MATTHEW 25, PART 3
From the last part of Matthew chapter 24, where there is a stern warning about false profession and selfish service, we go to a series of parables in chapter 25 that illustrate the Lord's answers to the disciples' question "What shall be the sign of the end of the age?"
He gives them three parables, primarily based in the time of the Tribulation, each presenting an aspect of truth concerning the second coming of Christ.
1. The first is the parable of the virgins invited to the wedding feast. It illustrates the responsibilities resting on the believer during the Lord's absence and the importance of being ready to greet Him when He returns.
2. In the parable of the talents we're reminded that every believer will have to give account of whatever ability has been entrusted to him. The unfaithful steward pictures the one who heard the gospel, rejected it, and will suffer God's judgment.
3. In the third one, we have the judgment of the living nations when the Son of Man comes in the clouds of heaven, with His holy angels, and sits on the throne of His glory.
Don't confuse this judgment of the nations on the earth at that time with the Great White Throne judgment of the wicked dead. The judgment of the Gentile nations will be at the end of the Tribulation, the judgment of the wicked dead will be at the end of the world. The Great White Throne Judgment that will come at the end of the world, is found in Revelation 20:11-15. The pre-millennial judgment is given in Matthew 25: 31-46, and the two events are separated by a thousand years.
Matthew 25:1-13. "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2: And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3: They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5: While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 6: And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 7: Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
8: And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9: But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 10: And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. 11: Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12: But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 13: Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh."
The parable of the ten virgins is definitely a parable of the Kingdom of Heaven.
The ten virgins symbolize the Jewish remnant during the tribulation period. Their lamps indicate that they profess to be believers in Christ. The five wise are those who have truly trusted Christ and have the oil of the Holy Spirit in their lamps, so to speak.
The five unwise represent false professors and will be refused entry into the Millennial Reign, and are condemned to death at that time and will be judged a thousand years later at the Great White Throne Judgment.
The Rapture was not yet promised at the time the Lord spoke these words, so I don't see the church represented here.
I realize that this scripture has been used to preach the Gospel, but it's primary application is to the Jewish remnant during the Tribulation and the 1000 year earthly reign that follows.
Verses 14-30. "For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 15: And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. 16: Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. 17: And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. 18: But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. 19: After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 20: And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 21: His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 22: He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 23: His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 24: Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 25: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. 26: His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: 27: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. 28: Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 29: For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 30: And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
In this second parable, we need to distinguish between salvation by grace and reward for service. When you trust in the Lord Jesus you are saved forever, and this is altogether apart from any human merit.
However, everyone who professes to believe in Him is responsible to serve Him and to use whatever gift, ability, talent, or means they have for His glory and to further His interests in this world.
Jewish Believers of the Tribulation, just like the church age believers, will be judged on their motive for serving Him. That will be the criteria we will all be judged on for our rewards. What we did for the Lord with what He gave us will be reviewed. Our sins won't come up, they were forgiven long ago and God will not exact punishment for our sins twice.
There will be one award ceremony for the believers from the church age at the Rapture and another for the Tribulation saints and the Old Testament saints at Christ's return to earth at the end of the Tribulation. Isaiah 62: 11. "Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the age, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him." To the church, He says this in Revelation 22: 12. "And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be."
The unfaithful servant represents those who profess to be servants of God but aren't born again. They will be held accountable for what they know and profess. I repeat, this is represented in the parable by the servant who didn't use his talent for his master's gain and suffered eternal judgment. This will be the lot of the unsaved during the Tribulation period. That servant doesn't represent a child of God because he is cast into the outer darkness. He didn't believe in Christ and he has nothing he can be rewarded for.
If the believer uses whatever gifts he has for God and not self, no matter how small and insignificant they may seem to us, he'll find the capacity for service will increase. 1 Corinthians 12: 3. "But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way."
Although this parable is directed to the remnant of Israel after the Rapture, the principle in this parable is the same for the church now. The important thing is to see that we, as believers in Jesus Christ, use what we have received from the Lord in the right way. Micah 6:8. "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"
Two important things for the child of God to do, are,
First, determine what talent God has given us and how He wants us to use it.
Second, be faithful to use that talent for Him.
In the parable, the opportunities that the unfaithful servant neglected were then given to another who would use them. This is still how God works today. 1 Corinthians 4:2. “It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”
The third portion of this chapter pertains to the individual Gentiles called the "nations."
Verses 31-46. " When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34: Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37: Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38: When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39: Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40: And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41: Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44: Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45: Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46: And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."
After the Church has been caught up to meet the Lord in the air, a new witness will appear on earth. Jewish believers, enlightened by the Word of God and sealed as His servants, will go to the Gentiles proclaiming the gospel. The attitude of these Gentiles, called "the nations," whether they accept the salvation message or reject it, and how the individual Gentile treats these messengers, will determine their destiny when the King returns and sets up His throne.
They will be received by God only if they accept Christ as their Savior first. They will be rewarded for any faithful service given in Christ's name to any other believer.
Love characterizes the new nature believers receive in every age. Our love for Christ is shown by our concern for His own. This is true in all dispensations.
How the individual treated those who believed in Christ will be judged on Christ's return to earth. This judgment is not the judgment of the Great White Throne of Revelation 20. That is the judgment of the wicked dead and won't take place on the earth at all. The Great White Throne judgment comes after the Millennium is over and the heavens and earth have passed away. The judgment here is of living nations prior to the Millennium. This live judgment is according to works.
The one who does not become a believer will claim works in Christ's name but be rejected. Salvation has to come first before works can profit the individual.
The sheep are believers who have proven their faith by their loving care for those who belong to Christ. The goats speak of the unrepentant who didn't respond to the invitation to become believers.
The “right hand” is the place of acceptance: the “left hand,” of rejection.
"Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." The kingdom mentioned here is the one spoken of in Daniel 7: 13-14. It is the one thousand year reign of Christ, sometimes called the Millennium, and will be set up on this earth at our Lord’s second coming, when He is declared King of kings and Lord of lords.
This earthly Kingdom of Christ is temporary and not to be confused with the believer's heavenly inheritance which is eternal.
There are three classes of people in view in this section: the sheep, the goats, and those called “My brethren.” We've defined the sheep and the goats. Let's examine "My brethren."
All believers are brethren of Christ, but the term here refers to believing Jews who are therefore related to Christ, both according to the flesh and the Spirit, and will be His witnesses during the tribulation.
“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren,
ye have done it unto Me.”
“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren,
Christ also considers any harm done to His own as though it were done to Him. The apostle Paul, before he was converted, had diligently persecuted those who believed in Jesus. His name was Saul, and he did this sincerely believing he was doing God's work. But, in Acts 9: 4, we read, "And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" Jesus was asking Saul [Paul] why he was persecuting Him. In as much as Paul was persecuting the believers, he was persecuting Jesus. Paul realized his mistake and accepted Jesus as his Lord right there on that road to Damascus and he became a great preacher to the Gentiles. He also wrote much of the New Testament by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God.
He wrote one of the greatest statements from God that man was ever privileged to write. It's found in:
Romans 10:9-10. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,
and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead,
thou shalt be saved.
10: For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness;
and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."