Matthew 24:30-31. Then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven Christ proceeds here in the same figurative style, and the plain meaning of his words is, that the destruction of Jerusalem and of the Jewish state, civil and religious, would be such a remarkable instance of divine vengeance, and such a signal manifestation of Christ’s power and glory, that all the Jewish tribes should mourn, and many should be led from thence to acknowledge him for the true Messiah. To explain this further it may be observed, “The sign from heaven, which both the disciples and Pharisees expected, was some visible appearance of the Messiah in the clouds, and some miraculous interposition of his power, by which the Romans, the masters of the world, were to be destroyed, and a universal empire over all nations erected in behalf of the Jews. This sign they were led to expect, because Daniel had said prophetically, of the Son of man, (Daniel 7:13,) that he saw him coming in the clouds of heaven, and that there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, &c. Nevertheless, by the coming of the Son of man in the clouds, Daniel meant his interposing for the destruction of his enemies, particularly the unbelieving Jews; and the erection of his own kingdom over all nations; a spiritual kingdom, a new dispensation of religion, which should comprehend the whole world within its pale. Therefore, to show the disciples that they had mistaken the prophecy, which referred wholly to the destruction of Jerusalem, and to the conversion of the Gentiles, he adopted it into his prediction of these events, and thereby settled its true meaning.” Macknight. The figurative expression, Coming in the clouds of heaven, in several other passages of Scripture, signifies God’s interposing evidently and irresistibly, to execute vengeance on a wicked generation, and to assert his own government over the world. See 2 Samuel 22:10-12; Psalms 97:2; Isaiah 19:1. He shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, &c. This also is in the style of the prophets, and, stripped of its figures, means only that after the destruction of Jerusalem, Christ by his angels, or ministers, going forth with their powerful preaching, termed here the great sound of a trumpet, should gather to himself a glorious church, out of all the nations under heaven: that the Jews being thrust out, as he expresses it, Luke 13:28, &c., believers should come from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south, and should sit down in the kingdom, of God. Agreeably to this interpretation, we find the name αγγελους , angels, used of common messengers, James 2:25; and of the ministers of the Asian churches, Revelation 2:3.; of prophets, 2 Chronicles 36:16; and of priests, Malachi 2:7. And the preaching of the messengers of God is compared to the sound of a trumpet, Isaiah 58:1; Jeremiah 6:17; Ezekiel 33:3-6. No person, versed at all in ecclesiastical history, needs to be told that the Christian religion spread and prevailed mightily after this period; and that hardly any one thing contributed more to this success of the gospel than the destruction of Jerusalem and the ruin of the Jewish nation, falling out in the very manner and with the very circumstances so particularly foretold by our Lord.
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