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Calvin commenting at Matthew 25:31: The Son of man shall come in his glory

“ “Further, when the glorious Son of Humankind returns with all his angels, at that time he will sit down upon his glorious throne of judgment.” (Mt 25:31 mhm)

See Calvin_Bible 05094

Matthew 25:31. Now when the Son of man shall come in his glory.

Christ follows out the same doctrine, and what he formerly described under parables, he now explains clearly and without figures. The sum of what is said is, that believers, in order to encourage themselves to a holy and upright conduct, ought to contemplate with the eyes of faith the heavenly life, which, though it is now concealed, will at length be manifested at the last coming of Christ. For, when he declares that, when he shall come with the angels, then will he sit on the throne of his glory, he contrasts this last revelation with the disorders and agitations of earthly warfare; as if he had said, that he did not appear for the purpose of immediately setting up his kingdom, and therefore that there was need of hope and patience, lest the disciples might be discouraged by long delay. Hence we infer that this was again added, in order that the disciples, being freed from mistake about immediate and sudden happiness, might keep their minds in warfare till Christ’s second coming, and might not give way, or be discouraged, on account of his absence.

This is the reason why he says that he will then assume the title of King; for though he commenced his reign on the earth, and now sits at the right hand of the Father, so as to exercise the supreme government of heaven and earth; yet he has not yet erected before the eyes of men that throne, from which his divine majesty will be far more fully displayed than it now is at the last day; for that, of which we now obtain by faith nothing more than a taste, will then have its full effect. So then Christ now sits on his heavenly throne, as fir as it is necessary that he shall reign for restraining his enemies and protecting the Church; but then he will appear openly, to establish perfect order in heaven and earth, to crush his enemies under his feet, to assemble his believing people to partake of an everlasting and blessed life, to ascend his judgment-seat; and, in a word, there will be a visible manifestation of the reason why the kingdom was given to him by the Father. He says that he will come in his glory; because, while he dwelt in this world as a mortal man, he appeared in the despised form of a servant. And he calls it his glory, though he elsewhere ascribes it to his Father, but the meaning is the same; for he means simply the divine glory, which at that time shone in the Father only, for in himself it was concealed. {1 }

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{1 } “Pource qu’en Christ elle estoit cachee et ne se monstroit”;  — ” because in Christ it was concealed, and was not exhibited.”

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Preceding

Matthew 25:14-30 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Keep Busy until the Parousia

Matthew 25:31-46 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Judgment on the Realm of Heaven #1 Matthew 25:31-34

Calvin looking at Matthew 25:1-12: The kingdom of heaven and foolishness

Calvin commenting at Matthew 25:15: To every one according to his own ability

Calvin commenting at Matthew 25:20: And he who had received five talents

Calvin commenting at Matthew 25:24: A harsh man

Calvin commenting at Matthew 25:15: To every one according to his own ability

The kingdom is also like what happened when a man went away and put his three servants in charge of all he owned. The man knew what each servant could do. So he handed five thousand coins to the first servant, two thousand to the second, and one thousand to the third. Then he left the country.
(Mat 25:14-15 CEV)

“14  “For this may be compared to a Master about to go on a long journey, who called his slaves and handed over to them his possessions.15 To one slave he gave five talents, to another two, and to yet another, one talent–all according to their ability. Then he left on his trip abroad. (Mt 25:14-15 mhm)

See Calvin_Bible 05068

Matthew 25:15.

To every one according to his own ability. By this term Christ does not distinguish between natural gifts and the gifts of the Spirit; for we have neither power nor skill {1 } which ought not to be acknowledged as having been received from God; and, therefore, whoever shall determine to give God his share will leave nothing for himself.

What then is meant by saying, that the master of the house gives to each person more or less, according to his own ability?

It is because God, as he has assigned to every one his place, and has bestowed on him natural gifts, gives him also this or the other injunction, employs him in the management of affairs, raises him to various offices, furnishes him with abundant means of eminent usefulness, and presents to him the opportunity.

It is absurd, however, in the Papists to infer from this, that the gifts of God are conferred on every man according to the measure which he deserves. For, though the old translator, {2 } employed the word virtus, {3 } he did not mean that God bestows his gifts, according as men have acquitted themselves well, and obtained the praise of virtue, but only so far as the master of the house has judged them to be suitable. Now we know that no man is found by God to be suitable till He has made him so; and the Greek word δυναμις, ( power, ability,) which Christ employed, is free from all ambiguity.

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{1 } “Il n’y a ne puissance, ne industrie, ou dexterit”;  —  “there is neither power, nor industry, nor skill.”

{2 } “Le translateur Latin ancien”;  — ” the old Latin translator.”

{3 } An interpreter who was willing to twist a passage, so as to bring out of it any meaning that he chose, would find the vagueness of the Latin word virtus to be well suited to his purpose. Its derivation from vir, a man, shows that it originally signified manliness, from which it easily passed to denote courage, and, from the high estimation in which courage was held among warlike nations, became the general expression for moral excellence, out of which arose the application of it to other kinds of excellence, as in the phrase, virtutes orationis, the ornaments of style. Again, from denoting manly vigor it came naturally to denote ability; and it is undoubtedly in this sense, with which our English version accords, that rirtus is employed by the Vulgate in this passage.  —  Ed.

 

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Preceding

Calvin looking at Matthew 25:1-12: The kingdom of heaven and foolishness

Matthew 25:14-30 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Keep Busy until the Parousia

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 25:31-46 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Judgment on the Realm of Heaven #4 Matthew 25:41-46

Matthew 25:31-46 – Judgment on the Realm of Heaven

MT25:31 “Further,[1] when the glorious Son of Humankind returns[2] with all his angels,[3] at that time he will sit down upon his glorious throne [of judgment].[4] MT25:32 He will gather together right in front of him[5] all those from the nations[6] and he will separate these persons from each other[7] just as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.[8] [Ezekiel 34:17] MT25:33 He will make the sheep stand at his right-hand, but the goats at his left-hand.

MT25:34 “At that time the King will say to those on his right-hand: ‘Approach, those blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom[9] prepared for you from the world’s foundation.[10] MT25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.[11] [Isaiah 58:7] [I was] thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you took me in. MT25:36 [I was] ill-clad and you clothed me. I fell sick and you took care of me.[12] I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

MT25:37 “Then the righteous persons[13] will answer the King, asking, ‘Master, when did we see you hungry and feed you? Or, thirsty, and give you drink? MT25:38 Also, when did we see you a stranger and take you in? Or, ill-clad and clothed you? MT25:39 Or, when did we see you sick, or in prison, and went to visit you?’ MT25:40 And the King will answer them: ‘I tell you this truth: Depending on how much you did to a single one of my humblest brothers, you did it to me.’[14]

MT25:41 “Then the King will also speak to those persons on his left-hand: ‘Depart from me, those who are cursed into the everlasting fire[15] prepared for the Devil and his angels! MT25:42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing[16] to eat. And, I got thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. MT25:43 I was a stranger and you did not take me in; ill-clad and you gave me no clothes; sick and in prison, and you did not look after me.’ MT25:44 Then [the goats] will respond: ‘Master,[17] when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or ill-clad or sick or in prison – and refused to minister to you?’ MT25:45 At this the King will tell them: ‘I tell you this truth: Depending on how much you refused to do to a single one of my humblest brothers, you refused to do it to me.’ MT25:46 And these goats will depart into an everlasting pruning;[18] but the righteous into everlasting life.”

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[15] Cursed into the everlasting fire: Or, NEB: the curse is upon you; go from my sight. The imagery is from Gehenna which is called the second death in Revelation.

[16] Gave me nothing: This is the sin of omission. Read and prayerfully meditate on James 4:17.

“ Therefore, the one knowing how to do good and yet not doing it–it is a sin.” (Jas 4:17 mhm)

[17] Master: The goats recognize the King as their Lord. They were members of the realm of profession, the Church. Note also Matthew 7:21, 22.

“21  Not everyone saying to me, ‘Master, Master!’ will enter the Heavenly Realm but the one doing the will of my heavenly Father.22 Many will say to me in The Day: ‘Master, Master, did we not prophesy in your name? And, in your name cast out demons? And, in your name did many dynamic works?’ (Mt 7:21-22 mhm)

[18] Into an everlasting pruning: Or, KJV: everlasting punishment. The Greek is EIS KOLASIN AIONION. KOLASIN is a rare word usually translated torment or punishment. The word is rooted in Strong’s #2849 and means, “1) to lop or prune, as trees and wings; 2) to curb, check, restrain; 3) to chastise, correct, punishment; 4) to cause to be punished.” The essential idea is lopping off or removing from a tree. Compare this idea in Romans 11:22-24.

“22 Observe, then God’s kindness and pruning upon those Jews who fell; but upon you non-Jews God’s kindness if you continue in that kindness, otherwise you also will be pruned off. 23 But, if those of Israel do not continue in their unbelief they will be grafted in, for God is powerful enough to graft them in again. 24 For, if you–originating from a naturally wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree–how much more will these natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree.” (Ro 11:22-24 mhm)

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Preceding

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

Matthew 25:13 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Keep on the Watch

Matthew 25:14-30 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Keep Busy until the Parousia

Matthew 25:31-46 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Judgment on the Realm of Heaven #1 Matthew 25:31-34

Matthew 25:31-46 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Judgment on the Realm of Heaven #2 Matthew 25:34-36

Matthew 25:31-46 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Judgment on the Realm of Heaven #3 Matthew 25:37-40

Matthew 25:31-46 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Judgment on the Realm of Heaven #3 Matthew 25:37-40

Matthew 25:31-46 – Judgment on the Realm of Heaven

MT25:31 “Further,[1] when the glorious Son of Humankind returns[2] with all his angels,[3] at that time he will sit down upon his glorious throne [of judgment].[4] MT25:32 He will gather together right in front of him[5] all those from the nations[6] and he will separate these persons from each other[7] just as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.[8] [Ezekiel 34:17] MT25:33 He will make the sheep stand at his right-hand, but the goats at his left-hand.

MT25:34 “At that time the King will say to those on his right-hand: ‘Approach, those blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom[9] prepared for you from the world’s foundation.[10] MT25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.[11] [Isaiah 58:7] [I was] thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you took me in. MT25:36 [I was] ill-clad and you clothed me. I fell sick and you took care of me.[12] I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

MT25:37 “Then the righteous persons[13] will answer the King, asking, ‘Master, when did we see you hungry and feed you? Or, thirsty, and give you drink? MT25:38 Also, when did we see you a stranger and take you in? Or, ill-clad and clothed you? MT25:39 Or, when did we see you sick, or in prison, and went to visit you?’ MT25:40 And the King will answer them: ‘I tell you this truth: Depending on how much you did to a single one of my humblest brothers, you did it to me.’[14]

MT25:41 “Then the King will also speak to those persons on his left-hand: ‘Depart from me, those who are cursed into the everlasting fire[15] prepared for the Devil and his angels! MT25:42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing[16] to eat. And, I got thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. MT25:43 I was a stranger and you did not take me in; ill-clad and you gave me no clothes; sick and in prison, and you did not look after me.’ MT25:44 Then [the goats] will respond: ‘Master,[17] when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or ill-clad or sick or in prison – and refused to minister to you?’ MT25:45 At this the King will tell them: ‘I tell you this truth: Depending on how much you refused to do to a single one of my humblest brothers, you refused to do it to me.’ MT25:46 And these goats will depart into an everlasting pruning;[18] but the righteous into everlasting life.”

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[13] The righteous persons: These Christians are “righteous” because of their charity and hospitality.

[14] Depending on how much you did to a single one of my humblest brothers, you did it to me: Or, KJV: inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren; WEY: you rendered such services to one of the humblest; RIEU: my brothers, these little ones; NEB: my brothers here, however humble. Jesus does not have in mind corporate treatment of his Body but of a single one who seems the least. “Least” may be the elderly, the ill, the youngest, the least prominent. Note how the heavenly Nazarene says something similar to Saul on the Damascus road (Acts 9:4). It demonstrates that a “goat” may alter behavior and become a “sheep.” Note Ezekiel 34:17 and the judgment between sheep and rams.

“He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”” (Ac 9:4 NIV)

“”‘As for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats.” (Eze 34:17 NIV)

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Preceding

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

Matthew 25:13 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Keep on the Watch

Matthew 25:14-30 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Keep Busy until the Parousia

Matthew 25:31-46 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Judgment on the Realm of Heaven #1 Matthew 25:31-34

Matthew 25:31-46 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Judgment on the Realm of Heaven #2 Matthew 25:34-36

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