on Matthew 19 :28
Ye which have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, etc. - The punctuation which I have observed here, is that which is followed by the most eminent critics: the regeneration is thus referred to the time when Jesus shall sit on the throne of his glory, and not to the time of following him, which is utterly improper.
The regeneration, παλιγγενεσια. Some refer this to the time in which the new heavens and the new earth shall be created, and the soul and body united. The Pythagoreans termed that παλιγγενεσια, when, according to their doctrine of the transmigration or metempsychosis, the soul entered into a new body, and got into a new state of being. Clement, in his Epistle to the Corinthians, calls the restoration of the world, after the deluge, by the same name.
Judging the twelve tribes - From the parallel place, Luke 22:28-30, it is evident that sitting on thrones, and judging the twelve tribes, means simply obtaining eternal salvation, and the distinguishing privileges of the kingdom of glory, by those who continued faithful to Christ in his sufferings and death.
Judging, κρινοντες. Kypke has shown that κρινεσθαι is to be understood in the sense of governing, presiding, holding the first or most distinguished place. Thus, Genesis 49:16, Dan shall Judge his people, i.e. shall preside in, or rule over them; shall occupy a chief place among the tribes. It is well known that the Judges among the Jews were moderators, captains, chief, or head men. The sense therefore of our Lord's words appears to be, that these disciples should have those distinguished seats in glory which seem to belong peculiarly to the first confessors and martyrs. See 1 Thessalonians 4:14, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, and particularly Revelation 20:4-6.
The last-quoted passage brings into view the doctrine of the Millennium, when Jesus, after having formed the new heavens and the new earth, shall reign here gloriously among his ancients 365,000 years; for the thousand years referred to above are certainly prophetical years, in which, it is well known, each day stands for a year.
Others, of no mean note, are of opinion that the regeneration means the conversion of men by the preaching of the Gospel - that sitting on twelve thrones signifies the state of eminent dignity to which the apostles should be raised - and that judging the twelve tribes of Israel, means no more than exercising authority in the Church, and dispensing laws to the people of God. But I confess I do not see the propriety of this application of the terms, as the following verse seems to fix the meaning mentioned above.
on Matthew 19 :28
Verily I say unto you - Jesus in this verse declares the reward which they would have.
They were not to look for it now, but in a future period.
That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration - This word occurs but once elsewhere in the New Testament, Titus 3:5. It literally means a new birth, or being born again. Applied to man, it denotes the great change when the heart is renewed, or when the sinner begins to be a Christian. This is its meaning, clearly, in the passage referred to in Titus; but this meaning cannot be applied here. Christ was not born again, and in no proper sense could it be said that they had followed him in the new birth; but the word also means any great change, or a restoration of things to a former state or to a better state. In this sense it is probably used here. It refers to that great revolution - that restoration of order in the universe - that universal new birth which will occur when the dead shall rise, and all human things shall be changed, and a new order of things shall start up out of the ruins of the old, when the Son of man shall come to judgment. The passage, then, should be read, "Ye which have followed me shall, as a reward in the great day of the resurrection of the dead, and of forming the new and eternal order of things - the day of judgment, the regeneration - be signally honored and blessed.
When the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory - That is, to judge the world. "Throne of glory" means glorious throne or a splendid throne. It is not to be taken literally, but is used to denote his character as a king and judge, and to signify the great dignity and majesty which will be displayed by him. See Matthew 24:30; Matthew 26:64; Acts 1:11; Acts 17:31.
Sit upon twelve thrones - This is figurative. To sit on a throne denotes power and honor, and means here that they would be distinguished above others, and be more highly honored and rewarded.
Judging the twelve tribes of Israel - Jesus will be the Judge of quick and dead. He only is qualified for it, and the Father hath given all judgment to the Son, John 5:22. To be a judge denotes rank, authority, power. The ancient judges of Israel were people of distinguished courage, patriotism, honor, and valor. Hence, the word comes to denote not so much an actual exercise of the power of passing judgment, as the honor attached to the office; and as earthly kings have those around them dignified with honors and office - counselors and judges, so Christ says that his apostles will occupy the same relative station in the great day. They will be honored by him, and by all, as apostles, as having, in the face of persecution, left all; as having laid the foundations of his church, and endured all the persecutions of the world.
The twelve tribes of Israel - This was the number of the ancient tribes. By this name the people of God were denoted. By this name Jesus here denotes his redeemed people. See also James 1:1, where Christians are called the twelve tribes. Here it means also, not the Jews, not the world, not the wicked, not that the apostles are to pronounce sentence on the enemies of God, but the people of God, the redeemed. Among them Jesus says his apostles will be honored in the day of judgment, as earthly kings place in posts of office and honor those who have signally served them. Compare the notes at 1 Corinthians 6:2.
on Matthew 19 :28
19:28 In the renovation - In the final renovation of all things: Ye shall sit - In the beginning of the judgment they shall stand, 2Cor 5:10. Then being absolved, they shall sit with the Judge, 1Cor 6:2: On twelve thrones - So our Lord promised, without expressing any condition: yet as absolute as the words are, it is certain there is a condition implied, as in many scriptures, where none is expressed. In consequence of this, those twelve did not sit on those twelve thrones: for the throne of Judas another took, so that he never sat thereon.