|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
24:16-23 Believers may be driven into the uttermost parts of the earth; but they are singing, not sighing. Here is terror to sinners; the prophet laments the miseries he saw breaking in like a torrent; and the small number of believers. He foresees that sin would abound. The meaning is plain, that evil pursues sinners. Unsteady, uncertain are all these things. Worldly men think to dwell in the earth as in a palace, as in a castle; but it shall be removed like a cottage, like a lodge put up for the night. It shall fall and not rise again; but there shall be new heavens and a new earth, in which shall dwell nothing but righteousness. Sin is a burden to the whole creation; it is a heavy burden, under which it groans now, and will sink at last. The high ones, that are puffed up with their grandeur, that think themselves out of the reach of danger, God will visit for their pride and cruelty. Let us judge nothing before the time, though some shall be visited. None in this world should be secure, though their condition be ever so prosperous; nor need any despair, though their condition be ever so deplorable. God will be glorified in all this. But the mystery of Providence is not yet finished. The ruin of the Redeemer's enemies must make way for his kingdom, and then the Sun of Righteousness will appear in full glory. Happy are those who take warning by the sentence against others; every impenitent sinner will sink under his transgression, and rise no more, while believers enjoy everlasting bliss.
Verses 21-23. - THE SUPRAMUNDANE JUDGMENT, AND FINAL ESTABLISHMENT OF GOD'S KINGDOM. Upon the destruction of the world there is to supervene a visitation of those who have been specially instrumental in producing the great wickedness that has brought the world to an end. These most guilty ones are classified under two heads: they consist of
(1) the host of the high ones that are on high (literally, "the host of the height in the height"); and
(2) the kings of the earth upon the earth. These are to be "gathered together in the pit," and "shut up in the prison," and finally, after a long imprisonment, punished (vers. 21, 22). Then the visible reign of the Lord of hosts is to be established "in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem," and he is to rule in the presence of his "ancients" in glory (ver. 23). Verse 21. - In that day. About that time - in connection with the series of events just related. The Lord shall punish the host of the high ones. It is generally allowed that these high ones, set m contrast as they are with the "kings of the earth," must belong to the class of supramundane intelligences, spiritual beings of a high order. Some have inclined to identify them with the "patron-spirits of nations," spoken of by Daniel (Daniel 10:13, 20, 21); but those "patron-spirits" are among the elect and unfallen angels; they protect nations, but do not lead them into sin or wickedness; they have no need to be "visited," and will certainly not be "shut up in prison" with the wicked kings of the earth. The spirits here spoken of must belong to the class of fallen spirits - they must be included among those "principalities and powers," of whom St. Paul speaks (Ephesians 6:12), whom he calls "the rulers of the darkness of this world," and to whom he ascribes "spiritual wickedness in high places." The punishment of such spirits is, perhaps, shadowed forth in the eighty-second psalm; it was distinctly taught in the Book of Enoch; and it is glanced at by St. Jude in his Epistle (ver. 6). And the kings. Kings, especially kings in the Oriental sense, have an enormous influence over the nations which they govern, and therefore a heavy responsibility. The kings of the nations are viewed here as having brought about the general corruption and wickedness which has necessitated the destruction of the earth.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And it shall come to pass in that day,.... Not at the precise exact time the earth shall be dissolved, but previous to it, within that dispensation that is called the last day:
that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high; which is not to be understood of the darkening of the sun, moon, and stars in the heavens, as some; nor of the visiting of angels, as Aben Ezra; nor of the punishment of Satan, and his principalities and powers, who are reserved to the judgment of the great day; much less of the people of the Jews, their kings and rulers; nor the great monarchs of the earth, the Assyrian, Chaldean, and others; but of antichrist and, his dignified clergy, cardinals, archbishops, bishops, &c. who are the "host or army of that high one" (z), as it may be rendered; of him that exalts himself above all that is called God, sitting in the high place in the temple of God, as if he was God; him, with all his mighty ones, will Christ, who is the true Jehovah, destroy with the breath of his mouth and the brightness of his coming; see 2 Thessalonians 2:4,
and the kings of the earth upon the earth; the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication with the whore of Rome; and who will make war with the Lamb, and shall be overcome by him, Revelation 17:2 or, "the kings of he earth" with "their earth" (a); both they and their land shall be visited.
(z) "super exercitum excelsi", Pagninus, Montanus, So Cocceius. (a) "cum terra ipsorum", Junius & Tremellius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
21. host of … high ones—the heavenly host, that is, either the visible host of heaven (the present economy of nature, affected by the sun, moon, and stars, the objects of idolatry, being abolished, Isa 65:17; 60:19, simultaneously with the corrupt polity of men); or rather, "the invisible rulers of the darkness of this world," as the antithesis to "kings of the earth" shows. Angels, moreover, preside, as it were, over kingdoms of the world (Da 10:13, 20, 21).
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