Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 10:20

Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Boasting;   Book;   Heaven;   Jesus, the Christ;   Joy;   Miracles;   Predestination;   Righteous;   Scofield Reference Index - Parables;   Thompson Chain Reference - Book;   Citizenship, Heavenly;   Future, the;   Heaven;   Heavenly;   Home;   Joy-Sorrow;   Rejoicing;   The Topic Concordance - Name;   Power;   Rejoice;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Election;   Genealogies;   Heaven;   Joy;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Adummim;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Book of life;   Judgment;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Book, Book of Life;   Demon;   Heal, Health;   Heaven, Heavens, Heavenlies;   Jesus Christ;   Joy;   Suffering;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Judgment, Last;   CARM Theological Dictionary - Heaven;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Book;   Spirit;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Book;   Citizenship;   Elect;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Book of Life;   Disciples;   Heaven;   Life, Book of;   Luke, Gospel of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Book of Life;   Canon of the New Testament;   Jesus Christ;   Joy;   Man;   Martha;   Mary;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Angels (2);   Book (2);   Book of Life;   Character;   Complacency;   Day of Judgment;   Demon, Demoniacal Possession, Demoniacs;   Discourse;   Heaven;   Heaven ;   Joy (2);   Mental Characteristics;   Power;   Prudence;   Retribution (2);   Seventy (2);   Simple, Simplicity ;   Writing (2);   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Church;   Judah;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Bethsaida;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - How;   Jesus Christ (Part 2 of 2);   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Book of life;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Book of Life;   Jesus of Nazareth;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Because your names are written in heaven - This form of speech is taken from the ancient custom of writing the names of all the citizens in a public register, that the several families might be known, and the inheritances properly preserved. This custom is still observed even in these kingdoms, though not particularly noticed. Every child that is born in the land is ordered to be registered, with the names of its parents, and the time when born, baptized, or registered; and this register is generally kept in the parish church, or in some public place of safety. Such a register as this is called in Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5, etc., the book of life, i.e. the book or register where the persons were enrolled as they came into life. It appears also probable, that when any person died, or behaved improperly, his name was sought out and erased from the book, to prevent any confusion that might happen in consequence of improper persons laying claim to an estate, and to cut off the unworthy from the rights and privileges of the peaceable, upright citizens. To this custom of blotting the names of deceased and disorderly persons out of the public registers, there appear to be allusions, Exodus 32:32, where see the note; and Revelation 3:5; Deuteronomy 9:14; Deuteronomy 25:19; Deuteronomy 29:20; 2 Kings 14:27; Psalm 69:28; Psalm 109:13, and in other places.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 10:20". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-10.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Rather rejoice … - Though it was an honor to work miracles, though it is an honor to be endowed with talents, and influence, and learning, yet it is a subject of “chief” joy that we are numbered among the people of God, and have a title to everlasting life.

Names are written in heaven - The names of citizens of a city or state were accustomed to be written in a book or register, from which they were blotted out when they became unworthy, or forfeited the favor of their country. Compare Psalm 69:28; Exodus 32:32; Deuteronomy 9:14; Revelation 3:5. That their “names were written in heaven,” means that they were “citizens” of heaven; that they were friends of God and “approved” by him, and would be permitted to dwell with him. This was of far more value than all “earthly” honor, power, or wealth, and “in” this people should rejoice more than in eminent endowments of influence, learning, talents, or possessions.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 10:20". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-10.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Nevertheless in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

Rejoice not ... That is, rejoice not in these victories as your own personal triumph; although through you, they are nevertheless victories of the Lord.

Names are written in heaven ... The names of God's servants are inscribed in the Lamb's book of life; and for a full discussion of this book, who are inscribed in it, when the inscription takes place, and who may be blotted out of it, see my Commentary on Hebrews, Hebrews 12:23.

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Luke 10:20". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/luke-10.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Notwithstanding in this rejoice not,.... That their power was enlarged, or that they had, the same as before:

that the spirits, evil spirits, devils, are subject unto you; and come out of men at your command; rejoice not so much in this, or chiefly and principally; not but that it was matter of joy both with respect to the gift bestowed upon them, and the benefits men received by it, and the glory that was brought to Christ through it;

but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven; in the book of life, called the Lamb's book of life, written from the foundation of the world: in divine predestination to everlasting glory and happiness: which shows that God's election to eternal life is of particular persons, of persons by name; that it is sure, and certain, and immutable, being in opposition to what is written in earth, Jeremiah 17:13, that the knowledge of this may be attained to, through the grace of God, the revelation of Christ, and the witnessings of his Spirit; and that this is matter of the greatest job, since it is the foundation and security of all the blessings of grace and glory.

Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 10:20". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-10.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

rejoice not, etc. — that is, not so much. So far from forbidding it, He takes occasion from it to tell them what had been passing in His own mind. But as power over demons was after all intoxicating, He gives them a higher joy to balance it, the joy of having their names in Heaven‘s register (Philippians 4:3).

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 10:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/luke-10.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Are written (ενγεγραπταιengegraptai). Perfect passive indicative, state of completion, stand written, enrolled or engraved, from ενγραπωengraphō common verb. “As citizens possessing the full privileges of the commonwealth” (Plummer).

Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 10:20". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-10.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

Rejoice not so much that the devils are subject to you, as that your names are written in heaven - Reader, so is thine, if thou art a true, believer. God grant it may never be blotted out!

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Luke 10:20". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-10.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

Nevertheless in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven1.

  1. Nevertheless in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. Your joy in visible and temporal success, and in the subjection to you of the powers of evil, is not to be compared to the joy that you have the prospect of heaven.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 10:20". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-10.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

TEMPTATIONS OF A USEFUL LIFE

‘In this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.’

Luke 10:20

We always require to obey Christ’s command, to watch and pray lest we enter into temptation. Even our very duties may be a snare to us; and we may be falling away from the path of life, even when we seem to others and to ourselves to be following it most steadily.

I. This concerns all those who are engaged in promoting works of charity, and most of all, who are labouring to do good to their neighbour in the great matter of his soul, and who, therefore, may be inclined to think that they are employed most securely. It concerns, too, every man who, doing good in his generation, is setting forward the Kingdom of Christ, and is, so far, casting out devils in his Master’s name.

II. What it is that the spirit of Christ’s words recommends to us?

(a) We must often go to Christ, the Fountain of life, and refresh ourselves with His Spirit. Let us treat as one of the devil’s worst snares the temptation which we may feel to trust in our own useful lives and virtuous feelings, and, therefore, to neglect coming to God; that is, to neglect the only means of knowing ourselves thoroughly, and thus of obtaining a cure for every weakness of our souls, and a guard to save us from falling away, through the Spirit of Christ our Saviour.

(b) Christ Himself was accustomed to commence the day with His Heavenly Father.—In this, as in all the rest of His life, He was our Example that we should follow His steps; and if He, to Whom the Spirit was given without measure, did not neglect the means of gaining fresh spiritual strength by prayer and devout meditation, how can we neglect it, without being certain that we shall suffer for our presumption?

—Rev. T. Arnold.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Luke 10:20". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/luke-10.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

Ver. 20. That your names are written] That you are enrolled burgesses of the new Jerusalem. Paul by his privilege of being a Roman escaped whipping; we by this escape damnation. The sinner engrosseth his name in the book of perdition.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 10:20". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-10.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Luke 10:20

The Temptations besetting a Useful Life.

I. It well shows how much we always require to obey Christ's command, to watch and pray lest we enter into temptation, that even our very duties may be a snare to us; and we may be falling away from the path of life, even when we seem to others and to ourselves to be following it most steadily. This concerns all those who are engaged in promoting works of charity, and most of all, who are labouring to do good to their neighbour in the great matter of his soul, and who, therefore may be inclined to think that they are employed most securely. It concerns, too, every man who is busily and honestly engaged in his regular calling; who, living in the fear of God, is making his work a godly service; and who, doing good in his generation, is setting forward the kingdom of Christ; and is, so far, casting out devils in his Master's Name. Let us see, then, what it is that the spirit of Christ's words recommends to us.

II. We are so formed that we cannot even work in the most useful calling long together without finding our spiritual state go backwards, unless we often go to Christ, the Fountain of life, and refresh ourselves with His Spirit. Let us treat as one of the devil's worst snares the temptation which we may feel to trust in our own useful lives and virtuous feelings, and, therefore, to neglect coming to God; that is, to neglect the only means of knowing ourselves thoroughly, and thus of obtaining a cure for every weakness of our souls, and a guard to save us from falling away, through the Spirit of Christ our Saviour. Christ Himself, whose day was spent in active usefulness, was accustomed to rise long before it was day, that He might commence with His Heavenly Father. In this, as in all the rest of His life, He was our Example that we should follow His steps: and if He, to whom the Spirit was given without measure, did not neglect the means of gaining fresh spiritual strength by prayer and devout meditation, how can we neglect it, without being certain that we shall suffer for our presumption?

T. Arnold, Sermons, vol. i., p. 264.


References: Luke 10:20.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iv., p. 414; Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxii., No. 1321; M. Simpson, Sermons, p. 257; Homilist, vol. vi., p. 174.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Luke 10:20". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/luke-10.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Luke 10:20. Because your names are written in heaven. Not by an absolute decree, but approved and accepted of God, on account of their faith and sincerity. Many are of opinion, that this is an allusion to the enrolment of the citizens' names in a register, by which their right to the privileges of citizenship was acknowledged by the community. It seems most probable, that when the seventy disciples were returned, Jesus was surrounded with a great multitude of people; this may be gathered at least from Luke 10:23 where, after having spoken publicly to the seventy, we are told that he turned unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed, &c. The happiness here praised, was enjoyed in the same sense by the seventy, as by the twelve, and consequently it was as fit that they should be made sensible of its greatness, as that the twelve shouldunderstand it. Besides, this declaration, as well as what was spoken more publicly, was designed to moderate the joy which the seventy had conceived on finding the devils subject to them. These things shew, that what our Lord said privately to his disciples, was said to the seventy, as well as to the twelve. If so, he was now attended by the multitude; which is the more necessary to observe, as it accounts for the behaviour of the lawyer in the subsequent verses.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Luke 10:20". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/luke-10.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

In these words of our Saviour there is something corrective, and something directive: the corrective part lies in the first words, wherein Christ checks the suspected excesses of their joy for victories gained over evil spirits: In this rejoice not: that is, let not your hearts too much overflow with joy upon this occasion. The negative is not absolute, but comparative only. Christ does not forbid, but only qualify and moderate their joy: That the spirits are subject to you, that is, the devils.

Where note,

1. That though the evil angels by their fall have lost their happy condition, yet not their original constitution; their honor, but not their nature: they are spirits still.

2. The subjection of those evil spirits to the power of Christ, is not a free and professed, but an involuntary and imposed subjection, like that of a slave to his lord, whether he will or not.

Learn hence,

1. That evil spirits are subject to the power of Christ! Not only to his personal, but to his ministerial power.

2. That it is matter of great joy to see evil spirits brought into subjection by the power of Christ. To see the evil spirit of pride and contention, of envy and malice, of error and falsehood, of jealousy and self-love, of animosity and division, not only chained but changed; to see not only an unwilling subjection, but a subjection of the will given to Christ; is matter of great joy and unspeakable rejoicing.

The directive part of our Saviour's words lies in the latter part of the verse: but rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven. There are no literal records in the court of heaven, no pen or ink, paper or parchment; but to be written in heaven, is to have a title to eternal life, and to be made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light.

Learn, 1. That God has in heaven a book of life; a book written with the golden rays and beams of his own eternal love.

2. That there are names written in this book.

3. That persons may know that their names are written in that book, otherwise they could not rejoice, for no man can rejoice at an unknown good.

4. That it is greater matter of joy and rejoicing to know that our names are written in heaven, than to have a power to cast out devils here on earth. A man may have power to cast forth devils out of others, and yet at the same time the devil may have power in and over himself: Therefore in this rejoice not, that the devils are subject unto you, but rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

If you say, with what spectacles shall we read that at such a distance? Who will ascend up into heaven to see whether his name be written there? Who can send a messenger there to search the records? I answer, turn your eyes inward: if the name of God be written in thy heart, thy name is certainly written in heaven: if you in your daily actions write out a copy of God's book (the blessed Bible) here below, assure yourselves the hand of God has written your names in his book above; that is, you shall certainly be saved.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Luke 10:20". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/luke-10.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

20.] The connexion is—‘seeing that the power which I grant to you is so large, arising from my victory over the enemy,—make not one particular department of it your cause of joy, nor indeed the mere subjection of evil to you at all—but this,—the positive and infinite side of God’s mercy and goodness to you, that He hath placed you among His redeemed ones.’

τὰ πνεύμ. is something different from τὰ δαιμόνια in those words above, and denotes a wider range of influence—influence over spirit for good—whereby the πνευματικὰ τῆς πονηρίας are subjected to the believers in Christ.

The ἐγγέγραπται ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς is an expression in various forms frequent in Scripture, and is opposed to ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς γραφήτωσαν, Jeremiah 17:13, said of the rebellious. But no immutable predestination is asserted by it;—in the very first place where it occurs, Exodus 32:32-33, the contrary is implied, see Psalms 69:28; Isaiah 4:3; Daniel 12:1; Philippians 4:3; Hebrews 12:23; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 20:12; Revelation 20:15. The τὰ ὀνόμ. ὑμ. seems to be a reference to ἐν τῷ ὀν. σου above, which perhaps was with them a medium of self-praise, as so often with Christians. Our Lord says, ‘the true cause of joy for you is, not the power shewn forth by or in you in My Name, but that you, your names, are in the book of life’—as testified by the πνεῦμα which συμμαρτυρεῖ τῷ πν. ἡμῶν ὅτι ἐσμὲν τέκνα θεοῦ, Romans 8:16. And this brings us to Luke 10:21, where our Lord rejoices in the revelation of these things even to the babes of the earth by the will and pleasure of the Father:—these things—not, the power over the enemy—but all that is implied in ἐγγέγραπται ἐν τ. οὐρ.

This, which is the true cause of joy to the believer, causes even the Saviour Himself to triumph, anticipating Isaiah 53:11.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 10:20". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/luke-10.html. 1863-1878.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 1513

THE ENROLMENT OF OUR NAMES IN HEAVEN, A GROUND OF JOY

Luke 10:20. Notwithstanding, in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.

THERE is a holy jealousy which well becomes the ministers of God: for people are ever ready to pride themselves upon any distinctions which God may confer upon them, and to rest in the attainments they have made, instead of regarding them only as means to an ulterior good. It should seem that the seventy Disciples, who had been sent forth to preach the Gospel of the kingdom, were surprised when they found that devils and unclean spirits were subject unto them: and on their return to their divine Master, they could not help expressing the high gratification which this power had afforded them. Had their minds been more suitably affected, they would have rejoiced rather in the prospect which that circumstance afforded them of the final triumphs of their Lord. Jesus therefore, in a kind and tender manner, corrected their views, and pointed out to them a more just ground of self-congratulation: assuring them in the mean time that their powers should be still more enlarged, and their victory over Satan be more complete. The caution given to them is applicable to Christians in every age: their comforts and successes are doubtless a proper subject of joy and thankfulness; but it is the final success only that can make them completely happy; and the only solid joy is that which arises from a well-founded expectation of happiness beyond the grave.

In confirmation of this truth, we would observe,

I. That the enrolment of our names in heaven is a fact which may be known—

The names of all God’s people are, as it were, written in his book—

[The names of all the tribes of Israel were registered in a book. It was of that book that Moses spake, when he desired God to blot him out of it rather than not forgive his offending people [Note: Exodus 32:32.]. And as long as the Jewish states continued, such a book was carefully preserved [Note: Isaiah 4:3.]. Such a register God himself is represented as having formed of all his chosen people. His book is called “the book of life, of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world [Note: Revelation 13:8.].” This book, as well as the books of God’s remembrance, in which the actions of men were recorded, will be brought forth at the last day [Note: Revelation 20:12.]; and they who were written in it will be exalted to glory [Note: Revelation 21:27.], whilst “those who were not written in it will be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death [Note: Revelation 20:15.].”]

Our enrolment in that book is a fact which may be known—

[St. Paul knew it respecting many, both men and women, who had united with him in endeavours to advance the kingdom of Christ [Note: Philippians 4:3.]. And the same may be known also by those who are there enrolled. We cannot indeed go up to heaven to examine that sacred record; nor can we have it brought down to us on earth: yet may we assuredly know its contents as far as respects ourselves. There are two ways in which this may be done; first, by the testimony of the Spirit; and next, by the evidence of our lives. Respecting the witness of the Spirit, we do not say that the Spirit will bear any direct testimony to our souls, irrespective of any thing that he has wrought in us; (this I conceive to be a very dangerous error;) but he will shine upon his own work, and cause us to see it. When we are regenerate, he will, as “a Spirit of adoption, enable us to cry, Abba, Father;” and will “witness with our spirits that we are the children of God, and heirs of his everlasting kingdom [Note: Romans 8:15-17.].” When we are regenerate, I say, he will do this, but not before; for he never did, nor can, attest a falsehood, which he would do if he were to witness to any unregenerate man that he was a child of God. The evidence of our own lives also will enable us to ascertain this fact. There are certain “things which infallibly accompany salvation [Note: Hebrews 6:9-10.],” and which therefore warrant us to infer that we are in the number of God’s elect [Note: 1 Thessalonians 1:3-4.], and to assure ourselves of a final and everlasting acceptance with him [Note: 1 John 3:14; 1 John 3:18-21.]. The former is the more delightful to our feelings; the latter is the more convincing to our judgment: but from whichever source we draw our conclusions, if only our premises be right, our conclusions are infallible. Hence St. Paul was so assured of happiness in the eternal world [Note: 2 Corinthians 5:1. 2 Timothy 4:8.]; and hence every believer is authorized to adopt the words of the Church of old, “My beloved is mine, and I am his.”]

Having shewn that the fact of our enrolment in heaven may be known, we observe,

II. That when known, it is a ground of most exalted joy—

The expulsion of devils from the bodies of men was a just ground of joy—

[It was an evidence of God’s presence with the Disciples; (for who but God could cast them out?) it was also a strong confirmation of their word; (no stronger could be given:) it was, moreover, an unspeakable blessing to those who were thus delivered from Satan’s power; (and who must not rejoice in the communication of so great a good?) above all, it was a pledge of greater victories over Satan, and the utter destruction of his kingdom. Our Lord’s prohibition, therefore, must not be understood as absolute, but only as comparative; as when he bade his followers “not to labour for the meat that perisheth, but for that which endureth unto everlasting life.”]

But the knowledge of our interest in the Divine favour is incomparably a greater ground of joy—

[Indeed nothing can for a moment be put in competition with this: this is infinitely beyond every other ground of joy.

It is the most sublime. What is the possession of thrones and kingdoms in comparison of this? All earthly things are lighter than vanity itself when weighed against the glories of the heavenly world [Note: See the description of the Christian’s state, Hebrews 12:22-24.].

It is the most pure. Every earthly joy has a tendency to corrupt the mind; to fill us with pride; to foster every evil disposition; to rivet us to the world; and to retard our progress toward the kingdom of heaven. But who was ever corrupted by a view of his interest in the Saviour? We do not ask, When did a corrupt man pretend to an interest in Christ, or boast that he was of the number of God’s elect? for that, alas! may be found in every place and every age; but we confidently ask, Whom did the knowledge of his interest in Christ ever corrupt in any respect whatever? Ignorant people imagine that a view of our election of God will puff us up with pride; or render us indifferent to the attainment of holiness: but every child of God is the more humbled by a conviction that God is pacified towards him [Note: Ezekiel 16:63.], and is the more determinately bent to fulfil the whole will of God. Of this we are assured on the authority of an inspired Apostle, on whose testimony we may rely with most implicit confidence [Note: 1 John 3:3.]—

It is the most substantial. Whatever other sources of joy we may have, they may all fail and disappoint us. Ask those who have attained the principal objects of their desire, whether they have found all the satisfaction in them that they once expected? and they will all be constrained to acknowledge, that vanity and vexation of spirit is the sum of all created good. In a little time our sweetest enjoyments cloy, and cease to afford us any material gratification: in a season of deep affliction they lose all their power, and are not unfrequently turned into sources of the greatest sorrow. But whom did the pardoning love of Christ ever fail to comfort? Who ever ceased to derive consolation from it under the heaviest afflictions? Who ever found it a source or an occasion of sorrow to his soul, except indeed that he sorrowed because he did not value it more, and improve it better? Other joys embitter the thought of death, and vanish the moment that the soul takes its flight from the body: but the knowledge of our acceptance with God makes the thought of death delightful; and the joy arising from it is perfected in the very instant of our departure hence. Lastly,

It is that, without which no other ground of joy can exist.We will suppose that you possess health, and riches, and wisdom, and honour, and every gratification that your heart can wish, and that too in the highest degree that it can be enjoyed; what is it all, whilst you have no prospect beyond the grave? If you were sensible of your state, you would be like a person sitting down to a banquet, with a sword suspended over his head by a single hair; you would not know one moment’s peace. Who would envy a man, that after a few hours was to be burnt alive? Whatever he might possess, he would be regarded by all as a pitiable object: and such is that man who, after a few more days, must be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone: whatever of wealth or honour he may have attained, he is a wretched creature, and if he be at all sensible of his state, he would gladly exchange conditions with the meanest and most afflicted saint on earth.

What comparison then will earthly joys bear with this? Even that of casting out devils, and finding them subject to one’s power, would be nothing, when it is considered that the person so honoured may soon be cast out himself, and bidden to “depart accursed into everlasting fire [Note: Matthew 7:22-23.].”]

Learn then,

1. To seek this great blessing above all things—

[Some may be ready to say, ‘If God has not, of his own sovereign grace, inscribed my name in his book from all eternity, how shall I get it done now?’ To this I answer, The secret decrees of God are no ground of action to you: you are to act precisely as if all depended on your own personal exertion: nay, more, God encourages you so to act, with an assurance that you shall not exert yourself in vain. Go to the Lord Jesus Christ, and cast yourselves at the foot of his cross, and then see whether it shall be in vain. He has said, that “Whosoever cometh unto him, he will in no wise cast out;” and you may rest assured, that that promise shall be fulfilled to you. However distant you have been from God, you shall be “brought nigh to him by the blood of the cross;” and “from being strangers and foreigners, you shall become fellow-citizens of the saints, and of the household of God [Note: This is the idea suggested in the text. The enrolling of names has respect to citizens, whose rights are thereby ascertained and assured.].” This blessing its your duty to seek in God’s appointed way; and if it be, as we have shewn, incomparably the greatest that a human being can possess, seek it with an earnestness proportioned to its worth — — —]

2. Never to grow weary in the pursuit of it—

[Many persons are fond of perplexing themselves with the deeper doctrines of religion, when they should rather be edifying themselves with those which are more plain. Some will argue, that if God have written our names in his book, he will never blot them out again, because “his gifts and calling are without repentance.” But though it is true, that “God will carry on his work,” and “perfect that which concerneth us,” it is equally true, that “if we draw back, we draw back unto perdition, and God’s soul will have no pleasure in us [Note: Hebrews 10:38-39.].” Of his faithful people he has said, that “he will not blot out their names from the book of life [Note: Revelation 3:5.]:” but he uses directly opposite language in reference to the ungodly, and to those who decline from his ways [Note: Exodus 32:33. Psalms 69:28. Jeremiah 17:13.]. It is “to them who, by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory and honour, and immortality, that God will give eternal life [Note: Romans 2:6-7.].” Let no difficulties then discourage you; but “press forward for the prize of your high calling:” and expect assuredly, that, as already “your witness is in heaven, and your record is on high [Note: Job 16:19.],” so your unworthy names shall in due time be acknowledged by your Lord and Saviour, and you shall “inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Luke 10:20". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/luke-10.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 10:20. ΄ὴ χαίρετε, rejoice not) An admonition salutary at the time of their first experience, intended to moderate in a due degree their joy. Their joy is not forbidden, but is reduced to proper bounds. They who rejoice in excess through self-love, are liable to become like Satan.(98)ὑμῶν) the names of you, who are Mine.— ἐγράφη, have been written) Although Satan hath exclaimed against it [accusing you, Revelation 12:10] in heaven: (your names are written in heaven) even though on earth you have no celebrity.— ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, in the heavens) in the book which is in the heavens, the kingdom of which ye are announcing: in these heavens moreover from which Satan hath fallen down. The contrary is declared concerning apostates (prævaricatoribus, those who do not steadily follow the Lord: shufflers; crooked walkers), Jeremiah 17:13, they shall be written in the earth.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 10:20". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-10.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

It is a usual thing in holy writ, to have prohibitions delivered in general terms, which must be understood in a restrained sense. That it is so here, appeareth plainly by the word

rather, prefixed to rejoice, in the latter part of the sentence. For it was doubtless a just cause of joy and rejoicing to them that Christ had honoured them with such an extraordinary gift and power, but not of so much joy as to know that their names were written in the book of life; for as the good was infinitely greater, so a proportionable joy was requisite upon the assurance of it.

The expression written in heaven, is equivalent to the being written in the book of life, whereby is signified, either the certain designation of some to eternal life, or effectual calling. We read of this book of life, Revelation 3:5 20:12,15 21:27 22:19. It is called the Lamb’s book, Revelation 13:8, and it is said it was written from the foundation of the world; which will justify those divines who understand it of a particular election from eternity; whereas it is objected that when amongst the twelve there was a son of perdition, it is unreasonable to think that all the seventy were elect vessels. It is easily answered, that our Saviour’s words were true according to the usual phrase of speaking, if the generality of them only were such. Nor need our Saviour be understood as asserting all their names were so written, but only asserting the greatest cause of joy to be, if men can by their calling find that their election is sure. From our Saviour’s words we may infer,

1. That there is a book of life, an election of grace.

2. That there are names written in this book; it is an election of persons.

3. That men may know that their names are written in that book, otherwise they could not rejoice; no man rejoiceth but in a good with which he hath some degree of union.

4. That this is a greater cause of joy, than for a man to know that he hath a power to cast out devils.

Men may be made use of to cast out devils in Christ’s name, who yet may go to the devil at last, Matthew 7:22,23; so cannot those whose names are written in the book of life. But I cannot understand that our Saviour in these words asserts that all the names of the seventy were written in that book. The tendency of his discourse is rather to quicken them to give all diligence to make sure of this cause of joy and rejoicing.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 10:20". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-10.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

тому не радуйтесь Не восхищаться такими необычными проявлениями, как власть над бесами и способность творить чудеса, а глубже осознать, что величайшим из всех чудес является реальность спасения – вся суть Евангельской вести и главный результат, ради которого использовались все чудеса. (Они были средством, а не целью.)

Тому, что имена ваши написаны на небесах Ср. Флп. 4:3; Евр. 12:23; Отк. 21:27. В противоположность им имена неверующих «написаны на прахе». (Иер. 17:13).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Luke 10:20". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/luke-10.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Your names are written in heaven; as heirs of eternal life.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Luke 10:20". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/luke-10.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

20.In this rejoice not—This is said comparatively. Rejoice not so much in a temporal power as in your own eternal salvation. Of what use is it to cast out demons, if you are finally cast away with devils forever?

Names are written in heaven—The record or census of the names of all the living citizens was, as we find, kept in Jerusalem. Isaiah 4:3. So, figuratively, a book or census-roll of the living, a book of life, a celestial census, is kept in the New Jerusalem. “1 John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem’ And there shall in no wise enter into it any’ but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” The record of our names in this New Jerusalem census is evidence of our heavenly citizenship. Our names are there recorded when we are justified by a living faith. The retention of our names is conditional; that is, our names may be blotted out by sin, and thus our citizenship be lost. Psalms 69:19; Psalms 69:28; Exodus 32:31. “God shall take away his part out of the book of life and out of the holy city.”

Revelation 22:19. To cast out devils, to possess great power, may be a joyous prerogative; but what if it be enjoyed at the expense of a loss of our citizenship from heaven and name blotted from the Book of Life?

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 10:20". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-10.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

“Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

However, while they may rejoice in the spirits being subject to them they should not make this the main reason for their rejoicing, for it is theirs because of something in which they should rejoice even more. And that is that they belong to Him and are therefore citizens of Heaven, with their names written in the citizenship roll of Heaven. They are recognised citizens under the Kingly Rule of God. That is why as His heavenly ambassadors they been able to defeat Satan. We may see this citizenship roll as the equivalent of the Lamb’s book of life where the names of His own are written from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8; Revelation 17:8; Revelation 20:15; Revelation 21:27; Philippians 4:3). It contains the names of all who are His.

Jesus was aware of the danger of their seeing power over evil spirits as too important. It could become their fetish. They must rather see it in its place as a secondary result of what they are in Him. Primary must always be their relationship with and knowledge of Him which has resulted in them being heavenly citizens. They should thus primarily rejoice because they are men of the Spirit (John 3:1-6). As He will go on to point out, their ability to cast out evil spirits in His name, comes from their knowledge of Him in their inward hearts. Were they to lose that the spirits would no longer be subject to them

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Luke 10:20". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/luke-10.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

As great as victory over injury and especially demons was, a greater cause for rejoicing was the Seventy"s assurance that God would reward them. God makes note of those who commit themselves to participating in His mission. Jesus" comparison helps all disciples keep His blessings in their proper perspective.

There appear to be several records that God keeps in heaven. There is the book of the living, namely, those who are presently alive on the earth ( Exodus 32:32-33; Deuteronomy 29:20; Psalm 69:28; Isaiah 4:3). There is also a book containing the names of the lost and their deeds ( Revelation 20:12). There is a book with the names of the elect in it ( Daniel 12:1; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 17:8; Revelation 20:15; Revelation 21:27). A fourth book evidently contains the names of faithful followers of the Lord ( Malachi 3:16; Philippians 4:3; Hebrews 12:23; Revelation 3:5). In view of the context it was apparently to this last record that Jesus referred here. Obviously God needs no literal ledgers to keep records in since He knows all. This is a figurative way of saying that He remembers.

This whole pericope deals with the joy that disciples who participate in God"s mission for them experience. The greatest and most fundamental reason for rejoicing for any disciple is his or her personal salvation. Yet there is additional joy for disciples who take part in God"s program and advance His will in the world. It involves seeing a preview of the final victory over the forces of evil (cf. Matthew 16:18). This joy more than compensates for the deprivations and rejection that discipleship entails. Non-participating disciples know nothing of this joy.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 10:20". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/luke-10.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 10:20. Rejoice not in this. This is an absolute prohibition of rejoicing solely in the power spoken of. The power is great, and joy in such delegated power is dangerous, may be joined with pride and self-seeking. Besides the power over evil is a negative blessing, and does not furnish so proper a ground of joy as the positive blessings of God’s infinite mercy and goodness.

But rejoice. Here there is no such danger.

That your names are written in heaven. The figure is not uncommon in the Scriptures (Exodus 32:32-33; Malachi 3:16; Revelation 3:5, etc.). The common reading points to a single past act: ‘were written;’ but the better established one refers to the continued place which these names have in the book of life: ‘have been and are written.’ God’s spiritual blessing is personal and permanent. The ground of the commanded joy is not our power, delegated as it is, but God’s mercy and love in Christ He will rejoice most, and most properly, who finds the sole ground there.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 10:20". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/luke-10.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Luke 10:20. has adversative force here = yet, nevertheless. The joy of the Seventy was in danger of becoming overjoy, running into self-importance; hence the warning word, which is best understood in the light of St. Paul’s doctrine of the Holy Spirit, which laid much more stress on the ethical than on the charismatical results of His influence = rejoice not so much in possessing remarkable spiritual gifts as in being spiritual men. This text may be put beside Matthew 7:21-23 as bearing on the separability of gifts and graces ( and ).

 

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 10:20". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-10.html. 1897-1910.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Notwithstanding. Greek. plen, as in Luke 10:11; rendered "But" in Luke 10:14, an emphatic conjunction.

spirits. App-101.

are written = have been written (T Tr. WI R), or in-scribed (TWH). See Exodus 32:32. Psalms 69:28. Daniel 12:1. Philippians 1:4, Philippians 1:3. Hebrews 12:23, Revelation 3:5; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 17:8; Revelation 20:12; Revelation 21:27; Revelation 22:19.

heaven = the heavens (plural) See notes on Matthew 6:9, Matthew 6:10.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 10:20". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/luke-10.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

Notwithstanding in this rejoice not (that is, not so much) that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. So far from forbidding this joy at the expulsion of demons by their instrumentality, He told them the exultation with which He followed it Himself; but since power over demons might unduly elate them, He gives them a higher joy to balance it, the joy of having their own names in Heaven's register. (Philippians 4:3).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 10:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-10.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(20) Notwithstanding in this rejoice not.—Above all exercise of power was the consciousness of the divine life, the feeling that they had a Father in heaven who had, to speak after the manner of men, registered their names as citizens of His kingdom. That was the great blessing for them, and for all believing souls after them. The words leave open the question whether that registration conferred a title which they could not forfeit, and the current language of the Old Testament—the prayer of Moses, “Blot me out of Thy book” (Exodus 32:32), the warnings of Exodus 32:33, Deuteronomy 9:14; Deuteronomy 29:20—would suggest the thought that even here the joy was to be tempered with fear and trembling. The reappearance of a like promise in Revelation 3:5 as the reward of obedience, and therefore conditioned by it, no less than the general tenor of the teaching of the Epistles (1 Corinthians 9:27; Galatians 2:21; 2 Peter 1:10), confirms this interpretation. It may be noted (1) that the better MSS. omit the word “rather,” and introduce the second clause abruptly—“Rejoice that your names are written . . .;” and (2), as implied above, that the root-thought of the image is that of a king taking the census of those who are citizens of his kingdom, as distinguished from aliens and foreigners. In Psalms 87:4-5, we have a memorable instance at once of the literal fact and of its spiritual application.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 10:20". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-10.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
in this
Matthew 7:22,23; 10:1; 26:24; 27:5; 1 Corinthians 13:2,3
your
Exodus 32:32; Psalms 69:28; Isaiah 4:3; Daniel 12:1; Philippians 4:3; Hebrews 12:23; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 13:8; 20:12,15; 21:27
Reciprocal: Numbers 3:40 - GeneralNumbers 24:2 - the spirit;  Psalm 87:6 - when;  Proverbs 22:1 - name;  Ecclesiastes 7:1 - name;  Jeremiah 17:13 - written;  Ezekiel 13:9 - neither shall they be;  Jonah 4:6 - So;  Romans 12:12 - Rejoicing;  1 Thessalonians 5:16 - Rejoice;  Hebrews 6:4 - and have;  James 1:9 - in;  1 Peter 1:6 - ye greatly

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 10:20". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-10.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

20.Your names are written. As it was the design of Christ to withdraw his disciples from a transitory joy, that they might glory in eternal life, he leads them to its origin and source, which is, that they were chosen by God and adopted as his children. He might indeed have commanded them to rejoice that they had been regenerated by the Spirit of God, (Titus 3:5,) and become new creatures in Christ, (2 Corinthians 5:17;) that they had been enlightened (Ephesians 1:18) in the hope of salvation, and had received the earnest of the inheritance, (Ephesians 1:14.) But he intended to point out, that the source from which all these benefits had flowed was the free election of God, that they might not claim any thing for themselves. Reasons for praising God are no doubt furnished by those acts of his kindness which we feel within us; but eternal election, which is without us, shows more clearly that our salvation rests on the pure goodness (54) of God. The metaphorical expression, your names are written in heaven, means, that they were acknowledged by God as His children and heirs, as if they had been inscribed in a register. (55)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Luke 10:20". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/luke-10.html. 1840-57.