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 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 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

The Parable of the Scribe

Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old. Mat. 13:52 KJV

Christ, the householder, authorizes His disciples to be scribes and in this parable, the scribe is the individual follower of Christ, who is sufficiently instructed in the things of the kingdom of Heaven to have a treasure of knowledge of things both new and old. He is “like” an householder which has treasures both new and old to bring out for the benefit of those in need. This illustrates the mixture of old and new truths in the members of the kingdom of Heaven, which enables them to be ready for all emergencies in instructing others in the things of the kingdom of Heaven. Both old and new truths are good. Both are necessary and helpful if the disciple is to be a workman unto God, needing not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth in the realm of profession. Ministers must thoroughly understand truth and be able to disperse it abroad. “Things new and old” is a Jewish idiom of great plenty.

The Parable of the Net

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:  Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. Mat. 13:47-48 KJV

The net illustrates the kingdom of Heaven or realm of profession gathering both good and bad from the sea of humanity. The good and bad remain in the net until the end of the age, when they are separated. This parable shows that not all in the kingdom of Heaven will be converted, much less the whole world, as taught by many.

So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Mat. 13:49-50 KJV

The separation of the evil ones from the good ones takes place at the end of the age, as in the parable of the tares and the wheat. Mt. 13:30, 40, 43, 49-50 The destiny of both classes in both parables is the same.

The parable of the tares and wheat teaches a mixture of good and bad, as well as the purpose and origin of the bad, while this parable teaches that this mixture will continue until the end and that the enemy who caused the bad would be defeated and that the bad will be cast away. The main truth illustrated by this parable is the universal aspect of the sphere of profession. Wherever the net is cast it gathers both classes of people regardless of who they are or what they may be in life and conduct.

The Parable of the Pearl of Great Value

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:  Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. Mat 13:45-46 KJV

The kingdom of Heaven, is “like” a pearl, thus the “realm of profession,” which should always be understood in connection with things on Earth. The mystery of the kingdom of Heaven here is that of the true Church. The parable of the treasure exemplifies Israel in relation to the kingdom of Heaven. In that parable Israel is pictured with an earthly calling and hid in the world so that it had to be bought in order to get the treasure, but in this parable the pearl is bought without buying the world, for the calling of the Church is heavenly. The sons of God (the wheat) are the true children of the kingdom and make the present Church, but the sons of the devil (the tares), who profess to be children of the kingdom, are also in the “sphere of profession,” endeavoring to counteract God’s purpose in the kingdom. This parable emphasizes the fact that the Church is not the kingdom of Heaven. It is only a part of the kingdom of Heaven.

The man illustrates Christ, as in all the preceding parables. Mt. 13:3, 24, 37, 44 and the pearl illustrates the true Church that Christ gave all for in order to buy it and redeem it to Himself. Eph. 5:25-31  The great price illustrates the treasure of Heaven that God had to give in order to get the human race redeemed from the devil. Jn. 3:16; 6:51; 10:11, 18; 19:30; 1 Cor. 6:20; 1 Pet. 2:24; Rev. 5:6, 9; 12:11  Pearls are sometimes formed by the introduction of a foreign body, possibly a grain of sand, into the muscular structure of an oyster, which secretes a substance about the sand, layer after layer, until a beautiful pearl is formed. This is a wonderful picture of the gradual formation of the body of Christ. 1 Cor. 10:17; 12:12-28; Eph. 2:14-22; 4:11-16; 5:25-31

For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.  1Cor. 10:17 KJV

The Parable of the Hidden Treasure

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man has found, he hide, and for joy thereof go and sell all that he had, and buy that field. Mat. 13:44 KJV

The treasure illustrates Israel in the kingdom of Heaven, partaking in the kingdom or realm of profession in this age. She, Israel, is like a treasure Ps. 135:4; Ex. 19:5; Mal. 3:17 hidden or lying in the world in the sense that Israel’s testimony as witnesses for God is veiled, Rom. 9:111:29  lying dormant and failing to fulfill her calling. The field is the world as in all preceding parables. Mt. 13:38 The treasure was not in the world when the devil took possession of it. When Christ came to seek the treasure it was hidden in the world. The man is Christ Mt. 13:34,37 seeking the treasure. Jn. 1:11-12; Mt. 23:37-39 and joyfully gives His all to buy the field Jn. 11:51; Rom. 8:17-25; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 2 Pet. 2:1 to get the treasure and all else in the field. Php. 2:5-8; 2Cor. 8:9; Tit. 2:14; Heb. 12:1-2 The treasure, though found, Mt. 10:6; 15:24; 23:37-39; Acts 13:46 remains hidden in the world until Christ comes to take possession of it at His second coming. Rom. 11:25-29; Lk. 21:24; Lk. 1:32-33; Isa. 9:6-7 Then the treasure, as well as the field, will be His. Eph. 1:14; Rom. 11:25-28; Lk. 21:24; Rev. 19-20; Rom. 8:17-25 His joy in giving all for the field is experienced in view of the glorious restoration of all things and the treasure, Israel, exalted and made a blessing to all nations as originally planned. Heb. 12:2; Rom. 11; Lk. 1:32-35; Isa. 9:6-7

The Parable of the Leaven

Another parable spoke He unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. Mat. 13:33 KJV

The kingdom of Heaven here is “like” leaven (sour dough) that is always used in a bad sense in Scripture, as meal is in a good sense. Therefore, the common interpretation of leaven converting the world is the exact opposite of the true interpretation of the leaven corrupting the meal. Note the use of leaven in Scripture:

In the Old Testament leaven is used to portray the evil nature of the sinner: Exodus 12:8, 15-20; 34:25; Levitikus 2:11; 6:17; 10:12 These last three passages refer to leaven being forbidden in certain sacrifices. Only in one sacrifice was it used in Levitikus 7:12-13 and here it signifies that though the believer has made peace with God through the work of another (Christ), there are still human traits and selfishness in him which must be continually purged by growth in grace.

In the New Testament leaven is used in four ways: first, the leaven of the Pharisees which was external religion, legalism, and hypocrisy; Mt. 23:14-28; Lk. 12:1 second, the leaven of the Sadducees, which was skepticism as to the supernatural and the teachings of the Scriptures on resurrection, angels, and spirits; Mt. 22:23-39; Acts 23:8 third, the leaven of the Harridans, which was materialism, a mixture of religion and worldliness, a political religion; Mk. 8:15 fourth, the leaven of both Pharisees and Sadducees as to their evil doctrines and practices. Mt. 16:11-12; 23:14, 16, 23-28

This illustrates how the kingdom of heaven teachings and the program of God in this age would become corrupted by false doctrines and unscriptural programs until the whole is corrupted. Lk. 18:8; 1Tim. 4:1-8; 2Tim. 3:5; 4:3-4; 2Pet. 3:3-4  A woman is a common symbol of evil in the moral or religious sphere and when used figuratively in an evil sense ‘she’ represents wickedness, fallacy, uncleanness, and unfaithfulness, Lam. 1:17 harlotry, Ezek. 16:15,22,26,28-59; 23:1-49; 36:17; Hos. 1:2; 2:2-17; 3:1; Rev. 17 wickedness, Zech. 5:5-11; Rev. 17:5 and false religion. Rev. 17 Thus, in a bad ethical sense a woman always symbolizes something wrong or out of place religiously.  Zech. 5:7-8; Rev. 2:20; 17:1-18  When used in a good sense women represent Israel, cp Gen. 37:9-10 with Rev. 12; Ezek. 16 the two covenants, Gal. 4:21-31 and righteousness and purity. 2Cor. 11:2; Rev. 19:7-8 A meal symbolizes the Word of God. Mt. 4:4; Jn. 6:47-63 and the three hidden measures of the meal illustrates all false teachings, religious programs, and professed Christian lives that seek to hide behind the Word of God (Christ as the Bread of Life and the Word of God Mt. 4:4; Jn. 6:47-63; Jn. 1:1).

The parable illustrates how the kingdom of Heaven would become like leaven, which a woman uses to corrupt Christ and His teachings. Both Christ and the Word of God are being corrupted today by the false church and its teachings. These teachers dominate the realm of profession and use it to deceive people by exalting their own words above the Word of God and their own leaders above Christ; by making the people feel that their church is infallible and that obedience to it and its dogmas is better than obedience to civil governments and by many comparable doctrines contrary to the Bible, thus corrupting the truth through the realm of profession.

Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaven the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1Cor. 5:6-8 KJV