|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
21:5-28 With much curiosity those about Christ ask as to the time when the great desolation should be. He answers with clearness and fulness, as far as was necessary to teach them their duty; for all knowledge is desirable as far as it is in order to practice. Though spiritual judgements are the most common in gospel times, yet God makes use of temporal judgments also. Christ tells them what hard things they should suffer for his name's sake, and encourages them to bear up under their trials, and to go on in their work, notwithstanding the opposition they would meet with. God will stand by you, and own you, and assist you. This was remarkably fulfilled after the pouring out of the Spirit, by whom Christ gave his disciples wisdom and utterance. Though we may be losers for Christ, we shall not, we cannot be losers by him, in the end. It is our duty and interest at all times, especially in perilous, trying times, to secure the safety of our own souls. It is by Christian patience we keep possession of our own souls, and keep out all those impressions which would put us out of temper. We may view the prophecy before us much as those Old Testament prophecies, which, together with their great object, embrace, or glance at some nearer object of importance to the church. Having given an idea of the times for about thirty-eight years next to come, Christ shows what all those things would end in, namely, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the utter dispersion of the Jewish nation; which would be a type and figure of Christ's second coming. The scattered Jews around us preach the truth of Christianity; and prove, that though heaven and earth shall pass away, the words of Jesus shall not pass away. They also remind us to pray for those times when neither the real, nor the spiritual Jerusalem, shall any longer be trodden down by the Gentiles, and when both Jews and Gentiles shall be turned to the Lord. When Christ came to destroy the Jews, he came to redeem the Christians that were persecuted and oppressed by them; and then had the churches rest. When he comes to judge the world, he will redeem all that are his from their troubles. So fully did the Divine judgements come upon the Jews, that their city is set as an example before us, to show that sins will not pass unpunished; and that the terrors of the Lord, and his threatenings against impenitent sinners, will all come to pass, even as his word was true, and his wrath great upon Jerusalem.
Verse 24. - And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations. It is computed that 1,100,000 Jews perished in the terrible war when Jerusalem fell (A.D. 70). Renan writes of this awful slaughter, "that it would seem as though the whole (Jewish) race had determined upon a rendezvous for extermination." Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles. After incredible slaughter and woes, Titus, the Emperor Vespasian's son, who commanded the Roman armies, ordered the city (of Jerusalem) to be razed so completely as to look like a spot which had never been inhabited (Josephus, 'Bell. Jud.,' v. 10. § 5). The storied city has been rebuilt on the old site - but without the temple - and since that fatal day, more than eighteen centuries ago, no Jew save on bare sufferance has dwelt in the old loved and sacred spot. In turn, Roman and Saracen, Norseman and Turk, have trodden Jerusalem down. Literally, indeed, have the sad words of Jesus been fulfilled. Until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. These few words carry on the prophecy past our own time (how far past?) - carry it on close to the days of the end. "The times of the Gentiles" signify the whole period or epoch which must elapse between the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, and the beginning of the times of the end when the Lord will return. In other words, these "times of the Gentiles" denote the period during which they - the Gentiles - hold the Church of God in place of the Jews, deposal from that position of favor and honor. These words separate the prophecy of Jesus which belongs solely to the ruin of the cry and temple from the eschatological portion of the same prophecy. Hitherto the Lord's words referred solely to the fall of Jerusalem and the ruin of the Jewish race. Now begins a short prophetic description of the end and of the coming of the Son of man in glory.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And they shall fall by the edge of the sword,.... Or "mouth of the sword", an Hebraism; see the Septuagint in Judges 1:8. The number of those that perished by the famine and sword, were eleven hundred thousand (f):
and shall be led away captive unto all nations; when the city was taken, the most beautiful of the young men were kept for the triumph; and those that were above seventeen years of age, were sent bound into Egypt, to labour in the mines; many were distributed through the provinces, to be destroyed in the theatres, by the sword or beasts; and those that were under seventeen years of age, were led captive to be sold; and the number of these only, were ninety-seven thousand (g):
and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles; the Romans, who ploughed up the city and temple, and laid them level with the ground; and which spot has been ever since inhabited by such as were not Jews, as Turks and Papists: and so it will be,
until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled; that is, till the fulness of the Gentiles is brought in; until the Gospel is preached all over the world, and all God's elect are gathered in out of all nations; and then the Jews will be converted, and return to their own land, and rebuild and inhabit Jerusalem; but till that time, it will be as it has been, and still is possessed by Gentiles. The word "Gentiles", is left out in one of Beza's exemplars, and so it is likewise in the Persic version.
(f) Joseph. de Belio Jud. l. 7. c. 49. & Euseb. Hist. Eccl. l. 3. c. 7. (g) Ib.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
24. Jerusalem … trodden down … until, &c.—Implying (1) that one day Jerusalem shall cease to be "trodden down by the Gentiles" (Re 11:2), as then by pagan so now by Mohammedan unbelievers; (2) that this shall be at the "completion" of "the times of the Gentiles," which from Ro 11:25 (taken from this) we conclude to mean till the Gentiles have had their full time of that place in the Church which the Jews in their time had before them—after which, the Jews being again "grafted into their own olive tree," one Church of Jew and Gentile together shall fill the earth (Ro 11:1-36). What a vista this opens up!
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