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Matthew Henry’s commentary on Matthew 25

INTRODUCTION TO MATTHEW CHAPTER 25

This chapter continues and concludes our Saviour’s discourse, which began in the foregoing chapter, concerning his second coming and the end of the world. This was his farewell sermon of caution, as that, #Joh 14:15,16, was of comfort to his disciples; and they had need of both in a world of so much temptation and trouble as this is. The application of that discourse, was, Watch therefore, and be ye also ready.

Now, in prosecution of these serious awakening cautions, in this chapter we have three parables, the scope of which is the same — to quicken us all with the utmost care and diligence to get ready for Christ’s second coming, which, in all his farewells to his church, mention was made of, as in that before he died (#Joh 14:2), in that at his ascension (#Ac 1:11), and in that at the shutting up of the canon of the scriptures, #Re 22:20. Now it concerns us to prepare for Christ’s coming;

I. That we may then be ready to attend upon him; and this is shown in the parable of the ten virgins, #Mt 25:1-13.

II. That we may then be ready to give up our account to him; and this is shown in the parable of the three servants, #Mt 25:14-30.

III. That we may then be ready to receive from him our final sentence, and that it may be to eternal life; and this is shown in a more plain description of the process of the last judgment, #Mt 25:31-46. These are things of awful consideration, because of everlasting concern to every one of us.

Ver. 1. thru Ver. 13.

Here,

I. That in general which is to be illustrated is, the kingdom of heaven, the state of things under the gospel, the external kingdom of Christ, and the administration and success of it. Some of Christ’s parables had shown us what it is like now in the present reception of it, as Matthew 13. This tells us what it shall be like, when the mystery of God shall be finished, and that kingdom delivered up to the Father. The administration of Christ’s government, towards the ready and the unready in the great day, may be illustrated by this similitude; or the kingdom is put for the subjects of the kingdom. The professors of Christianity shall then be likened to these ten virgins, and shall be thus distinguished.

II. That by which it is illustrated, is, a marriage solemnity. It was a custom sometimes used among the Jews on that occasion, that the bridegroom came, attended with his friends, late in the night, to the house of the bride, where she expected him, attended with her brides-maids; who, upon notice given of the bridegrooms’ approach, were to go out with lamps in their hands, to light him into the house with ceremony and formality, in order to the celebrating of the nuptials with great mirth. And some think that on these occasions they had usually ten virgins; for the Jews never held a synagogue, circumcised, kept the passover, or contracted marriage, but ten persons at least were present. Boaz, when he married Ruth, had ten witnesses, #Ru 4:2. Now in this parable,

1. The Bridegroom is our Lord Jesus Christ; he is so represented in the 45th Psalm, Solomon’s Song, and often in the New Testament. It bespeaks his singular and superlative love to, and his faithful and inviolable covenant with, his spouse the church. Believers are now betrothed to Christ (#Ho 2:19); but the solemnizing of the marriage is reserved for the great day, when the bride, the Lamb’s wife, will have made herself completely ready, #Re 19:7,9.

2. The virgins are the professors of religion, members of the church; but here represented as her companions (#Ps 45:14), as elsewhere her children (#Isa 54:1), her ornaments, #Isa 49:18. They that follow the Lamb, are said to be virgins (#Re 14:4); this denotes their beauty and purity; they are to be presented as chaste virgins to Christ, #2Co 11:2. The bridegroom is a king; so these virgins are maids of honour, virgins without number (#So 6:8), yet here said to be ten.

3. The office of these virgins is to meet the bridegroom, which is as much their happiness as their duty. They come to wait upon the bridegroom when he appears, and in the mean time to wait for him. See here the nature of Christianity. As Christians, we profess ourselves to be,

(1.) Attendants upon Christ, to do him honour, as the glorious Bridegroom, to be to him for a name and a praise, especially then when he shall come to be glorified in his saints. We must follow him as honorary servants do their masters, #Joh 12:26. Hold up the name, and hold forth the praise of the exalted Jesus; this is our business.

(2.) Expectants of Christ, and of his second coming. As Christians, we profess, not only to believe and look for, but to love and long for, the appearing of Christ, and to act in our whole conversation with a regard to it. The second coming of Christ is the centre in which all the lines of our religion meet, and to which the whole of the divine life hath a constant reference and tendency.

4. Their chief concern is to have lights in their hands, when they attend the bridegroom, thus to do him honour and do him service. Note, Christians are children of light. The gospel is light, and they who receive it must not only be enlightened by it themselves, but must shine as lights, must hold it forth, #Php 2:15,16. This in general.

Now concerning these ten virgins, we may observe,

(1.) Their different character, with the proof and evidence of it.

1. Their character was that five were wise, and five foolish (#Mt 25:2); and wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness; so saith Solomon, a competent judge, #Ec 2:13. Note, Those of the same profession and denomination among men, may yet be of characters vastly different in the sight of God. Sincere Christians are the wise virgins, and hypocrites the foolish ones, as in another parable they are represented by wise and foolish builders. Note, Those are wise or foolish indeed, that are so in the affairs of their souls. True religion is true wisdom; sin is folly, but especially the sin of hypocrisy, for those are the greatest fools, that are wise in their own conceit, and those the worst of sinners, that feign themselves just men. Some observe from the equal number of the wise and foolish, what a charitable decorum (it is Archbishop Tillotson’s expression) Christ observes, as if he would hope that the number of true believers was nearly equal to that of hypocrites, or, at least, would teach us to hope the best concerning those that profess religion, and to think of them with a bias to the charitable side. Though, in judging of ourselves, we ought to remember that the gate is strait, and few find it; yet, in judging of others, we ought to remember that the Captain of our salvation brings many sons to glory.

2. The evidence of this character was in the very thing which they were to attend to; by that they are judged of.

First, It was the folly of the foolish virgins, that they took their lamps, and took no oil with them, #Mt 25:3. They had just the oil enough to make their lamps burn for the present, to make a show with, as if they intended to meet the bridegroom; but no cruse or bottle of oil with them for a recruit if the bridegroom tarried; thus hypocrites,

1. They have no principle within. They have a lamp of profession in their hands, but have not in their hearts that stock of sound knowledge, rooted dispositions, and settled resolutions, which is necessary to carry them through the services and trials of the present state. They act under the influence of external inducements, but are void of spiritual life; like a tradesman, that sets up without a stock, or the seed on the stony ground, that wanted root.

2. They have no prospect of, nor make provision for, what is to come. They took lamps for a present show, but not oil for after use. This incogitancy is the ruin of many professors; all their care is to recommend themselves to their neighbours, whom they now converse with, not to approve themselves to Christ, whom they must hereafter appear before; as if any thing will serve, provided it will but serve for the present. Tell them of things not seen as yet, and you are like Lot to his sons-in-law, as one that mocked. They do not provide for hereafter, as the ant does, nor lay up for the time to come, #1Ti 6:19.

Secondly, It was the wisdom of the wise virgins, that they took oil in their vessels with their lamps, #Mt 25:4. They had a good principle within, which would maintain and keep up their profession.

1. The heart is the vessel, which it is our wisdom to get furnished; for, out of a good treasure there, good things must be brought; but if that root be rottenness, the blossom will be dust.

2. Grace is the oil which we must have in this vessel; in the tabernacle there was constant provision made of oil for the light, #Ex 35:14. Our light must shine before men in good works, but this cannot be, or not long, unless there be a fixed active principle in the heart, of faith in Christ, and love to God and our brethren, from which we must act in everything we do in religion, with an eye to what is before us. They that took oil in their vessels, did it upon supposition that perhaps the bridegroom might tarry. Note, In looking forward it is good to prepare for the worst, to lay in for a long siege. But remember that this oil which keeps the lamps burning, is derived to the candlestick from Jesus Christ, the great and good Olive, by the golden pipes of the ordinances, as it is represented in that vision (#Zec 4:2,3,12), which is explained #Joh 1:16, Of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

(2.) Their common fault, during the bridegroom’s delay; They all slumbered and slept, #Mt 25:5. Observe here,

1. The bridegroom tarried, that is, he did not come out so soon as they expected. What we look for as certain, we are apt to think is very near; many in the apostles’ times imagined that the day of the Lord was at hand, but it is not so. Christ, as to us, seems to tarry, and yet really does not, #Hab 2:3. There is good reason for the Bridegroom’s tarrying; there are many intermediate counsels and purposes to be accomplished, the elect must all be called in, God’s patience must be manifested, and the saints’ patience tried, the harvest of the earth must be ripened, and so must the harvest of heaven too. But though Christ tarry past our time, he will not tarry past the due time.

2. While he tarried, those that waited for him, grew careless, and forgot what they were attending; They all slumbered and slept; as if they had given over looking for him; for when the Son of man cometh, he will not find faith, #Lu 18:8. Those that inferred the suddenness of it from its certainty, when that answered not their expectation, were apt from the delay to infer its uncertainty. The wise virgins slumbered, and the foolish slept; so some distinguish it; however, they were both faulty. The wise virgins kept their lamps burning, but did not keep themselves awake.

Note, Too many good Christians, when they have been long in profession, grow remiss in their preparations for Christ’s second coming; they intermit their care, abate their zeal, their graces are not lively, nor their works found perfect before God; and though all love be not lost, yet the first love is left. If it was hard to the disciples to watch with Christ an hour, much more to watch with him an age. I sleep, saith the spouse, but my heart wakes. Observe, First, They slumbered, and then they slept. Note, One degree of carelessness and remissness makes way for another. Those that allow themselves in slumbering, will scarcely keep themselves from sleeping; therefore dread the beginning of spiritual decays; Venienti occurrite morbo —  Attend to the first symptoms of disease. The ancients generally understood the virgins’ slumbering and sleeping of their dying; they all died, wise and foolish (#Ps 49:10), before judgment-day. So Ferus, Antequam veniat sponsus omnibus obdormiscendum est, hoc est, moriendum —  Before the Bridegroom come, all must sleep, that is, die. So Calvin. But I think it is rather to be taken as we have opened it.

(3.) The surprising summons given them, to attend the bridegroom (#Mt 25:6); At midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh. Note,

1. Though Christ tarry long, he will come at last; though he seem slow, he is sure. In his first coming, he was thought long by those that waited for the consolation of Israel; yet in the fulness of time he came; so his second coming, though long deferred, is not forgotten; his enemies shall find, to their cost, that forbearance is no acquittance; and his friends shall find, to their comfort, that the vision is for an appointed time, and at the end it shall speak, and not lie. The year of the redeemed is fixed, and it will come.

2. Christ’s coming will be at our midnight, when we least look for him, and are most disposed to take our rest. His coming for the relief and comfort of his people, often is when the good intended seems to be at the greatest distance; and his coming to reckon with his enemies, is when they put the evil day furthest from them. It was at midnight that the first-born of Egypt were destroyed, and Israel delivered, #Ex 12:29. Death often comes when it is least expected; the soul is required this night, #Lu 12:20. Christ will come when he pleases, to show his sovereignty, and will not let us know when, to teach us our duty.

3. When Christ comes, we must go forth to meet him. As Christians we are bound to attend all the motions of the Lord Jesus, and meet him in all his out-goings. When he comes to us at death, we must go forth out of the body, out of the world, to meet him with affections and workings of soul suitable to the discoveries we then expect him to make of himself. Go ye forth to meet him, is a call to those who are habitually prepared, to be actually ready.

4. The notice given of Christ’s approach, and the call to meet him, will be awakening; There was a cry made. His first coming was not with any observation at all, nor did they say, Lo, here is Christ, or Lo, he is there; he was in the world, and the world knew him not; but his second coming will be with the observation of all the world; Every eye shall see him. There will be a cry from heaven, for he shall descend with a shout, Arise, ye dead, and come to judgment; and a cry from the earth too, a cry to rocks and mountains, #Re 6:16.

(4.) The address they all made to answer this summons (#Mt 25:7); They all arose, and trimmed their lamps, snuffed them and supplied them with oil, and went about with all expedition to put themselves in a posture to receive the bridegroom. Now,

1. This, in the wise virgins, bespeaks an actual preparation for the Bridegroom’s coming. Note, even those that are best prepared for death, have, upon the immediate arrests of it, work to do, to get themselves actually ready, that they may be found in peace (#2Pe 3:14), found doing (#Mt 24:46), and not found naked, #2Co 5:3. It will be a day of search and enquiry; and it concerns us to think how we shall then be found. When we see the day approaching, we must address ourselves to our dying work with all seriousness, renewing our repentance for sin, our consent to the covenant, our farewells to the world; and our souls must be carried out toward God in suitable breathings.

2. In the foolish virgins, it denotes a vain confidence, and conceit of the goodness of their state, and their readiness for another world. Note, Even counterfeit graces will serve a man to make a show of when he comes to die, as well as they have done all his life long; the hypocrite’s hopes blaze when they are just expiring, like a lightening before death.

(5.) The distress which the foolish virgins were in, for want of oil, #Mt 25:8,9. This bespeaks,

1. The apprehensions which some hypocrites have of the misery of their state, even on this side death, when God opens their eyes to see their folly, and themselves perishing with a lie in their right hand. Or, however,

2. The real misery of their state on the other side death, and in the judgment; how far their fair, but false, profession of religion will be from availing them any thing in the great day; see what comes of it.

First, Their lamps are gone out. The lamps of hypocrites often go out in this life; when they who have begun in the spirit, end in the flesh, and the hypocrisy breaks out in an open apostasy, #2Pe 2:20. The profession withers, and the credit of it is lost; the hopes fail, and the comfort of them is gone; how often is the candle of the wicked thus put out? #Job 21:17. Yet many a hypocrite keeps up his credit, and the comfort of his profession, such as it is, to the last; but what is it when God taketh away his soul? #Job 27:8. If his candle be not put out before him, it is put out with him, #Job 18:5,6. He shall lie down in sorrow, #Isa 50:11. The gains of a hypocritical profession will not follow a man to judgment, #Mt 7:22,23. The lamps are gone out, when the hypocrite’s hope proves like the spider’s web (#Job 8:14 &c), and like the giving up of the ghost (#Job 11:20), like Absalom’s mule that left him in the oak.

Secondly, They wanted oil to supply them when they were going out. Note, Those that take up short of true grace, will certainly find the want of it one time or other. An external profession well humoured may carry a man far, but it will not carry him through; it may light him along this world, but the damps of the valley of the shadow of death will put it out.

Thirdly, They would gladly be beholden to the wise virgins for a supply out of their vessels; Give us of your oil. Note, The day is coming, when carnal hypocrites would gladly be found in the condition of true Christians. Those who now hate the strictness of religion, will, at death and judgment, wish for the solid comforts of it. Those who care not to live the life, yet would die the death, of the righteous. The day is coming when those who now look with contempt upon humble contrite saints, would gladly get an interest in them, and would value those as their best friends and benefactors, whom now they set with the dogs of their flock. Give us of your oil; that is,

“Speak a good word for us”;

so some; but there is no occasion for vouchers in the great day, the Judge knows what is every man’s true character. But is it not well that they are brought to say, Give us of your oil? It is so; but,

1. This request was extorted by sensible necessity. Note, Those will see their need of grace hereafter, when it should save them, who will not see their need of grace now, when it should sanctify and rule them.

(2.) It comes too late. God would have given them oil, had they asked in time; but there is no buying when the market is over, no bidding when the inch of candle is dropped.

Fourthly, They were denied a share in their companions’ oil. It is a sad presage of a repulse with God, when they were thus repulsed by good people. The wise answered, Not so; that peremptory denial is not in the original, but supplied by the translators: these wise virgins would rather give a reason without a positive refusal, than (as many do) give a positive refusal without a reason. They were well inclined to help their neighbours in distress; but, We must not, we cannot, we dare not, do it, lest there be not enough for us and you; charity begins at home; but go, and buy for yourselves. Note,

1. Those that would be saved, must have grace of their own. Though we have benefit by the communion of saints, and the faith and prayers of others may now redound to our advantage, yet our own sanctification is indispensably necessary to our own salvation. The just shall live by his faith. Every man shall give account of himself, and therefore let every man prove his own work; for he cannot get another to muster for him in that day.

2. Those that have most grace, have none to spare; all we have, is little enough for ourselves to appear before God in. The best have need to borrow from Christ, but they have none to lend to any of their neighbours. The church of Rome, which dreams of works of supererogation and the imputation of the righteousness of saints, forgets that it was the wisdom of the wise virgins to understand that they had but oil enough for themselves, and none for others. But observe, These wise virgins do not upbraid the foolish with their neglect, nor boast of their own forecast, nor torment them with suggestions tending to despair, but give them the best advice the case will bear, Go ye rather to them that sell. Note, Those that deal foolishly in the affairs of their souls, are to be pitied, and not insulted over; for who made thee to differ? When ministers attend such as have been mindless of God and their souls all their days, but are under death-bed convictions; and, because true repentance is never too late, direct them to repent, and turn to God, and close with Christ; yet, because late repentance is seldom true, they do but as these wise virgins did by the foolish, even made the best of bad. They can but tell them what is to be done, if it be not too late, but whether the door may not be shut before it is done, is an unspeakable hazard. It is good advice now, if it be taken in time, Go to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. Note, Those that would have grace, must have recourse to, and attend upon, the means of grace. See #Isa 55:1.

(6.) The coming of the bridegroom, and the issue of all this different character of the wise and foolish virgins. See what came of it.

1. While they went out to buy, the bridegroom came. Note, With regard to those that put off their great work to the last, it is a thousand to one, that they have not time to do it then. Getting grace is a work of time, and cannot be done in a hurry. While the poor awakened soul addresses itself, upon a sick bed, to repentance and prayer, in awful confusion, it scarcely knows which end to begin at, or what to do first; and presently death comes, judgment comes, and the work is undone, and the poor sinner undone for ever. This comes of having oil to buy when we should burn it, and grace to get when we should use it.

The bridegroom came. Note, Our Lord Jesus will come to his people, at the great day, as a Bridegroom; will come in pomp and rich attire, attended with his friends: now that the Bridegroom is taken away from us, we fast (#Mt 9:15), but then will be an everlasting feast. Then the Bridegroom will fetch home his bride, to be where he is (#Joh 17:24), and will rejoice over his bride, #Isa 62:5.

2. They that were ready, went in with him to the marriage. Note, First, To be eternally glorified is to go in with Christ to the marriage, to be in his immediate presence, and in the most intimate fellowship and communion with him in a state of eternal rest, joy, and plenty. Secondly, Those, and those only, shall go to heaven hereafter, that are made ready for heaven here, that are wrought to the self-same thing, #2Co 5:5. Thirdly, The suddenness of death, and of Christ’s coming to us then, will be no obstruction to our happiness, if we have been habitually prepared.

3. The door was shut, as is usual when all the company is come, that are to be admitted. The door was shut, First, To secure those that were within; that, being now made pillars in the house of our God, they may go no more out, #Re 3:12. Adam was put into paradise, but the door was left open and so he went out again; but when glorified saints are put into the heavenly paradise, they are shut in. Secondly, To exclude those that were out. The state of saints and sinners will then be unalterably fixed, and those that are shut out then, will be shut out for ever. Now the gate is strait, yet it is open; but then it will be shut and bolted, and a great gulf fixed. This was like the shutting of the door of the ark when Noah was in; as he was thereby preserved, so all the rest were finally abandoned.

4. The foolish virgins came when it was too late (#Mt 25:11); Afterward came also the other virgins. Note, First, There are many that will seek admission into heaven when it is too late; as profane Esau, who afterward would have inherited the blessing. God and religion will be glorified by those late solicitations, though sinners will not be saved by them; it is for the honour of Lord, Lord, that is, of fervent and importunate prayer, that those who slight it now, will flee to it shortly, and it will not be called whining and canting then. Secondly, The vain confidence of hypocrites will carry them very far in their expectations of happiness. They go to heaven-gate, and demand entrance, and yet are shut out; lifted up to heaven in a fond conceit of the goodness of their state, and yet thrust down to hell.

5. They were rejected, as Esau was (#Mt 25:12); I know you not. Note, We are all concerned to seek the Lord while he may be found; for there is a time coming when he will not be found. Time was, when, Lord, Lord, open to us, would have sped well, by virtue of that promise, Knock, and it shall be opened to you; but now it comes too late. The sentence is solemnly bound on with, Verily I say unto you, which amounts to no less than swearing in his wrath, that they shall never enter into his rest. It bespeaks him resolved, and them silenced by it.

Lastly, Here is a practical inference drawn from this parable (#Mt 25:13); Watch therefore, We had it before (#Mt 24:42), and here it is repeated as the most needful caution. Note,

1. Our great duty is to watch, to attend to the business of our souls with the utmost diligence and circumspection. Be awake, and be wakeful.

2. It is a good reason for our watching, that the time of our Lord’s coming is very uncertain; we know neither the day nor the hour. Therefore every day and every hour we must be ready, and not off our watch any day in the year, or any hour in the day. Be thou in the fear of the Lord every day and all the day long.

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Preceding

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

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

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

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

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 #4 Matthew 25:41-46

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 25:31: The Son of man shall come in his glory

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Additional reading

  1. Together tasting a great promise
  2. Atonement And Fellowship 7/8
  3. God receives us on the basis of our faith
  4. Today’s thought “My soul thirsts for God” (January 23)
  5. Today’s thought “To proclaim … the day of vengeance” (July 5)
  6. Today’s thought “… and have no knowledge” (July 24)
  7. Date Setting
  8. Preparing for the Kingdom
  9. Only once and with consequences
  10. Time to be strengthened, thankful and to be prepared

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

Separation of local judgment regarding 70 CE from the global ultimate-coming prophecies of the Second Coming and Final Judgment

In the reading of Matthew chapter 24 we may find that the writer separates the local judgment-coming prophecies regarding 70 CE from the global ultimate-coming prophecies of the Second Coming and the Final Judgment which is much further in the future.

Matthew’s version of the Olivet Discourse is significantly different from Mark’s 13 chapter. It does not differ, however, through contradiction, but by supplementation. In Mark’s chapter Jesus also warns to take care that no one deceives us (v 5). There also we hear Jesus telling how many will come claiming to be him, saying, “I am the One,” and they fooling lots of people. But we might not forget also the false teachers who claimed or shall come to say, the time had/has come or would be at this or such moment in time or calendar date.

In Matthew’s and Mark’s chapters we hear about people hearing of wars, or that war would be coming, which should not surprise us, because many wars would take place before the end of times. These things will have to happen, although it won’t mean the end yet. (Mark 13:5-8; Matthew 24:4-8)

Matthew shifts the attention away from the known time of his local (metaphorical) judgment-coming against the Temple (Matthew 24:2) in Judea (Matthew 24:16), which was to be in “this generation” where he made part of (Matthew 3).

In Matthew 24:15 we read about a time when people would see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand).

The disciples can’t help but notice that something is in the air during this week between Jesus his entry into Jerusalem and his preparation for the Pesach. By repeatedly calling himself the ‘Son of Man‘, Jesus has told people about God His kingdom, but also about his position here on earth and about his kingdom, which will be divinely instituted like the one described in Daniel 7. They are also thinking of promises about the coming Anointed One.

The time coming closer that he would not be there any more with his pupils Jesus warns them about what would happen in 70 when those who would be in Judea had to flee to the mountains. He predicts the temple’s fall — an event that will occur about 40 years later — and speaks of his second coming, which would also be as something that everyone just surprises.

Some people, and perhaps also some of the disciples, were talking about the Temple and how it was decorated [adorned] with beautiful stones and gifts offered to God, but now hear Jesus telling how all that shall be destroyed (Matthew 24:1-2; Mark 13:1-2; Luke 21:5-6). This makes them wonder when that would happen (Matthew 24:3; Mark 13:3; Luke 21:7).

Jesus said,

“As for these things you are looking at, the time [days] will come when not one stone will be left on another. Every stone will be thrown [torn] down.”

In the second part of the chapter of Matthew Jesus speaks about the coming of the ‘Son of Man‘ which shall come for many also as a surprise or unexpected event. Jesus and his disciples were well aware that only God knows everything, but somehow the disciples had hoped Jesus would know when the end of times would take place, as they believed him to be the son and sent one of God.

In this 24th chapter of Matthew we learn that about that day or hour no one knows, even not Christ Jesus, or not even the angels in heaven, but only the Father (v.36). Therefore, Matthew wants that people would be warned to prepare themselves. People have to keep watch because they do not know on what day their Lord will come. (v.42) Matthew moves from the known time to the unknown time; from the near-future to who-knows-when. We have to learn this lesson about preparedness, from the parable of the fig tree, and have to make sure to be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when we do not expect him (Matthew 24:32-41; 42-44).

For nobody knows exactly which day [whether near or far] Jesus is coming back to earth, we just have to be on the alert (v.43). But we might have hope when we come to see certain foretold signs. In Mark’s chapter he has Jesus telling about that time when the good news of the coming kingdom of God must be delivered first in every land and every language (Mark 13:10).

As Isaiah said in the days after that great suffering, that the sun will refuse to shine, and the moon will hold back its light, having the stars in heaven falling, and the powers in the heavens been shaken (Isaiah 13:10; 34:4) than we should be seeing clear. Then you will see (as Daniel predicted in Daniel 7:13)

“the Son of Man coming in the clouds,”

clothed in power and majesty. (Mark 13:26) it shall be the time that Jehovah God will send out His heavenly messengers and gather together to Himself those He has chosen from the four corners of the world, from every direction and every land (Mark 13:27).

“5  Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no-one deceives you.
6 Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many.
7 When you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 8 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth-pains.
9 “You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all nations.” (Mr 13:5-10 NIV)

“26 “At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.” (Mr 13:26-27 NIV)

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Preceding

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

Matthew 24:3 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Desolation, Oppression and the Parousia – The Apostles’ Question

Matthew 24:4-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Part One – Beware Being Misled

Matthew 24:9-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Part Two – The Acts of the Apostles Foretold

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

Left in the dark or being in the dark seeing light

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

By Whose authority did that Nazarene rebbe speak and did he such incredible things

“Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him.

“By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked.

“And who gave you this authority?”” (Mt 21:23 NIV)

In the previous chapters written by Matthew we came to see a Jesus who was in everything like other people around him, except for his goodness and certain miraculous things he could do. He was hungry and needed sleep like any other of us. He also wanted some quietness of some time for himself.

Many were amazed about the strange things that Jesus could do. Many wondered how it was possible that this man could do such special things. Some found it also strange that this man dared to pose certain questions  and speak against the people in charge of the temple, though he was not a priest.
He was making great changes in the affairs of the temple, and the priests claimed the right to know why this was done, contrary to their permission. He was not a priest; he had no civil or ecclesiastical authority as a Jew. It was sufficient authority indeed, that he came as a prophet, and worked miracles. But they professed not to be satisfied with that.

Never did Jesus claim to speak or act in his own name. He told the people around him that the doctrine he preached was not his doctrine, but the one of his heavenly Father, Who is the Only One True God. though at certain times this teacher dared to warn those around him that they had to listen to his words and should act on them because otherwise they would be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. (Matthew 7:26)

“But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.” (Mt 7:26 NIV)

“But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”” (Lu 6:49 NIV)

Also today we can hear those words from Jesus, by the delivered stories of the gospel-writers. They clearly wrote down the words of Jesus so that people after them also could get to know them. By those writings we also can come to see what wonderful things Jesus not only said but also did.

The question the religious leaders asked was relevant both to the cleansing of the Temple (vv. 12-14;’are you doing’) and to his teaching in the Temple (’ while he was teaching’). The double form of the question is typically Jewish. {cf. Mr 12:14 13:4 Ac 4:7 } The two questions are certainly interrelated but not identical.

The first questions the quality of Jesus’ authority:

is it that of a scribe, or a prophet, or is it something else again?

The second question concerns the source of Jesus’ authority.

The authority to instruct on one’s own account could only be given to a rabbi by the laying on of hands (SB, II, 647-649). The deputation’s question was especially suitable as the starting-point for a lawsuit against him.

Any Jew was allowed to talk publicly about religious questions (as in our social meetings), but if he proposed to be a regular teacher (Rabbi), than he had to be authorized by a rebbe or an other high rabbi or by the Sanhedrin. Lots of people told about this man who was going from one place to an other, always teachings and as such it could be considered that he was making it not only his occupation to teach, but he was also working miracles, cleansing the temple as if a prophet, and apparently justifying his followers in greeting him as the Messiah.

Jesus had no intention to becoming a worldly ruler at that time, getting rid of the Romans, though many thought he was the promised one who would liberate them from those Roman occupiers. By this time Jesus had become very well aware of his task, being a speaker for God, even when that required to put himself aside.

The spiritual leaders of the land did not like this man who was telling so many things and doing so many things which got people away from their teachings and seemed to undermine their position. But many where convinced that he spoke with authority.

“The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.” (Mr 1:22 NIV)

“All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What is this teaching? With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!”” (Lu 4:36 NIV)

Because Jesus came to see that many thought it would be from himself that he was saying and doing those things, he told them that he could do nothing without his heavenly Father.

“Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (Joh 5:19 NIV)

According to Jesus the problem was that many did not know the God, like we can see also today.  At that time there was probably not one person who had taken Jesus as their god, though today many have done so and do not see how Jesus was the sent one from God, Who is much greater than Jesus. Therefore many of those persons do not see and are blind for the word because they prefer to keep to human doctrines instead of the words of God and the words of Christ.

“Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me.” (Joh 7:16 NIV)

“Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me.” (Joh 8:42 NIV)

“”You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” (Joh 14:28 NIV)

Jesus told everybody it was by him they could come to see and to understand, him being the way to God, (and not to himself) and therefore he was going to suffer.

“But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognise him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.”” (Mt 17:12 NIV)

“5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.” (Joh 14:5-6 NIV)

It is by Jesus we can come to know the truth and find the way to the small gate.

“13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Mt 7:13-14 NIV)

“7 Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. {Or kept safe } He will come in and go out, and find pasture.” (Joh 10:7-9 NIV)

The spiritual leaders of that time where afraid this Nazarene would come to be favoured more by the people and would take their place as a reformer.

Jesus dispatched them with speed, as if he had been loath to have been taken with his task undone.

Jesus was not willing to have a high position prepared by men, nor to be crowned by the multitude, there being only too good reason, him being sent by his heavenly Father. Their ideas of royalty were entirely different from his. Had he allowed himself to be borne on the tide of popular favour to royal honours, His kingdom would have been thereby marked as “of this world,” it would have been stamped as something very different from the kingdom of “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost” he had come to establish.

Had he been a mere enthusiast, he would have undoubtedly have yielded to such a tidal wave of public excitement; but his unerring wisdom taught him that he must reach the throne by another path than that of popular favour. Rather must it be through popular rejection — through the dark portals of despite and death; and for that, his hour had not then come.

So many years later we should see by Whose authority Jesus said and and all those things. Everything he did and said was done because God allowed him to do that and gave him power to do so. today still a lot of Christians too, like the Pharisees, do not believe Jesus acted as a sent one from God. Many christians have taken Jesus into their god and do not see how he should be their way to God.

Do you think Jesus is God, or do you accept Jesus as the sent one from God, who was authorised by God?

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Preceding

Authority from the One God to one mediator between God and men

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

Matthew 9:1-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Messiah Forgives Sins and Heals Paralytic

Matthew 9:32-34 – How others look at the blind, speechless and demoniac being healed

Matthew 13 – Parables on Kingdom mysteries

Matthew 21:1-3 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Sent Ahead for a Donkey

Matthew 21:4-5 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Your King Is Coming upon a Donkey

Matthew 21:6-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Blessed the One Coming in God’s Name!

Matthew 21:10-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Who Is This?

Matthew 21:12-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Temple Cleansed

Matthew 21:12-14 – From a den of thieves to a house of prayer

Matthew 21:15-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Out of the Mouth of Babes

Matthew 21:18-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: A Cursed Fig Tree a Lesson in Faith

Matthew 21:23-27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Question of Authority

Matthew 21:10-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Who Is This?

Matthew 21:10-11 Who Is This? – a Question still posed today #1

Matthew 21:10-11 Who Is This? – a Question still posed today #2

More than just a man with authority of speaking

 

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Additional reading

  1. The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #8 Looking for the 2nd Adam
  2. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  3. Americans their stars, pretension, God, Allah and end of times signs #2 War on God’s Plan, Name and title
  4. The meek one riding on an ass
  5. Infinite payment of sin by the son of God
  6. The son of man given authority by God
  7. Authority given to him To give eternal life
  8. Blindness in the Christian world
  9. Memorizing wonderfully 52 Acts 7:56: the Son of man standing on the right hand of God
  10. Priest, scribes and others with authority

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Related

  1. the Authority of Jesus questioned
  2. Luke – Chapter 20
  3. Words of Life ~ Author(ity)
  4. His U
  5. A King & a Kingdom
  6. Authority of Jesus — It is Questioned

Vox populi anything but Vox Dei

When Jesus went around speaking and doing miracles many gathered around him and his disciples. Some wanted to be part of those around Jesus and where happy to chant for him that he was praised.

Some or perhaps many of those who chanted at the gates of Jerusalem

Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest.

a few days later were perhaps crying with others to have him impaled.

They had expressed their delight and expectation.

Alas! how soon this gleam of sunlight gave place to black darkness. The day of palms was closely followed by the day of crucifixion. Thus fickle are the sons of men. “Vox populi” is anything but “Vox Dei.” {Spurgeon}

In the olden times, the Israelites were accustomed to use this cry,

“Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord,”

when their heroes returned victorious from the battlefield. When they went up to the temple to give thanks publicly to God for victories over their enemies, they were met by the people, with this exclamation of joy,

“Blessed, is he that cometh in Jehovah’s name.”

Very unlike to the cries of other nations! Some nations only extolled the heroes, but the people of God see the hand of God, and they mark that the hero only comes in the name of the Lord, and while they give him blessings and wish him every good thing for what he has done, yet the praise is ascribed to the Master in whose name he comes — even Jehovah. {Spurgeon}

Now the people could see the Nazarene master teacher coming to the capital. He was looked at as a hero, even as a king. They seemed to be aware that this one who always claimed to be a sent one from God, was the

“Blessed … that cometh in the name of Jehovah.”

In a few days time the people present in Jerusalem for Passover had changed their mind and expressed their dislike for the one who had spoken about a coming Kingdom of God.

Also today we can find lots of people who do not want to accept Jesus for whom he is. They do not accept the words God Himself said about this man

“… “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”” (Lu 3:22 NIV)

They refuse to accept Jesus as the son of God and have made him into their god, telling others he is “god the son”. Many made Jesus into their idol or “god son” instead of accepting that he is the sent one from god, they claim he would be God having come down to earth. They seem to ignore the writing in the Holy Scriptures

“But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law,” (Ga 4:4 NIV)

Instead of thanking God for sending his son, they worship that Nazarene man who always asked not to adore him but to worship his heavenly Father. Jesus even taught them how to pray (the Lord’s prayer).

God had given the people the time to get to know His sent one, who came to declare God’s Word and to bring the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God. He allowed Jesus to have an entry in His City as a king as an ‘advance mirroring’ or mirror image of the one who was going to return and to enter the capital of the Kingdom of God. Jesus is that king spoken of in the many prophecies.

But the majority of people want to adhere to people’s theories and stick to human traditions and festivals instead of keeping to the festival days God gave mankind. Like in Jesus time when lots of people wanted to please the Pharisees and wished to lick the feet of the Jerusalem administration, today lots of people prefer licking the feet of their religious institution. Most often they do everything to show others they are part of the “Vox populi”. Many are literally afraid to be looked at someone of the “Vox Dei,” the People of Jehovah. Several even go so far to become anti-Jehovah people.
One could consider them belonging to the many who like to shout with others, but do not dare to bring out their personal voice in public when they stand alone.

Let us make it clear we belong to Vox Dei, Jehovah’s people, and be real followers of the real Jesus Christ, the Messiah or anointed, the son of God, who gave his life for us all.

Let us not be deaf and blind like there were so many in Jesus time. In that day the moment of no excuse had come. Before that day if could be said that the day was coming when God would sent His son. Now the time has come we should know that this sent one shall restore the nation of Israel. It is him they could see entering Jerusalem. We too should come to recognise that sent one who is to bring peace and salvation and to set up his Kingdom on earth. We should be thankful to God for that sent one who is going our king and act as a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that we may declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into His wonderful light. and invited us to be part of his body.

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Preceding

Israel, Fitting the Plan when people allow it

Matthew 21:1-3 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Sent Ahead for a Donkey

Matthew 21:4-5 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Your King Is Coming upon a Donkey

Matthew 21:6-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Blessed the One Coming in God’s Name!

God’s Face shining on His servant

Multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David

10 Nisan An entrance for a king

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Additional reading

  1. Entrance of a king to question our position #1 Coming in the Name of the Lord
  2. Entrance of a king to question our position #2 Who do we want to see and to be

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Related

  1. Exodus 33-34: Reflections of Glory
  2. More meanings from the margins
  3. 54. A Time to Regain our Identity

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