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

Matthew 25:14-30 – Keep Busy until the Parousia

MT25:14 “For this may be compared to a Master about to go on a long journey,[1] who called his slaves and handed over to them his possessions. MT25:15 To one slave he gave five talents,[2] to another two, and to yet another, one talent – all according to their ability.[3] Then he left on his trip abroad.[4] MT25:16 Immediately the slave with five talents put the money to work and gained five more. MT25:17 Similarly the slave with two gained another two talents. MT25:18 But, the slave with only the single talent went and dug a hole in the ground and hid the Master’s silver coin.

MT25:19 “Now after a long time[5] the Master of those slaves returned[6] and took up the [financial] logs.[7] MT25:20 First the slave with five talents approached and said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents; see here, I have gained five more.’ MT25:21 His Master told him, ‘Excellent, good and trustworthy slave.[8] You were faithful at something small, I will let you rule over larger matters.[9] Share your Master’s gladness.’[10] MT25:22 Also the slave given the two talents approached and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents; see, I have gained two more.’ MT25:23 His Master told him, ‘Excellent, good and trustworthy slave. You were faithful over something small, I will let you rule over larger matters. Share your Master’s gladness.’

MT25:24 “Finally, the slave given the one talent approached and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a difficult person.[11] You reaped where you did not sow and you gathered [grain] you have never scattered. MT25:25 Because I was afraid of you I went and hid your talent in the ground. See, here, I am returning what is yours.’ MT25:26 Now his Master responded to him and said, ‘Evil and lazy slave,[12] you were aware that I reaped where I did not plant and I gathered in where I had not scattered seed. MT25:27 At least it was a necessity that you deposit my silver coins with the bankers. Then upon my arrival I take what is mine with interest.’[13]

MT25:28 “‘So, take the talent from him and give it to the slave with the ten talents. MT25:29 Because [the trustworthy and responsible] person will be given even more bountifully.[14] On the other hand, [the irresponsible and lazy] person will be deprived of even what he might have possessed. MT25:30 Throw this useless slave into the darkness outside.[15] There will be great lamentation and grinding of teeth.’”

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[1] A Master about to go on a long journey: The Master is Jesus about ready to leave earth and ascend to heaven. Compare Luke 19:12.

“ Then Jesus said: “A certain man of noble birth traveled to a distant land to receive for himself a kingdom and then to return.” (Lu 19:12 mhm)

[2] Five talents: Or, NEB: five bags of gold; WMS: five thousand dollars; NOR: three thousand pounds; BECK: $10,000.

[3] Their ability: Or, RHM: each according to his particular ability; NEB: each according to his capacity; BAS: everyone as he was able.

[4] Then he left on his trip abroad: Or, NEB: left the country; WMS: started on his long journey.

[5] After a long time: No one could have predicted how “long a time” this was to be. See notes on Daniel 7 elsewhere for the prophetic horizon.

[6] The Master of those slaves returned: The Greek is ERCHETAI and is a virtual synonym for PAROUSIA. The “lord” left and was absent while his slaves worked (or did not work) and when he returns he becomes present again. This parousia begins with judgment of the house and the accounts of each slave.

[7] Took up the [financial] logs: The Greek is LOGON and this is the record of the slaves’ activity. Or, RSV: settled accounts with them. Regarding the parousia-judgment research judgment and such texts as Matthew 12:36, 2 Corinthians 5:10, 1 John 2:28.

“ But I tell you that every fruitless word human’s speak will be held to account on Judgment Day.” (Mt 12:36 mhm)

“ For it is necessary that all of us appear in front of the judgment-seat of the Christ, so that we might receive what we deserve for those things performed by means of the body, whether these things be good or vile. (2Co 5:10 mhm)

“ And now, little children, continue to remain in him so that whenever he is made visible we might be free-spoken in his Presence and not be humiliated when in front of him.” (1Jo 2:28 mhm)

[8] Excellent, good and trustworthy slave: Or, GDSP: my excellent, faithful slave; PME: you are a sound, reliable servant.

[9] I will let you rule over larger matters: Or, KJV: make thee ruler over many things; RSV: I will set you over much; NEB: put you in charge of something big; NOR: entrust many things to your care.

[10] Share your Master’s gladness: Or, KJV: enter thou into the joy of thy lord; TCNT: come and share your master’s joy; NEB: your master’s delight; MOF: your master’s feast; BECK: be happy with your master. Note the reward for the two is the same.

[11] A difficult person: Or, KJV: a hard man; WEY: a severe man; NOR: a tight-fisted man. Few would view Jesus as “hard” or “severe.” On the one hand this is the view of the wicked slave; on the other it is good to realize the Lord has two sides – one he shows to the faithful and one he shows to the wicked.

[12] Evil and lazy slave: Or, KJV: wicked and slothful; RHM: wicked servant and cowardly; NEB: you lazy rascal; TCNT: you lazy, worthless servant. This is the slave in love with the inspiration of Jesus but hating the work of Jesus.

[13] What is mine with interest: What has our Lord given us to do business with? How do we increase these? Surely it is more than a pleasing personality having memorized inspirational verses? Do we see in our Lord an example of increasing his Master’s possessions?

[14] [The trustworthy and responsible] person will be given even more bountifully: Or, TCNT: for, to him who has, more will be given; RIEU: for in every case more shall be given to the man who has.

[15] The darkness outside: That judgment described at Daniel 12:2 and Matthew 25:46.

“Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Da 12:2 NIV)

“”Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”” (Mt 25:46 NIV)

“ And these goats will depart into an everlasting pruning; but the righteous into everlasting life.”” (Mt 25:46 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 24:3 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Desolation, Oppression and the Parousia – The Apostles’ Question

Matthew 24:3 – The Apostles’ Question

|| Mark 13:3, 4; Luke 21:7

MT24:3 But, while sitting on the Mount of Olives the disciples came to him in a private spot, asking: “Tell us, when will this occur?[1] {MK13:4 and the sign when all this will be fulfilled?[2]} And, what will be the sign[3] of your Arrival[4] [Daniel 7:22; 12:2] and the complete end[5] of the Age?”[6] [Daniel 9:26, 27] {LK21:7 “When will this all occur?”[7]}

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[1] When will this occur: These questions are a compound from all three of the Gospels. When only the Book of Matthew is relied upon some have drawn a different conclusion. We feel it more accurate to include elements from all three witnesses. Do these Jewish disciples of the Nazarene have in mind the Temple? Perhaps they assume the shocking prediction of the Temple’s destruction means the Return of the Messiah in his foretold royal Presence? Their question cannot come from a clear understanding when they did not comprehend much simpler matters regarding the Messiah. If one argues their question in Matthew 24:3 was inspired then it needs to be explained why Mark and Luke omit this part. Just before the ascension of Christ these same men asked: ‘Are you restoring the Kingdom of Israel now?’ (Acts 1:6) Godly men have asked the question “When?” for thousands of years (Psalm 90:13; Habakkuk 1:2).

[2] Fulfilled: In Mark’s Gospel the Greek word SYNTELEISTHAI is used which means “fulfilled” and is similar to Matthew’s SYNTELEIAS (with + end) which means “ending together” or “conclusion.” When we say this we understand that Matthew originally wrote in Hebrew and later translated it into Greek, thus the Nazarene or his disciples never uttered the actual Greek word SYNTELEIAS. It is likely Matthew translates the Hebrew (or, Aramaic) kalah; (see Strong’s #3617) which means “completion, completely destroyed.” The word chosen by Matthew for this Hebrew was SYNTELEIAS.

[3] Sign: This is the Greek SEMEION which occurs again at Matthew 24:30. Note it also occurs in the Jewish Greek Septuagint (LXX) of the Second or Third Century BCE at Daniel 9:27 (SYNTELEIAS).

[4] Arrival: This is the Greek PAROUSIA and means “arrival” or a royal visit (See Thayer’s or Vine’s). Strong’s #3952, “advent, return, coming, presence.” It is only used in one of the Gospels, Matthew. Paul uses it with reference to the return of Christ at 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 9. Jesus had never been recorded using this word by Matthew as the Greek translator. It is believed the Nazarene spoke Hebrew (with certain Aramaic loan words) and so it is possible he used a word like athah; (Strong’s #857, #858, meaning “arrive”) from Daniel 7:13, 22. In the other two Gospels dealing with this subject “the end” of Jerusalem’s Temple, other synonyms are used instead of PAROUSIA: Mark 13:26 ERCHOMENON; Mark 13:35 ERCHETAI (= coming), and, Mark 13:36 ELTHON (= arrive). Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines PAROUSIA (Strong’s #3952) as “the coming, arrival, advent… the future, visible return from heaven of Jesus.” The Dictionary of New Testament Theology (DNTT), volume 2, page 898, explains: “Technically the noun is used for the arrival of a ruler or king… The idea of parousia now becomes bound up with the church’s expectations of Christ’s appearing.”

[5] Complete end: Here the Greek is a heightened form of TELOS (= end), SYNTELEIAS (= with + end). The disciples likely assumed that the destruction of the Temple meant the Return (Presence) or Arrival of Christ and therefore “the end of the world” as they knew it. The Greek translator of Matthew (likely Matthew himself) puts the word SYNTELEIAS in the disciples’ mouth. This is a word that only occurred once before in the Nazarene’s parable of wheat and tares at Matthew 13:40. However, note this word occurs in the Jewish Greek Bible (LXX) at Daniel 9:27 in the context of Jerusalem’s foretold ‘desolation.’ Compare also Hebrews 9:26 where SYNTELEIA is used with regard to the First Coming of Christ in the “last days” of the Jewish Age (Hebrews 1:1; Acts 2:17; Jude 18; 1 Corinthians 10:11). Judging from Jesus’ admission that he does not ‘know the day and hour’ (Matthew 24:36) there is no way the Nazarene could tell his disciples about the date of “the complete end” or SYNTELEIAS.

[6] Age: This is the Greek AIONOS which is corrupted into English by aeon or eon. Though in certain contexts the old English word “world” might be correctly understood, it is often misleading for it gives the idea the earth and all life on it is to end. However, the word “Age” conveys a certain period of time during which certain contemporaries live, such as the Age of the Dinosaurs or the Atomic Age. The King James translators did use AION (Strong’s #165 1074) as “ages” in Ephesians 2:7 and Colossians 1:26 so they were fully aware of its real meaning. The implication of “world” might be misleading.

[7] When will this all occur: Can anyone argue that the disciples did not have in mind the Temple and its destruction?

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Preceding

Matthew 13:47-50 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Dragnet

Matthew 24 about temples or Houses of God and the end of the age

Matthew 24:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Desolation, Oppression and the Parousia – The Setting

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