102 The Apostolic Constitutions (vii. 27) present scarcely any parallel to this chapter, which points to an earlier period, when ecclesiastical polity was less developed, and the travelling "Apostles" and "Prophets" here spoken of were numerous. [Elucidation II.]
105 Matt. x. 40. The mention of apostles here has caused much discussion, but there are many indications that travelling evangelists were thus termed for some time after the apostolic age. Bishop I.ightfoot has shown, that, even in the New Testament, a looser use of the term applied it to others than the Twelve. Comp. Rom. xvi. 7; 1 Cor. xv. 5, 7 (?); Gal. i. 19; 1 Thess. ii. 6: also, as applied to Barnabas, Acts xiv. 4, 14.
111 poiw=n ei0j musth/rion kosmiko\n e0kklhsiaj, "working unto a worldly mystery of (the) Church," or "making assemblies for a worldly mystery." Either rendering is grammatical: neither is very intelligible. The paraphrase in the above version presents one leading view of this difficult passage: the mystery is the Church, and a worldly one, because the Church is in the world. The other leading view joins e0kklhsiaj (as accusative) with poiw=n, "making assemblies for a worldly mystery." So Bryennios, who regards the worldly mystery as a symbolical act of the prophet. Others suggest, as the mystery for which the assemblies are called, revelation of future events, celibacy, the Eucharist, the ceremonial law. It seems, at all events, to point to incipient fanaticism on the part of the prophets of those days. [Elucidation III.] This was likely to take the form either of asceticism or of extravagant predictions and mystical fancies about the Church in the world. Did we know the place and the time more accurately, we might decide which was meant. This caution was evidently needed: Let God judge such extravagances.
116 "Christ-trafficker." The abuse of Christian fellowship and hospitality naturally followed the remarkable extension of Christianity. This expressive term was coined to designate the class of idlers who would make gain out of their professed Christianity. It occurs in the longer form of the Ignatian Epistles (Trallians, vi.) and in literature of the fourth century.
118 "Who will settle among you" (Hitchcock and Brown). The itinerant prophets might become stationary, we infer. Chaps. xi.-xv. point to a movement from an itinerant and extraordinary ministry to a more settled one.
121 This phrase, indicating a sacerdotal view of the ministry, seems to point to a later date than that claimed for the Teaching. Some regard it as an interpolation: others take it in a figurative sense. In Apostolic Constitutions the sacerdotal view is more marked. [1 Pet. ii. 9. If the plebs = "priests," prophets = "high priests."] Here the term is restricted to the prophets: compare Schaff in loco.
122 Verses 1 and 3 are given substantially in Apostolic Constitutions, vii. 30. This chapter would seem to belong more properly before chap. viii.; but the same order of topics is followed in Apostolic Constitutions,-a remarkable proof of literary connection.
123 Comp. Rev. i. 10. Here the full form is kata\ kuriakh\n de\ Kuri/ou. If the early date is allowed, this verse confirms the view that from the first the Lord's Day was observed, and that, too, by a eucharistic celebration.
129 The larger part of verse 1, and a clause from verses 2, 3, respectively, are found in Apostolic Constitutions, vii. 31. Verses 1, 2, both in the use of terms and in the Church polity indicated, point to an early date: (1) There are evident marks of a transition from extraordinary to ordinary ministers. (2) The distinction between bishops and elders does not appear [1 Pet. v. 1. Vol. i. p. 16, this series], and yet it is found in Ignatius. (3) The word xeirotone/w is here used in the sense of "elect" or "appoint" (by show of hands), and not in that of "ordain'" (by laying on of hands). The former is the New Testament sense (Acts xiv. 23; 2 Cor. viii. 19), also in Ignatius; the latter sense is found in Apostolic Canons, i. (4) The choice by the people also indicates an early period.
135 The resemblance between this chapter and Apostolic Constitutions, vii. 31, 32, is mainly in order of topics and in the identity of some phrases and terms. Verses 3 and 4 (to the word "world-deceiver") are reproduced almost verbatim. That the writer of the Teaching used Matt. xxiv. is extremely probable, but the connection of Apostolic Constitutions, with this passage is evident. In Barnabas, iv., there are a few corresponding phrases.
140 This reference to the last days as present or impending is an evidence of early date; comp. Barnabas, iv., and many passages in the New Testament. The mistake has been in measuring God's prophetic chronology by our mathematical standard of years.
148 u9h' au0tou= tou= kataqe/matoj, "from under the curse itself:" namely, that which has just been described. Bryennios and others render "by the curse Himself;" that is, Christ, whom they were tempted to revile. All other interpretations either rest on textual emendations or are open to grammatical objections. Of the two given above, that of Hall and Napier seems preferable.
149 "Truth" might refer to Christ Himself, but the personal advent is spoken of in verse 8; it is better, then, to refer it to the truth respecting the parousia held by the early Christians. For this belief they were mocked, and hence dwelt upon it and the prophecies respecting it. The verse is probably based upon Matt. xxiv. 30, 31; but some find here, as in verse 4, an allusion to Paul's eschatological statements in the Epistles to the Thessalonians.
150 Professor Hall now prefers to render e/kpeta/sewj, "outspreading," instead of "unrolling," as in his version originally. Hitchcock and Brown, Schaff, and others, prefer "opening;" that is, the apparent opening in heaven through which the Lord will descend. "Outspreading" is usually explained (so Professor Hall) as meaning the expanded sign of the cross in the heavens, the patristic interpretation of Matt. xxiv. 30. Bryennios and Farrar refer it to the flying forth of the saints to meet the Lord. There are other interpretations based on textual emendations. As the word is very rare, it is difficult to determine the exact sense. "Opening" seems lexically allowable and otherwise free from objection.
151 Zech. xiv. 5. This citation is given substantially in Apostolic Constitutions. As here used, it seems to point to the first resurrection. Comp. 1 Thess. iv. 17; 1 Cor. xv. 23; Rev. xx. 5. Probably it is based upon the Pauline eschatology rather than upon that of the Apocalypse. At all events, there is no allusion to the millennial statement of the latter. Since there was in the early Church, in connection with the expectation of the speedy coming of Christ, a marked tendency to Chiliasm, the silence respecting the millennium may indicate that the writer was not acquainted with the Apocalypse. This inference is allowable, however, only on the assumption of the early date of the Teaching.
152 Comp. Matt. xxiv. 30. The conclusion is abrupt, and in Apostolic Constitutions the New-Testament doctrine of future punishment and reward is added. The absence of all reference to the destruction of Jerusalem would indicate that some time had elapsed since that event. An interval of from thirty to sixty years may well be claimed.