Christ Predicts the Divine Judgments Upon Jerusalem. (Matt. , xxiii. )
Before leaving the Temple, Christ delivered a discourse [680] full of severity against the heads of the hierarchy, through whom destruction was soon to be brought upon the nation. He then announced the judgments of God, in a series of prophecies that were afterward fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem.' Regarding himself as already removed from the earth, he says nothing further of what was to befall his own person, but predicts that the agents by whose labours his work was to be extended would be persecuted, like the witnesses for the truth of old; and that the Jews, thus partaking of the wicked spirit of their fathers, would fill up the measure of their sins, and bring upon themselves the wrath which the accumulated guilt of ages had been gathering. Glancing with Divine confidence at the developement of his work, he says: "Behold! I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes; [681] and some of them ye shall scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city; and some of them ye shall kill and crucify." He concludes with a mournful allusion to the catastrophe which was to be so big with interest to the kingdom of God, to the judgment over Jerusalem, and to his second advent to judge the earth and complete his work. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which, are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not. [682] Behold! your house is left unto you desolate; [683] for I say unto you, that ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." He obviously, in this last clause, betokens his second and triumphal advent as Theocratic King. Other persons, however, are implied than those to whom the discourse was directed: they were least likely ever to welcome him with praises, and the words. denote a willing, not a forced submission. We take them as referring to the Jews in general, as the previous verse refers to the inhabitants of Jerusalem in general; the particular generation intended being left undefined.


[680] This discourse, as given in Matt., xxiii., contains many passages uttered on other occasions.

[681] The application of these Old Testament designations to Christ's organs is not strange; he intended by it an analogy to the Theocratic developement. There were prophets in the early Christian Church; and the term "scribes" is applied, in Matt., xiii., 52, to teachers in the "kingdom of heaven" on earth. As this last discourse, as given by Matthew: contains various passages given by Luke in the table-conversation (ch. xi.), so Luke inserts there this prophetic announcement, whose proper position is found in Matthew. In opposition to Dr. Schneckenburger (Stud. d. Evang. Geistl. Wirtemb., vi., 1, p. 35), I must think that the form of Christ's words given by Luke is the less original. It shows the traces of Christian language. In Luke, xi., 49, this prophecy is introduced as coming from "the wisdom of God" (cf. Wisdom of Solomon, vii., 27). The origin of this form of citation is accounted for very naturally by my dear colleague and friend, Dr. Twesten, on the ground that so notable a prediction could readily be transmitted as a separate one; that it was so transmitted as an utterance of the Divine wisdom manifested in Christ; and that Luke, receiving it in this form, so incorporated it in his collection.

[682] We have already remarked that these words necessarily presuppose previous and repeated labours of Christ at Jerusalem. Cf. p. 157, 324, note.

[683] He withdraws from them his blessing, saving presence, and "leaves" them, since they will not be saved, to the desolation and destruction they have brought upon themselves. By the word "house" we need not necessarily understand "temple" (cf. De Wette, in loc.); but it is yet a question whether Christ did not really mean the Temple, which he was just leaving. If so, he calls it "their" house, not the house of God, because their depravity had desecrated the holy place. His leaving it was a sign that God's presence should dwell in it no more.

section 252 the widows mite
Top of Page
Top of Page