And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he has chosen, he has shortened the days.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Matthew 9:1-8.
should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days—But for this merciful "shortening," brought about by a remarkable concurrence of causes, the whole nation would have perished, in which there yet remained a remnant to be afterwards gathered out. This portion of the prophecy closes, in Luke, with the following vivid and important glance at the subsequent fortunes of the chosen people: "And they shall fall by 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 fulfilled" (Lu 21:24). The language as well as the idea of this remarkable statement is taken from Da 8:10, 13. What, then, is its import here? It implies, first, that a time is coming when Jerusalem shall cease to be "trodden down of the Gentiles"; which it was then by pagan, and since and till now is by Mohammedan unbelievers: and next, it implies that the period when this treading down of Jerusalem by the Gentiles is to cease will be when "the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled" or "completed." But what does this mean? We may gather the meaning of it from Ro 11:1-36 in which the divine purposes and procedure towards the chosen people from first to last are treated in detail. In Ro 11:25 these words of our Lord are thus reproduced: "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in." See the exposition of that verse, from which it will appear that "till the fulness of the Gentiles be come in"—or, in our Lord's phraseology, "till the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled"—does not mean "till the general conversion of the world to Christ," but "till the Gentiles have had their full time of that place in the Church which the Jews had before them." After that period of Gentilism, as before of Judaism, "Jerusalem" and Israel, no longer "trodden down by the Gentiles," but "grafted into their own olive tree," shall constitute, with the believing Gentiles, one Church of God, and fill the whole earth. What a bright vista does this open up!See Poole on "Mark 13:15"
no flesh should be saved; there would not have been a Jew left; that nation and race of men must have been utterly destroyed from off the face of the earth:
but for elect's sake, whom he hath chosen; in Christ, unto eternal salvation; who were either then upon the spot, called or uncalled, or that were to spring from in succeeding times:
he hath shortened the days; he hath determined they shall be but few, that a remnant might be saved, and among them his elect; or from whom should descend, such as he had chosen, who should be saved with an everlasting salvation: though the people in general have been given up to blindness and unbelief, yet they are preserved as a distinct people in the world; and in the latter day will be called and converted, and all Israel shall be saved and therefore it was the will of God to shorten those days of affliction, that they might not be entirely cut off, but that a number might be left, as a stock for future ages; See Gill on Matthew 24:22.And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Mark 13:20. The merciful shortening of the days, out of regard to the elect, is here directly ascribed to God. Mt. uses the passive construction, where vide as to the idea of shortening and the reason.—τοὺς ἐκλεκτοὺς οὓς ἐξελέξατο, the elect whom He elected, recalling “the creation which God created” in Mark 13:19; but more than a mere literary idiosyncrasy, emphasising the fact that the elect are God’s elect, whom He loves and will care for, and whose intercessions for others He will hear.20. except that the Lord had shortened] The word rendered “shortened” only occurs here and in the parallel, Matthew 24:22. It denotes to dock or curtail. It occurs in the LXX. version of 2 Samuel 4:12, where we read that David “commanded his young men, and they cut off the hands and the feet” of the murderers of Ishbosheth. If in God’s pitying mercy the number of those awful days had not been shortened, no flesh could have been saved.
for the elect’s sake] i. e. for the sake of the Christians.
he hath shortened] Had the horrors within and without which accompanied the siege of Jerusalem been prolonged, the utter desolation of the country would have been the result. But in mercy they were shortened, (1) by the swift and energetic measures of the invading armies, and (2) by the infatuation of the besieged. On his part Titus encircled the city with a wall five miles in extent, and fortified it with thirteen strong garrisons in the almost incredibly short space of three days, and Josephus makes special mention of his eagerness to bring the siege to an end. On the other hand, the leaders of the factions within slew the men who would have taught them how the siege might be prolonged, burnt the corn which would have enabled them to hold out against the enemy, and abandoned the towers, which were in reality impregnable. Thus the city, which in the time of Zedekiah (2 Kings 25:1-6; Jeremiah 39:1-2) had resisted the forces of Nebuchadnezzar for sixteen months, was taken by the Romans in less than five.Mark 13:20. Οὓς ἐξελέξατο, whom He hath chosen) Herein is illustrated the power of prayer.—ἐκολοβωσε, He hath shortened) by His decree.Verse 20. - And except the Lord had shortened the days, no flesh would have been saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he chose, he shortened the days. St. Matthew's record (Matthew 24:22) differs from that of St. Mark in the omission of the words "the Lord," and the clause "whom he chose." If the time of the siege of Jerusalem had lasted much longer, not one of the nation could have survived; all would have perished by war, or famine, or pestilence. The Romans raged against the Jews as an obstinate and rebellious nation, and would have exterminated them. But "the Lord" shortened the time of this frightful catastrophe, for the elect's sake, that is, partly for the sake of the Christians who could not escape from Jerusalem, and partly for that of the Jews, who, subdued by this awful visitation, were converted to Christ or would hereafter be converted to him We learn from hence how great is the love of God towards his elect, and his care for them. For their sakes he spared many Jews. For their sakes he created and preserves the whole world. Yea, for their sakes, Christ the eternal Son was made man, and became obedient unto death. "All things are yours, and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's." It may be added that a number of providential circumstances combined to shorten these days of terror. Titus was himself disposed to clemency, and friendly towards Josephus. Moreover, he was attached to Bernice, a Jewess, the sister of Agrippa. All these and other circumstances conspired in the providence of God to "shorten the days."
See on Matthew 24:22.
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