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

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE:
THE ARRIVAL AND THE JUDGMENT

[“Parousia-Judgment”]
(Key word: Judgment)

Matthew 25:1-12 – Judgment by the King and Ten Virgins

MT25:1 “At that time[1] the Realm of Heaven will become like[2] ten virgins[3] who took their lamps[4] to go to the meeting of the bridegroom.[5] MT25:2 But five of them were foolish and five wise. MT25:3 The foolish took their lamps but had no oil. MT25:4 The wise had oil in their lamps. MT25:5 Now when the bridegroom seemed to be taking his time[6] the ten virgins nodded into sleep.[7] MT25:6 In the middle of the night an outcry occurred:[8] ‘Look! the bridegroom! Be on your way to the meeting!’ MT25:7 Then all the virgins rose[9] and put their lamps in order. MT25:8 But the foolish asked the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil because our lamps are ready to go out.’[10] MT25:9 Now the wise virgins answered, ‘No, for perhaps there will not be enough for both of us.[11] Go now and buy oil[12] for yourselves from those who sell it.’ MT25:10 But while the foolish were off to buy oil the bridegroom arrived[13] and those who were ready entered with him to the wedding feast and the door was shut. MT25:11 Arriving late the foolish virgins begged, ‘Master, Master,[14] let us in!’ MT25:12 However, [the bridegroom] said: ‘I tell you this truth: I never knew you.’[15]

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[1] At that time: The Greek is TOTE and records what happens during the period last mentioned: the judgment on the household when the master arrives.

[2] Realm of Heaven will become like: There is something about the Church and its membership which can be compared to these ten virgins at this particular prophetic moment.

[3] Ten virgins: The total or complete number of Christians on earth at the moment of the parousia. Compare 2 Corinthians 11:3.

[4] Lamps: Jesus has likened a lamp and the light it sheds as righteous works. See the notes on Matthew 5:14-16. The Word of God is likened to a “lamp” in Psalm 119:105 (Proverbs 6:23; 2 Peter 1:19). The oil which fuels the lamp as the holy Pneuma (2 Samuel 22:29). It is God who lights the lamp (Psalm 18:28). Considering these and other texts the “lamp” is that opportunity and privilege to reveal the sacred truths which light our moral and prophetic way. It is that illumination which is needed to keep one focused on the Return of the King, the parousia.

[5] Meeting of the bridegroom: Jesus compares himself to a “bridegroom” at John 3:29. Paul uses similar language at 2 Corinthians 11:3 and Ephesians 5:29-33. In Revelation 19:7 and apocalyptic wedding is seen in vision. It occurs following the great oppression and the Parousia and precedes the Lamb’s battle with “the kings of the earth.” (Revelation 21:9)

[6] Seemed to be taking his time: Christians have longed for the Return of Christ as the Jewish ancients also asked “How long?” and “When?” for thousands of years. The Greek word here is CHRONIZONTOS and there is a related word in Habakkuk 2:3, “… though he should tarry wait for him.” Christians keep watching the prophetic horizon. Some read too much into this and in their presumptuousness (Deuteronomy 18:21-22) wrongly predict dates; others, read too little and become too involved in what Jesus calls “the anxieties of life.” (See the notes on Matthew 13:22) The whole thrust of the several parables beginning with Matthew 24:43 is to remain alert, awake and in read expectation. NEB: the bridegroom was late in coming. The opposite of modern weddings as the bride is traditionally late.

[7] Ten virgins nodded into sleep: Will there be a period of time, a moment in the history of the Gospel Age, when Christians in general become lethargic, indifferent, and spiritually asleep? Or is that time already here. Compare 1 Corinthians 11:26, 30.

“For as often as you may ever be eating the Loaf and be drinking the Cup you continue to announce the death of the Master until he should return.” (1Co 11:26 mhm)

“Because of this many among you are weak and sick, and a sufficient number of you are asleep.” (1Co 11:30 mhm)

[8] An outcry occurred: Someone is alert and rouses the “virgins” whether foolish or wise.

[9] All the virgins rose: Note “all” the virgins awaken. It is not a parable about two class: one asleep and one awake. They are both awake, but one group is ill-prepared.

[10] Our lamps are ready to go out: The lesson is one of preparedness. Only one who has been caught on a dark night without light knows the panic.

[11] Not be enough for both of us: A case where a Christian does not share.

[12] Buy oil: See Proverbs 23:23.

[13] The bridegroom arrived: Here is a key word which occurs often in several modes: ELTHEN, which means “came” or “arrived.” It is the same word which appears in Daniel 7:22 (LXX), “… until the Ancient of Days came.” Check the word groups in English came, arrive, coming. These are essentially synonyms for PAROUSIA. See notes on PAROUSIA in this commentary. For details on the Presence or Parousia of Christ see additional notes under these words or Matthew 24:3 (Matthew 24:3) in Nazarene Commentary©.

[14] Master, Master: An address some what limited to reactions at the Judgment. See notes on Matthew 7:21, 22 and Matthew 25:44 (Lamsa). One could make much of every detail of the parable but that may not be the intent. The moral is alert preparedness on the part of expectant disciples of the Nazarene.

[15] I never knew you: The meaning is possible: “I never had any kind of relationship with you.” Or, KNX: I do not recognize you. There will be those “Christians” who had the “name” but actually were not a true Friend of the Nazarene. Compare Revelation 3:1 (Luke 13:27).

““And to the angel of the congregation in Sardis write: This is a message from the One having the 7 pneumas of The God and the 7 stars. I am aware of your works–that you have the name you are alive, but you are dead.” (Re 3:1 mhm)

“And he will tell you: ‘I have no idea who you are or from where you came! Get away from me, all you workers of unrighteousness!’” (Lu 13:27 mhm)

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Preceding

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

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

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

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Additional reading

  1. To be prepared and very well oiled
  2. Only once and with consequences

Matthew 13:18-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Seed and Soil

Matthew 13:18-23 – Parable of the Seed and Soil

|| Mark 4:13-20; Luke 8:11-15

MT13:18 “So, you [disciples], listen [to the meaning] of the parable[1] of the Sower. MT13:19 Anyone hearing the kingdom message[2] and failing to understand,[3] the Evil One[4] comes and steals[5] those things sown in the heart[6] – this is the seed sown beside the road. MT13:20 Now, the seed sown on the gravel – this is a person who at first hearing accepts [the message] with joy.[7] MT13:21 But, because of having no inner roots nothing lasts,[8] for as soon as oppression or persecution[9] occurs because of the message[10] the person stumbles.[11] MT13:22 Now, the one sown among thorns – this is the person who hears the message[12] but the anxieties of that Period[13] and deceptive riches[14] choke the message[15] and the person is unproductive.[16] MT13:23 However, the seed sown in good soil – this is the person who hears the message and understands and actually is productive:[17] one person a hundred times, another person sixty times, and another thirty times.”

*

[1] Listen [to the meaning] of the parable: Or, WEY: I will explain the parable. Evidently only directed to his disciples.

[2] Kingdom message: TCNT: the Message of the Kingdom; KNX: the word by which the kingdom is preached. This is the “word” (LOGOS) about the Realm of Heaven: the opportunity for membership within the realm of profession.

[3] Failing to understand: Or, NJB: without understanding; KIT: not comprehending; NWT: does not get the sense of. It is difficult to accept that the literal words carry the exact meaning. It is possible the Nazarene’s intent is: ‘hearing the message without attempting to understand it.’ Mark 4:15 omits the part about failing to understand. Luke 8:12 merely has “heard.”

[4] Evil One: The Greek is PONEROS. Or, KJV: wicked one.

[5] Steals: The Greek is HARPAZEI which means to “snatch” or “grab.” Or, GDSP: robs him; KJV: catcheth away; ASV: snatcheth away. The word is related to that one in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and the Rapture. Compare also Philippians 2:6.

[6] Things sown in the heart: GDSP: sown in his mind. Something has germinated but likely this person only shows a cursory interest without the inner person being moved to further effort. There is an initial interest but for a variety of self-rationalizations the kingdom theme does not strike a cord in the heart.

[7] At first hearing accepts [the message] with joy: Or, KJV: and anon with joy receiveth it; TCNT: at once accepts it joyfully; MOF: with enthusiasm. There is some follow through by this person who hears and “receives” the kingdom message – but without conviction. Luke 8:12, “they may not believe and be saved.” There may be a degree of interest resulting in joyful gladness. How far this disciple matures is not explained (Luke says there is no belief) but it appears this is a neophyte about to face realities.

[8] Having no inner roots nothing lasts: Literally, this may read: “but he has no root in himself but is transitory.” (UBSInt) Or, KJV: hath not root in himself; GDSP: takes no real root; NEB: strikes no root. Whatever initial joy the person had in the kingdom message no serious effort was forthcoming to cause the “word” to take hold. Some take up Christian discipleship but within a short time run out of enthusiasm. “Nothing lasts” may also be rendered: KJV: dureth for a while; TCNT: stands for only a short time; RIEU: he cannot hold out long. Mark 4:15 has it, “they continue for a time.” And, Luke 8:12, “they believe for a season.” The Christian walk is not a sprint but a marathon. It has been observed that many Christians “last” only three years before slowing down with some grinding to a halt. Consider word studies on endurance.

[9] Oppression or persecution: The Greek for “oppression” is THLIPSEOS (Matthew 24:20, 21) and here related to “persecution.” Or, WEY: when suffering comes. Luke 8:13 has this, “a season of testing.” From the very beginning Christianity knew only persecution and oppression. Despite the joy of accepting the kingdom message the high cost of discipleship takes its toll.

[10] Because of the message: The reason for the oppression or tribulation is not that caused by Life itself. The difficulties are related to the kingdom message.

[11] The person stumbles: Or, KJV: is offended; WEY: turns against it; MOF: at once repelled; RIEU: promptly recants; NOR: at once gives it up. The Greek is SCANDALIZETAI. Luke 8:13 has it, “they fall away (or, stand off).” A word study, stumble or stumblingblock.

[12] Hears the message: This disciple listens but will come against other problems.

[13] The anxieties of that Period: The Greek may also mean “overly concerned.” The word “period” is rendered from the Greek AIONOS which is also rendered: KJV: world; RHM: age; TCNT: life. Each age or period of human history and existence has its own particularly anxieties or concerns. Those of Jesus’ period may not be the same as in the modern period. On the matter of anxiety or being overly concerned see notes on Matthew 6:20-33. GDSP: the worries of the time. Luke 8:14 has it, “by being carried away by anxieties.”

[14] Deceptive riches: Or, KJV: the deceitfulness of riches; TCNT: the glamour of wealth; LAM: the deception caused by riches; MOF: the delight of being rich; RIEU: the lure of riches. The word “rich” describes that person with a surplus and the leisure time that goes with it. Jesus uses the words often and it is worthy of a word study on rich, riches, or, money. The word “rich” is also an interesting one to explore in an unabridged dictionary. Compare 1Timothy 6:17-19. Luke 8:15 adds, “pleasures of this life.” And, Mark 4:18 includes, “the desires for the rest of the things.” (Compare 1 John 2:15-17)

[15] Choke the message: Or, strangle, smother; BAS: put a stop to.

[16] The person is unproductive: Or, KJV: unfruitful; TCNT: it gives no return. Compare John 15:1-10; 2 Peter 1:5-8. What fruit or produce is Jesus expecting? Surely the main emphasis is on what a person does with the kingdom message regarding others. It would seem likely that it would also involve “fruitage of the spirit” and its manifestations (Galatians 5:22, 23).

[17] Hears the message and understands and actually is productive: There are three parts here: listening to the kingdom message, achieving some understanding or comprehension, and then bearing fruitage or evidence the message has taken root. Or, TCNT: really yields a return; BECK: goes on producing good things. Note, however, that this production or fruitage is not the same for all genuine Friends of the Nazarene (John 15:14). Like the “widow’s mite” it depends on individuality and circumstances, as well as a heart driven by faith. Perhaps one of the most outstanding examples of producing a hundred-fold is the apostle Paul (Romans 1:13). Paul defines Christian fruitage: Sharing (Romans 15:27, 28; Philippians 1:22); holiness (Romans 6:21); goodness, righteousness, truth (Ephesians 5:9); good work ad knowledge (Colossians 1:10); praise and charity (Hebrews 13:15).

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Preceding

Matthew 5:38-42 – 5. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 21:24

Matthew 13 – Parables on Kingdom mysteries

Matthew 13:1-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable: the Soil and the Seed

Matthew 13:10-15 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Why Speak in Parables?

Matthew 13:16-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Happy Eyes and Ears

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