Luke 16:16
The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presses into it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) The law and the prophets were until John.—See Notes on Matthew 11:14-15. What had then been said to the disciples of the Baptist is now reproduced to our Lord’s own disciples and to the Pharisees. The latter had closed their eyes to the fact that all previous revelations led up to the work of John, as that in its turn was preparatory for the work of Christ.

Every man presseth . . .—The fact asserted, that of a “rush,” as we should say, into the Kingdom, but a rush from which the Pharisees had held aloof, answers to the stronger expression in St. Matthew (Matthew 11:12), “the violent take it by force.”

Luke 16:16-18. The law and the prophets were in force until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached — The gospel dispensation takes place, and humble, upright men, receive it with inexpressible earnestness. Dr. Whitby’s paraphrase on this passage shows its connection with the preceding paragraph, thus: “It is not to be wondered that you now hear from John and me higher precepts of charity and contempt of the world, than you find in the law or prophets, which moved you to your duty by promises of temporal blessings in the land of Canaan; since now the kingdom of heaven is preached, and every one that enters into it forces his way by breaking through the love of temporal concerns and sensual pleasures. For, to give you another instance (see Luke 16:18) of a like nature, whereas the law admitted of divorces at the pleasure of the husband, by reason of the hardness of your hearts, the gospel forbids this now on any other score than that of fornication, which, from the nature of the sin, dissolves the marriage. Yet, that you may not cavil at me as a dissolver of the law, I declare that all the moral precepts of it shall obtain and be of perpetual obligation under the gospel dispensation.” Every man presseth into it — The intention of this clause, says Dr. Campbell, “is manifestly to inform us, not how great the number was of those who entered into the kingdom of God, but what the manner was in which all who entered obtained admission. The import, therefore, is only, Every one who entereth it, entereth it by force. We know that during our Lord’s ministry, which was (as John’s also was) among the Jews, both his success, and that of the Baptist, were comparatively small. Christ’s flock was literally, even to the last, ποιμνιον μικρον, a very little flock. It was not till after he was lifted up upon the cross, that, according to his own prediction, he drew all men to him.” See on Matthew 11:12. It is easier for heaven and earth to pass — For the whole system of created nature to be destroyed, than for one tittle of the law to fail, or the least precept of it to be set aside as faulty. See note on Matthew 5:18. Whosoever putteth away his wife, &c. — And far from doing any thing to lessen or abate the force of it, I rather assert it in its utmost extent and spirituality, forbidding all divorces, except for the cause of adultery, and even looking on a woman so as to desire her. See on Matthew 5:28; Matthew 5:32.16:13-18 To this parable our Lord added a solemn warning. Ye cannot serve God and the world, so divided are the two interests. When our Lord spoke thus, the covetous Pharisees treated his instructions with contempt. But he warned them, that what they contended for as the law, was a wresting of its meaning: this our Lord showed in a case respecting divorce. There are many covetous sticklers for the forms of godliness, who are the bitterest enemies to its power, and try to set others against the truth.See the notes at Matthew 11:12-14.

Every man - Many people, or multitudes. This is an expression that is very common, as when we say everybody is engaged in a piece of business, meaning that it occupies general attention.

16. The law, &c.—(See Mt 11:13).

and every man presseth, &c.—Publicans and sinners, all indiscriminately, are eagerly pressing into it; and ye, interested adherents of the mere forms of an economy which is passing away, "discerning not the signs of this time," will allow the tide to go past you and be found a stranded monument of blindness and obstinacy.

We had the sum of these words: See Poole on "Matthew 11:12" and See Poole on "Matthew 11:13". The connection of these words in this place seems to be this: Do not think it strange that I preach some doctrines to you which seem new to you, though indeed they are no other than was before contained in the precepts of the Old Testament; for the law and the prophets, the preaching of them, held but till John, since whose time the gospel hath been preached, which gives you a clearer light into the will of God than you had before; and it pleaseth God to give it a great acceptation in the world, though you reject it;

every man presseth, that is, many press, into it; so as God will not want a people, though you mock and deride the gospel, instead of embracing of it, as you ought to do. The law and the prophets were until John,.... Till the time that John the Baptist began his ministry; for till then, the law and the prophets, with the Hagiographa, or holy writings, for into these three parts the Jews divided the books of the Old Testament, were the only writings they had; and which contained the whole of the revelation granted to them; and which they wrested, and put false glosses on; and therefore it was no wonder that they derided Christ, and despised his ministry: and whereas spiritual things were promised in these writings, under the notion of temporal ones; which they not understanding, might imagine the doctrine of Christ, concerning the contempt of worldly riches, was contrary to: and since they valued themselves on having the law and the prophets, Christ observes, that

since that time, the kingdom of God is preached; the Gospel, and the mysteries of relating to the kingdom of the Messiah, his person, office, and grace; and to the kingdom of grace, which lies not in outward, but in inward and spiritual things; and to the kingdom of heaven, or glory hereafter; and which is a superior dispensation to that of the law and the prophets, and sets things in a clearer, plainer, and better light:

and every man presseth into it; the Gospel dispensation, the kingdom of the Messiah; "that he may enter into it", as the Syriac and Persic versions add; which the Scribes and Pharisees did all they could to hinder; see Matthew 23:13 large multitudes crowded the ministry of John, of Christ, and of his apostles; the people flocked in great numbers to hear the word, and seemed disposed to embrace the doctrines of the Gospel, and the ordinances of it; they pressed on one another to hear it, and through many difficulties, discouragements, and obstacles, the Pharisees threw in their way; there was scarce a man but seemed very desirous of attending upon the preaching of it, and pressed hard for it; and with much force and violence, with great eagerness and endeavour broke his way to it; though a different sense is given by others reading the words, and "every one suffers violence to himself for it", as the Arabic version; or "is oppressed for it", as the Ethiopic; that is, suffers reproach, contradiction, and persecution, for the sake of hearing it.

{5} The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

(5) The Pharisees despised the excellency of the new covenant with respect to the old, being ignorant of the perfect righteousness of the law; and Christ declares by the seventh commandment how they were false expounders of the law.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Luke 16:16-17. The sequence of thought is: after Jesus had declared His judgment on His adversaries, according to which, moreover, they belong to the category of the βδέλυγγμα ἐνώπιον τ. Θεοῦ, He now tells them on the ground of what standard this judgment has reference to them, namely, on the ground of the Mosaic law (comp. John 5:45), of which not the smallest element should lose its validity by the fact that since John the kingdom of the Messiah was announced, and every man endeavoured forcibly to come into it. The stress lies on Luke 16:17, and Luke 16:16 is preparatory, but finds its motive in the fact that the announcement of the kingdom, and the general endeavour after the kingdom which had begun from the time of John, might easily throw upon Jesus the suspicion of putting back the old principle, that of the law, into the shade. But no; no single κεραία of the law fails, and that is the standard according to which ye are an abomination in the sight of God.[202] The want of connection is only external, not in the sequence of thought, and hence is not, as with Schulz, Strauss, and de Wette (comp. also Bleek), to be referred to mistaken recollections from Matthew. Already the source of Luke’s account of the journey had here operated in Luke 16:16-18, which in Matthew has its historical position. Luke follows his source of information, but it is not without plan that he has supplemented from the Logia (Holtzmann), nor has he pieced the passages together like mosaic (Weizsäcker).

ὁ νόμος κ. οἱ προφῆται ἕως Ἰωάνν.] We are not to supply (following Matthew 11:13) προεφήτευσαν (Euthymius Zigabenus, and many others), but from what follows (see Kühner, II. p. 605), ἐκηρύσσοντο.[203] As the law and the prophets were announced down to the time of John, so from that time onwards (even through John himself) the joyful tidings of the kingdom of the Messiah appeared, and with what result! Every man[204] presses forcibly into it; “vi ingruit pia,” Bengel. Comp. Xen. Cyr. iii. 3. 69: εἰ καὶ βιάσαιντο εἴσω; Thucyd. i. 63. 4 : ΒΙΆΣΑΣΘΑΙ Ἐς ΤῊΝ ΠΟΤΊΔΑΙΑΝ, vii. 69. 4 : ΒΙΆΣΑΣΘΑΙ Ἐς ΤῸ ἜΞΩ. See on Matthew 11:12.

ΠΕΣΕῖΝ] to fall into decay, with reference to its obligation, the opposite of remaining in force. Comp. 1 Corinthians 13:8; Romans 9:6; Ruth 3:18; Jdt 6:9, and elsewhere; Herod. vii. 18; Plat. Eut. p. 14 D. Moreover, see on Matthew 5:18.

The νόμος, Luke 16:17, is not to be taken in any other sense than in Luke 16:16 (in opposition to Volkmar, p. 208, who understands the moral law contained in the legal code); but assuredly the continuance here declared, the remaining in force of the νόμος, is referred to its ideal contents. The reading of Marcion: ΤῶΝ ΛΌΓΩΝ ΜΟΥ, instead of ΤΟῦ ΝΌΜΟΥ, is not the original text, as though Luke had transposed Matthew 5:18 into its opposite, but an inappropriate dogmatic alteration (in opposition to Baur, Hilgenfeld). Comp. Ritschl in the Theol. Jahrb. 1851, p. 351 f.; Köstlin, p. 303 f.; Zeller, Apost. p. 15 f.; Franck in the Stud. u. Krit. 1855, p. 311 f.; Volkmar, p. 207 ff., whose conjecture, τῶν λόγων τοῦ Θεοῦ, is, moreover, quite superfluous. Against the supposed antinomianism of Luke, see generally Holtzmann, p. 397; Lechler, Apost. Zeit. p. 157 f.

[202] Grotius and others assume as the connection: “Ne miremini, si majora dilectionis opera nunc quam olim exigantur; id enim postulat temporum ratio.… Mosis et prophetarum libri … functi sunt velut puerorum magisterio; … a Johanne incipit aetas melior,” etc. Against this is ver. 17, and, in general (comp. Calovius), the manner in which Jesus honours the law (comp. ver. 31).

[203] Others supplement ἦσαν (de Wette, comp. Ewald), which likewise is allowable, and instead of this Theophylact, correctly explaining, places εἶχον τὸν καιρόν. In the place of the Old Testament preaching has now appeared since John the New Testament preaching. But thereby the annulling of the law is not declared (in opposition to Baur, according to whom Luke must have transformed the words of Matthew 11:13 to this meaning), but, as ver. 17 shows, the obligation of the law is established in a higher sense. This is also in opposition to Schenkel, p. 385, who, mistaking the connection, considers ver. 17 as an assertion of the Pharisees, and ver. 18 as its confutation, but that already Luke himself has ceased to perceive the relation between the two verses. Nay, Schenkel even strikes at Matthew 5:18 f. Keim rightly says that Jesus nowhere in the synoptic Gospels has declared the abolition of the law. See his Geschichtl. Chr. p. 57 f.

[204] A popular expression of the general urgency. Hence πᾶς is neither to be pressed, nor, with Bengel, to be supplemented by βιαζόμενος. Moreover, βιάζεται is not to be taken of that “quod fieri debeat” (so Elwert, Quaest. et observatt. ad philol. sacr. 1860, p. 20).Luke 16:16 = Matthew 11:12-13, inverted, introduced here in view of Luke 16:31.16. The law and the prophets were until John] This is one of our Lord’s clearest intimations that the aeon of the Law and the Prophets was now merging into a new dispensation, since they were only “a shadow of things to come,” Colossians 2:17.

every man presseth into it] The word implies ‘is making forcible entrance into it,’ Matthew 11:12-13. The allusion is to the eagerness with which the message of the kingdom was accepted by the publicans and the people generally, Luke 7:20; John 12:19. The other rendering, ‘every man useth violence against it,’ does not agree so well with the parallel passage in St Matthew.Luke 16:16. Ὁ νόμος, the law) Supply the predicate have prophesied (prophetizaverunt), [answering to the antithetic expression, εὐαγγελίζεται, the Gospel kingdom of God is preached.—καὶ πᾶς, and every one) Comp. ch. 15. [Then drew near all the publicans and sinners, etc.]—βιάζεται) with pious violence presses into it (assails it). Resolve the sentence thus, πᾶς (βιαζόμενος,) εἰς αὐτὴν διὰ τῆς βίας εἰσέρχεται.Verse 16. - The Law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. Some expositors discern so little connection between the sayings contained in these verses which intervene between the two great parables of the unjust steward and the rich man and Lazarus, that they consider them as a number of sayings of the Master collected by Luke and insorted here. A clear thread, however, runs through the whole piece between the two parables. Probably, however, here, as in many parts of the Gospel, we only have just a bare sketch, or precis, of what the Lord said; hence its fragmentary character. Here (in the sixteenth verse), the Master went on speaking to the Pharisees who derided him (ver. 14). "Up to the period of John the Baptist," said the Master, "the old state of things may be said to have continued in force. With him began a new era; no longer were the old privileges to be confined to Israel exclusively; gradually the kingdom of God was to be enlarged, the old wall of separation was to be taken down. See, every man is pressing into it; the new state of things has already begun; you see it in the crowds of publicans, sinners, Samaritans, and others pressing round me when I speak of the kingdom of God." Presseth

Rev., entereth violently. See on Matthew 11:12. Wyc., maketh violence into it. Tynd., striveth to go in.

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