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JESUS IN PEREA
Matthew 19:1-2, and Mark 10:1 . “ Rising up from thence, He comes into the boundaries of Judea, through the country which is beyond the Jordan and again multitudes come to Him, and, as was His custom, He again taught them.” Matthew says, “ Many multitudes followed Him, and He healed them there.” As above specified, when, in consequence of the tremendous popular sensation arising from the resurrection of Lazarus, the Sanhedrin had passed the condemnatory verdict against Him, unanimously assigning His death-warrant, in order to prolong His life and finish His work, He goes away to the city of Ephraim, about forty miles north of Jerusalem; thence: after a short interval, journeying on toward the northeast, crossing the Jordan over into Perea, the land which had been given to Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh for their inheritance, at their own request, when Joshua divided the land of Canaan among the twelve tribes. Now He spends perhaps a dozen days in that country east of the Jordan, in the days of Joshua ruled by Og, the king of Bashan, and Sihon, the king of Heshbon; but in the days of our Savior known as Perea. It is superfluous to say that Jesus utilized all of His opportunities while in that country, as everywhere else, teaching the people the wonderful truths of the kingdom and healing the sick.
THE DIVORCE PROBLEM
Matthew 19:3-12, and Mark 10:2-12 . “And the Pharisees coming to Him, asked Him if it is lawful for a man to put away his wife, tempting Him.” The Jews were very lax in their matrimonial relations, often sending away their wives for very trivial causes. Even a great man like Josephus chronicles apparently innocently as he writes his histories, “This day I sent away my wife.” These Pharisees, as well as the people generally, were very appreciative of their privilege in this easy way to get rid of their wives. Consequently they interrogate Jesus on the subject, hopeful to catch something from His lips on which they can found an accusation, or at least render Him odious with the people.
“He, responding, said to them, What did Moses command you? And they said, Moses permitted us to write a tablet of divorcement, and to put her away.” Matthew says that Moses permitted divorcements “on account of the hardness of their hearts;” i.e., the incompatibility of tempers. The Mosaic dispensation being the infantile department of the Church, the standard was not so high as that of the gospel. “Jesus, responding, said to them, Moses wrote to you this commandment on account of the hardness of your heart; but from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. On account of this, a man shall leave his father and mother, and cleave unto his wife; and they two shall be one flesh. Therefore what God hath joined together, let not man separate. And again, His disciples in the house asked Him concerning this. And He says to them, Whosoever may put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery with reference to her; and if a woman may put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.”
Matthew: “But I say unto you that whosoever may put away his wife, not for fornication, and may marry another, committeth adultery; and the one having married her who is put away, committeth adultery.” The E. V. in Matthew 5:31, says, “Whosoever marrieth a divorced woman committeth adultery.” There is a great popular illusion and misunderstanding arising from the above erroneous translation in the E. V. The word apolelumenen does not mean the divorced woman, but simply, as R. V. has it, “the cast-off woman.” The truth of it is, she has no right to a divorce, and her husband has run her off for some unjustifiable cause. Consequently she is still his wife, and will be so as long as they both live. Therefore the reason why the man marrying her commits adultery, is because he has married the other man’s wife. Instead of there being a prohibition on the marrying of divorced people, the truth is diametrically opposite a Scriptural divorce liberating the parties for another marriage, “only in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 7:39)
a. The Divine, Edenic institution of matrimony unifies husband and wife, so they are “no longer twain, but one flesh;” not one spirit, as the spiritual unity is with God alone. Consequently no man has a right to interfere with the religious liberty of his wife, nec contra.
b. There is absolutely but one justifiable cause of divorce, and that is the dark sin of adultery, which in its very nature destroys the conjugal unity, and thus nullifies the matrimonial covenant, making them twain again, the divorcement being but a recognition of the fact that their matrimonial unity, being destroyed, is now null and void.
c. Apostasion, “divorcement,” is the word which, slightly modified, has been transferred to the English language; i.e., apostasy. Consequently you readily apprehend the meaning of a divorce. Just as, apostasy takes the soul out of the kingdom of God back into the dominion of Satan, so the Scriptural divorce takes your body out of the matrimonial covenant and puts it back in the realm of celibacy; i.e., the divorce so utterly rescinds the nuptial alliance as to return both parties into celibacy.
d. The States are all filled up with unlawful divorces, the civil government granting them for a diversity of causes other than the one specified by the Savior. Of course, all such divorces are null and void, the parties standing in the sight of God as if they had never been given.
e. Of course, the design of the divorce is the relief and protection of the innocent party. But as you can not have a marriage without two, the same is true in reference to divorcement. Consequently the legal divorce affects the guilty along with the innocent. You say it is not right, as he is in no way entitled to it. The admission of your premise does not change the conclusion. Many dark sins never receive their just retribution in this life. The man who overtly violates the matrimonial covenant in order to get a divorce, must meet God, and account for the dark crime, not only of adultery, but perjury. Turn him over to God. He is certain to give him justice.
f. We should be very careful not to grieve those whom God has not grieved. I find the Lord’s people, in many localities in my travels, grieved, afflicted, snubbed, ostracized, and in some cases publicly denounced, on the charge of having two living wives or two living husbands, when really the parties have been Scripturally divorced from their former consorts before marrying the latter. This is unjust. If you are Scripturally divorced, she is no longer your wife, or he is no longer your husband. Consequently it is not true that he has two living wives, or that she has two living husbands.
g. In my extensive travels I meet all sorts of matrimonial complexities, which bring me to my knees before God, that He may give me-light to answer the complicated questions propounded by the good and sincere people, who are anxious to do the will of God and get to heaven: e.g., men and women who during the unsaved period of their lives, got married and separated, receiving civil, but unscriptural, divorcement; then, marrying others, have families of children, homes, and a diversity of domestic interests. Meanwhile they have been converted to God, are Church members, and frequently professors of sanctification. I have found them much disturbed over this problem, preachers and prominent saints having told them that they ought to separate. now, before God and the judgment- bar, let me warn you to slowly, lest the last error be worse than the first. If it is your duty to administer temporal support to a former companion from whom you illegally separated, be sure that you satisfy your conscience when, on your knees, you tell God all about it. You see in these Scriptures that Moses granted a divorcement on account of the hardness of their hearts; i. e., when they fell out, and could not live together in peace. Under the new dispensation of-entire sanctification, the normal attitude of the gospel Church contemplates the removal of all of these evil tempers, so there is no need of a divorce.
h. Though we are not under the dispensation of Moses, I am sorry to say that the rank and file of the Church, both clergy and laity, are there to-day. This is evinced in the fact that they neither preach, seek, nor enjoy full salvation, which is the standard of the New Testament Church. Now, I assure you the Mosaic dispensation is a million times better than that of the devil. Therefore, if your matrimonial relations are not fully up to the New Testament standard, you can fall back and live in the dispensation of Moses. But be sure that you go on your knees, and settle all this matter before God, who, in infinite mercy, requires no impossibilities. Perhaps there are matters in your past life which it is impossible for you to rectify. Then turn it all over to God, and put it under the blood. Do the best you can, and where impossibilities intervene, your blessed Heavenly Father will take the will for the deed, and in the end say, “Well done.” Be sure you do nothing rashly, and without the triple illumination of heaven through God’s Word, Spirit, and providence.
THE LITTLE ONES
Matthew 19:13-15 ; Luke 18:15-17 ; Mark 10:13-16 . “And they were bringing little children to Him, that He may touch them; and His disciples were rebuking those bringing them.” Matthew says they brought them that He might “put His hands on them and pray.” Luke says they were “infants.” “Jesus seeing them was much displeased, and said to them, Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and prevent them not; for of such is the kingdom of God. Truly I say unto you, Whosoever may not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, can not enter into it. And taking them up in His arms, putting His hands on them, He continued to bless them copiously.” The E. V. has lost much out of this, because the Textus Receptus, from which it was translated, omits the kata in connection with eulogei, and consequently simply reads, “He blessed them,” the true reading being so grand and glorious, “He continued to bless them copiously.” There is no dodging the issue in this paragraph, recorded by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the two former giving us paidia, “little children,” and the latter brephe, “infants.” It is certain they were small enough for Jesus to pick them up in His arms, thus blessing them abundantly and continuously amid loving caresses. This is a clear, bold, and unequivocal corroboration of His former utterances in reference to infants. Though they have inherited a sinful nature from Adam, they are not sinners, but Christians; because they are not only members of God’s kingdom, but normal members, there being no defalcation in their case, like that of adults, who may, with the loudest professions, be hypocrites, as this was-really the case with the Pharisees, who were constantly in His presence. Hence, in the case of irresponsible infants, we know they are saved, as we have the repeated and unequivocal ipse dixit of Jesus; while in the case of adults, as we can not know the heart, we are constrained to turn them all over to God and the judgment-day. All sinners are full of sin. All infants and unsanctified Christians are sinful i. e., have a tendency to sin hereditary from Adam, which is certain to lead them into sin if not counteracted by grace in regeneration; but even then will keep up an everlasting warfare (Galatians 5:0) till eradicated in entire sanctification.
THE RICH YOUNG MAN
Matthew 19:16-30 ; Mark 10:17-31 ; Luke 18:18-30 . Mark: “And He, traveling along the road, one running and kneeling clown asked Him, Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? Jesus said to him, Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One; God.” This statement of our Savior is generally woefully misunderstood and erroneously construed, even preachers, standing up in the pulpit, having the audacity to look the people in the face and find here an unanswerable argument against holiness, alleging that even Jesus refused to be called good, deducing the conclusion, with an air of triumph, that nobody can be good, much less holy. May the blessed Holy Spirit now flash the light through your mind, and give you the true exposition of this passage! Jesus was almost constantly turning the edge of His opponent’s argument into the admission of His own Divinity. The high and primitive sense of the adjective “good” is only applicable to Go. The word “God” is a contraction of “good,” because God is the very essence, quintessence, and concentration of all good. Now when the young man calls Jesus good, instead of correcting him, He accepts the situation: “You call Me good, and so I am. Now since God alone is good, you call Me God, which is right,” thus turning the admission of the young man into the substantial affirmation of His Divinity; not only for his benefit, but that of the multitude who followed Him from day to day. While in the primitive sense, God alone is good, and all goodness emanates from Him (as John says, “God is light; yet the sun shines, but he shines by the light which God gives him); and while no man is good in a primary sense, because a good man would mean one who had never sinned; yet we may be righteous, because a righteous man is simply a justified sinner; and it is equally true that we may be holy, because a holy man is nothing but a sanctified sinner. The term good is variously used in subordinate senses, and not only applied to saints, but in common parlance even to sinners, animals, and things without life; however, in those cases, all the good they have has emanated from God.
“You know the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor thy father and thy mother.” Matthew says, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” “And he, responding, said to Him, Teacher, I have kept all these from my youth. Jesus looking on him loved him, and said to him, One thing is wanting unto thee.” Here Matthew says, “If thou dost wish to be perfect, go, sell as many things as you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven.” This interview took place out in Perea, east of the Jordan.
Though our Savior is constantly surrounded by the Pharisees, you must not conclude that this young man is one of them. The truth of the matter is, he is far from them, even at the opposite pole of the battery. While the Pharisees were full of pride, haughtiness, and self-righteousness, this young man is very humble, as we see him come kneeling down before Jesus, and making earnest inquiry, “What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” Luke tells us he is a ruler of the people. He certainly shows up a very beautiful, moral, and religious character, in the fact that he has kept the commandments of the Decalogue from his youth. No wonder Jesus loved him. The simple solution of the whole problem recognizes this young man as a paragon Old Testament saint, walking in all the commandments of the law and the prophets blameless. He evidently has lived up to all the light of his day and dispensation. So he has nothing to do but receive Jesus, and move forward into the gospel dispensation i.e., the kingdom of God whose normal standard is perfection, as you here see specified. Jesus responds to him, “If you wish to be perfect,” illustrating the fact that His dispensation requires perfection i.e., spiritual manhood, the standard of the old dispensation being spiritual infancy. There was no trouble in the case of this amiable and promising young ruler till he declined to accept the Savior’s condition of discipleship, thus halting in the old dispensation after it had expired and become null and void. He was certainly a very fine subject of gospel grace, having nothing to do but meet the condition, which is Christian perfection, and pass from the law and the prophets into the kingdom of heaven.
“And he, being grieved at the word, went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.” Jesus knew his heart, and went for his idol unhesitatingly. Adam the First must die before you can become a perfect Christian, with Adam the Second enthroned to reign without a rival. All the unsanctified have their besetting sin, in which the diversified appetites and passions, constituting the members of old Adam, concentrate their forces, make a general rally, and turn loose all the impetuosity of earth and hell to break the power of grace and ruin the soul, world without end. While this young man, having kept all of these commandments faithfully from his youth, living in beautiful harmony with his dispensation, exhibits the irreproachable character of a paragon Old Testament saint, yet that phase of inbred sin which he was weakest to resist, as it held a tighter grip on him than any other, was the love of money, which had been augmented and intensified by his vast possessions.
When the contractors began the Queen & Crescent Railway, they went to King’s Mountain, because they had a solid mile of tunnel to excavate, by far the heaviest job on the route of fifteen hundred miles. A wise general, invading a country, always attacks the chief citadel first. Jesus knew that money-love was the serious trouble of this young man, and if he yielded there, victory flashed all along the embattled line, and He could rely on him as a paragon disciple. O how many preachers studiously avoid those things against which they feel assured their people will kick! Jesus, our only Exemplar, gives the trumpet no uncertain sound. This young man would have yielded outright if He had not put the sword to the throat of his idol. Luke says, “He went away very sad.” O how wonderfully history repeats itself! This young man lost his justification because he refused to consecrate all his possessions, the necessary antecedent to Christian perfection. Multitudes of the Jewish Church, in a similar attitude, enjoying justification before God because they walked in all the light they had, keeping all of the commandments, living under the law, without reprehension, faithfully anticipating the coming Messiah, forfeited their justification because they did not walk in the new light thrown on their way by the Shiloh of prophecy. If this young man had not met Jesus, doubtless he would have lived and died an irreproachable Old Testament saint and made his way to Abraham’s bosom.
God holds us responsible for all the light we receive. If we do not walk in it appreciatively, we invariably backslide. Therefore Jesus is called “the Stone of stumbling,” because multitudes, like this young man, stumbled over Him and fell, and they are still doing the same. God raised up Luther to pour new light upon the Church in his day and time. While his reformation was a blessing to many, it was the occasion of many stumbling and falling. The same is true of every great revival. While the present holiness movement is a God-send to myriads, it is the death-knell to multitudes, who unfortunately reject the light it brings, like this man stumbling over entire consecration.
“Jesus, looking round, says to His disciples, How shall those having riches with difficulty enter the kingdom of God! But the disciples were amazed at His words. Jesus again, responding, says to them, Children, how difficult is it for those having put their confidence in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished exceedingly, saying to one another, Indeed who is able to be saved? And Jesus, looking on them, says, With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” So far as the record warrants, there is not a presumption in favor of the salvation of this amiable young man, who is not only a member, but an officer in the Church, and, most consolatory of all, his religious character utterly irreproachable. It is a simple case of stumbling over perfection, and thus failing to pass from the dispensation of the law and the prophets into that of Christ i.e., the kingdom of heaven whose standard is perfection. I believe, the reason why the disciples were so astonished over the utterances of Jesus, in reference to the difficulty in the way of salvation to the rich, was because the patriarchs in many instances were very wealthy; e.g., Abraham and Job, millionaires. There has been an awful squirming and dodging, twisting and floundering, especially on the part of the popular clergy, to evade and explain away these plain statements of Jesus relative to the difficulties in the way of saving the rich. Some have said that “camel” means rope, used about a ship, which of course could go through the eye of a large needle. Kamilos means “rope.” Though that word looks much like kamelos, “a camel,” you see they are entirely different words. Hence there is no truth in the exegesis. It is a miserable dodge to evade a square issue.
Again, I have heard, over and over, that there are small gates entering through the wall of Jerusalem, called the “Needle’s-eye.” This is utterly untrue. I have made two visits to Jerusalem the one ten days, and the other seven in which I was very active, running all over it and round it repeatedly, so that I am this day better acquainted with Jerusalem than any other city in the world. As it symbolizes heaven, whither I am a pilgrim journeying, I studied it with a flaming enthusiasm, diligently investigating everything that could throw light on the Word of God. The city has but eight gates leading through the wall: The Joppa gate, on Mount Zion, looking westward, opening through the west wall, a short distance from the northwest corner. Then, as we proceed, turning eastward, we next come to the New Gate, leading through the north wall. Then, proceeding eastward, we come to the Damascus Gate, looking toward the north. Pursuing the north wall, we next arrive at Herod’s Gate. Now, passing the northeast corner and turning southward, we come to St. Stephen’s Gate, so called because it is said that the mob dragged him out through that gate when they stoned him to death. It is known in Scripture as the Sheep Gate. (John 5:0.) Proceeding southward, we next arrive at the Beautiful Gate. (Acts 3:2.) This gate has been closed twelve hundred and sixty years, since the Mohammedans captured the city, on account of a Moslem prophecy that they can hold the city no longer than that gate is kept closed. Now the wall is on the high summit of Mount Moriah, the deep and impassable Valley of Jehoshaphat yawning beneath. Consequently there are no gates in this region, as there could be neither egress nor ingress. Pursuing the wall southward, turning the corner, we now travel westward, along the south wall, still on the summit of Moriah, till we reach a high valley between Moriah and Zion, where we arrive at the Excrement Gate, which leads out into the deep Valley of Jehoshaphat, and is used to carry, the offal out of the city; hence its name. Now the wall ascends Mount Zion westward, with a number of angles and offsets southward, by way of accommodation to the trend of the mountain. High up on the summit, in the City of David, we come to David’s Gate. These are the only entrances through the wall, with the exception which was made in 1898, when the emperor of Germany visited the city. They actually removed a section of the wall near the Joppa Gate for his convenient royal ingress and egress. Hence, you see, the report about the Needle’s-eye and the camel, ex necessitate divested of his burden in order to enter, is a fond fabrication to comfort the rich, but utterly untrue.
I hope you have no sympathy with any attempt to explain away the plain Word of God. What an insult to Jesus thus utterly to emasculate, eviscerate, and excoriate His Word till it is utterly divested of all its force! Remember you have to meet it at the judgment-bar precisely as it is. So I entreat you to take it now, without addition or subtraction, and never encourage any attempt to explain it away. I emphasize this point because I have heard more preaching on this subject than any other; i.e., a labored effort to explain away the plain and unmistakable Word of God. All such evasion is foolish, fanatical, and Satanic. Jesus specifies in this paragraph that, while the salvation of the rich is impossible with man, with God all things are possible. What is the solution of this? God can give the millionaire grace to consecrate all on His altar, unreservedly and eternally to be used for His glory. In that case the millionaire becomes as poor as Lazarus. “Without the sanctification no one shall see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14.) Hence, as God is no respecter of persons, we all stand on the same platform. If we do not consecrate all to God, we can not “be perfect,” as Jesus here tells the young man. Heaven is a perfect world, consequently nothing imperfect can enter there. In this statement we do not mean Divine perfection, which belongs to God only, nor angelic perfection, which belongs to angels alone; but Christian perfection, which means a complete work of grace in the elimination of all evil out of the spiritual organism. As Jesus alone can do this, we must unreservedly consecrate all to Him, in order that He may sanctify us wholly. As Jesus here says, the impossibility is with man, in case he does not make a perfect consecration, which God can not do for him, as that would ignore his free agency; but He can and will give him all the grace he needs to do it himself, of his own free will and accord. Then, when man puts all on God’s altar, there is no trouble about sanctification, as that is the work of Omnipotent Grace. This whole subject, as delivered by the Savior, is perfectly lucid and consistent. O how many, like this rich young Church officer, hesitate to put all their possessions on God’s altar, and go away sorrowing! Happy is the poor man who has s~ little to consecrate! Yet multitudes of them fail just like the rich. Jesus saves none but beggars. If you own a gold-mine, and do not turn it over to God to be used for His glory, you can not be saved.
Matthew 19:27 . “Then Peter, responding, said to him, Behold, we have left all things, and followed Thee; what then shall be to us? Jesus said to them, Truly I say unto you, that you who have followed Me in the regeneration, when the Son of man may sit upon the throne of glory, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” The regeneration here mentioned does not mean that personal spiritual birth peculiar to all the children of God, but it is a continuation of the subject under consideration with reference to this rich young Church officer, whose life was so beautiful under the law and the prophets; and his qualification to pass out into the new dispensation, receiving his own Christ with joyful enthusiasm, and becoming a citizen of His kingdom, a bona fide member of the gospel Church, had all failed because of his delinquency in meeting the condition, i.e., consecrating all his vast wealth to God and thus getting in position for the fiery baptism to sanctify him gloriously at the Pentecost then speedily coming on. So the regeneration here means the transition out of the old into the new dispensation. As Peter well knew that he and his apostolical comrades had forsaken their fishing-boats, nets, companions, homes, employment, and everything to follow Jesus, and now having seen the sad failure of this eminently promising young man, at the very point of total abandonment where Peter knew that he and his brethren had succeeded, he proceeds to interview the Savior in reference to what is coming. There, amid the contrast of the two diametrically opposite attitudes the faithful disciples, on the one side, meeting the condition; and the young ruler signally failing and going away our Lord proceeds to answer Peter’s inquiry by the thrilling assurance that when He shall sit upon the throne of his glory, they shall all sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. We know that our Lord was soon glorified when He ascended from Mount Olivet; and in due time these apostles did divide up the world, and go to their diversified fields of labor the Jameses taking Judea; Matthew, Ethiopia; Mark, Egypt; Matthias, Judas’s successor, Abyssinia; Thomas, India; Jude, Tartary; Bartholomew, Phrygia; Philip, Syria; Simon Zelotes, the British Islands; Andrew, Armenia; John, Ephesus; Peter, Rome; and Paul, Western Asia and Eastern Europe. Of course, they all enjoyed episcopal supremacy in their diversified fields of labor.
But you must bear in mind that this wicked world did not let them live very long till they all suffered martyrdom, John being miraculously delivered, and, as we believe, finally translated. Hence this was but a preliminary fulfillment of our Savior’s glorious promise, whose verification is evidently reserved for the Millennial Theocracy, when the saints will rule with Christ (Revelation 20:6), the apostles in their normal attitude enjoying the supremacy, and Israel populating the whole earth, Satan having been removed, and the glory of the Lord inundating the world, and, as He says here, when He shall sit upon the throne of His glory, then shall you “sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel;” i.e., ruling them. Christ came the first time, in His humiliation, to suffer and to die; but He comes the second time, on the throne of His glory, to conquer and to reign. Here we certainly do see a recognition of apostolical supremacy in the rulership of the world. There are now just about twelve national divisions on the globe. So the world seems to be getting ready for these twelve apostolical thrones. Of course, our Lord must come in His glory, cast out Satan, raise the dead members of the bridehood, and reunite soul and body and translate the living. The first resurrection, at the pre-millennial coming of our Lord, will prepare the way for His glorious kingdom, when He shall sit on the throne of His glory, and the saints will judge the world (1 Corinthians 6:2); i. e., rule the world. I am so glad that I believe the whole Bible. Therefore I am looking for wonderful things.
“And every one, whosoever has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, wife, children, or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundred fold, and inherit eternal life. But many first shall be last, and last shall be first.” Here you see again that the Jews are coming into the kingdom after all of the Gentiles. One of the cheering omens of the Lord’s near coming is the rapid gathering of the Jews into the Holy Land, and their conversion to Christianity in all the world. Luke says that the one leaving all and following Jesus shall receive a hundred-fold at this time, and in the age to come eternal life. We find some people certifying that there is no coming age after the present. Here, in Luke 18:30, we have it positively specified. You find the same in Hebrews 6:5, and also in Matthew 12:32. I am satisfied it occurs elsewhere in the New Testament, but certainly three clear and unequivocal witnesses are sufficient. In these passages, the E. V. says “world to come;” but the Greek used by our Savior is not cosmos, “world,” but aion, “age.” Hence these are certainly plain allusions, not only to the coming millennium, which will be the Edenic Age of the world restored back, but the Celestial Age, that shall follow the final glorification of the earth subsequently to its purification by the great fiery baptism simultaneously with the final judgment, the glorification following, transforming it into a new earth and a new heaven, or firmament
(Revelation 21:0), and finally conferred, as a soldier’s bounty, on the glorified saints, here to enjoy an eternity of heavenly bliss with myriads of unfallen angels, with whom, as our loving escorts, we will wing our flight from world to world, admiring the glory of Omnipotence, bespangling millions of bright celestial spheres which never knew sin nor sorrow. At the same time, with our angelic escorts, and accompanied by our sainted friends, always delighted to visit the New Jerusalem, the celestial metropolis, honored with Jehovah’s throne, and the center of universal gravitation, around which all celestial worlds speed their flight, and which this world, on her final restitution and celestialization, will so approximate as to enjoy a grand and conspicuous view, and to receive the copious illuminations of the Divine glory. (Revelation 21:9-27.)
THE BLIND MEN AT JERICHO
Matthew 20:29-34 ; Luke 18:35-43 ; Mark 10:46-52 . “And they are coming into Jericho. And He and His disciples and a great multitude going out from Jericho, blind Bartimeus, the son of Timeus, was sitting by the wayside begging. And hearing that it is Jesus the Nazarene, began to cry out, and to say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me! And many continued to rebuke him, that he must keep silent; and he continued to cry out much more, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me!
And Jesus, standing, said that he should be called. And they called the blind man, saying to Him, Take courage, arise; He calls you. And laying aside his cloak, rising, lie came to Jesus. And responding, Jesus says to him, What do you wish that I shall do to you? And the blind man said to Him, Master, that I may look up. Jesus said to him, Go, thy faith hath saved thee; and immediately he looked up, and follows Jesus in the way.” As you see, Matthew, Luke, and Mark all give this narrative. However, it is pertinent to observe that Matthew says He healed two blind men as He came out from Jericho, while Luke speaks of but one, whom He healed as He was coming into Jericho; Mark alone giving us the name of Bartimeus, the son of Timeus, and stating that he was sitting by the wayside begging as the multitude passed out of Jericho. Doubtless his home was near by, and he made his living by begging of the travelers along the highway from Jericho to Jerusalem. On hearing the tread of the multitude, and learning that the Prophet Jesus is passing by, and as he had heard so much about His wonderful miracles, restoring sight to multitudes of the blind who had been enabled to reach His ministry in His peregrinations through Galilee, Judea, Perea, Samaria, and other countries, and having determined to avail himself of the opportunity if He should ever pass that way, and doubtless already having information that He had crossed the Jordan, out of Perea into Judea, the day preceding, and was traveling toward Jerusalem, and would certainly come that way, the only great road leading through the wilderness of Judea from Jericho to Jerusalem, he now cries aloud incessantly, “O Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me!” As the prophecies revealed that the Messiah was to be the Son of David, in this appellation He really acknowledges His Christhood.
I always met many beggars in that country. While they all have their places, and unhesitatingly speak out in their language, asking for a contribution, I never heard one scream and roar as this one did. Luke uses the word eboese, which is from boao, which, you observe, if you will pronounce it loudly, makes a noise like the lowing of an ox. Hence we see that this man threw his mouth open, and roared aloud, refusing to be quiet, though many of the multitude rebuked him for his impetuosity and disorder. Jesus, however, gives His fur approval to his persistent roaring by calling him to Him unhesitatingly. Consequently, throwing aside his outer garment for the sake of expedition, rising, he hastens to Jesus, who immediately opens his eyes, certifying to him, “Thy faith hath saved thee;” thus laying an illimitable emphasis on the grace of faith, as Jesus is accustomed to do. O how wonderfully does Jesus preach salvation by faith! Blind Bartimeus not only received his eyesight, but the salvation of his soul, through simple faith in Jesus. Therefore we are not astonished that, having now become a disciple, he falls in with the crowd, and follows Jesus, doubtless, the remnant of his life, and is now playing on his golden harp. This is a notable case of whole-hearted, importunate seeking of Jesus. When they did their utmost to moderate him, telling him that screaming and roaring in the presence of that great multitude was so indecorous, you see he only roared the louder. Find a penitent on that line, and look out! something wonderful is going to happen.
Now, as you see, Matthew tells of two blind men restored as Jesus passed out of Jericho; Luke speaking of but one, and that one as he entered into the city; while Mark tells us of Bartimeus as he came out. How do we reconcile this apparent disharmony? There is no need of any reconcilement. I have no doubt but He did, as Luke says, restore a blind man as He went in, and, as Luke says, two as he came out, of whom, doubtless, Bartimeus was one; as you must remember that many of our Lord’s great miracles are not found now in the inspired records, but only a few salient ones.
The Jericho so celebrated in the days of Joshua stood on the plain of the Jordan, near the base of the Mount of Temptation, where Jesus was tempted by Satan, and ten miles from the ford of the Jordan where Israel crossed over and Jesus was baptized. You know when this city was destroyed, Israel having shouted down the walls, God forbade its rebuilding. So it has never been rebuilt. However, they built a new city, two miles south, where the road from Jerusalem reaches the foot of the mountain and proceeds out, crossing the plain of the Jordan. This was the Jericho in the days of Christ. In the desolation of Judea by the Roman armies, soon after the crucifixion of Jesus, Jericho was destroyed. When the Crusaders conquered and took possession of the Holy Land, A. D. 1099, they rebuilt Jericho, about two miles farther east, along the road to the Jordan ford. This Jericho is still standing. I lodged there during both of nay visits in that country.
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Godbey, William. "Commentary on Mark 10". "Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent