« Prev Verse 14. Next »

Ver. 14. And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints.

The apostle urgeth another argument to imply the destruction of those seducers, and that is, the prophecy of Enoch. Whether this prophecy were written or not, the same Spirit that spake in Enoch inspired our apostle: if he received it by tradition, it is here made authentic and put into the canon.148148   Vid. Bez. et Estium in loc. The Jews have some relics of this prophecy in their writings, and some talk of a volume, extant in the 290primitive times, consisting of 4082 lines, called the Prophecy of Enoch; but that was condemned for spurious and apocryphal. Tertullian saith there was a prophecy of Enoch kept by Noah in the ark, which book is now lost. Be it so; many good books may be lost, but no scripture. But most probably it was a prophecy that went from hand to hand, from father to son. Jude saith, ‘Enoch prophesied;’ he doth not say it is written, as quoting a passage of scripture. But why should he rather produce Enoch’s prophecy, than a passage out of the authentic books of scripture, where are many such to this purpose? I answer—(1.) It was done by the providence of God, to preserve this memorial to the church. (2.) Because ancient things are more venerable, for by all men’s confession those times were most simple and free partium studio, from factions and partialities; therefore all along the apostle bringeth instances of the most ancient date.

And Enoch, the seventh from Adam, that is, inclusivè, putting Adam for the first. But why is this circumstance mentioned? I answer—(1.) To commend the antiquity of the doctrine, the seventh in descent from Adam intimates that judgment was to be administered by Christ. (2.) Some observe a mystery; the seventh person was a prophet; as the seventh day was holy. (3.) I think it is to, distinguish him from Enoch, the son of Cain, who was the third from Adam, as Enoch, the son of Seth, was the seventh; see Gen. iv. 17. Prophesied; that Enoch was a prophet is clear here, and may be gathered from Gen. v. 22, where he is said to ‘walk with God,’ a phrase proper to those that served the Lord in some near way of ministration. It is there applied to Enoch, who was a prophet, and to Noah, Gen. vi. 9, who was a ‘preacher of righteousness,’ 2 Peter ii. 5; and to Eli, 1 Sam. ii. 30, who was a priest. Of these, saying. ‘Of these,’ because of such like; it is a general prophecy brought down to a particular case and instance. The Lord cometh; that is, the Lord Jesus, appointed to be the judge of the world; nay, mark it, Behold, the Lord cometh, as putting it before their eyes. Cometh, ἦλθε, is come; that is, he shall as certainly come as if he were come already. The Jews say the great excommunication Maranatha was instituted by Enoch; the word signifieth ‘The Lord cometh.’ With ten thousand of his saints; it may be rendered with ‘his holy myriads,’ or ‘ten thousands,’ an uncertain number for a certain; that was their highest and roundest reckoning. The meaning is, with huge multitudes of angels and saints: as the apostle, 1 Thes. iii. 13, ‘At the coming of the Lord Jesus with all his saints;’ Zech. xiv. 5, ‘The Lord my God shall come, and all thy saints with thee;’ not only the angels, but the saints do help to make up the triumphs of that day.

The notes are these:—

Obs. 1. That what is spoken in the word in general doth as much concern us as if it were spoken to our own persons. Enoch prophesied of these, &c. Particulars are comprised in their generals; some scriptures speak directly to every single person; the Decalogue is most ex press in this way, thou, thou, &c., as aiming to awaken every one to a sense of their duty; God doth as it were talk with every person immediately. The gospel indeed speaketh largely, ‘Come, all ye,’ &c., as excluding and exempting none out of the hopes of it; yet sometimes 291the gospel speaketh as particularly as the law, especially where the condition is annexed to the offer; as Rom. x. 9, ‘If thou believest in the Lord Jesus with thine heart,’ &c. If you, as speaking to me;149149   Qu. ‘all’?—ED. if thou, as speaking to thee, and every other man in particular. Well, then, though the word speaketh generally, take home your own share, as men cut a passage out of the common river to water their own fields. Let not the scriptures ‘speak in vain,’ James iv. 5. We are all concerned when his speech is directed to men of our condition: Ps. xxvii. 8, ‘Thou saidst, Seek ye my face;’ and David subsumeth, ‘Thy face, Lord, will I seek.’

Obs. 2. Prophecy or preaching; the word is ancient, for ‘Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied.’ Still some have been set apart for this work; Enoch was a prophet, and Noah a preacher of righteousness. It is sad that in the latter end of six thousand years, we should be rooting up an ancient ordinance that hath stood from the beginning of the world till now. In the old time before the law there were some to teach, every master in his family, churches were then in houses, and some special prophets to instruct in public, and continue the tradition. Under the law also there were some solemnly set apart for the work of the tabernacle, and prophets immediately called to deliver the special messages of God, not only for the instruction of the present age, but to increase the canon or rule of faith and manners, even for our comfort. And in Christ’s time apostles were added to unveil the figures of the law and deliver the gospel more clearly; and when once the canon was settled, and enough delivered to make us wise to salvation, some were set apart by the constitution of Christ as ‘pastors and teachers ‘to explain and apply scripture; and though all the saints be ‘kings and priests to God,’ yet the office ministerial must not be invaded; for as spiritual kingship is no warrant to disturb the magistrate, or to wrest the exercise of authority out of his hands, so spiritual priesthood doth not lay the ministry in common; but still there must be some set apart for that work. If we grudge at the institution, we repine at Christ’s bounty to us, and in effect bid him take his gift to himself, for in the day of his royalty or ascension ‘he gave gifts to men, some to be apostles, some prophets, some pastors, some teachers,’ &c., Eph. iv. 11.

Obs. 3. That the doctrine of the day of judgment is ancient, long since foretold. Enoch prophesied of it, yea, the sentence of death pronounced in paradise did imply it, and the Lord’s messengers have ever urged the terror of it. Many passages in Moses may be applied to this purpose, Deut. xxxii. David clearly saith, Ps. 1. 22, ‘I will set thy sins in order before thee; now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.’ So Solomon, Eccles. xi. 9, ‘Remember that for all these things thou shalt come to judgment.’ It were needless to tell you of Daniel, Joel, Malachi, Christ, Paul, Peter, John, Jude. Still this truth was pressed in the church; nay, the Lord was pleased to grant some intimation of it to the heathens, ἥξει δ᾽ σύρανόθεν βασιλεὺς, &c., in the fragments of the sybils in Eusebius; by the light of nature the philosophers had some dark and uncertain guesses at such a thing. Conscience is soon sensible of the truth of it, as ‘Felix trembled ‘when it was mentioned, 292Acts xxiv. The ancient judgments of drowning the world and burning Sodom were types and forerunners of it. Well, then, entertain this doctrine with the more certainty: verum quod primum—that which is first is true. We are secret atheists; can a man believe judgment to come that walloweth in sin and profaneness? Our actions are the best image and expression of our thoughts. The apostle saith, ‘The latter days shall yield scoffers and mockers,’ 2 Peter iii. There may be atheists in the church, but there are none in hell. We deny and doubt of that at which the devils tremble. If the Spirit, scripture, conscience, reason will not teach men, there is no other way of learning but by feeling and experience.

Obs. 4. Enoch prophesied, the man that walked with God; he could see the day of judgment, though so far off.

Those that have most communion with God do most discern his mind. Let a man walk humbly and closely with God, and he is near, not only the root of life, but ‘the fountain of light:’ Ps. xxv. 14, ‘The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him.’ When the disciples doubted of anything, they pointed to him whom Jesus loved, and who leaned on Jesus’ bosom, John xiii. 23. Those that are in Christ’s bosom know his mind. Well, then, if we would pry more deeply into the things of God, walk humbly and closely with him. There is a promise, John vii. 17, ‘He that will do the will of God, shall know what doctrine is of God.’ Pure souls are soonest enlightened,150150   ‘Κάθαρσις ἐλλάμψις.’—Naz. and they discern most of the Lord’s counsel who are not darkened with lusts and interests.

Obs. 5. From that behold. He speaketh of this day of the Lord, as if it were instant and before their eyes.

We should always realise the day of the Lord, and represent it to our thoughts as near at hand. It is the work of faith to give things ab sent and at a distance a present being in the heart of a believer, Heb. xi. 1. Six thousand years ago Enoch said, ‘Behold, he cometh.’ It is not for us to fix the seasons which the Father hath put in his own hands, there may be much of snare and temptation in that; therefore the apostle Paul reproveth them that confidently gave it out that the day of the Lord was at hand, 2 Thes. ii. 2, ἐνέστηκε, instantly to come. Austin giveth a reason of it thus, Ne forte cum transisset tempus quo eum credebunt esse venturum de ipsa mercede fidei desperarent—lest they should question all, when deceived in the time of their foresetting, which indeed experience hath verified. In the year of Christ 1001, when many vain opinions and conceits of the end of the world were disappointed, men began publicly to assert, mundus est incorruptibilis (Bar. ad annum 1001). The faith of all truths is shaken by the disappointment of a rash confidence; but though we are not punctually to state the time, yet the thing being certain, faith should represent it to the thoughts as actually present, and we should live as if the trumpet were always sounding in our ears, and the judge were set, and the books opened. To put off the thought of that which will one day, and within a short time, come about, is a spice of atheism, Amos vi. 3; for things foretold in the word should be as certain, and have a like influence upon us, as if they were already accomplished: ‘Behold, the Lord is come.’


Obs. 6. From that with ten thousand of his saints. When Christ cometh to judgment, his saints come to judge the world with him. When the wicked are filled with amazement, they come in Christ’s company, partly that the world may know what shall be done to the men whom God will honour, and that Christ may be ‘admired’ in the glory he putteth upon them, 2 Thes. i. 10: partly that Christ may make them partakers of the mediatory kingdom; therefore they are associated with him in judging the world, Mat. xix. 28; their suffrage is required as approving the sentence of the judge, 2 Cor. vi. 2: partly for the greater sorrow of the wicked; they shall be judged by mean men, whom they once hated and persecuted: Ps. xlix. 14, ‘The upright shall have dominion over them in the morning,’ that is, of the resurrection; they counted their lives madness and folly, but now they are exalted: partly to make amends for the perverse censures of worldly men; now they are judged every day, counted the off-scouring and reproach of men; but then the Lord will clear up their innocency, and they shall sit as justices with the judge upon the bench. Well, then—(1.) Be saints, if you would have a saint’s privilege. Felons may be jovial in the prison, but they tremble at the bar; they are happiest that have joy and boldness at Christ’s appearance. When wicked men come like miserable captives, how shall the saints arise out of their graves like ‘sons of the morning,’ they and angels intermixed in the train of Christ! What is wanting here is richly made up there. (2.) Walk as those that shall be associated with Christ in judging the world; walk with Christ now, and you shall come with him then: ‘Follow the Lamb wheresoever he goeth.’ When he is crowned at Hebron he will not forget his old companions; cleave to him, cry not up a confederacy with them that cry up a confederacy against him. He will say to you, You have been with me in all my sufferings and sorrows, now you shall be with me in my glory, Mat. xix. 27, 28. Again, judge the world now, condemn them by your lives, as knowing that you shall condemn them hereafter by your vote and suffrage. Noah ‘condemned the world,’ Heb. xi. 7. A serious Christian is a living reproof; a carnal professing hypocrite justifieth the wicked: ‘Ye have justified your sister Sodom,’ see Ezek. xvi.; but a sincere Christian condemneth them.

Obs. 7. From that with ten thousand saints. At Christ’s appearance his train shall consist of multitudes of saints and holy angels. Now they are but as ‘two or three berries upon the top of the upper most bough,’ scattered here and there as God hath work and service for them to do; but when they appear together in that great rendezvous, they are ‘a number which no man can number;’ see Rev. v. 11, and Rev. vii. 9. It is a comfort against the paucity and smallness of those that are upright with God. In heaven we shall have company enough; God’s family, when it cometh altogether, is very numerous, or rather innumerable, Heb. xii. 23. As the wicked shall be exposed to the fellowship of devils, and persons like themselves, where the company shall add to the torment, so shall we be called to a ‘great assembly,’ Ps. i. 5, and to bear a part with that glorious train which cometh with Christ.

« Prev Verse 14. Next »
VIEWNAME is workSection