Be you also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draws near.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The coming of the Lord draweth nigh.—Read thus, The presence of the Lord is nigh. For the ancient belief in the nearness of Christ’s second advent, see Note above, in James 5:3. The word used by the Apostle to describe its closeness is the same as that used in Matthew 3:2, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” The afflicted are therefore to establish, or rather strengthen, their hearts. If “comfort” retained its older sense, such would express the true idea. Comp. the great prophecy of Israel’s consolation (Isaiah 40, et seq.).
Stablish your hearts - Let your purposes and your faith be firm and unwavering. Do not become weary and fretful; but bear with constancy all that is laid upon you, until the time of your deliverance shall come.
For the coming of the Lord draweth nigh - Compare Revelation 22:10, Revelation 22:12, Revelation 22:20; the notes at 1 Corinthians 15:51. It is clear, I think, from this place, that the apostle expected that that which he understood by "the coming of the Lord" was soon to occur; for it was to be that by which they would obtain deliverance from the trials which they then endured. See James 5:7. Whether it means that he was soon to come to judgment, or to bring to an end the Jewish policy and to set up his kingdom on the earth, or that they would soon be removed by death, cannot be determined from the mere use of the language. The most natural interpretation of the passage, and one which will accord well with the time when the Epistle was written, is, that the predicted time of the destruction of Jerusalem Matthew 24 was at hand; that there were already indications that that would soon occur; and that there was a prevalent expectation among Christians that that event would be a release from many trials of persecution, and would be followed by the setting up of the Redeemer's kingdom.
Perhaps many expected that the judgment would occur at that time, and that the Saviour would set up a personal reign on the earth. But the expectation of others might have been merely - what is indeed all that is necessarily implied in the predictions on the subject - that there would be after that a rapid and extensive spread of the principles of the Christian religion in the world. The destruction of Jerusalem and of the temple would contribute to that by bringing to an end the whole system of Jewish types and sacrifices; by convincing Christians that there was not to be one central rallying-point, thus destroying their lingering prejudices in favor of the Jewish mode of worship; and by scattering them abroad through the world to propagate the new religion. The Epistle was written, it is supposed, some ten or twelve years before the destruction of Jerusalem, (Introduction, Section 3,) and it is not improbable that there were already some indications of that approaching event.Be ye also patient; viz. in expectation of your harvest, and the fruit of your labours, as the husbandman is in looking for his.
Stablish your hearts; let your hearts be stedfast in faith and constant in holiness, encouraging yourselves to both by the coming of the Lord.
For the coming of the Lord draweth nigh; as before, his coming to the general judgment, which is said to be nigh, because of the certainty of its coming, and the uncertainty of the time when it will come, and because it is continually drawing on, and the whole time of the world’s duration till then is but short in comparison of the eternity following; and likewise because the particular judgment of every man is nigh at hand. See Philippians 4:5 Hebrews 10:37.
stablish your hearts; though the state of the saints is stable, they being fixed in the everlasting love of God, in the covenant of grace, in the hands of Christ, and on the rock of ages; yet their hearts are very unstable, and so are their frames, and the exercise of grace in them, and need establishing, which God's work; which is often done by the means of the word and ordinances; and these the saints should make use of, for the establishing of their hearts: the sense may be, take heart, be of good cheer, do not be dismayed, or faint, or sink under your pressures, but be of good courage, pluck up your spirits, lift up your heads: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh; when he will render tribulation to them that trouble them, free them from all their sorrows and afflictions, and enter them into the joy of their Lord; which will be either at death, which was not very far off, or at the last day, which was drawing nearer and nearer, and which with God was near; with whom a thousand years are as one day.Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Jam 5:8. Resumption and completion of the exhortation. The καί after μακροθυμήσατε is explained from the reference to ὁ γεωργός.
By the asyndeton addition στηρίξατε τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν, the conduct which is the condition of μακροθυμία is emphasized. Not weak, but strong hearts are able to cherish μακροθυμίαν; on this expression, comp. 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 Peter 5:10. The strengthening is indeed, on the one hand, an affair of God; but, on the other hand, it depends on the man himself, just like everything else that is obtained by the man surrendering himself to the love of God working in him.
ὅτι ἡ παρουσία κ.τ.λ.] Calvin: Ne quis objiceret, nimium differri liberationis tempus, occurrit dicens, prope instare Dominum, vel (quod idem est) ejus adventum appropinquasse.
On the expression, comp. especially 1 Peter 4:7.Jam 5:8. στηρίξατε τὰς καρδίας: a Hebrew idiom, סעד לב; in the O.T. mostly of strengthening the body with food.—ἡ παρουσία τοῦ Κυρίου ἤγγικεν: see above; cf. Matthew 3:2; Luke 21:28; Php 4:6; 1 Peter 4:7; 1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:15; 1 John 1:18.8. Be ye also patient] Better, long-suffering; as before.
stablish your hearts] Better, strengthen. The strength is to come from the thought that the great Advent has come near, that there will be a great Court of Appeal from all man’s injustice. Here, as before, we note a hope which was not fulfilled as men expected its fulfilment, and yet was not frustrated. The promise of the second Advent has been to believers in Christ what the promise of the first Advent was to Abraham and the patriarchs. They saw the far-off fulfilment, knowing not the times and seasons, and it made them feel that they were strangers and pilgrims (Hebrews 11:13), and so purified and strengthened them.Jam 5:8. Ἡ παρουσία, the coming) which will also bear precious fruit.—ἤγγικε, is come nigh) The apostles said this with truth: although those times intervene which are spoken of, 2 Thessalonians 2 and in the Apocalypse. Comp. the note, Acts 2:39.Verse 8. - Application of illustration, repeating the exhortation of ver. 7, and supporting it by the assurance that "the coming of the Lord," till which they are to endure, "is at hand." Stablish your hearts (comp. 1 Thessalonians 3:13, "To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints"). The coming of the Lord draweth nigh. So Isaiah had announced (Isaiah 13:6), "The day of the Lord is near (ἐγγὺς ἡμέρα Κυρίου)."
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