In this chapter we have,
I. The notice Christ took, and the approbation he gave, of a poor widow
that cast two mites into the treasury,
II. A prediction of future events, in answer to his disciples'
enquiries concerning them,
1. Of what should happen between that and the destruction of
Jerusalem--false Christs arising, bloody wars and persecutions of
2. Of that destruction itself,
3. Of the second coming of Jesus Christ to judge the world, under the
type and figure of that,
III. A practical application of this, by way of caution and counsel
and an account of Christ's preaching and the people's attendance on it,
|Christ Commendeth the Poor Widow.
1 And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts
into the treasury.
2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two
3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow
hath cast in more than they all:
4 For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the
offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the
living that she had.
This short passage of story we had before in Mark. It is thus recorded
twice, to teach us,
1. That charity to the poor is a main matter in religion.
Our Lord Jesus took all occasions to commend it and recommend it. He
had just mentioned the barbarity of the scribes, who devoured poor
and perhaps this is designed as an aggravation of it, that the poor
widows were the best benefactors to the public funds, of which the
scribes had the disposal.
2. That Jesus Christ has his eye upon us, to observe what we give to
the poor, and what we contribute to works of piety and charity. Christ,
though intent upon his preaching, looked up, to see what gifts were
cast into the treasury,
He observes whether we give largely and liberally, in proportion to
what we have, or whether we be sneaking and paltry in it; nay, his eye
goes further, he observes whether we give charitably and with a willing
mind, or grudgingly and with reluctance. This should make us afraid of
coming short of our duty in this matter; men may be deceived with
excuses which Christ knows to be frivolous. And this should encourage
us to be abundant in it, without desiring that men should know it; it
is enough that Christ does; he sees in secret, and will reward openly.
3. That Christ observes and accepts the charity of the poor in a
particular manner. Those that have nothing to give may yet
do a great deal in charity by ministering to the poor, and
helping them, and begging for them, that cannot help themselves,
or beg for themselves. But here was one that was herself poor
and yet gave what little she had to the treasury. It was but
two mites, which make a farthing; but Christ magnified it as a
piece of charity exceeding all the rest: She has cast in more than
they all. Christ does not blame her for indiscretion, in giving
what she wanted herself, nor for vanity in giving among the rich to the
treasury; but commended her liberality, and her willingness to part
with what little she had for the glory of God, which proceeded from a
belief of and dependence upon God's providence to take care of her.
Jehovah-jireh--the Lord will provide.
4. That, whatever may be called the offerings of God, we ought
to have a respect for, and to our power, yea, and beyond our power, to
contribute cheerfully to. These have cast in unto the offerings of
God. What is given to the support of the ministry and the gospel,
to the spreading and propagating of religion, the education of youth,
the release of prisoners, the relief of widows and strangers, and the
maintenance of poor families, is given to the offerings of God,
and it shall be so accepted and recompensed.
5 And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with
goodly stones and gifts, he said,
6 As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in
the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that
shall not be thrown down.
7 And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these
things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall
come to pass?
8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many
shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time
draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.
9 But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not
terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end
is not by and by.
10 Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation,
and kingdom against kingdom:
11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and
famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs
shall there be from heaven.
12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and
persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into
prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's
13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony.
14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before
what ye shall answer:
15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your
adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.
16 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and
kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be
put to death.
17 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake.
18 But there shall not a hair of your head perish.
19 In your patience possess ye your souls.
I. With what admiration some spoke of the external pomp and
magnificence of the temple, and they were some of Christ's own
disciples too; and they took notice of it to him how it was adorned
with goodly stones and gifts,
The outside was built up with goodly stones, and within it was
beautified and enriched with the presents that were offered up
for that purpose, and were hung up in it. They thought their
Master should be as much affected with those things as they were, and
should as much regret the destruction of them as they did. When we
speak of the temple, it should be of the presence of God in it,
and of the ordinances of God administered in it, and the communion
which his people there have with him. It is a poor thing, when we speak
of the church, to let our discourse dwell upon its pomps and revenues,
and the dignities and powers of its officers and rulers; for the king's
daughter is all glorious within.
II. With what contempt Christ spoke of them, and with what assurance of
their being all made desolate very shortly
"As for those things which you behold, those dear things which
you are so much in love with, behold, the days will come, and
some now living may live to see them, in which there shall not be
left one stone upon another. This building, which seems so
beautiful that one would think none could, for pity, pull it down, and
which seems so strong that one would think none would be able to pull
it down, shall yet be utterly ruined; and this shall be done as soon as
ever the spiritual temple of the gospel church (the substance of that
shadow) begins to flourish in the world." Did we by faith foresee the
blasting and withering of all external glory, we should not set our
hearts upon it as those do that cannot see, or will not look, so far
III. With what curiosity those about him enquire concerning the time
when this great desolation should be: Master, when shall these
It is natural to us to covet to know future things and the time of
them, which it is not for us to know, when we are more concerned
to ask what is our duty in the prospect of these things, and how we may
prepare for them, which it is for us to know. They enquire what
sign there shall be when these things shall come to pass. They ask
not for a present sign, to confirm the prediction itself, and to
induce them to believe it (Christ's word was enough for that), but what
the future signs will be of the approaching accomplishment of the
prediction, by which they may be put in mind of it. These signs of
the times Christ had taught them to observe.
IV. With what clearness and fulness Christ answers their enquiries, as
far as was necessary to direct them in their duty; for all knowledge is
desirable as far as it is in order to practice.
1. They must expect to hear of false Christs and false prophets
appearing, and false prophecies given out
Many shall come in my name; he does not mean in the name of
Jesus, though there were some deceivers who pretended commissions
from him (as
but usurping the title and character of the Messiah. Many pretended to
be the deliverers of the Jewish church and nation from the Romans, and
to fix the time when the deliverance should be wrought, by which
multitudes were drawn into a snare, to their ruin. They shall say,
hoti ego eimi--I am he, or I am, as if they
would assume that incommunicable name of God, by which he made himself
known when he came to deliver Israel out of Egypt, I am; and, to
encourage people to follow them, they added, "The time draws
near when the kingdom shall be restored to Israel, and all who will
follow me shall share in it." Now as to this, he gives them a needful
(1.) "Take heed that you be not deceived; do not imagine that I
shall myself come again in external glory, to take possession of the
throne of kingdoms. No, you must not expect any such thing, for my
kingdom is not of this world." When they asked solicitously and
eagerly, Master, when shall these things be? the first word
Christ said was, Take heed that you be not deceived. Note, Those
that are most inquisitive in the things of God (though it is
very good to be so) are in most danger of being imposed upon, and have
most need to be upon their guard.
(2.) "Go you not after them. You know the Messiah is come, and
you are not to look for any other; and therefore do not so much as
hearken to them, nor have any thing to do with them." If we are sure
that Jesus is the Christ, and his doctrine is the gospel, of
God, we must be deaf to all intimations of another Christ and
2. They must expect to hear of great commotions in the nations, and
many terrible judgments inflicted upon the Jews and their neighbours.
(1.) There shall be bloody wars
Nation shall rise against nation, one part of the Jewish nation
against another, or rather the whole against the Romans. Encouraged by
the false Christs, they shall wickedly endeavour to throw off the Roman
yoke, by taking up arms against the Roman powers; when they had
rejected the liberty with which Christ would have made them free they
were left to themselves, to grasp at their civil liberty in ways that
were sinful, and therefore could not be successful.
(2.) There shall be earthquakes, great earthquakes, in divers
places, which shall not only frighten people, but destroy towns and
houses, and bury many in the ruins of them.
(3.) There shall be famines and pestilences, the common
effects of war, which destroys the fruits of the earth, and, by
exposing men to ill weather and reducing them to ill diet, occasions
infectious diseases. God has various ways of punishing a provoking
people. The four sorts of judgments which the Old-Testament prophets so
often speak of are threatened by the New-Testament prophets too; for,
though spiritual judgments are more commonly inflicted in gospel times,
yet God makes use of temporal judgments also.
(4.) There shall be fearful sights and great signs from
heaven, uncommon appearances in the clouds, comets and blazing
stars, which frighten the ordinary sort of beholders, and have always
been looked upon as ominous, and portending something
bad. Now, as to these, the caution he gives them is, "Be not
terrified. Others will be frightened at them, but be not you
As to the fearful sights, let them not be fearful to you, who
look above the visible heavens to the throne of God's government in the
highest heavens. Be not dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the
heathen are dismayed at them,
And, as to the famines and pestilences, you fall into the
hands of God, who has promised to those who are his that in the days
of famine they shall be satisfied, and that he will keep them from
the noisome pestilence; trust therefore in him, and be not
afraid. Nay, when you hear of wars, when without are fightings and
within are fears, yet then be not you terrified; you know the
worst that any of these judgments can do to you, and therefore be not
afraid of them; for,"
[1.] "It is your interest to make the best of that which is, for
all your fears cannot alter it: these things must first come to
pass; there is no remedy; it will be your wisdom to make yourselves
easy by accommodating yourselves to them."
[2.] "There is worse behind; flatter not yourselves with a fancy
that you will soon see an end of these troubles, no, not so soon as you
think of: the end is not by and by, not suddenly. Be not
terrified, for, if you begin so quickly to be discouraged, how
will you bear up under what is yet before you?"
3. They must expect to be themselves for signs and
wonders in Israel; their being persecuted would be a
prognostic of the destruction of the city and temple, which he had now
foretold. Nay, this would be the first sign of their ruin
coming: "Before all these, they shall lay their hands on you.
The judgment shall begin at the house of God; you must smart first, for
warning to them, that, if they have any consideration, they may
consider, If this be done to the green tree, what shall be done to
the dry? See
1 Peter 4:17,18.
But this is not all; this must be considered not only as the
suffering of the persecuted, but as the sin of the
persecutors. Before God's judgments are brought upon them, they
shall fill up the measure of their iniquity by laying their
hands on you." Note, The ruin of a people is always introduced by their
sin; and nothing introduces a surer or sorer ruin than the sin of
persecution. This is a sign that God's wrath is coming upon a
people to the uttermost when their wrath against the servants of
God comes to the uttermost. Now as to this,
(1.) Christ tells them what hard things they should suffer for his
name's sake, much to the same purport with what he had told them when
he first called them to follow him,
They should know the wages of it, that they might sit down and count
the cost. St. Paul, who was the greatest labourer and sufferer of
them all, not being now among them, was told by Christ himself what
great things he should suffer for his name's sake
so necessary is it that all who will live godly in Christ Jesus should
count upon persecution. The Christians, having themselves been
originally Jews, and still retaining an equal veneration with them for
the Old Testament and all the essentials of their religion, and
differing only in ceremony, might expect fair quarter with them; but
Christ bids them not expect it: "No, they shall be the most forward to
[1.] "They shall use their own church-power against you: They shall
deliver you up to the synagogues to be scourged there, and
stigmatized with their anathemas."
[2.] "They shall incense the magistrates against you: they shall
deliver you into prisons, that you may be brought before
kings and rulers for my name's sake, and be punished by them."
[3.] "Your own relations will betray you
your parents, brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; so that you
will not know whom to put a confidence in, or where to be safe."
[4.] "Your religion will be made a capital crime, and you will be
called to resist unto blood. Some of you shall they cause to be put
to death; so far must you be from expecting honour and wealth that
you must expect nothing but death in its most frightful shapes, death
in all its dreadful pomp. Nay."
[5.] "You shall be hated of all men for my name's sake." This is
worse than death itself, and was fulfilled when the apostles were not
only appointed to death, but made a spectacle to the
world, and counted as the filth of the world, and the
offscouring of all things, which every body loathes,
1 Corinthians 4:9,13.
They were hated of all men, that is, of all bad men, who could
not bear the light of the gospel (because it discovered their evil
deeds), and therefore hated those who brought in that light, flew in
their faces, and would have pulled them to pieces. The wicked world,
which hated to be reformed, hated Christ the great Reformer, and all
that were his, for his sake. The rulers of the Jewish church, knowing
very well that if the gospel obtained among the Jews their usurped
abused power was at an end, raised all their forces against it, put it
into an ill name, filled people's minds with prejudices against it, and
so made the preachers and professors of it odious to the mob.
(2.) He encourages them to bear up under their trials, and to go on in
their work, notwithstanding the opposition they would meet with.
[1.] God will bring glory both to himself and them out of their
sufferings: "It shall turn to you for a testimony,
Your being set up thus for a mark, and publicly persecuted, will
make you the more taken notice of and your doctrine and miracles the
more enquired into; your being brought before kings and rulers
will give you an opportunity of preaching the gospel to them, who
otherwise would never have come within hearing of it; your suffering
such severe things, and being so hated by the worst of men, men of the
most vicious lives, will be a testimony that you are good, else you
would not have such bad men for your enemies; your courage, and
cheerfulness, and constancy under your sufferings will be a testimony
for you, that you believe what you preach, that you are supported by a
divine power, and that the Spirit of God and glory rests upon you."
[2.] "God will stand by you, and own you, and assist you, in your
trials; you are his advocates, and you shall be well furnished with
Instead of setting your hearts on work to contrive an answer to
informations, indictments, articles, accusations, and interrogatories,
that will be exhibited against you in the ecclesiastical and civil
courts, on the contrary, settle it in your hearts, impress it
upon them, take pains with them to persuade them not to meditate
before what you shall answer; do not depend upon your own
wit and ingenuity, your own prudence and policy, and do not
distrust or despair of the immediate and extraordinary
aids of the divine grace. Think not to bring yourselves off in the
cause of Christ as you would in a cause of your own, by your own parts
and application, with the common assistance of divine Providence, but
promise yourselves, for I promise you, the special assistance of divine
grace: I will give you a mouth and wisdom." This proves Christ
to be God; for it is God's prerogative to give wisdom, and he it
is that made man's mouth. Note, First, A mouth and
wisdom together completely fit a man both for services and
sufferings; wisdom to know what to say, and a mouth
wherewith to say it as it should be said. It is a great happiness to
have both matter and words wherewith to honour God and do
good; to have in the mind a storehouse well furnished with
things new and old, and a door of utterance by which
to bring them forth. Secondly, Those that plead Christ's cause
may depend upon him to give them a mouth and wisdom, which way
soever they are called to plead it, especially when they are brought
before magistrates for his name's sake. It is not said that he will
send an angel from heaven to answer for them, though he could do this,
but that he will give them a mouth and wisdom to enable
them to answer for themselves, which puts a greater honour upon them,
which requires them to use the gifts and graces Christ furnishes them
with, and redounds the more to the glory of God, who stills the
enemy and the avenger out of the mouths of babes and sucklings.
Thirdly, When Christ gives to his witnesses a mouth and
wisdom, they are enabled to say that both for him and themselves
which all their adversaries are not able to gainsay or resist,
so that they are silenced, and put to confusion. This was remarkably
fulfilled presently after the pouring out of the Spirit, by whom Christ
gave his disciples this mouth and wisdom, when the
apostles were brought before the priest sand rulers, and answered them
so as to make them ashamed,
[3.] "You shall suffer no real damage by all the hardships they shall
put upon you
There shall not a hair of your head perish." Shall some of them
lose their heads, and yet not lose a hair? It is a proverbial
expression, denoting the greatest indemnity and security imaginable; it
is frequently used both in the Old Testament and New, in that sense.
Some think that it refers to the preservation of the lives of all the
Christians that were among the Jews when they were cut off by the
Romans; historians tell us that not one Christian perished in that
desolation. Others reconcile it with the deaths of multitudes in the
cause of Christ, and take it figuratively in the same sense that Christ
saith, He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. "Not a
hair of your head shall perish but," First, "I will take
cognizance of it." To this end he had said
The hairs of your head are all numbered; and an account is kept
of them, so that none of them shall perish but he will miss it.
Secondly, "It shall be upon a valuable consideration." We
do not reckon that lost or perishing which is laid out
for good purposes, and will turn to a good account. If we drop the body
itself for Christ's name's sake, it does not perish, but is well
bestowed. Thirdly, "It shall be abundantly recompensed; when you
come to balance profit and loss, you will find that nothing has
perished, but, on the contrary, that you have great gain in present
comforts, especially in the joys of a life eternal;" so that though we
may be losers for Christ we shall not, we cannot, be losers by him in
[4.] "It is therefore your duty and interest, in the midst of your own
sufferings and those of the nation, to maintain a holy sincerity and
serenity of mind, which will keep you always easy
In your patience possess ye your souls; get and keep possession
of your souls." Some read it as a promise, "You may or
shall possess your souls." It comes all to one. Note,
First, It is our duty and interest at all times, especially in
perilous trying times, to secure the possession of our own souls; not
only that they be not destroyed and lost for ever, but that they be not
distempered now, nor our possession of them disturbed and interrupted.
"Possess your souls, be your own men, keep up the authority and
dominion of reason, and keep under the tumults of passion, that neither
grief nor fear may tyrannize over you, nor turn you out of the
possession and enjoyment of yourselves." In difficult times, when we
can keep possession of nothing else, then let us make that sure which
may be made sure, and keep possession of our souls. Secondly, It
is by patience, Christian patience, that we keep possession of our own
souls. "In suffering times, set patience upon the guard for the
preserving of your souls; by it keep your souls composed and in a good
frame, and keep out all those impressions which would ruffle you and
put you out of temper."
20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then
know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
21 Then let them which are in Judæa flee to the mountains; and
let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not
them that are in the countries enter thereinto.
22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which
are written may be fulfilled.
23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give
suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the
land, and wrath upon this people.
24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be
led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden
down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be
25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in
the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with
perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
26 Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after
those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of
heaven shall be shaken.
27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud
with power and great glory.
28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up,
and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
Having given them an idea of the times for about thirty-eight years
next ensuing, he here comes to show them what all those things would
issue in at last, namely, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the utter
dispersion of the Jewish nation, which would be a little day of
judgment, a type and figure of Christ's second coming, which was not so
fully spoken of here as in the parallel place
yet glanced at; for the destruction of Jerusalem would be as it were
the destruction of the world to those whose hearts were bound up in
I. He tells them that they should see Jerusalem besieged, compassed
the Roman armies; and, when they saw this, they might conclude that
its desolation was nigh, for in this the siege would infallibly
end, though it might be a long siege. Note, As in mercy, so in
judgment, when God begins, he will make an end.
II. He warns them, upon this signal given, to shift for their own
"Then let them that are in Judea quit the country and flee to
the mountains; let them that are in the midst of it" (Of Jerusalem)
"depart out, before the city be closely shut up, and" (as we say
now) "before the trenches be opened; and let not them that are in the
countries and villages about enter into the city, thinking to be safe
there. Do you abandon a city and country which you see God has
abandoned and given up to ruin. Come out of her, my people."
III. He foretels the terrible havoc that should be made of the Jewish
Those are the days of vengeance so often spoken of by the
Old-Testament prophets, which would complete the ruin of that provoking
people. All their predictions must now be fulfilled, and the blood of
all the Old-Testament martyrs must now be required. All things that
are written must be fulfilled at length. After days of patience
long abused, there will come days of vengeance; for reprieves
are not pardons. The greatness of that destruction is set forth,
1. By the inflicting cause of it. It is wrath upon this people,
the wrath of God, that will kindle this devouring consuming fire.
2. By the particular terror it would be to women with child, and poor
mothers that are nurses. Woe to them, not only because they are
most subject to frights, and least able to shift for their own safety,
but because it will be a very great torment to them to think of having
borne and nursed children for the murderers.
3. By the general confusion that should be all the nation over. There
shall be great distress in the land, for men will not know what
course to take, nor how to help themselves.
IV. He describes the issue of the struggles between the Jews and the
Romans, and what they will come to at last; in short,
1. Multitudes of them shall fall by the edge of the sword. It is
computed that in those wars of the Jews there fell by the sword above
eleven hundred thousand. And the siege of Jerusalem was, in effect, a
2. The rest shall be led away captive; not into one
nations, as when they were conquered by the Chaldeans, which gave them
an opportunity of keeping together, but into all nations, which
made it impossible for them to correspond with each other, much
less to incorporate.
3. Jerusalem itself was trodden down of the Gentiles. The
Romans, when they had made themselves masters of it, laid it quite
waste, as a rebellious and bad city, hurtful to kings and
provinces, and therefore hateful to them.
V. He describes the great frights that people should generally be in.
Many frightful sights shall be in the sun, moon, and
stars, prodigies in the heavens, and here in this lower world, the
sea and the waves roaring, with terrible storms and tempests,
such as had not been known, and above the ordinary working of natural
causes. The effect of this shall be universal confusion and
consternation upon the earth, distress of nations with
Dr. Hammond understands by the nations the several governments
or tetrarchies of the Jewish nation, Judea, Samaria, and Galilee; these
shall be brought to the last extremity. Men's hearts shall fail
them for fear
apopsychonton anthropon--men being quite
exanimated, dispirited, unsouled, dying away for fear. Thus
those are killed all the day long by whom Christ's apostles were
that is, they are all the day long in fear of being killed; sinking
under that which lies upon them, and yet still trembling for fear of
worse, and looking after those things which are coming upon the
world. When judgment begins at the house of God, it will not
end there; it shall be as if all the world were falling in pieces; and
where can any be secure then? The powers of heaven shall be
shaken, and then the pillars of the earth cannot but tremble. Thus
shall the present Jewish policy, religion, laws, and government, be all
entirely dissolved by a series of unparalleled calamities, attended
with the utmost confusion. So Dr. Clarke. But our Saviour makes use of
these figurative expressions because at the end of time they shall be
literally accomplished, when the heavens shall be rolled together as
a scroll, and all their powers not only shaken, but broken, and the
earth and all the works that are therein shall be burnt
2 Peter 3:10,12.
As that day was all terror and destruction to the unbelieving Jews, so
the great day will be to all unbelievers.
VI. He makes this to be a kind of appearing of the Son of man: Then
shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud, with power and great
The destruction of Jerusalem was in a particular manner an act of
Christ's judgment, the judgment committed to the Son of man; his
religion could never be thoroughly established but by the destruction
of the temple, and the abolishing of the Levitical priesthood and
economy, after which even the converted Jews, and many of the Gentiles
too, were still hankering, till they were destroyed; so that it might
justly be looked upon as a coming of the Son of man, in power and
great glory, yet not visibly, but in the clouds; for in
executing such judgments as these clouds and darkness are round
about him. Now this was,
1. An evidence of the first coming of the Messiah; so some
understand it. Then the unbelieving Jews shall be confined, when it is
too late, that Jesus was the Messiah; those that would not see him
coming in the power of his grace to save them shall be made to
see him coming in the power of his wrath to destroy them; those
that would not have him to reign over them shall have him to
triumph over them.
2. It was an earnest of his second coming. Then in the
terrors of that day they shall see the Son of man coming in a
cloud, and all the terrors of the last day. They shall see a
specimen of it, a faint resemblance of it. If this be so
terrible, what will that be?
VII. He encourages all the faithful disciples in reference to the
terrors of that day
"When these things begin to come to pass, when Jerusalem is
besieged, and every thing is concurring to the destruction of the Jews,
then do you look up, when others are looking down, look
heavenward, in faith, hope, and prayer, and lift up your heads
with cheerfulness and confidence, for your redemption draws
1. When Christ came to destroy the Jews, he came to redeem the
Christians that were persecuted and oppressed by them; then had the
2. When he comes to judge the world at the last day, he will
redeem all that are his, from all their grievances. And the
foresight of that day is as pleasant to all good Christians as it is
terrible to the wicked and ungodly. Their death itself is so; when they
see that day approaching, they can lift up their heads with joy,
knowing that their redemption draws nigh, their removal to their
VIII. Here is one word of prediction that looks further than the
destruction of the Jewish nation, which is not easily understood; we
have it in
Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, till the times of
the Gentiles be fulfilled.
1. Some understand it of what is past; so Dr. Hammond. The Gentiles,
who have conquered Jerusalem, shall keep possession of it, and it shall
be purely Gentile, till the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled, till a
great part of the Gentile world shall have become Christian, and then
after Jerusalem shall have been rebuilt by Adrian the emperor, with an
exclusion of all the Jews from it, many of the Jews shall turn
Christians, shall join with the Gentile Christians, to set up a church
in Jerusalem, which shall flourish there for a long time.
2. Others understand it of what is yet to come; so Dr. Whitby.
Jerusalem shall be possessed by the Gentiles, of one sort or other, for
the most part, till the time come when the nations that yet remain
infidels shall embrace the Christian faith, when the kingdoms of this
world shall become Christ's kingdoms, and then all the Jews shall be
converted. Jerusalem shall be inhabited by them, and neither they nor
their city any longer trodden down by the Gentiles.
29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own
selves that summer is now nigh at hand.
31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know
ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away,
till all be fulfilled.
33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not
34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be
overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this
life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the
face of the whole earth.
36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be
accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to
pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
37 And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at
night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the
mount of Olives.
38 And all the people came early in the morning to him in the
temple, for to hear him.
Here, in the close of this discourse,
I. Christ appoints his disciples to observe the signs of the times,
which they might judge by, if they had an eye to the foregoing
directions, with as much certainty and assurance as they could judge of
the approach of summer by the budding forth of the trees,
As in the kingdom of nature there is a chain of causes, so in the
kingdom of providence there is a consequence of one event upon another.
When we see a nation filling up the measure of their iniquity, we may
conclude that their ruin is nigh; when we see the ruin of persecuting
powers hastening on, we may thence infer that the kingdom of God is
nigh at hand, that when the opposition given to it is removed it
shall gain ground. As we may lawfully prognosticate the change of the
seasons when second causes have begun to work, so we may, in the
disposal of events, expect something uncommon when God is already
raised up out of his holy habitation
then stand still and see his salvation.
II. He charges them to look upon those things as neither
doubtful nor distant (for then they would not make a due
impression on them), but as sure and very near. The
destruction of the Jewish nation,
1. Was near
This generation shall not pass away till all be fulfilled. There
were some now alive that should see it; some that now heard the
prediction of it.
2. It was sure; the sentence was irreversible; it was a
consumption determined; the decree was gone forth
"Heaven and earth shall pass away sooner than any word of mine:
nay, they certainly shall pass away, but my words shall not;
whether they take hold or no, they will take effect, and
not one of them fall to the ground,"
1 Samuel 3:19.
III. He cautions them against security and sensuality, by which they
would unfit themselves for the trying times that were coming on, and
make them to be a great surprise and terror to them
Take heed to yourselves. This is the word of command given to
all Christ's disciples: "Take heed to yourselves, that you be
not overpowered by temptations, nor betrayed by your own corruptions."
Note, We cannot be safe if we be secure. It concerns us
at all times, but especially at some times, to be very
cautious. See here,
1. What our danger is: that the day of death and judgment
should come upon us unawares, when we do not expect it,
and are not prepared for it,--lest, when we are called to meet
our Lord, that be found the furthest thing from our thoughts
which ought always to be laid nearest our hearts, lest it
come upon us as a snare; for so it will come upon the
most of men, who dwell upon the earth, and mind earthly
things only, and have no converse with heaven; to them it will be
as a snare. See
It will be a terror and a destruction to them; it will
put them into an inexpressible fright, and hold them fast for a doom
yet more frightful.
2. What our duty is, in consideration of this danger: we must
take heed lest our hearts be overcharged, lest they be burdened
and overloaded, and so unfitted and disabled to do what must be done in
preparation for death and judgment. Two things we must watch against,
lest our hearts be overcharged with them:--
(1.) The indulging of the appetites of the body, and allowing of
ourselves in the gratifications of sense to an excess: Take heed
lest you be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, the
immoderate use of meat and drink, which burden the heart, not only with
the guilt thereby contracted, but by the ill influence which such
disorders of the body have upon the mind; they make men dull and
lifeless to their duty, dead and listless in their duty; they stupify
the conscience, and cause the mind to be unaffected with those
things that are most affecting.
(2.) The inordinate pursuit of the good things of this world. The heart
is overcharged with the cares of this life. The former is the
snare of those that are given to their pleasures: this is the snare of
the men of business, that will be rich. We have need to guard on
both hands, not only lest at the time when death comes, but lest at
any time our hearts should be thus overcharged. Our caution against
sin, and our care of our own souls, must be constant.
IV. He counsels them to prepare and get ready for this great day,
1. What should be our aim: that we may be accounted worthy to
escape all these things; that, when the judgments of God are
abroad, we may be preserved from the malignity of them; that either we
may not be involved in the common calamity or it may not be that to us
which it is to others; that in the day of death we may escape the sting
of it, which is the wrath of God, and the damnation of hell. Yet we
must aim not only to escape that, but to stand before the Son
of man; not only to stand acquitted before him as our Judge
to have boldness in the day of Christ (that is supposed in our
escaping all those things), but to stand before him, to
attend on him as our Master, to stand continually before his throne,
and serve him day and night in his temple
always to behold his face, as the angels,
The saints are here said to be accounted worthy, as before,
God, by the good work of his grace in them, makes them meet for
this happiness, and, by the good will of his grace towards them,
accounts them worthy of it: but, as Grotius here says, a great
part of our worthiness lies in an acknowledgment of our own
2. What should be our actings in these aims: Watch therefore,
and pray always. Watching and praying must go together,
Those that would escape the wrath to come, and make sure of the joys to
come, must watch and pray, and must do so always, must
make it the constant business of their lives,
(1.) To keep a guard upon themselves. "Watch against sin, watch to
every duty, and to the improvement of every opportunity of doing good.
Be awake, and keep awake, in expectation of your Lord's coming, that
you may be in a right frame to receive him, and bid him welcome."
(2.) To keep up their communion with God: "Pray always; be
always in an habitual disposition to that duty; keep up stated times
for it; abound in it; pray upon all occasions." Those shall be
accounted worthy to live a life of praise in the other world that live
a life of prayer in this world.
V. In the
we have an account how Christ disposed of himself during those three or
four days between his riding in triumph into Jerusalem and the night in
which he was betrayed.
1. He was all day teaching in the temple. Christ preached on
week-days as well as sabbath days. He was an indefatigable preacher; he
preached in the face of opposition, and in the midst of those that he
knew sought occasion against him.
2. At night he went out to lodge at a friend's house, in the mount of
Olives, about a mile out of town. It is probable that he had some
friends in the city that would gladly have lodged him, but he was
willing to retire in the evening out of the noise of the town, that he
might have more time for secret devotion, now that his hour was at
3. Early in the morning he was in the temple again, where he had a
morning lecture for those that were willing to attend it; and the
people were forward to hear one that they saw forward to preach
They all came early in the morning, flocking to the temple, like
doves to their windows, to hear him, though the chief priests
and scribes did all they could to prejudice them against him.
Sometimes the taste and relish which serious, honest, plain people have
of good preaching are more to be valued and judged by than the opinion
of the witty and learned, and those in authority.