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as he had previously communicated Christ's rebuke to the Pharisees in the narrative of His contest with the Pharisees of Galilee (chap. xi.), and had also already described His lamentation over Jerusalem (chap. xiii. 34, 35), he perhaps did not find himself here in a position to present both these elements anew, viz., the address against the Pharisees and the farewell to the temple, in full and circumstantial detail. But, without doubt, the
. separation of the elements referred to, must be explained by the very circumstance, that he did not intend to exhibit this last act of departure from the temple in all its terrible significancy. Had the Gospel of Luke been really written with a malicious intent, or even only with prepossession against Jewish Christianity, as has lately, with a total misapprehension of the spirit which breathes through every page, been asserted, it would have very specially shown itself by the prominence given to this point. But whilst the Evangelist emphatically combated every form of Pharisaism, and collected all evangelical facts which served to throw light upon it, in an equal degree he regarded as holy what truly belonged to the Old Testament, and respected and exercised forbearance towards the Israelitish feelings of Jewish Christians.
THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALM, OF
THE JUDGMENT, AND THE END OF THE WORLD.
(Chap. xxi. 5–38.)
It is very remarkable that the Hellenic Gospel, which has specially directed its attention to the relations subsisting between substance and manifestation, between beautiful manifestation in its reality and beautiful manifestation in empty appearance, as these are brought out in the words of Christ, has also connected His prophetic announcements of the demolition of the temple, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the last judgment, with an immediate reference to the beauty and rich magnificence of the temple.
Some of the attendants of Jesus (His disciples) addressed
Him, in enthusiastic terms of admiration, regarding the beauty of the temple: how it stood so splendid in its adornments, with its goodly stones (of white marble), and the costly consecrated gifts which filled it (see above, vol. iv. p. 99).
To these words concerning the beautiful appearance of the temple, the Lord replied with the solemn prophetic intimation : The days will come, in which of all that ye behold, not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down. The Lord saw the beautiful appearance of the temple as a hollow mask, which served to hide the entire decay of the religious life of the people. It stood there as a symbol of all beautiful but empty pageants of worship and of culture, which conceal an inner substance corrupt and ripe for judgment.
This terrible announcement of Christ occasioned the disciples to put the question, 'Master, when shall these things be ? and what shall be the sign, when these things shall come to pass
?' In reply, the Lord depicted to them the coming judgments.
In the Evangelist Luke, also, we must distinguish the three cycles in which Christ announces the coming judgment; namely, first, the representation given of the course of the world in general, to its termination (vers. 8-19); secondly, the judgment upon Jerusalem (vers. 20–24); thirdly, the last judgment (vers. 25-28); to which, finally, comes the practical application in the concluding paragraph (vers. 29–36). * Take heed that ye be not deceived ! According to Luke,
' also, the Lord began His eschatological address with a warning call against beguiling spirits. This is the general injunction.
* For many shall come in My name, saying, I am he (the Messiah); and the time draweth near. Go
ye not after them! This is the first special injunction.
• But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified; for these things must first come to pass. But with them the end is not yet (with such things the destruction of the world cometh not straightway). This gives the second special injunction.
Then said He unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and great earthquakes shall be
; in divers places, and famines and pestilences; fearful sights and great signs (appearances) from heaven. These are the proper prognostics of the approaching end of the world.
These cosmical signs, however, are preceded by ecclesiastical or spiritual signs. But before all these things come to pass, it is added further, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons (to the spiritual tribunals and prisons of the synagogues), and bringing you before kings and governors, for My name's sake (before the civil tribunals). And it shall turn to you for a testi
a mony. (In this they shall see a token, that they truly stand there as His disciples.) This is the third special injunction. The persecutions for Jesus' sake must not perplex them—they shall be to them a testimony to their faithfulness in confessing His name.
With this is connected the further injunction : Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to be anxious beforehand that
be justified; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay or resist. And ye shall be delivered up by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all for My name's sake.?
After the Lord has announced to them these persecutions, which should burst over them like a destructive storm, He adds, with a beautiful transition, the consoling words:
“And not even a hair of your head shall—thereby-perish.' That is the absolute preservation on its negative side.
'In your patient endurance-the rather-ye shall—in the truest sense-possess your life. Just by the experience of these terrors of persecution, and by the victory over them in the patience of Christ, ye shall first come to the possession of yourselves, to the free enjoyment of the life of the Spirit.
That is the absolute preservation in its positive form.
This picture of the general course of the world is now followed by a description of the destruction of Jerusalem in its theocratic significancy :
"When ye shall see Jerusalem encompassed with a beleaguering host, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then
These words belong originally to the instructions given to the apostles, according to Matt. x. See vol. iv. p. 111.
2 Gfrörer finds a complete contradiction between ver. 16 and ver. 18, because the beautiful paradox in this contrast is unseen by him (318). Likewise Ritschl, p. 105, and Baur in the treatise above quoted, p. 466.
3 This is the abomination of desolation in the holy place, according to Matthew.
let those (disciples) who are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let them who are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the country enter into the city. For these are the days of retribution (of avenging judgment), that all things which are written
be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and unto them that give suck, in those days ! for great distress shall come over the land, and there shall be wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.'
Thus distinctly did the Lord announce the destruction of Jerusalem, and the terrible judgments which should come upon the land and upon the people. He declared, moreover, at the same time, that these judgments, in their after throes, should continue to that distant goal, when the times of the Gentiles should be fulfilled. We may understand by the fulfilling of the times of the Gentiles, the termination of the period in which the Gentiles in the more restricted sense, the non-theocratic peoples (to which also the Mohammedans belong), should still subsist as political powers and rule over Jerusalem. And this is, indeed, the most readily suggested sense of the passage. The time of the fall of the Gentile powers would be thus the time of the resurrection of Israel by their conversion. The words of Christ, however, seem to indicate that this shall also be the time when the sins of Gentile Christians, the doctrinal and moral libertinism, and subtle hallucinations of the Gentile Christian world in their full development, in their ripened heathenism, according to the outward New Testament form assumed by the latter, shall be likewise visited.
This is followed by a description of the end of the world, without the pause between the previous and the succeeding part being specially noted :
* And there shall be signs in sun and moon and stars. These are the signs from heaven of the approaching transformation.
6 And upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear, and anxious expectation of those things which are coming on the whole world.”—These are the earthly signs of the approaching transformation. The anxious foreboding will not, perhaps,
be merely an effect of the signs from heaven, and of the unheard-of commotion in all seas and waters; but rather it will be an immediate psychical-physical premonition of the end of the world, in which again a sign of the end itself is given.
For a change, which the whole earthly creation feels beforehand, will be felt, before and above all creatures, by man; and just this will be one of the most significant tokens of its approach.
And so must, indeed, men be agitated along with the earth : 'For the powers also of heaven shall be shaken to and fro. The change of the terrestrial creation shall be accompanied with a transformation of the ancient ordinances of heaven itself :
* And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud, with power and great glory. Hence, the last injunction, which has reference to the signs of the end of the world : " When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. '
The disciples had asked the Lord for the signs by which they might know the coming judgments. The Lord not only
. described to them the signs, but the judgments themselves. From His words, however, it appears that the signs shall coalesce almost in one with the judgments, as is accordant with the character of the greatest of all the world's epochs. This truth He now presents to them in the parable of the leaves of the figtree.
And He spake unto them a parable: 'Behold the fig-tree, and all the trees. When they now shoot forth, ye need only to see it, in order to know of yourselves that the summer is nigh at hand. So likewise, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.?
The Lord now explained in what sense He entrusted them with these communications regarding the tokens of the coming judgment, although the thought lay near at hand, that they might not themselves, perhaps, in this world experience these things: "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away
, till all shall be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away; but My words shall not pass away.'
. This promise has reference, in the first place, to the discipleship as a whole—to the Church, the eternal generation of the