Thursday, August 7, 2014
Parables About The Return Of Christ
“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.” (Matthew 25:1-5)
Jesus had just spent some time making it clear people would not know when the Lord’s return would happen and those who were not prepared would suffer the consequences. Here he describes five wise and five foolish virgins. The five foolish ones had gotten dressed up, and brought their lamps, but had not brought the part that made the lamps work, the oil. Without it the lamps were useless. The wise ones took the time to make sure their lamp was filled. While they waited, they were all doing the same thing. They were like those today who join and get involved in the church but never get saved.
“And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.” (Matthew 25:6-9)
When the cry went out that the bridegroom was coming, the foolish girls expected to get in anyway because they could use the oil the other girls had brought. The wiser girls realized they could not provide for the foolish girls. The foolish ones would have get their own oil. Salvation has to be received personally. Other Christians or the church cannot provide it for you.
“And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 25:10-13)
Because the foolish virgins were not ready when the bridegroom came they did not get into the wedding while the doors were open, and once the doors were closed they were not given a second chance. God will not wait for people to go back and correct their mistakes. There is no purgatory or negotiating at the gates of heaven. People who have not been saved before their death or the Lord’s return will be excluded because they did not think it important enough to take care of it while they had time.
“For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.“ (Matthew 25:14-15)
Next, Jesus uses a parable about a king giving various people different responsibilities before hi leaves on journey. He assigns the responsibilities according each man’s individual abilities. One very talented individual was responsible for five talents. A talent is about seventy five pounds or twelve hundred ounces, so five talents of silver would be worth about a hundred eighty thousand dollars at thirty dollars an ounce. It the talents ere of gold, thy would be worth about fifty times that much.
The second man was given responsibility for two talents or about seventy two thousand dollars worth of silver, and the least was given about thirty six thousand to oversee. Even the least had plenty to start a small business or invest in a rental property.
“Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.” (Matthew 25:16-18)
The one with the five talents had taken the money and by careful trading had doubled his original investment to ten talents. The one who had two had also doubled his, giving him four talents. The one who received one talent went and buried what he was responsible for to make sure nothing happened to it, but did not even try to make it grow. Instead, he spent all his time doing as he pleased.
“After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 25:19-23)
The boss was well satisfied with the results both of the first servants. Both of them had taken the responsibility seriously and done their best, making him a sizeable profit,
“Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strowed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strowed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.” (Matthew 25:24-27)
The master was not at all pleased with the third servant. If he had just put his money in a savings account or money market account at the bank there would have been almost no risk and he could have collected some interest with almost no effort on his part. If the master only wanted to keep his money safe, he would have done that himself but even that would have indicated a desire to benefit his master. By burying the money, the servant had kept the master from making even that much profit. He had not done what his master wanted him to do.
“Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 25:28-30)
Because he had not even tried to do what the master gave him to do, his responsibilities were taken from him and given to those who had done their job and the servant was fired. He would live to regret his decision not to do as his master asked him. Jesus said this was similar to what would happen in the kingdom of heaven. Everyone who has made even a small effort to serve god will be blessed, but those who have deliberately not done what God expects will lose even what they thought they had.