Matthew

<45009E> 145 {file section b.}

J. N. Darby.

(Notes and Comments Vol. 5.)

Matthew 17

The Son of man is here seen in resplendent glory; and now mark another thing - the saints in full association with Him (and in like glory with Him - this is not in Matthew) talking with Him. But, though He thus appears as Son of man, and the saints familiarly with Him, when Peter would associate the Old Testament witnesses with Him, as if alike in that, they wholly disappear. They had been God's witnesses, and faithful as such, but this is the Son of God Himself to whom they bore witness. The bright cloud, the sign of Jehovah's presence in Israel, came over them, as once over the tabernacle (it is the same word as in the Septuagint) and the Voice came out of it, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him." In Luke we hear of entering into the cloud, not here, because it is the substitution of Christ as Son of God (compare Hebrews 1) for all the old testimony, and Jesus remained alone there. But all this belonged to the new state of man, and could not be revealed till that state had effectually begun in the resurrection of Jesus. The present work of Jesus on earth was only, so to speak, a provisional work, as He came to accomplish a far greater one, the atonement, "to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself"; so, as to Elias, one had come (for here it must be another person) in the spirit and power of Elias, who should surely come and restore all things, and he had suffered at their hands, and so must the Son of man, for Son of man He was in nature and Person, though the purposed and official glory was not to come as yet, the Church and Kingdom of heaven was first to take the place of the old covenant. But then the rejection was to rest on the responsibility of man, though God fulfilled His purpose by it; and this follows. Christ continues His grace in spite of all, but the incapacity to use it makes it hopeless to bear with the existing state of things - incapacity even in the disciples. There was no link, by faith, to the power that was present. It is this that closes a dispensation, not the presence of evil in the world - that, where grace wrought, brought the Lord in. But it was separation of heart to God which alone realised this power. Where there is faith, the power and grace is in Christ, whatever the evil and unbelief around. But all this, though it leads to final setting aside of the existing position of men with God, bringing in rebuke of disciples in that relationship, for, as Son of man, His provisional presented place in connection with man's responsibility passed away, yet His personal relationship with the Father could not, and into that, as relationship, He brings us. And this is what, in the most precious grace, He brings us at the end of the chapter.

146  - 8. There is a peculiar beauty in the way in which, Moses and Elias being set aside, Christ rests alone with them, as the One to be heard, because He is presented to be heard, as One who is the beloved Son who wholly, and alone, reveals the Father, and that to the exclusion of all other testimony; and thus telling of Him, as He knows Him, places us in the same relationship. Death and resurrection, however, are necessary for bringing out this.

Matthew 18

We have here the Spirit which characterises the Kingdom, and what belongs to the Assembly, in duty and authority. Unless, as a little child, they should not enter (for it was not yet come) and the most like a little child should be the greatest. What is most opposite to the spirit in which men, accustomed to evil, make as much of themselves as they can - the world. The child is simple, has no consciousness of place or self-importance, and, in the practical sense, is guileless and confiding, unhabituated to evil. Then as to self, the ruthless excision of everything that would be a snare to lead one into this, or to one such little one believing in Christ. Offences there would be, but woe to the world because of it. But Christ did not come to seek what had a place in this world or its esteem. He came to save the lost. These little ones had great value in His Father's sight, were honoured by and present to Him. There Christ's heart could, in a certain sense, find complacency, rest; to Him the spirit of the world was a wearying thing. It is strongly expressed morally in this passage. The application of the parable of the lost sheep is very striking here.

147 Next, if a brother offended, what was to be done? Grace - gain him personally, if possible. If that could not be, take two or three. It would not then be mere personal complaint, but persevering wrong proved. If he would not hear them, tell it to the Assembly; if he would not hear the Assembly, they might treat him as a stranger to it. The direction is to an individual, how to deal with an individual, but, in doing it, the Assembly, as locally constituted, replaces the synagogue. Remark here, we have the Church, as Christ builds it, not yet built, and an assembly, not the Assembly as known to and established by Paul, but a local body, though from other Scriptures we fully learn they act for and in the unity of the Body, as 1 Corinthians. But the assembled two or three to Christ's name, have Christ with them, and here only, as to the Church, have we binding or loosing, not the Keys, they, as we have seen, are of the Kingdom of heaven. Christ's administration from on high, of and by the Word. So, as to prayer here, the agreeing of two or three obtained the request, for Christ still was there. This provision so graciously meets the Church in its ruin, but that has been spoken of elsewhere. It is the element of order before the public body was formed. The unity has not to be given up, but the resource for its practical ruin, as to its full development, is here. We have the general principle that, when two or three are gathered together to His name, Christ is there. Then comes the spirit of forgiveness, though I doubt not that there is allusion to the Jews being forgiven on Christ's intercession, and coming fully and completely under the guilt of rejecting Him by refusing the grace which went out to others after His death. I am not afraid of taking the broad ground of not measure in "as," but principle, just as one not poor in spirit will not have the Kingdom of heaven. I doubt not that grace makes him poor in spirit, still he must be it. This last is the principle of the administration of the Kingdom, and hence is individual. After Peter personally, binding and loosing belongs only to the two or three assembled. Paul may make good his claim in power, but in the orderly administration of what took the place of Israel, this it was. Paul stands alone.

148 The connection of the Kingdom is this, that when the Word which is now the instrument of the Kingdom begets and orders the path of the soul according to the spiritual nature of the Kingdom, it is God's mind to gather them in one around Christ. Then comes the action of the Assembly, having Christ there. The Holy Ghost alone can conciliate individual responsibility to Christ, and His Word, the first claim to it is absolute, with the suited action and walk of the Assembly, and by His individual action in grace and truth, forms them for their common action together. For the Spirit leads according to the mind of Christ. But the Kingdom always is individual, and regulated by the authority of the Word. They are the two things developed in grace - saving the individual, and then gathering together in one.

Matthew 19

In this chapter we have the clear introduction of a principle noticed elsewhere, i.e., a power which does not exist within the sphere of nature at all. Though nature be ruined and corrupt, God owns what He formed of nature, but He has introduced a power which is not of it, and takes us out of the reach of its legitimate action for flesh or the world - "left all." Only in chapter 20 it is shown that this must be taken up on the principle of grace. Where this power is, God does what He will with His own.

- 16, et seq. We have first the Law in its national provisions, and it is, behind God's primary order, suited to the state the people were in. In the beginning it was not so. Then when we get beyond this, we find still amiable, conscientious nature keeping it as a code of outward human morality, and if men did, surely they would see good days. "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments," but in this character it does not reach the soul, nor awaken it to its state at all, leaves it thinking man is good, which is a delusion Hence the Lord comes to test the affections by the revelation of God - by goodness, as contrasted with selfishness in man, and following Christ; his heart was elsewhere. Note the Lord does not take the spirituality of the Law to test evil and conscience, but raises the question of where the affections were, of goodness, and of Himself. The man did really lust, not after another man's, but selfishness ruled and had its object, and this the Lord detects. "There is none good but one, that is God." He leaves the young man's statement as to keeping the Law, even to loving his neighbour as himself, where it is. But entering the Kingdom of heaven raises the question of where the heart is.

149 Note further, with what wonderful perfection the truth of the Lord sets the matter. God's nature, what was from the beginning, fully restored and maintained (vv. 1-9). Then sovereign grace bringing in power which is above nature. These two form the character of Christianity in this respect. In its order, as old as the Creation, God's order; in its exercise of sovereign power, God's power above nature (vv. 10-12). Nature, as uncorrupted practically by the world and its lies, again owned (when corruption is not developed), vv. 13-15. In its actual moral state, as morally developed, none good at all, God only; this detected by lust, when the outward prescriptions of the outward Law, man's perfect rule as he is from God, had been kept. Christ detected this, as contrasted with the objects of lust, and, note, not man improved, but a new Kingdom set up, into which he had to enter, and heaven held out before man - Christ, who came from heaven, being the present test of the affections suited to it down here. The assertion of sovereign, but needed grace, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." The additional question of reward for labour is then spoken of, but with the careful testimony that all is grace. First last, and last first - goodness in it, but sovereign goodness. Indeed goodness, though not sovereign in a creature, is always free, the heart acting voluntarily, or it is not such. Hence, we are not said to be love in the Lord, though we are light in the Lord. It is free, but in us a duty, "Walk in love." In God properly sovereign. Even Christ, who loved us, identified with obedience, "That I love the Father," and "As the Father hath given me commandment, so I do." Yet He, preserving ever the divine title, whatever His humiliation, could say, "Therefore doth my Father love me" - give a motive to His Father, glorified Him as Man, so that He is glorified with Him.

In this chapter, then, we have the natural relationships God established fully confirmed, as it was at the beginning. God had joined husband and wife, and it could not be broken legally, or by man; but if sin had broken it, then it was not "might be" but "was." But there was the introduction of a power which took above nature. God's order sanctioned, but, as evil was come in, power comes in which lifts out of nature altogether. So with children. That, not as to sin in nature, but as to manifestation, was of God, was not, as to the world, corrupted. Then we get the Law as the way of life. If a man will enter into life, he must keep the Law. But a vast question is behind this. First, none is good but One, that is God - for man, keep the commandments and enter into life (the Lord does not say eternal life). Externally the young man had kept them, but God searches the heart; he was an upright, loveable young man - his heart all wrong - he loved his wealth According to the flesh, who does not? For the Kingdom of heaven, the heart is tested, and the rich man has a poor chance - where his treasure is his heart will be; but the wealth of this world is not in heaven. Nor does the Lord stop short of the principle: "Who then shall be saved?" With man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible. But the time will come, the regeneration, when the Son of man, blessed be the Lord, will sit on the throne of His Kingdom; then all will be changed, bringing all things into God's way of ordering them, i.e., right. Then, he who had sacrificed all in this world of disorder, and ruin, would reap the fruit of God's service in God's reward. The Twelve, Christ's followers in humiliation and rejection by the world, would reign with Him, judging God's peculiar people in glory in the Kingdom, and whoever had given up this world for Christ, and what nature tied him to, would have a hundredfold, and inherit everlasting life. But, as the following parable shows, it must be on the principle of confiding in the Lord and grace, not as earning so much. How thoroughly, while there are dispensational effects, man is thoroughly searched out here, and every relationship put in its place! But all dependent on grace where sin is come in, and yet power come in, quite above and out of nature, to act above it and the world, when evil is come in. But though sure reward followed sacrifice of self (for self it is) for Christ's name, yet there may be those who, when earthly things ordered place, were first, who in God's Kingdom would come in last, and those last and despised there would be first in His. And this is true even of religious place according to man. It is grace, and serving according to grace, which makes the difference. This is followed out in the next chapter.

151 Matthew 20

The first sixteen verses of this chapter belong to the subject of the previous chapter; verses 17-28 put the Cross instead of the crown, and warn the disciples of it; in verse 29, we begin, as in all the first three Gospels, the history of the dosing days and scenes of the Lord's life. The parable of the labourers in the vineyard gives the price of grace as contrasted with reward for so much work; these will be rewarded a hundredfold, but it is not so much pay for so much work - that was law - and the young man showed that really man could not stand a moment on that ground. But, as in the answer to Peter, there is reward, but the principle of labour is not so much pay for so much work, but confidence in Him who takes us in to labour. Verse 16 answers to chapter 19:30, only the former is on the side of grace, the latter in view of man and the religion of the world.

It is to be remarked that all the workmen, except the first, come in under grace. They trusted to "Whatsoever is right," though that grace might be most definitely shown in the last, whereas the first came for stipulated wages. The principle is contrasted in this, long ago noted as the object of the parable, that reward should not enfeeble the sense of grace, while the encouragement of reward is given.

- 22, 23. The second "And be baptised with the baptism that I am baptised with" is better expunged, as we see the body of authority, which retains them, have, which looks like a mere copy from the mind following the use of it in Mark.

- 29, et seq. We cannot too distinctly mark the change in the Gospels which takes place at the arrival at Jericho, and blind Bartimaeus. The Lord is there, Son of David, presenting Himself in prophetic title to Jerusalem in that right, though in the Person of the Son of God. But Psalm 2 gave Him that as part of that truth on earth. He is not the suffering Man, not the divine Healer in grace, though that in Person He could not cease to be, and His deepest sufferings were closing in. He comes in kingly and divine right judging all that was to be judged.

Matthew 22

Note the difference of judgment here on the nation, judging it, and destroying their city, putting an end to the whole dispensation of man under law, and setting aside the people under the old covenant, as rejecting their Messiah, and that on the ground of the refusal of the grace which He presented to them (the grinding to powder comes afterwards, in connection with their antichristian place). This was present judgment by Titus. Then, when the mass are brought in of Christendom, the judgment is individual, fitness for the place they were brought into, the partaking of the Son's joy. What is added shows there would be many such, many called but few chosen. But the judgment is individual.

152 It seems to me that this chapter supposes invitation before Christ's death (v. 3), and after it (vv. 4-7); then (v. 9) to the Gentiles, and the judgment of professing Christendom. Luke (chap. 14) as usually, more generally in principle. But I think it begins after His work is accomplished, when all things were ready, as Matthew 22:4. Then the chiefs having rejected it, He calls the poor of the flock (Luke 14:21), then the Gentiles. But save the national exclusion, we have not positive judgment; it is the dispensation of grace. Neither is the city burned up, nor he who had not the wedding garment cast into outer darkness.

Matthew 24

According to the character of the whole Gospel, as notably chapters 16, 17 and 18, this chapter presents, on the general question connected with the end of the age, first, the destruction of the Temple by itself, then the general state of things for the Remnant, and the closing scene; all is on earth. Then the Church, with the position and responsibility of Christians, and then the judgment of the nations in the Kingdom, all of course seen as where responsibility is. It is historico-dispensational. In Mark 13 it is only asked, "What shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled," i.e., destruction. The general character of verses 1-31, Matthew is there, only service is specially considered as ever in Mark 13:11; then goes on (as in Matthew) straight to the end, and from verse 28 to 37, general warning, not dispensational dealings. In Luke, the times of the Gentiles, not Israel, are the great object; hence the first and second taking of Jerusalem are mentioned, and the abomination of desolation is not. The difference, if not of very great importance, makes the passages clearer, and is interesting as falling in with the characters of the Gospels.

153 The division in this chapter has not been sufficiently noticed. The parenthesis of warning during the absence of the Lord, from verse 32 to chapter 25:30 has been, and that, at verse 45, the Church or Christian matter properly begins, but not definitely that verses 32-44 are definitely the exhortation, or word to the Remnant, or disciples in the midst of Israel, in view of the Lord's appearing there. It has to do with that generation, and the revelation of the Son of man, and the things coming to pass which concerned Israel. It is thus definitely the warning and exhortation to the disciples, according to what precedes, and then come Church or Christian matters - the general responsibility of Christians in His absence, at verse 45.

- 34. The force of "This generation shall not pass," is strongly confirmed by its use in Luke. The taking of Jerusalem by Titus is distinguished from the end - the times of the Gentiles distinguished from Jerusalem being trodden down; and verse 32 comes in connected with the last times. Verse 28 takes it up generally, but it certainly includes the last days, as contrasted with the taking of Jerusalem by Titus.

It seems to me that the end of this chapter does not go beyond the Jerusalem Church, and hence goes no further than setting the servant over all His goods. The proper character of the Church is first found in the Virgins - they go out to meet the Bridegroom.

- 45, et seq. It seems to me that the parable of the good and evil servant is rightly connected with this chapter. Though it refers evidently to Christendom, it is here taken up in connection with the continued service, i.e., the Christian service is viewed as here pursued through the lapse of time which followed Christ's rejection, linked on with that in which Christ had engaged His disciples; hence can, in principle, go on till He appears for earth.

Matthew 25

- 21 and 23. "Enter thou into the joy of thy lord" - it must be remembered, as I judge, that when it is said the joy of his Lord it is the joy of the Kingdom.

154 Matthew 26

Remark the exceeding beauty with which the beginning of this chapter brings out the good in contrast with evil. The Lord, in perfect peace states what is coming upon Him - in perfect peace. This is inward power and life - communion with God. The chief priests and elders consult together to accomplish the wickedness of their will, but would not have it on the feast day. Their will is accomplished as far as it ministers to the accomplishment of God's purposes, but it is on the feast, for so it should be. Then Christ has the sweet and blessed testimony of attachment to Himself, that He was precious to some, when the disciples, judging (at Judas' instigation) after the sight of their eyes, count it waste, and Judas covenants to deliver Him up. So Mary, by her attachment to Christ, enters into the full mind of God, for value for Him makes everything to be rightly judged, and the very power of evil rising up, without knowledge of its plans and counsels, but guided by divine light, acts so as exactly to meet the thought and purpose of God in His love to Christ, and is approved. The resurrection of Lazarus, the riding in on the ass, the coming up of the Greeks, were God's vindicating testimonies to Jesus, but this is, after Christ's perfectness, the guiding of the disciples; the Christian's mind, perfectly connects it. Satan indeed leads Judas to meet the mind of the chief priests. What a scene it is! But, in such an one, how infinitely sweet to see that there is a soul so guided in it!

- 16. It is to me quite evident, as regards this verse, Mark 14 and John 12, that Matthew and Mark give parenthetically what led Judas to go to the chief priests, and the only question is, did he go directly or four days after? He may have gone off at once, or waited until some good occasion offered. This question hangs on the judgment whether the consultation of the priests was how to use the occasion offered, or whether the offer met their consultations. The days in Mark are quite clear - six, before He had the supper - five, before He goes in - four, before He curses the tree - three, before they see it withered and the discourses take place, and then comes chapter 14 two days before the Passover.

- 57, 58. On the whole, on comparing the Gospels, I think we have two sessions of the chief priests and elders, etc. First, on the blessed Lord's being brought there (to Caiaphas) - He is then questioned and examined, buffeted and ill-treated. When it was day they met formally in council, to give it regularity. There were now no witnesses, but, in virtue of what the Lord had said during the night, they put the question to Himself which He answers affirmatively; on which, their judgment being pronounced, they lead Him away to Pilate. It is only this last part we have in Luke who, on the coming in to Caiaphas, only gives the history of Peter. It is very likely they had retired meanwhile. It was early in the night when He was brought in. He had gone out to Gethsemane at the close of the day. Matthew, as usually, gives it according to the purport of his Gospel; he does not distinguish the morning council at all, but gives Peter's history, after the examination of the Lord, as a distinct history by itself. In Mark, we have the consultation as a distinct thing, as well as the previous examination on the Lord's first bringing in, when they were, I suppose, waiting for the result of the sending the band to take Him; Mark, as usual, having Luke's order, with much of Matthew's materials (as to fact), John 18:28, gives the simple fact without the council; there is no "Then," save as "Therefore" - it is often wrongly put in in the English version. Matthew 26:57, 58, shows that the examination was at Caiaphas's, the high priest's, palace.

155  - 64. Note we have, besides the being the Christ, the Son of God, which He was as come among the Jews on the earth, living amongst men, the double position of the Son of man - sitting at the right hand of power - and coming in the clouds of heaven.

- 69. I see no difficulty in what people give themselves much trouble about, in the accounts of poor Peter's denial. Matthew, as indeed Mark, gives the three simply and plainly - by the fire, out in the entry, and third time it is not said where. The first was "a damsel" (paidiske), the second, "the damsel who kept the door" (John 18:17), hence he (the), but it was not the one who spoke to him at the fire but another, she spoke to the men there. Then, for the thing had spread, those that stood there charged him probably returned into the quadrangle where the fire was, for the Lord looked at him. Mark 14:69, "And the maid saw him, and began to say again." "The maid who kept the porch" - she said it not to him, but to those who stood by. Luke says just the same, only that chapter 22:58 is not the porch maid who said it to the men, but one of the men who then said it to him. The last is the same as Mark and Matthew, only Luke only mentions, after his manner, the Lord's turning and looking on Peter. In John, we have but two, chapter 18:25, 26, after the enquiry as he came in. Here only seeing him in the garden is noticed. I think they are the first and third times. In the three Gospels, his speech betraying him is the third time. Though I believe the Spirit of God wholly guides the statements, yet as a history it is quite probable that John who was, we know, intimate in the house, did not go out into the porch. The only question is: Is the first denial in John meant to be that "the damsel, the doorkeeper" said it at the time Peter came in? Having seen him come in, let in by John, she might very naturally, when he went out into the porch, have pointed him out as a disciple too - when John was not there, far more likely than when he was.

156 Observe in this chapter the divine grace with which the blessed Lord, knowing all the unfaithfulness to be manifested by Peter, and warning him of it, goes in perfect calmness through all that was of the Spirit of grace in what He was doing, and takes Peter into the garden with Him to be favoured with such nearness to Himself. He could not watch an hour, much less die for Christ. But all is grace above the evil, and meekness, and carrying out His own thoughts, i.e., the Lord, with the perfect knowledge of all we are, carries on His own purpose and exercise of constant grace. But, on the other hand, He searches out the heart and lets none of the evil which has produced the unfaithfulness remain unjudged. He proves the heart of Peter, by His repeated questions, till Peter fully judges it, and so restores his soul. This is very instructive to the soul, and a solemn warning, because the carrying on the ministration of grace to us and by us, however a witness of unspeakable goodness, is never in itself a measure of its actual state, though I do not doubt that the neglect of that state tends directly to diminish the blessing. But how full of grace these ways are! And that, as a general rule, spiritual unction in service depends on our spiritual state. There is another point in connection with this - the attractions of the world may have ceased, so that the heart has no taste for them, but this is not all. There is consistency and power in respect of actual conflicts with Satan. I may have ceased in heart to go back after Egypt; it may have lost all attraction for me, but this not enough. I must walk, and especially as to the state of my soul, so as to have power for victory in Canaan.

157 Matthew 27

- 1. The Council meets, when it was day, for form's sake (Mark 15:1) to give Him up to Pilate. It was then early. He was crucified the third hour (Mark 15:25), nine o'clock - having been to Herod and back. From twelve to three (verse 45, also Mark and Luke) there was darkness, i.e., sixth to ninth hour; all from six in the morning. Thereafter, He gives up His Spirit, and is laid in the tomb before six o'clock, when the Sabbath came. John's "about the sixth hour" was, I suppose, six o'clock in the morning, counting from midnight; Pilate then brings Him out, and delivers Him up, and at nine o'clock He is actually crucified. His Name be praised!

- 5. It certainly is a very singular thing that Judas cast down the money in the temple (en to nao). He could hardly have been a priest, nor does it follow that he went into the temple (naos) when he threw the money there. But I do not think naos is ever used for the outer buildings, so that he must have gone in where the priests were, before the naos, through intimacy with them on this dreadful errand. But, if so, what a picture it gives us of the evil ways of men! I find no case where naos is used for other than the house.

- 51, 52. We have the double power and effect of Christ's death - the rent veil or free access, and the resurrection.

- 63. It is a striking fact that Christ never announces Himself as the Christ except to the woman of Samaria, out of Judaism. He says at the close, referring to other times, "Because ye are Christ's" - owns it as revealed to Simon Peter, but never presents Himself as such. He forbids the disciples to do it before the Transfiguration. It shows how His Person, or moral claim was ever put forward, though no man knew the Son or received His testimony, yea, had done so many miracles. Nor even does John Baptist call Him the Christ, though it be implied. This is the more remarkable because, as heretofore observed, we have not the heavenly place in connection ourselves either, i.e., High Priest, or Head of the Body. After His rejection, in controversy with the rejecting Jews, He confesses Himself such, and shows that there had been plain adequate testimony that He was so, as is shown in this verse, and in John 10: 25. But we have no presenting of Himself as such.

158 Matthew 28

- 1. The word epiphoskouse (began to dawn) in this verse, and the word egorasan (had brought), Mark 16:1, have led me to new apprehensions as to the visits of the women to the sepulchre. In the first place, it is to me beyond all controversy that several things, supposed to happen in the morning, happened on, to us, Saturday evening. The Sabbath closed at six, as is known, and from Saturday at six in the evening the women were free to buy their spices, or to do anything else.

First epiphoskouse does not mean solely nor properly "dawn." Luke 23:54, kai hemera en paraskeue, kai sabbaton epephoske (and it was the preparation day, and the Sabbath drew on). Here the Friday is sabbaton epephoske, translated "drew on." It was the day which preceded the Sabbath. Hence, Matthew 28:1, Opse de sabbaton te epiphoskouse eis mian sabbaton (In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week) is properly what we call Saturday, but that being Sabbath it was only at the close of it, i.e., when it was over, that they went. However opse and hespera differ - opse meaning "after," and even often "a good while after," see Wetstein on this verse, but it is given as bradion (late). I learn also from Marsh (whose reasonings on the passage are unfounded) that the Syriac has translated Luke 23:54, and John 19:31, which is certainly the evening, by the same word, i.e., for epei paraskeue en (because it was the preparation) the same word as Luke, and this word has the natural signification of epiphosko, the Syriac being the Apostles' language.

"And Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid," Mark 15:47. The Sabbath over, the two Maries and Salome buy spices, i.e., Saturday evening - "bought," not "had bought" - and Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, after this go and see the sepulchre in the end of the Sabbath (opse de sabbaton). It was thus late, sero, bradion, after buying the spices. But Mary Magdalene was absorbed with thoughts of Jesus, and, not resting at all, while it was yet dark comes to the sepulchre, i.e., Sunday morning before day, runs and tells Peter and John who come and examine the sepulchre, and return home. Mary remains, and sees Jesus, and then goes and tells the disciples in general (not 'to go to Galilee' - that was not her message but) that she had seen Jesus, and that He had told her that He was to ascend to His Father and their Father, His God and their God, i.e., their new, divine, heavenly relationship according to His own, through His Person and work.

159 Mark, who relates the message of the angels to the women as to Galilee, states also that He appeared first to Mary Magdalene (of which John gives the detail). Mary Magdalene's occupation of mind is evident all through, and John, to whom she went, gives the detail of this part, in accordance with the subject of all his Gospel. Mary Magdalene did not wait to see anything at the sepulchre. Seeing the stone rolled away, she set off at once to Peter and John - those specially attached to Jesus - to tell them the sepulchre was empty. The risen Saviour appears to her with the message cited. Jesus Himself drew her as an object of affection.

The women in general came to anoint Him; it was all well. It was the manner of the Jews to bury, and they would pay their crucified Lord honour thus. But there is no such hurry with them. They set off early, but are there only at sunrise. The scene with Mary Magdalene was all over. To them angels appear, a gracious but ordinary Jewish intervention on God's part, and Jesus is associated with Galilee - His place of connection with the poor Jewish Remnant. There they would see Him, as indeed they did. They are rejoiced and alarmed at the same time, and go off from the sepulchre, and as they go they meet Jesus, who also tells them to say that they will see Him in Galilee - the same association, and they touch Him; to Mary Magdalene this was not permitted, for He was not returned to take the Kingdom, and be bodily present here yet. The close of Matthew connects itself with this Galilee position.

The only passage here which presents any difficulty is, "They said nothing to any man," Mark 16: 8. But from verse 7 it is evident that, in result, they told the disciples; only in going (fleeing) they said nothing to anyone on the road till they reached the disciples. Matthew indeed does not say they executed their commission. Christ met them in Galilee in a mountain He had ordered them to meet Him in. Note, the last words of this Gospel take up distinctly this Galilee place, and, showing that He had now power given Him far more extensive, sends them out to all nations with a new mission, but the point of contact with His old mission was Galilee - the poor Remnant, and according to Isaiah 8 and 9.

160 I have here omitted Luke, because always in his Gospel he gives the general, broad, moral facts, without occupying himself with the order or connection of them in time. This is universally his character. He is perfectly exact, and gives much additional moral light on many points in this way, but occupied with this. It is not the purpose of the Spirit in this Gospel to narrate historically. He will take from many periods what will bring out, in common, the same truth, or single out one fact which shows it forth, without heeding the other accompanying ones, or name them without reference to their order in time, if their moral order be different, as in the temptation in the wilderness. So he passes over the flight into Egypt, and says, things being accomplished in the temple, He went to Nazareth, because he was not to take up the Jewish character of Christ but the contrary; and hence, when obedience to the Law was personally accomplished, he gets at once into His Nazarene character. It is the same in principle in the history of the resurrection.

The women that followed Him, "who accompanied him from Galilee" (that is their character in general) see the sepulchre, and where they laid Him. Returned, they prepared spices and myrrh. He does not say they bought, nor when they prepared - perhaps they did Friday night as well as Saturday; I doubt it, however, for 6 o'clock the Sabbath began, and it must have been about, if not quite that, when they returned. "And they rested the Sabbath" - but the kai to men gives it a moral character, and not the date after the buying.

So chapter 24:8-10, we have merely the general fact as to all "the women who came from Galilee" without any detail, and "to the eleven, and to all the rest." "Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and the others with them" told these things to the Apostles. It was the affair of the women - when, and where, or who, to each or to several, or collectively, is entirely passed over. It was not the object here of the Spirit of God. What he does tell us is the fact, and gives it a moral character, and some additional particulars which are not elsewhere, but no details. It is very possible that more than one party of women went to the sepulchre, that, learning from the first party, or through their means, they went down (I see no object in supposing it, however - verses 22, 23, would rather say otherwise, as also verse 1; I do not speak here of Mary Magdalene) but this the Scripture was not concerned to tell us. Each word of what it does tell us bears truth in it for the soul. So verses 23, 24 - it is all put generally together, for we may well suppose that verse 24 refers to Peter and John, though most likely the two that went to Emmaus only heard this as a general report. Verse 12 also is thus given as a confirming fact after the very vague general statement of all the women telling "to the Apostles and all the rest." They were about 120 men and women. These preparatory facts are really introductory almost to the account of the journey to Emmaus, which is also alluded to in Mark. The general effect of the women's statement is given in verse 11. However, there was exception, for instance Peter (it is not "Then Peter," as in English, but "But Peter") arose, and went, and saw, and departed, wondering at what had happened, but as John tells us, for he had no scriptural understanding or faith in the resurrection. See the remarkable confirmation of this character, at the close of this account of Luke, where, verses 43, 44, and 50 seem all continuous, and they are morally. An infidel might say Luke clearly did not know that there were forty days - he supposed He went up to heaven at once. Now Luke is the person who tells us, in the Acts, that there were forty days.

161 Thus, "In the end of the Sabbath," i.e., when ended as obligatory rest - Saturday, at 6 p.m. - Mary Magdalene and the other Mary come to see the sepulchre. They, as soon as the Sabbath was past, bought sweet spices; they had already bought some before the Sabbath. The first who came before sunrise, the first day of the week, to the sepulchre was Mary Magdalene alone. She runs off at once to Peter and John, and they go to the sepulchre, see that Jesus is risen, and go home. Jesus reveals Himself to her, and she goes off to execute the Lord's commission, declaring Christ's going to His Father and their Father. This was on her return. Then the other women come, bringing the spices, and, not finding the Lord, go into the sepulchre, and see two angels who tell them Jesus was risen, and recall His words. They go out of the sepulchre in haste. Their message from the angel is quite a different one from Mary's - the disciples were to go into Galilee, the place where He was connected with the Remnant. They meet Jesus on the way, who gives them the same message. They go and tell the eleven, and all the rest. Mary carried her message to the disciples. In John we have only Mary. She came "While it was yet dark," but Jesus was risen - when the others came, the sun had risen; Mark 16:2. The first verse there refers to our Saturday evening, Sabbath being ended. Mary Magdalene does not seem to have had anything to do with bringing the spices; her going alone to see after the Lord, took her out of the whole after-scene of spices, and angels, and Galilee. Luke throws, as very often indeed, the whole into a general statement; only note "Then arose Peter" is only in the English, not in the Greek. He says, "The women." Where the moral instruction in grace is expressed, there he enters into details. Matthew gives it historically. Thus verse 1 stands by itself - the evening, as I judge; verse 2 happens before the women come at all, as is evident from all the accounts. Mark 16:10 refers to Mary Magdalene's case, and to her going to the disciples after she had seen Jesus; John 20:18. This resumé brings out the case of Mary Magdalene very interestingly, and presents it more clearly than ever. Nor is there any difficulty in the order of events; the only one which might be raised is making chapter 28:1, the evening of Saturday, but it is certain, though isolated, verse 2 comes after it. When the women came in the morning, even the first of them, the resurrection was passed. Verse 5 also is an account by itself - it assumes the women to be there - more fully given in Mark. The two messages are the great thing.

162 I think it is clear that we have divers visits of the women to the sepulchre. First, as to Mary Magdalene, it is clear she came early, while it was yet dark, and went away without more to Peter and John to tell them. Mark also notices the Lord's appearing first to Mary Magdalene. The angels were there all the time - at least, appeared repeatedly; one sat on the stone as the women came up - one at the right, when they went in - two, in Luke, speaking to others than Mary and Salome, but these give no message, only say He was risen - and two are inside, at head and feet where Jesus had been laid, watching where Mary's heart was. I apprehend Mary Magdalene, the other Mary, and Joanna were much together. Mary Magdalene goes alone, then Mary and Joanna, and then others come up; all these last probably went away together.

163 I take verse 1 to have been our Saturday evening. They came only to see the sepulchre.

Verse 2 begins the whole history of the first day morning, before day, when the angel rolls away the stone, and the keepers are overwhelmed. Jesus, it appears, was already gone. Here the statement as to the women is quite general; to them, whoever they were, it was said not to fear as they sought Jesus; Mark, more definitely, the other Mary and Salome - Mary Magdalene had gone off on seeing the stone rolled away. Jesus Himself met them on the way with the message to the disciples to go and meet Him in Galilee. All this is apart from John and the second part of Mark. The main point is angelic power, and the Galilee revelation of Christ. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, always together, merely appear, in their personal anxiety as to the Lord, Saturday in the fall of the evening to look at the tomb. There was nothing of resurrection here. When Mary Magdalene came, Sunday morning before twilight, the stone was rolled away, and Jesus risen. The history of the rolling away of the stone is given in Matthew 28:2, and then what the angel says to some of the women, which was clearly, from all accounts, a subsequent circumstance. The stone was gone before even Mary Magdalene came. In Mark, we learn that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, when the Sabbath was over, bought spices in order to go and anoint Him, very possibly after having visited the sepulchre and seen all safe. At sunrise, some of the women (Mary Magdalene had already been there) come to the sepulchre, and find the stone rolled away, and Jesus not there. They go in, find a young man sitting on the right hand, who gives them the message as to Galilee. This we have had in Matthew. Then comes, in Mark, a wholly different part - an appendix - the appearing to Mary Magdalene, who tells it to the disciples. In Luke, we learn that already, on the Friday evening probably, they had bought spices; at least chapter 23:56 would seem to say they had done this. Mark 16:1, does not forbid this; egorasan may mean "had bought." It was when the Sabbath was past they were going to use them. Only Mary Magdalene is not in verse 2. It is general "they" the women "come," with which Matthew 28 coincides, and then we have verse 9. In Luke 24 we find the women generally, who, having prepared spices already, come to the sepulchre; he throws them altogether (v. 10). Here, two men stand by them, and here we have nothing of Galilee, nor of the message to Mary Magdalene, but the general truth of His resurrection, as indeed Luke gives ascension from Bethany, not Galilee. Some bought the spices, probably Joanna and the other Mary, but this is very general, and takes in all, but there were others who came. Those who first came with spices went in and saw the angel sitting, and get their message as to Galilee; this was a special case. Others came and were there with them - came up - and the two angels stood there and told them of His resurrection. The vision Mary Magdalene had was quite distinct; all is far more quiet, orderly, and detailed, and there are two angels, sitting where the Lord had lain, who speak to her. All the women did not go into the sepulchre, probably only the other Mary and Salome, and saw one angel sitting; the rest, outside, got the general message of His resurrection which we have in Luke. In Mark, we have, leaving Mary Magdalene out, only the others, i.e., Salome, and Mary who go into the sepulchre, and see one angel sitting there. The other women are only mentioned in Luke. So that we have three sets - Mary Magdalene - the other Mary and Salome - and various other women who came. The first is quite distinct, and sees, on her return, two angels, one at the head, the other at the feet; Mary and Salome go in and see one angel on the right who gives a message as to Galilee; the other women see two angels standing outside, who merely tell them that Jesus is risen. But the object of any of the Gospels, as to any of the women, save Mary Magdalene, was not the details as to them, though there are degrees of communication as to all. I suppose all the women, except Mary Magdalene, met the Lord as they were going away, and told the twelve of what had happened.

164 The last verses of this Gospel confirm the idea of the Lord's speaking in view of a proximate establishment of the Kingdom, or, as overleaping all the interval in which the Jews rejected were left out. They go from the resurrection into Galilee, the place of His intercourse with the Remnant in grace, when the mass would not have Him. Hence this Remnant being accepted (in the disciples), He sends them to the nations and is with them to the end of the age which is to continue.

The result of the whole Gospel is undoubtedly that what is said is said in view of the following establishment of the Kingdom in power, but looking, at the close, to a Remnant slighted and persecuted as followers of a rejected King, and hence overstepping all that went beyond the Kingdom, and taking all in as belonging to "this age."

165 We have a distinct commission, not merely as if the Remnant were seen gathered because the disciples were with Jesus, but that we have in chapter 10 a complete mission to the Jews as such, to the coming of the Son of man. That mission, note, is in the Land. It divides at verse 16, in a general way; what follows going on to circumstances true only after His death.

In this Gospel we have the Kingdom of heaven in chapter 13, consequent on the rejection of the Jews - the Church in chapter 16, and the Kingdom in glory and power in chapter 17. But there are some important remarks connected with it, though I am not quite master of all its hearings. The closing rejection of Israel in chapter 12, on to their final state under Antichrist has been fully noted - Israel looked at as that "generation," i.e., that had to do with Christ in unbelief. But then the Kingdom of heaven is continued from the sowing of the Son of man on the earth. It was not the Christ with Israel, and seeking fruit in His vineyard, but sowing - out of the house - on the seashore; but it was the word of the Kingdom, as Christ preached "Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand." Then the Kingdom of heaven, the King being rejected, takes the form described in the parables, but it was not a direct, but still a continuance of Christ's work when here (like Hebrews 1:1, and chap. 2:2). In the tares and wheat, the sowing is by the Son of man, but the field is the world. The first parable is Christ's true work, i.e., bringing what was to produce fruit, but he has no character as the Sower, but the fact. It was an outward thing, then substituted in the world for the outward Jewish thing - the carrying on in the world of the Lord's work in Israel, i.e., sowing (not seeking fruit) with its effect de facto, and then God's mind in it. In chapter 16 it is different; it is the Person of Christ the Son of God (proved in resurrection) and His building the Church on this. The sign of the prophet Jonas (death and resurrection, which was the cutting off of Israel on its own old ground) the only sign given. God had revealed Himself as in nature beyond dispensation, in chapter 15, in the case of the Syrophoenician, but divine grace in love to the people in spite of all. The moral rejection, under law, had been shown in the beginning of chapter 15 - the evil of man, verses 18-20; then God Himself in goodness, in the Syro-phoenician. Then comes the Jonas sign, and the Person of Jesus as Son of God (proved in resurrection, and victory over Satan) and the Church built on that; but this was the Cross here. Then comes the Kingdom in power. This is the Son of man coming in His Kingdom, i.e., in the Transfiguration; compare 2 Peter 1. So that we have the Son of man sowing - the Church, a divine thing - the love of God, the Rock and Builder - and the Son of man, in the glory of the Kingdom, coming.

166 It is further of the greatest importance to remark that the keys given to Peter are not the keys of the Church - Christ builds that - (hence in 1 Peter 2, we have not any one building - in 1 Corinthians 3 we have) but the keys of the Kingdom of heaven, i.e., the outward thing on earth, as we have seen, consequent on Christ's sowing, following up even His earthly sowing, which might or might not produce fruit, and certainly produced in result a mixed thing which could not be mended, had a treasure in it for which Christ took the world, a-gathering of good and bad fishes. Doubtless Peter's authority in establishing it was authenticated in heaven, but the result was not other than what Christ predicted. But then it is evidently personal. The Church the Son of God builds. The being with His disciples to the end of the age has nothing to do with Church matters. It is discipling the Gentiles. It is from a risen Christ in Galilee, not, as in Luke, ascending. It has the world for its field, but to disciple the nations, the Jews not being in question. It is really chapter 13, not chapter 16. In this mission Christ will be surely with those He sends, to the end of the world, even when the Church is gone. So far as the history of Acts goes, and Galatians, the mission to the Gentiles was given up to Paul and Barnabas. At any rate this was an extension consequent on Christ's receiving all power in heaven and on earth (Matthew 10); not the Body of Christ nor the building of 1 Corinthians 3. Matthew 10 goes to the end of the world too, but excludes Gentiles. It is connected with Christ as then present, and will be renewed at the end, when the Church is gone and the Kingdom of heaven, properly speaking, closed. When risen, and having all power in heaven and on earth, the nations were to be discipled. In chapter 10, the starting point was from Christ on earth - the Kingdom was at hand; in chapter 28, the starting-point is Christ having all power in heaven and on earth, now risen, the Jews not included, and the nations are the object. It is the truth of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost - not anything at hand.

167 In chapter 24 the Gospel of the Kingdom is to be preached to "all nations" - "this Gospel" - what Christ preached. This specifically is the extension of chapter 10 to the Gentiles, and then the end comes. Chapter 28 is in contrast with chapter 10, a ministration by itself, and which I suppose fell through; the Gentiles were committed to Paul who brought in the doctrine of the Church. With this mission, baptism was connected, with the Church not. Mark is personal - Luke, as to the Gospel, is clearly Pauline; chapter 24 is more dispensational than Mark 13. We have Christ's coming, and the end of the age. It gives more the external state. It takes up the mission of chapter 10 as existing, and extends it to Gentiles, and looks, all through, more exclusively to the end, though open, as to Jewish ground, to present application. Still it is properly Jewish, reaching out as a witness to the nations, as it will at the end. Hence we have nothing of the Holy Ghost; in Mark we have, because the present service of the Apostles is more in view; this is found in Matthew in chapter 10. Mark 13 is more present service, until verse 14, hence we have the Holy Ghost brought in there, which in Matthew is in chapter 10, where all their service in Israel is in question. Chapter 24 is, as I have said, more prophetic and external, and has the end more in sight all through, though it may have to say "the end is not yet"; verse 9 puts them more amongst the Gentiles than Matthew 10, though the language be very like, and it is the Jews still who "deliver up," and the proper going out among the nations is only with this Gospel of the Kingdom. Chapter 28 is evidently another matter. And remark that in Matthew 10 it is a search for the Remnant among the Jews - "Enquire who in it is worthy"; not so in chapter 28. It may well be there is a break at "Behold I send," in verse 16.

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I would look a little further into the missions in this Gospel. First, chapter 10, where we know they are sent out to the cities of Israel, and were not to go to the Samaritans or Gentiles; but they would be brought before kings and rulers for Christ's sake, for a testimony to them and the Gentiles. The immediate testing mission seems to me to end with verse 15; verses 16-22 go together, and reach out into what is more general, and in fact guide them when Christ was gone and the Spirit come, but this leads them to the end, "He that shall endure to the end." This it is that gives its importance to the destruction of Jerusalem, that, though it were not the end, yet ended necessarily this mission to the cities of Israel. Thus verse 23 comes in, i.e., they should have acted on it then, but it runs over to the time the Son of man comes. From verse 24 it is general; verse 23 connects itself on, more directly, to verse 13; still the verses 14-22 connect themselves with it as a continuation in fact to the destruction of Jerusalem, and in its contemplated times on to the end. But though verses 14-22 include the history after Christ was gone, the whole applies wholly to ministry among Jews, if it were not speaking as prisoners before the authorities. Next, the mission is to Israel (not the Jews) but to the Remnant. It takes up, like the Sermon on the Mount, those who are worthy, and there peace was to rest, and the Kingdom of heaven was at hand; that was what they were to preach. This part is the then present power of Christ (Emmanuel) there. This testimony therefore is pretty plain. The starting point of this (though it may continue to the end, and have a peculiar character when He was gone - yet only generally intimated) was Emmanuel presented to the Jews, though He may be so before it closes, as the rejected One.

168 In chapter 24, it is not the cities of Israel, but Jerusalem, nor exactly the message of grace with the harvest great, but judgment on the rejecting Jerusalem, as the end of chapter 23 shows, and the sorrows (throes) of the Jews. It answers in character and time to chapter 10:14-22, with the same declaration: "He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." But then we have the additional truth that this Gospel of the Kingdom must be preached to all the nations (Gentiles) and then the end should come. This gives the full general history consequent on the rejection of Christ; verse 14 is a special addition, by the bye, so to speak, verse 13 closing the reference to the Jewish testimony; verse 15 then takes up the special case of Jerusalem, and is an instructive sign for those who shall see it when it does come. Verses 4-13 only gave the character of the times as a guidance, and could be applied as soon as the troubles began, but goes on to the end in similar circumstances in Palestine, only the Gospel must go out to the nations as witness before the end could come. Then, as I have said, the special portion of Jerusalem who had rejected Him, and the great tribulation, when the abomination of desolation has been set up, is brought in. Thus verse 5 would apply generally; verse 23 only to the last days. But it is all one class (as chapter 10 also shows), the testifying Remnant; see verses 15, 25; so of the nation, chap. 23. The result will be immediately after the tribulation (vv. 29, 30); and then all Israel is gathered into one. Verses 32-43 refer to the signs and character of the coming of the Son of man, and refer still to the witness character of the Remnant. Verse 45 begins abruptly with Christian ministry and the condition of the professing Church, which is not our subject here. It goes to the end of chapter 25:30; verse 31 begins then the judgment of the Gentiles according to the way they have received the messengers. In fact, chapter 24:15-44 is a kind of parenthesis as to what relates to Jerusalem, and the coming of the Son of man there. No doubt chapter 25:31 refers to chapter 24:30, as to epoch, but the judgment of chapter 25:31, refers to chapter 24:14; verses 15-44 being the specialty of final things at Jerusalem, and therein to chapter 25:30, ecclesiastical and Christian care of His household - the virgin companions of His marriage, or His servants who had gifts while away. He is back again to the world in verse 31, as He was to the Jews in chapter 24:30. The term "brethren" is that which belongs to the disciples after His resurrection, and Oh! what grace!

169 Thus in Matthew 28:10, "Go, tell my brethren," which I quote the rather as it is in this Gospel. It is used also in John as their present state in connection with Him risen before, and in announcing His ascension to His and their God and Father. But this last was to Mary of Magdala attached to His Person - she was not to touch Him as personally back for the Kingdom - He was putting His brethren, then already owned such, with His God and Father in the same relationship with Himself. In Matthew they are to go into Galilee - they hold Him by the feet, i.e., do touch Him, and are allowed to do so, i.e., He is there in this character of association with the Remnant for the earth. Hence they are to meet in Galilee; that which is connected with Isaiah 8 and 9 - the people that sat in darkness, seeing a great light, when the testimony is sealed among His disciples, when God is hiding His face from the house of Jacob, and faith is waiting for Him, when they had stumbled at the Stumbling Stone, but when it goes on to final deliverance, when the disciples are exactly in their present position in Matthew, only in Isaiah applied to the Jews. Matthew goes further, or rather the object is different. It is not now putting the brethren or Remnant, the children which God had given Him, into relationship with His God, His Father, nor making them signs to both houses of Israel till the battle with fuel of fire came. All power is given Him in heaven and earth. His rejection had sent Him into this place of heavenly power over all things, and they were to go and make disciples of the Gentiles, teaching them to observe all that He had commanded, as we have read in Matthew, bringing the Father's, Son's, and Spirit's names as the ground and character of association. It is this I would yet more especially enquire into.

170 Note first, the missions in Matthew, Mark, and Luke have their character from the place and position, and close the scene of Christ's ministry, as in the particular Gospel. Not so in John; there there is no scene or close. It is Himself, a divine Person (though incarnate, and always taking the place He was in towards His Father) and the mission is from His Person, not from resurrection (as Matthew) merely, nor from ascension (as Luke) nor His exaltation from service (as Mark). He bestows peace on them as He had made peace for them, sends them out on this ground, and as His Father had sent Him He sends them, and gives them the Holy Ghost as the power in which they lived and wrought, carrying forgiveness with them (administratively) as He had, on earth. Then Jewish and millennial truth comes after; but verses 17-23 are the present condition and service in grace consequently on accomplished work, and from Himself as he is now (though then there) but all along here (from chap. 13, save chap. 15) as giving them a part with Himself where He is. It is not Bethany nor Galilee, but the Son going to His Father and their Father, His God and their God, and revealing Himself in their midst.

We have, in Matthew, "the end of the age," as previously, and it is dispensational in its character as a question of the age, the Gentiles, Galilee, which is the subject of prophecy, and the Lord's service; He is the prophetic and promised One though the rejected One. It is not, as Mark, preaching the Gospel to every creature (pase te ktisei) and then "he that believeth and is baptised" - a personal question; nor is it ascension, as in Luke, and repentance and remission of sins beginning indeed (as Paul) from Jerusalem, but testimony in grace, calling to repentance, from heaven to all nations. It is not, as John, "as my Father hath sent me, so send I you." Still, though it connects itself with dispensational and prophetic position and dealing, yet it takes up the present exaltation of Christ, and acts from that. Jerusalem is looked at as rejected, as to its state, I mean, Christ having all power in heaven and in earth. Chapter 24 dealt with Jerusalem in the last days, and in judgment, and Christ's return, though as Son of man, this of His present possession of power, but of given power. And the relationships brought out are those of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This refers it to the epoch (not the sphere of labour) of chapter 10:16-22, where the Spirit of their Father speaks in them. But the service was that of Galilean disciples, not preaching the Gospel that individuals might believe, but discipling the nations (the Gentiles) and teaching them. The fact is that, as far as Scripture history goes, this commission was never acted on. Of Luke's we have the formal history in the Acts, and then Paul and the Church came in. Mark's is general, and in principle its accomplishment stated to have taken place in the same general way. To the end of verse 8 we have the Remnant Galilee character, from verse 9, the heavenly one to gather souls, and save them as Christians. Further, the discipling all nations, and teaching them is a different thing from a testimony to all nations, and then the end coming. That referred to the end as a testimony to be borne before judgment - the Gospel of the Kingdom as Christ preached it. This is a bringing in an order of things consequent upon Christ's having all power in heaven and on earth. As far as anything is at all like it in result, it is Christendom. The Paul service comes by itself, the pillars at Jerusalem having given up the Gentiles to him. He was delivered from the people and from the Gentiles, out of all human ties, to carry the message of and from a heavenly Christ, and found the Church (properly speaking) as a system, in which neither Jew nor Gentile was, here below. We find him with Luke's mission; we find him with Mark's; Acts 20:21; chap. 24:18; Rom. 2:9, 10; Acts 13:38; Col. 1:23, etc. And so both, in general, in many places, as Peter, Acts 2, for and really to Jews, having waited for power from on high. At Athens he takes Peter's ground with Cornelius, Jesus' resurrection, judgment given to Christ. This is striking. It is the most elementary of Paul's preachings, not exactly, I think, Matthew's. Though he went to the Gentiles, it was not discipling the nations but gathering the Church to its Head - minister of the Gospel "to every creature under heaven," which last is Mark's; see Col. 1:23-25. But is not this the present Gospel of Christendom in contrast with Paul's full revelation of the truth, or rather the ecclesiastical estate of Christendom? The evangelical party preach, though generally very muddily, the elementary Gospel of Paul and Peter, but John 3, or Christ's statements on earth still more. This will remain current when Paul's is gone, which needs an ascended Christ, into union with whom they are called. But though a call into union may not have then closed, yet Christ will have all power in heaven and earth, and even be just then about to take possession of it in effect and reign, and the brethren, the preserved Remnant, will disciple the nations, and the knowledge of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, will remain (quod nota, but I suppose the Father and Son as revealed by Christ on earth, and the Holy Ghost as poured out afresh, as the latter rain) and the prescribed ways of the Kingdom as here, though given here as Jehovah being then in the way with them, but it is His mind for their walk. It was a then present commission, but reaches on to the end of the age, but never gets into Paul's Gospel (according to Colossians and Ephesians), which was really a substitute for it. And that is the question now. This really is the basis of the corruption of popery (even as far as Scripture can be alleged for it) and Protestants have never got out of it really, though they have corrected it. But how this makes one feel one is cast upon directions for this time in Scripture!

172 Even Peter's sermons to Jews or to Gentiles (Cornelius) follow in the main Luke's commission, and very distinctly. The only point of connection with Matthew is its beginning in Galilee when speaking to Cornelius. But even this refers to Christ's ministry on earth, and then there is no ascension. Peter dates his commission from the risen Jesus only - from the Prophets declares by Him remission of sins. So Christ is Lord of all, and you have in every nation "he that fears God and works righteousness" - as with Paul at Athens, Christ is to judge. In sum, Peter's Cornelius-sermon is pretty clear; previous (through grace) fear of God and working righteousness is acceptable (dektos) in any nation - Christ's personal ministry beginning from Galilee as a Man anointed with the Holy Ghost and power, resurrection, judgment of quick and dead by Christ, the forgiveness of sins, announced by the Prophets, to be had now by His means. Paul to the Jews preaches more salvation by resurrection, repentance having been preached by John, and remission, and justification from all sins from which Moses' law could not. In Acts 2, while accounting for the presence of the Holy Ghost for which they had been waiting, and giving what led to it up to the exaltation of Christ, he preaches repentance and remission of sins. This, as I said, is Luke's commission. Repentance, remission, and Christ's present return if they repent, is the testimony of Acts 3. Peter to Cornelius does not speak of repentance; he does of remission. Paul at Athens speaks of repentance, and not of remission. In Antioch (Acts 13) it is Luke's mission simply.

173 Thus we have the Luke testimony clearly carried only in fact by Peter, in terms by Paul, including verses 44, 46 - only by both judgment by Christ is added. In Acts 15 we have the visiting the Gentiles to take out of them a people for God's name, according to the Prophets. And we have Peter's ministry in the case of Cornelius, and Paul's and Barnabas's actual work in gathering the Church among the Gentiles, the foundation of it. These were Gentiles on whom God's name was called; and this testimony of Acts 15 is very remarkable. It is an individual calling, purifying their hearts by faith, and so sealed by the Holy Ghost, from which James draws the conclusion that God has taken out of the Gentiles a people for His name, which was to be called on them (Moses being left to his own influence, i.e., you have Jerusalem left to its own influence, and a gathered company of Gentiles left free - save some necessary things) so as to lay ground for the unity of the Body, save its being broken, but Matthew 28 wholly dropped. But then note, if taken up, it is taken up before the end of the age, for the Lord sending them forth says, "Lo, I am with you to the consummation of the age," i.e., the promise in view of this mission ran on from giving it up to the close of the age. As regards the Jews, that age was suspended by the taking of Jerusalem, and in fact the Pauline Church, declined into a Peter state, and far worse had then taken the place of it - declined, I mean, in doctrine, for in practice it was soon the very seal of iniquity. Already in Peter's time, the time was come for judgment to begin at the house of God. But supposing the Church, the Body of Christ, gone, the personal title of Christ, as having all power in heaven and on earth, remains, and the service, whatever the result (shown in Matthew 25) will be discipling the Remnant, and bringing them into association with that Remnant, the brethren. And note, consequently they inherit the Kingdom as blessed of the Father. The age is ended already in verse 31. And He who has had all power in heaven and earth has been with His brethren, still owned such on and for earth, consequent on resurrection, though in John 20:17, they are led on into better things. This makes the place of this service very clear.

174 This gives additional insight into the Epistle to the Romans. No doubt the doctrine of justification, as we well know, is richly unfolded, and the effect too of the presence of the Spirit, and the power of life in Christ; but as to the form of the Gospel, as to its statement, it is Luke and Acts. It lays resurrection as its starting point, though owning ascension (mentioned only, chap. 8:34) incidentally. But the Gospel, Christ declared Son of God with power, by resurrection, Son of David withal, then judgment to come (chap. 2:16), and to the Jew first though not beginning at Jerusalem - that was all over for Paul, the Lord sent him away thence; his testimony was more than Luke's, beginning from a Christ actually in divine glory, and owning the saints as Himself. But here it is resurrection, and in the Gospel to us down to chapter 5:11, ascension is not spoken of. Even in our place before God, our resurrection with Christ is not spoken of, though in chapter 8 we are assumed to be in Him, and His ascension is also, as noticed, referred to first. But, as to the basis of the Gospel, it is Christ's resurrection, repentance, remission of sins, judgment.

The difference between grace towards us down here as sinners when God is fully brought out, and our being before Him in Christ, from chapter 5:12, often noticed, comes out thus clearer than ever. The Gospel properly is up to chapter 5:11. In Ephesians we have the absolute work and counsels of God - a new creation. We are raised up together with Christ. This is the wholly new thing, not only from heaven, but we begin as dead - so Christ - and there is a new creation in Him; no justification, which applies to those who need it, which God's new creation does not, the glorified Body of the glorified Christ, though not yet there, and duty being the showing forth of God, not what suits in a preliminary way to getting into the Kingdom. We are there, in the same power in which Christ is at God's right hand, from death, Himself.

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175 I add yet another word as to the commissions. Matthew links on, it is evident, to the Lord's power and service shown in Galilee; specially compare Isaiah 9:1, where clearly in the desolation and judgment of Israel, and the separation of the disciples, and the Law and the testimony being sealed amongst them, its utter desolation, the light, as distinguishing it from other desolations, is shown to spring up, to have a Remnant just because it was utter desolation. This is applied (Matt. 4:15), to the Lord's sojourn in Galilee. The Kingdom of heaven is declared at hand, and repentance called for then, according to the prophecy. On the smiting of the Shepherd and the scattering of the sheep as so held together by Him, He tells them that when risen He will go before them into Galilee. Jerusalem having rejected Him, He returns into His own prophetic title in which blessing is to flow from Him. He is to be the Centre and Source, whatever blessing may hereafter be conferred on Jerusalem; hence according to Isaiah, and His service in Matthew, Galilee was the place for this; so chapter 28:10. But when there it was no longer a Messiah in the flesh presenting Himself the Gospel of the Kingdom to the nation according to the Prophets, and to Jerusalem. All power was now given Him in heaven and in earth, and they were to make disciples to Him all the Gentiles. It was the extension of what was His Messianic power, connected with the title of power over heaven and earth He held as risen, to the whole world. It was not establishing His reign over Israel; He had been rejected there. The Remnant had the testimony sealed to them, Jehovah hid His face from the house of Israel (though to be waited for), and the testimony of Galilee, so rejected, was now identified with all power in heaven and earth, and sent to bring all nations into discipleship. It was power and authority, but of this character, but with the further revelation of what now, Jesus being risen, was necessarily brought out - the common name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost - common yet distinct, and Christ's injunctions were to be the rule of the Gentiles so discipled. With this is connected the promise to be with them "to the end of the age," so that this connects itself with the age and the service rendered till it closes. And we get the important principle that the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost is continued "to the end of the age," or at any rate the service which declares it is supposed in duty to continue.

176 Next, Mark, we have the Gospel carried on. Christ had served in the Gospel. Mark's account is the beginning of the Gospel of the Son of God. Here this Gospel of the Son of God, now risen, is carried on, and he who believes and confesses it, in being received into the Church by baptism, will be saved, and he that believes not would be lost. The fate of every creature is attached on hearing it to the preached Gospel. It is a general principle and commission as a matter of life - eternal life and salvation attached to the Gospel of the Son of God, thus sent out by His messengers, and to which the Lord gave testimony by signs. In John it is another thing, as in all the latter part of that Gospel; the Lord puts them in His own place, deriving it from Him only, as He from the Father, "As my Father hath sent me, so send I you." It is intrinsically connected with their position, and that as united to Him. It is derivative identification with Him, not authoritative mission merely here which constituted the commission. Hence, He first pronounces peace, then sends them from Himself, as the Father had sent Him (also He is in the midst of the gathered saints). Hence He breathes on them, and communicates to them the Holy Ghost, not now merely natural life breathed of God into their nostrils, but the Holy Ghost in living power from Him, giving them spiritual competency to take and as taking His place, and thus to effectuate in His name that remission of sins which the Holy Ghost can administer down here in the name of Jesus, as He did as Son of man in His place. There was real administrative forgiveness, as Paul and the Church of Corinth with the incestuous man. It is a living spiritual Church commission, putting them, by receiving one Spirit with and from Him, in the place of service according to what He had accomplished, in His place, only with what He had done and was as risen as its source, but to do it for Him in His place and name looked at as in the Church and the Spring and Source of union, and the Giver of spiritual power; not as sending down in power, externally declaring what He was, Son of man, but spiritual competency from and by Himself who breathed the Spirit, His breath upon them, that they might act by it.

177 In Luke it is different. There is not properly a commission. The Lord first presents to them His real resurrection in flesh and bones, eating before them; then shows how, according to His words, all things which Moses, etc., had written concerning Him were to be fulfilled. Next, He opens their understanding to understand the Scriptures, and how, according to the mind of God there revealed, these things should have been, and the Gospel preached in His name among all nations beginning at Jerusalem. Here then we get thus far the counsels of God as to this matter revealed, and their minds brought to rest on and draw from these counsels as so revealed, and which they now understood; so Paul uses Isaiah 49. It was then intelligence of the mind of God in the Scriptures opened to them by Christ, and His words confirmed, and they acting on this intelligence, and this being their intelligent service. The source from which they acted - "It behoved" (compare chap. 24:25, et seq., where the Lord expounds, here He opens their understanding). There was a further thing before they acted publicly by this knowledge, namely, power; they were to tarry at Jerusalem (they could not go out of this circle, as it were) till they were endued with power from on high. It is not then properly a commission, but the opening the understanding to understand the Scriptures, and connecting them by Christ's teaching with "the Christ," and then power enabling them to act upon it - this by the Holy Ghost coming down as the promise of the Father.

The same general truth specially as to power, and, further, the return of Jesus, is found in Acts 1. This power we need. The commission in verse 8, or rather what the Lord says is to happen in them so endued with power, has the same character as to order. It recognises the administration first - Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria, the ends of the earth. This is what we find in the blessed Paul's ministry. The Jews first and also to the Gentiles, and the knowledge of the mind of God. From this he both speaks and acts. We have the mind of Christ. He speaks from Christ's glory, and this is what we are led to as the terminus in Luke 24 (knowledge and power) and the power of the Spirit is Paul's whole spring and power (and so for others); only this that while it substantially remains the same in these two points, the beginning at Jerusalem has no place - this had been done. He receives his commission from Christ on high and nowhere short of it, nor does he return there nor go up, but he goes on from the point of starting, Christ's heavenly glory. It is the Just One that is the link with the Jews, the Righteous Jew is maintained, but he is a witness of what he has seen directly from the Lord. It has no other root or connection as such for him; only he receives the Holy Ghost in the Church, because He was there now, and thus the link with the previously existing Church, and its recognition. Hence we have two points in Paul's ministry - the glory of Christ and so universality, and then the one that is in Christ; see Colossians 1.

178 The glory (i.e., the glorification) ended Peter's; it begins Paul's, and the unity of the Church is a fresh revelation.