|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
24:4-28 The disciples had asked concerning the times, When these things should be? Christ gave them no answer to that; but they had also asked, What shall be the sign? This question he answers fully. The prophecy first respects events near at hand, the destruction of Jerusalem, the end of the Jewish church and state, the calling of the Gentiles, and the setting up of Christ's kingdom in the world; but it also looks to the general judgment; and toward the close, points more particularly to the latter. What Christ here said to his disciples, tended more to promote caution than to satisfy their curiosity; more to prepare them for the events that should happen, than to give a distinct idea of the events. This is that good understanding of the times which all should covet, thence to infer what Israel ought to do. Our Saviour cautions his disciples to stand on their guard against false teachers. And he foretells wars and great commotions among nations. From the time that the Jews rejected Christ, and he left their house desolate, the sword never departed from them. See what comes of refusing the gospel. Those who will not hear the messengers of peace, shall be made to hear the messengers of war. But where the heart is fixed, trusting in God, it is kept in peace, and is not afraid. It is against the mind of Christ, that his people should have troubled hearts, even in troublous times. When we looked forward to the eternity of misery that is before the obstinate refusers of Christ and his gospel, we may truly say, The greatest earthly judgments are but the beginning of sorrows. It is comforting that some shall endure even to the end. Our Lord foretells the preaching of the gospel in all the world. The end of the world shall not be till the gospel has done its work. Christ foretells the ruin coming upon the people of the Jews; and what he said here, would be of use to his disciples, for their conduct and for their comfort. If God opens a door of escape, we ought to make our escape, otherwise we do not trust God, but tempt him. It becomes Christ's disciples, in times of public trouble, to be much in prayer: that is never out of season, but in a special manner seasonable when we are distressed on every side. Though we must take what God sends, yet we may pray against sufferings; and it is very trying to a good man, to be taken by any work of necessity from the solemn service and worship of God on the sabbath day. But here is one word of comfort, that for the elect's sake these days shall be made shorter than their enemies designed, who would have cut all off, if God, who used these foes to serve his own purpose, had not set bounds to their wrath. Christ foretells the rapid spreading of the gospel in the world. It is plainly seen as the lightning. Christ preached his gospel openly. The Romans were like an eagle, and the ensign of their armies was an eagle. When a people, by their sin, make themselves as loathsome carcasses, nothing can be expected but that God should send enemies to destroy them. It is very applicable to the day of judgment, the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in that day, 2Th 2:1. Let us give diligence to make our calling and election sure; then may we know that no enemy or deceiver shall ever prevail against us.
Verse 8. - Beginning of sorrows; ὠδίνων: labour pangs, travailings. The metaphor often occurs (see Isaiah 26:17; Jeremiah 13:21; Hosea 13:13, etc). These great events are called "labour pangs" because they usher in the new creation, "the regeneration" spoken of in Matthew 19:28 (see note there). St. Paul writes (Romans 8:22), "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now." The tribulations and calamities which preceded and accompanied the overthrow of the Jewish polity are a sign and warning of the great and universal woes Which shall herald the day of judgment. Jewish writings speak of "the sorrows of Messiah," distresses, wars, famine, dissension, etc., which should herald his advent, and Christ may have used the popular opinion, true as far as it went, as a vehicle for conveying the further truth, that the coming age would be produced amid terrible agonies of men, peoples, and nature.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
All these are the beginning of sorrows,.... They were only a prelude unto them, and forerunners of them; they were only some foretastes of what would be, and were far from being the worst that should be endured. These were but light, in comparison of what befell the Jews, in their dreadful destruction. The word here used, signifies the sorrows and pains of a woman in travail. The Jews expect great sorrows and distresses in the times of the Messiah, and use a word to express them by, which answers to this, and call them, , "the sorrows of the Messiah"; they say (r), signifies the sorrows of a woman in travail; and the Syriac version uses the same word here. These they represent to be very great, and express much concern to be delivered from them. They (s) ask,
"what shall a man do, to be delivered from "the sorrows of the Messiah?" He must employ himself in the law, and in liberality.''
And again (t),
"he that observes the three meals on the sabbath day, shall be delivered from three punishments; from "the sorrows of the Messiah", from the judgment of hell, and from Gog and Magog.''
But alas there was no other way of escaping them, but by faith in the true Messiah, Jesus; and it was for their disbelief and rejection of him, that these came upon them.
(r) Gloss. in T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 118. 2.((s) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 98. 2.((t) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 118. 2.
Matthew 24:8 Parallel Commentaries
Matthew 24:8 NIV
Matthew 24:8 NLT
Matthew 24:8 ESV
Matthew 24:8 NASB
Matthew 24:8 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible