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Matthew Chapter Twenty-five


Matthew 25

Professors, during the Lord's absence, are here presented as virgins, who went out to meet the Bridegroom, and light Him to the house. In this passage He is not the Bridegroom of the church. No others go to meet Him for His marriage with the church in heaven. The bride does not appear in this parable. Had she been introduced, it would have been Jerusalem on earth. The assembly is not seen in these chapters as such.

It is here individual [1] responsibility during the absence of Christ. That which characterised the faithful at this period was that they came out from the world, from Judaism, from everything, even religion connected with the world, to go and meet the coming Lord. The Jewish remnant, on the contrary, wait for Him in the place where they are. If this expectation were real, the characteristic of one governed by it would be the thought of that which was necessary for the coming One-the light, the oil. Otherwise, to be the companions of professors meanwhile, and to carry lamps with them, would satisfy the heart. Nevertheless they all took a position; they go out, they leave the house to go out and meet the Bridegroom. He tarries. This also has taken place. They all fall asleep. The whole professing church has lost the thought of the Lord's return-even the faithful who have the Spirit. They must also have gone in again somewhere to sleep at ease-a place of rest for the flesh. But at midnight, unexpectedly, the cry is raised, "Behold, the bridegroom; go ye out to meet him." Alas! they needed the same call as at first. They must again go out to meet Him. The virgins rise, and trim their lamps. There is time enough between the midnight cry and the Bridegroom's arrival to prove the condition of each. There were some who had no oil in their vessels. Their lamps were going out. [2] The wise had oil. It was impossible for them to share it with the others. Those only who possessed it went in with the Bridegroom to take part in the marriage. He refused to acknowledge the others. What business had they there? The virgins were to give light with their lamps. They had not done it. Why should they share the feast? They had failed in that which gave this place. What title had they to be at the feast The virgins of the feast were virgins who accompanied the Bridegroom. These had not done so. They were not admitted. But even the faithful ones had forgotten the coming of Christ. They fell asleep. But, at least, they possessed the essential thing that corresponded to it. The grace of the Bridegroom causes the cry to be raised which proclaims His arrival. It awakens them: they have oil in their vessels; and the delay, which occasions the lamps of the unfaithful to go out, gives the faithful time to be ready and at their place; and forgetful as they may have been, they go in with the Bridegroom to the wedding feast [3]

We pass now from state of soul to service.

For in truth (v. 14) it is as a man who had gone away from his home-for the Lord dwelt in Israel-and who commits his goods to his own servants, and then departs. Here, we have the principles that characterise faithful servants, or the contrary. It is not now the personal individual expectation, and the possession of the oil, requisite for a place in the Lord's glorious train; neither is it the public and general position of those who were in the Master's service, characterised as position and as a whole, and therefore represented by a single servant; it is individual faithfulness in the service, as before in the expectation of the Bridegroom. The Master on His return will reckon with each one. Now what was their position? What was the principle that would produce faithfulness? Observe, first of all, that it is not providential gifts, earthly possessions, that are meant. These are not the "goods that Jesus committed to His servants when He went away. They were gifts which fitted them to labour in His service while He was absent. The Master was sovereign and wise. He gave differently to each, and to each according to his capacity. Each was fitted for the service in which he was employed, and the gifts needed for its fulfilment were bestowed on him. Faithfulness to perform it was the only thing in question. That which distinguished the faithful from the unfaithful was confidence in their Master. They had sufficient confidence in His well-known character, in His goodness, His love, to labour without being authorised in any other manner than by their knowledge of His personal character, and by the intelligence which that confidence and that knowledge produced. Of what use to give them sums of money, except to trade with them? Had He failed in wisdom when He bestowed these gifts? The devotedness that flowed from knowledge of their Master counted upon the love of Him whom they knew. They laboured, and they were rewarded. This is the true character, and the spring, of service in the church. It is this that the third servant lacked. He did not know his Master-he did not trust in Him. He could not even do that which was consistent with his own thoughts. He waited for some authorisation which would be a security against the character his heart falsely gave his Master. Those who knew their Master's character entered into His joy.

There is this difference between the parable here and that in Luke 19, that in the latter each man receives one pound; his responsibility is the only question. And consequently he who gained ten pounds is set over ten cities. Here the sovereignty and the wisdom of God are concerned, and he who labours is guided by the knowledge he has of his Master; and the counsels of God in grace are accomplished. He who has the most receives yet more. At the same time the reward is more general. He who has gained two talents, and he who has gained five, enter alike into the joy of the Lord whom they have served. They have known Him in His true character, they enter into His full joy. The Lord grant it unto us!

There is more than this in the second parable-that of the virgins. It refers more directly and more exclusively to the heavenly character of Christians. It is not the assembly, properly so called, as a body; but the faithful have gone out to meet the Bridegroom, who was returning to the marriage. At the time of His return to execute judgment, the kingdom of heaven will assume the character of persons come out from the world, and still more from Judaism-from all that, in point of religion, belongs to the flesh-from all established worldly form-to have to do with the coming Lord alone, and to go out to meet Him. This was the character of the faithful from the beginning, as having part in the kingdom of heaven, if they had understood the position in which they were placed by the Lord's rejection. The virgins, it is true, had gone in again; and this falsified their character; but the midnight cry brought them back into their true place. Therefore they go in with the Bridegroom, and there is no question of judging and rewarding, but of being with Him. In the first parable, and in that of Luke, the subject is His return to earth, and individual recompense-the results, in the kingdom, of their conduct during the King's absence. [4] Service and its results are not the subject in the parable of the virgins. Those who have no oil do not go in at all. This is enough. The others have blessing in common; they go in with the Bridegroom to the marriage. There is no question of particular reward, nor of difference in conduct between them. It was the heart's expectation, though grace had to bring them back into it. Whatever the place of service might have been, the reward was sure. This parable applies and is limited to the heavenly portion of the kingdom as such. It is a similitude of the kingdom of heaven.

We may also remark here, that the delay of the Master is noticed in the third parable likewise-"after a long time" (v. 19). Their faithfulness and their constancy were thus put to the test. May the Lord give unto us to be found faithful and devoted, now in the end of the ages, that He may say unto us, "Good and faithful servants!" It is worthy of remark that in these parables those who are in service, or go out at first, are the same as those found at the end. The Lord would not hold out the supposition of delay beyond "we who are alive and remain." [5]

Weeping and gnashing of teeth are his portion who has not known his Master, who has outraged Him by the thoughts he entertained of His character.

In verse 31 the prophetic history is resumed from verse 31 of chapter 24. There we saw the Son of man appear like a flash of lightning, and afterwards gather together the remnant of Israel from the four corners of the earth. But this is not all. If He thus appears in a manner as sudden as unexpected, He also establishes His throne of judgment and glory on the earth. If He destroys His enemies whom He finds in rebellion against Himself, He also sits upon His throne to judge all nations. This is the judgment on earth of the living. Four different parties are here found together; the Lord, the Son of man Himself-the brethren-the sheep-and the goats. I believe the brethren here to be Jews, His disciples as Jews, whom He had employed as His messengers, to preach the kingdom during His absence. The gospel of the kingdom was to be preached as a testimony to all nations; and then the end of the age should come. At the time here spoken of, this has been done. The result should be manifested before the throne of the Son of man on earth.

He calls these messengers therefore His brethren. He had told them they should be ill-treated: they had been so. Still there were some who had received their testimony.

Now such was His affection for His faithful servants, so highly did He value them, that He judged those to whom the testimony was sent according to the manner in which they had received these messengers, whether well or ill, as though it had been done to Himself. What an encouragement for His witnesses during that time of trouble, tried as their faith should be in service! At the same time it was justice morally to those who were judged; for they had rejected the testimony by whomsoever it was rendered. We have also the result of their conduct, both the one and the other. It is the King-for this is the character Christ has now taken on earth-who pronounces judgment; and He calls the sheep (those who had received the messengers, and had sympathised with them in their afflictions and persecutions) to inherit the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world; for such had been the purpose of God with respect to this earth. He had always the kingdom in view. They were the blessed of His (the King's) Father. It was not children who understood their own relation with their Father; but they were the receivers of blessing from the Father of the King of this world. Moreover they were to enter into everlasting life; for such was the power, through grace, of the word which they had received into their heart. Possessed of everlasting life, they should be blessed in a world that was blessed also.

They who had despised the testimony and those that bore it, had despised the King who sent them; they should go away into everlasting punishment.

Thus the whole effect of Christ's coming, with regard to the kingdom and to His messengers during His absence, is unfolded: with respect to the Jews, as far as verse 31 of chapter 24; with respect to His servants during His absence, to the end of verse 30 of chapter 25, including the kingdom of heaven in its present condition, and the heavenly rewards that shall be given; and then, from verse 31 to the end of chapter 25, with respect to the nations who shall be blessed on the earth at His return.


[1] The servant in chapter 24 is collective responsibility.

[2] The word rather signifies torches. With them they had, or should have had, oil in vessels to feed the flame.

[3] And note here, the waking up is by the cry; it wakes up all. There IS enough to rouse all professors to needed activity; but the effect of this is to put them to the test, and separate them. It was not the time of getting oil or supplies of grace to those already professors; conversion is not the subject of the parable. The question of getting oil is only I doubt now, to shew it was not the time of doing so.

[4] In that of the talents in Matthew, we get indeed the ruling over many things, the kingdom, but it is more full through the expression, Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord; and the blessing is conferred on all alike who were faithful in service, great or small.

[5] So in the churches in Revelation, He takes existing churches, though I doubt not it is a complete history of the church.

── John DarbySynopsis of Matthew


Matthew 25

Chapter Contents

The parable of the ten virgins. (1-13) The parable of the talents. (14-30) The judgment. (31-46)

Commentary on Matthew 25:1-13

(Read Matthew 25:1-13)

The circumstances of the parable of the ten virgins were taken from the marriage customs among the Jews, and explain the great day of Christ's coming. See the nature of Christianity. As Christians we profess to attend upon Christ, to honour him, also to be waiting for his coming. Sincere Christians are the wise virgins, and hypocrites the foolish ones. Those are the truly wise or foolish that are so in the affairs of their souls. Many have a lamp of profession in their hands, but have not, in their hearts, sound knowledge and settled resolution, which are needed to carry them through the services and trials of the present state. Their hearts are not stored with holy dispositions, by the new-creating Spirit of God. Our light must shine before men in good works; but this is not likely to be long done, unless there is a fixed, active principle in the heart, of faith in Christ, and love to God and our brethren. They all slumbered and slept. The delay represents the space between the real or apparent conversion of these professors, and the coming of Christ, to take them away by death, or to judge the world. But though Christ tarry past our time, he will not tarry past the due time. The wise virgins kept their lamps burning, but they did not keep themselves awake. Too many real Christians grow remiss, and one degree of carelessness makes way for another. Those that allow themselves to slumber, will scarcely keep from sleeping; therefore dread the beginning of spiritual decays. A startling summons was given. Go ye forth to meet Him, is a call to those prepared. The notice of Christ's approach, and the call to meet him, will awaken. Even those best prepared for death have work to do to get actually ready, 2 Peter 3:14. It will be a day of search and inquiry; and it concerns us to think how we shall then be found. Some wanted oil to supply their lamps when going out. Those that take up short of true grace, will certainly find the want of it one time or other. An outward profession may light a man along this world, but the damps of the valley of the shadow of death will put out such a light. Those who care not to live the life, yet would die the death of the righteous. But those that would be saved, must have grace of their own; and those that have most grace, have none to spare. The best need more from Christ. And while the poor alarmed soul addresses itself, upon a sick-bed, to repentance and prayer, in awful confusion, death comes, judgment comes, the work is undone, and the poor sinner is undone for ever. This comes of having oil to buy when we should burn it, grace to get when we should use it. Those, and those only, shall go to heaven hereafter, that are made ready for heaven here. The suddenness of death and of Christ's coming to us then, will not hinder our happiness, if we have been prepared. The door was shut. Many will seek admission into heaven when it is too late. The vain confidence of hypocrites will carry them far in expectations of happiness. The unexpected summons of death may alarm the Christian; but, proceeding without delay to trim his lamp, his graces often shine more bright; while the mere professor's conduct shows that his lamp is going out. Watch therefore, attend to the business of your souls. Be in the fear of the Lord all the day long.

Commentary on Matthew 25:14-30

(Read Matthew 25:14-30)

Christ keeps no servants to be idle: they have received their all from him, and have nothing they can call their own but sin. Our receiving from Christ is in order to our working for him. The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. The day of account comes at last. We must all be reckoned with as to what good we have got to our own souls, and have done to others, by the advantages we have enjoyed. It is not meant that the improving of natural powers can entitle a man to Divine grace. It is the real Christian's liberty and privilege to be employed as his Redeemer's servant, in promoting his glory, and the good of his people: the love of Christ constrains him to live no longer to himself, but to Him that died for him, and rose again. Those who think it impossible to please God, and in vain to serve him, will do nothing to purpose in religion. They complain that He requires of them more than they are capable of, and punishes them for what they cannot help. Whatever they may pretend, the fact is, they dislike the character and work of the Lord. The slothful servant is sentenced to be deprived of his talent. This may be applied to the blessings of this life; but rather to the means of grace. Those who know not the day of their visitation, shall have the things that belong to their peace hid from their eyes. His doom is, to be cast into outer darkness. It is a usual way of expressing the miseries of the damned in hell. Here, as in what was said to the faithful servants, our Saviour goes out of the parable into the thing intended by it, and this serves as a key to the whole. Let us not envy sinners, or covet any of their perishing possessions.

Commentary on Matthew 25:31-46

(Read Matthew 25:31-46)

This is a description of the last judgment. It is as an explanation of the former parables. There is a judgment to come, in which every man shall be sentenced to a state of everlasting happiness, or misery. Christ shall come, not only in the glory of his Father, but in his own glory, as Mediator. The wicked and godly here dwell together, in the same cities, churches, families, and are not always to be known the one from the other; such are the weaknesses of saints, such the hypocrisies of sinners; and death takes both: but in that day they will be parted for ever. Jesus Christ is the great Shepherd; he will shortly distinguish between those that are his, and those that are not. All other distinctions will be done away; but the great one between saints and sinners, holy and unholy, will remain for ever. The happiness the saints shall possess is very great. It is a kingdom; the most valuable possession on earth; yet this is but a faint resemblance of the blessed state of the saints in heaven. It is a kingdom prepared. The Father provided it for them in the greatness of his wisdom and power; the Son purchased it for them; and the blessed Spirit, in preparing them for the kingdom, is preparing it for them. It is prepared for them: it is in all points adapted to the new nature of a sanctified soul. It is prepared from the foundation of the world. This happiness was for the saints, and they for it, from all eternity. They shall come and inherit it. What we inherit is not got by ourselves. It is God that makes heirs of heaven. We are not to suppose that acts of bounty will entitle to eternal happiness. Good works done for God's sake, through Jesus Christ, are here noticed as marking the character of believers made holy by the Spirit of Christ, and as the effects of grace bestowed on those who do them. The wicked in this world were often called to come to Christ for life and rest, but they turned from his calls; and justly are those bid to depart from Christ, that would not come to him. Condemned sinners will in vain offer excuses. The punishment of the wicked will be an everlasting punishment; their state cannot be altered. Thus life and death, good and evil, the blessing and the curse, are set before us, that we may choose our way, and as our way so shall our end be.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on Matthew


Matthew 25

Verse 3

[3] They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:

The foolish took no oil with them — No more than kept them burning just for the present. None to supply their future want, to recruit their lamp's decay. The lamp is faith. A lamp and oil with it, is faith working by love.

Verse 4

[4] But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

The wise took oil in their vessels — Love in their hearts. And they daily sought a fresh supply of spiritual strength, till their faith was made perfect.

Verse 5

[5] While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

While the bridegroom delayed — That is, before they were called to attend him, they all slumbered and slept - Were easy and quiet, the wise enjoying a true, the foolish a false peace.

Verse 6

[6] And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

At midnight — In an hour quite unthought of.

Verse 7

[7] Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

They trimmed their lamps — They examined themselves and prepared to meet their God.

Verse 8

[8] And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out — Our faith is dead. What a time to discover this! Whether it mean the time of death, or of judgment. Unto which of the saints wilt thou then turn? Who can help thee at such a season?

Verse 9

[9] 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.

But the wise answered, Lest there be not enough for us and you! — Beginning the sentence with a beautiful abruptness; such as showed their surprise at the state of those poor wretches, who had so long received them, as well as their own souls.

Lest there be not enough — It is sure there is not; for no man has more than holiness enough for himself.

Go ye rather to them that sell — Without money and without price: that is, to God, to Christ.

And buy — If ye can. O no! The time is past and returns no more!

Verse 13

[13] Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

Watch therefore — He that watches has not only a burning lamp, but likewise oil in his vessel. And even when he sleepeth, his heart waketh. He is quiet; but not secure.

Verse 14

[14] 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.

Our Lord proceeds by a parable still plainer (if that can be) to declare the final reward of a harmless man. May God give all such in this their day, ears to hear and hearts to understand it! The kingdom of heaven - That is, the King of heaven, Christ. Mark 13:34; Luke 19:12.

Verse 15

[15] 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.

To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one — And who knows whether (all circumstances considered) there be a greater disproportion than this, in the talents of those who have received the most, and those who have received the fewest? According to his own ability - The words may be translated more literally, according to his own mighty power.

And immediately took his journey — To heaven.

Verse 18

[18] But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.

He that had received one — Made his having fewer talents than others a pretence for not improving any.

Went and hid his master's money — Reader, art thou doing the same? Art thou hiding the talent God hath lent thee?

Verse 24

[24] 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 strawed:

I knew thou art a hard man — No. Thou knowest him not. He never knew God, who thinks him a hard master.

Reaping where thou hast not sown — That is, requiring more of us than thou hast given us power to perform. So does every obstinate sinner, in one kind or other, lay the blame of his own sins on God.

Verse 25

[25] And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

And I was afraid — Lest if I had improved my talent, I should have had the more to answer for. So from this fear, one will not learn to read, another will not hear sermons!

Verse 26

[26] 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 strawed:

Thou knewest — That I require impossibilities! This is not an allowing, but a strong denial of the charge.

Verse 27

[27] Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.

Thou oughtest therefore — On that very account, on thy own supposition, to have improved my talent, as far as was possible.

Verse 29

[29] 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.

To every one that hath shall he given — So close does God keep to this stated rule, from the beginning to the end of the world. Matthew 13:12.

Verse 30

[30] And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Cast ye the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness — For what? what had he done? It is true he had not done good. But neither is he charged with doing any harm. Why, for this reason, for barely doing no harm, he is consigned to outer darkness. He is pronounced a wicked, because he was a slothful, an unprofitable servant. So mere harmlessness, on which many build their hope of salvation, was the cause of his damnation! There shall be the weeping - Of the careless thoughtless sinner; and the gnashing of teeth - Of the proud and stubborn. The same great truth, that there is no such thing as negative goodness, is in this chapter shown three times: 1. In the parable of the virgins; 2. In the still plainer parable of the servants, who had received the talents; and 3. In a direct unparabolical declaration of the manner wherein our Lord will proceed at the last day. The several parts of each of these exactly answers each other, only each rises above the preceding.

Verse 31

[31] When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him — With what majesty and grandeur does our Lord here speak of himself Giving us one of the noblest instances of the true sublime. Indeed not many descriptions in the sacred writings themselves seem to equal this. Methinks we can hardly read it without imagining ourselves before the awful tribunal it describes.

Verse 34

[34] Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

Inherit the kingdom — Purchased by my blood, for all who have believed in me with the faith which wrought by love.

Prepared for you — On purpose for you. May it not be probably inferred from hence, that man was not created merely to fill up the places of the fallen angels?

Verse 35

[35] For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

I was hungry, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink — All these works of outward mercy suppose faith and love, and must needs he accompanied with works of spiritual mercy. But works of this kind the Judge could not mention in the same manner. He could not say, I was in error, and ye recalled me to the truth; I was in sin, and ye brought me to repentance.

In prison — Prisoners need to be visited above all others, as they are commonly solitary and forsaken by the rest of the world.

Verse 37

[37] Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

Then shall the righteous answer — It cannot be, that either the righteous or the wicked should answer in these very words. What we learn herefrom is, that neither of them have the same estimation of their own works as the Judge hath.

Verse 40

[40] And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Inasmuch as ye did it to one of the least of these my brethren, ye did it to me — What encouragement is here to assist the household of faith? But let us likewise remember to do good to all men.

Verse 41

[41] Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Depart into the everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels — Not originally for you: you are intruders into everlasting fire.

Verse 44

[44] Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

Then will they answer — So the endeavour to justify themselves, will remain with the wicked even to that day!

Verse 46

[46] And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life everlasting — Either therefore the punishment is strictly eternal, or the reward is not: the very same expression being applied to the former as to the latter. The Judge will speak first to the righteous, in the audience of the wicked. The wicked shall then go away into everlasting fire, in the view of the righteous. Thus the damned shall see nothing of the everlasting life; but the just will see the punishment of the ungodly. It is not only particularly observable here, 1. That the punishment lasts as long as the reward; but, 2. That this punishment is so far from ceasing at the end of the world, that it does not begin till then.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on Matthew


Chapter 25. Ten Virgins

Good and Faithful
Wicked and Lazy

I. Parable of the Pursuit of Life

  1. Five Wise
  2. Five Foolish
  3. Watch and Get Ready

II. Parable of Three Kinds of Servants

  1. Five Talents
  2. Two Talents
  3. One Talent

III. Parable of Sheep and Goats

  1. Judge All the Nations
  2. Two Flocks
  3. Two Ends
── Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament
The Wise And Foolish Virgins (Mt 25:1-13)
1. We have seen that several of Jesus' parables describe the
   consummation of the "kingdom of heaven" which takes place when Jesus
   a. "The Wheat And Tares" - Mt 13:24-30,36-43
   b. "The Dragnet" - Mt 13:47-50
2. Following His Discourse on the Mount of Olives in which He seems to
   a. Either the destruction of Jerusalem (which occurred in 70 A.D.)
   b. Or His coming at the end of the age (yet to occur)
   ...we find another parable:  "The Wise And Foolish Virgins" - Mt 25:
3. Scholars often debate over whether the discourse of Matthew 24 
   a. Strictly to the destruction of Jerusalem that occurred in A.D. 70
   b. Strictly to the Second Coming of Christ
   c. To both events, as the first is a type or shadow of the latter,
      such that certain terms can be used to describe both events, 
      though figurative in one case and literal in another
4. Whichever it might be, in the final analysis the parable of "The
   Wise And Foolish Virgins" has important lessons to be learned
   a. For even if Matthew 24 pertains solely to the destruction of
   b. ...other passages in the New Testament teach the Second Coming of
      the Lord, and we need to be watchful for that great event! - cf.
      2 Pe 3:10-14
[With that in mind, let's use this opportunity to take a closer look at
this parable Jesus taught...]
      1. Ten virgins go out with lamps to await the arrival of the 
         bridegroom - Mt 25:1-4
         a. Five foolish virgins take no oil
         b. Five wise virgins take extra oil
      2. The bridegroom is delayed in his coming - Mt 25:5
      3. The bridegroom's arrival is announced, and the virgins trim 
         their lamps - Mt 25:6-7
      4. The foolish virgins find that their oil is running out - Mt
         a. They plead with the wise virgins to share their oil
         b. But the wise virgins refuse, saying there is not enough
      5. As the foolish virgins go to get some oil, the bridegroom 
         comes and those prepared go in with him to the wedding, and 
         the door is shut - Mt 25:10
      6. The foolish virgins then arrive, but they are not allowed in 
         - Mt 25:11-12
      7. Jesus then makes the application - Mt 25:13
      1. The main message is quite clear, as evident from:
         a. Jesus' comments leading up to this parable - cf. Mt 24:
         b. Jesus' comment at the end of the parable itself - Mt 25:13
            1) There is the need for constant watchfulness
            2) For no one knows the moment when the Lord is coming!
      2. As worded in Hendriksen's commentary, "...the need of being 
         prepared at all times for the coming of the Bridegroom, Jesus
      3. This message is repeated later on in the New Testament...
         a. By Paul, writing to the Thessalonians - 1 Th 5:1-6
         b. By Peter, to the Christians in Asia Minor - 2 Pe 3:10-12
         c. By Jesus, to the church at Sardis - Re 3:2-3
[Not knowing the day or hour of His coming, we must be always be 
ready...this is the basic message of the parable.  But what else can we
glean from this parable?]
      1. Some are wise
         a. They diligently prepare themselves for the Master's coming,
            heeding the call to grow in the grace and knowledge of the
            Lord - 2 Pe 3:18; 1:5-8
         b. Knowing what is to come, they "look" for it and live 
            accordingly - 2 Pe 3:11-14
         c. For them, the coming of the Lord will be a blessing! - 2 Pe
      2. Some are foolish
         a. They know the Lord is coming, but they are not prepared
         b. They may even be like that evil servant who says "My master
            is delaying his coming", and act accordingly - cf. Mt 24:
         c. Yet Jesus has warned what will happen to such evil servants
            - Mt 24:50-51
      -- Are we like the wise virgins, or the foolish ones?
      1. Note that the foolish virgins did have "some" oil - Mt 25:8
      2. So they had made some preparation, but foolishly trusted in 
         what they had done in the past
      3. Neither should we "rest on our laurels", but have the attitude
         of Paul - Ph 3:12-15
      -- Are you foolishly depending upon what you have done in the
      1. The wise virgins could not share their oil with the foolish
         virgins - Mt 25:9
      2. Nor can we impart what salvation we have received to someone
         else (they must receive it from the Lord Himself) - cf. Ps
         49:7; Pr 9:12
      3. Do not think that we can be "saved by association"
         a. It did not work for the Jews - cf. Jer 7:4-7
         b. Neither will it work for us; each of us must have our own
            name in the Book of Life - cf. Re 20:12-15
      -- Are you foolishly trusting in your relationship with someone
         else for your salvation (a parent, a spouse, a church, etc.)?
      1. Despite their pleas, the foolish virgins were not permitted to
         the wedding - Mt 25:10-12
      2. When the Lord comes again, the time for salvation is gone!
   [Each of these points is related to the main message of the parable:
   the need to be prepared at all times for the coming of Christ.  In 
   view of this great need, here are some thoughts on...]
      1. Be careful not to let this world to pre-occupy you - Lk 21:
         a. Through its worldly lusts
         b. Through its worldly concerns
      2. Be steadfast in prayer - Lk 21:36
         a. For in prayer we naturally maintain an attitude of 
            watchfulness (which is a mark of preparation) - cf. Ep 6:18
         b. For in prayer we can assure that we will be counted worthy
            as we confess our sins - cf. 1 Jn 1:9
      3. Be diligent to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ
         - 2 Pe 3:18
         a. As defined in 2 Pe 1:5-8
         b. The blessings of which are described in 2 Pe 1:10-11
1. This parable teaches that a great day is coming, a day in which 
   those in the kingdom today will find themselves in two different
   a. Those who prepared themselves and faithfully watched for His
   b. Those who were not prepared, to whom they will hear the Lord say:
               "Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you."
2. Dear brother or sister in Christ, if the Lord were to come today...
   a. Would He find you watching?
   b. Would He find you prepared?
   -- Would He even know you? - cf. Mt 7:21-23
      "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour
      in which the Son of Man is coming." (Mt 25:13)
The Talents (Mt 25:14-30)
1. Immediately following the parable of "The Wise And Foolish Virgins"
   (Mt 25:1-13), we find Jesus telling the parable of "The Talents"
   (Mt 25:14-30)
2. While both parables relate to the kingdom of heaven, and especially
   in anticipation of the Lord's return, note the key difference:
   a. The first stresses the need to be "prepared"; the latter, the 
      need to be "productive"
   b. The first emphasizes "watching" for the Lord; the latter, 
      "working" for the Lord
3. In both parables we learn what should characterize those who eagerly
   WAIT for the coming of the Lord
[How can we best apply what Jesus is teaching in this parable?  Let's
begin by examining...]
      1. A man, about to travel to a far country, distributes his goods
         ("talents") among his servants - Mt 25:14-15
         a. A "talent" here is a monetary measure, amounting to 6000
            denarii, which would take an ordinary laborer twenty years
            to earn (a denarius being a day's wage)
         b. The number of "talents" was given "to each according to his
            own ability"
      2. The use made of the talents is described - Mt 25:16-18
         a. Two of the servants doubled their talents
         b. One servant simply hid the money
      3. The lord of the servants returns, and a reckoning is made - Mt
         a. His return was after "a long time"
         b. The first two servants describe how they doubled their
            1) They stand before the lord with excitement (implied in
               the word "look")
            2) Their lord was pleased
               a) He praises them for their work, saying "Well done"
               b) He commends them both as "good and faithful servant"
               c) He rewards them by promoting them:  "you were
                  faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler
                  over many things"
               d) He invites them to share in his happiness:  "Enter
                  into the joy of your lord"
         c. The servant who hid his money then faces his lord...
            1) He begins by making excuses
               a) "Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you
                  have not sown..."
               b) "I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the
            2) He seeks to appease the lord by returning what he had
               been given:  "Look, there you have what is yours."
         d. The lord's response...
            1) He calls him a "wicked and lazy servant"
            2) He tells him what was the least he should have done:
               "you ought to have deposited my money with the
            3) He takes away what he had, and gave it to the servant
               with ten talents, with this explanation:
               a) "For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he
                  will have abundance"
               b) "But from him who does not have, even what he has
                  will be taken away"
            4) He has the "unprofitable servant" cast "into the outer
               darkness", where "there will be weeping and gnashing of
      1. Main points of the parable:
         a. Be faithful in using the opportunities for service which 
            the Lord has given us
         b. Diligence is rewarded; negligence is punished
      2. Other points to be noted (adapted from Hendricksen's
         a. Whatever we have, whether opportunities or abilities,
            belongs to God; we may possess, but God owns; we are simply
            stewards - Mt 25:14
         b. The Lord grants opportunities for service in keeping with 
            our ability to make use of them - Mt 25:15
            1) In the day of judgment, the number of "talents" will not
            2) The question will be, "Have you been faithful in your
               use of the talents?"
         c. Jesus did not expect to return immediately - Mt 25:19; cf.
         d. Everything should be done with a view of the day of
            reckoning which is coming! - cf. 2 Co 5:10
         e. Our responsibilities here and now are important, but they 
            will be surpassed by those in the life hereafter - Mt 25:
            21; cf. Re 22:3-5
         f. To share in the Master's own joy is part of the glory of 
            the life hereafter - Mt 25:21; cf. 2 Th 1:10-12 (where we
            are told we will share in His glory)
         g. Those who make excuses are "wicked and lazy" servants - Mt
         h. A place of punishment is reserved for the unprofitable 
            servants! - Mt 25:30; cf. 13:41-42
         i. The sin of OMISSION is just as bad as the sin of COMMISSION
            1) Those who do evil will experience "wailing and gnashing
               of teeth" - Mt 13:41-42
            2) But also those who do nothing! - Mt 25:30
[Many are the lessons that can be gleaned from this parable of "The
Talents".  The main lesson is simple:  
   Be productive where the Lord has given you ability and opportunity!
But this often raises a question:  What are my "talents?" (used here not
as a measure of money, but of ability and opportunity)  Here are some
thoughts in an attempt to address this issue...]
      1. The NUMBER of the talents may be different
         a. Some may have only "one" talent
         b. Some may have "five" talents
         -- Remember, the Lord gives "to each one according to his own
      2. The NATURE of the talents may be different
         a. Paul made this clear in Ro 12:3-8
         b. Some teach, others serve; some may do more than one
         -- But everyone has "gifts differing according to the grace
            that is given to us"
      1. In some cases our abilities are evident
         a. E.g., inherited or gained wealth
         b. E.g., positions of influence
      2. But some abilities might at first be "hidden"
         a. For example, teaching and preaching
         b. E.g., I would have never thought that I had the ability to
            teach or preach, in view of my childhood speech impediment
         -- Some talents may therefore lie dormant, awaiting awakening
      1. Through trial and error
         a. Try different areas of service, to see which ones might 
            come naturally
         b. Try them again and again, for some talents may only develop
            through hard work
      2. Through seeking counsel from others
         a. Others can often see our strengths and weaknesses better
            than we ourselves
         b. Solomon praised the value of receiving counsel - Pr 11:14;
            12:15; 15:22; 19:20
      -- Through such personal diligence and advice from others, one 
         can gain insight into the abilities and opportunities that the
         Lord has given him or her
1. If we are in the kingdom, the Lord has given us all some ability in
   which to serve Him
   a. One day, He is coming again and there will be a reckoning
   b. If we are going to be "prepared", we need to be "productive"
2. Are you productive?  Or are you like the "wicked and lazy servant"?
   a. Will the Lord say to you:  "Well done, good and faithful servant.
      Enter into the joy of your lord."?
   b. Or will he say:  "You wicked and lazy servant", and consign you
      to the place of torment?
What He will say THEN depends upon your service in the kingdom NOW...
The Judgment Of The Nations (25:31-46)
1. Included in "The Olivet Discourse" are two parables, followed by a
   judgment scene...
   a. The parables are directed toward Jesus' disciples
      1) The first to encourage them to be watchful - Mt 25:1-13
      2) The second to admonish them to be productive - Mt 25:14-30
   b. The judgment scene depicts the nations brought before Jesus 
      - Mt 25:31-46
      1) Note that it is the "nations" being judged, not disciples
      2) The nations are judged based upon their treatment of Jesus'
         a) Those that showed mercy and kindness to His disciples are
         b) Those that did not are condemned
2. Questions abound regarding "The Judgment Of The Nations"...
   a. Who are the "nations" in this passage?  All of mankind, or only
      the non-elect?
   b. Is this "judgment" scene depicting the Day of Judgment, or might
      it refer to a judgment that foreshadowed the Final Judgment?
   c. As part of "The Olivet Discourse", could Jesus still be talking
      about events related to the destruction of Jerusalem?
[However one may answer such questions, there are important lessons to
be gleaned from these words of Jesus.  But let's first consider how it
may be that Jesus is still referring to events related to the
destruction of Jerusalem described in Mt 24...]
      1. The coming day of the Lord is depicted
         a. Following the outpouring of God's Spirit - Joel 2:28-29
         b. A great and terrible day is coming - Joel 2:30-31
         c. Yet salvation is available to those who accept it - Joel
            2:32; cf. Ac 2:16-21
      2. A "judgment of the nations" is then described
         a. The nations gathered in the Valley of Jehoshaphat - Joel
         b. The nations judged on the basis of their treatment of God's
            people - Joel 3:2b-8
      1. Jesus foretold the coming day of the Lord - Mt 24:1-51
         a. Coming in destruction upon Jerusalem 
         b. With warnings to escape when they see Jerusalem surrounded
            by armies
      2. A judgment of the nations is then described - Mt 25:31-46
         a. The nations gathered before Son of Man
         b. The nations judged on the basis of their treatment of God's
            people ("inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of
            these My brethren")
      1. God describes judgment to come, using other nations as
         instruments of His wrath
      2. But He also holds the nations accountable for how His people
         are treated; for example...
         a. Assyria, the rod of God's anger - Isa 10:5-7,12-14,24-26
         b. Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon - Amos 1:3,6,9,11,13
      3. Nations that went too far (e.g., abusing the innocent) were
         held accountable
      1. Describing a judgment upon the nations...
         a. Employing figures reminiscent of the Judgment at the Last
            Day; for example...
            1) The Son of Man coming in glory, sitting on His throne
            2) The nations divided like sheep and goats
            3) Judgment rendered, followed by reward or punishment
         b. For such judgments foreshadowed and typified the Final
      2. Describing a judgment of the nations...
         a. Which followed the Lord's judgment upon Jerusalem - Mt 24
         b. Regarding their treatment of His brethren (the disciples of
         c. Nations who treated them kindly would be blessed, otherwise
            they would be condemned
         -- In the Book of Revelation, we see how Jesus dealt with the 
            Roman empire, used as the instrument of wrath in destroying
            Jerusalem, and then the object of wrath in its own judgment
[This may be what Jesus is doing at this point in "The Olivet
Discourse".  It would certainly serve to comfort His disciples, knowing
that nations which failed to show mercy to them would not go
unpunished.  Even if this is point of the text, we can still glean
      1. Just as the Lord has judged nations throughout history
      2. So He will judge the world at the end of time, at the Last Day
         a. Jesus often spoke of the Judgment - e.g., Mt 12:36-37,
            41-42; Jn 12:47-48
         b. Paul also - e.g., Ac 17:30-31; 24:25; Ro 2:3-6; 14:10; 
            2 Co 5:10; 2 Ti 4:1
         c. Others as well - e.g., He 9:27; 1 Pe 4:5; 2 Pe 2:9; 3:7;
            1 Jn 4:17; Ju 6
      -- Are we preparing for the Day of Judgment?
      1. Of course, every deed, word, and thought will be judged (see
         above verses)
      2. But our text reminds us how Jesus takes the treatment of His
         brethren - Mt 25:40,45
         a. "as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren,
            you did it to Me"
         b. "as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did
            not do it to Me"
      3. Jesus made the same point to Saul on the road to Damascus 
         - Ac 9:1-5
         a. "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?"
         b. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting."
         -- By persecuting the church, Saul was guilty of persecuting
      4. Jesus is the head, and His disciples (the church) is His body
         - Ep 1:22-23
         a. What we do or not do for His disciples, we do or not do for
         b. How is our treatment of our brethren?  Are we guilty of:
            1) Abusing them?
            2) Ignoring them?
            3) Failing to love them?
      -- What is our relationship with other Christians, especially in
         the context of the local church?
      1. One is for prepared people - Mt 25:34
         a. Described as "the kingdom prepared for you from the
            foundation of the world" - cf. 2 Ti 4:18; 2 Pe 1:11
         b. Described as "new heavens and a new earth in which 
            righteousness dwells" - cf. 2 Pe 3:13; Re 21:1
         c. Described as "the holy city, New Jerusalem" - cf. He 13:14;
            Re 3:12; 21:2-7
         -- This place is for those whose names are in the Lamb's book
            of Life - Re 20:11-15
      2. One is for unprepared people - Mt 25:41
         a. Described as "the everlasting fire prepared for the devil
            and his angels" - cf. Re 20:10
         b. Described as "the like of fire and brimstone" - Re 20:10,
            14; 21:8
         c. Described as "the second death" - Re 20:14; 21:8
         -- This place is for those whose names are not in the book of
            life - Re 20:15
      3. Both places are prepared to last for eternity - Mt 25:46
         a. The one offering everlasting punishment
         b. The other offering eternal life
1. God's judgment upon nations in the past were written for our
   admonition - 1 Co 10:11
   a. Such judgments reveal that God is a Righteous Judge
   b. Such judgments portend the Judgment to come at the Last Day
2. Whether or not Jesus uses the setting of the Final Judgment to
   describe judgment upon the nations following the destruction of
   Jerusalem, His words should cause us to consider...
   a. Are we preparing for the Day of Judgment?
   b. Involved in that preparation, is our relationship with our
      brethren what it ought to be?
   c. What will Jesus say to us on that Day?
May we all walk in the grace and mercy of the Lord with an obedient
faith and love, so that we may hear Him say:
   "Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared
   for you from the foundation of world." - Mt 25:34


--《Executable Outlines