From the Commentary on the Whole Bible (Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, 1871).
28. Now learn a parable of the fig tree—"Now from the fig tree learn the parable," or the high lesson which this teaches.
When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves—"its leaves."
29. So ye, in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass—rather, "coming to pass."
know that it—"the kingdom of God" (Lu 21:31).
is nigh, even at the doors—that is, the full manifestation of it; for till then it admitted of no full development. In Luke (Lu 21:28) the following words precede these: "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh"—their redemption, in the first instance certainly, from Jewish oppression (1Th 2:14-16; Lu 11:52): but in the highest sense of these words, redemption from all the oppressions and miseries of the present state at the second appearing of the Lord Jesus.
30. Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass fill all these things be done—or "fulfilled" (Mt 24:34; Lu 21:32). Whether we take this to mean that the whole would be fulfilled within the limits of the generation then current, or, according to a usual way of speaking, that the generation then existing would not pass away without seeing a begun fulfilment of this prediction, the facts entirely correspond. For either the whole was fulfilled in the destruction accomplished by Titus, as many think; or, if we stretch it out, according to others, till the thorough dispersion of the Jews a little later, under Adrian, every requirement of our Lord's words seems to be met.
31. Heaven and earth shall pass away; but my words shall not pass away—the strongest possible expression of the divine authority by which He spake; not as Moses or Paul might have said of their own inspiration, for such language would be unsuitable in any merely human mouth.
Warnings to Prepare for the Coming of Christ Suggested by the Foregoing Prophecy (Mr 13:32-37).
It will be observed that, in the foregoing prophecy, as our Lord approaches the crisis of the day of vengeance on Jerusalem and redemption for the Church—at which stage the analogy between that and the day of final vengeance and redemption waxes more striking—His language rises and swells beyond all temporal and partial vengeance, beyond all earthly deliverances and enlargements, and ushers us resistlessly into the scenes of the final day. Accordingly, in these six concluding verses it is manifest that preparation for "THAT DAY" is what our Lord designs to inculcate.
32. But of that day and that hour—that is, the precise time.
knoweth no man—literally, no one.
no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father—This very remarkable statement regarding "the Son" is peculiar to Mark. Whether it means that the Son was not at that time in possession of the knowledge referred to, or simply that it was not among the things which He had received to communicate—has been matter of much controversy even among the firmest believers in the proper Divinity of Christ. In the latter sense it was taken by some of the most eminent of the ancient Fathers, and by Luther, Melancthon, and most of the older Lutherans; and it is so taken by Bengel, Lange, Webster and Wilkinson, Chrysostom and others understood it to mean that as man our Lord was ignorant of this. It is taken literally by Calvin, Grotius, De Wette, Meyer, Fritzsche, Stier, Alford, and Alexander.
33. Take ye heed, watch and pray; for ye know not when the time is.
34. For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, &c.—The idea thus far is similar to that in the opening part of the parable of the talents (Mt 25:14, 15).
and commanded the porter—the gatekeeper.
to watch—pointing to the official duty of the ministers of religion to give warning of approaching danger to the people.
35. Watch ye therefore; for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning—an allusion to the four Roman watches of the night.
36. Lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping—See on Lu 12:35-40; Lu 12:42-46.
37. And what I say unto you—this discourse, it will be remembered, was delivered in private.
I say unto all, Watch—anticipating and requiring the diffusion of His teaching by them among all His disciples, and its perpetuation through all time.
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