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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW - Chapter 19 - Verse 28
Verse 28. Verily I say unto you. Jesus in this verse declares the reward which they would have. They were not to look for it now, but in a future period.
In the regeneration. This word occurs but once elsewhere in the New Testament, Tit 3:5. It literally means a new birth, or being born again. Applied to a man, it denotes the great change when the heart is renewed, or when the sinner begins to be a Christian. This is its meaning clearly in Titus. But this meaning cannot be applied here. Christ was not born again, and in no proper sense could it be said that they had followed him in the new birth. The word also means any great changes, or restoration of things to a former state, or to a better state. In this sense it is probably used here. It refers to that great revolution; that restoration of order in the universe; that universal new birth when the dead shall rise, and all human things shall be changed, and a new order of things shall start up out of the ruins of the old, when the Son of man shall come to judgment. The passage, then, should be read, "Ye which have followed me shall, as a reward in the great day of the resurrection of the dead, and of forming the new and eternal order of things—the day of judgment, the regeneration—be signally honoured and blessed."
When the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory. That is, to judge the world. Throne of glory, means glorious throne, or a splendid throne. It is not to be taken literally, but is used to denote his character as a King and Judge, and to signify the great dignity and majesty which will be displayed by him. See Mt 24:30; 26:64; Ac 1:11; 17:31.
Sit upon twelve thrones. This is figurative. To sit on a throne denotes power and honour; and means here that they should be distinguished above others, and be more highly honoured and rewarded.
Judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Jesus will be the Judge of quick and dead. He only is qualified for it; and the Father hath given all judgment to the Son, Joh 5:22. To judge, denotes rank, authority, power. The ancient judges of Israel were men of distinguished courage, patriotism, honour, and valour. Hence the word comes to denote, not so much an actual exercise of the power of passing judgment, as the honour attached to the office. And as earthly kings have those around them dignified with honours and office, counsellors and judges, so Christ says his apostles shall occupy the same relative station in the great day. They shall be honoured by him, and by all, as apostles; as having in the face of persecution left all; as having laid the foundations of his church, and endured all the maddened persecutions of the world.
The twelve tribes of Israel. This was the number of the ancient tribes. By this name the people of God were denoted. By this name Jesus here denotes his redeemed people. See also Jas 1:1, where Christians are called the twelve tribes. Here it also means not the Jews, not the world, not the wicked, not that the apostles are to pronounce sentence on the enemies of God; but the people of God, the redeemed. Among them Jesus says his apostles shall be honoured in the day of judgment, as earthly kings place in posts of office and honour the counsellors and judges of those who have signally served them. Comp. See Barnes "1 Co 6:2".
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