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Calvin looking at c1-12: The kingdom of heaven and foolishness

Then shall the kingdom of heaven.

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

The kingdom of heaven is like what happened one night when ten girls took their oil lamps and went to a wedding to meet the groom.
(Mat 25:1 CEV)

By this term is meant the condition of the future Church, which was to be collected by the authority and direction of Christ. He employs this remarkable title, that believers may not deceive themselves by an erroneous opinion that they have arrived at absolute perfection.

The parable is borrowed from the ordinary custom of life; for it was a childish speculation of Jerome and others, to adduce this passage in praise of virginity; while Christ had no other object in view than to lessen the uneasiness which they might be apt to feel in consequence of the delay of his coming. He says, therefore, that he asks nothing more from us than is usually done for friends at a marriage-feast. The custom was, that virgins, who are tender and delicate — should, by way of respect, accompany the bridegroom to his chamber. But the general instruction of the parable consists in this, that it is not enough to have been once ready and prepared for the discharge of duty, if we do not persevere to the end.

Five were wise.

Five of the girls were foolish and five were wise.
(Mat 25:2 CEV)

Towards the close of the former chapter, our Lord specially required steward to be wise, (Mt 24:45) for it is reasonable, that the heavier the charge which any man sustains, and the more important the matters in which he is employed, the wisdom with which he conducts himself should be the greater. But now he demands wisdom from all the children of God in general, that they may not, through inconsiderate rashness, expose themselves to be the prey of Satan. Now this kind of wisdom he describes by saying, that they are to provide themselves with the supplies necessary for completing the course of their life. For the warmth of our impatience makes us look upon the time, however short, as far too long protracted; and next, our poverty is such, that we need supplies for every hour.

Drowsy girls who fell asleep

The groom was late arriving, and the girls became drowsy and fell asleep.
(Mat 25:5 CEV)

And while the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. Some interpret this slumbering in a bad sense, as if believers, along with others, abandoned themselves to sloth, and were asleep amidst the vanities of the world; but this is altogether inconsistent with the intention of Christ, and with the structure of the parable. There would be greater probability in explaining it to denote death, which overtakes believers before the coming of Christ; for it is not at that time only that we must look for salvation, but also when we have left the world and are sleeping in Christ. (Ed. note: Note how Calvin is talking about “sleeping in Christ” and also does not seem to believe some separate being or soul would go straight to heaven or hell. Here he gives the impression he also believes it is only later that the living and the dead will be called in front of the judgement seat of Christ.  See “A Cry arose”))

But I take it more simply as denoting earthly occupations, in which believers must be engaged, so long as they dwell in the body; and, though forgetfulness of the kingdom of God ought never to steal upon them, yet the distracting influence of the occupations of this world is not inappropriately compared to sleep. For they cannot be so constantly occupied with the thought of meeting Christ, as not to be distracted, or retarded, or entangled by a variety of cares, in consequence of which, while they watch, they are partly asleep.

A cry arose

Then in the middle of the night someone shouted, “Here’s the groom! Come to meet him!”
(Mat 25:6 CEV)

At midnight a cry arose. With respect to the cry I view it as taken metaphorically for his sudden arrival; for we know, that when any thing new and unexpected happens, men are wont to make a loud noise. True, indeed, our Lord cries daily, that he will come quickly,(Re 22:20); but at that, time, the whole frame of the world will resound with the cry, and his dreadful majesty will fill heaven and earth in such a manner, as not only to awaken those who are asleep, but to bring the dead out of their graves, (Joh 5:28).

Late repentance

the foolish ones said to the others, “Let us have some of your oil! Our lamps are going out.”
(Mat 25:8 CEV)

And the foolish said to the wise. This is a reproof of the late repentance of those who never think of what they are in want of, till the door is shut against every remedy.

For those who do not make provision for a long period are charged with folly, because they are careless, and flatter themselves amidst their poverty, and allow the season of mutual intercourse to pass in such a way as to despise the aids which were offered to them. As they do not, in proper time, bethink themselves about procuring oil, Christ, mocking the knowledge which they have acquired when it is too late, shows how their stupidity will be punished, when they shall see themselves to be empty and unprovided, while there is no remedy.

Distributed gifts

the foolish ones said to the others, “Let us have some of your oil! Our lamps are going out.” The girls who were wise answered, “There’s not enough oil for all of us! Go and buy some for yourselves.”
(Mat 25:8-9 CEV)

Lest there be not enough for you and us.

We know that the Lord distributes his gifts so variously to each, according to his measure, in order that they may give mutual aid to each other, and may employ for the general advantage what has been entrusted to each individual; and that in this way is preserved the sacred connection which exists among the members of the Church. But Christ here points out the time when he shall summon all men to his tribunal, each carrying his bundle, that he may bring with him according as he has done in his body. That portion of grace received, which every man has laid up for himself, is, therefore, justly compared to a stock of provisions for a journey, which would not be enough for a greater number of persons.

But rather go to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

These words immediately follow, and are not intended as an admonition, but a reproof; and the meaning is:

“There once was a time for buying, which you ought not to have neglected; for oil was at that time offered for sale, but the means of obtaining it are now withdrawn.”

And yet it is foolish in the Papists to infer from this, that by our own virtues or industry we obtain the gift of perseverance. For the word buy does not at all imply that a price has been given; as appears clearly from the passage in Isaiah, (55:1) where the Lord, while he invites us to buy, demands no price, but informs us, that he has wine and milk in abundance, to be gratuitously bestowed. There is no other way of obtaining it, therefore, but to receive by faith what is offered to us.

The door was shut.

While the foolish girls were on their way to get some oil, the groom arrived. The girls who were ready went into the wedding, and the doors were closed.
(Mat 25:10 CEV)

At length it follows that the door of the heavenly kingdom will be shut against all who have not made provision, because they failed in the middle of the course. We must not enter here into minute inquiries, how it is that Christ says that the foolish virgins went to buy for it means nothing else than that all who shall not be ready at the very moment when they shall be called will be shut out from entering into heaven.

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Preceding

Matthew 24:42-51 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Stay Awake!

Matthew 25 Jesus ministry drawing to its dramatic conclusion and warning to be ready

Matthew 25:1-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Judgment by the King and Ten Virgins

Making sure to be ready and to belong to the escaped ones

Matthew 25 Jesus ministry drawing to its dramatic conclusion and warning to be ready

Jesus Christ had only a very short time of public life. In those three years of walking and preaching around, he admonished the people to follow the good doctrine, not the evil examples, of the Scribes and Pharisees. They really got annoyed by that rabbi which seemed to know more than them. In Matthew 23 we could see how he denounced eight woes against their hypocrisy and blindness. The Scribes and Pharisees bind heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. Jesus demands people to live or behave according to the scriptures which means each human being should live according to and with blessings, outlined in the Eight Beatitudes. Now his last declaration was a series of Eight Judgments (‘Woes‘).

Matthew affirms that the message Jesus brings is initially spoken to “the multitudes and to his disciples”. When we want to be a disciple of Christ Jesus, we do have to listen to him and to follow his words. We should not be Pharisaic and tell others what to do, whilst we ourselves would ignore those words of Christ.

Wanting to be a follower of Christ we should be aware that he is the sent one of God who prepared the way to God. But when we as servants are not prepared for his return, we shall get in trouble, because then we shall miss the opportunity to enter his house or shall not be able to enter the Kingdom of Christ nor the Kingdom of God.

The return of the Messiah is going to produce a thorough disentanglement. We have already seen this in the parables of the wheat and the tares, and that of the net cast into the sea, in Matthew 13, and again in the verses we have just considered at the close of Matthew 24. The same great fact meets us again in this fresh similitude of the kingdom of heaven spoken of in chapter 25.

The point all through chapter 25 is the way in which the coming of the Lord will make a complete separation between those who really are his and those who are not. In these parables, we see the separation made between real and spurious in the sphere of profession, and the seal of the Spirit is only possessed by those truly Christ’s. In the world, we can find lots of people who say they are “Christian“, but who adhere to another Christ than the apostles. The apostles did know very well their master. They also worshipped the same God as Jesus Christ. Jesus never prayed to himself or never asked others to praise him for what happened to them. Always, Jesus asked to go to the temple to thank God and to pray to God, with the words

Our Father, Who are in heaven”.

Lots of so-called Christians are not really living as if it would be their last day on earth, nor as if Jesus would be coming back to earth now or tomorrow. They think they still have lots of time to chose or change their character. It can well be that they would be very surprised when that return would be there sooner than they think. More people then shall see,  the shutting of the door sealed the rejection of the false. The foolish do not represent backsliders who once knew the Lord and were known of him. The word is not

“I once knew you, but now disown you,”

but rather,

“I know you not.”

Now the Lord knows those who are his, but these are strangers to him.

In this 25th chapter of Matthew Jesus concludes his parabolic utterances with developing parables of the virgins (vv 1-13), the tradesmen (vv 14-30), and the flock (vv 31-46). It was to be his last exposition before he shared with them the Passover memorial (Mat 26:1-75).

The parable of the virgins taught the need for personal preparation; that of the tradesmen the need for personal effort, and that of the flock the need to prepare for the judgment.

Those parables are still of great importance for us, because they serve as a warning. A warning to be prepared.

In hearing

“You also prove yourselves ready because in an hour you are not expecting the Son of Humankind is coming.” (Mt 24:44 mhm)

we encounter many who will say,

“Yeah, I’ve been hearing that for years.”

However, Jesus is instructing various believers around the world to announce to his church, his Bride, that he is coming very soon.

Furthermore, Jesus gives an indication it is not just alright to say you believe in him or follow him. One must prove that there is such faith in him and in his heavenly Father. Lots of Christians do not want to work for their faith, but we need to labour for the Truth, and to be faithful in all our commitments, so that the talent of time, energy, and opportunity might be expended for the future. Faith without works is dead.

Lots of people who call themselves Christian, worship another God than Christ (namely the Trinity) and live as if nothing is at hand, following their own lusts. They are living their lives chasing their own desires, their own wants and needs, instead of spending their time, serving Jesus and his God and the needs of their kingdom. Those people should know that there will be a severe penalty to pay. There are churches who teach

“once saved, always saved,”

and that one can never lose one’s salvation, regardless of how one lives his or her life. However, this doctrine totally ignores this warning.

“50 the Master will arrive in that day he is not expecting and in an hour he is not knowing 51 and the Master will cut him asunder and give him his part with the hypocrites. There will be weeping and grinding of teeth!” (Mt 24:50-51 mhm)

“All of you continue to work, not for the food that perishes, but rather for the Food that remains unto endless Life–which the Son of Humankind will give you–for the Father, The God, has sealed this person.”” (Joh 6:27 mhm)

“It is a necessity to continue to work the works of the One who sent me while it is day. The night is coming when no one will be able to work.” (Joh 9:4 mhm)

“However, the payment is not credited to the one working as if it were charity, but as a debt.” (Ro 4:4 mhm)

“Give them an abundance of loving consideration because of their work. All of you remain peaceable with one another.” (1Th 5:13 mhm)

“Therefore, just as the body without breath is dead, so also, conviction without works is dead.” (Jas 2:26 mhm)

We also should know that whatever we do should be worthy of Christ.

We need to recognise the basis of judgment:

that of displaying the principles of God manifestation to our brethren: of upholding the divine elements, and of manifesting the characteristics of Jehovah God to those we might be privileged to assist. Then we will hear the glad tidings at the judgment seat of the King:

‘Inasmuch as ye did it to one of the least, ye did it to me.’

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Preceding

The Nazarene master teacher learning people how they should behave

Matthew 7:13-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #5 Matthew 7:28-29 – The Crowd’s Reaction

Matthew 16:5-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Watch Out for the Leaven of False Teaching

Matthew 23 – A Jeremiad against the religious hypocrites

Matthew 23:13-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Woe 1: Shutting Up the Kingdom

Matthew 23:27-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Woe 6: Whitewashed Graves

Matthew 24:15-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Sign 1: Encamped Armies. The Sign Great Oppression Is Near

Matthew 24:29-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer Part Two – Sign 2: The Parousia. A Sign after the Great Oppression

Matthew 24:36-41 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: About That Day and Hour

Matthew 24:42-51 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Stay Awake!

Left in the dark or being in the dark seeing light

Making sure to be ready and to belong to the escaped ones

When Belonging to the escaped ones gathering in Jesus name

Next: Matthew 25:1-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Judgment by the King and Ten Virgins

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Additional reading

  1. Dealing with worries in our lives
  2. Hearing words to accept
  3. Believing what Jesus says
  4. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  5. Entrance of a king to question our position #2 Who do we want to see and to be
  6. Salvation, trust and action in Jesus #2 What you must do
  7. You know neither the day nor the hour
  8. To be prepared and very well oiled

Matthew 23:13-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Woe 1: Shutting Up the Kingdom

Matthew 23:13-14 – Woe 1: Shutting Up the Kingdom

|| Luke 11:52

MT23:13 “WOE to you hypocritical Scribes and Pharisees, because right in front of people[1] you are closing the door to the Realm of Heaven.[2] You do not enter and you prevent those who might from entering.[3] MT23:14 [[Woe to you hypocritical Scribes and Pharisees, for you devour the houses of widows and for a pretence you make long prayers. This is why you will receive a heavier judgment.]][4]

*

Woe

[1] Right in front of people: [Or, you slam the door in men’s faces] Or, GDSP: you lock the doors of the Kingdom of Heaven in men’s faces.

[2] Closing the door to the Realm of Heaven: We have seen elsewhere in Matthew that the Realm of Heaven is the domain over which Christ rules; that is, Christendom – the Church. The Jewish religious hierarchy opposed the Jesus movement and acted as a restraint in preventing many persons from gaining membership in the congregation Jesus was building. There are modern movements who teach that lesser persons do not attain heaven, but live on earth forever**. These actually teach that opportunity to enter heaven closed.

[3] You do not enter and you prevent those who might from entering: Or, BECK: you won’t come into it yourself, and when others try to come in, you won’t let them. They do not follow the Nazarene and any who try they threaten with excommunication (See John 9:22; 16:2).

[4] [[…]]: Most recognize this verse does not have ancient support and is not supported by the older manuscripts.

**

Many philosophers and preachers talk about some sort of incarnation, where the person keeps returning on earth, each time in another form. Though all should know there is no such incarnation and not every body is going to go to heaven after death. God’s Kingdom shall be on earth as it is in heaven.

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Preceding

Matthew 23:1-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Prominence and Humility

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Related literature

  1. The Good & Bad of the Pharisees
  2. Hypocrisy & Judgmentalism – Two Unmistakable Marks Of Narcissism – Part 1
  3. Strength and Authority
  4. Leadership and Titles– Part I
  5. Woe unto you…..
  6. “But woe unto you, religious elites (scribes and Pharisees), hypocrites! You shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer you them that are entering to go in.” ~Jesus
  7. Judgement

Matthew 22:14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Many Invited – Few Chosen

Matthew 22:14 – Many Invited – Few Chosen

MT22:14 “For many are invited[1] but few chosen.”[2]

*

[1] Many are invited: The Greek is KLETOI and is rendered by either “invited” or “called.” We can say with a surety that this “many” includes millions of Jews who as a nation had the promise of Exodus 19:6.

[2] Few chosen: The Greek is EKLEKTOI from which comes “elected.” The phrase may be: “many called but few elected.” Research the word chosen as a common term used for disciples of the Nazarene. Compare Revelation 17:14. See notes on Matthew 7:14 and read Luke 13:23. It is one thing to be “invited” and it is another to be finally “chosen.” As Jesus’ parable at Matthew 13:3-9 shows there are many who hear the invitation but do not last. Compare 1 John 2:19.

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Preceding

Matthew 22:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of Invitation to a Marriage

Matthew 22:7-10 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Invitations after City’s Destruction

Matthew 22:11-13 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: King’s Inspection and Marriage Garments

intent

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Additional reading

  1. Memorizing wonderfully 31 Son of David and God’s Kingdom
  2. Not about personal salvation but about a bigger Plan
  3. Songs of Moses and the servants of God
  4. What is the Kingdom of God?
  5. Colour-blindness and road code
  6. Do those who want to follow Christ to be Jews
  7. Living stones 5 Abraham’s seed and gentiles
  8. The revival of Israel
  9. Redemption #9 Only way
  10. Memorizing wonderfully 67: Galatians 3:29 Heirs according to promise.
  11. Jerusalem and a son’s kingdom

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Related articles

  1. Sanctification Isn’t An Event, It’s A Process (a really, really long process)
  2. #Abundance of Invitation Seeds: #Lent #Liturgy & #Prayer Resource March 24
  3. Many are called
  4. The “chosen” people – Marilyn Armstrong
  5. Salvation to the Jews

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