|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
13:5-13 Our Lord Jesus, in reply to the disciples' question, does not so much satisfy their curiosity as direct their consciences. When many are deceived, we should thereby be awakened to look to ourselves. And the disciples of Christ, if it be not their own fault, may enjoy holy security and peace of mind, when all around is in disorder. But they must take heed that they are not drawn away from Christ and their duty to him, by the sufferings they will meet with for his sake. They shall be hated of all men: trouble enough! Yet the work they were called to should be carried on and prosper. Though they may be crushed and borne down, the gospel cannot be. The salvation promised is more than deliverance from evil, it is everlasting blessedness.
Verse 10. - And the gospel must first be preached unto all the nations. St. Matthew (Matthew 24:14) says it shall be preached "in the whole world, for a testimony unto all the nations" (ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ οἰκουμένῃ εἰς μαρτύριον). This literally took place, as far as the inhabited world was concerned at that time, before the destruction of Jerusalem. St. Paul (Romans 10:18) reminds us that "their sound is gone out into all lands, and their words unto the ends of the world;" and he tells the Colossians (Colossians 1:6) that the gospel was come unto them, and was bearing fruit and increasing in all the world. But even if we regard these expressions as somewhat hyperbolic, it is unquestionable that before the armies of Titus entered Jerusalem, the gospel had been published through the principal parts and provinces of the then inhabited world (οἰκουμένῃ). And it is certainly a wonderful fact that within fifty years after the death of Christ, Christian Churches had been planted in almost every district of the earth as then known to the Romans. But if we extend these prophetical sayings so as to reach onwards to the end of all things, we must then understand the expression, "all the nations," in its most unrestricted sense; so that the prophecy announces the universal proclamation of the gospel over the whole inhabited earth as an event which is to precede the time of the end. It is interesting to observe the difference in the amount of knowledge possessed by us of this earth and its population at the present time, as compared with the knowledge which men had of it at the time when our Lord delivered this prediction. It was not until the beginning of the sixteenth century, nearly fifteen hundred years after Christ, that Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci laid open that other hemisphere which takes its name from Amerigo; and there are few facts more interesting to a philosophic mind than the discovery of this new continent, now so important to us in England as the chief receptacle, together with Australia, of our redundant population. But this new world, as we call it, although there are material evidences that portions of it at least were occupied in very remote times by men of high civilization, was present to the mind of our Lord when he said that "the gospel must first be preached unto all the nations." So that the prophecy expands, as the ages roll onwards and the population of this earth increases; and it still demands its fulfillment, embracing the vast multitudes now dwelling on the face of the earth to the number of about 1,450,000,000. Such a consideration may well lead us to the inference that we are now approaching sensibly nearer to the end of the world. There are no other new worlds like America or Australia now to be discovered. The whole face of the earth is now laid open to us; and there is now hardly any part of the world which has not at some time or other received the message of salvation. Ver 11. - And when they lead you to judgment, and deliver you up, be not anxious beforehand what ye shall speak. Our Lord does not mean by this that they were not to premeditate a prudent and wise answer Rut he means that they were not to be too anxious about it. In St. Luke (Luke 21:15) he says, "I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to withstand or to gainsay." So here, it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost who shall inspire you with wisdom and courage. The words "neither do ye premeditate" (μηδὲ μελετᾶτε) are omitted in the Revised Version, as not having sufficient authority.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the Gospel must first be published among all nations. The Syriac version reads, "my Gospel"; the Gospel which Christ was the author, subject, and preacher of; this "must be published". There was a necessity of the promulgation of it by the will of God, the command and commission of Christ; and for the gathering in of the Jews, that were the elect of God, "among all nations" of the world, especially in the Roman empire; and that "first", or before the destruction of Jerusalem; See Gill on Matthew 24:14.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. And the gospel must first be published among all nations—"for a witness, and then shall the end come" (Mt 24:14). God never sends judgment without previous warning; and there can be no doubt that the Jews, already dispersed over most known countries, had nearly all heard the Gospel "as a witness," before the end of the Jewish state. The same principle was repeated and will repeat itself to "the end."
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