For an introduction to this series, click here.
Jan. 8, 2007
Anyway this chapter basically consists of three very familiar passages: the 10 virgins, the talents and the sheep and goats judgment. The point of the parables is that we need to be watchfully busy until the Lord returns.
The parable of the virgins is very simple. There were five who brought oil in their lamps, and there were five who did not. When the groom came, the five foolish virgins had to scramble to find some oil, and when they finally got some, the door to the wedding was locked. It's always dangerous to make a parable say more than what the obvious simple point is, so it is not wise to say, for example, that Jesus is saying that half of the professing church is not truly born again. I've heard preachers and teachers say that exact thing, and maybe you have heard that or something similar. That's just conjecture and not sound interpretation. What it simply means is that there will be many who claim to be followers of God who will not be ready when Jesus returns to set up His kingdom, and they will be shocked to find themselves on the outside looking in. That should be kind of obvious, but some folks get all excited about "hidden meanings" in the text and ignore the obvious point Jesus was making.
The second parable, the talents, has more direct application for us. A man gave one servant five talents, another two and another one. A talent was a large amount of money, more than $100,000 in our terms.
I shouldn't say anything, but it is terribly ironic that the Ohio St. band is playing the song from "Titanic" right now during the halftime show. I guess they think the Buckeyes are a sinking ship.
The ones who got five and two doubled their money through investments. The man who got one buried his money so he wouldn't lose it. God has given us all responsibilities. If we waste the ones God gives us, we will suffer loss.
Then we have the judgment of the nations. This is the judgment of the sheep and the goats. The sheep are welcomed into the Kingdom because they helped "the least of these my brothers." I believe the sheep and the goats is are the righteous and unrighteous Gentile survivors of the Tribulation. I could be completely wrong, but that's the interpretation that makes the most sense to me. During the Tribulation the Jews will be persecuted to the end of the earth by the Antichrist. Those who helped protect and serve them - clothe and feed them, visit them in prison, etc. - will enter Christ's millennial kingdom as mortals along with the surviving Jews.
As I said yesterday, I try not to make a big deal about interpretation of prophecy. But we are here in Matthew 25 and I try to have a take on it. If it doesn't happen that way, it won't shake my confidence in God the least bit.