The Meaning of Matthew 26:53 Explained

Matthew 26:53

KJV: Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?

YLT: dost thou think that I am not able now to call upon my Father, and He will place beside me more than twelve legions of messengers?

Darby: Or thinkest thou that I cannot now call upon my Father, and he will furnish me more than twelve legions of angels?

ASV: Or thinkest thou that I cannot beseech my Father, and he shall even now send me more than twelve legions of angels?

What does Matthew 26:53 Mean?

Study Notes

Angel, Summary: Angel, "messenger," is used of God, of men, and of an order of created spiritual beings whose chief attributes are strength and wisdom. 2 Samuel 14:20 ; Psalms 103:20 ; Psalms 104:4 . In the O.T. the expression "the angel of the Lord" (sometimes "of God") usually implies the presence of Deity in angelic form.; Genesis 16:1-13 ; Genesis 21:17-19 ; Genesis 22:11-16 ; Genesis 31:11-13 ; Exodus 3:2-4 ; Judges 2:1 ; Judges 6:12-16 ; Judges 13:3-22 (See Scofield " Malachi 3:1 ") . The word "angel" is used of men in; Luke 7:24 ; James 2:25 ; Revelation 1:20 ; Revelation 2:1 ; Revelation 2:8 ; Revelation 2:12 ; Revelation 2:18 ; Revelation 3:1 ; Revelation 3:7 ; Revelation 3:14 In Revelation 8:3-5 . Christ is evidently meant. Sometimes angel is used of the spirit of man.; Matthew 18:10 ; Acts 12:15 . Though angels are spirits; Psalms 104:4 ; Hebrews 1:14 power is given them to become visible in the semblance of human form. Genesis 19:1 cf; Genesis 19:5 ; Exodus 3:2 ; Numbers 22:22-31 ; Judges 2:1 ; Judges 6:11 ; Judges 6:22 ; Judges 13:3 ; Judges 13:6 ; 1 Chronicles 21:16 ; 1 Chronicles 21:20 ; Matthew 1:20 ; Luke 1:26 ; John 20:12 ; Acts 7:30 ; Acts 12:7 ; Acts 12:8 etc.). The word is always used in the masculine gender, though sex, in the human sense, is never ascribed to angels.; Matthew 22:30 ; Mark 12:25 . They are exceedingly numerous.; Matthew 26:53 ; Hebrews 12:22 ; Revelation 5:11 ; Psalms 68:17 . The power is inconceivable. 2 Kings 19:35 . Their place is about the throne of God.; Revelation 5:11 ; Revelation 7:11 . Their relation to the believer is that of "ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation," and this ministry has reference largely to the physical safety and well-being of believers.; 1 Kings 19:5 ; Psalms 34:7 ; Psalms 91:11 ; Daniel 6:22 ; Matthew 2:13 ; Matthew 2:19 ; Matthew 4:11 ; Luke 22:43 ; Acts 5:19 ; Acts 12:7-10 . From; Hebrews 1:14 ; Matthew 18:10 ; Psalms 91:11 it would seem that this care for the heirs of salvation begins in infancy and continues through life. The angels observe us; 1 Corinthians 4:9 ; Ephesians 3:10 ; Ecclesiastes 5:6 a fact which should influence conduct. They receive departing saints. Luke 16:22 . Man is made "a little lower than the angels," and in incarnation Christ took "for a little "time" this lower place.; Psalms 8:4 ; Psalms 8:5 ; Hebrews 2:6 ; Hebrews 2:9 that He might lift the believer into His own sphere above angels. Hebrews 2:9 ; Hebrews 2:10 . The angels are to accompany Christ in His second advent. Matthew 25:31 . To them will be committed the preparation of the judgment of the nations. Matthew 13:30 ; Matthew 13:39 ; Matthew 13:41 ; Matthew 13:42 . See Scofield " Matthew 25:32 ". The kingdom-age is not to be subject to angels, but to Christ and those for whom He was made a little lower than the angels. Hebrews 2:5 An archangel, Michael, is mentioned as having a particular relation to Israel and to the resurrections.; Daniel 10:13 ; Daniel 10:21 ; Daniel 12:1 ; Daniel 12:2 ; Judges 1:9 ; 1 Thessalonians 4:16 . The only other angel whose name is revealed Gabriel, was employed in the most distinguished services.; Daniel 8:16 ; Daniel 9:21 ; Luke 1:19 ; Luke 1:26 .
Fallen angels. Two classes of these are mentioned:
(1) "The angels which kept not their first estate place, but left their own habitation," are "chained under darkness," awaiting judgment. 2 Peter 2:4 ; Judges 1:6 ; 1 Corinthians 6:3 ; John 5:22 .
(See Scofield " Genesis 6:4 ")
(2) The angels who have Satan Genesis 3:1 as leader.
(See Scofield " Revelation 20:10 ") .
The origin of these is nowhere explicitly revealed. They may be identical with the demons.
(See Scofield " Matthew 7:22 ") . For Satan and his angels everlasting fire is prepared. Matthew 25:41 ; Revelation 20:10 .

Context Summary

Matthew 26:47-56 - Betrayed And Forsaken
We cannot fathom the secret thoughts of the traitor. Did he hope that his act would compel Christ to take the course of self-vindication, which His mighty acts appeared to make possible? It seems unthinkable that there was not some explanation other than mere greed! Yet, when we look into our own hearts, can we be altogether surprised? How often have we betrayed the Lord by our reticence, when we should have spoken; by the kiss of the lip, when we were selfishly exploiting our association with Him to our own advantage!
Our Lord did not die a martyr's death. The martyr is led to the scaffold or stake because he is overpowered by superior force. But our Lord knew that the invisible world was full of help if only He had expressed the slightest wish. Others die because they are born; He was born that He might die. "He laid down His life that He might take it again." He would not receive help from the Father, or the angels, or Peter's sword, but poured out His soul unto death, because of a love that was stronger than death. See 1 Peter 2:21, etc. [source]

Chapter Summary: Matthew 26

1  Jesus foretells his own death
3  The rulers conspire against him
6  The woman anoints his feet
14  Judas bargains to betray him
17  Jesus eats the Passover;
26  institutes his holy supper;
30  foretells the desertion of his disciples, and Peter's denial;
36  prays in the garden;
47  and being betrayed by a kiss,
57  is carried to Caiaphas,
69  and denied by Peter

Greek Commentary for Matthew 26:53

Even now [αρτι]
Just now, at this very moment. [source]
Legions [legionas)]
(legionas). A Latin word. Roman soldiers in large numbers were in Palestine later in a.d. 66, but they were in Caesarea and in the tower of Antonia in Jerusalem. A full Roman legion had 6,100 foot and 726 horse in the time of Augustus. But Jesus sees more than twelve legions at his command (one for each apostle) and shows his undaunted courage in this crisis. One should recall the story of Elisha at Dothan (2 Kings 6:17). [source]
Twelve legions of angels []
Compare the story of Elisha at Dothan (2 Kings 6:17). [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Matthew 26:53

Mark 5:9 My name is Legion [Λεγιων ονομα μοι]
So Luke 8:30, but not Matthew. Latin word (legio). A full Roman legion had 6,826 men. See note on Matthew 26:53. This may not have been a full legion, for Mark 5:13 notes that the number of hogs was “about two thousand.” Of course, a stickler for words might say that each hog had several demons. [source]
John 13:33 Now [ἄρτι]
In John 13:31, now is νῦν , which marks the point of time absolutely. Ἄρτι marks the point of time as related to the past or to the future. Thus, “from the days of John the Baptist until now ” ( ἄρτι , Matthew 11:12). “Thinkest thou that I cannot now ( ἄρτι ) pray to my Father?” though succor has been delayed all along till now (Matthew 26:53). Here the word implies that the sorrowful announcement of Jesus' departure from His disciples had been withheld until the present. The time was now come. [source]
2 Corinthians 10:2 But I beseech you [δέομαι δὲ]
In 2 Corinthians 10:1, παρακαλῶ is used for beseech. It is doubtful whether the two words can be strictly distinguished as indicating different degrees of feeling. It may be said that δέομαι and its kindred noun δέησις are frequently used of prayer to God, while παρακαλῶ occurs only twice in this sense, Matthew 26:53; 2 Corinthians 12:8. On the other hand, παρακαλῶ is used of God's pleading with men, while in the same passage δέομαι is used of men's entreating men; 2 Corinthians 5:20. Rev., in 2 Corinthians 10:1, renders entreat, which, according to older English usage, is the stronger word, meaning to prevail by entreaty, just as persuade, which originally meant to use persuasion, now signifies to prevail by persuasion. The construction of the passage is difficult. Literally it is: I pray the not showing courage when present, with the confidence, etc. The sense is: I pray you that you may not make it necessary for me to show, when I am present, that official peremptoriness which I am minded to show against those who charge me with unworthy motives. [source]
Hebrews 9:28 Was once offered [ἅπαξ προσενεχθεὶς]
Lit. having been offered once for all. Note the passive in contrast with offer himself, Hebrews 9:25. He was appointed to die as truly as we. Comp. Luke 24:26; Matthew 26:53, Matthew 26:54; Psalm 40:7, Psalm 40:8. [source]
2 Peter 1:6 Patience [ὑπομονήν]
Lit., remaining behind or staying, from μένω , to wait. Not merely endurance of the inevitable, for Christ could have relieved himself of his sufferings (Hebrews 12:2, Hebrews 12:3; compare Matthew 26:53); but the heroic, brave patience with which a Christian not only bears but contends. Speaking of Christ's patience, Barrow remarks, “Neither was it out of a stupid insensibility or stubborn resolution that he did thus behave himself; for he had a most vigorous sense of all those grievances, and a strong (natural) aversation from under going them; … but from a perfect submission to the divine will, and entire command over his passions, an excessive charity toward mankind, this patient and meek behavior did spring.” The same writer defines patience as follows: “That virtue which qualifieth us to bear all conditions and all events, by God's disposal incident to us, with such apprehensions and persuasions of mind, such dispositions and affections of heart, such external deportment and practices of life as God requireth and good reason directeth (Sermon XLII., “On Patience”). [source]
Revelation 19:14 The armies which are in heaven [τα στρατευματα τα εν τωι ουρανωι]
See Revelation 12:7 for Michael and angels warring with the dragon, and also Matthew 26:53 for the angels at Christ‘s call, not to say Hebrews 1:6., Hebrews 1:14; Matthew 13:41; and Revelation 5:11. [source]

What do the individual words in Matthew 26:53 mean?

Or think you that not I am able to call upon the Father of Me and He will furnish to Me presently more than twelve legions of angels
δοκεῖς ὅτι οὐ δύναμαι παρακαλέσαι τὸν Πατέρα μου καὶ παραστήσει μοι ἄρτι πλείω δώδεκα λεγιῶνας ἀγγέλων

δοκεῖς  think  you 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 2nd Person Singular
Root: δοκέω  
Sense: to be of opinion, think, suppose.
ὅτι  that 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: ὅτι  
Sense: that, because, since.
δύναμαι  I  am  able 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Middle or Passive, 1st Person Singular
Root: δύναμαι  
Sense: to be able, have power whether by virtue of one’s own ability and resources, or of a state of mind, or through favourable circumstances, or by permission of law or custom.
παρακαλέσαι  to  call  upon 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Infinitive Active
Root: παρακαλέω  
Sense: to call to one’s side, call for, summon.
Πατέρα  Father 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: προπάτωρ 
Sense: generator or male ancestor.
μου  of  Me 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive 1st Person Singular
Root: ἐγώ  
Sense: I, me, my.
παραστήσει  He  will  furnish 
Parse: Verb, Future Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: παριστάνω 
Sense: to place beside or near.
μοι  to  Me 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Dative 1st Person Singular
Root: ἐγώ  
Sense: I, me, my.
ἄρτι  presently 
Parse: Adverb
Root: ἄρτι  
Sense: just now, this moment.
πλείω  more  than 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Neuter Plural, Comparative
Root: πολύς  
Sense: greater in quantity.
δώδεκα  twelve 
Parse: Adjective, Genitive Feminine Plural
Root: δώδεκα  
Sense: twelve.
λεγιῶνας  legions 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Feminine Plural
Root: λεγιών  
Sense: a legion, a body of soldiers whose number differed at different times, and in the time of Augustus seems to have consisted of 6826 men (i.
ἀγγέλων  of  angels 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root: ἄγγελος  
Sense: a messenger, envoy, one who is sent, an angel, a messenger from God.