A.T. Robertson Matthew 28 Part1

22 May

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The providence of God

in the development of

‘The Lord’s Day in the Covenant of Grace’!

 

Many a time as I wrote on ‘The Lord’s Day in the Covenant of Grace’, I discovered that there all the while were others who experienced the same problems and came to the same conclusions as I have about things I thought I have found and tried to unravel all by myself. I often suspected things to be not as traditionally accepted, only to be surprised by the reality there are others who agreed with me. Sometimes the similarities appeared self-evident and virtually identical; sometimes they were less conclusive.

But God and my book are my witnesses I never borrowed or copied the doctrines of others, whether individual or denominational. My ideas are my own, nevertheless not mine, but, I pray God, of His Word. My book, I believe, proves the genuineness of my hopes and claims.

It must be remembered the book didn’t take shape in time as it did in form. Many sections are later inserted. I tried to follow in structure the sequence of the events of the days of God’s Passover. Thereafter the historical development of the Church to an extent determined the place in the series each Part would receive. Larger parts shifted into their positions after others had been completed. And so was it with many smaller parts perhaps comprised of but a single idea.

Till today some sections of the book are far from finished or not even started properly. (The “monstrous scope”, as Barth said, of the Sabbath Commandment! Its “vast scope”, said Calvin.)

Here then, is one – and not the least – of those occasions of unawares coincidence.  I did know – or came to know many years after the formulation of my ‘first’ ideas had taken final shape – about A. T. Robertson on this subject in his ‘Grammar’, where he reaches conclusion but cautiously. I would not have thought he in another work of his, would agree with the results I have found, so almost exactly and unconditionally!  I don’t hesitate to admit the solace and inspiration it was to me to find myself in this regard ‘on the same side’ that this great scholar had stood.

Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament

 

Quote begins:

Now late on the sabbath as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week (opse de sabbatwn, th epipwskoush eiί mian sabbatwn). This careful chronological statement according to Jewish days clearly means that before the sabbath was over, that is before six P.M., this visit by the women was made “to see the sepulchre” (qeorhsai ton tapon). They had seen the place of burial on Friday afternoon (Mark 15:47; Matthew 27:61; Luke 23:55). They had rested on the sabbath after preparing spices and ointments for the body of Jesus (Luke 23:56), a sabbath of unutterable sorrow and woe. They will buy other spices after sundown when the new day has dawned and the sabbath is over (Mark 16:1). Both Matthew here and Luke (Luke 23:54) use dawn (epipwskw) for the dawning of the twenty-four hour-day at sunset, not of the dawning of the twelve-hour day at sunrise. The Aramaic used the verb for dawn in both senses. The so-called Gospel of Peter has epipwskw in the same sense as Matthew and Luke as does a late papyrus. Apparently the Jewish sense of “dawn” is here expressed by this Greek verb. Allen thinks that Matthew misunderstands Mark at this point, but clearly Mark is speaking of sunrise and Matthew of sunset. Why allow only one visit for the anxious women?

Quote ends

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Statement:

“In the end of the Sabbath / Late on the Sabbath Day …”, Mt.28:1

Disputation:

My friend fromSouth Africa, you are indeed most magnanimous in your display of hyperbole and backbush rhetoric. You presume that no one but you have studied the scripture and can ever understand its truth. I gave my reasons in the quote from A.T. Robertson, Ma, DD, LittD, professor of New Testament and Greek, writer of the Life of Christ and a notable Baptist. I should think he has a little more weight than you have thus far demonstrated. I shall believe him and his viewpoint. Have you read his harmony of the gospels? Have you read anyone’s harmony of the gospels?

Many of us have years of study and we are not ignorant of scripture, as you presume. End of argument from my point of view. I shall continue to regard Sunday, the first day of the week, and the day our blessed Lord rose from the tomb, and the day we honour our Lord with worship and the gathering of the saints. The scripture is plain to me.

Defence:

Robertson in his ‘Harmony’ renders opse sabbatohn, ON THE SABBATH LATE or words to the effect – I haven’t now got the time to go fetch them exactly. And he in his Grammar gives explanation in favour of “late on the Sabbath”, only to propose that if the meaning is determined not by grammar, but by exegesis, it may either be “after the Sabbath” or “late on the Sabbath”.

And Calvin argued Jesus was resurrected on the Sabbath, and in the very event of His resurrection – according to Calvin – abolished the Sabbath.

James Bailey, 19th cent.?

QB: The Bible Union renders the term by “late in.” Meyer gives, “Late upon the Sabbath;” Lange, “But about the end;” Robinson, in Lexicon of Greek Testament, gives, “At the end of,” “at the close of,” “late,’ “late evening,” “at the end of the Sabbath;” De Wette and others, “After the Sabbath had ended;” Bloomfield, “After the Sabbath.” While seeming to differ, critics substantially agree, as some begin where the others end.

Dr. Schaff, in a foot note on Lange, says: “The usual translation of opse (sero) Sabbatown is, toward the end of the Sabbath, or late in the Sabbath, meaning the closing period, near the end, but still during the Sabbath or late in the day. The Vulgate, vesperi 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”.”

The Greek phrase translated “As it began to dawn” occurs but twice in the New Testament. In Luke 23: 54, it is rendered, “drew on” in the sense as given by Robinson, “to begin.” Of Matt. 28:1, he says, “Trop, of the Jewish day beginning at sunset.” Casauhon, an eminent critic and theologian atGeneva. in the sixteenth century, says the word is used properly of the first appearing of the heavenly bodies. This is in harmony with a Jewish custom to begin the day with the first appearing of the stars. The “drew on” of Luke, and the “beginning to dawn” (of the stars), would make the meaning of Matthew late in the Sabbath, and not the dawning of sunlight. This would also be in agreement with the Scriptural method of beginning the day at or near sunset.QE

Marshall: “Late of sabbath’s”;

Check Lightfoot, Coleridge, Young and Knoch!

Revised Version: “Now late on the Sabbath Day”.

AT Robertson, ‘Grammar’ – see http://www.biblestudents.co.za, ‘Prof. Bacchiocchi refuses to hear these questions’.

ETCETERA!

I say we don’t even need a direct reference to Jesus’ resurrection on the Sabbath Day to know it was on the Sabbath Day – all the Scriptures from the nature of the Sabbath in them, show it would and should have been “In the Sabbath’s-time”!

Robertson’s Word Pictures (“Harmony”?) of the New Testament: Quote Part

Now late on the sabbath as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week (opse de sabbatwn, th epipwskoush ei? mian sabbatwn). This careful chronological statement according to Jewish days clearly means that before the sabbath was over, that is before six P.M., this visit by the women was made “to see the sepulchre” (qeorhsai ton tapon). Part QE

The 1599 Geneva Study Bible (in which Calvin played a major role), Mt.28:1, “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first [day] of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.”

Disputation:

Irrelevant.

What day of the week Jesus died is trivial. What is important is that Jesus rose. I tend to adhere to the traditional burial on Friday/empty tomb on Sunday observance, but it is strictly my own pov. The one thing Scripture is clear on is that the empty tomb was discovered on the morning of the first day of the week (which would to us be Sunday).

Defence:

No sure, clean and innocent and may God help me never to judge you for what you hold fast to.

But do you hold fast? No, you are most self-contradictory. Say you, “Irrelevant! … trivial …”, yet, “I shall continue to regard Sunday, the first day of the week, and the day our blessed Lord rose from the tomb, and the day we honour our Lord with worship and the gathering of the saints. The scripture is plain to me.”

Nevertheless, God has a way of doing things, and one of His ways is to make important an opportunity for the worship of Him BY HIS CHILDREN. It has always been like that, and it has always been just the one day, “God thus concerning spoke”, and that Day was “the Sabbath Day of the LORD your God”, or, in NT terminology, “the Lord’s Day”. ONLY THAT, explains the importance the matter has FOR GOD, and then, “for the PEOPLE of God” – “YOUR God”. Hb.4:9 uses the word ‘apoleipetai’ – “stays important”, or, “remains valid”.

The importance of God’s Sabbath Day derives from the Lord of the Sabbath, 1, and 2, the People of the Sabbath.

I have but one concern – where is it? In the SDA-Church? I don’t think so! Then where SHOULD it be? In the Reformed, Protestant Churches, in the General Assembly of Believers, in the Church Universal! “He that despised Moses’ Law, died without mercy … of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy who … hath … counted (unholy) the blood of the covenant …” – whereby the New Testament Sabbath – “… was sanctified”?

Is mine a preposterous use of Hb.10:29 with reference to the Sabbath seeing the NT Sabbath is sanctified by only the blood of Jesus’ mercy?

ONLY THAT, its NAME – “the Lord’s Day” / “Sabbath of the LORD your God” – explains the importance the DAY has FOR GOD, and then, “for the PEOPLE of God”.

Disputation:

“Scripture is VERY CLEAR that the tomb was found empty on the morning of the first day. Kindly refrain from hijacking this thread into yet another one of your dead horse beatings.”

Defence:

Have I ever denied? Scripture is VERY CLEAR that the tomb was found empty on the morning of the first day, can’t YOU see it? Scripture is VERY CLEAR that Jesus was raised before the morning of the first day. Clear?

Then why call it MY dead horse? My faith is built upon the LIVING TRUTH of CHRIST RESURRECTED FROM THE DEAD – as the Scriptures promised and as the Scriptures confirmed – “in the Sabbath’s fullness of day the First Day of the week

28:1 {Now late on the sabbath as it began to dawn toward the
first day of the week}
(\opse de sabbatōn, tēi epiphōskousēi eis
mian sabbatōn\)
. This careful chronological statement according
to Jewish days clearly means that before the sabbath was over,
that is before six P.M., this visit by the women was made “to see
the sepulchre” (\theorēsai ton taphon\). They had seen the place
of burial on Friday afternoon (Mr 15:47; Mt 27:61; Lu 23:55).
They had rested on the sabbath after preparing spices and
ointments for the body of Jesus (Lu 23:56), a sabbath of
unutterable sorrow and woe. They will buy other spices after
sundown when the new day has dawned and the sabbath is over (Mr
16:1)
. Both Matthew here and Luke (Lu 23:54) use dawn
(\epiphōskō\) for the dawning of the twenty-four hour-day at
sunset, not of the dawning of the twelve-hour day at sunrise. The
Aramaic used the verb for dawn in both senses. The so-called
Gospel of Peter has \epiphōskō\ in the same sense as Matthew and
Luke as does a late papyrus. Apparently the Jewish sense of
“dawn” is here expressed by this Greek verb. Allen thinks that
Matthew misunderstands Mark at this point, but clearly Mark is
speaking of sunrise and Matthew of sunset. Why allow only one
visit for the anxious women?

28:2 {There was a great earthquake} (\seismos egeneto megas\).
Clearly not the earthquake of 27:51. The precise time of this
earthquake is not given. It was before sunrise on the first day
of the week when the women made the next visit. Matthew alone
relates the coming of the angel of the Lord who rolled away the
stone and was sitting upon it (\apekulise ton lithon kai ekathēto
epanō autou\)
. If one is querulous about these supernatural
phenomena, he should reflect that the Resurrection of Jesus is
one of the great supernatural events of all time. Cornelius …
Lapide dares to say: “The earth, which trembled with sorrow at
the Death of Christ as it were leaped for joy at His
Resurrection.” The Angel of the Lord announced the Incarnation of
the Son of God and also His Resurrection from the grave. There
are apparent inconsistencies in the various narratives of the
Resurrection and the appearances of the Risen Christ. We do not
know enough of the details to be able to reconcile them. But the
very variations strengthen the independent witness to the
essential fact that Jesus rose from the grave. Let each writer
give his own account in his own way. The stone was rolled away
not to let the Lord out, but to let the women in to prove the
fact of the empty tomb (McNeile).

28:3 {Appearance} (\eidea\). Here only in the N.T. Compare
\morphē\ and \schēma\.

28:4 {The watchers did quake} (\eseisthēsan hoi tērountes\). And
no wonder that they became as dead men and fled before the women
came.

28:5 {Unto the women} (\tais gunaixin\). According to John, Mary
Magdalene had left to go and tell Peter and John of the supposed
grave robbery (Joh 20:1f.). But the other women remained and
had the interview with the angel (or men, Luke) about the empty
tomb and the Risen Christ. {Jesus the Crucified} (\Iēsoun ton
estaurōmenon\)
. Perfect passive participle, state of completion.
This he will always be. So Paul will preach as essential to his
gospel “and this one crucified” (\kai touton estaurōmenon\, 1Co
2:2)
.

28:6 {Risen from the dead} (\ēgerthē apo tōn nekrōn\). {Jesus the
Risen}
. This is the heart of the testimony of the angel to the
women. It is what Paul wishes Timothy never to forget (2Ti
2:8)
, “Jesus Christ risen from the dead” (\Iēsoun Christon
egēgermenon ek nekrōn\)
. They were afraid and dazzled by the
glory of the scene, but the angel said, “Come, see the place
where the Lord lay” (\deute idete ton topon hopou ekeito ho
Kurios\)
. Some MSS. do not have \ho Kurios\, but he is the
subject of \ekeito\. His body was not there. It will not do to
say that Jesus arose in spirit and appeared alive though his body
remained in the tomb. The empty tomb is the first great fact
confronting the women and later the men. Various theories were
offered then as now. But none of them satisfy the evidence and
explain the survival of faith and hope in the disciples that do
not rest upon the fact of the Risen Christ whose body was no
longer in the tomb.

28:7 {He goeth before you into Galilee} (\proagei humas eis tēn
Galilaian\)
. Jesus did appear to the disciples in Galilee on two
notable occasions (by the beloved lake, Joh 21, and on the
mountain, Mt 28:16-20)
. Probably before the women were
permitted to tell this story in full to the disciples who scouted
as idle talk (Joh 24:11) their first accounts, Jesus appeared
to various disciples in Jerusalem on this first great Sunday.
Jesus did not say that he would not see any of them in Jerusalem.
He merely made a definite appointment in Galilee which he kept.

28:8 {With fear and great joy} (\meta phobou kai charas
megalēs\)
. A touch of life was this as the excited women ran
quickly (\tachu edramon\) as they had been told “to bring his
disciples word” (\apaggeilai tois mathētais autou\). They had the
greatest piece of news that it was possible to have. Mark calls
it fear and ecstasy. Anything seemed possible now. Mark even says
that at first they told no one anything for they were afraid (Mr
16:9)
, the tragic close of the text of Mark in Aleph and B, our
two oldest manuscripts. But these mingled emotions of ecstasy and
dread need cause no surprise when all things are considered.

28:9 {Jesus met them} (\Iēsous hupēntēsen autais\). Came suddenly
face to face (\antaō, hupo\) with them as they brooded over the
message of the angel and the fact of the empty tomb (associative
instrumental, \autais\)
. Cf. 8:34; 24:1-6. Probably the lost
portion of Mark’s Gospel contained the story of this meeting with
Jesus which changed their fears into joy and peace. His greeting
was the ordinary “Hail” (\chairete\). They fell at his feet and
held them in reverence while they worshipped him. Jesus allowed
this act of worship though he forbade eager handling of his body
by Mary Magdalene (Joh 20:17). It was a great moment of faith
and cheer.

28:10 {Fear not} (\mē phobeisthe\). They were still afraid for
joy and embarrassment. Jesus calms their excitement by the
repetition of the charge from the angel for the disciples to meet
him in Galilee. There is no special mention of Peter (“and
Peter”)
as in Mr 16:7, but we may be sure that the special
message to Peter was delivered.

28:11 {Told unto the chief priests} (\apēggeilan tois
archiereusin\)
. These Roman soldiers had been placed at the
disposal of the Sanhedrin. They were probably afraid also to
report to Pilate and tell him what had happened. They apparently
told a truthful account as far as they understood it. But were
the Sanhedrin convinced of the resurrection of Jesus?

28:12 {They gave large money} (\arguria hikana edōkan\). The use
of the plural for pieces of silver (\arguria\) is common. The
papyri have many instances of \hikana\ for considerable (from
\hikanō\, to reach to, attain to)
. These pious Sanhedrists knew
full well the power of bribes. They make a contract with the
Roman soldiers to tell a lie about the resurrection of Jesus as
they paid Judas money to betray him. They show not the slightest
tendency to be convinced by the facts though one had risen from
the dead.

28:13 {Stole him away while we slept} (\eklepsan auton hēmōn
koimōmenōn\)
. Genitive absolute. An Irish bull on the face of it.
If they were asleep they would not know anything about it.

28:14 {We will persuade him, and rid you of care} (\hēmeis
peisomen kai humas amerimnous poiēsomen\)
. They would try money
also on Pilate and assume all responsibility. Hence the soldiers
have no anxiety (\amerimnous\, alpha privative and \merimnaō\, to
be anxious)
. They lived up to their bargain and this lie lives on
through the ages. Justin (_Dial_. 108) accuses the Jews of
spreading the charge. Bengel: _Quam laboriosum bellum mendacii
contra veritatem_. {It was spread about} (\diephēmisthē\)
diligently by the Jews to excuse their disbelief in the
Messiahship of Jesus.

28:17 {But some doubted} (\hoi de edistasan\). From \dis\ (in
two, divided in mind)
. Cf. Mt 14:31. The reference is not to
the eleven who were all now convinced after some doubt, but to
the others present. Paul states that over five hundred were
present, most of whom were still alive when he wrote (1Co
15:6)
. It is natural that some should hesitate to believe so
great a thing at the first appearance of Jesus to them. Their
very doubt makes it easier for us to believe. This was the
mountain where Jesus had promised to meet them. This fact
explains the large number present. Time and place were arranged
beforehand. It was the climax of the various appearances and in
Galilee where were so many believers. They worshipped
(\prosekunēsan\) Jesus as the women had done (28:9). He is now
their Risen Lord and Saviour.

28:18 {All authority} (\pāsa exousia\). Jesus came close to them
(\proselthōn\) and made this astounding claim. He spoke as one
already in heaven with a world-wide outlook and with the
resources of heaven at his command. His authority or power in his
earthly life had been great (7:29; 11:27; 21:23f.). Now it is
boundless and includes earth and heaven. {Hath been given}
(\edothē\) is a timeless aorist (Robertson, _Grammar_, pp.
836f.)
. It is the sublimist of all spectacles to see the Risen
Christ without money or army or state charging this band of five
hundred men and women with world conquest and bringing them to
believe it possible and to undertake it with serious passion and
power. Pentecost is still to come, but dynamic faith rules on
this mountain in Galilee.

28:19 {All the nations} (\panta ta ethnē\). Not just the Jews
scattered among the Gentiles, but the Gentiles themselves in
every land. And not by making Jews of them, though this point is
not made plain here. It will take time for the disciples to grow
into this _Magna Charta_ of the missionary propaganda. But here
is the world program of the Risen Christ and it should not be
forgotten by those who seek to foreshorten it all by saying that
Jesus expected his second coming to be very soon, even within the
lifetime of those who heard. He did promise to come, but he has
never named the date. Meanwhile we are to be ready for his coming
at any time and to look for it joyfully. But we are to leave that
to the Father and push on the campaign for world conquest. This
program includes making disciples or learners (\mathēteusate\)
such as they were themselves. That means evangelism in the
fullest sense and not merely revival meetings. Baptism in (\eis\,
not _into_)
the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
in the name of the Trinity. Objection is raised to this language
in the mouth of Jesus as too theological and as not a genuine
part of the Gospel of Matthew for the same reason. See Mt
11:27, where Jesus speaks of the Father and the Son as here. But
it is all to no purpose. There is a chapter devoted to this
subject in my _The Christ of the Logia_ in which the genuineness
of these words is proven. The name of Jesus is the essential part
of it as is shown in the Acts. Trine immersion is not taught as
the Greek Church holds and practices, baptism in the name of the
Father, then of the Son, then of the Holy Spirit. The use of name
(\onoma\) here is a common one in the Septuagint and the papyri
for power or authority. For the use of \eis\ with \onoma\ in the
sense here employed, not meaning _into_, see Mt 10:41f. (cf.
also 12:41)
.

28:20 {Teaching them} (\didaskontes autous\). Christians have
been slow to realize the full value of what we now call religious
education. The work of teaching belongs to the home, to the
church (sermon, Sunday school, young people’s work,
prayer-meeting, study classes, mission classes)
, to the school
(not mixing of church and state, but moral instruction if not the
reading of the Bible)
, good books which should be in every home,
reading of the Bible itself. Some react too far and actually put
education in the place of conversion or regeneration. That is to
miss the mark. But teaching is part, a weighty part, of the work
of Christians.

{I am with you} (\egō meta humōn\). This is the amazing and
blessed promise. He is to be with the disciples when he is gone,
with all the disciples, with all knowledge, with all power, with
them all the days (all sorts of days, weakness, sorrows, joy,
power)
, till the consummation of the age (\heōs tēs sunteleias
tou aiōnos\)
. That goal is in the future and unknown to the
disciples. This blessed hope is not designed as a sedative to an
inactive mind and complacent conscience, but an incentive to the
fullest endeavor to press on to the farthest limits of the world
that all the nations may know Christ and the power of his Risen
Life. So Matthew’s Gospel closes in a blaze of glory. Christ is
conqueror in prospect and in fact. Christian history from that
eventful experience on the Mountain in Galilee has been the
fulfilment of that promise in as far as we allow God’s power to
work in us for the winning of the world to Christ, the Risen, all
powerful Redeemer, who is with his people all the time. Jesus
employs the prophetic present here (\eimi\, I am). He is with us
all the days till he comes in glory.


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