Three Powerful Parables
The Mandates of Matthew 25 Page 1
Strangers and Pilgrims on the Earth Part II
From the Main Message of
Bread Upon The Waters Ministry
When Jesus had finished His Great Prophetic Discourse in Matthew 24: 1 - 44, He then began, in Matthew 24:45, to teach a series of Parables. They consist of an introductory Parable in Matthew 24: 45-51, not so well known, and the three Parables, all very well known, in Matthew 25. These Parables are clearly about being ready for the Second Coming. This is obvious from their context, and by the fact that they all end in something equivalent to Judgment Day and/or the Second Coming. The significance of this fact, however obvious, has often been overlooked by those who teach about them.
It must be understood that these are more than just Parables. They are prophecies about the fate of those who are ready as opposed to those who are not; showing the reasons why those who are ready are ready, and those who aren't are not. They therefore even tell us something about what will happen to Christians during the Tribulation.
Whereas, in the previous section, we showed that the admonition of Jesus to the Church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:18 - 20 is about basic spiritual disciplines, these Parables are about overt Christian behavior, behavior, in the second and third, that directly effects others, and the Church as a whole.. The requirements that Jesus laid down in these Parables are such that a Christian may be diligently practicing "The Three Switches" and yet not be ready because he has failed to obey these Mandates.
To Whom Do These Parables Apply?
One thing that must be understood about these Parables is that everyone discussed in them is a Christian. There are absolutely no references to the unsaved here. Both the Wise and Foolish Virgins are Christians. Remember, the Foolish Virgins were waiting for the Bridegroom and they did have lamps. In the Parable of the Talents, and in the Parable of the Faithful and Unfaithful Servants, the subjects were all, to begin with, the master's servants. The Talents were not given to strangers. The connection is not so obvious in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, but in ancient Israel, sheep and goats were considered different forms of the same animal. And did you ever notice that on Yom Kippur, in the Old Testament, a goat, not a lamb, was sacrificed for the sins of Israel? (See Leviticus 16.) Both the Sheep and the Goats at least consider themselves Christians. Therefore, all that is said here applies only to Christians. It is a total error to think of these Parables as comparing non-Christians to Christians, as some teachers and preachers do.
For all that the Parables in Matthew 25 are well known, they have been widely misunderstood. One major aspect of this problem, especially in the second and third Parables, is the failure to properly define key terms. A Christian who thinks he is being obedient can actually be engaged in serious disobedience if he does not know the proper definitions. What, for example, in the context of the Parable, is a "talent"? And who, exactly, was Jesus referring to with the term, "My brethren"? These are not trivial issues. For some Christians, properly defining these terms will mean the difference between being ready and not being ready. For others, it could even mean the difference between going to Heaven and going to Hell. In the following pages, these terms will be defined and applied by strict Biblical standards. There are also important points in the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins that have been overlooked by those who teach about them. What, in reality, are the Foolish Virgins locked out of? What is the significance of the fact that they were all asleep? These points will be addressed and applied.
The Introductory Parable
In Matthew 24:45-51, Jesus ends His famous Prophetic Discourse with a Parable that lays a foundation for the following three. This is The Parable of the Faithful and Unfaithful Servants. In this Parable, Jesus lays down major principles relevant to what will make a Christian ready and what will make a Christian not ready. One overwhelming principle is emphasized: The obedient are rewarded; the disobedient are punished. In fact, Jesus says that the Unfaithful Servant is cut in two. This is probably emphasis by exaggeration, a literary device Jesus often used. But whatever happens to the Unfaithful Servant, it absolutely is not good! As it applies to Christians who aren't ready, it definitely means that they will be hurting big time when the Tribulation begins. During the Tribulation, there will absolutely be a lot of "weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 24:51). And, unfortunately, it will be the Christians who weren't ready who are doing it!
The Unfaithful Servant
We will begin by looking at what caused the Unfaithful Servant not to be ready: First of all, he didn't think his master was coming anytime soon (Matthew 24:48). And because of that, he got very careless about obedience. This tells us that if we do not have the attitude of really expecting the Second Coming, we are likely to get careless with our obedience. This is in fact the situation with many Christians living today.
Then we find that the Unfaithful Servant started eating and drinking with drunkards. In other words, he was indulging in, that is, being friends with, the world. Relevant to this, the Scriptures warn us; "Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?" (James 4:4). He totally failed to "Come out from among them and be separate" (II Corinthians 6:17).
And one more thing: He beat his fellow servants. As it applies to our times, this refers to Christians abusing other Christians rather than loving them. This happens. See "Love One Another" and "Keeping My Brother's Money". This was the exact opposite of what he should have done.
The Faithful Servant
Now let's look at the Faithful Servant. It can be understood as a given that he did expect the master to return soon, and he lived that way. He was diligent about doing what he was supposed to do. And what was he supposed to do? This happens to be the most fundamental requirement of being ready. He was supposed to give his master's household their food in due season. Yet notice that this servant is "ruler" over the master's household! He is in a position of authority, but the exercise of that authority is in service. As it applies to us, in service to our fellow Christians. In other words, as far as overt obedience is concerned, being ready for the Second Coming is very much a matter of being a servant to, that is to say, ministering to, ones fellow Christians. And that, as we will see, as opposed to being a servant to anyone else. Real service to God is mainly service to our fellow Christians. And if we are not diligently doing so, our future will be with the Unfaithful Servant.
There is, however, an underlying condition that must be met before we can really obey this mandate. That condition will be discussed in the following page:
The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins
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Contact Author, William D. Brehm