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they did professedly from veneration, and respect for their cha
And garnish,' &c. That is, adorn or ornament. This was done by rebuilding them with more taste, decorating them and keeping them neat and clean.
30 And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.
* And say,' &c. This they professed to say by rebuilding their tombs. They also, probably, publicly expressed their disapprobation of the conduct of their fathers. All this, in building and ornamenting tombs, was a profession of extraordinary piety. Our Lord showed them that all was mere pretence.
31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.
• Ye be witnesses unto yourselves. The emphasis, here, lies in the words 'unto yourselves.' In spite of all this pretence to piety -under cloak of all this profession-they knew in their consciences, were witnesses to themselves, that it was mere hypocrisy, and that they really approved the conduct of those who slew the prophets. Children of them, &c. Not only descended from them, but possessing their spirit, and in similar circumstances would have done as they did.
32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. This is a prediction of what they were about to do. You act out your true spirit, you will show what you were, and will evince to all that you had the spirit of your fathers. The measure.'. The full amount, so as to make it complete. By your slaying me, fill up what is lacking of the iniquity of your fathers till the measure is full; and then shall come upon you all this blood, and you shall be destroyed, ver. 34, 35.
33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell ?
• Ye serpents. This name is given them on account of their pretending to be pious, and very much devoted to God, but being secretly evil. With all their pretensions, at the heart they were filled with evil designs, as the serpent was, Gen. ii. 1-5. 'Generation of vipers. See note, Matt. xii. 34. Damnation of hell.' So great was their wickedness and hypocrisy, that if they persevered in this course, it was impossible to escape the damnation that should come on the guilty. This is the most stern language that Jesus ever used to wicked men. Christ knew that this was true of them. He had an authority which none now have. He knew the hearts of men. We know them not. He could declare certainly that those whom he addressed
would be lost. We have no such authority. He addressed persons, we address characters.
34 | Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes : and some of them ye shall kill and crucify, and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city :
Prophets, wise men, and scribes, were the names by which the teachers of religion were known among the Jews, and he, therefore, used the same terms when speaking of the messengers which he would send. 'I send,' has the force of the future, will send. • Some of them ye shall kill.' As in the case of Stephen, Acts vii. 59, and James, Acts xii. 1, 2. • Crucify.' Punish with death on the cross. The Jews had not the power of crucifying, but they gave them into the hands of the Romans to do it. Shall scourge. See note, Matt. x. 17. This was done, 2 Cor. xi. 24, 25. 'Persecute,' &c. Note, Matt. v. 10. This was fulfilled in the case of nearly all the apostles.
35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel, unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. 36 Verily Í
say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.
• That upon you may come,' &e. That is, the nation is guilty. Your fathers were guilty. You have shown yourselves to be like them. You are about, by slaying the Messiah and his messengers, to fill up the iniquity of the land. These national crimes deserve national judgments: and the proper judgments for all these crimes are about to come upon you in the destruction of your temple and city. All the righteous blood.' That is, all the judgments due for shedding that blood. God did not hold them guilty for what their fathers did; but temporal judgments descend on children in consequence of the wickedness of parents; as in the case of drunken and profligate parents. So of the Jews. The appropriate effects of their fathers' crimes were coming on the nation, and they would suffer. Upon the earth.' Upon the land of Judea. The word is often used with this limitation. See Matt. iv. 8. Righteous Abel.' Slain by Cain, his brother Gen. iv. 8. • Zacharias, son of Barachias. It is not certainly known who this was. Some have thought it was the Zechariah whose death is recorded in 2 Chron. xxiv. 20, 21.. He is there called the son of Jehoiada ; but it is known that it was common among the Jews to have two names, as Matthew is called Levi,
Whom ye slew.' Whom you, Jews, slew. Whom your nation hillod. Between the temple and the altar.' Between the
temple, properly so called, the sanctuary, and the altar of burntoffering in the court of the priests. See the description of the temple, Matt. xxi, 12. * Upon this generation. The destruction of Jerusalem took place about forty years after this was spoken. See the next chapter.
37 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 wsngs, and ye would not !
O Jerusalem, &c. See note, Luke xix. 41, 42. Would I have gathered.'' Would have protected and saved. Thy children.' Thy people.
38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
* Your house. The temple. The house of worship of the Jews. The chief ornament of Jerusalem. Desolate. About to be desolate, or destroyed. To be forsaken as a place of worship, and delivered into the hands of the Romans, and destroyed. See notes on chapter xxiv.
39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
• Ye shall not see me, &c. The day of your mercy is I have offered you protection and salvation, and you have rejected it. You will not see me as a merciful Saviour, offering, you redemption any more, till you have borne those heavy judgments. They must come upon you, and he borne, until you would be glad to hail a deliverer, and say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. Blessed be he that comes as the Messiah, to bring deliverance. This has not been yet accomplished, but the days will come when the Jews, long cast out and rejected, will hail Jesus as the Messiah, and receive hini whom their fathers slew, as the merciful Saviour, Rom. xi. 25-32.
CHAPTER XXIV. 1 AND Jesus went out, and departed from the tem. ple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple.
Jesus foretells the destruction of the temple, as he takes his final leave of it, and teaches what were the signs of his coming. These predictions are also recorded in Mark xiii. Luke xxi. 5438.
• And Jesus went out. He was going to the mount of Olives,
ver. 3. “The buildings of the temple. The temple itself, with the surrounding courts, porches, and other edifices. See note, Matt. xxi. 12. Mark says, that they particularly pointed out the stones of the temple, as well as the buildings. In that temple;' says Josephus, the Jewish historian,' were several stones which were forty-five cubits in length, five in height, and six in breadth, seventy feet long, ten wide, and eight high. Those stones, of such enormous size, were principally used in building the high wall on the east side, from the base to the top of the mountain.
2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things ? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
• There shall not be left here one stone upon another.' At the time this was spoken, no event seemed more improbable than this. Yet in the short space of forty years all this was exactly accomplished. Jerusalem was taken by the Roman armies, under the command of Titus, A. D. 73. The account of the siege and destruction of the city is left us by Josephus, an historian of undoubted veracity and singular fidelity. He was a Jewish priest. In the wars of which he gives an account, he fell into the hands of the Romans, and remained with them during the siege and destruction of the city. Being a Jew, he would of course say nothing designed to confirm the prophecies of Jesus Christ. Yet his whole history appears almost like a running commentary on these predictions respecting the destruction of the temple.
After the city was taken, Josephus says, that Titus' gave orders that they should now demolish the whole city and temple, except three towers, which he reserved standing: But for the rest of the wall, it was laid so completely even with the ground by those who dug it up from the foundation, that there was nothing left, to make those believe who came hither, that it had ever been inhabited.' Titus was desirous of preserving the temple; and frequently sent Josephus to the Jews to induce them to surrender, and save the temple and city. But the prediction of the Saviour must be fulfilled. The Jews themselves first set fire to the porticoes of the temple. One of the Roman soldiers, without any command, threw a burning firebrand through a window, and soon the temple was in flames. Titus gave orders to extinguish the fire; but amidst the tumult, none of his orders were obeyed. The soldiers pressed to the temple, and neither fear, nor entreaties, nor stripes, could restrain them or control them; and thus, says Josephus, the temple was burnt against the will of Cæsar.
34 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 ?
• He sat upon the mount of Olives.' Notè, Matt. xxi. 12. From that mount there was a magnificent view of the whole city. The disciples came unto him privately. Not all of them, but Peter, James, John, and Andrew, Mark xiii. 3. The prediction that the temple would be destroyed, ver 2, had been made in the presence of all the apostles. A part now came privately to know more particularly when this would be." When shall these things be ?' &c. There are three questions here: 1. When those things should take place. 2. What should be the signs of his coming. 3. What should be the signs that the end of the world was near. To these questions he replies in this and the following chapters. This he does, intermingling the descriptions of the destruction of Jerusalem, and of the end of the world. The principle on which this combined description of two events was spoken, appears to oe, that they could be described in the same words, and, therefore, the accounts are intermingled. A similar use of language is found in some parts of Isaiah, where the same language will describe the return from the Babylonish captivity, and deliverance by the Messiah. ‘Sign of thy coming.' Evidence that thou art coming. By what token shall we know that thou art coming.
4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall de
They were to be constantly on their guard, as many would arise to deceive the people. Many shall coine in my name.' In the name of the Messiah, or claiming to be the Messiah. I am Christ.? I am the Messiah. Many would lay claims to being the Messiah, and, as he was universally expected, many would easily be led to believe in them. There is abundant evidence that this was fully accomplished. Josephus informs us that there were many who, pretending to Divine inspiration, deceived the people, leading out numbers of them into the desert. The land,' say3 he,' was overrun with magicians, seducers, and impostors, who drew the people after them, in multitudes, into solitudes and deserts, to see the signs and miracles which they promised to show by the power of God.' The names of twenty-four false Messiahs are recorded as having appeared between the time of the emperor Adrian and the year 1682. 6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars :
ye be not troubled : for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
And ye shall hear of wars,' &c. It is recorded in the histories