|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
13:31-35 The scope of the parable of the seed sown, is to show that the beginnings of the gospel would be small, but its latter end would greatly increase; in this way the work of grace in the heart, the kingdom of God within us, would be carried on. In the soul where grace truly is, it will grow really; though perhaps at first not to be discerned, it will at last come to great strength and usefulness. The preaching of the gospel works like leaven in the hearts of those who receive it. The leaven works certainly, so does the word, yet gradually. It works silently, and without being seen, Mr 4:26-29, yet strongly; without noise, for so is the way of the Spirit, but without fail. Thus it was in the world. The apostles, by preaching the gospel, hid a handful of leaven in the great mass of mankind. It was made powerful by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts, who works, and none can hinder. Thus it is in the heart. When the gospel comes into the soul, it works a thorough change; it spreads itself into all the powers and faculties of the soul, and alters the property even of the members of the body, Ro 6:13. From these parables we are taught to expect a gradual progress; therefore let us inquire, Are we growing in grace? and in holy principles and habits?
Verse 41. - The Son of man. Observe how expressly Christ identifies the Sower with the Lord of the angels. Shall send forth (ἀποστελεῖ) - as his representatives (Matthew 10:2, note) - his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom - though they are now there - all things that offend, and them which do iniquity (πάντα τὰ σκάνδαλα καὶ τοῦς ποιοῦντας τὴν ἀνομιάν); all things that offend (that cause stumbling, Revised Version); Matthew 5:29, note. In itself it would naturally be understood of persons, in accordance with the meaning of "tares." But what is its relation to the following clause, for this latter cannot be merely tautological? There are two answers:
(a) The two phrases bring out different aspects under which the persons are regarded. They, as "sons of the evil one," are both stumbling blocks to others ("the sons of the kingdom"), and also active workers of lawlessness (vide infra). They sin against men (cf. Matthew 24:24b) and against God.
(b) The first term regards not so much them as their actions - their scandalous acts (Goebel); the second, the persons themselves. The former of the two answers seems preferable, as keeping closer to the parable. It also agrees with the personal use of σκάνδαλον in Matthew 16:23, and the use of αὐτούς alone in the next clause. With respect to the whole phrase, observe:
(1) It is taken partly from Zephaniah 1:3 (Hebrew), "I will consume [the verb אָסֵפ would readily lend itself to the interpretation 'gather']... the stumbling blocks with the wicked (המכשלות את־הרשעים... אספ)."
(2) Yet, as it stands, it is taken partly also from Psalm 37:1, for the Greek of them that do iniquity is the same as in the LXX. there. Besides, the context (comp. Kirkpatrick) is not dissimilar; it is that the righteous should not be envious at the prosperity of the wicked, for it is only transitory, "They shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb."
(3) The phrase, them which do iniquity (rather, lawlessness; Matthew 7:23, note), looks as though St. Paul's teaching of "the man of sin" (ὁ ἄνθρωπος τῆς ἀνομίας: Westcott and Hort, in 2 Thessalonians 2:3; cf. 7, 8) might have some basis in the direct teaching of the Lord (cf. ver. 43, note; and on this question generally, Chase, 'The Lord's Prayer,' etc., p. 19).
(4) Ephraem Syrus, evidently quoting this passage, but in the form in which, presumably, it existed in the 'Diatessaron,' deduces from it that the earth will be the abode of the glorified saints: "Quod autem dicit: Mandabit domum regni sui ab omni scandalo, intellige de terra et rebus creatis, quas renovabit, ibique justos suos collocabit" (Resch, 'Agrapha,' p. 295).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The Son of man shall send forth his angels,.... Meaning himself, whose ministers the angels are; who wait upon him, and are at his beck and command; even the thousand thousands that minister unto him; these will be sent forth by his orders, into the several parts of the world, where he has any churches, or an interest,
and they shall gather out of his kingdom: the Gospel church, over which Christ is king, where he rules and governs in the hearts of his people; and who are cheerfully and willingly obedient to his laws, under the influence of his Spirit and grace: but all who are in the visible Gospel church state, are not such; some are wicked and rebellious, and though they are suffered to continue, yet not always; for if not removed by censures and excommunications, they will be at last by angels; who will separate them from the saints:
even all things that offend; who are scandals to Christ, his church, and Gospel, by their wicked principles, or infamous practices; and who give offence, not only to God, and his righteous law, but lay stumbling blocks in the way of the children of God, and are the authors of divisions and offences among them:
and them that do iniquity; that do nothing else but iniquity; and who, though they profess to be religious persons, are secretly, or openly, workers of iniquity; and are even doing iniquity, in and whilst they are professing religion.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
41. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom—to which they never really belonged. They usurped their place and name and outward privileges; but "the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners [abide] in the congregation of the righteous" (Ps 1:5).
all things that offend—all those who have proved a stumbling-block to others
and them which do iniquity—The former class, as the worst, are mentioned first.
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