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Matthew 28

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

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Verses 1-10


Christ in the Perfection of His Kingly Glory

Matthew 28:0


The relation of this Gospel of the Resurrection to the whole evangelical tradition is to be seen only after a brief sketch of the latter

I. The Appearances in Judæa, in Jerusalem, at Emmaus, belong to the Period of the Israelitish Passover

1. The first Easter1 morning.—Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, proceed to the grave, Mark 16:1. They are to be followed (see Luke) by the other women, who are bringing the spices and ointments. The three who thus went in advance, behold the stone rolled away, and are affected in quite different ways by this sight. The narrative now divides into two portions.

Excitement and ecstasy seize upon Mary Magdalene.—She hurries into the city (and toward the male disciples), reports the facts to Peter and John; hurries back again, sees two angels in the grave, and afterward the Lord. She brings then the message to the disciples. Meanwhile Peter and John have arrived at the grave, and found it empty.

Mary, the mother of James, and Salome, at the sight of the removed stone, collect themselves, advance more closely, and see one angel sitting upon the stone. The Easter message of the angel. They hurry back in great fear and joy (and toward the female disciples), long undecided whether they will announce what they had seen or not. And, in this state, they meet the other women, who are bringing the ointments. All together now visit the empty tomb of Jesus, where they now (see Luke) behold two angels, as the Magdalene had done before (see the author’s Commentary on Mark). After they had started back to the city, they were met by the Lord.

Besides, in the course of the day, Peter also had a manifestation. Hence three messages from the risen Saviour—three messages from the empty grave.
2. The first Easter evening.—Christ appears to the two disciples going to Emmaus (Luke), walks with them, goes into the house, and then disappears. Next He appears in Jerusalem in their evening meeting, on which occasion Thomas is absent.

3. The second Sunday (eight days after the first Easier morning).—Appearance in the evening among the disciples. Revelation of the Lord specially for Thomas (see John). The feast of the Passover continued till the preceding Friday. The disciples would not, of course, set out upon Saturday, or Sabbath. They remained also the second Sunday,2 which shows that it had become to them already a second (a Christian) sabbath, and that they waited on that holy day for the full assurance of the fact of the resurrection to the doubting disciple (Thomas). Probably Monday following was the day of their departure.

II. The Appearances in Galilee, during the Return of the Galileans, Between Easter and Pentecost

1. The appearance at the Sea of Galilee unto the seven disciples (John 21:0.). Peter’s restoration. The declaration of the future fate of Peter and John in their import for the Church.

2. The great revelation of Jesus in the circle of His disciples upon the mountain in Galilee (Matthew 28:16 ff.; Mark 15:18; Luke 24:45-49; 1 Corinthians 15:6).

3. The special appearance to James. Probably it was not (as the tradition says) to James the Less, but to the Elder: and the object, probably, was to direct the disciples through James to go up to Jerusalem earlier than usual.

III. The Appearances In Jerusalem and on Mount Olivet, About The Time of Pentecost

The history of the Ascension (Mark, Luke, the Acts). We reckon, accordingly, five manifestations upon the first day of Easter3 the sixth upon the following Sunday. The two great and decisive appearances in Galilee, forming the centre, are the seventh and eighth. Then the appearance to James, also without doubt in Galilee. And finally the tenth, which closed with the Ascension.

We must notice this distinction, that in the first five instances Jesus appeared unexpectedly and suddenly, and as quickly vanished. But, for the second grand revelation upon the mountain in Galilee, He issued a formal invitation, and in all probability tarried some time in their midst; and this holds true, apparently, of the last interview, when He walked along so confidingly among His Apostles, from Jerusalem to Bethany, that they might have thought He would now remain with them always.
[The order of the events after the resurrection given by Dr. Lange is very ingenious and plausible. For other arrangements of Lightfoot, Lardner, West, Townson, Newcome, Da Costa, Greswell, Ebrard, Robinson, see the convenient tables in Andrews: Life of Christ, pp. 587–592. Also Nast: Commentary on Matthew and Mark, pp. 629–632. If anywhere in the history of our Saviour, we must look for differences of statement in this most wonderful and mysterious period of the forty days, which deals with facts that transcend all ordinary Christian experience. Our inability to harmonize the narratives satisfactorily in every particular, arises naturally from our want of knowledge of all the details and circumstances in the precise order of their occurrence, and proves nothing against the facts themselves. On the contrary, minor differences with substantial agreement, tend strongly to confirm those facts, far more than a literal agreement, which might suggest the suspicion of a previous understanding and mutual dependence of the witnesses.—P. S.]

Of the rich treasury of these evangelical traditions, Matthew has given us merely the first angelic appearance, seen at the grave by the women, Christ’s revelation to these females, and the appearance of the Lord among His disciples upon the mountain in Galilee. But he has, besides this, introduced into his narrative the account of the bribery of the sepulchral guards (vers.11–15). This last record, and also Christ’s majestic revelation, are peculiar to him.—It is manifestly his chief design to depict Christ’s royal majesty, as revealed by a few decisive transactions. In addition to this, it is his chief interest to make the contrast between the Lord’s kingly glory and the Messianic expectations on the part of the Jews, appear now most distinctly (as this wish may have been his reason for continually designating the New Testament kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven). Hence he places the scene of the most important events in the resurrection-history in Galilee. Galilee was the place to which the disciples were pointed by the angels (Matthew 28:7). In Galilee the Lord Himself bade His brethren assemble. Accordingly, it is in Galilee that the chief revelation occurs, during which Christ proclaims His share in the world’s government, institutes holy baptism, and promises His ever-abiding presence in the Church till the end of the world.

All these points are no doubt to be found in the general evangelical history; but it is Matthew who brings them out most strongly, and contrasts them with the chiliastic views of the Jews, who refused to dissever the glory of the Messiah from the external Zion and the external temple. For the same reason, Matthew directs attention to the contrast between the deep misery of unbelieving Judaism, as presented in the narrative of the bribed guards, and the glorious certainty of believing Judaism, in beholding the revelation of the Lord upon the mountain, when He presented Himself in the brightness of His omnipotence, and of the holy Trinity, and instituted as victor His victorious Church. The first section is an expressive type of the Talmud and its supporters, of Judaism sunken in deceit, employed in futile endeavors, and making common cause with heathendom; while the second is a type of the Gospel and the world-conquering Church.
From the brevity and elevated conception that characterize the account given by Matthew, we must expect, however, several inaccuracies. Hence it is that the two reports brought by the women are woven into one; and the second vision of angels, seen by Mary Magdalene, is united with the first, which the other women had beheld. The same is the case regarding the two distinct appearances of Christ to the women. Matthew agrees with John in not stating that the design of the women was to anoint the Lord. This omission was probably intentional Undoubtedly, the ostensible object of the women was to anoint Christ’s body; but, at the same time, a higher motive, of which they were themselves but darkly conscious, drove them to the grave,—the germ of hope, that Jesus will arise, which His promises necessarily produced. This supposition gains some ground from the free, general account, found in Matthew and John, omitting as they do all mention of the anointing. When dealing with the self-manifestation of Jesus upon the mountain, where there were more than five hundred believers witnessing His glory, Matthew mentions only the Eleven, because it was his intention to conclude his Gospel with the apostolic commission which the heavenly King issued to the world, putting it first into the hands of His Apostles, and sealing it unto them with His promise.
The imaginary and real differences between the various accounts of the circumstances of Christ’s resurrection found in the four Gospels, have been pointed out by the Wolfenbüttel Fragmentist [Reimarus], and exaggerated beyond all the limits of historical justice by Strauss, as if they were as many irreconcilable contradictions. As opposed to his views, consult, in addition to the older harmonists, Tholuck upon John; Hug, Gutachten, ii. p. 210; W. Hoffmann, p. 408 ff.; Neander, Life of Christ, p. 771; Ebrard, Criticism of the Gospel History, p. 712 ff. A short resumé of the most striking differences will be found in de Wette’s Commentary on Matthew, p. 244 ff.

One of the most important differences Strauss finds in this, that Jesus commands the disciples, according to Matthew and Mark, to go into Galilee to see Him; while Luke represents Him as issuing the command not to depart from Jerusalem till they should be gifted with power from on high. But this is merely an apparent contradiction. Strauss has overlooked the real state of matters, and has quite forgotten the relations in which Galilean visitors stood to the Jewish feasts of the Passover and of Pentecost. When Jesus had risen, the Passover was almost at an end. Jesus revealed Himself, it is true, at that time and place to the Eleven; but He delayed His appearance to the Church until He arrived in Galilee, partly because He wished not to expose them to the persecution of the hierarchy in Jerusalem in their young faith in the resurrection,4 partly because He wished to remove from the disciples every idea of His manifestation being necessarily connected with the old temple. But it may be easily conceived that the disciples would not lightly leave the scene where Jesus had first revealed Himself, namely, Jerusalem; and that this supposition is true, is proved by the fact, that they tarried still two days after the close of the Passover (which lasted a whole week) for the sake of Thomas, who still doubted, and many others of the larger circle of disciples, who probably doubted with him [comp. Matthew 28:17]. On this account, the command of the Lord comes, enjoining them to prepare for their departure. Besides, some of the disciples required some time to prepare themselves for the joy of seeing Him,—especially the mother of Jesus, Accordingly, after that they became convinced of the certainty of His resurrection, they returned homeward, according to their old festive habits. At the time of the Ascension, however, or toward the end of the forty days, the period for going up to the feast of Pentecost was at hand; and on this occasion they were induced, it would appear, to depart at an unusually early date. There is probably a connection between this earlier departure and Christ’s appearance to James. (See the author’s Leben Jesu, ii. 3, 1761.)

The differences, however, between the accounts of the first announcement of the resurrection, found in the four Gospels, are an important testimony, when exactly weighed, to the truth of the history of the resurrection. It is no doubt remarkable, that literal, or external, protocol-like certainty, should be wanting, exactly in the place where the Christian faith seeks and does actually find the beginning of the confirmation of all its certainties. Faith, even here, is not to be supported upon the letter, but upon the substance,—upon the real essence of the facts. This essence, this spirit, comes out here most distinctly, and is manifested exactly through the differences themselves, because these are the indications of the extraordinary effect produced by the resurrection upon the band of the disciples. The evangelical records give no narration of facts, simply for the sake of the facts, and apart from their effects; but they present us with a history, which has individualized itself to the view of the Evangelist. And hence the Easter occurrences are retained and rehearsed as reminiscences never to be forgotten; and differ accordingly, as the stand-points of the disciples vary, and yet preserve a great degree of harmony. In this way it is that we are to explain the remarkable individualities and variations to be found in the accounts of the resurrection and manifestations of the risen Saviour; and in these accounts is contained for all time the joyous fright of the Church, caused by the great tidings of the resurrection. Just as, in a festive motetto, the voices are apparently singing in confusion, seemingly separate, and contradict another, while in reality they are bringing out one theme in a higher and holier harmony; so is it here. The one Easter history, with its grand unity, meets, when all the different accounts are combined, the eye in all its clearness and distinctness. The answer to each of the seeming contradictions is to be found in the organic construction which has been attempted above.

Literature.—See Winer: Handbuch der theolog. Literatur, i. p. 291; Danz: Universal- Wörterbuch, p. 91; Supplemente, p. 11; Göschel: Von den Beweisen für die Unsterblicrkeit der menschlichen Seele im Lichte der speculativen Philosophie, 1835 (see the Preface); Doedes: De Jesu in vitam reditu. Utr. 1841; Reich: Die Auferstehung Jesu Christi als Heihthatsache, 1846; Hasse: Das Leben des verklärten Erlösers im Himmel nach den eignen Aussprüchen des Herrn, ein Beitrag zur biblischen Theologie, Leipzig, 1854; W. F. Besser: Die Leidens- und Herrlichkeitsgeschichte nach Deuteronomy 4:0 Evangelisten in Bibelstunden für die Gemeinde ausgelegt. Second Part: Die Herrlichkeitsgeschichte, 4th ed., Halle, 1857; Schrader: Der Verkehr des Auferstandenen mit den Seinen, fünf Betrachtungen, Kiel, 1857. The article, Auferstehung, by Kling, in Herzog’s Real-Encyklopädie [vol. i. p. 592 ff. Among English works we refer to Robinson: Harmony, and Andrews: Life of our Lord, p. 570 ff.—P. S.].

Easter (German, Ostern).—The name. “The month of April is called, up to this day, Easter-month (Ostermonat); and as early as Eginhart we find Ostermanoth. The holy festable of the Christians, which is celebrated generally in April, or toward the close of March, bears, in the oldest remains of the old High German dialect, the name ôstarâ; generally the plural form is found, because two Easter-days were observed. This ôstarâ must, like the Anglo-Saxon Eástre, have been the name for some superior being among the heathen, whose worship had struck its roots so deep, that the name was retained and applied to one of the chief festivals of the Christian year. All our neighboring nations have retained the name Pascha; even Ulfilas has paska, not austro, although he must have been familiar with the term, exactly as the northern languages introduce pâskis (Swedish), pask, and the Danish paaske. The old High German adverb ôstar indicates the east; so the old Norse austr, probably the Anglo-Saxon eáitor, Gothic austr. In the Latin tongue, the quite identical auster indicates the south. In the Edda, a male being, a spirit of light, bears the name Austri; while the High German and Saxon stem have formed but one Ostara.—Ostara, Eastre, may accordingly have been the god of the beaming morning, of the rising light, a joyful, blessing-bringing appearance, whose conception could easily be employed to designate the resurrection-festival of the Christian’s God. Joyous bonfires were kindled at Easter; and, according to the myth long believed by the people, the sun made, early upon the morning of the first Easter-day, three springs for joy,—a festive dance of gladness.” Jacob Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie, p. 247. So also Beda Ven., De temporum ratione:A dea illorum (veterum Anglorum) quœ Eostre vocabatur.” The other explanation, held to by many, that the name comes from the Germanic urstan,=to rise, must yield to this historical etymology. The similarity of auster goes no farther than the mere sound; but, on the other hand, the Greek name for the morning-red, and for the east, ἠώς, Doric ἀώς, Æolic αὐώς, is to be connected. The transference of the heathen name is explained by the fact, that a popular festival was united with the day of the god of light among the heathen, as with the celebration of the resurrection among the Christians. The people’s festival, not that of the god, was transferred. It became a christianized national festival, retaining the old name; and this occurred all the more easily, because the name signified rather a religious personification than a chief divinity of heathenism, and the celebration of the name symbolized fully the Christian holy day. Just as the festival of the returning (unconquered) sun, as a festival of joy, became united in symbolic import with the Christian festival of Christmas, so the festival of the spring sun, and of the life-fraught morning glow, coming forth in spring out from the winter storms, became a symbolic celebration of the spiritual Easter Sun, which rose out of the night of the grave.

The day of preparation for the Easter festival in the ancient Church was the great or sacred Sabbath (Sabbatum magnum), and was observed as a general fast. The afternoon of that day was a period for a general administration of baptism. In the evening there was an illumination in the towns; and the congregation assembled for the Easter vigils (παννυχίδες), and these lasted till Easter morning. Upon Easter Sunday (τὸπάσχ α, κυριακὴ μεγάλη), the Christians greeted one another with mutual blessings; and the day was signalized by works of benevolence and charity. Easter Monday was the second celebration, as the festival of their unhesitating belief in the resurrection; but the Easter holydays, in the wider sense, did not conclude till the next Sunday (Dominica in albis), which derived its name from the custom of leading those who had been baptized into the church in their white baptismal garments. A new part of the entire quinquagesimal festival began with Ascension Sunday, and closed with the feast of Pentecost, which resembled the Easter festival.—Upon the Easter festival (osterfest), compare Fr. Strauss:* Das evang. Kirchenjahr, p. 218; Bobertag: Das evang. kirchenjahr, 2 p. 155. Strauss: “The Easter festival is the chief Christian festival. It is not simply chief feast, but the feast, coming round in its full glory but once in the year, but yet appearing in some form in all the other holy days, and constituting their sacredness. Every holyday, yea, even every Sunday, was called for this reason dies paschalis. Easter is the original festival in the most comprehensive sense. No one can tell when the festival arose; it arose with the Church, and the Church with it.”


Matthew 28:1-10

(Mark 16:1-11; Luke 24:1-22; John 20:1-18.)

1In the end of the [Jewish] Sabbath [Now after the Sabbath, ὀψὲ τῶν σαββάτων]5, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the [festal] week [εἰς μίαν σαββάτων, i.e., the Christian Sunday],6 came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. 2And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the [an] angel of the Lord7 descended 3from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door,8 and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: 4And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. 5And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which [who] was crucified, 6He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay 7And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. 8And they departed9 quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run [and ran] to bring his disciples word.10 9And as they went to tell his disciples,11 behold, Jesus me them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. 10Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.


Matthew 28:1. But about the end.—̓Ο ψὲδ ὲσαββάτων. The peculiar expression is explained by the context. It was the time of the dawn, or of breaking day (ἡμέρᾳ to be supplied in connection with ἐπιφωσκούσῃ), on the first day of the week, Sunday. Similar are the statements of Luke and John; while Mark says: about sunrise. But there are various explanations attached to this expression of Matthew 12:1; Matthew 12:1Matthew 12:1. De Wette and others explain: After the Sabbath had ended; 2. Grotius and others: After the week had closed; 3. Meyer: Late upon the Sabbath. So that it is not the accurate Jewish division of time, according to which the Sabbath ended at six on Saturday evening, but the ordinary reckoning of the day, which extends from sunrise to sunrise, and adds the night to the preceding day. Meyer’s assertion, that ὀψέ, with the genitive of the time, always points to a still continuing period as a late season, would support this view, if it were true, but it is doubtful13 Pape translates the ὀψέ τῶν Τρωϊκῶι found in Philostr.; “long after the Trojan war.” But the fact, that Matthew makes the first day of the week begin here with sunrise, is decisive in Meyer’s favor.—Μίασββάτων=אחד בשׁבת, Sunday. According to Matthew’s method of expression, which is always so full of meaning, we find a doctrinal emphasis in the words, late in the evening of the (old) Sabbath season, as it began to dawn toward the early morning of the (new) Sunday season.

Came Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary.—John names only Mary Magdalene; Mark adds Salome; Luke (Matthew 24:10), several others, namely, Johanna, the wife of Chusa, as we learn from Luke 8:3. These differences of the narrations arise from the intention of emphasizing different circumstances. We must begin with Mark. Three women go first to the grave—Magdalene, the other Mary, and Salome. Matthew omits Saiome, because he intends to continue his account of the two women, Magdalene and Mary (Matthew 27:61). John keeps only Magdalene before his eye, because she is seized with excitement on finding the stone rolled away, and, hurrying away alone to the city, calls the two disciples; and because he wishes to relate this circumstance and Magdalene’s succeeding history. Luke’s attention was occupied chiefly with the women who were bringing the spices and ointments, and accordingly writes of the second body of females, who followed the first three. Meyer maintains that it is impossible to harmonize the different accounts. A judicious critic will, however, only oppose a forced harmony.

To see the sepulchre.—Luke and Mark: to anoint the corpse. We have already seen that the women went in two parties to the grave; and those who brought the ointments came second; the first came for information. This hurrying on before the others is explained by fear, unconscious hopes of a resurrection, longing and impatient desire.

Matthew 28:2. And, behold, there was (ἐγένετο) a great earthquake.—Meyer: “It is quite arbitrary to take the aorist in the sense of the pluperfect (Castalio, Kuinoel, Kern, Ebrard, etc.), or to make ἦλθε signify an unfinished action (de Wette).” But arbitrary, also, is the hypothesis, that the women must have seen all. The earthquake was felt by them as well as by all the disciples; the angel was beheld by Mary and Salome, sitting upon the stone rolled away, and perhaps also by the affrighted guard; but that which occurred between, the rolling away of the stone, etc., could have been supplied by the Apostle’s prophetic intuition. The resurrection of the Lord itself was not a matter of actual bodily vision. “The old and general view (see especially the Fathers, as quoted by Calovius) is, that Jesus rose while the grave was still closed, and that the tomb was opened merely to prove the resurrection.”14 Meyer. But this is rather an arbitrary and supernatural separation of the occurrences.15

Matthew 28:5. Fear not ye, ὑμεῖς.—Opposed to the terror of the guard, whose fear might have caused them to be filled with wonder. Meyer gives these words their correct explanation, pointing out the false interpretation which had been made of ὑμεῖς.16

[Matthew 28:6.—Hilary: “Through woman death was first introduced into the world; to woman the first announcement was made of the resurrection. Chrysostom: Observe how our Lord elevates the weaker sex, which had fallen into dishonor through the transgression of Eve; and how He inspires it with hope, and heals its sorrows, and makes women the messengers of glad tidings to His disciples.]

For I know.—The reason why they need not fear.

Matthew 28:7. Tell His disciples.—The Galilean believers, who formed the great body of the disciples, are intended by this term. Though the Lord revealed Himself to a few women, to the disciples of Emmaus, and to the twelve in Judea, His grand self-manifestation took place in Galilee (Matthew 28:16). Bengel: Verba discipulis dicenda se porrigunt usque ad; videbetis.Lo, I have told you, Εῖπον, which marks the formal and important announcement. Corroborative: dixi.—Unnecessary subtilties in the explanation of these words are referred to by Meyer.

Matthew 28:8. With fear and great joy.—Mingled feelings. The transition from the dread felt by the women to the blessedness of belief in the resurrection, which they now began to experience, is expressed by this statement; also the final passage from the Old to the New Testament, from the horror of Sheol to the view of the opening heavens. “Corresponding cases of the union of fear and joy are mentioned by Wetstein (Virg. Æneid, 1, 544; 11, 807, etc.).” Meyer.

Matthew 28:9. Held Him by the feet.—This is not merely an expression of consternation, although the words μὴφοβεῖσθέ, Matthew 28:10, point to such a feeling of dread, but it describes rather the highest joy and their adoration. It is the climax of the feeling alluded to in Matthew 28:8. Bengel: “Jesum ante passionem alii potius alienores adorarunt, quam discipuli.” The special experience of Mary Magdalene is incorporated with the vision of the two other women. This account reminds us of the state of mind evidenced by Thomas, John 20:0.

Matthew 28:10. Be not afraid; go tell.—Asyndeton of lively conversation. A sign that the Lord shares in their joy.—My brethren.—A new designation of the disciples, which declares to them His consoling sympathy; makes known to them that He, as the Risen One, had not been alienated from them by their flight and treachery, but that rather they are summoned by Him to become partners in His resurrection. The command was, in the first instance, issued to raise the women from the ground, whom His divine majesty had prostrated.—Tell my brethren that they go.—This proclamation of the resurrection by the women is to lead the disciples, whom the fact of the Lord’s being buried in Jerusalem detained in that city, to make their preparations for an instant departure to their homes.

And there they shall see Me.—As before, in Matthew 28:7, the disciples as a body are meant, who, according to Matthew, had followed Him from Galilee. And therefore, when the eleven disciples are (Matthew 28:16) specially mentioned, it can only be as the leaders, as the guides of the entire company. Meyer represents that a threefold tradition regarding the resurrection grew up among the disciples: 1.The purely Galilæan, which is found in Matthew’s account; 2. the purely Judæan, which is given by Luke and John, excluding the appendix, Matthew 21:0; Matthew 3:0. the mixed, which narrated both the Galilean and Judæan manifestations, and is found in John, when the appendix is added. Meyer is now willing to admit the historical sequence, that the appearances in Judæa preceded those in Galilee; but he holds still, that the account given by Matthew manifests an ignorance of what occurred in Galilee.17 From this he deduces the conclusion, that this portion of our Gospel must be the addition of a non-apostolic hand, because such ignorance on the part of Matthew is inconceivable. But against this critic’s assumption we may educe the following:—1. If this assumption be correct, we should expect even from Mark in his Gospel,18 which was written earlier, and fixed the middle point of the evangelical tradition, only Galilæan appearances, whereas he relates only manifestations in Judæa, 2. Matthew himself relates the Lord’s appearance in Judæa to the women, Matthew 28:9; Matthew 10:3. A post-apostolic writer would most certainly have resorted to the general tradition, and have related both the appearances which took place in Judæa and those which occurred in Galilee. 4. The assumption of Meyer rests altogether upon the antiquated hypothesis, that every Evangelist intended to narrate, all the facts he knew. On the contrary, we must repeat that the Evangelists arc not to be regarded as poor mechanical chroniclers, but as narrators of the facts of evangelical history, as they assumed in their own minds the form of an organic whole, as one continuous gospel sermon. And here we have an indication that Matthew keeps up throughout the plan of his gospel narrative as distinct from that of Luke. While Luke, the Evangelist of the Gentiles, brings out fully the true prerogatives of Judaism, and describes, therefore, the whole of Christ’s life of activity as a grand procession to Jerusalem, Matthew, the Evangelist of the Jews, endeavors in every instance to disprove the false prerogatives of Judaism, and tarries accordingly mostly in Galilee, describing the Lord’s activity in that district Hence it is that Luke gives, in the introduction to his Gospel, the adoration rendered to the new-born Saviour by Jewish Christians, and closes his history with an account of the Lord’s appearance in Judæa; while Matthew contrasts, in his opening chapters, the adoration on the part of the Gentiles with the persecution of the Jews, and concludes by laying the scene of the grandest manifestation of the Lord in Galilee, in opposition to the city Jerusalem. From this to conclude that Matthew knew nothing more of the resurrection, is a conceit which falls far below19 a lively appreciation of the free Christian spirit of the Gospels. Meyer himself acknowledges that it is evident, from 1 Corinthians 15:5 ff., that even if all the accounts in the Gospels be combined, we have not a full record of all Christ’s appearances after His resurrection. Meyer, however, is right in opposing the mythical view which Strauss takes of the history of the resurrection, as well as the conversion of the facts connected with resurrection, by Weisse, into magical effects of the departed spirit of Jesus. The actual existence of the Church, as well as the assurance of faith and joy at death’s approach evidenced by the Apostles, cannot be the effect of a myth or a mere ghostly apparition. (See below.)

[The denial of the historical character of the resurrection and the subsequent manifestations of Christ to the disciples, has assumed different forms: 1. The Wolfenbüttel Fragmentist (Reimarus), like the lying Jewish Sanhedrin (Matthew 28:13), resolved them into downright impostures of the Apostles: this is a moral impossibility and monstrosity unworthy of consideration. 2. Paulus, of Heidelberg, the exegetical representative of the older commonsense rationalism, sees in the resurrection merely a reviving from an apparent death or trance. This is a physical impossibility in view of the preceding crucifixion and loss of blood. 3. Strauss: Subjective visions, or more fully in his own words (see his new work on the life of Jesus, published 1864, p. 304): “Purely internal occurrences, which may have presented themselves to the disciples as external visible phenomena, but which we can only understand as facts of an ecstatic condition of mind, or visions.” Similarly the late Dr. Baur of Tübingen (the teacher of Strauss, and founder of the Tübingen school of destructive criticism). This visionary hypothesis is a psychological impossibility, in view of the many appearances, and the large number of persons who saw Christ; as the eleven disciples, and even five hundred brethren at once (1 Corinthians 15:6). 4. Weisse: Effects of the ever-living spirit of Christ upon the disciples. 6. Ewald: Spiritual visions in the ecstasies of desire and prayer (geistige Schauungen in der Entzückung der Sehnsucht und des Gebets). These two views are only modifications of the above theory of Strauss, and equally untenable. Ewald, however, is not clear, and makes an approach to the orthodox view when he remarks: “Christ was seen again by His disciples: nothing is more historical.” (Die drei ersten Evangelien, übersetzt und erklärt; p. Matt 362: “Christus ward wiedergeschen von den Seinigen: nichts ist geschichtlicher als dies.”) Renan, in his life of Jesus, passes over this stumbling-block with characteristic French levity, promising to examine “the legends of the resurrection” hereafter in the history of the Apostles. All he says upon it at the close of Matthew 26:0 amounts to a confession of despair at a satisfactory solution. It is this: “The life of Jesus, to the historian, ends with his last sigh. But so deep was the trace which he had left in the hearts of his disciples and of a few devoted women, that, for weeks to come, he was to them living and consoling. Had his body been taken away, or did enthusiasm, always credulous, afterward generate the mass of accounts by which faith in the resurrection was sought to be established? This, for want of peremptory evidence, we shall never know. We may say, however, that the strong imagination of Mary Magdalene here enacted the principal part!” All these false views resolve the history of Christianity into an inexplicable riddle, and make it a stream without a fountain, an effect without a cause. Dr. Baur (Christenthum der drei ersten Jahrhunderte, p. 40), indeed, thinks that the faith in the resurrection more than the fact of the resurrection was the motive power of the Apostles in their future activity. (So also Strauss, l. c. p. 289.) But it was the fact which gave to their faith a power that conquered the world and the devil. Faith in mere visions or phantoms may produce phantoms, but not such a phenomenon as the Christian Church, the greatest fact and the mightiest institution in the history of the world. Compare also on this subject the remarks of Meyer, Com. on Matthew , 5 th ed., 1860, p. 614 (who is quite orthodox as regards the general fact of the resurrection); Guder: Die Thatsächlichkeit der Auferstehung Christi, 1862; an art of Prof. Beyschlag (against Baur) in the Studien und Kritiken, 1864, p. 197 sqq., and several able articles of Prof. Fisher, of Yale College, against Strauss and Baur, in the New Englander for 1864.—P. S.]


1. In the end of the (Jewish) Sabbath.—The Evangelist, without doubt, intended by the selection of this peculiar and significant expression to bring forward the fact, that the Christian Sunday had now caused the Jewish Sabbath to cease (and Christianity had now taken the place of Judaism). Sunday is the fulfilment of the Sabbath; but it is not thereby made to be the negation, the destruction of the Sabbath, but its realization in the form of spirit, life, and freedom. Sunday is a new creation, the institution of the Church’s holy day; marked out as such not only by the resurrection, but also by the Lord’s appearances upon that day. But if the external law of the Jewish Sabbath is abrogated for the Church, the Christian State is bound, by its duty to Christ, to see that the law of the day of holy rest is observed, as indeed all the laws of the decalogue, in the spirit of New Testament order and freedom. We see from Acts 20:7 : 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; Revelation 1:10, that Sunday was observed in the days of the Apostles.

2. Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?—This utterance of the three anxious women has become the great symbol of all the sighs of humanity, in its longing for the revelation of the resurrection.

3. The earthquake.—A presage of the resurrection according to that parallel course of development through which the earth is passing along with the kingdom of God. See Matthew 24:0.

4. The visions of angels.—As the earth, on the one hand, in its grand moment of development, is shaken, and seems rushing to ruin; so, on the other, the heavens unfold. Therefore angels are ever present as ministering spirits at the critical periods in God’s kingdom. But although these angelic appearances are objective, real, and visible, the perception by the on-looking mortals of these heavenly spirits depends upon a state of soul resembling the angelic spirituality; and this disposition of soul depends, again, upon the position occupied in relation to heaven and earth. The more the earth is concealed and buried, like a midnight grave, to the beholders, so much the more clearly do they view the opening heavens. And hence it is that the female disciples were the first to see the angels; and they beheld first one, then two.

5. Fear and great joy.—Transition from the old into the new world, from the old to the new covenant.

6. Into Galilee.—See the Critical Notes.

7. The death and resurrection of Christ considered in and for itself (ontologically).—In the Lord’s death and resurrection a separation took place between the first æon of the natural human world, and the second æon of the eternal spirit-world of humanity (1 Corinthians 15:45). Christ’s death is the fulfilment and the completion of death, and therefore also its end, as was already determined in regard to Adam’s death. Where death began, there should it cease, i.e., there should be no death. Physical death is restricted to one zone. This district of death lies between the world of inorganic bodies on the one side, and the spirit-world on the other. The mineral, on the one side, is non-vital; the spirit is non-mortal. Death appears now to extend, between these limits, only over the vegetable, animal, and human worlds. But the death of the plant is well-nigh but allegorical, an appearance of dying: it lives still in the root, the branch, the seed. The dying of the animal, again, is no complete death; there is no full, individual life to resign; it lives only in the general life of nature, and hence it cannot die fully and with consciousness. Actual death begins with conscious man, in order likewise to cease with him, and to be transformed into a new conscious life. Adam was formed, not to die, that is, was not to see corruption; he was to pass only through a death-like process of transformation, and to undergo a metamorphosis from the natural state of man into the spiritual (the tree of life; Enoch; Elijah; 2 Corinthians 5:4; 1 Corinthians 15:51). But this transformation became subject to the effects and the punishment of moral death, of sin, as God’s condemnation; and thus this transformation passed over into corruption. The “being clothed upon” (symbolized by the metamorphosis of the butterfly-chrysalis) became “the unclothing” (symbolized by the wheat-grain In the earth). Since then was death in the world; the consciousness and the experience of deserved sickness, dissolution, corruption, and imprisonment in the waste death-realm, Sheol. The entire weight of death pressed upon mankind, to their pain and anguish; and yet they were not fully conscious of it (Hebrews 2:14-15). Christ became our partner in this common subjection to death. He tasted this death (Hebrews 2:9); received it with full consciousness into His life. Hence death was fulfilled in His life, it was ended, and must again be transformed into the transformation, unto which men were originally destined. Christ’s dying was a death which passed over at once into metamorphosis. Christ’s condition in death was a collision with corruption, in which corruption was overcome; was an entrance into the realm of the dead, which unbound the fetters of that realm. His resurrection was at once resurrection and complete transformation. When the question is asked, Was Christ glorified between His death and resurrection, or during the forty days, or during the ascension? the conceptions of transformation and glorification are confused. The transformation, as the passage from the first into the second life, was decided at the resurrection. Glorification, as His entrance into the heavenly world, could appear in Him even before His death, in the transfiguration upon the mountain, and be viewed by others; and yet after the resurrection, in His first presentation to Mary Magdalene, she mistook Him for the gardener. His actual glorification, decided at His resurrection, became a complete fact upon His ascension; and hence Christ, as the Risen One, is life-principle as well for the resurrection as for the transformation (1 Corinthians 15:21; 1 Thessalonians 4:11).

If we would obtain a closer view and more accurate conception of the resurrection, the death of Christ must be contemplated as the ideal, dynamic, and essential end of the old world and humanity. The world continues to move chronologically according to its old existence, and is still expanding in its members (its periphery); but in its centre, the end has been reached in the death and resurrection of Christ. And this being the case, there is of necessity connected with this end the ideal, dynamic, and essential beginning of the new spiritual world, as the resurrection followed the death of Christ. And this event is, in accordance with its nature, at once an evolution of life (Christ rose), and at the same time an act of God’s righteousness (the Father raised Him). Christ rose from the grave, because He was holy, possessing the Spirit of glory, susceptible of resurrection, and must accordingly cause this very death to become subservient unto life, must overcome this death and transform it. God raised Him, because He, in and for Himself, had endured this death contrary to right; and yet, likewise, agreeably to right, inasmuch as He had surrendered Himself on behalf of man. Thereby this death of Christ has been made by God the world’s atonement. But when these two points are united, the death of Christ and His resurrection stand forth to our view as the grandest act of the omnipotence of God, and the greatest fact in the glorious revelation of the Trinity (Ephesians 1:19).

8. The death and resurrection of Christ considered soteriologically.—The soteriological effect is here, as always, threefold; He accomplished: (a) reconciliation as Prophet; (b) expiation as High-Priest; (c) deliverance, redemption, as King (see the author’s Dogmatik, p. 793). Christ, as Prophet in His reconciliatory working, has overcome the world’s hate by His love, and sealed the grace of God by the blood of His martyr-death; as High-Priest, in His expiatory working, He has taken upon Him the world’s judgment, and changed it into deliverance; as King, in His redemptive working, He has made death itself the emblem of victory over death, or of deliverance from the power of darkness, which sinners were subject unto through death.

In this threefold character and working, He entered Sheol. As Prophet, He has lighted up Sheol, and made it appear as the translation-state from the first to the second and higher life. As High-Priest, He has likewise changed the punishment of the realm of death by taking the penalty of sins freely upon Himself. As King, He has led captivity captive, and opened the prison-house of Sheol (Ephesians 4:8).

God has made all this sure by setting His seal to it in His resurrection. God Himself recognizes that courageous love and greeting of peace by which He carries His gospel back into that world which had crucified Him. God Himself sends Him back out of the Most Holy as a living sign of, and witness to, the perfect atonement. As the Redeemer, He comes forth in the glory of that triumph, which He shares with own: “O Death, where is thy sting! O Grave, where is thy victory!”
The unity of these results lies in this, that in Christ mankind have been virtually consecrated to their God, have died, been buried, descended into Sheol, risen again, ascended to heaven, and set down at the right hand of God.
Hence it is that the man who resists with demoniac unbelief this working of Christ, is cut off from humanity, and is handed over to the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:0).

But to receive the redeeming efficacy of Christ, is to enter into the communion of His life by the communion of His Spirit. This entrance is a prophetic faith, in that we recognize what Christ has become to us; a priestly faith, in that we yield us up to His atoning righteousness; a kingly faith, in that we make, in sanctification, His life our own. The unity of all this lies in the fact, that we die, are buried, rise, and ascend in Christ. As regards his spirit, the Christian belongs to Christ, and in so far all is finished and completed in his salvation; but as regards his nature, he belongs to the world, and in so far he awaits the general end of that world, and a general resurrection with that world.
9. “The intercourse and companionship of the Lord, after His resurrection, with His disciples, during the forty days of joy, bore manifestly a different character from what they did before His death. Through His death and resurrection, the glorification of His body had begun (the transformation of His body was completed);—for, although His resurrection-body bore the marks of the wounds, showing it to be the same body, it was no more subject to the bounds and laws of the bodily existence, as before.” Lisco. For the historic certainty of the resurrection of Jesus, see 1 Corinthians 15:0; Ullmann: What does the institution of the Christian Church through one who had been crucified presuppose? (Studien und Kritiken, 1832); Lange’s Leben Jesu, ii. 3, p. 1738. According to one explanation of the negative criticism of modern unbelief, Jesus was only apparently dead (Paulus); according to the other, the resurrection was an illusion (Strauss). When the two are combined, they are self-destructive.


Upon the entire .—The risen Saviour as the eternal King, the fundamental thought of this whole Easter history. We see from it: 1. How the storms of earth and the angels of heaven serve Him; 2. how neither Jewish seals nor Roman arms are any hindrance in His way; 3. how He annihilates the spite20 of His foes, and the anguish of His friends, by His resurrection; 4. how He moves along, elevated above the slanderous reports of foes, and the desponding apprehension of the disciples; 5. how unbounded is His power in heaven and earth; 6. how He is able to despatch, in the glory of the Trinity, His servants into all the world, with the message of salvation; 7. how sure, even at the beginning, He is of the homage of all the world; 8. how He is able, notwithstanding His approaching departure, to assure His own of His protecting, ever-abiding presence, as their consolation and their peace.

Upon this particular Section.—The morning of the resurrection-day. 1. The morning-dawn; or, the victory of light over darkness: the earthquake and the angels; the petrified guards and the open grave; the search for the Crucified—the message concerning the risen Lord; the fear and the great joy. 2. The sunrise: Christ’s manifestation; the greeting; the adoration; the commission.—The judgment of God, as revealed by the grave of Christ, compared with the world’s judgment: 1. The Sabbath of the law is passed; the Sunday of spiritual freedom breaks. 2. The earth shudders; heaven, with its angels, is manifested. 3. The stone, with the seal of authority broken, is rolled away; the herald of the risen Saviour sits triumphant upon the stone. 4. The armed guards lie powerless; women become heroines, and the messengers of the risen Redeemer. 5. Judæa is deposed of its dignity; Christ selects Galilee as the scene where He will unfold His glory. 6. The compact of darkness is destroyed; Christ, the Risen, salutes His own.—The gradual unfolding, to be perceived in the message of the resurrection, is a type of its glory.—The ghost-like stillness in which Christ’s resurrection is revealed, is prophetic and characteristic of the Christian life, and the Christian world.—The greatest miracle of omnipotence, in its gentle, heavenly manifestation.—The resurrection-morning the end of the old Sabbath: 1. The creation becomes spiritual, a spiritual world; 2. the rest becomes a festival; 3. the law becomes life.—Easter, the great Sunday, ever returning in the Christian Sabbath, the eternal Easter.—The way to the grave of Jesus: 1. The road thither: the visible grief (to anoint the Lord); the secret hope (to see the grave); the great experience—the stone, the angel, etc. 2. The return: fear and great joy; the salutation of Jesus; the commission.—The Mary of Christmas, and the two Marys of Easter; or, woman’s share in the great works of God.—First to Mary Magdalene; or, Christ risen for the pardoned sinner.—The grave of Christ transforms our graves.—The fact of the resurrection, an invisible mystery, rendered glorious by visible signs: 1. The invisible working of omnipotence, and its visible action; 2. the invisible entrance into existence of the new life of Christ, and the visible earth quake (the birth-pangs of earth); 3. the invisible entrance of the heavenly King into His spiritual kingdom, and the unseen spirit-messenger; 4. the invisible overthrow of the kingdom of darkness, and the visible guards (the servants of that kingdom) as dead men; 5. the invisible, new, victorious kingdom of Jesus, and the beginning of its revelation.—The angel from heaven; or, from heaven the decision comes. 1. Help in need; 2. the unsolving of the difficulty 3. the turning-point of history; 4. the change of the old; 5. the glorious issue of a remarkable guidance.—The angel sitting upon the stone, a representation of Christ’s victory: 1. In its full extent,—over the Gentile world and the Jewish world (soldiers and the official seal);—over the kingdom of darkness. 2. In its fullest completion,—seated in the shining garments of triumph.—The angel’s raiment, the Sunday ornament and attire in which the Easter festival is celebrated.—The twofold effect of Christ’s resurrection: 1. The old heroes tremble and are impotent, the desponding become heroic; 2. the living become as dead, and those who had been as dead become alive.—Fear not ye! And why not? 1. Because they seek Jesus; 2. because He is not in the grave, but is risen; 3. because the view of Himself awaits you.—Jesus the crucified, is the risen Saviour’s title of honor in heaven and on earth.—He is risen, as He said; or, Love is stronger than death; or, This great fulfilment is a pledge for all Christ’s promises.—And ye, too, shall rise, as He has said.—Come, see the place. The disciples’ view of the empty grave of Jesus: 1. The beginning of the certainty of the resurrection; 2. the beginning of the Christian’s blessedness; 3. the beginning of the world’s end.—The empty grave, and the empty graves.—Go quickly; or, whosoever has discovered the resurrection of Christ, must go and make it known.—All Christians are evangelists.—The union of fear and great joy: 1. That fear, which must burst into joy; 2. that joy, which must be rooted in fear.—They ran. The resurrection ends the old race, and begins a new race.—The appearance of the risen Lord: 1. What it presupposes: And as they went. 2. How it proceeds:21 a meeting, a greeting: All hail! 3. What it effects: And they came, etc. (Matthew 28:9). 4. What it enjoins: Go, tell, etc. (Matthew 28:10).—The relation of the Risen One to His people: 1. The old: they search and find one another, in faith and love. 2. A new: they worship Him; He calls them His brethren.—Joseph’s history is in this case fulfilled: he was sold by the sons of Israel, and yet revealed himself in his princely majesty to his brethren.—The repeated command to depart to Galilee,—its import (see above).—The resurrection of Jesus is the most certain fact of history: 1. It proves itself; 2. hence it is proven by the strongest proofs; 3. hence the proof is for our faith (our love and hope).—The resurrection, the fulfilling of the life of Jesus: 1. The wonder of wonders; 2. the salvation of salvation; 3. the life of life; 4. the heaven of the kingdom of heaven.

Starke:—From Zeisius: An earthquake occurs when Christ dies upon the cross, an earthquake occurs when He rises again, to testify unto the majestic power both of His victorious death and resurrection.—Christ’s glorified body, the great stone could not restrain.—Oh, cunning Reason! how silly art thou in spiritual and divine things!—Canstein: If we find no help on earth to overcome hindrances in the path of duty, help will be sent us from heaven.—We shall live with Him. Where the Head is, there are the members.—2 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:13.—Nova Bibl. Tub.: Behold, how glorious, etc. So glorious shall be our resurrection.—As glorious and consoling as Christ’s resurrection is to the godly, so fearful is it to the godless.—Quesnel: God knows how at once to console His own, and to terrify the wicked, Exodus 14:24.—Luther’s margin: Fear not ye, fear not ye: be joyful and consoled.—Zeisius: Fearful as the holy angels are unto the unholy, just so comforting are they unto the godly, as companions, in the approaching glory.—Canstein: The servants of the word should exercise the office of comforting angels, or God’s messengers of consolation, unto the anguished.—Bibl. Wirt.: As the woman was the first to sin, so have women been the first to realize Christ’s purchased righteousness.—Nova Bibl. Tub.: The joyful message of the resurrection, and its fruits, are not for coarse, worldly hearts, but for longing disciples.—Those who have really experienced the joy produced by the resurrection, are anxious to impart that joy to others.—Jesus comes to meet us when we seek Him.—My brethren. A designation dating from the resurrection, Hebrews 2:12. For the disciples, it indicates something great and most consolatory.—Joseph a type of this, Genesis 45:4.—The world boasts always of its high titles; but we, who are Christ’s, have the highest, we are called His brethren.—We are heartily to forgive those who have not deserved well of us.

Gossner:—It gleams and flashes once more. Before, all was dark and sad; but now again the rays of crucified truth appear, and they illuminate ever more and more gloriously.

Lisco:—The women hear first that Jesus is risen. Then they see the empty grave, Matthew 28:6. Finally, they see, feel, and speak to Jesus, Matthew 28:9.—The certainty of Christ’s resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15:1-8. Its importance, 1 Corinthians 15:12; 1 Corinthians 1:0. Proof that Jesus is the Christ; 2. that His death is an offering for us; 3. the ground for our hope of a resurrection. By His death, all the preceding testimonies borne unto Him seem to be proved false; by His resurrection, it is proved that nothing has been disproved. His resurrection is the seal of our redemption, the beginning of His glorification and exaltation.—The Easter festival is a call to a spiritual resurrection.

Gerlach:—The Lord’s body now a different body, and yet the same: 1. Free from all the bonds of weakness, of suffering, of mortality. 2. The stigmata;22 He ate and drank (though He needed not food).—The Lord’s appearances, and all the accompanying circumstances, are in the highest degree full of meaning and importance. The women see the angels; the disciples do not. Jesus appears to the Magdalene, to Peter, to disciples on their way to Emmaus, to the Eleven; in each case, with the most tender and exact regard for the state of each.—All the external a revelation of the internal. So shall it one day be in our resurrection.

Heubner:—The awe of the resurrection-morning.—Christ’s resurrection the type of our own.—Every morning should remind us of the coming resurrection—Came Mary: The last witnesses by the grave are the first. We should seek God early.—[Rieger:]—They considered themselves bound to anoint Christ; but Christ must and will anoint them with the Holy Spirit and with power.—The earthquake a type of the awful convulsion of the earth at the last day and the general resurrection.—The angel a type of the appearance of the angels at the last day.—The form of the angel’s appearance. Servants as they are of the kingdom of light, their office is to introduce men into this kingdom.—The experiences of the guards, presages of what the unbelieving and sinners will experience at the last day.—Fear not ye! The higher spirit-world is the Christian’s home.—To seek Jesus is the way to life.—Nothing to be feared on that way.—The Lord is risen. The angel-world cries to the world of men, and all believers should cry to one another: “The Lord is risen.”—“Death, where is thy sting? Hell, where thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:0).—Come and see: a summons to self-persuasion.—We should impart, spread abroad, the belief in the resurrection.—Our belief in the future life should thoroughly permeate our earthly life, and glorify it.—Christ’s resurrection reunites the scattered disciples.—Love plans for eternity.—In the case of the women, faith went first, then came sight.—The perfect brotherhood of Christ, a fruit of God’s adoption.—Three classes of topics for Easter: 1. Such in which the fact itself is considered; truth, certainty, power of the resurrection. 2. Such in which Christ’s resurrection is made to introduce a discourse upon our own; e.g., the resurrection, the festival of our immortality. 3. Such in which faith on Christ in general is handled; e. g., faith upon a living Christ.—Braune: The essence23 of Christianity is bound up with the cross, but its form and manifestation with the resurrection.—The Church has been founded by the preaching of the resurrection of Christ.—The Apostles designate themselves, with peculiar pleasure, the witnesses of the resurrection.—As the beginning of every life is hidden, so is the beginning of the life of the risen Lord hidden in mysterious darkness, Acts 2:21.—Jesus has not simply taught the resurrection; He it the resurrection.—What caused the guards dismay, freed the women of anxiety.—With every advancing step, the path of eternal truth brightens.—The fear of the women quite different from that of the guards.—To My brethren: first He named them disciples, then friends, then little children; now, brethren.

From Sermons

Reinhard:—The Christian feast of Easter is a festival of perfect tranquillization: 1. Because it dissipates all the uneasiness and sorrow which disturb our peace; 2. because it wakens in us all those hopes which must confirm our peace.—Christ’s resurrection was the impartation of life unto God’s holy Church on earth, which owes to His resurrection; 1. Its existence; 2. its moral life; 3. its unceasing continuance.—Thiess:—The cross illuminated by the Easter sun.—Ranke:—A clear light is poured over the whole life of Christ by His resurrection.—Gaupp:—The Easter history is also the history of the believing soul.—Ahlfeld:—Jesus lives, and I with Him.—Otho; Easter comfort and Easter pleasure: 1. The sanctity of our graves; 2. the glory of the resurrection; 3. all our sins forgotten.—Petri: Christ’s life, our life. Let that be to-day: 1. Our Easter belief; 2. our Easter rejoicing.—Steinhofer: Life from the dead: 1. In the Saviour; 2. in His people.—Rautenberg: The Christian by his Redeemer’s open grave: 1. He lays his care in that grave; 2. he becomes at that spot sure of his salvation; 3. his heart is filled with rapture.—Brandt: Jesus Christ the victorious prince. We may consider: 1. The foes He has subdued; 2. the obstacles He has overcome; 3. the means used to secure this victory; 4. its results.—Jesus, the risen Saviour, an object for holy contemplation: 1. See the counsel of hell brought to nought by Him; 2. see the method of the divine government glorified by Him; 3. the tears of true love dried; 4. the misery of this earthly life transformed; 5. the work of salvation finished; 6. the human heart filled with the powers of God.—Geibel: The Lord’s resurrection, considered: 1. Historically; 2. in its necessity; 3. import; 4. and immediate results.—Fickenscher: What should the grave be to us Christians, now that Jesus is risen? 1. A place of rest; 2. of peace; 3. of hope; 4. of transfiguration.—Rambach: The glorious victory of the risen Saviour: 1. Glorious considered in itself:—(a) the most miraculous; (b) the most honoring; (c) the most glorious victory. 2. Glorious in its effects:—(a) a victory of light over darkness; (b) of grace over sin; (c) of life over death.—Dräseke: How Easter followed Good Friday: 1. As God’s Amen; 2. as men’s Hallelujah.—Sachse:—The stone rolled away. It seems to us: 1. The boundary-stone of blasphemy against God; 2. as the monumental stone of the most glorious victory; 3. as the foundation-stone of the building of Christ’s Church.—Fr. Strauss:24 A long, sacred history is today presented to us, the history of the Easter festival: 1. The long-continued preparation; 2. the glorious manifestation: 3. the continual development 4. the future consummation in heaven.—Alt: The new life to which Easter summons.—Liebner: How we should enter the companionship, and follow the example, of the early witnesses unto the resurrection.—Shultz: The verities of our faith, unto which the resurrection of our Lord bears a certain and irresistible tendency: 1. That Jesus is the Son of the living God; 2. that a perfect atonement has been presented to God for us, in the Lord’s death; 3. that our soul is immortal; 4. that our bodies also will rise.—All the difficulties in Christ’s life are resolved by Hit resurrection.—Heidenreich: What a friendly dawn broke upon redeemed and blessed humanity on the morning of the resurrection!—Schleiermacher: How the consciousness of the imperishable overcomes the pain caused by the loss of the perishable.—The life of the resurrection of our Lord a glorious type of our new life.—Canstein: The joy of the Easter morning in the future world: 1. What shall it be? 2. who shall enjoy it?—F. A. Wolf: The true Christian, upon the festival of the resurrection, looks back as gratefully unto the past, as he gazes joyfully into the future.—Three stages in the spiritual life are to be observed in the history of those to whom the risen Redeemer became the closest friend: 1. A sadness, which seeks Jesus; 2. a hope, which springs up at the first intimation of His presence; 3. the joyful certainty, to have found and recognized the Redeemer.—Tzschirner: The sufferings of time in the light of eternal glory.—Death, the new birth into a new life.—Genzken: The path of faith in the risen Saviour.—Markeineke: The resurrection of Jesus is the, main pillar of our salvation.—Theremin: Christ’s resurrection should awaken us to repentance.—Niemann: The belief in the new world of immortality which opened unto us in the Lord’s resurrection.


[1][In German: Ostermorgen, and below, sub 2., Osterabend. The Edinb. edition substitutes for these terms morning after the Sabbath, and evening after the Sabbath, and studiously avoids throughout the whole section the mention of Easter (the Christian resurrection-feast) altogether or substitutes for it the Jewish passover, which had now lost its [illigeble]for the Christians; the shadow having disappeared in the substance.—P. S.]

[2][Not: Sabbath, as the Edinb. translation here and elsewhere translates Sonntag, even where Lange uses Sabbath the Jewish sense as in the sentence immediately preceding. By substituting Sabbath in this passage the Edinb. editict[illegible] simply repeats the preceding sentence, and by omitting the sentences which follow altogether, it withholds from the reader an argument for the apostolic origin of the observance of Sunday as the Christian Sabbath.—P. S.]

[3][Here again the Edinb. edition translates am ersten Ostertage: the first day after the Sabbath, which must mean the Jewish sabbath, and yet in the same sentence immediately afterward it uses Sabbath (for Sonntag) in the Christian sense, without a word of explanation to prevent the Inevitable confusion.—P. S.]

[4][Literally: Easter-faith, Osterglaube, which the Edinb. edition, in its unreasonable opposition to the term Easter, renders: Passover-faith, which is bad English and conveys a false meaning by obliterating the distinction between the typical shadow of the Jewish passover and the substance of the Christian resurrection-festable. So further below the Edinb. edition has Passover-occurrences, Passover-transactions, Passover-history, and similar heavy ompounds to avoid Easter.—P.S.]

Matthew 28:1; Matthew 28:1.—[The usual translation of ὀψὲ (sero) σαββάτων is: toward the end of the sabbath, or late in the sabbath, meaning the closing period near the end, but still during the sabbath; comp. ὀψὲ τῆς ἡμέρας, late in the day, ὀψὲ τῆς ᾑλικίας, late in life. Vulgate: vespere sabbati; Beza: extremo sabbato; Tyndale: the sabbath day at even; Coverdale: upon the evening of the sabbath holy day; Cranmer, Genevan, and Bishops’ Versions: In the latter end of the sabbath day; Lange: um die Endezeit des Sabbaths; Meyer, Alford, Conant, etc. But in this case we must assume with Meyer, Lange, and Alford, that Matthew here follows the natural division of the day from sunrise to sunrise, which seems to be favored by the following definition of time, but which is contrary to the Jewish habit and the Jewish-Christian character and destination of the first Gospel. ὀψὲ, with the genitive, may also mean after or long after, like ὀψὲ τῶν βασιλέως χρόνων (Plutarch. Numbers 1:0), or ὀψὲ μυστηρίων, when the mysteries were over (Philostrat. Vit Apoll. Matthew 4:18). Hence olshausen, dc Wette, Ewald, Bleek, Campbell, Norton, Robinson (sub ὀψὲ, No. 2), Crosby translate: nach verfluss des Sabbaths, Sabbath being over, or being ended, after the sabbath (also the French Version: apres le sabbat). Euthym. Zigabenus, Grotius, Stier, and Wieseler translate: at the end of the week; also Greswell, who translates: Now late in the week, at the hour of dawn, against the first day of the week; for the plural σάββατα, like the Hebrew שַׁבָּתוֹת, means a week as well as a sabbath or sabbaths, comp. Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1; John 20:19, and Matthew 28:1. It is certain and agreed on all hands that Matthew means the time after the close of the Jewish sabbath, the time before day-break on the first day of the week or the Christian Sunday. This is plain from the following τῇ ἐπιφωσκον́σῃ εἰς μίαν σαββάτων, and confirmed by the parallel passages; comp. διαγενομένου τοῦ σαββάτου, Mark 16:1; τῆ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων ὄρθρου βαθέος Luke 24:1; and τῇ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων πρωί̈, σκοτίας ἔτι οὔσης John 20:1.—P. S.]

[6]Ver.1.—[Lit.: at the dawning, or as it was dawning into the first day of the week (Conant), or: in the dawn of the first day (Norton), i.e., toward sunrise of Sunday. In connection with τῇ ἐπιφωσκον́σῃ supply ἡμέρᾳ or ὥρᾳ. The term μὶα σαββάτων agrees with the Rabbinical signification of the days of the week: אחד בשכת, Sunday; שני בשבת Monday; שלרשי בשבת, Tuesday, etc. See Lightfoot, p. 500. As σάββατα in the second clause certainly means week and not the sabbath day, it seems natural to understand it the same way in the first clause, as Grotius, Wieseler, and Stier, who renders: Als aber die Woche um war und der erste Wochentag anbrechen wollte.—P. S.]

[7]Ver.2.—[The definite article before angel is not justified by the Greek: ἄγγελος κυρίου, and suggests a false interpretation as if a particular angel, the angel of the covenant, was meant. In Matthew 2:19 all English Versions correctly render: an angel, but in Matthew 1:20; Matthew 1:24; Matthew 2:13, and here, they follow Tyndale in prefixing the article.—P. S.]

[8]Ver.2—The words: ἀπὸτῆςθς́ρας, are wanting in B., D., and rejected by other authorities; probably, an exegetical addition. [They are also omitted in Cod. Sinait., ancient versions, and fathers, and thrown out by Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer, and Alford.—P. S.]

[9]Ver.8.—B., C.,L, etc., and Tischendorf, read, instead of ἐξελθοῦσαι, ἀπελθοῦσαι; and, judging from internal grounds, this is the more probable reading. [Cod. Sinait. sustains ἀπελθον͂σαι, which is also adopted by Alford, while Lachmann retains ἐξελθοῦσαι. The latter: they went out, would imply that the women had entered Into the sepulchre, to “the place where the Lord lay.”—P. S.]

[10]Ver.8.—[In Greek: ἀπαγεῖλαι. This verb is translated in three different ways in the English Version in this section: to bring word, ver.8; to tell, vers.9,10; and to shew, in ver.11. Such frequent change is hardly justifiable, certainly unnecessary, since tell would answer as well in all these cases.—P. S.]

[11]Ver.9.—The words: as they went to tell his disciples, are omitted in B., D., and many other MSS. and versions. Griesbach and Scholz would insert, Lachmann and Tischendorf omit. Meyer considers the words an explanatory gloss. [Cod. Sinait., Origen, Chrysostom, etc., and of critical editors, Mill, Bengel, Alford, and Tregelles, likewise favor the omission. Scrivener is wrong when he asserts that “Lachmann alone dares to expunge them.” Meyer and Alford correctly observe that ὡς ἐπορεὐοντο is foreign to the usage of Matthew. It is certain that the words can be easily spared; yet on the other hand, they are solemn, and their omission can be readily explained from homœotel., the recurrence of αν̓τον͂.—P. S.]

[12][Comp the translator’s Critical Note No. 1 above.—P. S.]

[13][Meyer, In the fourth and fifth editions of his Commentary, admits that ὀψέ, sero, with genitive (which occurs nowhere else in the N. T.), means also: lange nach, long after, and quotes Plut. Numbers 1:0; but the length of time is not necessarily implied, comp. ὀψέ μυστηρίων, after the mysteries, in Philostratus, Vita Apoll. Matthew 4:18.—P. S.]

[14][So Ambrose, Chrysostom, Jerome, and Augustine. The fathers compare the resurrection from the closed tomb to the birth of Christ from the closed womb of the Virgin, ut ex clauso Virginis utero natus, sic ex clause sepulchro resurrexit in quo nemo conditus fuerat, et postquam resurrexeisset se per clausas fores in conspectum apostolorum induœit (Greg. M.). See the quotation from Jerome in the translator’s note on Matthew 27:60, p. 536. The orthodox Protestant commentators likewise assume generally that the resurrection took place before the stone was rolled away.— P. S.]

[15][The Edinb. edition translates supernaturalistische by unnatural. But every tyro in divinity ought to know the essential difference between supernatural or superrational, i. e., what is above nature and above reason (as is every miracle and specific doctrine of Christianity), and unnatural or irrational, i e., what is contrary to nature and to reason. Lange does not mean to characterize the view of the fathers as unnatural, but as unnecessarily adding another miracle—the passing through a stone—to the resurrection itself. Burkitt and M. Henry assume, that while Christ could have rolled back the stone by His own power, He chose to have it done by an angel, to signify that He did not break prison, but had a fair and legal discharge from heaven. In the case of Lazarus the stone was removed from the grave before he was raised by Christ to a new natural life. But the stone could hardly be a hindrance to Him who raised Himself by His own power to an eternal heavenly life and who afterward appeared to the disciples through closed doors (John 20:19; John 20:26). The stone may have been rolled away merely for the sake of the women and the disciples, that they might go into the empty tomb and see the evidence of the resurrection. This at all events is the more usual orthodox interpretation.—P. S.]

[16][Similarly Wordsworth: ὐμεῖς] emphatic: Let the Roman soldiers fear (ver.4)—not ye,—weak women though ye be.” Meyer (in the fifth edition) maintains against de Wette and others that the personal pronoun is always emphatic in the N. T., even Mark 13:9; Acts 8:24.—P. S.]

[17][So also In the fifth edition, p. 613, although he expressly admits the historical character of the appearances of Christ both in Judæa and in Galilee. “Dass Jesus Sowohl in Jerusalem Als Auch in Galiläa den Jüngern erschienen sei, ist schon aus dem Bestehen der Judäischen und der Galiläischen Ueberlieferung neben einander als geschichtliches Ergebniss zu schliessen, wird aber zweifellos durch Johannes, wenn, wie anzunehmen, Kap. 21 das Work des Apostels ist. So kommt man allerdings zu dem Geschichtsbestande, dass die Judäischen Erscheinungen den Galiläischen vorangegangen sind; aber dabei ist nicht zu übersehen, dass der Bericht des Matthäus nichts von den Judäischen Erscheinungen weiss, weil im Zusammenhang seiner Erzählung nirgends ein Platz für sie ist.” Meyer regards this supposed ignorance of the first Gospel as one of the arguments for his hypothesis that in its present Greek form it is not the work of the Apostle Matthew. This conclusion is too rash. It is sufficient in the case to say, with the late Dr. Bleek, one of the most careful and conscientious critics, that Matthew’s account is a brief condensation. But see Dr. Lange’s forcible remarks above, which Meyer ought to have noticed in the fifth edition.—P. S.]

[18][The Edinb. edition omits the name of Mark, and refers this sentence to the early written Gospel of Matthew, to which it does not apply at all, since Matthew relates the Manifestation of the risen Saviour in Galilee.—P. S.]

[19][Not: unworthy of one who, etc., as the Edinb. ed. mistranslates Lange, who opposes opinions only, and never indulges in personalities which would mar the dignity of s commentary.—P. S.]

[20][Not: consolation, as the Edinb. edition reads, evidently mistaking the German Trotz for Trost.—P. S.]

[21][In German: Wie sie vor sich geht, which the Edinb edition renders: How it anticipates itself!—P. S.]

[22][In German: die Wundenmaale, the technical term a for the marks or traces of the five wounds of the Saviour, the prints of the nails in the hands, etc., which Thomas wished to handle, before submitting to the belief in the fact of the resurrection (John 20:25; John 20:27). They are here referred to as a proof of the identity of the body of our Lord. The Edinb. edition makes here another ridiculous and incredible blunder by translating this familiar German expression (composed of Wunden, i. e, wounds, and Maale, i.e., moles): meals of wonder, as if the text spoke of Wunder-malzeiten.!—P. S.]

[23][Das wesen, which the Edinb. edition mistranslates: the existence (dus sein, Dasein, die Exisitenz). The existence of Christianity and the founding of the Church depends rather on the resurrection, as is expressly stated is the sentence immediately following.—P. S.]

[24][Court preacher and professor of practical theology in the university of Berlin, died 1862, a man of altogether different spirit from his namesake of Leben Jesu notoriety.— P. S.]

Verses 11-15


Matthew 28:11-15

11Now when [as] they [the women] were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto [told]25 the chief priests all the things that were done. 12And when they [the high-priests] were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel,26 they gave large [much]27 money unto the soldiers, 13Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. 14And if this come to the governor’s ears,28 we will persuade him, and secure you [make you secure, free of care or danger, ὑμᾶι�]29 15So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day [i. e., the time of the composition of this Gospel].30


Matthew 28:11. As they were going.—The Evangelist does not seek to show that the soldiers arrived in the city before the women, but only that, contemporaneously, a second account reached the city,—that one message was borne to the friends, and another to the enemies.

Matthew 28:12. And had taken counsel.—This is the last session of the Sanhedrin, so exacting of reverence, which is recorded by Matthew, and its last decision. It is a very significant transaction, which gives us a perfect revelation, prospectively, of the post-Christian, unbelieving Judaism. Some have considered this very disgraceful decision of the council to be improbable. But, standing as they did upon the brink of moral destruction and condemnation, this improbability becomes the most awful reality. Still, we are not compelled by our text to believe that they held the meeting for the express purpose of bribing the guards: that was merely a result of their council, and of their deliberations. Probably the matter was handed over to a commission, to be examined into and disposed of; that is, the council left the matter in the hands of the high-priests, agreeing secretly with their designs.

Much money.—Increased bribes, as compared with the former bribery, that of Judas: 1. The bribery in this case was in consequence of a resolution of the Sanhedrin. 2. The bribery by means of large sums of money, contrasts strongly with the thirty pieces which Judas received. 3. The bribery of poor Gentiles, and these Roman soldiers, who were seduced into a breach of discipline and into lies, which might have cost their lives; and with this were connected self-humiliation and self-abandonment on the part of the Sanhedrin before these very Gentiles. 4. The formal resolution, which was aimed, though indirectly, at the corruption of the soldiers, was the culmination of that guilt to which they had subjected themselves in accepting the willing and volunteered treachery of Judas. The whole account expresses distinctly the extreme and painful embarrassment of the chief council. They imagined that by means of thirty pieces of silver they had freed themselves of Judas; but now they begin first to experience the far greater danger to which the crucified and buried Saviour exposed them.

Matthew 28:13. Stole Him away while we slept.—In addition to all the judgments of impotency, embarrassment, and rejection, they are now subjected to the judgment of stupidity. The soldiers are to have been asleep, and yet to have seen thieves, and known that they were disciples! Grotius: τὸ αὐτοκατάκριτον. [This Satanic lie carries its condemnation on the face. If the soldiers were asleep, they could not discover the thieves, nor would they have proclaimed their military crime; if they, or even a few of them, were awake, they ought to have prevented the theft; it is very improbable that all the soldiers should have been asleep at once; it is equally improbable that a few timid disciples should attempt to steal their Master’s body from a grave closed by a stone, officially sealed and guarded by soldiers, nor could they do it without awakening the guard, if asleep. But all these improbabilities are by no means an argument against the truthfulness of the narrative: for, if men obstinately refuse to believe the truth, “God sends them strong delusion that they should believe a lie,” 2 Thessalonians 2:11. With this agrees the old heathen adage: “Whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad,”—which is constantly exemplified in history. Infatuation is a divine judgment, and the consequence of desertion by God. Among the Jews this lie finds credence to this day, as it did at the time of the composition of the Gospel of Matthew, and in the second and third centuries, according to the testimonies of Justin Martyr and Tertullian.—P. S.]

Matthew 28:14. And if this come to the governor’s ears.—Coram procuratore. Meyer, following Erasmus, interprets this in a judicial sense: When an examination shall be held before Pilate.31 But in that case, the mediation would come too late, because Pilate, according to military discipline, must have inflicted the penalty, if such a criminal violation of duty had been openly acknowledged. Accordingly, most commentators interpret, When this rumor shall reach the governor, be repeated unto him. Then the danger became imminent; but, according to this assurance, it would have been already removed.—This was undoubtedly an excuse highly dangerous for the soldiers (see Acts 12:19), and the high-priests could by no means be sure of the result, although they might be ready to give to the avaricious and corrupt Pilate a large bribe. The hierarchical spirit, which here reaches its climax, uses the Roman soldiers merely as tools to effect its own ends, as it had previously employed Judas; and was again fully prepared to let the despised instruments perish, when the work was finished.—We will persuade him, πείσομεν. An ironical euphemism, indicating the means of persuasion. This was the manner in which they will keep the soldiers free of care and danger.

Matthew 28:15. This saying, ὁλόγος οὗτος.—This does not refer to the entire account (Grotius, Paulus), but to the lying statement (Matthew 28:13), voluntarily adopted by these soldiers, that the body of Jesus had been stolen by His disciples (de Wette, Meyer). Upon the doubts regarding the narrative itself, which Stroth maintained to be an interpolation, consult de Wette and Meyer. Among the opponents of the truth of the passage, are Paulus, Strauss, Weisse, Meyer; among the supporters, Hug, Kuinoel, Hoffmann, Krabbe, Ebrard, etc. Olshausen adopts a modified view, that the Sanhedrin did not act in a formal manner, but that Caiaphas arranged the matter privately. The most plausible arguments which de Wette brings forward against the credibility of the narrative, were already disposed of in the Exegetical Notes on Matthew 27:66 (p. 537). The objection that the Sanhedrin, in which “sat men like Gamaliel,” could not have so lost its sense of duty and dignity as to adopt so unworthy a resolution, rests entirely upon a subjective view of the worthiness of the council.32 We have already learned from the history of the crucifixion, that it was a Jewish custom to employ bad means to effect the ends of the hierarchy, and to deal with the despised Gentiles as mere tools, who were to be used and then treated with contempt. The existence of this saying among the Jews is acknowledged. See the quotations which Grotius gives out of Justin, from which we learn that the Pharisees spread the report among the people by appointed messengers; and also out of Tertullian. The Talmudic tract, Toledoth Jeschu.33 That the Evangelist has here communicated to us the prototype of the Talmud, and the Christ-hating Judaism, is a proof of his deep insight into the significance of the facts, and a testimony unto the consistent character of his Gospel.


1. Some of the watch.—The other guards appear to have been so overcome, so prostrated by the phenomena of the resurrection, as to have recognized the matter as settled, the attempt of the chief council as futile, and, without further delay, to have returned to their military station. Only a part so far overcomes the influence as to go and give a report, probably in hopes of having a reward promised to them, and ready to be bribed. Those mercenary soldiers are a type of all “trencher-soldiers,” who must supply the hierarchy with power to compensate for their want of spiritual might. The nobler soldier, like the independent state, will not allow it even to be supposed that he will yield himself up as a tool to the hierarchy.

2. The intensified heathenism of the disbelieving Judaism begins with disbelief regarding the resurrection of Jesus, and adopts at once a characteristic trait of heathenism, by forming a dark tradition. But the myth of the chief council is worse than the myths of heathenism. The latter, according to their bright side, point to Christ; but the lie of the Sanhedrin forms the dark contrast to the facts of light recorded in the Gospels. The myths of the heathen world are the seed of its culture;34 the lying myth of unbelieving Judaism is the fruit of its obduracy.

3. Matthew, with prophetic spirit, has preserved this fact, the unmistakable germ from which sprang the Talmud, along with which Judaism, that held in the Old Testament fast by the path of faith and repelled all the myths of the heathen world, now manifests itself in its unbelief as the most intensified heathenism; resorting to the most debased of all myths, and endeavoring to destroy the evangelical history by a false exegesis of the Old Testament, by false traditions concerning facts of Gospel history, and by a perversion of the Old Testament into a system of absolute legalism and formalism. Hence it is, that in the following section this type of the Talmud is succeeded by the type of the New Testament.
4. It is indubitable that our narrative is the history of the most extreme self-abasement of the chief council, but is not the less worthy of belief. This is the perfection of the judgment of self-abandonment, under which the council had flung itself. Upon the special points of this self-rejection, see the Exegetical Notes.

5. The hierarchical falsification of the history of the resurrection is the beginning of the hierarchical and antievangelical falsifications of history. The Ebionitic Apocrypha, the donatio Constantini, the pseudo-Isidorian Decretals, etc.

6. Christ’s resurrection, according to God’s counsel, officially announced to the civil authorities, and to the hierarchy; and hence the evangelical faith, as belief in the resurrection, is independent and free.


Heathen guards, the messengers whom God had ordained to announce the resurrection unto the chief council.—Despairing sinners (Judas, the guards), the usual preachers of repentance, sent unto the hypocritical, hierarchical powers.—The unbelief of the chief council is bold enough to impart its own obduracy to affrighted Gentile hearts.—Money and bribery, the A and Ω (the beginning and the end) of the salvation which remained with the council.—Bribery of every kind is the principal lever of all antichristian systems: 1. Bribery by money, 2. by honors.—The utter incertitude of the Sanhedrin is clearly manifested by their last decision.—The perfect overthrow which moral self-destruction caused to follow the supposed triumph of their faith.—The imagination of blinded spirits, as though they could debase the grandest facts of heaven into the meanest stories (scandala) of earth.—The fruitless lies, which are imagined capable of converting the most glorious facts into a deceptive myth.—The criticism passed in the dark Jewish lane, upon the facts of Gospel history which took place upon the broad, open highway of the world.—This is the course which all the enemies of Christian truth must pursue, because of the concealed self-contradictions: 1. They imagine the most absurd fables, to destroy the most glorious miracle; 2. they imagine the most senseless absurdity, to destroy what is full of meaning and clear to the soul; 3. they imagine what is mean, wicked, diabolical, to destroy what is sacred.—The latest criticism in the Jewish Talmud, and the Talmud in the latest works of criticism.—How the hierarchy has corrupted even the soldier’s honor.—Slander sneaks along in its impotent path, in pursuit of the Gospel rushing along its winged course: 1. Slander of Christ; 2. of the disciples; 3. of early Christendom; 4. of the Reformation, and so forth.—How Judaism and heathenism unite to oppose Christianity.—How the hierarchy leagues with the dissolute to battle against the faith.—The inhabitants of hell try to make themselves believe that heaven has been built up by the devices of hell.—God allowed the work of shame to run its wretched course, because the message of the resurrection was not intended to be extended in the form of worldly, but of heavenly certainty, by heavenly agencies.—Powerless as are such attempts, as concerns the Lord, they succeed in destroying many souls.—Thus has the Talmud, the production of the legalistic spirit of Judaism, placed itself between the poor Jew and his Christ, as a ruinous phantom. So too does the spirit of legalism endeavor to build up a wall of separation between the poor Christian and his Christ.—It is only the preaching of the Gospel which can overcome the enmity to the Gospel.—The more boldly the opposition advances, let the word ring out the clearer.

The Present Section considered in connection with the following Evangelical Narrative.—The twofold development of the Old Testament: 1. The false continuation of the Talmud. 2. The true continuation in the New Testament.—The great revolution in the life of Christ: 1. The apparent triumph of His foes becomes their most disgraceful defeat. 2. The apparent defeat of the Lord becomes His most glorious triumph.—The grand development of Christianity and its dark counter-picture: 1. The fleeing soldiers, the heroic women. 2. The great council, and its decision; Christ upon the mountain, and His sermon. 3. The empty expectations of Judaism, and the actual testimony afforded by the Church of Christ.—The perfect impotence of the opponents, and the omnipotence of Christ in heaven and upon earth.

Starke:—Nova Bibl. Tub.: As divine wisdom has decreed, unto even the bitterest foes and persecutors of Jesus must the truth be told by their own beloved confidantes.—The world takes money, and acts as she is taught, against her better knowledge and her conscience, 1 Timothy 6:10; 2Pe 2:13; 2 Peter 2:15.—No compacts prevail against the Lord.—The devil seeks, where not by force and with boldness, still with lies and blasphemy, to oppose the kingdom and the life of Christ.—Money has great power, but thou and thy money shall perish together, Acts 8:20.—Manifest lies require no refutation; they refute themselves.—Quesnel: What a misfortune, that a man will turn to lies to cover his sin, rather than unto repentance for forgiveness!—Zeisius: The lie, no matter how absurd, is believed rather than the truth, especially by the low and godless masses.—Murder and lies, the devil’s weapons, John 8:44.

Lisco:—Hate and wickedness incite Christ’s enemies to bribe the soldiers; low avarice makes them ready to free themselves from the crime, of a neglect of duty by availing themselves of a convenient lie.

Heubner:—Contrast between this account and the preceding: 1. There truth; here lies. 2. There the glorified Hero in His perfect purity; here the terrified priesthood, affrighted because of its crime. 3. There, among the disciples, overmastering joy; here anguishing terror. 4. There, willing, unpaid servants of truth; here bribed servants of falsehood.—Injustice brings a man to humiliation, shame, before the instruments of his sin: he resigns himself to them, must fear them, and they laugh him to scorn.—Such people have never a clean mouth. The state of things might have been learned by the Apostles from secret friends and adherents among the priests, from several persons, perchance from converted soldiers.

Braune:—As the friends heard from their own, so the foes from their own, the news of the resurrection.—What revelation will be made on the day of judgment35 of what money can effect!—Lies find admission, but they flee before the truth. Let no one, accordingly, be affrighted for what men can do; the Lord’s counsel stands fast.—But let no one imagine that he must take in hand to destroy the attempts of another; leave that to the Lord.


Matthew 28:11; Matthew 28:11.—[Comp. Critical Note No. 6 on Matthew 28:8. Others prefer reported to.—P. S.]

Matthew 28:12; Matthew 28:12.—[Or more literally: having assembled…and taken counsel, συναχθἔντες καὶ λαβόντες So Conant and the N. T. of the Am. Bible Union.—P. S.]

Matthew 28:12; Matthew 28:12.—[Wiclif, Scrivener, Conant. etc., render ἀργν́ρια ἱκανά, much money, instead of large money, which dates from Tyndale, Coverdale, Cranmer, etc. The Rhemish N. T. has: a large sum of money. De Wette, Lange, and Ewald reichlich Geld; Luther: Geld’s genug; van Ess and other German Versions: viel Geld.—P. S.]

Matthew 28:14; Matthew 28:14—[Or: be borne witness of before the governor; an official or judicial hearing is intended; comp. for a similar use of ἐπί Acts 24:19-20; Acts 25:9; Acts 25:12; Acts 25:26; Acts 26:2; 1Co 6:1; 1 Timothy 5:19; 1 Timothy 6:13. But compare the remarks of Dr. Lange in the Exeg. Notes. Lachmann and Tregelles read: ἐάν�͂το ὑπὸ (instead of ἐπὶ) τον͂ ἡγεμόνος, if this shall be heard by the governor, following the Vatican Codex (B.), Codex Beza (D.), and the oldest Versions (Itale and Vulgata: si hoc auditum fuerit a prœside). But Meyer and Lange regard this as a mistaken explanation of ἐπί, which is sustained by the majority of authorities. Conant, in his Version, adopts the reading ν̔πό, but the N. T. of the Am. Bible Union, which otherwise follows his Version closely, has here: “before the governor.” Scrivener takes no notice of this verse.—P. S.]

Matthew 28:14; Matthew 28:14—[Lange: sorgenfrei, free of care; Meyer: sorgenfrei im objectiven Sinne, i. e., frei von Gefahr und Plackereien; Tyndale 1.: make you safe; Coverdale: ye shall be safe; Tyndale 2., Cranmer, Genevan Bible, Scrivener: save you harmless; Bishops’ B., very improperly: make you careless; Conant and others: make you secure.—P. S.]

Matthew 28:15; Matthew 28:15.—Lachmann and Tischendorf [not in his edition of 1859] add ἡμέρας (day) after τῆς σήμερον, which is supported by Codd. B., D., L., al. [Tischendorf, in the edition of 1859, says: ἡμέρα ubi a paucis tantum testibus prœbetur, potius illatum quam verum esse statuendum est,” but the fact that Matthew in two other passages (Matthew 11:23; Matthew 27:8) uses οήμερον without ἡμέρα makes the insertion in this case less probable than the omission. Meyer and Alford likewise defend it here.—P. S.]

[31][Erasmus: Si res apud illum judicem agatur. Se also Alford. Comp. my Critical Note No. 4 above.—P. S.]

[32][Comp. the sharp reply of Ebrard to this objection of Strauss: “What pious and conscientious men the Sanhedrists all at once become under the magic hands of Mr. Dr. Strauss! All the scattered Christians, these humble and quiet men, must, without any cause whatever, have devised and believed a palpable lie: but the murderers of Jesus were altogether too good to devise for the Roman soldiers a falsehood that had become for them a necessity!”—P. S.]

[33][This book gives an expansion of this lie of the Jews.—P S.]

[34][In German: Der Same ihrer Kultur, which the Edinb. edition turns into “the germ of its worship,” as if Lange had written: ihres Kultus.—P. S.]

[35][The Edinb. edition mistranslates “every day we see,” etc.; mistaking the German: jener Tag (remember: Dies inœ, dies illa) for jeder Tag.—P. S.]

Verses 16-20


Matthew 28:16-20

(Mark 16:15-18; Luke 24:44-49.)

16Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a [the, τό] mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17And when they saw him, they worshipped him:36 but some doubted [hesitated].37 18And Jesus came [drew near] and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in [ἐν] heaven and in [on. ἐπί] earth. 19Go ye therefore,38 and teach [make disciples of, or disciple, christianize, μαθητεύσατε]39 all [the, τά] nations, baptizing40 them in the name [into the name, εἰς τὸ ὄνομα]41 of the Father, and of the 20Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching [διδάσκοντες] them to observe all things what-so-ever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway [all the days, every day, πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας], even unto the end [ἕως τῆς συντελεἰας] of the world [τοῦ αἰῶνος].42 Amen.43


Matthew 28:16. Then the eleven disciples.—They come forward here as the representatives of the entire band of disciples, and not as the select apostolic college of the Twelve, which makes its first reappearance after the selection of Matthias. This distinction is to be found in the remark that some doubted, which cannot apply to the Eleven: reference is made to many witnesses in 1 Corinthians 15:6.

Upon the mountain.—The Evangelist himself informs us that Jesus had appointed the place of meeting, but does not tell us when and where, Inasmuch as the disciples were bidden at first merely to go into Galilee, the more special direction must have been given at a later date. Grotius thinks that the command was issued while they were still in Jerusalem. We agree with Ebrard and others, that Christ’s meeting with the seven (John 21:0) preceded and introduced this manifestation. That there is a reference to an actual mountain in Galilee, may be seen from the connection between this passage and the injunctions to proceed into Galilee, Matthew 28:7; Matthew 28:10; also from the consideration, that in Galilee only could a place be found for so large an assemblage of disciples as is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:6. An apocryphal tradition, dating from the thirteenth century, named the northern peak of the Mount of Olives as the scene, and gave it the name of Galilæa. This theory has undoubtedly originated early, in an improper and interested attempt at harmonizing, the first traces of which we find in the apocryphal Actis Pilati. It is upon this statement that Rudolf Hofmann supports his views in his work, Ueber den Berg. Galiläa, Ein Beitrag zur Harmonie der evangelischen Berichte, Leipzig, 1856.44 We saw above that Mount Tabor could not have been the scene of the transfiguration. But should we conclude from this, that that tradition is wholly untenable? How easily could that which had been said of the second transfiguration of Jesus before the eyes of His Church, be confounded with the account of the former transfiguration! How well adapted, besides, was Mount Tabor for the accommodation of the disciples, who assembled for the purpose of celebrating the first great Easter festival! That the mount was then peopled, goes against the theory which makes it the scene of such an event as the first transfiguration, but not against the view which selects it as the centre to which the Galilean Christians were gathered. For the dwellers upon this mountain (if the mountain were not then, to some degree, waste and occupied only by ruins; see Schulz, Reisebeschreibung) could be but few in number, and would be, besides, friendly disposed to the Galilean believers, so that the assemblage upon this high peak of Galilee would not be in the least disturbed (see the author’s Leben Jesu, ii. 3, 1730). Grotius, too, writing upon this passage, is in favor of Tabor. “Southward from the Mount of Beatitudes, six miles distant from Nazareth, in an easterly direction (southeast), the Mount of Tabor rises, תָּבוֹר, i. e. peak, navel, Greek ’Ιταβύριον (Hosea 5:1; Sept.), called by the natives Tschebel Tor. It is a great, well-nigh isolated ball of chalkstone, flattened on the top. Jerome says of it: Mira rotunditate sublimes. In omni parte finitur œqualiter. Upon the southern side, it extends far down into the plain of Jezreel:45 northward it overlooks all the confronting mountains of the highlands of Galilee. The sides of Tabor are covered with a forest of oaks and wild pistachio-trees, which shelter wild swine. The whole mountain is rich in flowers, and abounds with trees. The flat top is about a mile and a half in circumference; upon it are the remains of a large fortress, and two churches may still be recognized.” (K. von Raumer, Palästina, p. 62.) See Jeremiah 46:18; Psalms 89:12, [“Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name”]. Upon the prospect from Tabor, consult works of travel, Schubert, Robinson; also Schulz (Mühlheim an der Ruhr, 1852, p. 260). Gerlach supposes the mountain to have lain in a lonely neighborhood, in Lebanon, in the north of Galilee, but states no reasons.

Matthew 28:17. And when they saw Him.—In the case of the Eleven, this was “neither the first occasion upon which they saw Him since the resurrection, nor yet the first impression.” Judging from the import of what follows, we believe that Matthew groups the eleven Apostles together with the assembled pilgrim throng of Galilean believers. To this congregated body does the prostration refer, and also the doubting of some. We consider, however, that the statement: some doubted, is not applied to the reality of the Risen One, but is used in regard to the immediately preceding προσεκύνησαν. These “some” were not in doubt whether the person before them was really Jesus who had risen. That would have been a total inversion of the order of things, if they had come to the mountain believing, and had been plunged back into doubt upon the sight of the Lord. Why, it was the very vision of the Lord which made the women and the Eleven believing. So that they doubted whether it was proper to offer unto the Lord such an unbounded worship as was expressed in the supplications and prostration of the disciples. This view is held also by de Wette. The following declaration of Jesus refers to this hesitation. Hence we find in this a prophetic allusion by the Evangelist to that germ of Ebionism which developed itself at a later period among the Jewish Christians, just as he had before pointed out the germ of the antichristian Judaism. These “some”—οἱ δὲ without a preceding οἱ μέν—constitute a particular section of that assembled mass, formerly mentioned as a body, to which special attention would be directed.46 The words, οἱδὲ ἐδίστασαν, have received various explanations. 1. The reading itself, οὐδὲ: Bornemann [Beza]. 2. The meaning, Some prostrated themselves, the others separated in dismay: Schleussner. 3. The occasion: (a) They doubted, because Jesus’ body was already glorified: Olshausen and others; (b) dread of a phantom: Hase; (c) on account of a change in the body of Jesus, which was now in the intermediate state, between its former condition, and glorification, which was completed at the ascension: Meyer,47 4. The subject: (a) The Eleven were they who doubted: Meyer; (b) certain of the Seventy: Kuinoel; (c) certain of the five hundred brethren, 1 Corinthians 15:6 : Calovius and others [also Olshausen, Ebrard, Stier, who suppose, from the previous announcement of this meeting, and the repetition of that announcement by the angel, and by Christ, that it included, probably, all the disciples who could be brought together:—in which case we must take the ἕνδεκα in Matthew 28:16 in an emphatic, not in an exclusive sense, the Eleven being the natural leaders of the rest.—P. S.] This last explanation is undoubtedly the correct one. (See above.)

Matthew 28:18. And Jesus drawing near, spake unto them.—This drawing near was manifestly a special approach unto those who were doubting; and unto them likewise were the following words in the first instance addressed, though not exclusively.

All power is given unto Me.—Expression of His glorification and victory. “It is an unwarranted rationalizing explanation, when this expression is made to mean simply, either potestas animis hominum per doctrinam imperandi (Kuinoel), or full power to make all the preparations necessary for the Messianic theocracy (Paulus). It is the munus regium Christi, without limitation.” Meyer. According to the doubts of the later Ebionites, Christ must share the power given Him by God, in heaven with the angels, on earth with Moses. [With the resurrection and ascension Christ took full possession, as the Godman, of that δόξα which, as λόγος ἄσαρκος, or according to His eternal Divine nature, He had before the foundation of the world, John 17:5; Luke 24:26; Philippians 2:9-11; Ephesians 1:20-23.—P. S.]

Matthew 28:19. Go ye (therefore).—Οὖν is a gloss, but a correct one; for the majesty of Christ is the ground both for His sending, and for their allowing themselves to be sent. [Alford, a dignitary of the Church of England, says of these words of the great commission, that they were “not spoken to the apostles only, but to all the brethren.” He also remarks on the connection between ἐξουσία and μαθητεύσατε: “All power is given Me—go therefore and—subdue? Not so: the purpose of the Lord is to bring men to the knowledge of the truth—to work on and in their hearts, and lift them up to be partakers of the Divine nature! And therefore it is not ‘ subdue,’ but ‘make disciples of.’ ”—P. S.]

Make disciples of, μαθητεύσατε—Luther’s translation: lehret, is incorrect.48 So also is the Baptist exegesis: In every case, first complete religious instruction, then baptism. To make disciples of, involves in general, it is true, the preaching of the Gospel; but it marks pre-eminently the moment when the non-Christian is brought to a full willingness to become a Christian, that is, has become, through repentance and faith, a catechumen. This willingness, in the case of the children of Christian parents, is presupposed and implied in the willingness of the parents; for it is unnatural and unspiritual to treat children as if they were adults, and Christianity as if it were a mere school question, when the parents do not decide unhesitatingly in favor of Christianity as the religion of their children, and do not determine to educate them accordingly. Hence the children of Christian parents are born catechumens, or subjects of Christian instruction. The Holy Scriptures everywhere place the spiritual unity of the household in the believing father or believing mother, representing this as the normal relation.

All nations.—Removal of the limitations laid down in Matthew 10:5, according to the statements contained in Matthew 25:32; Matthew 24:14. By this, the universality of the apostolic commission is established. The question, how the Gentiles are to be received into the Church, is not yet answered, though the unconditioned reception of believers is found in the appointment, that nations, as nations, are to be christianized, without being first made Jews; that they are to be marked out as Christians by baptism, without any reference to circumcision. The development of this germ is left by the Lord to the work of the Spirit. The revelation recorded Acts 10:0, is the Spirit’s exegesis of the already perfect commission, and not a continuation or expansion of that commission, which was completed with the work of Christ. We cannot, therefore, assume that the Apostles, up to that time, held circumcision to be a necessary condition of baptism, or reception into the Church; they were merely in the dark regarding this question, until the Holy Spirit explained the word of Christ unto them.

Baptizing them.—Or, more correctly according to the reading βαπτίσαντες: having baptized them.49 But μαθητεύειν is not completed in baptism. Rather are there two acts, a missionary and an ecclesiastical,—the antecedent baptism, the subsequent instruction. [Meyer: “βαπτίζοντες, etc., by which the μαθητεύειν is to be brought about, not what is to take place after the μαθητεύσατε, which would require μαθητεύσαντες-βαπτίζετε.” Alford: “The μαθη τεύειν consists of two parts—the initiatory, admissory rite, and the subsequent teaching. It is much to be regretted that the rendering of μαθ., ‘ teach,’ has in our Bibles clouded the meaning of these important words. It will be observed that in our Lord’s words, as in the Church, the process of ordinary discipleship is from baptism to instruction—i. e., is admission in infancy to the covenant, and growing up into τηρεῖν πάντα, κ. τ. λ.” But this applies only to Christian churches already established. As the Jewish religion commenced with the promise of God, and the faith and circumcision of adult Abraham, who received circumcision as a sign and seal of the covenant already established (Romans 4:11) for himself and for his seed, so the Christian Church was founded in the beginning, and is now propagated in all heathen countries by the preaching of the Gospel to, and by the baptism of, adults. Infant baptism always presupposes the existence of a responsible parent church and the guaranty of Christian nurture which must develop and make available the blessings of the baptismal covenant. Hence the preponderance of adult over infant baptism in the first centuries of Christianity, and in all missionary stations to this day. But even in the case of adult converts, a full instruction in the Christian religion and development of Christian life, does not, as a rule, precede, but succeed baptism, which is an initiatory, not a consummatory rite, the sacramental sign and seal of regeneration, i. e., of the beginning of the new life, not of sanctification or growth and perfection in holiness.—P. S.]

In [or rather with reference to, or into] the name of.50—That is, in the might of, and for, the name, as the badge and the symbol of the new Church. Εἰς τό. “Note,” says Meyer, “that the liturgical formula, In nominee, In the name, rests entirely upon the incorrect translation of the Vulgate.” Yet, not so entirely, because the expression ἐν τψ͂ ὀνόματι is found in Acts 10:48 (compare Matthew 3:11). De Wette and Meyer explain εἰςτό, with reference to the name. But εἰς τό, in other passages, means either the element into which one is baptized (Mark 1:9, εἰς τὸν ’Ιορδάνην; Romans 6:3, εἰς τὸν θάνατον); or the object, εἰς μετάνοιαν, Matthew 3:11; Acts 2:38, εἰς ἄφεσιν; or the authority of the community, under which and for which one is baptized (εἰς τὸν Μωϋσῆν, 1 Corinthians 10:2). The last meaning is probably the prominent one in this passage: a baptism under the authority of, and unto the authority of the triune God, as opposed to the baptism in and for the authority of Moses. But, as the context shows, we have expressed likewise the idea of being plunged into the name of the Three-one God, as the element, and the dedication of the baptized unto this name.51 The expression, ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι, Acts 2:38, brings out most fully the idea of the authority, in virtue of which, or the foundation upon which, baptism is administered. In so far, now, as baptism has the Triune name as ground, means, and object, the combined signification of εἰς may be partially explained by with, reference to; more distinctly, however, in the name of: that is, upon the ground of this name, in the might of this name, as dedicated unto this name, or for this name. Meyer: “The name of the Father, etc., is to be the object of faith, and the subject of confession.” This expresses only the third conception, and that but half. Upon the import of the name, see Commentary on Matthew 4:9 [p. 125]. 52 The name refers to each of the Persons of the Godhead. The plural form, τὰ ὀνόματα, would have pointed to Tritheism; while the singular, in its distributive application to Father, Son, and Spirit, brings out in the one name the equality as well as the personality, of the three Divine Names in one name.53 In an emphatic sense, may it also be said, that τὸ πνεῦμα ἅγιον is a “distinctively Christian characteristicum of the Spirit” (John 7:39).

We must dissent from Meyer, when he maintains that the passage is “improperly termed the baptismal formula,” assigning as reason that “Jesus does not, assuredly, dictate the words which are to be employed in the administration of baptism. (No trace is to be found of the employment of these words by the Apostolic Church: compare rather the simple form εἰς Χριστόν, Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27; βαπτίζειν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα X., Acts 8:16; and ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι X., Acts 2:38.) It is the telic import [or intention] of the baptismal act that is given in this expression. Consult Reiche, De Baptism, orig., etc., Göttingen, 1816, p. 141. It was only at a later period that the baptismal formula was drawn up according to these words (see Justin. Apol. i. 61), just as was the baptismal confession of the three articles.” But it is exactly this gradual development of the apostolical confession of faith which conducts us back to the germ, which we find here deposited in the New Testament. A baptism in the name of Christ is conceivable only when that confession was accompanied by the acknowledgment of the Father and the Holy Spirit; and this so-called “telic import” points us back to the homogeneous foundation upon which that import rests. It is true, indeed, that the apostolic age was not bound to formulas, as stiff and dead formulas. Otherwise, Meyer is right in defending, against the objections of de Wette, Strauss, and others, the historical truth of this direction of Christ. This is not the only instance in which we have presented a mere specially defined statement of the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, and of the essential points of the Christian confession (see 2 Corinthians 13:13; 1 Timothy 3:16; Titus 2:11; Titus 2:13, etc.). [Comp, the Doctrinal Thoughts, below, sub No. 6.]

Matthew 28:20. Teaching them.—These words mark on the one hand, the continuation of the apostolic activity, after that μαθητεύειν and βαπτίζειν had preceded; upon the other, the course of the Christian, which should run on parallel to this activity. The statement concerning the new ἐντολή, John 13:34, which refers undoubtedly to the institution of the Holy Supper, shows us, that all things commanded by Christ concentrate in the truth, and the spiritual observance of that Supper as necessarily following baptism and the establishment of the visible church. See the author’s Leben Jesu, ii. 3, p. 1330.

[We should not overlook that there is no καί before διδάσκοντες, so that baptizing and teaching are not strictly coördinate, as two successive acts and means of Christianizing the nations; but the teaching is a continuous process, which partly precedes baptism, as a general exhibition of the gospel with the view to bring the adults to the critical turning point of decision for Christ, and submission to His authority, and partly follows baptism, both in the case of adults and infants, as a thorough indoctrination in the Christian truth, and the building up of the whole man unto the full manhood of Christ, the author and finisher of our faith. Since the eleven apostles and other personal disciples of our Lord could neither baptize nor teach all nations, it is evident that He instituted here the office of a continuous and unbroken preacherhood (not priesthood in the Jewish or Romish sense) and teacherhood, with all its duties and functions, its privileges and responsibilities; and to this office He pledged His perpetual presence to the end of time, without the intermission of a single day or hour.—P. S.]

[All things, whatsoever I have commanded you.—The doctrines and precepts of Christ, nothing ness and nothing more, are the proper subjects of Christian faith and practice, and constitute the genuine Christian tradition to be handed down from age to age, as distinct from those pseudo-Christian traditions of men which were added to the gospel, as the pseudo-Jewish traditions of the Pharisees and elders were added to the Old Testament, and “made the word of God of none effect,” Matthew 15:6.—P. S.]

And, lo.—Excitation and encouragement to fulfil the apostolic commission, and the duties of the Christian life, which are here enjoined.54

I am with you.—Not merely through the agency of the power which has been given Me, but still more in the other person of the Holy Spirit, or the Paracletos (John 14:16; John 14:26, etc.), and in My own personal agency, through My word (John 14:23) and sacrament (Matthew 26:28). There is reference also to their vital union to, and communion with, Him, in the might of His Spirit (John 14:20; John 16:22), and of His life (John 15:5). [Alford: “ ‘I,’ in the fullest sense: not the Divine Presence as distinguished from the Humanity of Christ. His Humanity is with us likewise. The vine lives in the branches.…The presence of Christ is part of the ἐδόθη above—the effect of the well-pleasing of the Father. So that the mystery of His name, ἐμμανουήλ, is fulfilled—God with us.”—P. S.]

[With you.—Wordsworth, like the Romish interpreters, erroneously confines μεθ̓ ὑμῶν to the apostles and their successors in office. Let us quote Alford, also a dignitary of the Episcopal Church, against him: “To understand μεθ̓ὑμῶν only of the apostles and their (?) successors, is to destroy the whole force of these most weighty words. Descending even into literal exactness, we may see that διδάσκοντες αὐτοὺς τηρεῖν πάντα ὅσα ἐνετειλάμην ὐμῖν, makes αὐτούς into ὑμεῖς, as soon as they are μεμαθητευμένοι. The command is to the Universal Church—to be performed, in the nature of things, by her ministers and teachers, the manner of appointing which is not here prescribed, but to be learnt in the unfoldings of Providence recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, who by His special ordinance were the founders and first builders of that Church—but whose office, on that very account, precluded the idea of succession or renewal.” In a general sense, however, the apostolic office—the only one which Christ founded, but which was the fruitful germ of all other ministerial offices (the presbyterate and deaconate)—is truly and really continued, with all its necessary functions for the preservation and propagation of the church, in the ministerial or pastoral office. In this passage the apostles and other disciples (there were, probably, more than five hundred in all, comp. 1 Corinthians 15:6) appear as the representatives of the whole ministry of the gospel, and in a wider sense of the whole church over against the unchristian world, which is to be christianized by them. As the Saviour prayed not for the apostles alone, “but for them also that shall believe on Him through their word, that they all may be one” (John 17:20-21), so the promise of His abiding presence is to all ministers of the gospel and to the whole Church they represent. Christ has abundantly proved, and daily proves, His blessed presence in non-episcopal, as well as episcopal churches, even where only two or three humble disciples are assembled in His name (Matthew 18:20), and it is our duty and privilege, in the spirit of true evangelical catholicity, to acknowledge and revere the footprints of our Saviour in all ages and sections of Christendom, whether Greek, or Latin, or Anglican, or Protestant.—P. S.]

Alway.55—The words: πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας, every day, mark not only every year which will elapse till the world’s end, as years of redemption, but also every day, even the darkest, as days of redemption. [Alford: “All the appointed days—for they are numbered by the Father, though by none but Him.” Wordsworth: “I shall never be absent from you a single day; I shall never be absent in any of the days of the greatest trial and affliction of the Church; but I shall remain with her till the last day, when you will see Me again in bodily presence.”—P. S.]

Unto the end of the world.—That is, until the completion or consummation of the secular æon, or the period of time which comes to an end with the parousia, and involves the end of the present world itself. Hence this fact is also included, that Christ accompanies His own, when they go to the most remote boundaries of the world to preach the Gospel. [The word unto (ἕως) does not set a term to Christ’s presence, but to His invisible and temporal presence, which will be exchanged for His visible and eternal presence at His last coming. Now Christ is with us, then when He shall appear in glory, we shall be with Him where He is (John 17:24), and shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:2). Comp. Bengel, who remarks to ἕως: “Tum enim nos erimus cum Domino.”—P. S.]

On account of this all-encompassing, this heaven-and-earth-including presence of Christ, the fact of the personal ascension is omitted by our Evangelist, which is done also by John, as a point which is self-evidently comprehended in this omnipresence. [The fact itself of the ascension is clearly implied, not only in this verse, but also in other passages of this Gospel, as Matthew 22:44; Matthew 24:30; Matthew 25:14; Matthew 25:31; Matthew 26:64.—P. S.]


1. The mountain in Galilee.—The appearance of the risen Lord upon this mountain recalls in its every part the transfiguration upon the mountain in Peræa, and also Peter’s confession, which preceded that transfiguration. Hence it is, it seems to us, that tradition has connected the second event with the first, in regard to the locality, and has named Mount Tabor as the scene of the transfiguration. Upon this occasion we have a repetition of both the solemn confession and the transfiguration. The two scenes agree in kind, but this present one surpasses in degree. There, Peter confessed: “Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God;” here, a disciple-band of more than five hundred believers fall in adoration at the feet of the risen Lord. There, Christ confirmed Peter’s confession, as a revelation from the Father; here, He declares: “All power is given unto Me in heaven and on earth.” There, He proclaimed the institution of His Church (ἐκκλησία) upon the foundation of this confession; here, He appoints His disciples apostles unto all nations, while these nations were to take the place of the disciples (μαθητεύσατε), He institutes holy baptism, and recalls the more special institution of the ministerial (teaching) office (John 20:21), and of the Holy Supper (see above, Exeg. Notes).—And as He made manifest, upon the Mount of Transfiguration, His connection with the heavenly world of spirits, and with the entire past of God’s kingdom (Moses and Elijah), so He certifies here His connection with the entire future of God’s kingdom, His eternal presence in the Church in this world, by means of these words: “Lo, I am with you every day till the completion of the æon, of the world’s course and time.”

2. When Matthew mentions in this passage only the Eleven, he will merely mark them out as the leaders öf the Galilean disciple-procession, but in no sense as those to whom the institutions of the glorified Lord were exclusively entrusted. Gerlach is of the opinion, that the principal, the predominating thought with Matthew, was the office of public teacher; “and hence it is that all the appearances of our Lord, which were enjoyed by different parties, are omitted.” But Matthew reports even an appearance of Jesus unto the women. If Matthew here records (as Gerlach himself admits) the same meeting of Jesus with the disciples which is mentioned by Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:6, it follows that the Lord himself here committed His formal institutions and commissions to the whole assembled Church, with the Apostles at her head, just as He at a later date poured out His Spirit upon the whole assembled Church. And from this, then, we argue, that, according to the law of Christ, the apostolic office and the Church are not two divided sections. In the commission to teach and to baptize, the apostolical community is one, a united apostolate, involving the Church, or, a united Church, including the Apostles. In this unity we may unquestionably mark the distinction between the leader and the led, which comes out in a more positive way in the entrustment to the Apostles of the official keys (Matthew 16:19; Matthew 18:18; John 20:21). But that is an organic contrast, arising from, and conditioned by, the unity of the apostolic communion (1 Corinthians 5:4).

3. The declaration of Christ: “All power,” etc., and His command to baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, etc., as also the fact that He received the adoring homage of His disciples, show clearly that He presented Himself, not only in the majesty of His exalted humanity, but also in the brightness of His divinity. In the words: “is given unto Me,” there is, undoubtedly, emphasis laid upon His mediatorial relationship, which is frequently illustrated by the Apostle (1 Corinthians 15:28; Ephesians 1:20; Philippians 2:9 ff.); but, at the same time, with equal distinctness is the homoousia (or co-equality) of Christ with the Father and the Holy Spirit expressed in the second name of the baptismal formula. Under the old economy, the predominant reference in all the divine government was to the glorification of the Father; under the new economy, to that of the Son; while, in the final completion, the Father shall be glorified with the Son in the glorification of the Holy Spirit.

4. It is manifest that the kingdom which Christ here describes is not only a regnum gratiœ;, but also a kingdom of power, and a kingdom of glory; but it does not manifest itself as three distinct kingdoms, but the power which He manifests is subservient to the interests of the kingdom of grace, and the kingdom of grace finds its end and completion in the Kingdom of glory (see the author’s Positive Dogmatik).

5. That the Anabaptists appeal for their views without sufficient reason to Matthew 28:19, has been often enough pointed out (see the Exeg. Notes). But, upon the other hand, it is clearly presupposed in μαθηεύσατε, that persons are to be induced to be baptized by the use of gospel means, not by forcible conversion,—are not to be made catechumens by compulsion; and also, that baptism can be administered to children really only upon the ground of a truly Christian family, or at least of a god-parentship (sponsorship) which represents spiritually such a family. On the baptism of children, consult W. Hoffmann: Gespräche über Taufe und Wiedcrtaufe; Culmann Welche Bewandtniss hat es mit der Taufe? Stressburg, 1847; the writings of Martensen, Rudelbach, etc. [Comp. also, on the pœdo-Baptist side of the question: P. Schaff: History of the Apostolic Church, New York ed., 1853, § 142, 143, pp. 569–581; P. Schaff: History of the Christian Church of the First Three Centuries, New York, 1859, p. 122 ff.; W. Wall (Episcopalian): The History of Infant Baptism, 2d ed., Oxford, 1844, 4 vols.; Samuel Miller (Presbyterian): Infant Baptism Scriptural and Reasonable, etc., Philad., 1840; W. Nast (Methodist): A Dissertation on Christian Baptism, Cincinnati, 1864 (at the close of his Com. on Matthew, p. 641–652). On the Baptist side of the question, both in regard to infant baptism and immersion, compare the learned and able works of Alexander Carson: Baptism in its Mode and Subjects, 5th Am. ed., 1850, and, as regards the mode of baptism, Dr. T. J. Conant: The Meaning and Use of Baptizein Philologically and Historically Investigated, being an Appendix to his revised Version of the-Gospel of Matthew, New York, 1860, and also separately printed by the Am. Bible Union New York, 1861.—P. S.]

6. In (into) the name.—As we saw before, the name is not the essence itself, but the expression, the manifestation of the essence, among those of God’s intelligent creatures who name the name. So then, In (into) the name (εἰς τὸ ὄνομα) of the Triune, signifies: 1. The ground; (a) objectively: according to His revelation, under His authority, by reason of His command, and agreeably to His institution; (b) subjectively: upon the confession of this name. 2. The means; (a) objectively: into the revelation of His name as the spiritual element; (b) subjectively: for the revelation of His name in the actual confession. 3. The object; (a) objectively: for the glorification of the Triune name in the subject baptized; (b) subjectively: for the happiness56 of the baptized in the Triune name. All the significations are combined in, and expressed by εἰς τὸ ὄνομα. Gerlach says: “To do something in the name of God, means, not only: upon His commission, but to do it in such a manner that the power and being of God Himself shall appear as working in the transaction. Thus: to bless in the name of the Lord (2 Samuel 6:18; Psalms 129:8); to adjure one in the name of the Lord (1 Kings 22:16); to curse one (2 Kings 2:24); above all, to pray in Jesus’ name (John 16:23).” The person baptized is, accordingly, “fully committed unto the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—consecrated, made over to experience the blessing, the redeeming and sanctifying influences, of each of the three Persons; hence, also, he is even named by the name of the Lord (Isaiah 43:7; Isaiah 63:19; Jeremiah 15:16).”

Baptism is, after the analogy of the circumcision, a covenant transaction, more particularly the dedicatory covenant transaction, the sacrament of regeneration, to which the Lord’s Supper corresponds, as the completed covenant act, as the sacrament of sanctification. Baptism represents the birth, the Supper the festive manifestation of Christianity. Considered in this light, however, we must bring out prominently these three points: (1) God in this covenant is its author, who invites, reconciles, lays down conditions, and that all the vows and performances of men are to rest upon God’s promises. (2) The promises of God are promises and assurances of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in which the personal Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, specializing and individualizing the Gospel, makes Himself over, with all His own peculiar gifts, to each individual subject of baptism; the Father, with the blessing of creation and regeneration; the Son, with the blessing of history, i. e., of salvation; the Holy Spirit, with the blessing of His life and of the (entire) Church. This promise contains the assurance of the paternal guardianship and blessing of God, of the grace and merit of Christ, of the consolation, illumination, and direction of the Holy Spirit. But all this under the condition of the subject’s own personal appropriation and application. (3) And in accordance with this, we must direct attention to the vows presented to the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. In the case of children, these vows are made by parents or god-parents (sponsors); and where these guarantees are entirely wanting, there is the limit of Christian infant baptism.

7. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.—“This passage is the chief proof of the doctrine of the Trinity. (1) These three must be subjects distinct from one another, and true persons, especially because τὸ ὄνομα is never in the entire Bible used of abstractis, of qualities, but only of true persons. (2) They must be equal, consequently divine persons, because they are placed upon an equality, and because like reverence is claimed for each. Even Julian the Apostate acknowledged the force of this passage, and accused the Christians of being polytheists.” So Heubner. This taunt is to be avoided by our showing no favor to the vulgar conception of three distinct Divine beings and individuals, and by holding fast to three personal distinctions in the one divine being. For more exact details, see the works upon systematic theology. We would only add, that the doctrine of the Trinity is to be regarded as the fundamental, theological doctrine of Christianity, to which the soteriological doctrines of election, of the atonement, and the Church correspond.

[It should be added, that the doctrine of the Trinity does not rest, by any means, merely on the few dicta probantia which teach it directly and expressly, as the baptismal formula, the apostolic benediction, 2 Corinthians 13:13, and the doubtful passage on the three witnesses in heaven, 1 John 5:7 (comp. besides Matthew 3:16-17; 1 Peter 1:2; Revelation 1:4-5), but still more on facts, on the whole Scripture revelation of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the three great works of creation, redemption, and sanctification. From this Trinity of revelation (œconomical Trinity) we justly infer the Trinity of essence (ontological Trinity), since God reveals Himself as He actually is, and since there can be no contradiction between His character and His works. Moreover, every one of the many passages which separately teach either the divinity of our Saviour, or the divinity of the Holy Spirit, viewed in connection with the fundamental Scripture doctrine of the unity of the Godhead, proves, indirectly, also the doctrine of the holy Trinity. Hence you cannot deny this fundamental doctrine without either running into Tritheism, or into Deism, without destroying either the divine unity, or the divinity of Christ and the Holy Spirit, and thereby undermining the whole work of redemption and sanctification.—P. S.]

8. Institution of the Church.—With this apostolic commission, and with the institution of baptism, which had been preceded by that of the Supper and of the ministerial office, and by the presentation of the “keys,” the institution of the Church is finished, as regards her elements. This can be doubted only, when we ignore that the essence of the Christian Church consists in the communion of the word and the sacraments of Christ, that the word calls the Church into being, that baptism is the foundation, and the communion in a more special sense is the manifestation, of the Church. The doubt whether Christ Himself founded the Church, originated with those who sought the nature of the Church in her policy, or external social organization and constitution; as, e. g., J. H. Böhmer, G. J. Plank (Geschichte der christlichen Gesellschaftsverfassung, i. p. 17. We may notice in passing, that the germs of Baur’s “Ebinioten Hypothese” are to be found p. 9. in this book). The evangelical history teaches us that the institution of the Church arose first gradually, that the institution was announced and prepared for in the word ἐκκλησἰα, Matthew 16:18; was decided by the fact of Christ’s death and resurrection; and completed, when the Spirit was poured out at Pentecost. Then it was that the organism of the Church, which the Lord had gradually formed, received the quickening Spirit.

9. The resurrection as the Lord’s exaltation.—Because Matthew and John do not record the ascension, some have drawn conclusions from this silence adverse to the reality of the ascension. These deductions rest upon two essential errors. The first error concerns the character of the evangelical writings: the Evangelists are held to have been chroniclers, who relate all they know of Jesus. But we have already shown how far they surpassed these demands; that each Evangelist viewed his materials, and arranged them, influenced by a conception of the Lord’s glory peculiar to himself, and according to one plastic, fundamental thought. But far below a proper appreciation of the Gospels as this error lies, equally far below a proper appreciation of the resurrection of Christ, in its full, eternal significance, does the second error lie. Some, in accordance with the low belief of the Middle Ages, have conceived the resurrection to have been a kind of awaking, on the Lord’s part, unto a life in this world similar to that of Lazarus, so that possibly He might have died again. Then the ascension came in, as the second, entirely new, and in fact much greater miracle, and decided the matter then, and only then. This may be the view of monks of the Middle Ages, but it is not the view of the Apostolic Church. According to the true conception, the ascension is essentially implied in the resurrection. Both events are combined in the one fact of Christ’s exaltation. The resurrection is the root and the beginning of the ascension; the ascension is the blossom and crown of the resurrection. Hence the Apostolic writings take the ascension always for granted (Acts 2:31; Acts 2:33; Acts 5:31; Acts 7:55; Ephesians 1:20; Ephesians 2:6; Ephesians 4:8; Philippians 2:6-10; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Timothy 1:0 Pet. 3:32). The ascension is as really presupposed by John (John 6:62; John 20:17) and by (Matthew 26:64)57 as it is distinctly related by Mark and Luke. The Lord did not return again after His resurrection into this present life; and yet quite as little did He, as a simple, spiritual existence, enter into the unseen world. He has become through the resurrection, which was at the same time transformation, the first-fruits of the new spiritual human life of glorified humanity; hence is He the Prince of the visible and the invisible worlds, which find here the point of union (Ephesians 1:21). But this life, as regards its essence, is the heavenly life; and, as regards its character, the entrance into that estate was accordingly the beginning of the ascension. We cannot indeed say (with Kinkel), that the early Church identified the resurrection and the ascension; or, that the latter occurred upon the first day of the resurrection; or, that there was a succession of ascensions. The resurrection marks the entrance into the heavenly slate; the ascension, into the heavenly sphere. With the first, the manner of His former intercourse with the disciples ceased, and was replaced by His miraculous appearances; with the last, His visible intercourse with the disciples generally ceased, to give place to the sending of the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit. This is the reason why the ascension presents a sad side as well as a joyful, being the departure of Jesus from the earth. It is both Good Friday and Easter. By it the Church of Christ is marked out as both a Church of the cross and a Church of the crown, and enters upon a course of conflict which lasts from Pentecost to the second Advent. Christ’s ascension is accordingly His proper glorification, as the resurrection His transformation. Nevertheless, the unity of the exaltation of Christ predominates to such a degree in the apostolic view, that the final ascension is taken for granted by the Apostles. John sees the image of the ascension in this, that Christ will continue to live in the Petrine and Johannean type of the Church; Matthew in this, that He will be with His own till the completion of the world, hence omnipresent with His people in His majesty, as regards both time and space. Such a spiritual dynamic omnipresence of Christ is conceivable only upon the precondition of the ascension. That “the feast of the Ascension did not make its appearance until a late period “(Gerlach), is to be explained by the fact, that originally the forty days of the glorification of Christ made up one continuous festival. Then the ascension rose just in proportion as the festival of the Forty Days sank. Upon the corporeality of the risen Saviour, see Lange’s Leben Jesu, ii. 3, p. 1750. In that work, we have considered connectedly the conceptions of transformation and glorification, as is usually done; and this is so far justifiable, as transformation is the basis of glorification. But the latter, which is the fully developed bloom of transformation, does not fully manifest itself till Christ’s appearance upon the mountain in Galilee, and till the ascension.

10. Matthew’s three sacred mountains: (1) The Mount of the Seven Beatitudes; (2) the Mount of Transfiguration; (3) the Mount of the great Resurrection-festival. (De Wette: The self-inauguration of Jesus,—Transfiguration,—Farewell.)


The revelation of our risen Lord in the great congregation of the disciples upon the mountain: 1. The festival which succeeded the Palm-entry, after they had been scattered. 2. The festival which preceded the feast of Pentecost, when they became perfectly united. 3. The festival of Easter in its complete form.—How great the gain when we believingly repair to the place where the Lord has commanded us to go: 1. In the Lord’s house; 2. at the Lord’s table; 3. before the Lord’s throne.—The believing Church is constituted by its appearance before the Lord: 1. It is only the appearance before the Lord which makes a true Church; the appearance before men can form only a picture of a Church, or a party. 2. The appearance before the Lord truly unites the everlasting Church.—The Easter Church, kneeling before her Lord, receives His Easter blessing: 1. The kneeling Church. 2. The Easter blessing: (a) the most blessed assurance that His royal glory is her shield and salvation; (b) the most extensive commission unto all the world with His salvation; (c) the solemn assurance of His presence and His conduct to the end of the world.—How Christ replies to doubters in His Church: 1. By a reference to His unbounded power; 2. by the institution of His unbounded Church; 3. by the assurance of His ever-abiding presence.—The believing Church participates in the glory of her glorified Lord: 1. She shares His might, in the guardianship and blessing which she experiences; 2. she shares His fulness of grace, in the office she discharges; 3. she shares His victory, in the assurance received by her.—The risen Saviour in His majesty: 1. In His royal glory; 2. in His divine glory; 3. in the glory of His victory.—All power in heaven and upon earth united in the Lord for His people.—Jesus’ omnipotence, an omnipotence of grace, and an omnipotence of judgment.—The Church’s institution and commission is one: 1. The institution, a commission; 2. the commission, an institution.—Holy baptism, as the foundation of Christ’s Church: 1. The pre-condition, catechumens who have been won by the gospel; 2. its meaning, the covenant grace of the Triune God; 3. its object, the holy communion and its blessing.—Baptism in the name of the Triune God, the celebration of a personal covenant: 1. The promises of God, Father, Son, and Spirit, unto the baptized; 2. the vows of the baptized, in which he yields and binds himself unto the Father, Son, and Spirit.—Baptism, the gospel in its special application to the subject of baptism.—The right of pædo-baptism: 1. The Lord’s title to the children of Christians; 2. the Christian children’s title to the Lord.—The sanctification of pædo-baptisim.—The doctrine of the holy Trinity in its practical significance: 1. A threefold gospel; 2. a threefold Christian calling; 3. a threefold creation and summons unto a spiritual life.—The religion of the Trinity and the religion of the Spirit are one.—Christ’s servants should teach others what Christ has commanded, not command others what Christ has taught.—The blessing of the risen Lord unto His people: 1. Near all and with all; 2. every day, upon every way; 3. till the world’s end; 4. and till the world in perfected.

Starke:—Man must contribute his part; then will God meet him with His promises.—But some doubted. Because they were so tardy in believing, we may receive their testimony as so much more trustworthy.—Is given Me: This is a divine, eternal power,—the foundation of the gospel, the ministerial office,—the ground of our responsibility to obey His commandments, of the baptismal covenant, and of His gracious presence in the Church.—This is the greatest loss, both at the appearance and the beginning of piety, in very many souls, that they will not deny their own strength, and cast themselves down at Christ’s feet.—The boundless power and exaltation of Jesus Christ, the ground of faith and all consolation, from which we must obtain the victory over sin, death, the devil, hell, and the world.—Hitherto ye have been my disciples and scholars; but now ye are to become masters and teachers, and are to make disciples of others.—The preaching of the gospel, along with these attestations, is a precious and incomparable fruit of the death and resurrection of Christ.—To preach and administer the sacraments, are the chief duties of the New Testament minister, Acts 4:6.—Teaching them to observe, Hebrews 6:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:15-16.—To these duties belongs also the observance of the Lord’s Supper.—Zeisius: It is not enough to be baptized, but there is likewise demanded a holy zeal, to live after the baptismal covenant, and to walk blameless, 1 Peter 3:21.—Quesnel: A preacher’s true fidelity consists in this, that he preaches nothing but what he has learned from Jesus Christ.—Believest thou His promise, then canst thou in Him and through Him easily overcome all things.—[Quesnel adds this concluding prayer to his practical Com. on Matthew: Be Thou therefore with us always, O Lord, to be our light, our strength, and our consolation. Be with Thy Church, to be her steadfastness, her protection, and her holiness. Amen.—P. S.]

Lisco:—Christ even in His human nature is the administrator of the divine laws over men, yea, over all creatures.—I have been baptized; the pledge of God’s grace unto me.—Baptism is an incorporation into the body of Christ, which is governed by His Spirit.

Gerlach:—They worshipped Him. That belief in the divinity of Christ, which was partly slumbering during His state of humiliation, is awakened in all, as with one blow, through this miraculously imposing view of the risen Saviour.—Acknowledgment of repentance and of faith, even when it was not yet associated with a clear knowledge concerning the Lord’s person and teaching, was deemed sufficient by the Apostles to justify baptism, Acts 2:41; Acts 8:12; Acts 8:37; Acts 9:19; Acts 10:47-48; Acts 16:33; Acts 19:5.—Unto the end of the world; i. e., till the new world appears, in which God’s kingdom is manifested in its glory. Their administration of baptism and their teaching were accordingly to be accompanied and blessed by His omnipresent, everywhere mighty, efficient power.

Heubner.—The authority of the Father continues, but He performs everything through the Son (and for the Son).—Thereupon rests also the obligation to worship Christ.—The Lord sends to His subjects.—Christ declares here distinctly the universality of His Church.58 It was His own clear will to be a universal Saviour.—By the ordinance of Christ, baptism has the divine sanction for all times and peoples.—Teach them all things. Nothing is to be made obsolete. Nothing is contained in Christ’s law which was merely a toleration of an error of the times.—I am with you: The most glorious word of consolation at parting. The most sublime conclusion of the gospel: 1. For all Christians unto all time. 2. The import of tins promise. With His Spirit, and His actual manifestation of power.—Christ shall be

preached to all in their own time, even in the other world.—The revelation of the glory of Jesus on parting from His Apostles and His Church.

Braune:—Previously, Christ had appeared suddenly, unexpectedly; now He makes a special appointment with them.—In Galilee, the despised province, He had the most friends.—Christ is the Lord of the visible and invisible Church, of the Church militant and triumphant.—[ Rieger:] Some doubted: wonder not that in thy case, too, faith is a constant subjugation of unbelief.—In flaming hearts, the light of conviction must kindle.—Is given Me. With joyous assurance Ha awaited His departure. He had won so few, and His task embraced all peoples, all times, Ephesians 1:20; Ephesians 1:23.—If He is busy and efficient at creation, much more is He at regeneration.—The first disciples, Christians, became missionaries, messengers of salvation, as soon as the Church was founded at Pentecost. Upon that first feast of Pentecost, there were three thousand Christians; at the end of the first century, five hundred thousand; under the first Christian ruler, Constantine the Great, about ten millions; in the eighth century, some thirty millions; at the era of the Reformation, nearly one hundred millions; and now, well nigh two hundred millions.59—Missionaries from England and Ireland brought the gospel to Germany.60—The missionary work is the duty for the Church. There are still eight hundred millions who have not the gospel; one hundred and sixty millions Mohammedans, ten millions Jews, six hundred and thirty millions heathen.61—Missions are now beginning to receive from the Church that attention they demand. Oh, if it were only held fast: Go ye, preach the gospel! Many act as if the Redeemer said, the Confession.—[Rieger:] The preaching of the gospel is an address made in Christ’s name unto the whole world: it has not to do with an emendation of the Jewish religion, nor with an elevation of heathen morality, nor with the establishment of civil rights; but it is a gospel of the kingdom, a proclamation that Jesus is the Lord; a gospel of glory, that the Son of God hath appeared and taken away the power from death, and from the subjection unto vanity, beneath which the whole creation groaneth, etc.—Baptism. Immersion, which signifies the death and burial of sinful humanity, became an aspersion to signify the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the soul’s renewal, or a sprinkling to indicate purification and dedication, sanctification of heart and life; the external mode may change (but still the idea must obtain the same depth, Romans 6:4, viz., to be baptized into the death of Christ to a new life).—Baptism is the sacrament through which one becomes a Christian.—Lo, I am with you: He is not coming, He is here: 1. He is with weak and strong; 2. in battle as in victory; 3. in life and in death; 4. in time and eternity.—Here Jesus is with us in His word, there we shall be with Him in His glory.—Uhle: What the exalted Son of man in His exaltation is unto men: 1. What do His friends possess in Him? He is, (a) their royal Brother; (b) their eternal High-Priest; (c) their almighty Protector; (d) the unfailing Accomplisher of their perfection. 2. What do His enemies possess in Him? He is, (a) their almighty King; (b) an omniscient Witness; (c) a patient Forbearer; (d) a righteous Judge.—Ahlfeld: The last will of our Lord Jesus Christ: 1. Believe on the Risen One; 2. extend the Church; 3. console thyself with the Lord’s gracious assistance.—Heubner: The everlasting endurance of the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

[Matthew Henry:—Alway, i. e., all days, every day. I will be with you, on Sabbath days, on week days, fair days and foul days, winter days and summer days. There is no day, no hour of the day, in which our Lord Jesus is not present with His churches and His ministers; if there were, that day, that hour, they were undone. The God of Israel, the Saviour, is sometimes a God that hideth Himself (Isaiah 40:15), but never a God that absenteth Himself, sometimes in the dark, but never at a distance.—With you: 1. With you and your writings: the divine power of the Scriptures continues to the end of time; 2. with you and your successors: all the ministers of the Apostles, all to whom the commission extends to baptize and to teach; [3. with you and all true disciples, comp. Matthew 18:20].—Chrysostom:—Lo, I am with you alway, etc. As much as to say: Tell Me not of the difficulty of all these things, seeing I am with you, who can make all things easy. A like promise He often made to the prophets of the O. T., to Jeremiah, who pleaded his youth; to Moses and to Ezekiel, when they would have shunned the office imposed upon them. The promise is not to the Apostles only, who were not to continue till the end of the world, but with them to all who shall believe after them. He says this to the faithful as one body.—P. Schaff:—The unbroken succession of Christ’s life through all ages of Christendom (or, the true doctrine of the apostolic succession): 1. A glorious fact; 2. an irresistible evidence of Christianity; 3. an unfailing source of strength and encouragement to the believer.—Christ’s presence with His people: 1. In the Holy Spirit, who reveals Christ to us and unites us to Him; 2. in the Church which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all; 3. in His word; 4. in His sacraments, especially the Lord’s Supper, where He offers Himself to the believer as his spiritual food; 5. in the hearts of believers, who live in Him as He in them, the hope of glory.—Christ’s omnipresence in the Church: 1. Its nature: (a) spiritual real; (b) divine-human; (c) mediatorial and saving; 2. its warning; 3. its comfort in life and in death.—Christ’s presence with His members on earth till His coming; their presence with Him in heaven, where they shall see Him as He is, to glorify and enjoy Him forever.—P. S.]


Matthew 28:17; Matthew 28:17.—Codd. B., D., [also Cod. Sinait.], Vulgate, Chrysostom, and Augnstine omit αὐτῷ, and so Lachmann and Tischendorf [not in the large edition of 1859, where he retains it with a majority of uncial MSS.]. some cursive MSS. read αν̓τόν.

Matthew 28:17; Matthew 28:17.— [Grotius, Doddridge, Newcome, Fritzsche, Serivener translate ἐδίστασαν: had doubted, taking the Greek aorist as a Latin pluperfect. So also the French translations of Martin and Osterwald: avaient douté. But this is unnecessary, and grammatically impossible after προσεκύνησαν. Matthew does not say πάντες προσεκύνησαν and the doubt may be referred (with de Wette and Lange) to the act of worship, and not to the fact of the resurrection. See Exeg. Notes. But even if all disciples fell down before the risen Lord, some (not of the eleven, after the two appearances in Jerusalem, John 20:0., but of the seventy or of the five thousand to whom Christ appeared, 1 Corinthians 15:6) may have done so with the honest scepticism of Thomas, being very anxious, but hardly able as yet to realize such a stupendous miracle. Hence there is no necessity, as there is no critical authority, for Beza’s conjecture, substituting οὐδέ οἱδέ. —P. S.]

Matthew 28:19; Matthew 28:19.—The particle οὖν (therefore) is wanting in all uncial MSS. [This is not quite correct. The Vatican Codex (B.), both in the edition of Angelo Mai and of Buttmann, has it, as well as some ancient patristic quotations, and hence Lachmann retains it, although in brackets. Some quote also Cod. Ephraemi Syri (C.) in its favor, but this Codex as published by Tischendorf breaks off in this chapter with Matthew 28:14. But eleven uncial MSS. (Codd. Sinait., A., E., F., H., K., M., S.) and numerous cursive copies omit it, and so do the editions of Griesbach, Scholz, Tischendorf, and Alford. But although it is difficult to defend it critically, it certainly accords with the sense. For the glorification of the Son by the Father and His elevation to the right hand of Almighty power is the foundation of the Church and of the authority of the apostolic ministry.—P. S.]

Matthew 28:19; Matthew 28:19—[The verb μαθητεν̓ειν (properly an intransitive verb: to be a pupil to one, τινί, Matthew 27:57 and among the classics, but in the N. T. used also transitively: to make a disciple of, τινί, so here, Matthew 13:52; Acts 14:21,=μαθητὰς ποιεῖν, John 4:1), is more comprehensive than διδάσκειν, Matthew 28:20, and should therefore be differently rendered in this connection. It signifies the end, the participles the means. The nations are to be made disciples of Christ or converted to Him by two means chiefly, viz., by baptism (βαπτίζοντες) and by religions instruction (διδάσκοντες). The margin of the Authorized Version proposes: make disciples, or Christians of all nations; Doddridge: proselyte (which is objectionable on account of the double meaning); Campbell: convert; Norton: make disciples from all nations (from implies a false restriction); Scrivener: make disciples of; Conant and the N. T. of the Am. Bible Union: disciple (in the sense: to convert, to cause to become a follower). This is certainly shorter than the circumlocution: to make disciples of, but perhaps not sufficiently popular. Lange has: Machet zu Jüngern, and adds in small type: bekehret; de wette and Ewald: bekehret. The teach of the Authorized and all the older English Versions (as well as the lehret of Luther) comes from the inaccurate rendering of the Vulgata: docete…baptizantes…docentes.—P. S.]

Matthew 28:19; Matthew 28:19.—The reading: βαπτίσαντες (having baptized) of Codd. B., D., instead of βαπτίζοντες, is worthy of notice. [Comp. the translator’s foot-note on p. 557.—P. S.]

Matthew 28:19; Matthew 28:19.—[The preposition εἰς with the accusative, as distinct from ἐν ὀνόματι, strictly conveys the idea: inte the covenant—union and fellowship of the triune God, with all the privileges and duties involved in it. The common version in the English and German Bibles and baptismal offices arises from the inaccurate rendering of Cyprian (Epist. 73:5) and of the Vulgata: in nomine Patris, etc., instead of in nomen, as Tertullian has it (De Bapt. c. 13). It may be grammatically defended, however, by ch, Matthew 18:20 : gathered together in my name, εἰς τὸ ὄνομα, and Matthew 10:41 : in the name of a prophet, εἰς ὄνομα προφήτον, δικαίον, μαθητον͂,—the meaning of εἰς being here: in reference to. Lange ingeniously combines the two meanings: in the authority of, and into the communion with, the holy Trinity. See his Exeg. Notes and my additions; also Lange’s Doctrinal Thoughts, No. 6.—P. S.]

Matthew 28:20; Matthew 28:20.—[Lit.: till the consummation of the (present) œon (as distinct from the future æon after the Advent or the never-ending world to come); Lange: bis an des Weltlauf’s Vollendung. But the common rendering of συντέλεια τον͂ αἰῶνος by end of the world, is upon the whole the best, certainly the most popular, and hence we left it undisturbed in the text. It dates from Wiclif, and was retained by all the older versions (except that of Rheims, which has: to the consummation of the world, after the Vulgata: ad consummationem sœculi), and among recent revisers also by Conant and the N. T. of the Am. Bible Union (with the omission of the interpolated even, which dates from Tyndale). Coverdale and James’ Revisers have: unto, but the Versions of Tyndale, Cranmer, Geneva, and the Bishops have: until. The old version is greatly preferable to that of Campbell: to the conclusion of this state, and to that of Norton: to the end of present things—P. S.]

Matthew 28:20; Matthew 28:20.—[The word ἀμήν of the text. Rec. and younger MSS is omitted in Codd. Sinait., B., D., etc., Vulgata, etc It is cancelled by Griesbach, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Alford; it is also wanting in the first edition of Erasmus, 1516, and hence in Luther’s German Version, and In all the English Versions previous to that of King James’ Revisers The word was probably added by the scribes who prepared the copies for liturgical use.—P. S.]

[44][Hofmann endeavors to harmonize the differences in the history of the forty days by means of this apocryphal tradition; but ἡ Γαλιλαία means nowhere in the N. T. a mountain, but always the well-known province, nor do the fathers use it in any other sense. Comp. Meyer in the fifth edition, p. 613, note.—P. S.]

[45][The Edinb. edition reads: it sinks deep into the Valley of Israel. I do not know what the “Valley of Israel” is; but Dr. Lange undoubtedly means the great plateau or elevated plain of Jezreel, עֵמֶק יִזְרְעֶאל, which extends from Carmel to the Jordan where it leaves the Lake Genezreth, and was celebrated for its beauty and fertility, Joshua 17:16; Judges 6:33; Judges 7:1; 1 Samuel 29:1, etc.—P. S.]

[46][The omission of οἱ μέν implies that those who doubted were a small minority, a mere exception. If Matthew had written: οἱ μὲν προσεκύνησαν, οἱ δὲ ἐδίστασαν, he would have divided the disciples into two co-ordinate and almost equal parts. Comp. Meyer in loc.—P. S.]

[47][Lange means the late Johann Friedrich von Meyer, the reviser of Luther’s German Bible, not to be confounded with Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer, the commentator still living. As the latter is mentioned immediately afterward, their Christian names should have been given here.— P. S.]

[48][So is the teach of the English Version, and the docete of the Latin Vulgate. Comp. the Critical Note No. 4, p. 555. —P. S.]

[49][The reading Βαπτίσαντες has the authority of only two, though very important uncial MSS., the Vatican (B.) and the Cambridge Codex (Codex Bezæ or D.), and looks very much like an ecclesiastical correction. The Sinaitic Codex, which otherwise so often agrees with Cod. B sustains here the text., rec., and all the modern critical editions, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Alford, etc., read the present participle Βαπτίζοντες. Meyer, otherwise so careful in grammatical and critical matters, does not even notice the difference of reading in this case.—P. S.]

[50][Lange, as also de Wette, Stier, and Ewald, translate εἰς τὸ ὄνομα: auf den Namen, while Luther, following the Latin Vulgate, translates in dem Namen, like on; English Version. See the Critical Note No. 6, p. 555.—P. S.]

[51][So also two distinguished modern English commentators. Alford in loc.: “It is unfortunate again here that our English Bibles do not give us the force of this εἰς. It should nave been into (as in Galatians 3:27) both here and in 1 Corinthians 10:2, and wherever the expression is used. It imports not only a subjective recognition hereafter by the child of the truth implied in τὸ ὄνομα, κ.τ.λ., but an objective admission into the covenant of redemption—a putting on of Christ. Baptism is the contract of espousal (Ephesians 5:26) between Christ and His Church. Our word ‘ in’ being retained both here and in our formula of Baptism, it should always be remembered that the sacramental declaration is contained in this word; that it answers (as Stier has well observed, Reden Jesu, 6:902) to the τοῦτό ἐστιν in the other sacrament” Similarly Wordsworth, who otherwise adheres very closely to ancient usage: “Not in, but into; and not names (plural), but into the One name; i. e., admit them by the sacrament of Baptism into the privileges and duties of faith in, and obedience to, the name of the one God, in three persons…and into participation of, and communion with, the divine nature.” Conant, on the other hand, retains and defends the Authorized Version in the name (though not in the sense: by the authority of, but in reference to), and denies that into the name gives the sense, and is admissible in English. But the Authorized Version Venders ὅσοι ἐβαπτίσθημεν εἰς Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν, Romans 6:3 : “so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ,” the βάπτισμα εἰς θάνατον, Matthew 28:4 : “baptism into death,” and εἰς Χριστὸν ἐβαπτὶσθητε, Galatians 3:27 : “baptized into Christ.” Why not say then with equal propriety: to baptize into the name of Christ, i. e., into communion and fellowship with Him and the holy Trinity as revealed in the work of creation, redemption, and regeneration?—P. S.]

[52][The name signifies the meaning and essence or the subject as revealed, the copy or expression of the being. In this case the name implies all that belongs to the manifestation of the triune God in the gospel, His titles, attributes and works of creation, redemption, and sanctification. It is probable that Christ had reference also to His own baptism in Jordan, where all three persons of the Godhead revealed themselves.—P. S.]

[53][Meyer (p. 619, 5th ed. of 1864) thinks that, doctrinally, the singular τὸ ὄνομα can be used neither in favor of the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity (as is done by Basil, Jerome, Theophylact and others), nor in favor of the Sabbellian view of a mere nominal Trinity, since the singular signifies the definite name of each one of the three, so that εἰς τὸὄνομα must be supplied before τον͂ νἱον͂ and before τον͂ ἁγίου πνεν́ματος, comp. Revelation 14:1 : τὸ ὄνομα αν̓τον͂ καὶ τὸ ὄνομα τον͂ πατρὸς αν̓τον͂. But he admits that the New Testament doctrine of the holy Trinity as the sum and substance of the whole Christian faith and confession is presupposed and implied in the passage.—The old practice of a threefold immersion, which is first mentioned by Tertullian, is a venerable usage, but cannot be traced to the apostolic age, nor is it at all required by the trinitarian formula.—P. S.]

[54][So also Meyer. Alford gives the words; καὶ ἰδον́, a different meaning which is rather far fetched, by referring them to the ascension, the manner of which is not related by Matthew.—P. S.]

[55][Lange: alle Tage, all the days, which is the literal translation.—P. S.]

[56][In German: zur Beseligung, which the Edinb. edition misrenders: to seal, as if Beseligung were the same with Versiegelung! The objective end of baptism (and of man) is the glory of God, the subjective end the happiness and salvation of the persons baptized by introducing them into the communion with God. The “Westminster Catechism combines the two in the first question: “What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”— P. S.]

[57][Matthew 28:22 is a printing error of the original faithfully reproduced in the Edinb. edition, which adds other errors, as Matthew 26:24, instead of 64, etc.—P. S.]

[58][The universality or catholicity of the Church, which unfolds itself gradually in the missionary work, is implied in the words: “Make disciples of all nations.” The Edinb. edition renders Allgemeinheit seiner Kirche by “equality of His Church,” which gives no sense at all in this connection.—P. S.]

[59]According to the calculation of Dr. Dietericl in Berlin, made in 1859, the number of Christians amounts to 335,000,000.—P. S.]

[60][Germany is substituted for the original to us (i. e., Germans), which the Edinb. edition thoughtlessly retained. Germany gave to England, in the fifth century, its Anglo-Saxon population, which was subsequently christianized by missionaries from Rome (Augustine and his thirty companions sent out by Gregory I., a. d. 596); England sent a few centuries later the gospel to the Continent, mainly through Winfried or Boniface, “the apostle of Germany;” and Germany discharged the debt by giving to England, indirectly at least, the Protestant Reformation, in the sixteenth century. In America both nationalities meet in the nineteenth century to coalesce into one on the ground of their common Protestant Christianity.—P. S.]

[61] [According to Dietericl’s calculation the religious statistics of the world in 1859 stood as follows:








335,000,000—P. S.]

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Matthew 28". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/matthew-28.html. 1857-84.
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