarly unfavorable for travelling. The roads were in a bad condition, and storms were very frequent. || On the Salbath-day. A person attempting to flee would be more easily detected on the Sabbath, and the Jews might prevent his escape. Many, too, might be hindered from fleeing, by a superstitious reverence for the Jewish Sabbath; or by applying to the Christian Sabbath some of the superstitious views in which, as Jews, they had been educated.

21. Great tribulation. The troubles experienced by the Jews during the siege by the Roman army were altogether unexampled. Josephus, the Jewish historian, remarks, that if the misfortunes of all men, from the bebeginning of the world, should be com

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

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

24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

pared with those of the Jews, they would appear far inferior.

22. Shortened. The time occupied in the siege and destruction of the city would be made comparatively short. Jerusalem possessed great advantages for defence against a besieging army; and a protracted siege would naturally be expected. But divine providence would order otherwise. And accordingly, when the city fell, the commander of the Roman army was struck with admiration at the event. ||No flesh be saved; the whole nation would be cut off. Such were the sufferings by famine and intestine commotions, that had the time been protracted, there would have been an entire destruction. For the elect's sake; for the sake of Christians, chosen and beloved of God. While war should be raging in the country, they would necessarily share in the privations and dangers incident to such a state of things.

23. Here is Christ; here is the Messiah. The Jews cherished the vain hope, that in the midst of their troubles, the Messiah would appear, and rescue them from their enemies.

24. False Christs; false, pretended Messiahs. False prophets; religious teachers falsely pretending to a divine commission. Show great signs; pretend to perform miracles. The great signs would be "lying wonders." The very elect; even the Christians. 26. He; the Messiah. || Is in the

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desert. Some would give out word that the Messiah was in the desert, preparing for the rescue of the Jews, and wishing the Jews to come to him and join his forces. He is in the secret chambers; in the retired apartments of some house, with his confidential friends, and soon to make his appearance. Impostors would contrive various ways to draw followers after them.

27. All the pretences just spoken of were, the Saviour taught, to be disregarded. For when the Messiah should actually come, there would be no such thing as a going forth to meet him; there would be no messengers to announce him. But, as the lightning, in the midst of the darkness and blackness of the storm, suddenly flashes forth, so amid the terrors surrounding the city, would the Son of man, on a sudden, come in his vengeance. And as it cannot be said of the lightning, It is here, or, It is there; so will it be in respect to the Son of man; he will break forth at length suddenly, and at once make a wide destruction, before there shall be time scarcely to think of what is taking place.

28. And as an eagle, discerning his prey, darts on it suddenly, so will the Messiah come; leaving no time for any to announce his coming, and leaving no time then for escape from his vengeance. Jesus here referred to his coming, by means of the Roman army, to destroy Jerusalem. Under

ulation of those days, shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.

29 Immediately after the trib-|of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.

31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet; and they shall gather together his elect from the four

30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heav-winds, from one end of heaven en and then shall all the tribes

to the other.

the general name eagle, the Bible includes the vulture, a well-known bird of prey.

29. Immediately; very shortly after the troubles spoken of, or, as Mark says (13: 24), in those days. || Shall the sun be darkened, &c. This language is strikingly similar to that which the Hebrew prophets were in the habit of using, when they predicted or described such signal calamities as the overthrow of a city or of a nation. In their boldly figurative mode of speaking, they represent the heavens and the earth as in commotion, and all nature as reverting to chaos. We need not, then, seek for an explanation of each particular, in such a description; but are to regard the whole description as exhibiting a universal ruin, a crashing of all the powers of nature, such as would take place in the event of the putting out of the sun and of the moon, of the falling down of the stars, even of all the heavenly host. Powers of the heavens; the host of heaven, the heavenly luminaries, as in Gen. 2: 1. The phrase seems to be here employed as summing up the several particulars mentioned just before. For the use of similar figures, to express overwhelming calamities and universal changes, see Is. 13: 10, where the fall of the city of Babylon was predicted, and its ruin likened to the state of things which would follow the darkening of the sun and moon, and the ceasing of the stars of heaven to shine. See also Is. 24: 23. 34:4; also Ezek. 32: 7, where calamities to fall on Egypt are predicted. See also Amos 8:9; and Joel 2: 28-31, compared with Acts 2: 17-20.

30. Shall appear the sign of the Son of man; the Messiah will reveal himself (see Luke 17: 30); will show publicly and clearly that he has come. There shall be a proof that he has come. || Tribes of the earth; more properly, tribes of the land; the Jews, the unbelieving Jews. The Son of man coming; that is, by the instrumentality of the Roman army to destroy Jerusalem. When God interposes, by whatever means, for the rescue of his people and the overthrow of his foes, similar language is employed to express his interposition. See Deut. 33: 26. Ps. 18: 9-11. Is. 19: 1. || They shall see. The attending events will show that the Messiah has come.

31. And he shall send his angels. Angels are spoken of as the ministers of divine providence, the instruments by which God accomplishes his purposes. See Ps. 34: 7. 91: 11, 12.

With a great sound of a trumpet. The language is metaphorical. The angels are spoken of as accomplishing the purposes of God in respect to the deliverance of his people; and, to complete the figure, they are furnished with trumpets. so as to awaken attention, and to make known, and summon to, a place of safety. || His elect; his chosen people, the followers of Christ Those of them who lived in Jerusa lem and the vicinity would be made special objects of divine protection in this season of peril; by taking timely warning, and fleeing to the mountains (v. 16), under the divine care they would be safe. || From the four winds, from one end, &c. ; that is, from every quarter. See Ezek. 37: 9. Luke 13:29.

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