A Thorough Study On Matthew 10:17-23

By Dr. John R. Rice

Passage taken from Dr. John R. Rice's excellent commentary on Matthew, "The King of the Jews," pg. 157-159

"17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;
18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come."

Trials of This Tour Foreshadow the Future Tribulation Time

Compare this passage with Matthew, chapter 24, and see that the Lord Jesus is talking about the same thing. See how verses 17 to 21 fit Matthew 24:9-12. Verse 22 and Matthew 24:13 use practically the same words. But chapter 24 is about "the beginning of sorrows" (vs. 8), about the "abomination of desolation" which will be committed by the Antichrist (vs. 15), about the Great Tribulation at the end of this age (vs. 21), all just before the return of Christ to reign on earth (Matt. 24:27-31). That seems to prove conclusively that there is a double meaning in this tenth chapter of Matthew. What Jesus said in these verses, 17-23, was partly about those twelve disciples' going then to preach "the gospel of the kingdom," but He also meant it to fit even more the Jews who will go as witnesses in the closing days of the Great Tribulation preaching the same "gospel of the kingdom" to every nation before the end of the tribulation comes (Matt. 24:14). For instance, Matthew 10:22 certainly refers to that time. A Jewish messenger who lives to the end of the tribulation will be "saved," rescued from the persecutions of the Antichrist.

Verse 18 may have referred to these apostles, but we are not told anywhere in the Bible that these twelve on this trip were brought before kings and governors. We are not told in the Bible of any case that on this particular tour of the land of Palestine one brother did rise up against another brother or father against child or children against parents, as foretold in verse 21. None of the twelve was put to death, for they returned and were with Jesus until His crucifixion. We do not know of any case where these disciples on this tour were persecuted from one city to another as foretold in verse 23.

We may be sure then that in the closing days of the future Great Tribulation, converted Jews will go everywhere preaching the Gospel and will use this Scripture and Matthew 24 as instructions and the Scriptures will be more literally fulfilled in their case than in the case of the twelve apostles. It is my belief that the 144,000 Israelites of Revelation 7:1-8 will be converted and begin witnessing for Christ after the Christians are caught up with Christ at the rapture. Several Scriptures show that some Jews then will be greatly hated by the Man of Sin who will try to kill them. See Daniel 7:25, 26; 9:27; 11:36-45; Matthew 24:15-22; Revelation 12:6, 13-7...

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