Matthew 2:1

This is more than a note of time. It cannot but strike us as a remarkable fact that Christ should have been born during the reign of the gloomy Idumaean ruler.

I. CHRIST COMES WHEN HE IS MOST NEEDED. Those were dark days when Herod made his Saturnine temper the spirit of a nation's government. His reign had been carried on with an external splendour and a vigorous attempt to please the Jews. But a heathen by nature, Herod was always suspected by the Jews in the midst of his pious Hebrew professions. Now, however, at the end of his life, his crimes had consumed what little good repute he had contrived to manufacture for himself. The nation was sick at heart, and the only solid hope left it was that cherished in the breast of the devout Jews, who, like Anna and Simeon, were "waiting for the consolation of Israel." It was the chill and darkness that precede the dawn. Then Christ came. No earthly events could shape a Christ; for the earthly circumstances were most adverse. He did not come to reward merit; for merit was rare in those days. But the need was great, and it was simply the need of man that brought Christ into the world.

II. THERE IS ROOM FOR ANOTHER KING BESIDES THE EARTHLY RULER. Herod was still reigning, and yet the Christ came to set up his kingdom. The sovereign at Jerusalem naturally suspected the new-born King to be a rival to his throne. Most of the Jews would have shared his opinion if they had believed in Jesus, though they would have regarded the situation with very different feelings. But Christ did not come to sit on the throne of Herod, and we cannot think of him simply as the rightful Heir who will expel the insolent usurper. His kingdom is not of this world. Earthly monarchs rise and fall, and still he reigns. His is the kingdom of heaven set up on earth. There is a reign of life which they that hold the sword of external government cannot hinder. They cannot restrain its glorious liberty, nor can they reform its evils. The world wants a King who can rule in the realm of ideas, who can sway hearts, who can conquer sin. Therefore the apostles were commissioned to make known "another King, one Jesus" (Acts 17:7).

III. THE RULE OF CHRIST IS IN STRONG CONTRAST TO ITS EXTERNAL SURROUNDINGS. Christ and Herod - what a contrast the two names suggest! Yet they are the names of the two kings of the Jews of the same day. Force, selfishness, cruelty, characterize the degenerate visible rule. Truth, gentleness, love, mark the invisible spiritual rule. So it is always, though not necessarily in the same dramatic form. When we come to Christ and his kingdom we reach a higher level, we breathe purer air, we walk in the light. Then, though the days may be adverse and altogether unpropitious, we have reached what is above daily vexations, we have attained some of the peace of the eternity in which Christ lives. - W.F.A.

Wise men from the East.
I. The wise men SEEKING Christ.

1. They are presented to us here as seekers.

2. They were earnest seekers.

3. They sought Christ reverently.

4. God assisted them in the search.

II. The wise men FINDING Christ.

1. They were seeking a person.

2. That person must be a king.

3. They sought a king and found a child.

4. Having found the child their seeking came to an end.

5. They worshipped Him.

(J. C. Jones.)Jesus was the beginner of a new era, the founder of a new kingdom, hailed as a King alike at His birth and on His cross.

I. THE SEEKERS. Magic not magicians; astronomers, not astrologers; scientists, not wizards. The coming of these wise men prophetic of the time when all the trophies of science should be laid at the Saviour's feet.

II. THE SIGN. "His star." Various conjectures. God never lacks the means to guide earnest inquirers.

III. THE SEARCH. Earnest. Gave up friends and home, and took a wearisome journey. Every follower of Christ must have the same spirit. No earthly joy is entirely satisfactory. Men will not earnestly seek Christ till firmly convinced of the unsatisfactory nature of other "things. Persevering: many discouragements.

IV. THE SUCCESS. Not where they expected it, in the capital; not even in the best place in Bethlehem, yet where their soul-hunger was satisfied — the "house of bread." They came not empty-handed, trot presented first themselves, then their gifts. The typical nature of these gifts. Around the manger was gathered a prophetic group.

(Richard Roberts.)

I. THEIR INQUIRY, "Where is He? " etc.

1. Interest awakened.

2. Belief avowed.

3. Ignorance admitted.

4. Information entreated.

5. A motive declared.


1. To see His star was a great favour.

2. It was a great responsibility.

3. They did not regard it as a matter to be rested in.

4. They did not find satisfaction in what they had themselves done to leach the child.


1. They saw the young child.

2. They worshipped Him.

3. They presented gifts.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. THE WISE MEN HERE REFERRED TO. The gospel sometimes triumphs over the world where it is most influential, and reduces the wise, rich, and great into a willing subjection to Christ.


III. THE MEANS BY WHICH THEY WERE CONDUCTED TO BETHLEHEM. How great are our advantages compared with theirs; they had a .star, we a sun.


1. On His wisdom, particularly in adapting means to an end.

2. On His power as seen in the star.

3. On His faithfulness as seen in the prophecy mow fulfilled.

4. On His knowledge as displayed in revealing the true intention of Herod.

5. A remarkable illustration of God's superintending providence. The hearts of kings are in His rule; God provides for the safety of His servants.

(D. Rees.)

1. Their title was illustrious.

2. Their pursuit was illustrious.

3. Their wealth was illustrious.

4. Their character was illustrious.

(D. C. Hughes, M. A.)

I. A MODEL OF SOUND WISDOM FOR ALL TRUE CHRISTIANS. Examine the character of their faith.

1. In its commencement: promptitude to follow the call of heaven.

2. In its progress: in their well-supported constancy when the star disappeared.

3. In the perfection of their faith.


1. This false wisdom is at enmity with God.

2. God is at enmity with this reprobate wisdom.What did the new-born Saviour to Herod: —

1. He troubled him.

2. Made him odious.

3. Confounded his counsel.

4. Made him, in defiance of himself, subservient to the designs of providence.


1. That men of intellectual culture have inquired earnestly for Christ.

2. Men of intellectual culture have encountered difficulties in finding Christ.

(1)A long journey;

(2)A difficult journey;

(3)A dangerous journey.

3. Men of intellectual culture have been led to Christ by the strangest agencies.

4. Men of intellectual culture have rendered the most devout homage to Christ:




(J. Woodhouse.)

1. Christ is owned by some m the higher orders of life.

2. They who are desirous of finding Christ will not miss Him for want of direction.

3. We should deem no difficulties too great to encounter, no sacrifices too great to make, in seeking after Christ.

4. We are to be concerned to honour Him as well as to be saved by Him.

(W. Jay.)

1. For their prerogative of a deeper wisdom.

2. For their fervid searching.

3. For their constant asking of the place.

4. For the sweetness of their spiritual joy.

5. For their devotion of humble adoration.

6. For the value of their gifts.

7. For the prudent caution of their return.

(L M. Ashley.)

1. By asking light from God.

2. By wisely seeking knowledge.

3. By pressing forward in holiness.

(L M. Ashley.)


1. The power of God over the human mind.

2. A fulfilment of prophecy.


1. The condescension of God — He often meets man in man's own paths.

2. The greatness of God — He often puts much honour on Christ by the means which He makes use of to lead sinners to Him.

3. The compassion and care of God — He adapts His guidance to our needs.


1. Their faith.

2. The moral greatness they exhibited.

3. Their devotedness to Christ.

(C. Bradley, M. A.)

These wise men were assisted in their hopes by an inward inspiration. The solicitation of grace worked within them.

(G. Bateman, M. A.)

1. That despisers of Jesus are doubtless to be viewed as despisers of Him whom His Heavenly Father delighteth to honour. The song of the angels.

2. That Jesus is to Gentiles as well as to Jews a Prince and a Saviour.

3. That the Christian faith is not to be viewed as exclusively embraced by the poor and illiterate.

4. As to the enjoyment of external advantages we are more highly favoured than these men.

(A. Teller.)

1. In the largeness of the plan of His salvation, Christ not only breaks over all the narrow notions of national, family, and social prejudice, but He permits every heart to come to Him, in spite of its imperfections and errors, by the best light and the best feeling it has.

2. At every step forward in the Christian life, each disciple's amount of privilege or blessing is generally in proportion to the growth of his faith up to that time.

3. After all, wherever the starting-point, whoever the travellers, whatever the gentleness that forbears to quench our feeble life, and however merciful the long-suffering that waits for us, there is an end of the whole way, at the feet of the Lord.

(Bishop Huntingdon.)


1. Their country.

2. Their condition,

II. THEM JOURNEY. They saw, understood, and set out.


1. Let us evermore give thanks to our Lord God for the revelation of that great mystery of mercy, the restoration of the Gentiles to that Church, from which they had been for so many ages excluded, or rather, we should say, they had excluded themselves.

2. Diligence is generally rewarded with the discovery of that which it seeks after — sometimes of that which is much more valuable.

3. Let us learn to be watchful and observant of those lights, which at sundry times, and in divers manners, are vouchsafed to us.

(Bishop Horne.)


1. Who they were.

2. They sought with the utmost assiduity.

3. They were ultimately directed to Him by the written Word.

4. From first to last they were divinely guided.


1. With exceeding great; joy.

2. With devout adoration.

3. They presented most costly offerings. Lessons:

(1)Except we thus seek and find the Saviour we perish.

(2)Do you know and feel that you have not sought Him?

(3)Are you greatly discouraged in seeking Him?

(F. Close, M. A.)This visit of the wise men shows us: —

I. How VARIOUSLY GOD SPEAKS TO us, — how many are the voices whereby He calls us, if we will, out of darkness, whether of mind or of heart, into His marvellous light. He uses a language to each, which each can understand. The Universal Father sooner or later has a word, a star, for all of us.

II. HOW TRUTH, IF IT IS TO BE GRASPED IN ITS FULNESS, MUST BE EARNESTLY SOUGHT FOR. These wise men had a little stock of truth to start with, but they made the most of that which had been given them. Some word, some example, some passing, inward inspiration, may be the star in the East, bidding the soul hope and persevere.

III. This history teaches WHAT IS THE REAL OBJECT OF RELIGIOUS INQUIRY. Worship is the joint result of thought, affection, and will, rising upward towards God, and then shrinking into the very dust before Him. It is much more than mere religious thought, it is the soul seeking the true centre of the spiritual universe with all its powers.

(Canon Liddon.)His birthplace, as in everything else belonging to Him, is a living parable.

I. It was a FOREIGN COUNTRY. In Judaea, not in Galilee. To teach us that this world is an alien land to us, although we may have grown old in it. Jesus Christ was only a stranger and a sojourner in it; and we in like manner are sojourners.

II. It was a SMALL VILLAGE. The King of kings is born in an obscure place, and the Lord of might, of lowly parentage. God reverses the judgment of this world concerning many things.

III. It was in BETHLEHEM. In Bethlehem, "the house of bread," was born the Living Bread. Before Christ was born, the world was full of starving men, hungering after pleasures, riches, and honours. He Himself satisfies all men's hunger.

IV. It was a village BY THE WAY. Showing that our present life is the way to death. May we follow Jesus Christ from Bethlehem to Zion.

(William of Auvergne.)

Well, the last year I passed that old church, I noticed something which was very interesting. The tower is standing pretty entire, and the spire of it is standing pretty entire also. It is a little shaken and riven with the weather and the strokes of time; but there it stands. And what do you think is climbing up the side of the spire? Why, a little tree that has got its roots in a little crevice of the spire, and it is covering the bare stones with beautiful green. Now, that tree to me is like the wise men of the East. You see, God in Judaea had a garden, and all the trees there were planted by prophets and people that were sent to do the work. But now, how did He plant these trees in Chaldea — how did He plant that tree in the spire of the church? "Whence came the seed there? " you say. It was not a man that went up and planted it there; it was not planted as you plant a tree in the garden. But then, God says sometimes to the little birds, "Take a seed and plant it up in the rock, and let it clothe the rock." Or, He says to the winds, "Waft the seed up to that little crack in the spire of the old church, and let it become a living tree."

(J. Edmond.)

In the annals of the Celestial Empire, there is historical evidence of Ambassadors or "wise men" having been sent towards the West in search of the "Great Saint who was to appear." The following from the Annals narrates the circumstance: — "In the 24th year of the Tchao-Wang, of the dynasty of the Tcheou, on the 8th day of the 4th moon, a light appeared in the south-west which illuminated the "king's palace. The monarch, struck by its splendour, interrogated the sages, who were skilled in foretelling future events. They then showed him hooks in which it was written that this prodigy signified the appearance of a great Saint in the West, whose religion was to be introduced into this country. The king consulted the ancient books, and having found the passages corresponding with the time of Tchao-Wang, was filled with joy. Then he sent the officers Tsa-yu and Thsin-King, the learned Wang-Tsun, and fifteen other men to the West to obtain information." So sensible were these "wise men" of the time and place of the Saviour's birth, that they set forth to hail the expected Redeemer. The envoy encountered in their way the missionaries of Buddhism coming from India announcing an incarnate God; these the Chinese took for the disciples of the true Christ, embraced their teaching, and introduced them to their fellow-country-men as the teachers of the true religion. Thus was Buddhism introduced into China in place of Christianity.

The Russian peasantry have a curious tradition. It is that an old woman, the Baboushka, was at work in her house when the wise men from the East passed on their way to find the Christ-child. "Come with us," they said: "we have seen His star in the East and go to worship Him." "I will come, but not now," she answered; "I have my house to set in order; when this is done I will follow and find Him." But when her work was done the three kings had passed on their way across the desert, and the star shone no more in the darkened heavens. She never saw the Christ-child, but she is living and searching for Him still. For His sake she takes care of all His children. It is she who in Russian and Italian houses is believed to fill the stockings and dress the tree on Christmas morn. The children area wakened by the cry of" Behold the Baboushka!" and spring up hoping to see her before she vanishes out of the window. She fancies, the tradition goes, that in each poor little one whom she warms and feeds she may find the Christ-child, whom she neglected ages ago, but is doomed to eternal disappointment.

Archelaus, Herod, Jeremiah, Jeremias, Jeremy, Jesus, Joseph, Mary, Rachel
Bethlehem, Egypt, Galilee, Jerusalem, Judea, Nazareth, Ramah
Arrival, Arrived, Behold, Bethlehem, Beth-lehem, Birth, Born, During, East, Excitement, Herod, Jerusalem, Judaea, Judea, Mages, Magi, Produced, Reign, Saying, Wise, Wise-men
1. The wise men from the east enquire after Jesus;
3. at which Herod is alarmed.
9. They are directed by a star to Bethlehem, worship him, and offer their presents.
13. Joseph flees into Egypt with Jesus and his mother.
16. Herod slays the children;
20. himself dies.
23. Jesus is brought back again into Galilee to Nazareth.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Matthew 2:1

     4945   history

Matthew 2:1-2

     1450   signs, kinds of
     2203   Christ, titles of
     2369   Christ, responses to
     4821   east
     5338   holiday
     7505   Jews, the
     8636   asking

Matthew 2:1-3

     5336   highway
     5366   king
     7240   Jerusalem, history

Matthew 2:1-6

     2312   Christ, as king

Matthew 2:1-10

     8709   astrology

Matthew 2:1-15

     2520   Christ, childhood

Matthew 2:1-18

     2515   Christ, birth of

Matthew 2:1-23

     5652   babies
     8131   guidance, results

The First-Fruits of the Gentiles
'Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2. Saying, Where is He that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him. 3. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5. And they said
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The King in Exile
'And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and His mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy Him. 14. When he arose, he took the young child and His mother by night, and departed into Egypt; 15. And was there until the death of Herod; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Sermon for Epiphany
(From the Gospel for the day) This Sermon on the Gospel for the day, from St. Matthew, showeth how God, of His great faithfulness hath foreseen and ordained all sufferings for the eternal good of each man, in whatever wise they befall us, and whether they be great or small. Matt. ii. 11.--"And they presented unto him gifts: gold, and frankincense and myrrh." NOW consider first the myrrh. It is bitter; and this is a type of the bitterness which must be tasted before a man can find God, when he first
Susannah Winkworth—The History and Life of the Reverend Doctor John Tauler

History of the Interpretation.
1. AMONG THE JEWS. This History, as to its essential features, might, a priori, be sketched with tolerable certainty. From the nature of the case, we could scarcely expect that the Jews should have adopted views altogether erroneous as to the subject of the prophecy in question; for the Messiah appears in it, not in His humiliation, but in His glory--rich in gifts and blessings, and Pelagian self-delusion will, a priori, return an affirmative answer to the question as to whether one is
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

One Argument which Has Been Much Relied Upon but not More than Its Just Weight...
One argument which has been much relied upon (but not more than its just weight deserves) is the conformity of the facts occasionally mentioned or referred to in Scripture with the state of things in those times, as represented by foreign and independent accounts; which conformity proves, that the writers of the New Testament possessed a species of local knowledge which could belong only to an inhabitant of that country and to one living in that age. This argument, if well made out by examples, is
William Paley—Evidences of Christianity

Eastern Wise-Men, or Magi, visit Jesus, the New-Born King.
(Jerusalem and Bethlehem, b.c. 4.) ^A Matt. II. 1-12. ^a 1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem [It lies five miles south by west of Jerusalem, a little to the east of the road to Hebron. It occupies part of the summit and sides of a narrow limestone ridge which shoots out eastward from the central chains of the Judæan mountains, and breaks down abruptly into deep valleys on the north, south, and east. Its old name, Ephrath, meant "the fruitful." Bethlehem means "house of bread." Its modern
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Flight into Egypt and Slaughter of the Bethlehem Children.
(Bethlehem and Road Thence to Egypt, b.c. 4.) ^A Matt. II. 13-18. ^a 13 Now when they were departed [The text favors the idea that the arrival and departure of the magi and the departure of Joseph for Egypt, all occurred in one night. If so, the people of Bethlehem knew nothing of these matters], behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise [this command calls for immediate departure] and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt [This land was ever the
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Child Jesus Brought from Egypt to Nazareth.
(Egypt and Nazareth, b.c. 4.) ^A Matt. II. 19-23; ^C Luke II. 39. ^a 19 But when Herod was dead [He died in the thirty-seventh year of his reign and the seventieth of his life. A frightful inward burning consumed him, and the stench of his sickness was such that his attendants could not stay near him. So horrible was his condition that he even endeavored to end it by suicide], behold, an angel of the Lord [word did not come by the infant Jesus; he was "made like unto his brethren" (Heb. ii. 17),
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The visit and Homage of the Magi, and the Flight into Egypt
With the Presentation of the Infant Saviour in the Temple, and His acknowledgment - not indeed by the leaders of Israel, but, characteristically, by the representatives of those earnest men and women who looked for His Advent - the Prologue, if such it may be called, to the third Gospel closes. From whatever source its information was derived - perhaps, as has been suggested, its earlier portion from the Virgin-Mother, the later from Anna; or else both alike from her, who with loving reverence and
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

The Child-Life in Nazareth
THE stay of the Holy Family in Egypt must have been of brief duration. The cup of Herod's misdeeds, but also of his misery, was full. During the whole latter part of his life, the dread of a rival to the throne had haunted him, and he had sacrificed thousands, among them those nearest and dearest to him, to lay that ghost. [1084] And still the tyrant was not at rest. A more terrible scene is not presented in history than that of the closing days of Herod. Tormented by nameless fears; ever and again
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

He Division of the Land.
T The Jewish writers divide the whole world into "The land of Israel," and "Without the land": that is, the countries of the heathen. Both which phrases the book of the gospel owns: "The land of Israel," Matthew 2:20: and it calls the heathens, "those that are without," 1 Corinthians 5:13; 1 Timothy 3:7, &c. And sometimes the unbelieving Jews themselves, as Mark 4:11. They distinguish all the people of the world into "Israelites," and "the nations of the world." The book of the gospel owns that phrase
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

Chronology of the Life of Christ.
See the Lit. in §14, p. 98, especially Browne, Wieseler, Zumpt, Andrews, and Keim We briefly consider the chronological dates of the life of Christ. I. The Year of the Nativity.--This must be ascertained by historical and chronological research, since there is no certain and harmonious tradition on the subject. Our Christians aera, which was introduced by the Roman abbot Dionysius Exiguus, in the sixth century, and came into general use two centuries later, during the reign of Charlemagne, puts
Philip Schaff—History of the Christian Church, Volume I

Literature. I. Sources. The works of the Greek and Roman Classics from Homer to Virgil and the age of the Antonines. The monuments of Antiquity. The writings of the early Christian Apologists, especially Justin Martyr: Apologia I. and II.; Tertullian: Apologeticus; Minucius Felix: Octavius; Eusebius: Praeparatio Evangelica; and Augustine (d. 430): De Civitate Dei (the first ten books). II. Later Works. Is. Vossius: De theologia gentili et physiolog. Christ. Frcf. 1675, 2 vols. Creuzer (d. 1858):
Philip Schaff—History of the Christian Church, Volume I

All My Prefaces to the Books of the Old Testament, Some Specimens of which I Subjoin, are Witnesses for Me on this Point; and it is Needless to State the Matter Otherwise than it is Stated in Them.
I have received letters so long and eagerly desired from my dear Desiderius [3137] who, as if the future had been foreseen, shares his name with Daniel, [3138] entreating me to put our friends in possession of a translation of the Pentateuch from Hebrew into Latin. The work is certainly hazardous and it is exposed to the [3139] attacks of my calumniators, who maintain that it is through contempt of the Seventy that I have set to work to forge a new version to take the place of the old. They thus
Various—Life and Works of Rufinus with Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus.

The Great Slaughters and Sacrilege that were in Jerusalem.
1. Accordingly Simon would not suffer Matthias, by whose means he got possession of the city, to go off without torment. This Matthias was the son of Boethus, and was one of the high priests, one that had been very faithful to the people, and in great esteem with them; he, when the multitude were distressed by the zealots, among whom John was numbered, persuaded the people to admit this Simon to come in to assist them, while he had made no terms with him, nor expected any thing that was evil from
Flavius Josephus—The Wars of the Jews or History of the Destruction of Jerusalem

In Judaea
If Galilee could boast of the beauty of its scenery and the fruitfulness of its soil; of being the mart of a busy life, and the highway of intercourse with the great world outside Palestine, Judaea would neither covet nor envy such advantages. Hers was quite another and a peculiar claim. Galilee might be the outer court, but Judaea was like the inner sanctuary of Israel. True, its landscapes were comparatively barren, its hills bare and rocky, its wilderness lonely; but around those grey limestone
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

Supplementary Note to Chapter ii. The Year of Christ's Birth.
The Christian era commences on the 1st of January of the year 754 of the city of Rome. That our Lord was born about the time stated in the text may appear from the following considerations-- The visit of the wise men to Bethlehem must have taken place a very few days after the birth of Jesus, and before His presentation in the temple. Bethlehem was not the stated residence of Joseph and Mary, either before or after the birth of the child (Luke i. 26, ii. 4, 39; Matt. ii. 2). They were obliged to
William Dool Killen—The Ancient Church

Two Famous Versions of the Scriptures
[Illustration: (drop cap B) Samaritan Book of the Law] By the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, on the coast of Egypt, lies Alexandria, a busy and prosperous city of to-day. You remember the great conqueror, Alexander, and how nation after nation had been forced to submit to him, until all the then-known world owned him for its emperor? He built this city, and called it after his own name. About a hundred years before the days of Antiochus (of whom we read in our last chapter) a company of Jews
Mildred Duff—The Bible in its Making

The King's Herald.
"On Jordan's banks the Baptist's cry Announces that the Lord is nigh; Awake and hearken, for he brings Glad tidings of the King...." When the Saviour of the world was about to enter upon His public ministry, the Jewish nation was startled with the cry, "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand" (S. Matt. iii. 2). Such was God's call to His people of old time, to prepare themselves to take part in the fulfilment of the promises, on which their faith and hopes were founded. The fulness of the times had come;
Edward Burbidge—The Kingdom of Heaven; What is it?

Commencement of the Legends Concerning Jesus --His Own Idea of his Supernatural Character.
Jesus returned to Galilee, having completely lost his Jewish faith, and filled with revolutionary ardor. His ideas are now expressed with perfect clearness. The innocent aphorisms of the first part of his prophetic career, in part borrowed from the Jewish rabbis anterior to him, and the beautiful moral precepts of his second period, are exchanged for a decided policy. The Law would be abolished; and it was to be abolished by him.[1] The Messiah had come, and he was the Messiah. The kingdom of God
Ernest Renan—The Life of Jesus

Blessed are they that Mourn
Blessed are they that mourn. Matthew 5:4 Here are eight steps leading to true blessedness. They may be compared to Jacob's Ladder, the top whereof reached to heaven. We have already gone over one step, and now let us proceed to the second: Blessed are they that mourn'. We must go through the valley of tears to paradise. Mourning were a sad and unpleasant subject to treat on, were it not that it has blessedness going before, and comfort coming after. Mourning is put here for repentance. It implies
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

The Messianic Prophecies in the Pentateuch.
In the Messianic prophecies contained in Genesis we cannot fail to perceive a remarkable progress in clearness and definiteness. The first Messianic prediction, which was uttered immediately after the fall of Adam, is also the most indefinite. Opposed to the awful threatening there stands the consolatory promise, that the dominion of sin, and of the evil arising from sin, shall not last for ever, but that the seed of the woman shall, at some future time, overthrow their dreaded conqueror. With the
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

The Birth of Jesus.
(at Bethlehem of Judæa, b.c. 5.) ^C Luke II. 1-7. ^c 1 Now it came to pass in those days [the days of the birth of John the Baptist], there went out a decree [a law] from Cæsar Augustus [Octavius, or Augustus, Cæsar was the nephew of and successor to Julius Cæsar. He took the name Augustus in compliment to his own greatness; and our month August is named for him; its old name being Sextilis], that all the world should be enrolled. [This enrollment or census was the first step
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Roman Pilgrimage: the Miracles which were Wrought in It.
[Sidenote: 1139] 33. (20). It seemed to him, however, that one could not go on doing these things with sufficient security without the authority of the Apostolic See; and for that reason he determined to set out for Rome, and most of all because the metropolitan see still lacked, and from the beginning had lacked, the use of the pall, which is the fullness of honour.[507] And it seemed good in his eyes[508] that the church for which he had laboured so much[509] should acquire, by his zeal and labour,
H. J. Lawlor—St. Bernard of Clairvaux's Life of St. Malachy of Armagh

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