Matthew 12:30
He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
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(30) He that is not with me is against me.—The words seem at first at variance with the answer to the sons of Zebedee, when they reported that they had seen one casting out devils in the name of Christ, and had forbidden him “because he followed not” with them. Then they heard,” Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us” (Luke 9:50); and those words have naturally been the watchword of those who rejoice when Christ is preached every way, and by whatever organisation. In reality, however, the two formulæ do but present the opposite poles of the same truth. In the great struggle between light and darkness, good and evil, God and the enemy of God, there is no neutrality. The man of whom the two disciples complained was fighting against the devil in the name of Christ, and was therefore with Him. The Pharisees were hindering and slandering that work, and therefore were on the side of Satan. They were not gathering in God’s harvest of souls, and therefore they were scattering and wasting.

12:22-30 A soul under Satan's power, and led captive by him, is blind in the things of God, and dumb at the throne of grace; sees nothing, and says nothing to the purpose. Satan blinds the eyes by unbelief, and seals up the lips from prayer. The more people magnified Christ, the more desirous the Pharisees were to vilify him. It was evident that if Satan aided Jesus in casting out devils, the kingdom of hell was divided against itself; how then could it stand! And if they said that Jesus cast out devils by the prince of the devils, they could not prove that their children cast them out by any other power. There are two great interests in the world; and when unclean spirits are cast out by the Holy Spirit, in the conversion of sinners to a life of faith and obedience, the kingdom of God is come unto us. All who do not aid or rejoice in such a change are against Christ.He that is not with me ... - In addition to his other arguments, Jesus urges this general principle, that there can be but two parties in the universe.

If anyone did not act with him, he was against him. If he gathered not with him, he scattered. This is taken from the practice of persons in harvest. He that did not gather with him, or "aid" him, scattered abroad, or opposed him. The application of this was, "As I have not united with Satan, but opposed him, there can be no league between us." The charge, therefore, is a false one.

30. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad—On this important parable, in connection with the corresponding one (Mt 12:43-45), see on [1278]Lu 11:21-26. Luke hath the same, Luke 11:23. Some understand this concerning the devil, whom he was so far from favouring, that his work was quite opposite. Some understand it concerning some neuters, that would neither show themselves for Christ nor against him. Our Saviour tells them, that this cause would bear no neutrality, they must be either for him or against him. But possibly it is best understood concerning the scribes and Pharisees, whom he lets know, that he was one who showed men the true way of life and salvation, and those that complied not with him were his enemies, and instead of gathering, scattered the sheep of God.

He that is not with me, is against me,.... These words chiefly refer to Satan, and are a further proof, that Christ did not cast out devils by him; since they two are as much opposites, as can possibly be; Satan is not on the side of Christ, but an adversary to him; there is an original, and implacable enmity, between the serpent and the seed of the woman; there is an open war between them, and therefore one cannot be thought to lend assistance to the other. They were concerned in different things, had different views and interests, and so took different methods;

and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth: Christ is the good shepherd, that gathers his sheep to himself, and into his fold, by the external ministry of the word, and internal efficacy of his grace; Satan is the wolf, that catches and scatters the sheep, and seeks to kill and destroy them: and since there is such an open war proclaimed and carried on between Christ and the devil, none ought to be neutral; whoever is not on the side of Christ, is reckoned as an enemy; and whoever is not concerned by prayer or preaching, or other means to gather souls to his word and ordinances, and to his church, and to himself, is deemed by him a scatterer of them.

He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
Matthew 12:30. Jesus is speaking neither of the Jewish exorcists (Bengel, Schleiermacher, Neander), nor of the uncertain, fickle multitude (Elwert in the Stud. d. Wirtemb. Geistl. IX. 1, p. 111 ff.; Ullmann in the Deutsch. Zeitschr. 1851, p. 21 ff.; Bleek), neither of which would suit the context; but as little is He expressing Himself in general terms; so that μετʼ ἐμοῦ must be applied to Satan, while Jesus is understood to be representing Himself as Satan’s enemy (Jerome, Beza, Grotius, Wetstein, Kuinoel, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius); for the truth is, He, previously as well as subsequently, speaks of Himself in the first person (vv, 28, 31), and He could not be supposed, He who is the Messiah, to represent Himself as taking up a neutral attitude toward Satan. On the contrary, He is speaking of the Pharisees and their bearing toward Him, which must necessarily be of a hostile character, since they had refused to make common cause with Him as it behoved them to have done: He that is not with me is, as is seen in your case, my enemy, and so on.

συνάγων] illustration borrowed from harvest operations; Matthew 3:12, Matthew 6:26; John 4:36.

Matthew 12:30. ne begins at this point to have the feeling that here, as elsewhere, our evangelist groups sayings of kindred character instead of exactly reproducing Christ’s words as spoken to the Pharisees. The connection is obscure, and the interpretations therefore conflicting. On first view one would say that the adage seems more appropriate in reference to lukewarm disciples or undecided hearers than to the Pharisees, who made no pretence of being on Christ’s side. Some accordingly (e.g., Bleek, after Elwert and Ullmann) have so understood it. Others, including Grotius, Wetstein, De Wette, take the ἐγώ of the adage to be Satan, and render: he who, like myself, is not with Satan is against him. Kypke, Observ. Sac., says: “Prima persona posita est a servatore pro quacunque alia, proverbialiter, hoc sensu: qui socius cujusdam bella cum alio gerentis non est, is pro adversario censeri solet. Cum igitur ego me re ipsa adversarium Satanae esse ostenderim, nulla specie socius ejus potero vocari.” This certainly brings the saying into line with the previous train of thought, but if Jesus had meant to say that He surely would have expressed Himself differently. The Fathers (Hilary, Jerome, Chrys.) took the ἐγώ to be Jesus and the ὁ μὴ ὢν to be Satan. So understood, the adage contains a fourth concluding argument against the notion of a league between Jesus and Satan. Most modern interpreters refer the ὁ μ. ω. to the Pharisees. Schanz, however, understands the saying as referring to the undecided among the people. The only serious objection to this view is that it makes the saying irrelevant to the situation.—σκορπίζει: late for the earlier σκεδάννυμι, vide Lob., Phryn., p. 218. As to the metaphor of gathering and scattering, its natural basis is not apparent. But in all cases, when one man scatters what another gathers their aims and interests are utterly diverse. Satan is the arch-waster, Christ the collector, Saviour.

30. He that is not with me is against me] The thought of the contest between Christ and Satan is continued. Satan is not divided against himself, neither can Christ be. Neutrality is impossible in the Christian life. It must be for Christ or against Christ. The metaphor of gathering and scattering may be from collecting and scattering a flock of sheep, or from gathering and squandering wealth, money, &c.

Matthew 12:30. Ὁ μὴ ὢν, κ.τ.λ., he that is not, etc.) The latter part of the dilemma contained in Matthew 12:27-28, is confirmed by Matthew 12:29; the former by Matthew 12:30, with this meaning, your sons are not against Me, nor do they scatter abroad; therefore they are with Me, and gather with Me. There is no neutrality in the kingdom of God; that activity which is natural to man is exercised either in good or in evil, especially in the case of those who hear the word of God. The work and cause of Christ is, however, simple and pure; and though it has so many enemies and adversaries, it overpowers them all, nor does it enter into collusion with them: see Luke 12:51. This verse forms a Divine axiom.—συνάγων, that gathereth) The work of Christ and of Christians is to gather; see ch. Matthew 23:37, John 11:52. This word corresponds with the Hebrew קהלת,[573] one that gathereth, or a preacher.

[573] ק̇הֶלֶת, Koheleth is the appellation by which Solomon is designated in the book which bears this name, viz. Ecclesiastes. On the signification and derivation, see Gesenius in voc.—(I. B.)

Verse 30. - Parallel passage: Luke 11:23, omitted in Mark. The aim of this verse is doubtful.

(1) It may be addressed to the Pharisees, with the object of showing them what their words really implied. They were not due, as some might think, to mere indifferentism or to a judicial neutrality; such a relation to him was impossible. They were due to opposition of inner life and of outward energy. Thus their words denoted complete separation from him. This he brings out more clearly in the two following verses.

(2) This interpretation, however, would attribute to the Pharisees too great an ignorance of their own feelings of opposition to Christ, and it is therefore best to understand the verse as addressed to the many bystanders. Christ has do-fended himself from the accusation brought against him, and now urges these waverers not to be content with only not opposing him, but to take sides - for, in fact, they cannot help doing so. Indifference in this case is only another name for opposition; not actively to help is really to hinder. Thus understood, the lesson of this verse finds its parallel in vers. 43-45, by which, indeed, it is immediately followed in Luke. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. The first clause speaks of the inner disposition, that which forms the real being of the man; the second, of his energy. Observe that the figure of the second clause appears to be connected with that of ver. 29. If Christ's property is not collected, it is driven further from him. Christ and Christians must gather (John 11:52; cf. Bengel). For gathereth (συνάγων), cf. also Matthew 3:12; Matthew 13:30. In scattereth abroad (σκορπίζει) the thought almost leaves the simile of the σκεύη, and regards the persons signified. Notice that in John 11:52, referred to above, the two verbs συνάγειν and (δια) σκορπίζειν, also occur; the figure there, however, appears to be taken from sheep (cf. John 10:12). Further, Mark 9:40 and Luke 9:50 record the saying, "He that is not against us is for us," which was addressed to our Lord's disciples. Both sayings are necessary; earnest Christians need to remember that when outsiders do anything in Christ's name, it must, on the whole, forward his cause (Philippians 1:18); the undecided must face the fact that neutrality is impossible. Matthew 12:30
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