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multitude as He entered Jerusalem ; (Matt. xxi. 9.) and was, on this occasion, repeated by the children in the Temple. (xxi. 15.) Jesus now declares that He shall thus be welcomed by them at his Return_for they shall say " Blessed is He that cometh.” Their conversion will not, therefore, take place till the time of His Coming,—till willing cordially to hail Him as their long-expected Messiah. He would not “ henceforth” be seen by them till then; but at the eommencement of the Millennium, when this moral change is effected on their hearts, and when the desolation of the Temple, (which was to be coeval with His absence,) shall cease -being rebuilt as we have already shown after their restoration-then He shall Return,-- personally return, and shall be again seen by His ancient people, who, acknowledging Him as the “sent" of the Lord, will now joyfully exclaim, “ Blessed is He that cometu in the name of the Lord.”
Having delivered this important prediction, the Saviour now departed from the Temple; and, followed by his disciples, (ruminating on the import of the denunciation just uttered.) He retired to the Mount of Olives, the place of his frequent resort ; " And Jesus went out, and departed from the Temple ; and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the Templc." (xxiv. 1.) It was indeed a magnificent structure; and, as they contemplated its threatened desolation, they were ready to exclaim, in the pathetic language perhaps, as also in the spirit
, of prophetic lamentation, “ Our holy and beautiful House, where our fathers praised thee !" They point to its superlative grandeur, as if imploring its preservation from the impending destruction, saying, “ Master, see what manner of stones, and what buildings are here.” (Mark xiii. 1.) This, however, only calls forth a repetition of the afflicting prediction : “And Jesus said unto them, See all these things ? Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down." ver. 2. This solemn asseveration of their Master at once negatived their hopes, and prevented further importunity for the preservation of the
Temple. Assured with certainty of its fate, and remembering the prediction He had so recently delivered within its walls, they now inquired concerning both the commencement and termination of the predicted desolation : " And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy Coming, and of the end of the world ?" By recalling to our remembrance what Jesus had foretold before leaving the Temple-a prediction which would make no transient impression on the minds of His Jewish disciples--we shall be better prepared to understand the important questions now addressed to Him, and the grounds which suggested their combination. Unconnected as these questions must at first sight appear, they are, we humbly apprehend, both naturally and intimately connected. The Saviour had just assured them of the destruction of the Temple: and, as we have already shown, had shortly before predicted its continued desolation till the time of His coming. The disciples, therefore, here first ask, "when" its destruction will take place: “when shall these things be?”--the temple's being utterly “ thrown down;" and they next inquire concerning the termination of this desolation, inquiring for the sign of the Saviour's “coming," which from his prediction in the Temple, they had been taught to connect with the close of that desolation : "Behold your House is left unto you desolate, por, I say unto you, ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh.” But, in their second question, they also connect the time of his "coming" with the end of the
” world”—or age.* Nothing had previously been said
*“ 'The greatest respect is unquestionably due to the Authorized English Translation; but the Original must ever remain the standard of doctrine and interpretation to persons in any degree qualified by education to search after the mind of the Spirit through the medium of that language in which it is primarily expressed. The indiscriminate usage of the term world, as a common rendering of cosmos, oikoumene and aion, each of which appears to have a distinct signification, must necessarily occasion some ambiguity in those passages wherein any two of them are used in connection; and if this ambigu. ity should, in any degree, be removed by the simple substitution of
by the Saviour, at least nothing is here recorded as previously said, of the end of the age." But the disciples were not ignorant of Prophecy, and they were able to observe and attend to its intimations. And thus it was, we have no doubt, they learned to connect the coming of the Lord with the end of the age. From a prophecy given by Daniel, they had already ascertained the precise era of Christ's appearance in the world; and, by their acquaintance with this same prediction, and the remembrance of what had so recently fallen from their Master's lips, they would be enabled to connect the time of Christ's Return with the end of the age. Daniel had foretold that, after the Messiah was “ cut off," the City and the Sanctuary should be destroyed, by the people of the Prince who should come against Judea ; and that these he should make desolate, even until the CONSUMMATION” or end. Dan. ix. 27. Now, as the Saviour had himself predicted the duration of that very desolation as coeval with the continuance of His absence, his disciples cqually desirous of information concerning both, ask "When shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the age ?
From the 4th to the 14th verse, the Saviour gives them a general outline of what should take place up to " the end" of the age, cautioning them against false Christs who should arise, and warning them against the
inore appropriate and analogous expressions, some light may be thrown upon subjects of the greatest concern and moment. Take, for instance, a passage in the same Evangelist, where cosmos and aion are used in the same connection, and both translated world.' (Matt. xiii. 38.) • The field is the world. The harvest is the end of the world. “So shall it be in the end of this world. On perusing the passage in which these words appear, any plain mind must draw the inference, that at the destruction of this material globe, the procedure, repre. sented under the figure of a harvest, would take place; but when it appears in the original that different words are used ; that the world' which is the field is cosmos, mundus, universe; and the world' which is then to end, is aion, sæculum, age; and that this world refers to the word signifying age, and not to that which signifies universe; the natural and obvious inference would rather be, 'when this age of the world shall end, then shall the harvest come.'”—Thoughts on the Scriptural Expectations of the Christian Church. By Bas: ilicus.p. 31.
supposition, that when they should hear of wars and rumours of wars that this “end” had arrived :
but the end is not yet.” He shows them that this was but the commencement of long-continuing affliction to which the Jews should afterwards be exposed,"all these are the beginning of sorrows.” ver. 8. In the 9th and 10th verses, he predicts the persecutions under Pagan Rome ; and, probably, in the two following verses, alludes to the Papal Antichrist, in the continued succession of Popes, as the “ many false prophets," who should rise and “deceive inany;" and by the establishment of whose abominations “iniquity shall abound,” and “the love of many shall wax cold.” In the 13th verse he exhorts to steadfastness in maintaining the truth, and in the 14th adds, “ And this gospel of The Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, not that it shall have been universally received by them for 1000 years, and then shall the end come”—the “end of the age" about which they were inquiring.
Such appears to be the natural and proper exposition of this part of the chapter ; although some have laboured hard to make this end of the world, or age, appear to be the destruction of the Jewish polity. But, besides that Christianity had made considerable progress before the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, there is no authority whatever for supposing that event the termination of the age,"—that “consummation" or end being placed by Daniel not at the commencement, but at the close of the desolation of the city and sanctu. ary, and therefore as preceding the Millennium: “ he shall make desolate even until the consummation." Dan. ix. 27. It is also to be remembered, that in the latter question of the disciples, this end of the age was connected with the coming of Christ : “What shall be the sign of thay coming, and of the end of the age ?:* Having thus given them a very condensed view of events up to the end of the age, the Saviour, in the 15th verse,
• Dr. Hamilton, (p. 156,) affects to discredit the distinction between cosmos and aion, but the Examinator in the Christian Instructor, whose papers the Doctor highly eulogizes, admits that “the end of the world,” in the question of the disciples, is literally the “completion of the age.”- Christian Instructor, p. 553.
returns, and becoming more minute in the specification of particulars, points to the duration of the afflictions upon the Jews, and gives farther instructions to be recorded for the guidance and direction of those living in the periods to which His predictions referred, and who were more particularly interested : “When ye, THEREFORE, (this being an inference relative to their conduct drawn from the former chronological part of His discourse —“ when ye therefore") shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth let him understand, let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains let him which is on the house-top not come down to take any thing out of his house; neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child and to them that give suck in those days.” The parenthetical injunction clearly implies a danger of mistake ; and the neglect of this very warning has probably occasioned much of the confusion in which commentators have involved the chapter. As the prediction of the prophet, from which we have already quoted, not only shows to what our Lord immediately refers, but will also assist us in another part of the inquiry, we shall now cite fully the passage to which our attention is thus particularly called : " Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, unto Messiah the Prince, shall be seven (prophetic] weeks, and threescore and two weeks : the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks [of years) shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come, shall destroy the City and the Sanctuary : and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many
for one week: and in the midst of the week, he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate," - or " deso