The Parable of the Talents

For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 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. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.  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: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 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. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Mat 25:14-30 KJV

The last parable of Matthew 24-25 illustrates another truth concerning the kingdom of Heaven (not the Church) and is connected with the parable of the ten virgins and the literal coming of Christ. After warning people in the kingdom of Heaven at His return to Earth to “watch” for they would not know the hour of His return, Christ gives this parable illustrating diligence in view of the hour of His coming. In other words, He explains the necessity of watching and being ready for the day of His appearing, at which time He is to judge His servants as to their faithfulness during His absence from the Earth.

Just as the man in this story went into a far country and trusted his servants with his goods until he returned, so the Lord taught that He was going to Heaven for a period and then return to test His servants as to their faithfulness while He was away. Just as this man returned and judged his servants as to their faithfulness, so the Lord will come again at an unexpected time to judge His servants. The ones that prove faithful will enter into greater responsibilities, but the ones who fail will be cast into Hell fire. This is the same judgment as the judgment of the nations.

The Judgment of the Nations (Mt. 25:31-46)

The judgment of the nations ends the Age of Grace and begins the Millennium. This description of judgment at the end of this age was the last part of the answer to the third question of the disciples “and of the end of the age?” This description of judgment tells us what Christ will do when He comes to Earth to set up His kingdom. This judgment will end man’s sixth probationary period and will end man’s sinful rule on the Earth. Jesus Christ in person, along with the resurrected saints of all ages, will reign on Earth for a thousand years to put all enemies under His feet and re-establish the universal kingdom of God. When the kingdom of God is fully established Christ will reign forever. This judgment will determine who is worthy of entrance into the kingdom of Heaven and who will be executed and cut off from entrance into the kingdom. Daniel 12:12 will then be fullfilled, “Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days”, which is the actual day of the proclamation of the kingdom. During this time the nations will be gathered and judged, the Jews will be regathered and settled in the land of promise, and all necessary preliminary arrangements for the kingdom will be made.

Thus, Jesus answers the three questions asked Him by the disciples concerning the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., concerning signs of His Second Advent, and concerning what will take place when He comes to the Earth at the end of this age. The prophecy of Mat. 24-25 is the greatest one in the New Testament outside the book of Revelation.

We can sum up the central truths illustrated by the five parables in Matthew 24-25 as follows: the parable of the fig tree illustrates the nearness of Christ’s Second Advent, the parable of the good man of the house illustrates readiness, the parable of the servants illustrates faithfulness, the parable of the ten virgins illustrates watchfulness, and the parable of the talents illustrates diligence in view of the Second Advent of Christ.

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.  And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 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.  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.  Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.  But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.  Mat 25:1-13 KJV

It can be seen that the events of Matthew 24-25 occur in consecutive order and are connected to each other by such words as “then,” “for then,” etc. The order of events can easily be traced by these connecting words. The first connecting word is in Matthew 24:9. The statement in Matthew. 24:7-8 tells of “the beginning of sorrows,” such as wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes. “Then shall they deliver you up . . . And then shall many be offended”. Mt. 24:9-10 The next definite timepoint is in Matthew 24:15, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation [Antichrist sitting in the temple of God in the middle of Daniel’s Seventieth Week] . . . Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains . . . [Matthew 24:16-20]: For then shall be great tribulation . . . [Matthew 24:21-22] Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there . . . [Matthew 24:23-28] Immediately, after the tribulation of those days  [from the abomination on to the Second Coming of Christ Himself]  shall the sun be darkened . . . And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven” Mt. 24:29-31 The next connecting word is in Matthew 24:40, Then [at the coming of the Son of man] two shall be in the field, the one shall be taken, and the other be left.” Following this truth, there are two parables which are connected to the Second Coming of Christ in that they illustrate readiness and faithfulness in view of His coming. Mt. 24:43-51

The first word in Matthew 25 is the first word of the parable of the ten virgins. It is another connecting word then, which connects the parable to the coming of the Son of man “immediately after the tribulation,” as explained above. It is clear to begin with that the parable of the ten virgins illustrates truth connected with the literal coming of Christ to the Earth. It can be seen that any connection with the Rapture of the Church is out of harmony with the truth that is intended to be illustrated by the parable. This parable is a continuation of the answer concerning “the end of the age” and should be understood in that light. This fact alone will prove that it has a different setting from that which is commonly understood and will culminate the many unscriptural and fanciful interpretations that are based upon the details of the illustration.

Then [at the literal coming of Christ to the Earth with the saints] shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins.” This is an illustration concerning the kingdom of Heaven, not the Church. The whole truth illustrated is plainly stated in Matthew 25:13, “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” Since this is the truth Jesus is illustrating by this story of a particular oriental wedding ceremony, then there is no other point definitely illustrated by Him here in this parable. A parable is simply an illustration of some truth and the details are not to be stressed unduly. They are necessary only to make a complete story so that a truth can be illustrated. Thus, it is important that no hidden meanings are given to details of a parable.

REFUTING SOME FALSE THEORIES

It is almost universally believed that oil in the parable symbolizes the Holy Spirit and that the virgins symbolize different classes of Christians. Some insist that the wise are those who have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and that the foolish have not. Thus, it is implied that both the foolish and wise have salvation (lamps), but only the wise have the Holy Spirit (oil). Others go further and insist that only those who have the baptism in the Holy Spirit will be caught up in the Rapture, and that Christians in general who have not had that experience will be left here to go through the Tribulation. Still others say that a person is not saved unless they have the baptism in the Spirit.

Many preach these errors as an incentive for seeking the experience of baptism in the Spirit, but regardless of the ultimate aim of such message, it may be stated here that in the light of other plain Scriptures the doctrines are erroneous. This type of teaching illustrates the errors men get into by basing doctrines upon the details of parables without having plain Bible passages to support them in such teaching. This teaching arbitrarily condemns many earnest-hearted and devout Christians who have not yet received light on the baptism in the Holy Spirit as taught by this school. It also suggests that others who have had the light on the subject are not living clean lives because they have not received the baptism in the Spirit. It automatically sets up a standard of cleansing other than the established blood-washed way, and ultimately advances qualifications for the Rapture of the Church and entrance into the body of Christ which are not taught in plain passages of Scripture.

These interpretations break down at every point when they are considered in the light of the details of the parable, as well as in the light of other plain Scriptures. The lamps cannot symbolize salvation, profession, or anything of that nature, as is clear by the usage of the word throughout the Bible. The word “lamp” is used as a symbol of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, but never of salvation or of the body of man. Exod. 27:20; 1 Sam. 3:3; Ps. 119:105; Rev. 4:5; 8:10 The word “oil” has no more reference to the Spirit here than it does in other scriptures.

How could people who are both saved and baptized in the Spirit, be in such lethargy as were these ten virgins, both wise and foolish? The Lord says to such, “I will spue thee out of my mouth” Rev. 3:16; Rom. 13:11; 1 Cor. 15:34; Eph. 5:14 Let it be noticed further, that at the time of the Rapture people will have no time to rise and trim their lamps (so-called “salvation”) as did all these virgins, for the Rapture is to take place “in the twinkling of an eye”. 1 Cor. 15:51-58 If anyone after the Rapture became sufficiently worthy to receive the oil (so-called “Spirit”) would Christ be likely to say to him, “I know you not,” as was said to the foolish virgins by this particular bridegroom? Thus, it is evident that an attempt at a detailed meaning of this simple illustration of watchfulness to the people in the kingdom of Heaven at the “end of the age” when Christ comes to set up His kingdom is out of harmony with the purpose of the parable and sound doctrines of the Bible.

Summary of Twelve False Doctrines:

  1. Two kinds of Christians.
  2. The oil is the Spirit baptism.
  3. Wise are those with this baptism.
  4. Foolish are those without it.
  5. Born again people do not have the Holy Spirit.
  6. Rapture will take place at midnight or middle of the tribulation.
  7. One has to have the Spirit baptism to go in the rapture.
  8. Only those baptized in the Spirit will be at the marriage of the Lamb.
  9. Only those baptized in the Spirit will be in the bride of Christ.
  10. One is not saved until he receives the Spirit baptism.
  11. The door of mercy will be shut to the Gentiles after the rapture.
  12. The bride is the church.

From the Word the Truth Is:

  1. There is only one kind of Christian, the born-again Mt. 13:38-49; 18:3; Jn. 3:3-5; 2Cor. 5:17-18; Rom. 6:7,18,22; 8:1-13; Gal. 5:19-24; Eph. 4:24; 1Jn. 2:29; 3:8-10; 5:1-4,18; Heb. 12:14
  2. The oil here is not the Holy Spirit for He cannot be bought and sold or divided between people at their request. This no more refers to the Holy Spirit than oil in Genesis 28:18; 2Kings 4:1-6; Luke 7:46; 16:6; etc.
  3. Born-again people do receive the Holy Spirit, 3:5; Rom. 8:9-16 but not always the Spirit baptism which is another experience. Lk. 11:13; Jn. 7:37-39; 14:16-17; Acts 1:4-8; 2:38-39; 5:32; 8:15-16; 19:1-6
  4. The rapture will not take place in the middle of the tribulation, but before it for the church is the hinderer of lawlessness of 2Thessalonians 2:7 refer to the church being taken out of the world … And then shall that wicked be revealed who will be destroyed seven years later by Christ at His second coming. 2:7-8
  5. The Spirit baptism is for the endowment of power from on high to do the works of Jesus, 24:49; Jn. 7:37-39; 14:12; Acts 1:4-8 not to save the soul or to qualify one for the rapture.
  6. All Christians will be at the marriage supper of the Lamb, for all will go in the rapture.
  7. All Christians will be in the bride of Christ, which is the New Jerusalem and not the church. 21:2,9-10 Even Old Testament saints will be a part of the city. Heb. 11:10-16; cp. Heb. 13:14; Jn. 14:1-3
  8. The door of mercy will never be closed to Jews or Gentiles during the tribulation or any other time. Multitudes will be saved during the tribulation. Acts 2:16-21; Rev. 7:1-17; 12:17; 15:2-4; 20:4-6

LOOKING AT AN ORIENTAL WEDDING

In almost any book on Bible lands, their manners and customs might be found just such a description of an oriental wedding ceremony as given in this parable by Jesus. The bride was always accompanied by a certain number of virgins (in this case there were ten) to meet the bridegroom. The bridegroom and his friends went, usually by night, to bring the bride and her attendants to the home of the bridegroom. All along the route that the bridegroom and his friends took to get the bride, there would be crowds on the housetops or balconies who would take up the peculiar cry of wedding joy that told those further along that the pageant had started. The cry would give warning to those who were waiting with the bride that it was time to arise and light up the way of approach, and welcome the bridegroom with honor. Before the bridegroom started he received his friends who sometimes were late, and after that speeches of congratulations were made, and other honors were bestowed upon him and his family. Therefore, it was often near midnight before the bridegroom started for the bride.

Meanwhile, as the night wore on, and the duties of robing the bride and completing the house decorations, a period of relaxing and drowsy waiting set in and many would be overcome with sleep, as in the story Jesus gave. This period of drowsiness would be broken by the cries of the wedding procession of the bridegroom, and those in the home of the bride would rise and light candles or trim their lamps which had been burning all this time. In the case that Jesus mentions the lamps had been burning and five of them were getting so low that the virgins could not carry out their part of the wedding procession back to the home of the bridegroom, because they had to go first and get more oil. While they were gone to purchase more oil, the procession went on to the marriage place and the door was shut and locked for fear of robbers who might cause an interruption, rob and carry off jewelry, costly garments, or even the bride herself and hold her for ransom. The tardy virgins, who were anxious to join the concluding festivities of the wedding, finally came crying, “Lord, Lord, open to us,” could not, of course, be admitted, nor was their cry recognized by the bridegroom.

Jesus uses this story to illustrate watchfulness by those living in the kingdom of Heaven at His coming to the Earth to set up His kingdom. He warns people at the end of the age to be more watchful than these ten virgins, lest some of them should fail to be ready when He comes.

Thus, we see that this parable is just as understandable as any other one in the Bible if we consider the details of the illustration as necessary only to make the story complete enough to illustrate the point that is being illustrated.

The Parable of the Faithful and Evil Servants

Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.  Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Mat 24:45-51 KJV (Luke 12:42-48)

This parable begins by the words “Who then,” that is, in view of the suddenness of Christ’s coming at a time unexpected, who will not be faithful in the things that have been committed to him during the absence of the Lord? This parable illustrates faithfulness in view of the coming of Christ to the Earth to judge everyone according to the deeds done in the body. This judgment is the same as the judgment of the nations of Matthew 25:31-46. It is not the same as the judgment of the saints before the return of Christ:

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 1Cor. 3:11-15 KJV

The Parable of the Good Man of the House

But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.  Mat 24:43-44 KJV

Jesus here illustrates the need for readiness in view of His return to the Earth at an unpredictable time, so that each individual will escape the “sudden destruction” that will overtake those who are not ready.

And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.  For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.  Luke 21:34-36 KJV

The feasts of the Lord Lev. 23 were given to Israel as illustrations and through them God was teaching the gospel to the world and because there was no written Word yet, they typified things to come.  Let’s have a look at the meaning behind each one:

Fulfilled

  1. The yearly Passover feast Lev. 23:4-5; Num. 28:16; Ex. 12:1-39. typified the crucifixion of Christ Matt. 27:32-56
  2. The yearly feast of unleavened bread 23:6-8; Num. 28:17-25; Ex. 12:8,15-20btypified the burial of Christ Matt. 27:57-61
  3. The yearly feast of firstfruits 23:9-14; Num. 28:26-31 typified the resurrection of Christ Matt. 28:1-10; 2Cor. 15:2-23
  4. The yearly feast of Pentecost Lev. 23:15-21; 28:26-31 also known as the feast of harvest Exo. 23:16 and the feast of weeks Exo. 34:22; Deu. 16:10 typified the outpouring of the Holy Spirit Acts 2:1-4

Unfulfilled

  1. The yearly feast of trumpets Lev. 23:23-25; 29:1-6; typifies the rapture 1Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 4:1
  2. The yearly feast of atonement Lev. 23:26-32; 29:7-11 typifies the Second Coming of Christ Rev. 19:11-21
  3. The yearly feast of tabernacles Lev. 23:33-34; 29:12-40 typifies the 1000 year Reign Isa. 65:6-66:24; Rev. 20:2-7

Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.  But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.  For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ 1Thess. 5:6-9 KJV

The Parable of the Fig Tree

Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:  So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.  Mat 24:32-33 KJV

This is the first of five parables in Matthew 24 & 25 and is just a simple illustration of the nearness of Christ’s Second Advent as well as the rapture (7 years earlier), which is the subject of Matthew 24-25. “Now learn a parable [illustration] of the fig tree [Luke adds “and all the trees” 21:29], when his branch is yet tender and putteth forth leaves ye know [what?] that summer is nigh: so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things [the signs of Christ’s coming of Matthew 24:4-26], know that it [the Second Advent, not the restoration of Israel] is near, even at the doors” Mt. 24:32-33

“This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” Mt. 24:34 The last generation living on earth, at the time all these things will be fulfilled.  We do not have to use this parable for the basis of the doctrine of the restoration of Israel, for there are many plain passages that cover that doctrine satisfactorily. Then too, that all of Matthew 24:4-26 is fulfilled in one generation is further evident from this parable of the fig tree, for no tree puts forth leaves throughout the season. This proves that all these things will be fulfilled in one generation only and not in several of them.

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.  In Matthew 24:34-35 we have the infallibility of the above truths stated. Heaven and Earth shall be changed, but these truths shall not be changed. Lk. 16:16; Heb. 1:10-12 The Greek word for “pass away” in this passage means “pass from one state to another” and not “cessation of existence,” as proven in 2 Cor. 5:17c all things are become new and other passages. The Heaven and the Earth will never be annihilated.

The Parable of the Pounds

And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.  And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.  But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.  Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.  And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury? And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.  (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.  But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.  Luk. 19:11-27 KJV

The story actually fits the experience of Herod who left Jericho to go to Rome to obtain the kingdom of Judea (Josephus, Antiquities, 14:9-15; 17:3-4; 18:7,21), facts of which were well known. Whether this is what Jesus used is not stated, but there is no doubt that all of Christ’s illustrations were true happenings of life that His hearers knew about or would recognize as factual and true.

This parable illustrates the postponement of the kingdom of God, or literally the “Kingdom of Heaven” aspect of the kingdom of God. Jesus offered Himself as the King of the Jews and had announced the kingdom of Heaven was at hand. Mt. 4:17 He was rejected by the Jews; so it became necessary to postpone the kingdom until His Second Coming. Mt. 11:20-24; 23:37-39; 27:25

The other point illustrated beside the postponement of the kingdom of God is that of the action of the servants and citizens. In the parable the servants would be the king’s personal attendants and the citizens the subjects of the king. As applied to the kingdom of God, the servants would be the ministers and true believers who are to propagate the gospel of the kingdom, and the citizens would be the Jews who rejected Christ and the gospel. Jn. 1:11; 15:18-25; Mt. 27:21-25

The occasion of this parable of the pounds was that some thought Christ would immediately set up His kingdom. Lk. 19:11 The nobleman illustrates Christ, who was going into a far country to receive for Himself a kingdom and to return. Lk. 19:12; Dan. 7:13-14  The nobleman giving pounds to his servants, saying, “Occupy till I come,” illustrates the responsibility Christ places upon His servants until His Second Coming. Lk. 19:13; Mt. 16:28; 28:19-20  The subjects of the nobleman rejecting him illustrates the rejection of Christ by the Jews. Lk. 19:14; Mt. 23:37-39; 27:25  The nobleman returning with power to reign illustrates Christ’s return in glory to set up His kingdom and deal with His enemies. Lk. 19:15, 27; Mt. 24:37-51; 25:31-46

The judgment of the servants by the nobleman illustrates Christ’s judging and rewarding His servants at the Second Coming. Some servants are going to have greater authority in the kingdom of Heaven than others, and this will be determined upon the basis of faithfulness and work accomplished for God. Lk. 19:15-19; Mt. 16:28; 25:31-46

A pound is equal to 100 drachme, or $65 each for the ten servants. “Thy pound hath gained five pounds” The $65 had gained $325, so the servant was given authority over 5 cities. “Thy pound hath gained ten poundsThe $65 had gained $650. This showed much ability, so he was given authority over ten cities.

The rejection of the servant that did not gain anything for his lord illustrates the rejection of the wicked and slothful servants. Lk. 19:20-25; Mt. 24:37-51 “Thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkinA handkerchief, or sweat cloth is used here and this man lost out through fear of consequences should he lose the money in seeking to gain more. He was not worthy of further trust.

The pound taken from the wicked servant and given to a faithful servant illustrates the law of increase – that which is used increases. Lk. 19:26; 6:38; 2 Cor. 9:6-10

That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him” In the East it was a custom to give presents to the rich, but a poor man received none and was an easy victim of others to take what little he had. This is spoken by the nobleman of Luke 19:12, which is the same principle as that of Jesus in Matthew 13:12; Mark 4:25; Luke 8:18. It illustrates that worthy ones will be rewarded and others will not. Mt. 16:27; 25:29; 2Cor. 5:9-10

“Mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me” The nobleman Lk. 19:12 is still speaking, but it illustrates that Christ will also come again and will set up a kingdom and punish His enemies. Mt. 25:31-46; 2Th. 1:7-10; Jude 1:14; Rev. 19:11-21; Zech. 14

May I be found true, tried and trusted and always represent my God in a manner that will allow others to also want to follow Him.

The Parable of the Marriage Feast

And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen. Mat 22:1-14 KJV

This parable is not to be confused with the parable of the great supper in Luke 14:16-24. Neither of these stories is an illustration of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb of Revelation 19:1-10. These passages are illustrations of the kingdom of Heaven in this age. The certain king making a marriage (marriage feast) for his son illustrates God, who has made possible the blessings of the kingdom and the Gospel to all. Jn. 3:16; Rom. 8:32; 1 Cor. 2:9  The Jews were the first ones invited, but they would not come. Mt. 10:5-7; 15:21-28; Jn. 1:11-13 The occasion for this parable was the rejection of Christ by the Jews. Mt. 21:42-46  The servants sent out were Christ, the apostles, the seventy, and the early ministers of the Church. All went first to Israel, but met with no response, as far as the nation was concerned. They were persecuted and killed until the city was destroyed and Israel was scattered. Mt. 24:2; Lk. 21:20-24; Acts 2:22-24; 7:54-60; 8:1-8; 13:44-49; Rom. 11

All things are ready” 22:4 illustrates the time for the Jews to accept their Messiah and the time for the fulfillment of the promise made to their fathers concerning the kingdom.  “But they made light of it” 22:5; Acts 13:45-49; 18:6; Mt. 23:37-39 The rejection of Jesus by Israel freed God from all responsibility to them in fulfilling His covenants with them, so His program became a worldwide one for all men. Jn. 3:16; Rom. 1:16; 2Cor. 12:13

At the rejection of the Jews by God, because they would not accept the invitation to partake of the blessings, God began to invite all kinds of people, as in the parables in Matthew 13.  The man without the wedding garment illustrates the ones in the kingdom of Heaven in this age, or during their lifetime, who fail to prepare for eternity, or for their place in the literal kingdom of Heaven, when it is set up at the return of Christ. Mt. 18:1-4; Jn. 3:3-8; Rev. 19:7-8 This life is the only time men have to put on that righteousness of the saints in order to get into the real, literal kingdom.  This negligent man was commanded to be put in the same furnace of fire in which the tares, bad fish, and all the wicked were commanded to be put at the end of this age. Mt. 13:37-43, 49-50; 24:51; 25:31-46; Rev. 20:11-15

The central truth which the story illustrates is stated in verse 14.  It is the same truth the parable of the laborers in the vineyard illustrates. “For many are called, but few are chosen,” or “whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted”. Lk. 14:11; 18:14  The difference in the two parables is that the one story illustrates the importance of humility in service, while this one illustrates the importance of preparation in this life to be chosen of God and accepted when we shall see Him. All are called to salvation, Mt. 11:28; Jn. 3:16; Rev. 22:17 but few will finally be saved. Mt. 7:13-14; Lk. 13:23-30

Jesus was teaching these Jews who desired His life and who rejected Him as their Messiah that they were not worthy of the blessings that He had in store for them, that the Gentiles and individual Jews who accepted the invitation would be blessed with the things that the Jewish nation rejected, and that there must be a preparation made before they would be admitted into the presence of God. The necessary preparation was to put on the wedding garment or change their raiment. It was the custom in the East for royal guests to put on garments provided, else they would be excluded from the feasts. A rejection of the garment provided was taken as an insult and a total disregard for the one who provided the garment. It was an avowal that the guest denied the authority and despised the power of the one providing the raiment. This was exactly true of the Jews who refused the teaching of Christ, which was able to make them wise unto salvation.

I will answer the call by choosing God’s salvation through Jesus Christ; I will not deny the authority or despise the power that is provided, so that I can be prepared and be admitted into the presence of God.

The Parable of the Householder

Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:  And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.  And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.  Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.  But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.  But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.  And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.  When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?  They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.  Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?  Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.nAnd when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet. Mat 21:33-46 KJV

The householder illustrates God the Father, who sent His Son into the world to redeem mankind. Mt. 21:37; Jn. 3:16; 15:1  The vineyard illustrates the kingdom of Heaven part of the kingdom of God, which was intrusted to the Jews, planted by God with the rich and fruitful vines of the knowledge of God, His commandments, the institutions of religion, and His revealed Word. Mt. 21:43; Mk. 12:1-9; Lk. 20:9-19; Rom. 3:1-2; 9:1-5 The hedge illustrates God’s watchful care and provision for the protection of the kingdom, so that it would be free from the intrusion of wild beasts which would spoil the vines and destroy the fruit. The winepress illustrates all the institutions and means of blessing for the human race. Winepresses were hewn out of solid rock. They usually consisted of two or three vats, each a little higher than the other, with troughs from one to the other. The grapes were put in the top vat, which was always the biggest, and two or more persons with naked feet and legs would jump up and down, crushing the grapes. The juice flowed into the next vat and from it would be drawn off into the next, or into vessels, leaving the dregs in the vats. The tower illustrates the place of dwelling where the workers of the vineyard could find rest and recreation and a place to store the fruit. These towers in literal vineyards were sometimes forty to fifty feet high, affording a place for the watchman to see the vineyard and protect it.

The husbandmen illustrate Israel who had charge of the vineyard to render unto the householder the fruit in due season. Mt. 21:45-46 There were two kinds of leases that could be had in the East. The tenant paid a money rent to the proprietor, or else he agreed to give the owner a definite amount of the produce, whether the harvest had been good or bad. Such leases were given by the year or for life; sometimes the lease was even hereditary, passing from father to son. The latter kind of lease is no doubt referred to in this parable.

The householder going away illustrates the long period that God permitted the nation to be ruled under the guidance of kings and prophets through the law. Acts 13:17-43  The time of the fruit illustrates the seasons that God expected results from the Jews in extending the kingdom among other nations and doing those things required to bring the knowledge of God to others.

The servants illustrate the Old Testament prophets, priests, and teachers whom God sent to get the Jews to render to Him the fruit of the kingdom. Mt. 23:37-39; Heb. 11:32-40  The son of the householder illustrates the Son of God, who was sent to the lost sheep of Israel. Mt. 10:6; 23:37-39; Jn. 1:11; 3:16; Acts 2:22-36  The maltreatment of the servants and the son illustrates the bitter hatreds and backslidings of Israel against God from the time in Egypt to the crucifixion of Christ. This is plainly recorded in 1 Ki. 18:13; 22:24-27; 2 Ki. 6:31; 21:16; 2 Chron. 24:19-22; 36:16; Jer. 37:138:28; Mt. 23:37-39; Acts 7:52; Heb. 11:36; Lk. 4:29; Jn. 8:37, 59; 10:31-39; 19:14-30.

The scheme of the husbandmen to seize the inheritance illustrates the reason for their rejection of the Messiah. They sinned against light. If Jesus was the Messiah and if He was introducing the kingdom of God, the whole spirit of which was different from theirs, then they would lose their places as rulers, as teachers, as men of influence, as well as their authority over the people and their chief business. They were so connected with a system and with wrong ideas, principles, and customs, which must pass away with the reign of the Messiah, that if Christ prevailed they must fall. They imagined that if they could destroy Christ, they could continue in their possession of the inheritance. They killed that they might possess, but killing was the shortest road to entire loss. Every possible method of leading them to right conduct had been exhausted; so judgment must fall. They pronounced their own judgment. Mt. 21:40-41 The destruction of the husbandmen refers to the cutting off of Israel and the destruction of their city and nation. Mt. 23:37-39; 24:2; Lk. 21:20-24; Acts 13:44-49; 18:6; Rom. 11:1-33

The central truths illustrated are stated in Mat. 21:42-44. The Jews at last saw the application of the parable and immediately went out unconsciously to fulfill it. There are three main truths illustrated by this story:

  • The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner. 21:42; Ps. 118:22-23; Acts 4:11; 1 Pet. 2:7 The cornerstone on which the superstructure rested was the most important stone in the building. The primary meaning in the Psalm about the rejected stone was taken from the great cornerstone that the builders of Solomon’s Temple left out because they did not understand the head architect’s plans. Afterward this stone was found to be that on which the completeness of the structure depended – on which the two walls met and were bonded together. The Messiah of these Jews was compared to this stone. Christ warned them not to make the same mistake that the builders of the Temple had made.
  • The kingdom of God shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. 21:43 This refers to the cutting off of Israel from being the ministers and people of God to carry out God’s purpose of evangelizing the world. Acts 13:44-52; 18:6; Rom. 11:1-33 The Gentiles have been the propagators of the Gospel throughout this Age of Grace.
  •  Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder  Mt. 21:44 This saying means that the individual who humbles himself and falls on the stone for mercy shall receive mercy and shall become broken in heart and spirit, Isa. 57:15; 66:1-2; Ps. 34:18; Mt. 5:3-7 but if he hardens himself against God, he shall receive judgment without mercy. The stone in this verse is the same as in verse 42. It refers to Christ, who is pictured as a stone in Scripture, in a threefold way:
  1. To Israel – He is pictured as a stumbling stone and a rock of offence, because He came as a lowly servant instead of a great world-monarch 8:14; Rom. 9:32-33; 1 Cor. 1:23; 1 Pet. 2:8
  2. To the Church – He is pictured as a foundation stone and the head of the corner 1 Cor. 3:11; 2:20-22; 1 Pet. 2:4-5
  3. To the nations – He is pictured as a smiting stone of destruction 2:34, 44-45; Lk. 21:24; Rev. 16:14; 19:11-21

Israel stumbled over Christ; the Church is built upon Christ; and the nations will be broken by Christ.

 

The Parable of the Laborers

For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and said unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He said unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.  So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard said unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.  Mat 20:1-14 KJV

The occasion of this parable is given in Matthew 19:27-30. It was given to answer Peter’s question. “We have forsaken all and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?” Mt. 19:27

Peter wanted to know how much and what kind of wages anyone would get if he worked for God as the disciples were doing. Jesus then gave this story of a particular householder hiring laborers to work in his vineyard. He went out at dawn to hire laborers. The custom was for laborers to collect at certain places ready for work in the surrounding fields if hired. All hours of the day they would stand around such places, waiting to be hired.

In this particular story the householder hired all the first lot for one penny a day, which was the Roman silver denarius that was the basis of the common transactions of the day. It was a good price for a day’s work and more than the daily pay of a Roman soldier. Later he went out at the third hour (9:00 AM), the sixth, the ninth, and the eleventh hours (12:00, 3:00, and 5:00 PM) and finding others idle, agreed to give them what was right. This particular man was good-hearted and gave all a penny, regardless of how long they had worked. The first ones complained because they had worked longer. The goodman of the house frankly told them that he had done no wrong, but had done as he had agreed.

Jesus rebuked Peter for having the wrong motive in service and taught him by this story that God was just and good and would fully reward all service of those who retain the right spirit of humility and have the true motive of service. God wants willing service from all, without thought of wages or rewards. Rom. 14:10-12; 1 Cor. 3:11-15; 9:16-27; 2 Cor. 5:10-12

The central truth illustrated by the parable is found in Mat. 19:30 and is repeated again at the end of the parable. Mt. 20:16

But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

It illustrates the necessity of self-humbling and of being content with rewards to come. Mt. 19:29-30; 20:16  It is a change of place between the first and the last, yet not a universal change. The first ones were first in magnitude and extent of their work, but became last because of the spirit in which it was performed. Spirit and motive only, not calling and nationality, have to do with this change. It is not as is commonly taught that the first (the Jews) shall be last and that the last (the Gentiles) shall be first, but “everyone that exalt himself shall be abased; and he that humble himself shall be exalted”. Mt. 18:3-4; 23:12; Lk. 14:11; 18:14

Many are called to God’s work, but few retain that temper of spirit, that humility and entire submission to God, which will, in the end, cause them to be rewarded. Often those who are first in time, opportunity, education, and length of preparation, are last in usefulness and success. Time is not the only element in service. The short life and work of Jesus is an outstanding example of this truth. These sayings apply to individual Jews and Gentiles, but never as a whole to either class.

I choose to humble myself and to have no wrong motives in service; God shall be glorified in all that I do!

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.  And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.  Mat. 18:23-34 KJV

This parable deals with the conduct of the members of the kingdom of Heaven in relation to one another. The purpose of the parable is to answer Peter’s question of verse 21, “How oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” Then He gave the illustration of the king and his servant to teach Peter that all members of the kingdom of Heaven must be merciful and forgiving or they would not be forgiven. “Seventy times seven” is 490 times a day, twenty times an hour or once every three minutes that we must forgive those who sin against us and ask our forgiveness. If the disciples said, “Lord, increase our faith,” when Christ told them that they would have to forgive their brother seven times a day, Lk. 17:3-5 what might they have said on this occasion when He told them they must forgive 490 times a day?

So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. Mat. 18:35 KJV

The story illustrates what God would do if a child of His would not from his heart forgive his brother. This verse is the sole truth being illustrated by the example of this particular king and his servant. Just as this king did not have mercy on his servant whom he had forgiven a debt of 10,000 talents ($19.2 million in silver – $290.85 million in gold), after the same servant would not forgive his fellow servant a debt of one hundred pence (about $17.00), so God will not have mercy on those in the kingdom of Heaven who will not forgive men from their hearts.

The application of this illustration is as follows:

  1. God cancels all the debt for penitent sinners as this king did for his servant Mt. 18:23-27,35; Mt. 12:31-32; 1Jn. 1:9
  2. God demands fair treatment between Christians Mt. 18:26-30,35; 5:38-48; 7:12; Rom. 12:9-21; 1Cor. 13
  3. God will not forgive unless man forgives his brother Mt. 18:35; 6:14-15; Mk. 11:25-26; Eph. 4:32
  4. All issues of sin and righteousness come “from the heart”. Mt. 15:18-19; Mk. 7:21-23; Acts 8:37; Rom. 10:6-10; 2Tim. 2:22; Heb. 4:12

I choose to forgive those who have wronged me so that I can always receive my Father’s forgiveness and be in right standing with God.

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  Mat. 6:14-15 KJV