Verse 28. "Ye which have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, &c." - 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, paliggenesia. 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 paliggenesia, 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 xxii. 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, krinontev. Kypke has shown that krinesqai is to be understood in the sense of governing, presiding, holding the first or most distinguished place. Thus, Gen. xlix. 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 Thess. iv. 14, 16, and particularly Rev. xx. 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.
Verse 29. "Shall receive a hundredfold" - Viz. in this life, in value, though perhaps not in kind; and in the world to come everlasting life. A glorious portion for a persevering believer! The fullness of GRACE here, and the fullness of GLORY hereafter! See on Mark x. 30.
Verse 30. "But many that are first, &c." - The Jews, who have been the first and most distinguished people of God, will in general reject the Gospel of my grace, and be consequently rejected by me. The Gentiles, who have had no name among the living, shall be brought to the knowledge of the truth, and become the first, the chief, and most exalted people of God. That this prediction of our Lord has been literally fulfilled, the present state of the Christian and Jewish Churches sufficiently proves. To illustrate this fully, and to demonstrate that the Jews and Gentiles were now put on an equal footing by the Gospel, our Lord speaks the following parable, which has been unhappily divided from its connection by making it the beginning of a new chapter.