Matthew 24:31
And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(31) He shall send his angels.—The words are memorable as the formal expansion of what had been, as it were, hinted before in the parables of the Tares (Matthew 13:41) and the Net (Matthew 13:49).

With a great sound of a trumpet.—The better MSS. omit “sound:” With a great trumpet. We know not, and cannot know, what reality will answer to this symbol, but it is interesting to note how deeply it impressed itself on the minds not only of the disciples who heard it, but of those who learnt it from them. When St. Paul speaks of the “trumpet” that shall “sound” (1Corinthians 15:52), of “the voice of the archangel and the trump of God” (1Thessalonians 4:16), we feel that he was reproducing what had been thus proclaimed, and that his eschatology, or doctrine of the last things, was based on a knowledge of, at least, the substance of the great prophetic discourse recorded in the Gospels.

They shall gather together his elect.—The “elect” are the same in idea, though not necessarily the same individuals, as those for whom the days were to be shortened in Matthew 24:22; and the work of the angels is that of gathering them, wherever they may be scattered, into the one fold. As with so many of the pregnant germs of thought in this chapter, the work of the angels is expanded by the visions of the Apocalypse, when the seer beheld the angels come and seal the hundred and forty-four thousand in their foreheads before the work of judgment should begin (Revelation 7:2). In each case the elect are those who are living on the earth at the time of the second Advent. In these chapters there is, indeed, no distinct mention of the resurrection of the dead, though they, as well as the living, are implied in the parable of judgment with which the discourse ends.

24:29-41 Christ foretells his second coming. It is usual for prophets to speak of things as near and just at hand, to express the greatness and certainty of them. Concerning Christ's second coming, it is foretold that there shall be a great change, in order to the making all things new. Then they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds. At his first coming, he was set for a sign that should be spoken against, but at his second coming, a sign that should be admired. Sooner or later, all sinners will be mourners; but repenting sinners look to Christ, and mourn after a godly sort; and those who sow in those tears shall shortly reap in joy. Impenitent sinners shall see Him whom they have pierced, and, though they laugh now, shall mourn and weep in endless horror and despair. The elect of God are scattered abroad; there are some in all places, and all nations; but when that great gathering day comes, there shall not one of them be missing. Distance of place shall keep none out of heaven. Our Lord declares that the Jews should never cease to be a distinct people, until all things he had been predicting were fulfilled. His prophecy reaches to the day of final judgment; therefore he here, ver. 34, foretells that Judah shall never cease to exist as a distinct people, so long as this world shall endure. Men of the world scheme and plan for generation upon generation here, but they plan not with reference to the overwhelming, approaching, and most certain event of Christ's second coming, which shall do away every human scheme, and set aside for ever all that God forbids. That will be as surprising a day, as the deluge to the old world. Apply this, first, to temporal judgments, particularly that which was then hastening upon the nation and people of the Jews. Secondly, to the eternal judgment. Christ here shows the state of the old world when the deluge came. They were secure and careless; they knew not, until the flood came; and they believed not. Did we know aright that all earthly things must shortly pass away, we should not set our eyes and hearts so much upon them as we do. The evil day is not the further off for men's putting it far from them. What words can more strongly describe the suddenness of our Saviour's coming! Men will be at their respective businesses, and suddenly the Lord of glory will appear. Women will be in their house employments, but in that moment every other work will be laid aside, and every heart will turn inward and say, It is the Lord! Am I prepared to meet him? Can I stand before him? And what, in fact, is the day of judgment to the whole world, but the day of death to every one?And he shall send his angels - "Angels" signify, literally, "messengers," Luke 7:24; Luke 9:52. The word is often applied to inanimate objects, or to anything that God employs to rescue his people from danger Psalm 104:4; but it most commonly refers to the race of intelligent beings more exalted than man, who are employed often in the work of man's rescue from ruin, and aiding his salvation, Hebrews 1:14. In either of these senses it might here refer to deliverance granted to his people in the calamities of Jerusalem. It is said that there is reason to believe that not one Christian perished in the destruction of that city, God having in various ways secured their escape, so that they fled to Pella, where they lived when the city was destroyed. But the language seems to refer rather to the end of the world, and, no doubt, its principal application was intended to be to the gathering of his elect at the day of judgment:

With a great sound of a trumpet - The Jewish assemblies used to be called together by the sound of a trumpet, as ours are by bells, Leviticus 25:9; Numbers 10:2; Judges 3:27. Hence, when they spoke of convening an assembly, they spoke also of doing it by sounding a trumpet. Our Saviour, speaking to Jews, used language to which they were accustomed, and described the assembling of the people at the last day in language which they were accustomed to use in calling assemblies together. It is not certain, however, that he meant that this would be literally so, but it may be designed only to denote the certainty that the "world would be assembled together." Similar language is often used when speaking of the judgment, 1 Thessalonians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 15:52. A trump, or trumpet, was a wind instrument, made at first from the horns of oxen, and afterward of rams' horns, cut off at the smaller extremity. In some instances it was made of brass, in the form of a horn. The common trumpet was straight, made of brass or silver, a cubit in length, the larger extremity shaped so as to resemble a small bell. In times of peace, in assembling the people, this was sounded softly. In times of calamity, or war, or any great commotion, it was sounded loud. Perhaps this was referred to when our Saviour said, with a great sound of a trumpet.

They shall gather together his elect - Elect. See the notes at Matthew 24:22. The word means Christians - the chosen of God. If this refers to the destruction of Jerusalem, it means, "God shall send forth his messengers - whatever he may choose to employ for that purpose: signs, wonders, human messengers, or the angels themselves - and gather Christians into a place of safety, so that they shall not be destroyed with the Jews." If it refers to the last judgment, as it doubtless in a primary or secondary sense does, then it means that he will send his angels to gather his chosen, his elect, together from all places, Matthew 13:39, Matthew 13:41-43. This shall be done before the living shall be changed, 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.

From the four winds - That is, from the four quarters of the globe - east, west, north, and south. The Jews expressed those quarters by the winds blowing from them See Ezekiel 37:9. See also Isaiah 43:5-6. "From one end of heaven, etc." Mark says Mark 13:27, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. The expression denotes that they shall be gathered from all parts of the earth where they are scattered. The word "heaven" is used here to denote the "visible" heavens or the sky, meaning that through "the whole world" he would gather them. See Psalm 19:1-7; Deuteronomy 4:32.

CHAPTER 24

Mt 24:1-51. Christ's Prophecy of the Destruction of Jerusalem, and Warnings Suggested by It to Prepare for His Second Coming. ( = Mr 13:1-37; Lu 21:5-36).

For the exposition, see on [1355]Mr 13:1-37.

Ver. 30,31. Mark saith, Mark 13:26,27, And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.

Luke saith, Luke 21:27,28, And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with great power and glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

Interpreters are also divided about these words, as about the former, some understanding them concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, and judging that by the sign of the coming of the Son of man is probably meant some prodigy or some comet seen before that destruction, which should be of that nature as it should make the Jews (here called the tribes of the earth) to mourn; they by the angels and trumpet, mentioned Matthew 24:31, understanding the ministers of the gospel, who after the destruction of Jerusalem should go and preach the gospel over all the world, and so gather in the elect into the gospel church. But I cannot agree to this sense, and most interpreters expound these words of the last judgment. What is meant by

the sign of the Son of man all are not so well agreed. Two of the evangelists say only the Son of man. Matthew mentions first the appearance of the sign of the Son of man, then the Son of man himself; probably it signifieth some great prodigy that shall be seen before that great and terrible day. Those things which incline me to think that the day of judgment, not the destruction of Jerusalem, is that which is spoken of in these verses, is;

1. That all the phrases are such as the Scripture useth to express Christ’s coming to the last judgment: his coming in the clouds of heaven, Matthew 26:64 Revelation 1:7; the tribes of the earth mourning, Revelation 1:7; his coming with the angels, and the sound of a trumpet, Matthew 25:31 Mark 8:38 1 Corinthians 15:52 1 Thessalonians 4:16; his sending his angels to gather the elect, Matthew 13:49.

2. The tribes of the earth mourning, seems to signify more than the twelve tribes of Israel.

3. That which Luke hath, Look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh; seemeth hardly applicable to the destruction of Jerusalem, rather to the redemption of the body, mentioned Romans 8:23.

For the gospel before this time was carried to the Gentiles; nor do I know that that is any where called redemption. Those things which have led some learned interpreters to expound Matthew 24:29-31 of the destruction of Jerusalem, are, I conceive, those particles, immediately after the tribulation of those days, Matthew 24:29 and the particle then, Matthew 24:30; together with Matthew 24:34 where our Saviour saith, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. But the term, immediately after the tribulation of those days, may signify not only the destruction of Jerusalem, but that, and all the calamities of those days that should follow that, to the end of the world: and it is very usual for prophetical scriptures to speak of things to come long after as if they were presently to come to pass, Deu 32:35; and the day of judgment is ordinarily spoken of as if it were at hand, 1 Thessalonians 4:15 Jam 5:8 1Jo 2:18, both to denote the certainty of it, and to keep us from security, and to let us know that a thousand years in God’s sight are but as one day, 2 Peter 3:8. For in Matthew 24:34, we shall give the sense of it, in its order. And he shall send his angels,.... Not the angels, i.e. ministering spirits, so called, not from their nature, but their office, as being sent forth by God and Christ; but men angels, or messengers, the ministers and preachers of the Gospel, whom Christ would call, qualify, and send forth into all the world of the Gentiles, to preach his Gospel, and plant churches there still more, when that at Jerusalem was broken up and dissolved. These are called "angels", because of their mission, and commission from Christ, to preach the Gospel; and because of their knowledge and understanding in spiritual things; and because of their zeal, diligence, and watchfulness,

With a great sound of a trumpet, meaning the Gospel; see Isaiah 27:13 so called in allusion either to the silver trumpets which Moses was ordered to make of one piece, and use them for the calling of the assembly, the journeying of the camps, blowing an alarm for war, and on their solemn and festival days, Numbers 10:1. The Gospel being rich and precious, all of a piece, useful for gathering souls to Christ, and to his churches; to direct saints in their journey to Canaan's land; to encourage them to fight the Lord's battles; and is a joyful sound, being a sound of love, grace, and mercy, peace, pardon, righteousness, life and salvation, by Christ: or else so called, in allusion to the trumpet blown in the year of "jubilee"; which proclaimed rest to the land, liberty to prisoners, a release of debts, and restoration of inheritances; as the Gospel publishes rest in Christ, liberty to the captives of sin, Satan, and the law, a payment of debts by Christ, and a release from them upon that, and a right and title to the heavenly inheritance. The Vulgate Latin reads it, "with a trumpet, and a great voice"; and so does Munster's Hebrew Gospel; and so it was read in four of Beza's copies:

and they shall gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other; that is, by the ministration of the Gospel; the Spirit of God accompanying it with his power, and grace, the ministers of the word should gather out of the world unto Christ, and to his churches, such persons as God had, before the foundation of the world, chosen in Christ, unto salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth; wherever they are under the whole heavens, from one end to another; or in any part of the earth, though at the greatest distance; for in Mark 13:27 it is said, "from the uttermost part of the earth, to the uttermost part of the heaven". The Jews (h) say, that "in the after redemption (i.e. by the Messiah) all Israel shall be gathered together by the sound of a trumpet, from the four parts of the world.

(h) Zohar in Lev. fol. 47. 1.

And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the {r} four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

(r) From the four corners of the world.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 24:31. Καὶ ἀποστελεῖ] And He will send forth, i.e. from the clouds of heaven, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.

τοὺς ἀγγέλους αὐτοῦ] the angels specially employed in His service.

μετὰ σάλπιγγος φωνῆς μεγάλ.] with (having as an accompaniment) a trumpet of a loud sound. The second genitive qualifies and is governed by the first; see Buttmann, Neut. Gr. p. 295 [E. T. 343]. The idea is not that the individual angels blow trumpets, but what is meant (Isaiah 27:13) is the last trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:52), the trumpet of God (1 Thessalonians 4:16), which is sounded while the Messiah is sending forth the angels. The resurrection of believers is also to be understood as taking place on the sound of this trumpet being heard (1 Cor. as above; 1 Thess. as above).

ἐπισυνάξουσι] gather together (Matthew 23:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:1; 2Ma 1:27; 2Ma 2:18), namely, toward the place where He is in the act of appearing upon earth. This gathering together of the elect, which is to be a gathering from every quarter (comp. Revelation 1:7), and from the whole compass of the earth, is an act and accompaniment of the second advent (in answer to Cremer’s distinction, see Hoelemann, p. 171). But the ἁρπάζεσθαι εἰς ἀέρα, to meet the Lord as He approaches (1 Thessalonians 4:17), is to be regarded as taking place after this gathering together has been effected.

τοὺς ἐκλεκτ. αὐτοῦ] the elect belonging to Him (chosen by God for the Messianic kingdom, as in Matthew 24:22). Comp. Romans 1:6.

ἀπὸ ἄκρων οὐραν.] ab extremitatibus coelorum usque ad extremitates eorum, i.e. from one horizon to the other (for οὐρανῶν without the article, see Winer, p, 115 [E. T. 150]), therefore from the whole earth (Matthew 24:14), on which the extremities of the sky seem to rest. Deuteronomy 4:32; Deuteronomy 30:4; Psalm 19:7.

As showing the exegetical abuses to which this grand passage has been subjected, take the following, Lightfoot: “emittet filius homines ministros suos cum tuba evangelica,” etc.; Kuinoel (comp. Wetstein): “in tanta calamitate Judaeis, adversariis religionis Christianae, infligenda, ubivis locorum Christi sectatores per dei providentiam illaesi servabuntur,” etc.; Olshausen: he will send out men armed with the awakening power of the Spirit of God, for the purpose of assembling believers at a place of safety. This is substantially the view of Tholuck also.

It may be observed, moreover, that this passage forbids the view of Köstlin, p. 26, that our Gospel does not contain a specifically Christian, but merely an ethical universalism (as contrasted with Jewish obduracy). See, on the other hand, especially Matthew 8:11, Matthew 22:9 f., Matthew 25:31 ff., Matthew 28:19, etc.Matthew 24:31. μετὰ σάλπιγγος φ. μ., with a trumpet of mighty sound, another stock phrase of prophetic imagery (Isaiah 27:13).—καὶ ἐπισυνάξουσι τοὺς ἐκλεκτοὺς α., and they (the angels or messengers) shall collect the elect (as in Matthew 24:22; Matthew 24:24), showing that the advent is described in terms suited to the situation previously depicted. The Christ comes for the comfort of those preserved from the general ruin.—ἐκ τῶν τ. ἀνέμων: not merely from the mountains east of the Jordan, but from every quarter of the arth where faithful souls are found; tho of Isaiah 27:13 again audible here.-ἀπʼ ἄκρων, etc., echo of phrases in Deuteronomy 30:4, Psalm 19:7. This Parusialogion is not to be regarded as a didactic statement, but simply as a λόγος παρακλήσεως for the comfort of anxious spirits. With that aim it naturally places the Parusia within the reach of those it is designed to comfort. After the ruin of Israel there is no history; only the wind-up. Jerusalem destroyed, the curtain falls. Christ’s didactic words suggest another aspect, a delayed Parusia, vide on Matthew 16:28. From the foregoing exposition it appears that the coming of the Son of Man is not to be identified with the judgment of Jerusalem, but rather forms its preternatural background.31. with a great sound of a trumpet] Omit “sound” on high MS. authority, translate with a great trumpet. The image would be suggestive to the Jews, who were called together in the camp by silver trumpets (Numbers 10:2 foll.). Moreover, the great festivals, the commencement of the year, and other celebrations were announced by trumpets.Matthew 24:31. Τοῦς ἀγγελους Αὐτοῦ, His angels) It is likely enough that a certain number of angels may be called peculiarly the angels of Christ, although all are subject to Him.—σάλπιγγος, of a trumpet) Trumpets are employed to call multitudes together; that trumpet will have a loud voice [Eng. Vers, great sound].—ἐπισυνάξουσι, they shall gather together) Cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:1.—ἀπʼ ἄκρων οὐρανῶν, from the extremities of the heavens) In Mark 13:27, We have ἀπʼ ἄκρου γῆς from the uttermost part of the earth.—ἄκρον signifies any extremity. Where the earth ends, there the heaven begms: whence it happens, that the mountains and the heavens also sometimes represent each other in parallel passages. Cf. 2 Samuel 22:8 with Psalm 18:8 (7). It corresponds with the Hebrew (extremity). In Deuteronomy 30:4, the LXX. have ἀπʼ ἄκρου τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἕως ἄκρου τοὐ οὐρανοῦ,” from [the one] extremity of the heaven to [the other] extremity of the heaven;” and thus also in Deuteronomy 4:32.Verse 31. - His angels. As the executors of his will, to bring before his throne all who have to be judged. They have the same office in the parable of the tares and the wheat (Matthew 13:41). With a great sound of a trumpet (μετὰ σάλπιγγος φωνῆς μεγάλης, which may also mean, with a trumpet of great sound). Some manuscripts, with the Vulgate, read, "with a trumpet and a great voice;" others, "with a great trumpet," omitting "voice." All, however, agree in asserting the employment of the trumpet on this momentous occasion (comp. 1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16). The term may be metaphorical for a voice exceeding loud (comp. Revelation 1:10; Revelation 4:1); but it is more probably to be taken in the obvious sense, with a reference to its use among the Jews in calling the assembly and giving the alarm. Of course, the occurrence is supernatural. It is, indeed, as great a miracle for a sound to be heard simultaneously in both hemispheres as it is for Christ to be seen at the same moment by all dwellers on the globe. This is a matter to be believed, not explained. Shall gather together his elect. The angels will infallibly select these from the mass of men, either by spiritual insight or Divine direction. The elect are not Israelites alone, but true believers of all nations (see ver. 14 and John 17:20, 21). These are first collected, and then the reprobate are summoned, according to Matthew 25:41. From the four winds. The four cardinal points, i.e. from every quarter of the earth. Four is the number of the world or the universe. From one end...the other; literally, from the ends of the heavens unto their end, as Deuteronomy 4:32 - a parallel to the preceding clause. From horizon to horizon, though this expression, taken literally, is not extensive enough. With a great sound of a trumpet (μετὰ σάλπυγγος φωνῆς μεγάλης)

Some read with a great trumpet. The blowing of trumpets was anciently the signal for the host of Israel on their march through the desert. It summoned to war, and proclaimed public festivals, and marked the beginnings of months; Numbers 10:1-10; Psalm 81:3. Hence the symbolism of the New Testament. Jehovah's people shall be summoned before their king by sound of trumpet. Compare the proclamation of Christ as king at the trumpet of the seventh angel, Revelation 11:15.

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