In the day of judgment - Or, punishment, - κρισεως . Perhaps not meaning the day of general judgment, nor the day of the destruction of the Jewish state by the Romans; but a day in which God should send punishment on that particular city, or on that person, for their crimes. So the day of judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah, was the time in which the Lord destroyed them by fire and brimstone, from the Lord out of heaven.
If men are thus treated for not receiving the preachers of the Gospel, what will it be to despise the Gospel itself, to decry it, to preach the contrary, to hinder the preaching of it, to abuse those who do preach it in its purity, or to render it fruitless by calumnies and lies! Their punishment, our Lord intimates, shall be greater than that inflicted on the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah!
See also Mark 6:8-11, and Luke 9:3-5. In both these places the substance of this account is given, though not so particularly as in Matthew. The general subject is the instructions given to the apostles.
Provide neither gold nor silver, nor brass - This prohibition of gold, silver, and brass is designed to prevent their providing money for their journey.
Pieces of money of “small value” were made of brass.
In your purses - Literally, in your girdles (belts). See the notes at Matthew 5:38-41. A “girdle” or “sash” was an indispensable part of the dress. This girdle was made “hollow,” and answered the purpose of a purse. It was convenient, easily borne, and safe.
Nor scrip - That is, knapsack.
This was made of skin or coarse cloth, to carry provisions in. It was commonly hung around the neck.
Neither two coats - See the notes at Matthew 5:40.
Neither shoes - The original is the word commonly rendered sandals. See the notes at Matthew 3:11.
Mark says, in recording this discourse, “but be shod with sandals.” Between him and Matthew there is an apparent contradiction, but there is really no difference. According to Matthew, Jesus does not forbid their “wearing” the sandals which they probably had on, but only forbids their “supplying themselves with more,” or with “superfluous ones.” Instead of making provision for their feet when their “present” shoes were worn out, they were to trust to Providence to be supplied, and “go as they were.” The meaning of the two evangelists may be thus expressed: “Do not procure anything more for your journey than you have on. Go as you are, shod with sandals, without making any more preparation.”
Nor yet staves - In the margin, in all the ancient versions, and in the common Greek text, this is in the singular number - “nor yet” a staff. But Mark says that they might have a “staff:” “Jesus commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only.” To many this would appear to be a contradiction. Yet the “spirit” of the instruction, the main thing that the writers aim at, is the same. That was, that they were “to go just as they were, to trust to Providence, and not to spend any time in making preparation for their journey. Some of them, probably, when he addressed them, “had staves,” and some had not. To those who “had,” he did not say that they should throw them away, as the instructions he was giving them might seem to require, but he suffered them to take them (Mark). To those who had not, he said they should not spend time in procuring them (Matthew), but “they were all to go just as they were.”
The workman is worthy of his meat - This implies that they were to expect a proper supply for their needs from those who were benefited. They were not to make “bargain and sale” of the power of working miracles, but they were to expect competent support from preaching the gospel, and that not merely as a gift, but because they were “worthy” of it, and had a right to it.
Who in it is worthy - That is, who in it sustains such a character that he will be disposed to show you hospitality and to treat you kindly.
This shows that they were not needlessly to throw themselves in the way of insult.
And there abide - There remain; as Luke adds, “Go not from house to house.” They were to content themselves with one house; not to wander about in the manner of vagrants and mendicants; not to appear to be people of idleness and fond of change; not to seem dissatisfied with the hospitality of the people; but to show that they had regular, important business; that they valued their time; that they were disposed to give themselves to labor, and were intent only on the business for which he had sent them. If ministers of the gospel are useful, it will be by not spending their time in idle chit-chat, and wandering around as if they had nothing to do, but in an honest and laborious improvement of their time in study, in prayer, in preaching, and in visiting their people.
And when ye come into a house, salute it - The word “house” here evidently means “family,” as it does in the following verse.
See also Matthew 12:25, and John 4:53; “And himself believed and his whole house.” The apostles were directed to salute the family - to show them the customary tokens of respect, and to treat them with civility. Religion never requires or permits its friends to outrage the common rules of social contact. It demands of them to exhibit to all the customary and proper tokens of respect, according to their age and station, 1 Peter 2:12-25; 1 Peter 3:8-11; Philemon 4:8. For the mode of salutation, see the notes at Luke 10:4-5.
If the house be worthy - That is, if the “family” be worthy, or be willing to receive you as my disciples.
Let your peace come upon it - That is, let the peace or happiness which you seek or for which you pray in saluting it (see Luke 10:5), come upon it; or seek their peace and happiness by prayer, instruction, by remaining with them, and imparting to them the blessings of the gospel.
But if it be not worthy - If the family be unwilling to receive you; if they show themselves unfriendly to you and your message.
Let your peace return to you - This is a Hebrew mode of saying that your peace shall not come upon it, Psalm 35:13. It is a mode of speaking derived from bestowing a gift. If people were willing to receive it, they derived the benefit from it; if not, then of course the present came back or remained in the hand of the giver. So Christ figuratively speaks of the peace which their labor would confer. If received kindly and hospitably by the people, they would confer on them most valuable blessings. If rejected and persecuted, the blessings which they sought for others would come upon themselves. they would reap the benefit of being cast out and persecuted for their Master‘s sake, Matthew 5:10.
Shake off the dust of your feet - The Jews taught uniformly that the dust of the Gentiles was impure, and was to be shaken off.
To shake off the dust from the feet, therefore, was a significant act, denoting that they regarded them as impure, profane, and paganish, and that they declined any further connection with them. It is recorded that this was actually done by some of the apostles. See Acts 13:51; Acts 18:6.
It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom - The cities here mentioned, together with Admah and Zeboim, were destroyed by fire and brimstone on account of their great wickedness.
They occupied the place afterward covered by the Dead Sea, bounding Palestine on the southeast, Genesis 19:24-25. Christ said that their punishment will be more “tolerable” - that is, more easily borne - than that of the people who reject his gospel. The reason is, that they were not favored with so much light and instruction. See Matthew 11:23-24; Luke 12:47-48. Sodom and Gomorrah are often referred to as signal instances of divine vengeance, and as sure proofs that the wicked shall not go unpunished. See 2 Peter 2:6; Jude 1:7.
The Lord is soon to come. In fire and flood and earthquake, He is warning the inhabitants of this earth of His soon approach. O that the people might know the time of their visitation! We have no time to lose. We must make more determined efforts to lead the people of the world to see that the day of judgment is near at hand. Carefully prepared literature on the significance of the scenes we are now witnessing is to be circulated everywhere. Our understanding is to be quickened by the Holy Spirit. O if our people would feel as they should the responsibility resting upon them to give the last message of mercy to the world, what a wonderful work would be done! A thousand times more work for God might be accomplished if all His children would fully consecrate themselves to Him, using their talents aright.—The Review and Herald, May 24, 1906. PM 313.1Read in context »
The Redeemer of the world declares that there are greater sins than that for which Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. Those who hear the gospel invitation calling sinners to repentance, and heed it not, are more guilty before God than were the dwellers in the vale of Siddim. And still greater sin is theirs who profess to know God and to keep His commandments, yet who deny Christ in their character and their daily life. In the light of the Saviour's warning, the fate of Sodom is a solemn admonition, not merely to those who are guilty of outbreaking sin, but to all who are trifling with Heaven-sent light and privileges. PP 165.1
Said the True Witness to the church at Ephesus: “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” Revelation 2:4, 5. The Saviour watches for a response to His offers of love and forgiveness, with a more tender compassion than that which moves the heart of an earthly parent to forgive a wayward, suffering son. He cries after the wanderer, “Return unto Me, and I will return unto you.” Malachi 3:7. But if the erring one persistently refuses to heed the voice that calls him with pitying, tender love, he will at last be left in darkness. The heart that has long slighted God's mercy, becomes hardened in sin, and is no longer susceptible to the influence of the grace of God. Fearful will be the doom of that soul of whom the pleading Saviour shall finally declare, he “is joined to idols: let him alone.” Hosea 4:17. It will be more tolerable in the day of judgment for the cities of the plain than for those who have known the love of Christ, and yet have turned away to choose the pleasures of a world of sin. PP 165.2
You who are slighting the offers of mercy, think of the long array of figures accumulating against you in the books of heaven; for there is a record kept of the impieties of nations, of families, of individuals. God may bear long while the account goes on, and calls to repentance and offers of pardon may be given; yet a time will come when the account will be full; when the soul's decision has been made; when by his own choice man's destiny has been fixed. Then the signal will be given for judgment to be executed. PP 165.3Read in context »
In the renewed heart there will be a fixed principle to obey the will of God, because there is a love for what is just, and good, and holy. There will be no hesitating, conferring with the taste, or studying of convenience, or moving in a certain course because others do so. Everyone should live for himself. The minds of all who are renewed by grace will be an open medium, continually receiving light, grace, and truth from above, and transmitting the same to others. Their works are fruitful. Their fruit is unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 2T 488.1
But very few have an experimental knowledge of the sanctifying influence of the truths which they profess. Their obedience and devotion have not been in accordance with their light and privileges. They have no real sense of the obligation resting upon them to walk as children of the light, and not as children of darkness. If the light that has been given to these had been given Sodom and Gomorrah, they would have repented in sackcloth and ashes, and would have escaped the signal wrath of God. It will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for those who have been privileged with the clear light, and have had a vast amount of labor, but have not profited by it. They have neglected the great salvation which God in mercy was willing to bestow. They were so blinded by the devil that they verily thought themselves rich and in the favor of God, when the True Witness declares them to be wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. 2T 488.2
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Will you, young friends, arise and shake off this dreadful indifference and stupor which has conformed you to the world? Will you heed the voice of warning which tells you that destruction lies in the path of those who are at ease in this hour of danger? God's patience will not always wait for you, poor, trifling souls. He who holds our destinies in His hands will not always be trifled with. Jesus declares to us that there is a greater sin than that which caused the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. It is the sin of those who have the great light of truth in these days and who are not moved to repentance. It is the sin of rejecting the light of the most solemn message of mercy to the world. It is the sin of those who see Jesus in the wilderness of temptation, bowed down as with mortal agony because of the sins of the world, and yet are not moved to thorough repentance. He fasted nearly six weeks to overcome, in behalf of men, the indulgence of appetite and vanity, and the desire for display and worldly honor. He has shown them how they may overcome on their own account as He overcame; but it is not pleasant to their natures to endure conflict and reproach, derision and shame, for His dear sake. It is not agreeable to deny self and to be ever seeking to do good to others. It is not pleasant to overcome as Christ overcame, so they turn from the pattern which is plainly given them to copy and refuse to imitate the example that the Saviour came from the heavenly courts to leave them. 3T 380.1
It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for those who have had the privileges and the great light which shines in our day, but who have neglected to follow the light and to give their hearts fully to God. 3T 380.2Read in context »