Matthew 25:1-46 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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When the Son of Man Comes
Comments for Study 30

Matthew 25:1-46
Memory Verse: 25:31,32


Passion Week Events

* Jesus had just left the temple where he pronounced woes against the religious leaders and cried for Jerusalem. A timeline is as follows.
    Friday -Jesus arrives in the Jerusalem area. (John 11:54-12:1)
    Saturday (Sabbath) -a day of rest; no event recorded except Luke 21:37-38.
    Sunday -Jesus' triumphal entry. (Matt. 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-44; John 12:12-19)
    Monday -Jesus curses the fig tree (Matt. 21:18-19; Mark 11:12-14). Jesus clears out the Temple. (Matt 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-18)
    Tuesday -Jesus' authority questioned. (Matt. 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:18) Jesus teaches in the temple. (Matt. 21:28-22:46; Mark 12:1-44; Luke 20:9-21:4) Jesus wept over Jerusalem's leader's unbelief and rejecting him as thier King. (Matthew 23:1-39) Jesus anointed at Bethany. (Matt. 26:6-13; Mark 13:3-9; John 12:2-11)
    Wednesday -another day of rest; no event recorded except Luke 21:37-38. The Jews plot to kill Jesus. (Matt. 26:14-16; Mark 14:10-11; Luke 22:3-6)
    Thursday (Hebrew month Abib the 13th day) -the Passover meal begins at twilight (see below note) when Jesus and the disciples celebrate the Last Supper. (Matt. 26:17-29; Mark 14:12-25; Luke 22:7-20; John 13:1-18) Jesus comforts the disciples (John 14:1-16:33) Jesus prays at Gethsemane. (Matt. 26:26-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:40-46)
    Friday (Hebrew month Abib, 14 day) -According Hebrew time Jesus is arrest and tried from night to daylight. (Matt. 26:47-27:26; Mark 14:43-15:15; Luke 22:47-23:25; John 18:2-19:16) Jesus' crucifixion at 3:00pm, and death before sunset which is the end of the Hebrew day and Passover. (Matt. 27:27-56; Mark 15:16-41; Luke 23:26-49; John 19:17-30) Jesus is buried at sunset. (Matt. 27:57-66; mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:31-42)
    Saturday (Sabbath Abib 15, Seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread begins) Jesus' body is in the tomb. He appears in Sheol and accompanies the saints previously dead to heaven. (1 Peter 3:18-20)
    Sunday (Abib 16; day of First Fruits Sheaf Wave) Jesus' morning resurrection and appearing to the women. (Mark 16:9-11; John 20:11-18) Then he appeared to the two on the road. (Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-35) Then to the ten apostles (no Thomas or Judas) in the evening. (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25)
    Saturday (Sabbath) -Jesus appears to Thomas and the rest of the apostles. (John 20:26-31)
    A week later -Jesus talks and eats with some disciples by the Sea of Galilee. (John 21:1-25)
    Forty days since his resurrection -Jesus ascends to his Father from the Mount of Olives. (Matt. 28:15-20; Mark 18:19-20; Luke 24:44-53; Acts 1:1-11)

* Note: The Passover is linked to the 14th days of the month not the day of the week. Passover starting on Thursday at twilight is a very rare event; unusally it starts on a different day of the week. (Hebrew days start at sunset/twilight and go thru the night till the next day's sunset.) Falling on a Thursday that year made it possible for Jesus to fulfill the meaning behind the feasts associated with the Passover. His crucified was on Friday (still Passover), the Sabbath (Saturday) rest was the Feast of Unleavened Bread (always on the first Sabbath after Passover), and Sunday was the third day since his death, the day of the First Fruit Sheaf Wave, and the day that Jesus rose from the dead. All three feasts were thus fulfilled by Jesus.

I. The Parable of the Ten Virgins (1-13)

>1. What was Jesus using this parable to describe?

* Matthew 25:1a "At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like..."

* "At that time" -This chapter is a continuation of Jesus teaching his disciples on the Mount of Olives (Olivet Discourse). Jesus has been and still is talking about the end of this age, the age of preaching the good news of the kingdom of God. The previous chapter records Jesus talking about the events of the tribulation and then he starts talking about the nature of the people who are alive at that time. This chapter is a continuation of the teaching on the nature of the people at the time of his coming, a time I believe is almost upon us.

* "the kingdom of heaven" -The kingdom of heaven is the saints of God, those who have put their faith in Jesus in the past, present, and future. The saints live by faith. The saints in this parable are those that are on the earth at the time of his coming, yet even those who are not living during that time can learn from it. The second parable can be applied to all saints, those who have fallen asleep or are still alive when he comes. All are required to live by faith in obedience to the end of their earthly lives. The third teaching in this chapter is about what Jesus will do when he arrives physically on the earth at the beginning of the Millennium (one thousand year reign).

* "will be like" -Jesus is using a parable to teach a spiritual principle. The Bible is always clear when we are to not take things literal. This parable is not to be taken literally.

* The parables Jesus teaches here are different than some of the parables he had taught during his ministry concerning the end times. He s teaching something a little different here.

* Jesus uses a Jewish wedding ceremony in the parable. The Jewish wedding ceremony is similar to the events of Jesus' second coming. The church's rapture is immenant. I wrote on the believer's wedding ceremony with Jesus in the manuscript The Beliver's Future - Hope That Inspires. I also wrote in it how the Israelites at Mt. Sinai employs all the elements of the Hebrew wedding ceremony.

* Some of the points of the Jewish wedding ceremony are as follows. (Note: I use English terms and not Hebrew terms.)
    1) The couple are "betrothed" by the parents at a young age (usually twelve).
    2) When they are older, a year before the wedding ceremony they are legally "engaged". During the engagement ceremony the couple goes thru a ceremonial washing (baptism). The engagement is seen as a legal marraige contract which could only be "broken" by legal arrangements. (Joseph and Mary had already finished this ceremony when the angel came to her and she conceived the Messiah.)
    3) During the year of legal engagement the bridegroom builds their future home. The bride does not live with him, though she does engage in his buisiness, helping and supporting him as he builds their future house. They do not live together during this year and they do not have sexual intercourse.
    4) During the year of engagement the bride is accompanied by ten virgin friends. They are called bride's maids and chaperones. They are to protect and help her, ensuring that she remains a virgin.
    5) The bridegroom is accompanied by ten "friends of the bridegroom" who will act as witnesses to the marriage. (Ruth 4:2) (Note: Ten males was the number needed to start a synagogue, conduct circumcision, and celebrate the Passover.)
    6) During the year of legal engagement the bride could ask for a divorce if she found something in the bridegroom she did not like and visa-versa. This would be a great disgrace to both parties and their families. This was seldom done.
    7) As the day of the ceremony arrived the bride's maids prepared the banquet hall and meal which would be held after the wedding ceremony. This celebration was occasionally held at her parents home (if it was large enough). More often it was held at a large banquet hall. All the Jews in the town were invited (if not to large and they could afford it) to come to the banquet hall and join in on the celebration.
    8) The wedding ceremony did not take place at the banquet hall. It usually was performed at the local synagogue or in an open field.
    9) During the wedding ceremony the couple would exchanged love vows and commitment to each other under a canopy before an elder or rabbi and the whole synagogue (congregation). During the ceremony each would give something of value to the other. The bridegroom would give a ring and if he could afford it the ring would have a precious stone on it.
    10) Travel and time keeping in those days were not as exact as in our day. So the bride's maids needed to keep watch for the bridegroom, bride, and the wedding party who were coming from the wedding ceremony.
    11) Without oil in the hall's lamps the room would be dark and no place to have a wedding banquet. Also, the bridegroom and bride often arrived in the evening. So the lamps were needed to light the way.
    12) When the bridegroom and bride were first spotted by the brides maids the arrival would be loudly announced, sometimes with trumpets and/or rams horn blasts.
    13) The wedding banquet and celebration lasted several days and had plenty of food and wine. (John 2) The celebration included music, singing, and dancing.

* You might be saying to yourself, "Hey, these points sounds familiar." Your right, most are mentioned in the New Testament concerning the wedding ceremony after the rapture, Jesus' second coming, and the feast of the Lamb. They are also all part of the time that the Lord came down Mt. Sinai when he brought them out of slavery in Egypt with one exception, the Israelis immediately sinned against the Lord selling themselves in prostitution to an idle calf that Aaron had made in the middle of the wedding ceremony.

>For whom were the virgins waiting?

* Matthew 25:1b "...ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom."

* "who took their lamps" -The lamps would help them keep the path to the banquet hall lite up, as well as it's entrance and perhaps inside the hall too.

* "lamps" -The lamps were torches consisting of long poles with oil-drenched rags on the top.

* "lamps" -All of the virgins had a vessle to burn oil so that light could be created.

* This was after all the preparation work was finished and after the wedding ceremony.

* Waiting for the bridegroom and bride was joyous anticipation.

* The Song of Solomon is a description of the bride and the bridegroom waiting to be married during their year of engagement.

* "virgin" -A display of beauty and purity.

>Who do they represent?

* Psalms 45:12-15 "The Daughter of Tyre will come with a gift, men of wealth will seek your favor. All glorious is the princess within her chamber; her gown is interwoven with gold. In embroidered garments she is led to the king; her virgin companions follow her and are brought to you. They are led in with joy and gladness; they enter the palace of the king."

* "Tyre" -A city state on the Mediterranean Sea just outside Israel's borders.

* The virgins are foolish and wise.

* The virgins are prepared and unprepared.

* They are those called by God, professors of religion, and confess the name of Jesus (Y'shua).

* None are outside the congregation of Jesus. They attend a religious organization and profess to be waiting for the bridegroom. They look similar on the outside as all have lamps.

>Who is the bridegroom?

* Jesus is repeated over and over again in Scriptures to be the one and only bridegroom. The only marriage in heaven is to Jesus.

* Jesus' love, faithfulness, and covenant with the church, Jesus' bride is proclaimed elsewhere in Scriptures. (Read the manuscript The Believer's Future - Hope That Inspries for more on that.) The bride and the wedding ceremony is not mentioned in this parable. Why? Jesus is talking to his Jewish disciples who had a hard time accepting his death and resurrection. They were greatly concerned and troubled about his prediction of the destruction of the temple to the point of asking several questions about it (see previous chapter). Jesus is addressing those questions with the statements in the previous chapter and with this parable. He did not want to bring up the bride now. It would only confuse them more than they were already confused.

* We can learn from this parable about waiting for Jesus by faith. We can apply the principles to our lives.

>Why were five virgins called foolish and five called wise?

* Matthew 25:2-4 "Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps."

* "but did not take any oil with them" -Carrying the oil would have been a extra trouble that they chose not to carry.

* Being wise or foolish is in the soul, heart, and mind. These are displayed by faith or a lack of faith.

* People of different heart quality is in every age, time, congregation, and denomination.

>2. What happened while they were waiting? (5-6)

* Matthew 25:5-6 "The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!'"

* "The bridegroom was a long time in coming" -That was true for the disciples, for us, and true for the saints alive when Jesus returns. The tribulations that are experienced during the seven years (Daniel's seventith week) will be the worse ever experienced in the past, present, and future. To those saints alive during during that time Jesus' coming will surely seem like a long time.

* Jesus might tarry long, but he is sure to come.

* When a person waits for something eagerly, it seems like a long time.

* "they all became drowsy" -All ten of the virgins became drowsy. One submission to the flesh leads to a bigger one.

* "and fell asleep" -All ten fell asleep. Sleeping wasn't the difference between them. I am reminded of the disciples who fell asleep when Jesus went to pray at Gethsemane. He told them to pray and keep watch several times but they all fell asleep each time. When Jesus awoke them the final time, the guards were coming and the disciples were not ready. One betrayed him and eleven fell asleep.

* "trimmed" -The charred ends of the rags were cut and new oil is introduced to the rags.

* Similarities between the ten are:
    1) they are all virgins
    2) they are all invited to the banquet
    3) they all prepared for the banquet
    4) they all are helpers of the bride
    5) they all looked for the bridegroom to come
    6) they all had torches
    7) they all became drowsy and fell asleep
    8) they all started with a lit torch
    9) all their torches needed trimming
    10) they all saw the bridegroom coming when he appeared

* The differences between the two groups:
    1) the five did not bring extra oil
    2) the bridegroom did not know the five who did not have oil
    3) the five without oil was locked outside the banquet hall.

>What was the dilemma of the foolish virgins, and what did they do? (7-10a)

* Matthew 25:7-10a "Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.' 'No,' they replied, 'there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.' But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived."

* "foolish ones" -They are hypocrites and pretenders. They seek to gain from others what can only be gained by and for God. They had enough to make a show for the other virgins, but not enough for the bridegroom's needs. They are void of a spiritual life, having a form of godliness, while denying its power. Their hearts are like the flat rocks that have only a little soil on it. When the seed of the word lands on it, it grows quickly and when the sun comes out their faith burns away and dies.

>When did the bridegroom arrive?

* "after midnight" -The bridegroom arrived when the foolish virgins were out buying oil. Midnight is the darkest hour. Imagine trying to by olive oil at midnight with no light to guide your way.

>3. What privilege did the wise virgins have? (10b)

* Matthew 25:10b "The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut."

* "went in with him to the wedding banquet" -The wedding feast of the lamb is a joyous time. Revelation 19:6-9 states, "Then I (John) heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: "Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'" And he added, "These are the true words of God."


* "the virgins who were ready" -They were prepared. They had oil. They had faith to the end. They were filled with the Spirit of God. They built on the firm foundation of Jesus. They accepted the pillars of the apostles.

>What did the others do?

* Matthew 25:11 "Later the others also came. 'Sir! Sir!' they said. 'Open the door for us!'"

* God shut the door to the ark too. No one could get in or out. Noah did not shut the door and could not open the door to let anyone in. (Gen. 7:16)

>What did the bridegroom say to them?

* Matthew 25:12 "But he replied, 'I tell you the truth, I don't know you.'"

* The foolish virgins did not have a personal relationship with the bridegroom, Jesus. They are like the men from the Pharisees sect who claimed to accept Jesus as the Messiah while all the time trying to get everyone to be saved by works like circumcision. (Acts 15:5)

* Philippians 3:2-11 states, "Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh-- though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead."

>4. How could the foolish virgins make such a costly mistake?

* They had confidence in their past, who they were, their privileged. They assumed that the bridegroom would be impressed by the laws, teachings of their elders, and the customs that they followed. They did not recognize and appreciate the grace of the bridgegroom. They will be and are just like Paul before Jesus came to him on the road. (See the quote from Paul in the previous question for a description.)

* They didn't understand that the bridegroom would come on his timing and not theirs. (12)

* They didn't expect to see him because he didn't come when they expected him to. The temple that is now in plans to be built in Jerusalem and will remain through the tribulation years and will not have the "shekinah" glory of the Lord.

* They fooled themselves and others thinking that they were accepted by the bridegroom.

>What does the oil represent?

* "oil" -Olive oil is a symbol of the gift of the Holy Spirit that is given when a person has saving faith in Jesus Christ. Many people in the world confess a Jesus who is not the Jesus of the Old and New Testament, and/or they do not live by faith in him. They do not have the oil of God. (Heb. 1:9; Mark 6:13; Luke 7:46; James 5:14; Ex. 25:6, 27:20-21, 29:1-2, 7, 21, 38-41, 30:22-33)

* The grace and love of God that is seen in Jesus must be accepted by faith, faith that is active and alive by the power of the Spirit.

* Zechariah 4:2-6 "He asked me, "What do you see?" I answered, "I see a solid gold lamp stand with a bowl at the top and seven lights on it, with seven channels to the lights. Also there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left." I asked the angel who talked with me, "What are these, my lord?" He answered, "Do you not know what these are?" "No, my lord," I replied. So he said to me, "This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the Lord Almighty."

* Zechariah 4:12-14 "Again I asked him, "What are these two olive branches beside the two gold pipes that pour out golden oil?" He replied, "Do you not know what these are?" "No, my lord," I said. So he said, "These are the two who are anointed to serve the Lord of all the earth."

* What is impossible for the wise virgins to share? Sharing a personal life of faith and the gift of the Holy Spirit is impossible for the wise virgins.

>What is Jesus teaching through this parable?

* Matthew 25:13 "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour."

* Four things of importance are:
    1) Jesus is coming for sure
    2) Be prepared so that we are not surprised at his coming
    3) There is not second chance. Once it is to late, it is to late.
    4) We can fool some of the people some of the time, but we can't fool Jesus.

II. The Parable of the Talents (14-30)

>5. What was Jesus using this second parable to describe?

* Matthew 25:14a "Again, it will be like a man going on a journey..."

* "Again, it" -The kingdom of God is again taught as is the first parable. (See note above.)

* "will be like" -Jesus is again using a parable.

* "a man going on a journey" -Jesus ascended to heaven. He compares this to going on a journey. The Song of Solomon 6:1-3 says, "Where has your lover gone, most beautiful of women? Which way did your lover turn, that we may look for him with you? My lover has gone down to his garden, to the beds of spices, to browse in the gardens and to gather lilies. I am my lover's and my lover is mine; he browses among the lilies."

* This parable is about what Jesus is expecting his servants, his saints, his people to do while he is away. Jesus is the master in the parable.

>What did the master do before he left on his journey?

* Matthew 25:14b-15 "...who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey."

* "who called his servants" -God is the one who initiates. He starts. One man or a group of men are never the initiator.

* "entrusted his property to them" -God always owns everything. We do not own anything. God lets us use what he owns, trusting we will use it for his purpose.

* "five talents... two talents... one talent" -God does not give the same amount to each person. We might thing this is unfair if we are selfish, rebellous, proud, and disrespectful.

* "according to his ability" -God gives us the ability and a way to use that ability. He is in sovereign control.

>What did each servant do?

* Matthew 25:16-18 "The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money."

* "went at once" -We are not to be lazy and idle when our master is away. We are to put is money to work.

>What do the talents represent?

* "talents" -A talent was originally a unit mass that a person could carry (weight = 75 pounds) that eventually, by Jesus' time, was an amount of money. The present day use of "talent" meaning an ability or gift comes from this parable. (A similar parable, Luke 9:13 says a mina was three months wages. One talent equals about sixty minas.)

* "talents" -Some say the talents are our God given and developed abilities. Others say it is our worldly possessions including money. Since both are God's both would be correct. The Scriptures back this up.

* All three knew what their talents were, that they were given by the master, and that he wanted a return on his investment.

* We should consider everything we have a God given gift for his use and purpose. Ephesians 2:10 states, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

* 1 Timothy 6:17-19 "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."

>6. When did the master return?

* Matthew 25:19a "After a long time the master of those servants returned..."

* "After a long time" -Again Jesus predicted that he would not come again for a long time.

* "the master of those servants" -Jesus is the master of all who call on his name.

>What did he do?

* Matthew 25:19b "...and settled accounts with them."

* "settle accounts" -Jesus and the apostles teach that Jesus' people will have to give an account of their life. This should not be confused with the judgement of the unrighteous.

* God has decreed that Jesus will conduct three kinds of judgement; one each for Jesus bride, the unrighteous, and the nations. (John 5:22) These judgement will not happen at the same time or with the same result.

First, as already mentioned, Jesus bride will be judged at the mercy (Bema) seat, but not in the sense that we will be condemned. Instead Jesus will hand out rewards to those who believed in him. The saved believer’s acts committed in this life will be reviewed at the judgment seat of Jesus at the beginning of the Millennium. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Cor. 5:10) As stated many times, people are forgiven of sin and saved from death by faith in the blood, death, and resurrection of Jesus. (Eph. 2:9, Tim. 3:5) They are Jesus’ bride and will stand before him to give an account of their life works at the beginning of the Millennium. (1 Cor. 3:11-15)

Second, there is a judgment of the nations. This is when Jesus comes when the seventh trumpet is sounded. Matthew 25:31-34 records Jesus saying, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.’” Matthew 25:41 continues, “Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’” This is also in Isaiah 24.

Third, those who are not Jesus bride will be judged and condemned. (Pro. 1:20-31) Jesus will be the judge and he will know what is truly in their hearts. (Rom. 2:16) If they did not accept Jesus as their King and Bridegroom, that is accept him into their hearts, then they will be condemned. (Mark 3:28-29) This judgment is after the Millennium and after Satan is released and deceives the nations for a short time. This judgment will not be conducted on the earth.

Revelation 20:11-15 calls it the great white throne, “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

>What report did two servants give?

* Matthew 25:20 "The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'"

* Matthew 25:22 "The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.'"

* They were responsible, faithful, and diligent.

* They gave it all back. The crowns we are given will be given back to Jesus as the elders are recorded as doing in Revelation. (John 3:21)

* They had a please God attitude. They did all for God's glory and good purpose.

>How did he command and reward them?

* Matthew 25:21 "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'"

* Matthew 25:23 "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'"

* "Well done, good and faithful servant" -Are you living your life so that you can hear Jesus say this to you?

* "I will put you in charge of many things" -Did you every wonder why Jesus doesn't take us right away once we believe? It is because this life is not the end. This life is a preparation for eternity. The life we live after we accept Jesus by faith will determine our future eternity.

* "Come and share your master's happiness" -Not only will we be rewarded, but we will live in happiness and joy. We will share in Jesus' kingdom. The happiness of God is beyond description. The happiness experienced due to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit since Pentecost is only a small taste of the happiness we will experience when Jesus comes and we are changed to be like him.

>What does this teach about God?

* God is fair and just. He is wise and beyond reproach.

* God will reward his people if they are faithful to that which he has prepared for them to do.

* God expects us to serve him with what he has given us.

* We don't need to compare our talents with other people's talents. We are to just accept the talents given us and work with that.

>How does he reward faithful servants?

* God's reward is not based on the amounts of the fruits we produce, but on how we used what he has given us. God rewards 100% for an 100% effort. Another parable teaches that if two are given the same, but do not put in the same amount of effort, they will be rewarded by the percent of effort given.

>7. What had the third servant been entrusted with?

* "and to another one talent" -One talent is still worth a lot.

* One third of the angels rebelled against God. One third of the servants in this parable were wicked.

>What had he done with it?

* "went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money."

* "dug a hole in the ground" -A common way back then to hide money.

* What does it mean for God's saints to hide our talent in the ground? It means to not use them for the master. It means either to ignore them, not exercise them, and/or to use them for our own profit here in this life.

* You might say, "God didn't give me a talent." This is not true. Everyone has at least one talent.

>What did he come and say to the master?

* Matthew 25:24-25 "Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'"

* This servant had a wrong idea about the master. He thought the master was to demanding.

* This servant had an excuse for everything.

* This servant blamed the master. He believed he was righteous and the master was bad.

* This servant wasn't afraid because he had a false idea that he would be accept for his understanding of the master.

* This servant had a very legalistic view of the master.

* This servant was angry and frustrated with the master for giving him talents. He didn't want the responsibility.

>How did the master respond?

* Matthew 25:26-27 "His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest."

* "wicked" -Strong language. His actions were evil.

* "lazy" -He really didn't want to do anything for God. He wanted to live a comfortable life. He laid around the house, went on a lot of vacations, sports event, movies, social events, parties, and played a lot of games. Everything he did was for his own comfort and gain.

* "put my money on deposit... with interest" -The Roman and Greek bankers collected interest. Israel was forbidden by God to extract interest from their brothers. However, they could draw interest from Gentiles.

>What did he do? (28-30)

* Matthew 25:28 "'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.'"

* Matthew 25:30 "And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'"

* "take the talent" -Any gift we have in this life will be taken away if we do not do what God requires of us in this life. There are not gifts of God in hell.

* "throw that worthless servant" -If we do not obey Jesus, even though we read the Bible, go to church, and hang out with believers we are worthless to Jesus.

* "outside" -Anything not in the kingdom of God is hell. Hell is not a fun place. Hell is so much more miserable than our darkest concept of it.

* Jesus will not accept excuses at his judgement seat.

* 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 states, "By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames."

>What was Jesus teaching here?

* Matthew 25:29 "For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him."

* God reward is greater than we can imagine.

* We may think that what we have in this life will be ours forever. It is not.

III. The Sheep and the Goats (31-46)

>8. How will Jesus come again and what will he do?

* Matthew 25:31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory."

* "the Son of Man" -Jesus called himself this as does some of the prophets. See previous study for more.

* "in his glory... heavenly glory" -I am enthralled about Jesus (Y'shua in Hebrew) in his glorious resurrection body. He said to his disciples on the Mt. of Olives just after he predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, "They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky." (Matthew 24) In his reply to the chief priest during his trial, he said the same thing. "The high priest said to him, 'I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.' 'Yes, it is as you say,' Jesus replied. 'But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.'" (Matthew 26:63-64) "Coming on the clouds of heaven" is an interesting term. This is the "shekinah" glory of God. Jesus said he will be coming in glory to judge people's souls and to save his people. The clouds of heaven is the bright shining glory of the Lord. Glory is "kabad' in Hebrew meaning a bright sinning cloud surrounding the Lord God. The Old Testament refers to this many times. The glory of the L_rd came on Mt. Sinai just after the L_rd led the Israelis out of Egypt (Ex. 16:7-10, 24:16-17). The glory was in desert Tabernacle (Ex. 40:34-38; Lev. 9:6, 23; Num. 14:10), and in the Temple in Jerusalem (1 Ki. 8:10-11; 2 Ch. 5:14, 7:1-3, Isa. 6:1-4). Jesus' (Y'shua's) coming in the glory of the Lord is prophesied by Isaiah (Is. 4:2-6; 35:1-2; 40:4-5; 59:19-20; 60). Ezekiel saw the glory of the Lord. (Ez. 1:25-28; 3:12, 22-23; 9:3-4; 10:3-4, 18-22; 11:22-23; 43:1-5; 44:4). The glory of the Lord is also in the New Testament. Luke 2:9 says the glory of the Lord shown over the shepherds when they angles said Jesus was born. Apostle Paul calls Jesus the "Lord of glory" in 1 Cor. 2:8 and the "radiance of God's glory" in Hebrews 1:3. Jesus revealed his past glory and future glory while on the mount of transfiguration. (Matt. 17:1-17) John, James and Peter were there are saw it. John the Apostle later stated at the beginning of his gospel, "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14) John as an oldman saw Jesus in the glorious resurrected body and recorded it in Revelation 1:7-18 and 4:1-11. I am in joyous anticipation to see the glorious resurrected Jesus coming. Come Lord Jesus, come now for your people. Are you in anticipation or afraid?

* "with his angles" -angels are servants of God.

* "he will sit on his throne" -Jesus' throne will be in Jerusalem. All those who are left on this earth will be gathered to Jerusalem. Those who have taken part in the first resurrection at the last trumpet (1 Cor. 15) will be with him. All his angels will also be with him. The day that Jesus sits on his throne as mentioned in this parable will be the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles.

>Who is included in this judgement? (32-33)

* Matthew 25:32-33 "All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left."

* "all the nations" -This judgement is already written about above. Nations here would better be rendered ethnic groups.

* "he will separate the people" -Jesus will judge each ethnic group one person at a time.

* "as a" -Jesus is using a similitude.

* "shepherd" -Jesus at times called himself a shepherd. The Old Testament also refereed to himself as a shepherd. Jesus will say during the Last Supper, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep... I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me-- just as the Father knows me and I know the Father--and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd." (John 10:11, 14-16)

* "sheep" -Jesus says that those people that are his are sheep. Sheep are gentle animals. God's people are His sheep enjoying His protection and listening to His voice. (Ps. 78:52; 95:7; 100:3; compare Ps. 23)

* "goats" -Goats and sheep look similar, but are different. They are not gentle like the sheep are. Goat like people are regarded as those with sin on them. For exaemple a goat (called a scapegoat) was selected at random once a year on the Day of Atonement to bear symbolically the sins of the nation of Israel. (Lev. 16:10-22)

* Sheep and goats graze in the same pasture, but it was necessary to separate the herds because the male goat was often hostile toward the sheep.

* Most commenaries agree that the basis of the judgement Jesus is talking about here is how the nations right down to the individual level treated Jesus' sheep, the 144,000 Israelites (12,000 from each of the 12 tribes) alive during the great tribulation (the last three and a half years) and the few people who accepted the message of the kingdom of God that they preached. Some commentaries say simply the Jews, but they forget that those who call themselves Jews today are only from the tribe of Judea, Benjamin, and some of the Levites (the southern tribes of Israel). The other tribes were scattered into the nations by Assyria. Yet even now I believe that the other tribes of Israel have to be returning even though most do not realize that they are from the northern nation of Israel. The rest will return during the first three and a half years of the tribulation.

sheep sheep

* The picture on the left is a goat. The picture on the right is a sheep. They look similar, but are different species. When Jesus comes again all the blatant sinners will already be dead. Those who are left will be all those who confess Jesus with mouth. However some will NOT be in a love relationship with Jesus. They are the goats. Only those who are in love of Jesus will remain through the one thousand (1,000) year reign of Christ.

>What blessing will he give to the sheep on his right? (34)

* Matthew 25:34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world."

* "The the King" -Jesus is calling himself a king here. When "Jesus stood before the governor (Pilate), and the governor asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied." (Matthew 27:11)

* "blessed by my Father" -To be blessed by God is to have his favor.

* "take your inheritance" -In order for someone to get an inheritance a family member or friend needed to die. These people are Jesus' brother and he died. Now he gives that which is his to those who call him shepherd.

* "the kingdom prepared for you" -Jesus is the creator. (John 1:1-4; Col. 1:16) He prepared the world for him.

* "since the creation of the world" -This includes before Adam and Eve were created.

>Why do they qualify to inherit the kingdom of God? (35-36)

* Matthew 25:35-36 "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'"

* For those alive during the tribulation, how they treated God's servants will determine if they live on into the Millennium.

* The life direction should be applied by us who live before the tribulation too. How we treate God's people, fellow Christians is important. When helping strangers we should not forget about helping brothers and sisters in Christ. We serve Jesus through serving his people.

>9. How will they respond to the King's words? (37-39)

* Matthew 25:37-39 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'"

* "the righteous" -Those who have been made right by the blood of Jesus.

* "when did we" -They didn't realize that when they were serving God's people and their brothers and sisters in God, that they were serving Jesus.

* We need to help people, not just humanly, but spiritually as well.

>Why are they surprised?

* They didn't know. Serving came naturally to them. They did it out of love and compassion.

* They helped without thinking about it because their heart was right and anointed with the oil of the Holy Spirit.

>How does King Jesus explain? (40)

* Matthew 25:40 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"

* "whatever" -It didn't matter what you did for others, but with what heart attitude.

* "brothers of mine" -Fellow believers in Jesus.

* "least of these brothers of mine" -Jesus is saying that at this judgement seat of nations he will be pointing to his people. Jesus told Peter to feed his sheep and lambs. (John 21) Jesus wanted Peter and us to help his people.

>What does this teach us about King Jesus?

* "you did for me" -Since we are the body of Christ and he is in us, this is a true statement more than a glancing read reveals.

* He recognizes work and help given to his people.

* He rewards people even after he has saved them from sin and death.

* He knows the heart's motives.

* When I was young in faith I wandered what I could do for God since he has all and can do for all. Well, now I know how to do something for him.

>About how to live as his people?

* Humble loving servants of others and God.

>10. What will the King say to the goats on his left?

* Matthew 25:41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels."

* "Depart from me" -Since this concerns first and foremost those who are alive at the judgement of nations at the beginning of the Millennium scholars have wondered if this meant immediatly going into the eternal fire or being first sent away from the New Jerusalem to wonder the war desolated earth as Adam and Eve were sent away from Eden. The verses seem clear to me, hell. Either way being out of Jesus' presence and his kingdom will be as devistating as Adam and Eve were when they left Eden knowing that the Lord would not walk with them in the cool of the garden any more.

* "you who are cursed" -God cursed Cain the same way because he killed Able. "The Lord said (to Cain), 'What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.'" (Genesis 4:10-12) Similarly these people will have persecuted, jailed, and even killed God's people during the seven years of Tribulation.

* "into the eternal fire" -Matthew states the fire of hell nine times in his gospel, more than the three other gospels combined.

* "prepared for the devil and his angels" -Hell was not an original part of God's creation. When they sinned and rebelled hell was prepared for them. C.S. Lewis in one of his short stories states that though those in hell are ever seperating themselves from each other, it is an ever decreasing crack in creation so that its size becomes so small to those not in it that even if anyone on the new earth or new heaven even knew of it existance they could never find it. There is no Biblical reference that I know that says this, but there is some logic in it.

>What have they done to deserve such punishment? (42-43)

* Matthew 25:42-43 "For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

* Out of fear and self preservation they would not expose themselves with identifying with God's people by helping them.

* During this week before his death and resurrection he also taught, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me." (John 12:23-26)

>What does their surprised response, (44) show about their selfish hearts?

* Matthew 25:44 "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'"

* They seem to indicate that if they had known he needed help they would have given it. They were implying he was being unfair and unjust. When a person's heart is wrong they have all kinds of excuses and never admit they are guilty. One of the main difference between King Saul and King David was that Saul never really admitted his sins and ask for forgiveness and David did.

* They had heartless cold responses.

* They were selfish.

>11. What will King Jesus say? (45)

* Matthew 25:45-46 "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

* "eternal punishment" -Hell is eternal punishment. Some people have a hard time understanding how a loving God can send anyone to hell. The fact is that in this life, if people chose to not invite God into their heart they are saying they want nothing to do with God. God tries to woo these people to him. Yet, Jesus is humble and gentle. He does not force himself on anyone. If a person chooses to keep God away in this life, so they will be for eternity. Only when it is too late, when they stand before him and see the love that they rejected in Jesus' eyes will they be sorriful, morning and weeping. God does not send anyone to hell, people chose to go there.

* "least" -We need to remember the weakest among God's believers.

>How can our selfish hearts and inner motives be changed to be like his compassionate heart?

* Pray, fast and obey.

* Study and obey the word of God, following Jesus' example.

* Accept and apply Jesus' teaching in our mind, heart, soul, and strength.

* Have a humble loving sacrificial heart.

* Live by the Spirit, not by the flesh.

* Live in loving fellowship with all God's people.

* Live for the glory of Jesus.