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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]

*

[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

++

Additional reading

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

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

Matthew 24:42-51 – Stay Awake!

|| Mark 13:34-37; Luke 21:34-36

MT24:42 “So, continue to remain awake[1] because none of you has any idea[2] on what kind of day[3] your Master is arriving.[4] {LK21:34 But, pay attention to yourselves[5] that somehow your hearts become heavy[6] because of overeating, drunkenness, and anxieties[7] LK21:35 and suddenly that Day rise as a snare![8] For that Day will come upon everyone who lives on the surface of the whole earth.[9] LK21:36 Keep awake and all the time begging [God] so you might be strong enough to escape[10] everything about to occur and to stand before the Son of Humankind.[11]} MT24:43 But, know this that if the household had known[12] in what watch the thief arrived[13] he would have stayed awake and his house would not be ransacked. MT24:44 You also prove yourselves ready[14] because in an hour you are not expecting[15] the Son of Humankind is coming.[16] {MK13:34 It is like a man[17] leaving his own House and giving authority to his people, to each one his own duties,[18] commanding the doorkeeper to stay awake. MK13:35 So, you stay awake, for when the Master of the House is coming you do not know. Whether late, midnight, when the cock crows, or dawn.[19] MK13:36 Or, the Master of the House, having arrived suddenly,[20] might find you sleeping.[21] MK13:37 But, what I say to you, I say to all:[22] Stay awake!} MT24:45 Really, who is the faithful and discreet slave[23] whom his Master appointed over the Master’s own domestics[24] to give them food at an appointed time?[25] MT24:46 Happy is that slave, when his Master arrives,[26] finds him doing so. MT24:47 I tell you this truth: the Master will appoint him[27] over all his belongings. MT24:48 But, if ever that bad slave[28] says in his heart: ‘My Master is taking his time!’[29] MT24:49 and he should start beating his fellow slaves[30] and eat and drink[31] with the drunkards MT24:50 the Master will arrive[32] in that day he is not expecting and in an hour[33] he is not knowing MT24:51 and the Master will cut him asunder[34] and give him his part with the hypocrites. There will be weeping and grinding of teeth!”

*

[1] Continue to remain awake: Or, watch therefore [KJV], keep awake [NEB], be watching [BAS], be on the alert [WEY].

[2] Has any idea: Or, ye know not [KJV], you do not know [NEB]. Compare Matthew 24:6 and Acts 1:7.

[3] What kind of day: Or, what hour [KJV], on what day [ASV], what sort of [KIT], on what day [BAS], in what hour [DAR]. It is possible the phrase means what time of the day as well. Compare Mark 13:35.

[4] Your Master is arriving: Or, doth come [KJV], your Lord will come [BAS], is coming [KIT]. The Greek is ERKHETAI [Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance #2064], used both of persons arriving and of those returning, and may, according to context be rendered “returning.” The word is a virtual synonym for PAROUSIA used elsewhere in Matthew 24 but never in Mark 13 and Luke 21.

[5] Pay attention to yourselves: Now the Nazarene concludes with directions to remain awake and alert. In Mark and Luke the teachings end here but in Matthew chapter 25 a series of parables are given outlining two groups: the faithful and unfaithful or the righteous and unrighteous.

[6] Heavy: Or, weighed down. RSV, NIV KJV: overcharged with surfeiting; LB: living in careless ease; PME: clouded with dissipation; TEV: occupied with; JB: coarsened; NEB: minds be dulled.

[7] Anxieties: If we parallel this phrase with the attitude before the Flood, ‘eating and drinking and marrying and building and selling,’ then the Nazarene is warning about taking on that characteristic of those “who took no note.” These anxieties, or being overly concerned about life and livelihood, could involve marriage, commerce and construction (Luke 17:28). The Nazarene has not changed his attitude about being distracted by daily pursuits as he taught in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:19-34). What is the difference here with those who were working in the fields or mill and yet who were “taken along”? It is a matter of the heart’s focus and expectation. The man in the field and the woman at the mill have not lost their hope in the Parousia and judging from the parable of the sheep and goats, both are kind and good human beings who have never neglected even the humblest person (Matthew 25:31-46; James 1:27; 2:15-17; 1 John 3:16-18).

[8] Suddenly that Day rise as a snare: “That day” is no generational period as if one had a warning lasting more than 40, 80, or more years. The parousia comes suddenly and at a time not expected even by the Chosen Ones (Matthew 24:42, 44).

[9] On the surface of the whole earth: Does it not appear to be a global event?

[10] Escape: Compare the JPS Tanakh at Daniel 12:1 and the word “escape.” The Aramaic of Daniel 12:1 may be rendered “escape” or “rescued” (delivered). Compare the idea of “rescue” with the “snatching” or Rapture at 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and the call “Come out!” at Revelation 18:4.

[11] Stand before the Son of Humankind: Compare 1 John 2:28 and 4:17 with 2 Corinthians 5:10. Those professing “Jesus is Lord!” will rise in the parousia-Judgment and receive their award or payment for what they did in their Christian lives, good or vile (John 5:29; Daniel 12:2; 2 Corinthians 5:10). They will then, before the Judgment of Christ, be “outspoken” or “ashamed.” (1 John 2:28; 4:17)

[12] If the household had known: The realm of the professing Christians (Ephesians 2:19; 1 Timothy 3:15).

[13] In what watch the thief arrived: Christ’s sudden appearance as the Master of the House is thief-like (Luke 12:39; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 3:3; 16:15). If a Christian prophet were able to calculate some time chronology and thus the “day and hour” of the Lord’s Arrival or parousia and it would no longer be like a thief in its suddenness.

[14] Prove yourselves ready: How does a Christian do this? Expectation is a matter of the heart and thus a matter of faith. Real faith will manifest itself in some speech and action. It is not manifest in being preoccupied with the daily matters like those persons before the Flood. Since the return of Christ is unknown it follows that Christians of all periods must be ready by a) regular prayer; b) faith; c) charity to fellows; d) avoidance of over-eating, drunkenness, and anxieties over livelihood.

[15] In an hour you are not expecting: Thus no Christian can work out some prophetic time-chronology to calculate this “coming” or Arrival (Luke 21:8; Acts 1:7).

[16] The Son of Humankind is coming: This is a phrase which parallels or stands as a synonym for ‘presence of the Son of Man.’ The Greek is ERKHETAI and equals PAROUSIA.

[17] Like a man: The parable illustrates the departure of the “man” Christ who charges his disciples to remain at work.

[18] To each one his own duties: These vary with the ‘talent’ or responsibility of each one as other parables teach: 5, 3, or 1. Paul outlines these varied “gifts” in 1 Corinthians ch 12; Romans ch 12 (Note Ephesians 4:16).

[19] Whether late, midnight, when the cock crows, or dawn: If the parousia were a generational period then it would be absurd to pinpoint these moments in a day or night. The Return of Christ or Arrival of the Lord is within a moment occupied by the brief period of a day’s various watches.

[20] Having arrived suddenly: “Arrived” is a synonym for PAROUSIA or “presence” in the Gospels. “Come” can also be a synonym (Revelation 2:25; 3:3).

[21] Sleeping: Note 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; 5:1, 2, 6-8.

[22] I say to all: The Nazarene not only speaks to the four disciples before him but “all” those who will become disciples in future generations (John 17:20).

[23] Who is the faithful and discreet slave: This is a rhetorical question the Nazarene raises for the second time in his ministry. It is best understood by comparing the earlier account in a more expanded version at Luke 12:40-42. Judging from the context of Luke ch 12 it may be limited to the Apostles but at the same time have some personal application to any individual Christian “slave.” (1 Corinthians 4:1-2)

[24] Domestics: Or, household (KJV, LB, PME, RSV, JB); other servants (TEV, NIV); household staff (NEB). That is, the live in help. The Slave is charged with feeding the “domestics” or fellow Saints in the Household of God. In Luke 12:42 this is THERAPEIAS or “therapists.” The Apostles, as the Faithful Slave, were found literally caring for food distribution in Acts chapters 2 to 6. Matthew 24:46 says, ‘Happy that slave if his Lord finds him doing so when he arrives.’

[25] To give them food at an appointed time: This is often given a spiritual application without the context indicating this. The facts are, the Faithful Slave, the Apostles, are found caring for “food distribution” in Acts chs 2 to 6.

[26] Arrives: The Parousia of Christ or the Master’s “coming.”

[27] The Master will appoint him: make him ruler. The final appointment as king, judge, and priest (1 Corinthians 6:2; Revelation 20:4, 6).

[28] Bad slave: In the four parables concluding the Nazarene’s answer to his disciples’ question there are: 1) a faithful and bad slave; 2) five wise and five foolish virgins; 3) slaves with five, three, and one talent; and, 4) the sheep and goats. All deal with the “arrival” (presence) of a master, bridegroom, a nobleman (Luke 19:13-26), and, a judge.

[29] My Master is taking his time: Unfortunately the phrase “the delay of the parousia” has become a catch phrase among theological scholars when discussing what they perceive as Jesus’ failed prophecy regarding an imminent parousia.

[30] Beating his fellow slaves: Among the “oppressive wolves” who do not treat the flock with “tenderness.” (Acts 20:29-30)

[31] Eat and drink: Back to the parallel with Noah’s day.

[32] The Master will arrive: The parousia. The word group “arrive” in the context of the “coming” of Christ is used several times as a synonym for PAROUSIA (Matthew 10:23; 25:10, 31; Mark 8:38; 13:36; Luke 9:26; 12:38; 18:8; 22:18).

[33] In an hour: This is no generational period of time but the “hour” of the parousia within a certain “day.” The Nazarene uses the word “hour” over a half dozen times in the context of his parousia (Matthew 24:36, 44, 50; 25:13; Mark 13:32; Luke 12:39, 40, 46).

[34] The Master will cut him asunder: Or, to bisect; cut in two. A severe treatment similar to Luke 12:46 and Matthew 25:46.

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Preceding

Matthew 10:11-15 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Searching for the Sheep

Matthew 13:36-43 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Zizania in the Field Explained

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

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

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

++

Additional reading

  1. You know neither the day nor the hour
  2. Only once and with consequences
  3. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #1 The Son of man revealing
  4. To be prepared and very well oiled

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