Your brethren that hated you - said "Say ye to your brethren that hate you" - The Syriac reads לאחיכם אמרו imru laacheychem ; and so the Septuagint, Edit. Comp. ειπατε αδελφοις ὑμων· and MS. Marchal. has αδελφοις· and so Cyril and Procopius read and explain it. It is not easy to make sense of the reading of the Septuagint in the other editions; ειπατε αδελφοι ἡμων τοις μισουσιν ὑμας· but for ἡμων, our, MS. 1. D. 2 also has ὑμων, your.
Hear the word of the Lord - This is an address to the pious and persecuted portion of the nation. It is designed for their consolation, and contains the assurance that Yahweh would appear in their behalf, and that they should be under his protecting care though they were cast out by their brethren. To whom this refers has been a question with expositors, and it is perhaps not possible to determine with certainty. Rosenmuller supposes that it refers to the pious whom the ‹Jews and Benjaminites repelled from the worship of the temple.‘ Grotius supposes that it refers to those ‹who favored Onias;‘ that is, in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. Vitringa supposes that the address is to the apostles, disciples, and followers of the Lord Jesus; and that it refers to the persecution which would be excited against them by the Jewish people. This seems to me to be the most probable opinion:
1. Because the whole structure of the chapter (see the analysis) seems to refer to the period when the Messiah should appear.
2. Because the state of things described in this verse exactly accords with what occurred on the introduction of Christianity. They who embraced the Messiah were excommunicated and persecuted; and they who did it believed, or professed to believe, that they were doing it for the glory of God.
3. The promise that Yahweh would appear for their joy, and for the confusion of their foes, is one that had a clear fulfillment in his interposition in behalf of the persecuted church.
Your brethren that hated you - No hatred of others was ever more bitter than was that evinced by the Jews for those of their nation who embraced Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. If this refers to his time, then the language is plain. But to whatever time it refers, it describes a state of things where the pious part of the nation was persecuted and opposed by those who were their kinsmen according to the flesh.
That cast you out - The word used here is one that is commonly employed to denote excommunication or exclusion from the privileges connected with the public worship of God. It is language which will accurately describe the treatment which the apostles and the early diciples of the Redeemer received at the hand of the Jewish people (see John 16:2, and the Acts of the Apostles generally).
For my name‘s sake - This language closely resembles that which the Saviour used respecting his own disciples and the persecutions to which they would be exposed: ‹But all these things will they do unto you for my name‘s sake, because they know not him that sent me‘ (John 15:21; compare Matthew 10:22; Matthew 24:9). I have no doubt that this refers to that period, and to those scenes.
Said, Let the Lord be glorified - That is, they profess to do it to honor God; or because they suppose that he requires it. Or it means, that even while they were engaged in this cruel persecution, and these acts of excommunicating their brethren, they professed to be serving God, and manifested great zeal in his cause. This has commonly been the case with persecutors. The most malignant and cruel persecutions of the friends of God have been originated under the pretext of great zeal in his service, and with a professed desire to honor his name. So it was with the Jews when they crucified the Lord Jesus. So it is expressly said it would be when his disciples would be excommunicated and put to death John 16:2. So it was in fact in the persecutions excited by the Jews against the apostles and early Christians (see Acts 6:13-14; Acts 21:28-31). So it was in all the persecutions of the Waldenses by the Papists; in all the horrors of the Inquisition; in all the crimes of the Duke of Alva. So it was in the bloody reign of Mary; and so it has ever been in all ages and in all countries where Christians have been persecuted. The people of God have suffered most from those who have been conscientious persecutors; and the most malignant foes of the church have been found in the church, persecuting true Christians under great pretence of zeal for the purity of religion. It is no evidence of piety that a man is full of conscientious zeal against those whom he chooses to regard as heretics. And it should always be regarded as proof of a bad heart, and a bad cause, when a man endeavors to inflict pain and disgrace on others, on account of their religious opinions, under pretence of great regard for the honor of God.
But he shall appear to your joy - The sense is, that God would manifest himself to his people as their vindicator, and would ultimately rescue them from their persecuting foes. If this is applied to Christians, it means that the cause in which they were engaged would triumph. This has been the case in all persecutions. The effect has always been the permanent triumph and estalishment of the cause that was persecuted.
And they shall be ashamed - How true this has been of the Jews that persecuted the early Christians! How entirely were they confounded and overwhelmed! God established permanently the persecuted; he scattered the persecutors to the ends of the earth!
“‘In the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.’ In A.D. 31, three and a half years after His baptism, our Lord was crucified. With the great sacrifice offered upon Calvary, ended that system of offerings which for four thousand years had pointed forward to the Lamb of God. Type had met antitype, and all the sacrifices and oblations of the ceremonial system were there to cease. EW xiii.1
“The seventy weeks, or 490 years, especially allotted to the Jews, ended, as we have seen, in A.D. 34. At that time, through the action of the Jewish Sanhedrim, the nation sealed its rejection of the gospel by the martyrdom of Stephen and the persecution of the followers of Christ. Then the message of salvation, no longer restricted to the chosen people, was given to the world. The disciples, forced by persecution to flee from Jerusalem, ‘went everywhere preaching the word.’ ‘Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.’ Peter, divinely guided, opened the gospel to the centurion of Caesarea, the God-fearing Cornelius; and the ardent Paul, won to the faith of Christ, was commissioned to carry the glad tidings ‘far hence unto the Gentiles.’ [Acts 8:4, 5; Acts 22:21.] EW xiii.2
“Thus far every specification of the prophecies is strikingly fulfilled, and the beginning of the seventy weeks is fixed beyond question at B.C. 457, and their expiration in A.D. 34. From this data there is no difficulty in finding the termination of the 2300 days. The seventy weeks—490 days—having been cut off from the 2300, there were 1810 days remaining. After the end of 490 days, the 1810 days were still to be fulfilled. From A.D. 34, 1810 years extend to 1844. Consequently the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14 terminate in 1844. At the expiration of this great prophetic period, upon the testimony of the angel of God, ‘the sanctuary shall be cleansed.’ Thus the time of the cleansing of the sanctuary—which was almost universally believed to take place at the second advent—was definitely pointed out. EW xiii.3Read in context »
Thus it was shown that Scripture gives no warrant for men to remain in ignorance concerning the nearness of Christ's coming. But those who desired only an excuse to reject the truth closed their ears to this explanation, and the words “No man knoweth the day nor the hour” continued to be echoed by the bold scoffer and even by the professed minister of Christ. As the people were roused, and began to inquire the way of salvation, religious teachers stepped in between them and the truth, seeking to quiet their fears by falsely interpreting the word of God. Unfaithful watchmen united in the work of the great deceiver, crying, Peace, peace, when God had not spoken peace. Like the Pharisees in Christ's day, many refused to enter the kingdom of heaven themselves, and those who were entering in they hindered. The blood of these souls will be required at their hand. GC 372.1
The most humble and devoted in the churches were usually the first to receive the message. Those who studied the Bible for themselves could not but see the unscriptural character of the popular views of prophecy; and wherever the people were not controlled by the influence of the clergy, wherever they would search the word of God for themselves, the advent doctrine needed only to be compared with the Scriptures to establish its divine authority. GC 372.2
Many were persecuted by their unbelieving brethren. In order to retain their position in the church, some consented to be silent in regard to their hope; but others felt that loyalty to God forbade them thus to hide the truths which He had committed to their trust. Not a few were cut off from the fellowship of the church for no other reason than expressing their belief in the coming of Christ. Very precious to those who bore this trial of their faith were the words of the prophet: “Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for My name's sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified: but He shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.” Isaiah 66:5. GC 372.3Read in context »
It was asked if we would confess that we had departed from their rules, and if we would also agree to conform to them in the future. We answered that we dared not yield our faith or deny the sacred truth of God; that we could not forego the hope of the soon coming of our Redeemer; that after the manner which they called heresy we must continue to worship the Lord. LS 53.1
My father in his defense received the blessing of God, and we all left the vestry with free spirits, happy in the consciousness of the approving smile of Jesus. LS 53.2
The next Sunday, at the commencement of the love feast, the presiding elder read off our names, seven in number, as discontinued from the church. He stated that we were not expelled on account of any wrong or immoral conduct, that we were of unblemished character and enviable reputation; but we had been guilty of walking contrary to the rules of the Methodist church. He also declared that a door was now open, and all who were guilty of a similar breach of the rules would be dealt with in like manner. LS 53.3Read in context »
At the commencement of their love-feast, Elder B. read off our names, seven in number, and wished it understood that it was not for immoral conduct that we were turned out, but for a breach of their rules. He also stated that a door was now open, and all who should walk contrary to their rules would share the same fate. They had made a beginning, and should follow it up. There were others in the Methodist church who were looking for the appearing of the Saviour. They wished to hold these persons among them by frightening them. They succeeded in a few instances, and some sold their favor with God for a place in the Methodist church. Many believed, but dared not confess their faith for fear of being turned out of the synagogue. They loved the praise of men more than the favor of God. Some afterwards left them and joined those who were loving the appearing of Jesus. We were all pushed out of the church because we believed and talked the near coming of our Saviour. At this time the words of the prophet were exceedingly precious: “Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified; but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.” Isaiah 66:5. 2SG 25.1
For six months not a cloud intervened between me and my Saviour. Whenever there was a proper opportunity I bore my testimony in meeting, and was greatly blessed. At times the Spirit of the Lord rested upon me in such power that my strength was taken away. This was a trial to some of those who had come out from the formal churches, and often words were spoken meant for my ear, which grieved me. They did not believe that any one could be so filled with the Spirit of the Lord as to lose their strength. I began to fear. I reasoned thus: Am I not justified in holding my peace in meeting, and restraining my feelings, when my testimony causes such opposition, even in meeting, and in the hearts of some of those older in experience, and in years, than myself? I thought I would be just as faithful in living out my religion, and not bear my testimony. I often felt pressed by the Spirit of God to speak in meeting; but did not, and was sensible that the Spirit of God was grieved. I even kept away from meeting where some of those attended who were annoyed by my testimony. I withheld my testimony for fear of offending my brethren, and that uninterrupted communion with God which I had enjoyed for months was broken, and I have not since, for so long a time, been perfectly free in the Lord. 2SG 26.1Read in context »