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BIBLE STUDY on the Gospel of Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
Matthew 24 and 25, records the Lord’s Heart, revealing His compassion and love blended together with unwavering holiness and purity. This section of Scripture, makes up final warnings, prophecies, and encouragements to His people Israel just before His departure. He, Who is their Lord, is leaving for an undisclosed period of time. He is entrusting them with the responsibility, as stewards, to care for His Kingdom.
This chapter continues and concludes our Saviour's discourse, which began in chapter 24, concerning His Second Coming and the end of the world. This was His farewell sermon of caution, as that in (Jn.14:15-16), was of comfort to His apostles . . . and they had need of both in a world of much temptation and trouble as this is.
The purpose of this discourse was: “Watch therefore, and be ye also ready.” In hearing these very serious awakening cautions, this chapter gives us three parables, the scope of which is the same . . . to awaken us all with the utmost care and diligence to get ready for Christ's Second Coming, which, in all His farewells to His church, mention was made of, as in that before He died (Jn.14:2), in that of His ascension (Acts 1:11), and in the end of the Scriptures (Rev.22:20).
How does it concern us?
- #1. That we may be ready meet Him; and this is shown in the parable of the ten virgins.
- #2. That we may be ready to give our account to Him; and this is shown in the parable of the three servants.
- #3. That we may be ready to receive from Him our final sentence, and that it may be to eternal life; and this is shown in a very plain description of the process of the last judgment, or the sheep and the goats. These are things we all must take into consideration, because everlasting things concern every one of us.
The Olivet Discourse continues. The Lord brings three parables: the Ten Virgins, the Talents, and the Sheep and the Goats (the Judgment of the Gentile Nations).
This chapter expands on the answer of Jesus to the question, "What shall be the sign of thy coming?" (Mat.24:3). The parable of the ten virgins tests how genuine the faith of Israel was; the parable of the talents tests the faithfulness of His servants; and the parable of the sheep and goats, or the judgment of the Gentile nations, tests their right of admission into the Kingdom. This chapter shows the impact and importance of the Coming of Christ, as it relates to these groups that shall then be in the world. A close study of each group will reveal that each individual person must have a personal attitude and relationship to Christ Jesus.
The wise virgins kept their lamps burning, but they did not keep themselves awake. Too many Christians grow careless, and one miss-step of carelessness makes way for another. A mere outward profession may seemingly lighten a man’s path in this world, but the dampness of the valley of the shadow of death will quickly quench such a light. Only those walking on the narrow path, with Christ, the Light of the world (Jn.1:4,8-9; 8:12, 12:46), possess Light enough to see them through to the end. Profession of Christianity is NOT enough . . . it MUST be accompanied with possession of Christ in a person’s heart and life.
Parable Of The Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13)
This and the following parable are in Matthew alone.
Matthew 25:1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. (KJV)
A little background: The marriage ceremony was performed commonly outside, on the banks of a stream. Both the bridegroom and bride were attended by friends. They were escorted in a covered litter, carried by four or more persons. After the ceremony, there was a feast of seven days if the bride was a virgin, or three days if she was a widow. This feast was celebrated in her father's house. At the end of that time the bridegroom conducted the bride with great pomp and splendor to his own home.
This was done in the evening, or at night (Jer.7:34; 25:10; 33:11). Many friends and relatives were present, besides those who went with them from the house of the bride. There was another group that came out of the house of the bridegroom to meet them and welcome them. These were probably female friends and relatives of the bridegroom, who went out to welcome him and his new bride to their home. These are the virgins mentioned in this parable. Not knowing the exact time when the procession would come, they probably went out early, and waited until they could see it coming. In the celebration of marriage in the East at the present day, many of the special customs of ancient times are still observed.
Then shall the kingdom of heaven . . . then . . . this is the time referred to at the close of chapter 24, the time of the Lord's Second Coming to reward His faithful servants and take vengeance on the faithless. Jesus is still stressing the lesson of watchfulness, and proceeds to enforce it by two parables.
Be likened unto ten virgins . . . compared to virgins for quality; being betrothed ones to Christ, and because of the singleness of their love, and chaste devotion to Him, clothed with the righteousness of Christ (1 Cor.1:30); and for their purity and uncorruptness of doctrine, worship, and lifestyle, which will be true of many of them; and all, from their profession, will bear the same character. These for their quantity and number, are compared to "ten" virgins; which may, perhaps mean the small number of professors at this time (Gen.18:32) . . . that there will be but few, that will then name the Name of Christ, and fewer still who will not have defiled their garments, and be virgins indeed. Few: (Gen.18:32; Mat.7:14; 1 Pet:3:20-21)
The number "ten" was greatly used among the Jews: a congregation, with them, consisted of ten persons, and less than that number did not make one; and wherever there were ten persons in a place, they were obliged to build a synagogue. Ten elders of the city were witnesses of Boaz's taking Ruth to be his wife (Ruth 4:2,9-10).
Which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom . . . "the bridegroom" means Christ, who stands in this relation to His church and His people. He saw them in the purposes and decrees of God, and loved them, and asked them of His Father to be given to Him as His spouse and His bride; and who did give them to Him (Jn.10:28-29). He will complete the marriage of them all at the last day (Rev.19:7-9). In the mean time, He acts the part of a bridegroom to them; he loves them as a bridegroom loves his bride, with a love free and unmerited, a love of satisfaction and delight, which is strong and affectionate, constant and perpetual, perfect and incredible. His first appearance was in the form of a servant, in the likeness of sinful flesh, in garments drenched in blood . . . BUT . . . when He comes a second time, He will appear as a Bridegroom in His nuptial robes; all His elect will be prepared for Him, beautified and adorned as a bride for her husband.
Matthew 25:2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. (KJV)
And five of them were wise . . . the virgins who are wise, not in their own conceits, as is the case of natural men, and empty professors; nor in the things of nature, or in the things of the world, of which the saints are oftentimes less knowing than others; nor in academic and tentative knowledge, but are wise unto salvation; who not only know the plan of it, but know their need of it. They trust their souls to Him, and they trust in His righteousness for justification (Rom.5:1); in His Blood for their pardon ((1 Pet.1:18-19); in His Perfect Sacrifice for atonement (Mat.26:28; Mk.14:24; Lk.22:20; Jn.6:55-56; Rom.3:25; 5:9). They trust His fullness for daily supplies (Jn.1:16); in His grace and strength to perform every duty (Phil.4:13); and expect eternal life in, and from Him (Jn.3:15-16; 5:39; 6:54; 10:28; 17:2; Rom.5:21; 6:23; 1 Jn.5:10-13,20). They know Him, prize Him, and value Him as their Saviour. They rejoice in Him, and gladly give Him all the honor and glory. And those who are wise, also take the profession of Christ very seriously, holding it fast without wavering (Heb.10:23), and act and walk it in their lives and speech.
And five were foolish . . . not in fear, in which they might not be wise enough; or in natural knowledge; or with respect to the things of the world; or in tentative notions of the Gospel, but merely so called, because they are unconverted. Every unconverted person is foolish, for many build their hopes of salvation on birth privileges; on a carnal descent from good men; on a religious education; on their own righteousness; or on the absolute mercy of God . . . BUT . . . NOT in Christ, the one and only sure foundation (Isa.28:16; 1 Cor.3:10-13). These foolish ones are those who do not know the impurity of their hearts and nature; their definite lack as to know that which is spiritually good; and the imperfection and insufficiency of their own righteousness. They do NOT know Christ Jesus and His salvation, neither do they know His worth, nor do they want any part of Him.
Matthew 25:3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: (KJV)
They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them . . . the actions of the foolish ones is totally exposed. I think the oil here is the grace of the Holy Spirit being of a holy and sanctifying nature, and exceeding valuable and precious. These foolish virgins, though they carried a lamp of a profession, yet they had no concern for the oil of grace, to fill, maintain, and keep the lamp burning. They were totally unaware of the nature and use of true grace, and they saw no need of it, and therefore did not ask for it. They instead made light of it, and denied that it was useful, and being destitute of it, took up their profession without it . . . in this lay their folly.
Matthew 25:4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. (KJV)
But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps . . . a wise and TRUE child of God is very much concerned about the grace of God, because they have been enlightened by the Spirit of God. They see their need of His grace, and being directed by Him as to where it was to be had, went directly to Christ for it. Herein lay their wisdom: for a supply of this in the heart, daily renewed by Christ, will supply the lamp of a profession very well. The words "wise and foolish," here, refer only to their conduct, in regard to the oil. Five were "wise" in taking oil, the other five were "foolish" in neglecting to take oil.
Matthew 25:5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. (KJV)
While the bridegroom tarried . . . the space of time here referred to, is either from the ascension of Christ, to His Coming to take vengeance on the Jews at the (destruction of Jerusalem); or from then to His Second Coming. As I said in (Mat.24:36,41), that I think the Rapture is the first part of the Lord’s Second Coming. He tarries right now, in today’s world. The next scheduled event on God’s calendar is the Rapture, followed by the Great Tribulation Period. As we live our lives today, all slumbered and slept, both the wise and the foolish. Just as there was a general expectation of the coming of Christ before He came in the flesh, so too, shall there be a general expectation of Christ being near at hand some time before His Second Coming; and because this expected hope will not be answered, or Christ will not come as soon as was hoped for, a universal sleepiness and lack of concern, especially about the coming of Christ, will fall upon the churches. Very few today, concern themselves about His Coming. This period of time seems to consider that period which is pointed out by the Laodicean church state (Rev.3:14-22), which will usher in the Coming of Christ, and the last judgment. Christ, the Bridegroom, may be said to tarry, not with respect to the time fixed by the Father and Himself; for this is settled in Heaven . . . BUT He will NOT tarry beyond the appointed time. Why does He tarry? Because His time is not come, and there are many things to be done first: there is to be a glorious spread of the Gospel all over the world; all the elect must be gathered in, both among Jews and Gentiles; and the man of sin must be destroyed; and the ungodly must fill up the measure of their iniquities (Dan.9:24). I think it is also possible that Christ tarries to test the love and graces of His people, who should have faith in His Coming, by looking, watching and waiting for it and wanting it. We must be ready for Him, be prepared to receive Him, and ready to go with Him when He comes! But . . .
They all slumbered and slept . . . which is not to be understood as if that only five slumbered, and the other five slept. The wise virgins, or true believers, are elsewhere said to sleep, and formal professors to slumber; but both these are spoken of them all. By this slumber and sleep, is not meant a natural death; although that is sometimes called sleep, and to which true believers are subject, as well as others; yet all at the Coming of Christ will not be asleep in this sense. Oil is symbolic of the Spirit of God. In that day I think there will be deceivers as there were at His First Coming. Jesus called them hypocrites. They will have lamps but no oil.
Matthew 25:6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. (KJV)
And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him . . . this supposes that then all things will be ready for His Coming: all things respecting this world; all the strange and surprising events that were to come to pass, before the Coming of Christ, will now be accomplished; and an end put to all the kingdoms of the Earth; and all the preparations in nature, for the burning of the world (2 Pet.3:7,12), would be finished. All things with regard to the ungodly of the world will have filled up the measure of their iniquities (Eze.21:25,29; Dan.9:24), and finished their persecutions of the saints; and all things respecting the elect of God, they will have all their graces tried and perfected; for when the bridegroom comes, He will come to claim them openly to Himself, for which they must be prepared and adorned (Ps.132:9; 1 Pet.2:5; Eph.5:26-27; Rev.7:13-14; 19:7-8; 21:1), and to take them to Himself, that they may be with Him for ever. We cannot go in our earthly bodies, we must be changed (1 Cor.15:47-52). It also assumes, that His Coming will be very near at hand, for it was so represented long ago as such.
In our eternal Heavenly home, we must have different bodies than we have now. New bodies: (1 Cor.15:35-53; Mat.22:29-30; Mk.12:24-25; Lk.20:34-36; Jn.5:25-29; Phil.3:21; 1 Jn.3:2).
Matthew 25:7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. (KJV)
Then all these virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps . . . burning until midnight, the oil was nearly gone, giving only a very dim light. They trimmed them by removing the burnt parts of the linen wick, so that it would burn clear. It was also needed to dip the wick again in oil, or to pour oil on them. This usually represents the conduct of most people as death draws near . . . only then do they begin to get ready. They are alarmed and anxious, and then they ask help of others, but so often it is far too late. Both the wise and the foolish . . . not out of their graves, because the righteous and wicked will NOT rise together (Dan.12:2; Mat.25:46; Jn.5:28-29; Acts 24:15). The dead in Christ will rise first, and this first resurrection (Rev.20:5-6). This will not be until Christ has come. God’s grace shall not be had, or be thought to be had after this resurrection, nor will there be any trimming of lamps then, in order to meet the Bridegroom. The first resurrection will NOT come out of the graves of sin; for none of the wise virgins were in such a state, and the foolish virgins were never brought out of it. The meaning here is, that they arose out of their sleepy and slumbering condition. TRUE believers may at times fall into a very low state, but they shall arise again, for they are held and upheld by the mighty Hand of God. It may at times be midnight with them, and they may have fallen fast asleep, but they shall be awakened and arise, they will be totally awakened, meaning that they quit their former place and posture, were upon their feet, and ready to meet the Bridegroom. The foolish virgins also arose; which may mean some awakenings of conscience, and reformation of life, and even being more diligent about their duties; all which they did to make them fit for Christ, and to obtain salvation; but it appears, they were destitute of the grace of God (Rom.8:2,9; Jn.3:6). A wise person has been blessed with a new heart and new spirit (Deut.30:6; Jer.32:39; Eze.11:19; 36:26-27; Jn.3:3-5). The old heart and old spirit is removed by casting off the works of darkness, and causing the light of good works to shine before men, and mainly by applying to Christ for fresh supplies of the oil of grace, to fill their lamps, revive their lights and keep them burning. A foolish person has only a few outward decorations and external performances, to make their outward profession of religion look as bright as they possibly could. The foolish ones are doomed to Hell. Everlasting punishment: (Dan.12:2; Mat.25:46; Mk.9:44,46,48-49; Lk.16:26; Jn.5:29; 2 Thes.1:8-9; Rev.14:10-11; 20:10,15; 21:8).
Matthew 25:8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. (KJV)
And the foolish said unto the wise, give us of your oil . . . the foolish (unbelievers) may be able to see the grace of God in the wise, be convinced of it, and acknowledge it, as these foolish virgins did. They saw that the wise virgins had oil, that is, God’s grace; this they knew by the bright burning of their lamps, by their eagerness in trimming them, and by their tranquil composure of mind, and confidence of soul at the midnight cry; and by their affectionate, eager and willing desire to meet the Bridegroom. These foolish virgins had no sense that they had a need of God’s grace, when they first took up their profession of Christ. They went on a long time in the course of religion, without any thoughts of needing the grace of God.
For our lamps are gone out . . . are going out . . . oil will not light an extinguished lamp, although it will keep a burning one from going out. Supposedly the torches they carried required large amounts of oil in order to keep them burning, and the oil had to be replenished about every 15 minutes. The wise virgins had enough oil to replenish their lamps, but the foolish did not. And this was the issue that made all the difference.
Matthew 25:9 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. (KJV)
But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you . . . the words "Not so" are not in the original, where the reply is very indirect. "In case there be not enough for us and you." A truly wise answer, for if they shall share with them, both will be undone.
But go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves . . . some say this advice is sarcastic; but it seems rather to be serious and sincere; directing them to go to proper place for oil (grace); not to men, not even ministers of the Gospel, not to angels; but to God the Father, the Father of mercies, and God of all comfort (2 Cor.1:3), who sits on the throne of grace, and gives it abundantly to all those who come to Him for it through Christ, and ask for it. We must remember that Christ is the Mediator of God’s grace (1 Tim.2:5; Heb.8:6; 9:15; 12:24), for He is full of grace and truth (Jn.1:14), and counsels persons to buy of Him gold tried in the fire (Rev.3:18), because God’s grace is much more precious than the purest gold. The Spirit of grace (Zec.12:10; Heb.10:29), gives grace to all as He will. Scripture says that we are to buy; not by giving any valuable consideration for the grace of God, because that is impossible to be done. We are to buy without money and without price; or in other words, by God’s giving and us receiving freely. Isaiah 55:1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. (KJV) Also see: (Pro.1:23; 23:23; Ps.63:1; Song 5:1; Jn.4:14; 7:37-38; Rev.3:18; 21:6; 22:17; and Isa.52:3; Rom.3:24; 7:14-25; 1 Pet.1:18-19).
Matthew 25:10 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. (KJV)
And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came . . . the foolish virgins realize their past foolishness. They now take the good advice, and are going to get what they needed, so they too can also be ready . . . BUT . . . the Bridegroom comes, in Person, to raise the saints that were dead (1 Thes.4:13-18), to change the living ones (1 Cor.15:50-54; Phil.3:21), to espouse them all openly, and take them all to Himself, and to judge the world . . . this must be understood of His Second and Personal Coming!
And they that were ready; went in with him to the marriage . . . the wise ones that are ready are admitted, not just by a mere profession of religion, not by giving in to Gospel ordinances, not by any external righteousness, not by lukewarm holiness, not by abstinence from the worse sins of life, or an outward shame for them . . . BUT by faith and trust on the supreme mercy of God; by being clothed with the wedding garment (Mat.22:11-12), washed in the Blood of Christ (1 Pet.1:18-19; Rev.1:5), being regenerated (Jn.3:3-8), justified (Rom.5:1) and sanctified (Jn.17:17) and having the grace of God which brings salvation (Tit.2:11), which brings a spiritual knowledge of Christ, and trust and obedience in Him. The wise are ready for every good work (2 Cor.9:8; Col.1:10; 2 Thes.2:17; 1 Tim.5:10; 2 Tim.2:21; Tit.3:1; Heb.13:21). They give a reason of their faith and hope (1 Pet. 1:3-5; 3:15; Col.1:5; Tit.1:2; Heb.3:6; 6:18-19), they confess Christ (Rom.10:9-10), and suffer for His sake (Mat.5:10); and are looking for and are ready to meet the Bridegroom (Tit.2:13; Phil.3:20; 2 pet.3:12-13; Jude 1:21), and for the marriage of the Lamb (Rev.19:7,9) to enter into the new Jerusalem (Rev.21:2). Went in with him to the marriage . . . the marriage ceremony took place before the bride left her father's house, but a feast was given at the house of her husband, which was also called the "marriage," or a part of the marriage. This part of the parable no doubt represents the entrance of those who "are ready" or are prepared, into the Kingdom of God, when the Son of Man shall come. WHO is ready? Those who have repented of their sins; who truly believe on the Lord Jesus; who live a holy life; and who eagerly wait for His Coming. See: (Mk.16:16; Jn.5:24; 2 pet.3:11-12; 1 Tim.6:17-19; 2 Tim.4:6-8; Rev.22:11).
And the door was shut . . . the door is shut and they are undone. How graphic and appalling this picture is, of one almost saved . . . but is lost! The door was shut . . . no more could be admitted to the marriage-feast. So, when the truly righteous shall all be received into Heaven, the door will be closed against all others. There will be no more time for preparation AFTER the door is shut (Gen.7:16; Ecc.11:3; Mat.25:46; Lk.16:22-31). You must make ready NOW! I think that this parable of the virgins clearly reveal this fact. Do NOT believe false teachers that will tell you that everyone will go to Heaven. That is a LIE! BEWARE of the damnable heresy of Universalism. It will lead you right into the lake of Fire (Rev.20:15). http://www.lastdaysprophecy.org/L_D_f_d%20_universalism.htm
Matthew 25:11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. (KJV)
Afterwards came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us . . . the "other" five virgins were only virgins in name, not in reality. They were different from the wise ones who were ready, for they were NOT ready! Now, they stand outside the closed door. This so reminds me of Noah’s ark, and God Himself shutting the door (Gen.7:16). The people outside were just like these foolish maidens. No amount of begging, pleading or crying would change the situation. The door will be shut on you, and me, at our death. NO more time is given to us after the door is shut! We will either enter Heaven as did the wise maidens OR we will be outside and NOT be granted passage, for that door is shut! Nothing more we can do after our death! Please do not believe the false doctrine of Purgatory. There is NO such place. NO where is it found in the Holy Bible! NO amount of prayer will supposedly get you out it and into Heaven, because it does NOT exist! This is simply the damnable “commandments of men” (Mat.15:9), NOT the commandments of our precious Saviour and Lord. Don’t believe me. Check it out for yourself. So many cults have their own man-made rules that are contrary to the Holy Word of Almighty God.
Matthew 25:12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. (KJV)
But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not . . . the Lord and Bridegroom, thought it fit to give them an answer, but one that was not expected by them, and was awful to them. So too shall it be with all who are in the category of the foolish virgins, just as it was in Noah’s time. My dear friend, God is indeed a God of love, BUT He is also a God of wrath (Jn.3:36; Rom.1:18; 2:5; Eph.5:6; Col.3:6; Rev.14:10,19; 15:7; 16:1,19. 19:15). His purity comes down hard on sin all through the Bible. In His wrath, He condemns time and time again, and His warnings to us are very clear! (Jn:3:18-19,36; 8:24; 12:47-48; Mk.16:16; 2 Thes.1:8-9; 2 Thes.2:12; Heb.2:3; 12:25; 1 Jn.5:10; Rev.20:15; 21:8).
Matthew 25:13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. (KJV)
Watch therefore . . . in prayer, public and private, in hearing or studying the Word, at the Lord's Supper, in all our words, actions and life, and against all sin and unbelief, Satan's temptations, the world and its charms and snares, false teachers, and their doctrines, WATCH for the Bridegroom's Coming. This is the application of the whole parable, and shows the general plan of it . . . WHY?? Should we be so watchful?
For ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the son of man cometh . . . this is the reason of the whole parable. This is the great Truth that Christ wished to instill, and all parts of the parable are to be interpreted in reference to this warning. Like the foolish virgins, many are professing to be “Christians”. . . but they are nothing but “hypocrites” (Mat.23), on which the Lord Jesus pronounces many “woes.” Like the coming of the Bridegroom, whose arrival will be sudden, it shall be to many at an unexpected time. They will not be expecting Him! Many today, even professing Christians, will be busy in the world; never thinking about eternity; not expecting His approach, and not at all prepared. They will only PROFESS to know Him, but do not POSSESS Him in their hearts and lives, and in WORKS, they deny Him. All approaches of the Son of God to judge men are sudden, and to many not expected. So too, many, when they shall see Him coming, at death or in judgment, will begin, like the foolish virgins, start to prepare to die; but it will be too late. Those, like the wise virgins that are ready will enter in, and then Heaven’s door will be closed to the foolish ones, and forever against all other foolish ones at the last judgment (Rev.20:15). The "coming" of the Saviour is absolutely certain! The exact time "when" He will come is NOT certain. Just as all the virgins should have watched and been ready, so should we in this uncertain world. Those who are faithful and sincere Christians should always be watching; and those who are not ready, should lose no more time getting ready, for in such an hour as they think not the Son of man shall come. Please do not wait until it is too late and He shuts the door on you.
Parable Of The Talents (Matthew 25:14-30)
This is another parable for that future generation that will be waiting for our Lord's return to Earth. We must WATCH!
Matthew 25:14 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. (KJV)
For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country . . . WHO is the MAN? It is Jesus. The "parable of the talents" was spoken to further illustrate the way in which He would deal with people at His return to judgment.
Who called his own servants; and delivered unto them his goods . . . the plan of this parable is to teach that those who improve their talents or ability in the cause of religion, who improve them to their own salvation and in doing good to others shall be rightfully rewarded . . . BUT, all those who neglect their talents, and who neither secure their own salvation nor do good to others, shall be punished.
There is a universal application to all mankind. From the time of the Creation of mankind, each individual has been entrusted with resources of time and material wealth. Everything we have comes from God and everything we have belongs to Him. We are entrusted with certain things in our lives, and we are responsible for using those resources so that they increase in value. And as Christians, we have in addition the most valuable resource of all . . . the Word of God. If we believe and understand Him, and apply His Word as good stewards, we are a blessing to others and the value of what we do multiplies. We are accountable to the Lord for the use of His resources.
His own servants . . . that is, those that He judged to be worthy of such a trust. These represent the apostles, Christian ministers and professing Christians. I think the going into a far country represents the Lord Jesus going into Heaven. He has given to all of us, talents to improve. His goods . . . His property representing the offices, abilities, and opportunities for doing good, which He has given to His professed followers. The Parable of the Talents, impresses on them the weight of that responsibility and the serious consequences of neglecting to understand and apply His instructions. There is also a message of warning to all mankind, be they Jews or Gentiles.
Matthew 25:15 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. (KJV)
And unto one he gave five talents . . . "talents" here is used to mean "a large sum," and is intended to refer to the gift bestowed on people. In our language the word "talent" refers to the abilities or gifts of people.
To another two, and to another one; to every man, according to his several ability . . . to some more, others less, as He knew would best serve His interest and Kingdom. According to his several ability . . . according to the ability of each one. God gives people positions which He judges them capable to fill, and requires them to fill them. He makes "distinctions" among people in regard to their abilities, and in their powers and opportunities of usefulness, requiring them only to occupy those positions, and to fulfill their duties there (1 Cor.4:7).
And straightway took his journey . . . after He had indicated, that all power in Heaven and Earth was given to Him (Jn.3:35; 5:22-27; 13:3; 17:2; Mat.11:27; 28:18; Lk.10:22), by virtue of which He ordered them to go into all the world, and preach his Gospel, and would abundantly qualify them; with a Promise of His Presence with them to the end of the world (Mat.28:18-20; Acts 1:7-8); He took His leave of them, blessed them, and was parted from them, and went up into Heaven (Acts 1:9-11).
Matthew 25:16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. (KJV)
Then he that had received the five talents . . . an account is first given of him, how he behaved, and acted in his Lord's absence, and what use he made of the gifts bestowed upon him.
Went and traded with the same . . as soon as they had their talents; they did not stay to consult with flesh and blood, whether it would be for their interest and credit or not; they did not stop at any difficulties and discouragements, nor were deterred by the cross, reproaches, and persecutions; but went forth with courage and boldness, not in their own name and strength, but in the Name and strength of Christ, who sent them, and promised them His Presence and assistance, on which they depended. The ministers of the Gospel are traders, not in their own name, nor on their own stock, and for themselves, but for Christ, and for the good of immortal souls: they closely attend to their business and by constant reading, and diligent search into the Word of God; by serious meditation on it; by frequent prayer; and continual preaching the Gospel. Their success follows:
And made them other five talents . . . increased in spiritual knowledge; gifts were improved and enlarged; and many souls gained to Christ: such are they whom Christ has ordained to go forth, and bear and bring forth fruit in their ministry, and whose fruit remain.
Matthew 25:17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. (KJV)
And likewise he that received two, he also gained other two . . . talents, or a smaller measure of ministerial gifts. He worked in proportion to the gifts he had received; and his improvements and success, under a divine blessing, were answerable. The two who had received most used their money in trade, and by honest industry doubled it before their master returned, representing the conduct of those who make a good improvement of their abilities, and employ them in doing good. Some say that these talents were sums of money and do not represent talents in the sense of the natural endowments of a person such as a musical talent. If this is so, the application to us is: whatever God has given to us, we are to use for Him.
Matthew 25:18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. (KJV)
But he that received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his Lord's money . . . Digged in the earth . . . represents the conduct of those who neglect the abilities that God has given them, and fail to do what he has required. How is this done?
- #1. They say that they do not occupy a high position.
- #2. That they have smaller abilities, and can do little good.
- #3. As in this case, that God had not given them as much as he did others, and they will therefore do nothing.
These statements are without foundation; because:
- #1. God does not demand us to do as much as those who have greater abilities; but this is not a reason why we should do nothing (2 Cor.8:12).
- #2. Any position is honorable, and can be useful where God has placed us; and although humble, yet in it, we may do much good (1 Cor.12:11-21).
- #3. People of lesser abilities may often do more good in the world than people with much greater talents. It is rather a warm heart instead of a strong head that is required to do good. A humble Christian, by his life, example and speech, may often do much more good than "is" done by those in more elevated positions and with far greater gifts.
It is not only those with less talents that at times dig in the Earth and hide their talents. BEWARE!
Matthew 25:19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. (KJV)
After a long time, the Lord of these servants cometh . . . after a long time . . . to me, this proves the Lord shall return! This disputes those who doubt His Return (Isa.5:18-19; Jer.17:15; Eze.12:22-27; Mal.2:17; Lk.12:45; 2 Pet.3:4). It has been a long time since He went away, but He shall return!
And reckoneth with them . . . by the return of the Lord of those servants to reckon with them is meant the Return of Christ to call people to an account for the way that they lived, and how they improved their talents. See: (Rom.14:12; 2 Cor.5:10; 1 Thes.4:16; Acts 1:11; 17:31). Reckon with them . . . means to settle accounts, but here, I think that it also means to question their faithfulness, and to reward or punish them accordingly.
Matthew 25:20 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. (KJV)
And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents . . . gained by trading or by honest industry (verse 16). These were the greatest gifts, as this man is the first to whom his Lord gave any talents, and the first that went and traded with them; he is also the first that is reckoned with. He came freely and willingly, with a bold confidence and calmness of mind, and gave his account eagerly, both of what he had received, and of what he had gained.
Saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents, behold I have gained besides them five talents more . . . true servants and ministers of the Gospel freely own that what gifts were delivered to them by Christ were used rightly. This beautifully illustrates what the beloved disciple says of "boldness in the day of judgment," and his desire that "when He shall appear we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming!" (1 Jn. 4:17; 2:28).
Matthew 25:21 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. (KJV)
His Lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant . . . the Lord shall promote thee to greater honors and to more important trusts. Those who are said to be “good”, are those who have the grace of God implanted in them. Holy Spirit within: (Jn.3:6; Rom.8:9; 1 Cor.3:16; 6:19; Gal.4:6; 2 Tim.1:14; 1 Jn.3:24; 4:4)
Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things . . . tremendous words, not just of satisfaction, but of warm and delighted approval and praise, from the Lips of the Lord Jesus! This will be either on Earth, where they shall reign with Christ a thousand years (Rev.20:1-6); when the Kingdom and the greatness of it, will be given to the saints of the Most High; and when they who have turned many to righteousness, shall shine as the stars in that kingdom (Dan.12:3) . . . or else in Heaven, where as kings, they shall inherit the kingdom prepared for them, sit down with Christ in His throne, and wear the never fading crown of glory, life, and righteousness (Mat.25:34; 1 Cor.6:9-10; 15 ;50; Gal.5:21; Rev.21:8; 22:15).
Enter thou into the joy of our Lord . . . not by their own procuring, but their Lord's, which the Father has prepared for His people, and gives unto them; and which the Son possesses for them and will bestow on them (Jn.14:2-3; 1 Pet.1:4-5), and which the Holy Spirit makes them fit for. This mainly lies in the enjoyment of Christ their Lord: this happiness of theirs is expressed by "joy", which will be perfect and full (Jn.15:11; 1 Jn.1:4; 2 Jn.1:12). Joy of thy lord . . . may also mean rejoicings at His Return, or the rewards which his Lord had prepared for His faithful servants. When this is applied to Christians, it means that they who rightly improve their talents will, at the return of Christ, be promoted to great honors in Heaven, and be partakers of the joys of their Lord in the world of glory (Mat.25:34; 1 Jn.2:28). Gospel ministers know they can do nothing well of themselves (Phil.4:13), and when they have done all they can, they will admit they are just unprofitable servants (Mat.25:30; Lk.17:10). They acknowledge that all they do is owing to the grace of God and strength of Christ, and that no praise is due them, and neither do they expect or seek for any praise from men.
Matthew 25:22 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. (KJV)
He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents, behold I have gained two other talents besides them . . . now the one with two talents will stand before the Lord.
Matthew 25:23 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. (KJV)
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 . . . both are commended in the same terms, and the reward of both is exactly the same (verse 15). The same words as He said to the other servant, where the same commendation is made, for a man that has lesser gifts, and is of less usefulness, may be as good and as faithful in his service, and as praise worthy, as a man of greater gifts, and more extensive usefulness. The same happiness is bestowed on one, as the other, which is not of merit; but of grace. In the ultimate glory, their joy, bliss and happiness will be alike. We should never think from this parable, that man has a power to improve the stock of grace given him, and by his improvement procure eternal happiness to himself. Grace is NOT decided by the talents; nor is it either gotten or improved, by the hard work of man. This parable does NOT suggest, that men by their improvement of the talents committed to them, do, or can, obtain eternal happiness. The "good and faithful" servants are indeed highly praised by Christ, and He graciously promises great things to them, for as they have been "faithful over a few things", He promises to make them "rulers over many things"; and bids them "enter into the joy of their Lord". This joy, which is of His grace and His goodness, He has provided for them, NOT because they have earned it on their own, and obtained it for themselves, but because He has promised it to all who are faithful to Him. The parable speaks NOT of what is wrought in men, but of goods and talents bestowed on them, and committed to their trust; which may be lost or taken away, or be wrapped up in a napkin (Lk.19:20), and lie useless in their pocket. True grace is the incorruptible seed which never dies, but always remains, and the good part (Lk.10:42) which shall never be taken away nor lost, is inseparably connected with eternal glory. Consider the contrasts: "Thou hast been faithful as a servant; now be a ruler . . . thou hast been entrusted with a few things; now have dominion over many things."
Matthew 25:24 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: (KJV)
Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew that thou art an hard man . . . hard is harsh. The word in Luke 19:21 is "austere." He that has the least gifts, is also accountable for them; and therefore should make use of them to the good of his fellow creatures, and in the interest of his Lord and Master. Although these often lie neglected, and wicked pretences are formed to excuse such neglect, as here, he calls him "Lord", even though he had not served Him, and pretends he knew Him . . . like millions today. BUT . . . IF he had known Him, he would have had a heart-felt affection for Him, and he would have had faith in Him, and would have obeyed His commands (Jn.2:5; 13:17; 14:15,21, 28; 15:14; Mat.12:50; Lk.12:4; Jam.2:23; 1 Jn.5:3).
Reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed . . . the Lord was NOT as this man represents him; which makes it clear that he was ignorant of Him, and unaware of Jesus’ loving kindness, or he would never have said, that He was a hard, severe or austere man; one who was difficult of being pleased, cruel and uncompassionate to His servants, unjustly withholding from them what was due them, and rigorously demanding service that could not be done by them . . . all which is the exact opposite of Christ Jesus’ true character (1 Cor.13:4-7; Gal.5:22-23; Eph.5:9; Phil.4:8; Jam.3:17; 2 Pet.1:5-7; 1 Jn.3:3). Anyone who accepts the lowest services of Christ’s people: and takes what is done, no matter how small, even a cup of cold water (Mat.10:42), given to the least of His disciples, was considered as done to Himself. The Lord will not forget any labor of love, shown to Him or His; and will make His strength perfect in the weakness (2 Cor.12:9), in His servants, and His grace shall always to be sufficient for them.
The logic is obvious: "I knew you were one whom it was impossible to serve, one whom nothing would please: exacting what was impracticable, and dissatisfied with what was attainable." Some really do think that God is a hard Master, and virtually hurl on Him the blame of their fruitlessness.
Matthew 25:25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. (KJV)
And I was afraid . . . I feared that, by some accident, thy talent would be lost, and that I would be severely punished by a hard master. So I kept it in a safe place and hid it where it could not be lost.
And went and hid thy talent in the earth . . . there is the original talent that thou gave me, and that is all that can be reasonably required. Consider:
- #1. This expresses exactly the feelings of all sinners. God, in their view, is hard, cruel, unjust.
- #2. All the excuses of sinners are excuses for laziness and sin, and the end result is to cheat themselves out of Heaven. The outcome of this excuse was that the reward in Heaven was lost (Heb.6:12). Such will always be the result of the excuses of sinners for not doing their duty.
- #3. Sinners resent and hold everything against God. They are never willing to be open-minded, but their minds and hearts are shut tight to Him.
Thou wicked and slothful servant . . . wicked or bad means false hearted, as opposed to the others, who are ardently called "good servants." By adding "slothful" marks the precise nature of the wickedness, which consisted of not in his doing anything against, but simply doing nothing for his master.
Lo! there thou hast that is thine . . . he again admits, that the gifts he had were not his but his Master's; and while he had kept them whole, as he had received them, and there was the full amount that he was entrusted with, he hoped no more would be required. But it is not enough to retain what is given, it must be made use of and improved, because every spiritual gift is given to profit with. There is a degree of rudeness in these words. He does not bring the talent with him and return it, but only signifies that he had hid it in the Earth. It was there, where his Lord might take it, if he so pleased.
Matthew 25:26 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: (KJV)
His Lord answered and said unto him . . . resenting, as could be expected, not only his idleness and sloth, his neglect of his duty, and his worldly disposition, but the abusive character he had given of Him, in order to cover his own wickedness.
Thou wicked and slothful servant . . . a very correct character of him. He was a "wicked" servant. All men in a natural state are wicked; they lie in wickedness, and are under the power of the wicked one (Mat.13:19,38; 1 Jn.2:13-14; 3:12; 5:18). There are many wicked men among so-called professors of religion, and many wicked ministers, who, although not openly profane, yet they either trust their works, or do the work of the Lord deceitfully, or totally neglect it . . . which correctly fits this character. That servant was "wicked" because he had such an opinion of his Master, and he had shown that he was slothful by not making good use of the talent.
Thou knowest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed . . . God will judge people not merely for doing wrong, but also for NOT "doing" right. See verse 45. He should not have indulged in sloth, and idleness; and thus He convicts, judges, and condemns him, as a wicked, slothful servant, by his own words.
Matthew 25:27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. (KJV)
Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers . . . the exchangers were people who received money on deposit at a low rate of interest, to be loaned to others at higher interest. They commonly sat by "tables" in the temple, with money ready to exchange or loan (Mat.21:12).
And then at my coming I should have received my own with usury . . . with usury (interest). This is said not so much to encourage usury, although it was lawful; and it seems to have been a practice in those times to put money out to use upon a reasonable interest; but to reprove the sloth and inactivity of this servant, upon his own reasoning, and the character he had given of his Master.
Matthew 25:28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. (KJV)
Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents . . . it is only common sense to see why the talent should be taken away from him who had it, but not so clear why it should have been given to him who had ten. Why not divide it between him who had ten and him who had four? I do not know the answer to this, except that the man who had successfully managed the largest amount had shown the greatest ability, and that the Lord's interests may have been safer in his hands. This shows it was not special grace, which is intended by the talent; for the gift and calling of special grace are without repentance (Rom.11:29), and are that good part which shall not be taken away (Lk.10:42). This is not to be understood, as though other men's gifts are taken away from them, and bestowed on others; but that the gifts of the “good” appear all the more bright and illustrious through the slothfulness of others.
Matthew 25:29 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. (KJV)
For unto everyone that hath shall be given . . . See Matthew 13:12. This seems to be a well-known expression. It means that whoever rightly improves what is committed to him shall receive more, or shall be rewarded; but he that fails to improve what is committed to him shall NOT be rewarded. In financial matters, the accurate sense of this parable is, that they who improve or build their money by industry or merchandise increase it . . . but they who do not who are lazy or wicked lose what they did possess, and it goes into the hands of the faithful and hard-workers. In the spiritual sense of the parable, it means that they who are faithful shall be rewarded, NOT that anything shall be taken from the unfaithful and given to them . . . it also means that the unfaithful and slothful shall be taken away from their privileges granted them, and punished.
And he shall have abundance . . . of spiritual gifts, knowledge and wisdom.
But from him that hath not, shall be taken away, even that which he hath . . . some versions read: "that which he seemed to have" (Lk.8:18).
The Slothful Servant Was:
- #1. Ungrateful (verse 18)
- #2. Wrong in his reasoning (verses 18,24)
- #3. Unjust (verse 18)
- #4. Fault-finding; accusing (verse 24)
- #5 Self-justifying (verse 24).
- #6 Fearful (verse 25)
- #7. Wicked (verse 26)
- #1. Rebuked (verse 26)
- #2. Judged by his own words (verse 26)
- #3. Judged for failure of trust (verse 27)
- #4. Stripped of his talent (verses 28-29)
- #5. Cut off and banished forever from his Master (verse 30) Also see: (Mat.13:42)
Matthew 25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (KJV)
And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth . . . in reality, all the servants of Christ are unprofitable with respect to God, but this man was unprofitable with respect to himself, for not improving the gift and talent bestowed on him; and with respect to men, in that he was of no use for the conversion of sinners, or the comfort of saints, or the edifying of the body of Christ; and brought absolutely NO honor to his Master, and was of NO service in the spreading of His Gospel, and enlarging His kingdom. Therefore, as one good for nothing, the ministering angels are bid to take him, and cast him into outer darkness (Hell), to be a companion of other unhappy creatures; who are also without (in Hell, Rev.22:15), bewailing their miserable condition, and considering their past conduct; while the faithful, diligent and hard-working servants will be within (in Heaven), partaking of a rich entertainment, prepared by their Lord, accompanied with joy unspeakable, and full of glory (1 Pet.1:8). Also see Mat. 8:12.
Every one of us . . . ALL people . . . shall one day give account of himself to God (Ecc.12:14; Rom.14:12; 2 Cor.5:10). This shall apply to his character, his conduct, his words and actions, his plans and purposes. In this fearful arraignment of that day, EVERY work and word and every purpose shall be brought forth, nothing shall be kept secret or be hidden. There will be no hiding sin, all sin shall be revealed: (Ps.44:21; 90:8; Ecc.12:14; Jer.23:24; 49:10; Eze.28:3; Lk.8:17; Rom.2:16). Romans 2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. (KJV) . . . ALL will be tried by the unerring standard of justice by Almighty God. Since we all shall be called to such a fearful account with God, we should not be engaged in condemning or judging our brethren, but should examine ourselves as to whether we are prepared to stand before the Almighty Judge Jesus. Christ, as Judge: (Isa.11:4; Mat.21:40; 25:32; Jn.5:22,27; 8:16,26; 9:39; Acts 10:42; 17:31; Rom.2:16; 14:10; 1 Cor.4:4-5; 2 Tim.4:1,8; Jam.5:9; 1 Pet.4:5; Jude 1:15; Rev.19:11).
Judging ourselves: (Ps.32:3-5; 51:2-5; Pro.28:13; 1 Cor.11:28,31; Lk.15:18-20; Rev.2:5; 3:2-3). Also see Watch: (Mat.24:42-43; 25:13; Mk.13:33-35,37; Lk.21:36; 1 Thes.5:6; 1 Pet.4:7; Rev.3:3).
The Lord Jesus Christ is God as well as the Son of Man, and the account will be delivered directly to the Creator (Jn.1:3,10; Gen.1:1,26; Ps.33:6; 102:25; Isa.45:12; Eph.3:9; Col.1:16-17; Heb.1:2-3,10-12; 3:3-4; Rev.4:11).
The significance of this parable is clear and most striking. The Lord of the servants is the Son of Man, whose coming is the subject of the discourse. The servants are His own people whom He has purchased with His own Blood (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet.1:18-19; Rev.1:5); and the talents entrusted to them are the means of service given by Christ to all that are his. The conduct of the two faithful servants points out the way in which we are to "watch" (verse 13), and that of the slothful servant, the course to which laziness, indifference or ingratitude will lead if we do not watch. The reckoning with the servants is the final judgment, which will take place when the Son of Man comes. The transfer of the one talent from the slothful servant to him who had ten, indicates that the reward of the faithful servants of Christ will be magnified because of the failure of the unfaithful. The faithful ones must resist not only the temptations common to all, but also the discouragement and obstacles arising from the slothfulness and unfaithfulness of their brethren.
The fact that the man who had the least capacity and the smallest amount entrusted to him was the one who proved unfaithful, should be considered because in reality, we see many disciples with great possessions and great influence burying their talents in the ground, and too, we see those who consider themselves weak and possessed of little means of usefulness, are especially liable to this sin because of this circumstance in their condition.
The spiritual meaning of the parable can be summed up as follows:
- #1. The servants of God are NOT all given equal gifts and talents.
- #2. All servants, no matter their ability, must use their talents in promoting His praise and His honor, and also properly improve them.
- #3. By using their talents in a right way, they improve and strengthen them.
- #4. All servants shall be judged according to the improvements which they have made.
- #5. All sinners look on God as a hard Master, and as unreasonable and oppressive.
- #6. People will be judged not just for doing wrong, but also for not doing right.
- #7. IF the servant who kept his talent whole and safe, and who returned it to his Master as he had received it, was still judged, condemned and cast away . . . what do you think shall happen to those who abuse their talents, or destroy them by drunkenness and lust, or squander the property that might be used in advancing the interests of moral souls?
Judgment Of The Nations (Matthew 25:31-46)
Parable of the Sheep and Goats
In all of this chapter, the Lord is alerting God's people to the fact that we are to ready ourselves for His Coming. This is certainly true in the next few verses.
During the Great Tribulation Period, all nations will have the opportunity to hear and receive God's message. We are told that the Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all nations . . . BUT . . . as in the past, there will be some who will reject God's messengers, Christ's brethren, and thereby reject Christ. BEWARE!!!
Matthew 25:31 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: (KJV)
When the son of man shall come in his glory . . . this is the in answer to the question the apostles asked Jesus regarding the end of the world (Mat.24:3). This refers to the last judgment, and not as some think, to the destruction of Jerusalem, because:
- #1. The fact that it was in answer to a certain inquiry regarding "the end" of the world.
- #2. "All nations" were to be assembled, which did not take place at the destruction of Jerusalem.
- #3. A separation was to take place between the righteous and the wicked, which was not done at Jerusalem.
- #4. The rewards and punishments are declared to be "eternal."
None of these things took place at the destruction of Jerusalem.
In his glory . . . in His own honor, with His glorified Body, and as the Head and King of the Universe (Acts 1:11; Eph.1:20-22; 1 Thes.4:16; 1 Cor.15:24-25,52).
And all the holy angels with him . . . this splendid entourage will add to the glory of His appearance; for they will accompany Him not only as His attendants, to make the entrance more grand, pompous and magnificent; but as ministering spirits, who will be employed by Him in gathering all before Him, separating the wicked the good, and conducting each to their individual compartments of bliss or woe. And when He appears . . .
Then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory . . . the throne of his glory . . . means, in His glorious or marvelous throne. I do not think that this is to be taken literally, as if there would be a physical throne or seat for the King of Zion. Instead, I think it expresses the idea that He shall come "as a king and judge" to gather His subjects before Him, and to appoint them their rewards.
What is before indicated in the two preceding parables, is here clearly and distinctly represented without a parable: and it should be considered, that as the previous parables only regard the Gospel church state, and the ministers and members of it, good and bad, or all sorts of Christian professors; so too, this account of the last judgment only concerns them; for although all men that ever have been, or shall be, in every nation under Heaven, from Adam to the last man that will be born, will be judged; yet the part or it here described, though it gives a general and lively idea of the whole, only regards the judgment and final state of such who have made a profession of the Christian religion. His glorious throne, upon the clouds of Heaven, where He will sit as Judge, and be visible to all. Are you ready?
Matthew 25:32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: (KJV)
And before him shall be gathered all nations . . . at His Coming to judgment the world will be burned up (Isa.34:4; 51:6; 2 Pet.3:10,12; Rev.20:11). All the wicked will rise and come forth to judgment (Dan.12:2; Jn.5:28-29; Mat.13:41-42; Rev.20:13). Then shall the world be judged, the righteous saved, and the wicked punished.
And he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats . . . shall separate regarding their character, and shall condemn them accordingly. All that have professed to be a “Christian” in all the nations of the world, whether Jews or Gentiles, high or low, rich or poor, wise and foolish, those with great or small talents . . . every individual of every nation, of every sex, age and state shall be gathered. This collection of them before Christ, the Righteous Judge, will be made by the holy angels, who will come with Him for this purpose; and being mighty, as they are, will be able to accomplish this great work. Some of these are wise virgins, some foolish virgins; some are sheep, and others are goats; some hard-working, diligent and faithful servants; others are wicked, slothful and unprofitable servants. All shall encounter the Judge, who is of quick understanding and will easily discern the one from the other.
Matthew 25:33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. (KJV)
And he shall set the sheep on his right hand . . . the right hand is the place of advantage and honor, and the place for favorites, meaning that Christ shall exalt His servants (the saints) to great honor and dignity, and show them His kind favor.
But the goats on the left . . . wicked men shall rise to shame and contempt. A good saying that I ran across: The right hand men of the world shall be at the left hand of Christ.
The foolish virgins, the wicked and slothful servants, the graceless professors, who, because of the impurity of their hearts, the filthiness of their lives, and their offensiveness to Christ, are compared to goats. All these He will place at His left Hand, as a sign of His division from them, as a sort of disgrace upon them, and as an indication of that dishonor, and miserable condition they will soon be in. To my knowledge, only in Mat. 25:32-33 and Zec.10:3, are the wicked called “goats.”
Zechariah 10:3 Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the LORD of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle. (KJV) . . . The shepherds were bad kings and bad priests, leaders of the Jews. God punished the goats, these wicked priests who were shepherds by their office, and goats by the impurity of their lives. Also see: He goat: (Dan.8:5,8,21).
Matthew 25:34 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: (KJV)
Then shall the king say unto them on his right hand . . . the King is He who was before called the Son of Man, who shall then sit on the throne of His glory. He shall say to His servants, to those on His right Hand, those whom He plans to honor and favor, Come, ye blessed of my Father; you whom my Father hath blessed with all spiritual blessings in me, who were also blessed in His eternal thoughts (Tit.1:2).
Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world . . . for there was a kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. You have NOT purchased it with your works, for it was prepared for you before ever you were (Tit.1:2). Therefore come now and inherit it, as that which you are foreordained and born unto, as that which is freely given you, NOT purchased by you. This place, where eternal happiness is to be enjoyed, was actually made on the first day of the Creation, when the heavens were formed, and the foundations of the earth were laid, and the glory itself long before. Foundations of the earth: (2 Sam.22:8; Job 38:4; Ps.82:5; 102:25; 104:5; Pro.8:29; Isa.24:18; 40:21; 48:13; 51:13; Jer.31:37; Mic.6:2; Zec.12:1; Heb.1:10).
Matthew 25:35-36 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: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. (KJV)
The union between the Lord Jesus and His people is the most tender and endearing of all relationships. It is represented by the closest unions of which we have knowledge (Jn.15:1-6; Eph.5:23-32; 1 Cor.6:15). This union is not physical, but honorable and moral. It is a union of feelings, interests, plans and destiny . . . in other words, the Lord and His people have similar feelings, love the same things, share the same trials and inherit the same blessedness (Jn.14:19; Rev.3:5,21; Rom.8:17). Because of this extremely close union, He considers favors shown to His people, the same as shown to Himself, and will reward them accordingly (Mat.10:40,42). Because they love Him, they stay close to Him, and show love to His cause. When His people show kindness to the poor, the needy and the sick, they reveal that they possess His Spirit, because that is what He did while He was on Earth. By proving their love to Him, they show that they have the proper spirit to equip them for Heaven (1 Jn.3:14,17; Jam.2:1-5; Mk.9:41).
Matthew 25:37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? (KJV)
Then shall the righteous answer him . . . this teaches us that at the great day, the best of servants shall feel embarrassed to hear God speak of any good works they have done, and they shall be consumed in the awe and wonder of God's free and infinite grace.
Saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? . . . this simply confirms what is said in Matthew 10:42, that Christ looks on acts of kindness done to the most lowly, godly persons, and will reward them, as if they had been done unto Himself. Also consider: This also goes for the bad things done to them, for they are done to Christ Himself too (Acts 9:4-5). Our charity should be mainly shown to those of the household of faith.
Matthew 25:38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? (KJV)
When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? . . . will this actual conversation actually take place at the Judgment? I doubt it, because the vast majority of the saints will have already learned this lesson. The form of a conversation is probably used here as the best way to present the thought the Lord wants to get across. It shows that all deeds of benevolence done to the brethren of Jesus are accepted by Him as if they were done directly to Himself. This describes acts of kindness and mercy that we all can do every day. None of these acts depend on wealth, ability or intelligence. They are simply acts freely given and freely received. We have no excuse to neglect those who have deep needs, and we cannot let this responsibility rest totally on the church or government. Jesus demands our personal involvement in caring for others' needs.
One word of warning to the greedy and slothful: There are a multitude of people who are on welfare and food stamps who should NOT be! I see SO many people who are in much better health than me, pay their grocery bill with government funds. This is wrong, and one day they shall hear about it! Yes! I know. I am not supposed to judge others, BUT . . . I AM allowed to inspect their fruit! Fruit inspection: (Mat.7:16-20; 12:33; Lk.43-44; Jam.3:12).
Matthew 25:39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? (KJV)
Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? . . . although He comforted and healed many of the sicknesses of His people, we never read of His being sick Himself, nor was He ever cast into prison . . . but this has been the case of many of His servants, as John the Baptist, Peter and Paul, and multitudes of others, who have been coldly and cruelly used by their fellow Christians.
Matthew 25:40 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. (KJV)
And the king shall answer, and say unto them . . . Christ, although a King, and then appearing in great glory and majesty, yet such will be His goodness that He shall give an answer to the questions of His people, who were astonished and dazed at His statement of their poor services, which they knew was imperfect, and were ready to admit they were unprofitable servants. He answers in the following way . . .
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 . . . this was a way of speaking often used by Him, when He was here on Earth. Jesus’ words: ye have done it unto me: Mat 10:42; 12:49-50; 18:5-6; 25:40,45-46; Mk.3:34-35; 9:41; Jn.21:15-17; Acts 9:4-5; Eph.5:30).
There has been much discussion about the identity of the "brethren." Some say they are the Jews; others say they are Christians; while others say they are the suffering people everywhere. This kind of debate is similar to the lawyer's question to Jesus, "Who is my neighbor?" (Lk.10:29). I think that the point of this Passage is NOT who, but what and why . . .the importance of serving where service is needed. What we should focus on is that we should love everyone and serve anyone we can, because such love and compassion for others glorifies God by reflecting our love for Him.
The 144,000 Jews sealed at the time of the Great Tribulation (Rev.7) will go out over the entire world to preach the message of the Gospel of the Kingdom, which is to receive Christ as the Sacrifice for their sins and to be ready for His soon Coming. Some nations will reject Christ. Antichrist will have God's messengers killed (Rev.13:15), and anyone who would give them even a cup of cold water will do so at the risk of their own life. To give a cup of cold water has little value in our day, but in the Great Tribulation it will have tremendous value. It will mean taking a stand for Christ Jesus. The basis on which the nations will be judged is their acceptance or rejection of Christ Jesus. The Lord Jesus says, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" . . . because the messengers were representing Him. That will be the way in which they will prove their faith in the message that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand and that they must repent and turn to Christ to be saved. My friend, any and all who reject the Gospel, reject Christ, and there is only judgment that remains for these! What thoughts come to you as you consider such a description of this scene in the Last Judgment?
Matthew 25:41 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: (KJV)
Then shall he also say unto them on his left hand . . . the goats, the foolish virgins, and slothful and wicked servants are put on His left hand. The right hand is a place of honor and respect for God’s TRUE saints, whereas the left hand is a place of dishonor and disgrace the wicked.
Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire . . .ye cursed . . . those who are devoted to destruction, whose characters deserve everlasting punishment, and who are about to enter into it. "To curse" is the opposite of "to bless." To curse means an exclusion of all the blessings of Heaven, and a positive infliction of eternal sufferings. Everlasting fire . . . "Fire," here, is used to mean punishment. The image is used to state extreme suffering, for a death by burning is one of the most horrible ways that can be conceived. The image was taken, probably, from the fires burning in the Valley of Hinnom (Josh.15:8; 18:16; 2 Ki.23:10; 2 Chron.28:3; 33:6; Neh.11:30; Jer.7:31-32; 19:2,6; 32:35). Also see: Matthew 5:22.
It has been asked whether the wicked will be burned in literal fire, and some say that they will be. Personally I think that the fires of Hell are symbolic if eternal suffering. Consider the following:
- #1. The main truth intended to be taught refers not to the method of suffering, but to its certainty, intensity and duration.
- #2. The idea therefore, was to present an image of horrifying and appalling suffering, a symbol well represented by fire.
- #3. This image was well known to the Jews (Isa.13:20; 34:10; 66:24), and therefore the idea is expressed in a very strong manner.
- #4. All the Truth that Christ intended to convey appears to be expressed in the certainty, intensity and eternity of future torment.
- #5. It is of little importance what the method of punishment will be. We are to consider that it shall be "torment" and that it shall be eternal.
- #6. The FACT that the wicked will be eternally punished, and cursed by God, should bring fear to every soul, and lead every person to earnestly do their utmost, to secure their salvation.
Prepared for the devil and his angels . . . the devil is Satan, Beelzebub, the prince of devils, and all his principalities and powers under him, and too, all the humans who are foolish enough to follow him. Hell was prepared for the devil and his wicked followers . . . all these were foreordained to this horrible condemnation. Again I say, the same punishment will also be inflicted on hypocrites and carnal professors, as on the devil himself. It is indeed on such as these, that the devouring fire, and everlasting burnings are spoken of in (Isa.33:14). Prepared for the devil . . . the devil is the prince of evil spirits. This place of punishment was suited for him when he rebelled against God (Jude 1:6; Rev.12:8-9). His angels . . . the devil’s messengers, his servants, those angels that went with him when he rebelled. I think it also extends to all his followers . . . fallen angels and fallen people. HELL DOES EXIST!!! Depart from me . . . a similar expression is used by the Lord Jesus to false preachers of the Word, and false professors of religion (Mat.7:23). Many profess to be on Christ's side, and had been in His visible church, and had hoped to have been with Him for ever; but they had nothing but the lamp of a profession, and some vain external works to trust to, and they are bid to be gone from Him. They are banished from His Presence forever. Ye cursed . . . for having sinned against God, and His righteous law. All are cursed by it, who do not fulfill it perfectly, and so were rightly rejected by God, and hated by Him: and therefore are condemned and sent . . . into everlasting fire . . . the wrath of God condemns all the wicked to Hell. The only Way that we can fulfill the Law perfectly is to accept Jesus, because He fulfilled it! (Mat.5:17). Jesus is our Righteousness!(1 Cor.1:30; Rom.3:24; 5:1,9; Eph.2:7-10; Tit.3:5-7; 1 Pet.1:18-19; Jn.3:15-16,36; 14:6; 1 Jn.5:10-13; Rev.1:5).
Matthew 25:42-43 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. (KJV)
The Lord is speaking about the goats, the foolish virgins, and the slothful and wicked servants . . . condemning their conduct, their behavior and their character . . . which is absolutely opposite of the righteous. Common sense tells you that it is no wonder that their sentence is different. By NOT doing good to the "followers" of Christ, they show that they had no real love for Him. By NOT doing good to the poor and needy, to the stranger and the prisoner, they show that they do NOT have His Spirit (Rom.8:9), and were nothing at all like Him, and thus were unfit for His Kingdom.
Consider the following:
- #1. He wanted to give pre-eminence to the virtues listed above, and to inspire His followers to do them.
- #2. People shall be punished for neglect of duty as well as for outright sin. Sin is a violation of the law, or it is refusing to do what you know God wants or commands.
- #3. Nothing better shows the true state of the heart than the proper performance of those duties, and a person’s true character can be also be tested by neglecting them, just as by out and out sin.
Can those who have never heard of the Name of Christ, be rightly condemned?
- #1. By neglecting the duties of charity, they show that they do not have His Spirit, and are not like Him.
- #2. These duties are clearly made known by conscience and by the light of nature, as well as by revelation, and people may therefore be condemned for the neglect of them. Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (KJV)
- #3. They are not condemned for not believing in Christ, of whom they have not heard, but for a wrong spirit (1 Jn.4:1), neglect of duty, open sin; for being unlike Christ, and therefore unfit for Heaven. All people know, deep within themselves, if something is right or wrong.
Matthew 25:44 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? (KJV)
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?. . . when saw we thee an hungred . . . they did not deny that they had refused to give bread to the hungry; but said that they never saw Christ Himself, hungry and did not feed Him. There are some people who pretend a great reverence for God and Christ, but instead they are hypocrites. It does not matter what you thought or called those to whom you showed no mercy, for these lowly ones are at His right Hand. It is clear that these people were nominal (supposed, pretender) Christians, who had made a profession of Christ. They say that they own Him as Lord, and knew Him, BUT . . . if they had, they would surely have ministered to Him and His people. Many fall into this category. The performance of good works stands on the one hand, and the neglect of them on the other. This represents the precise difference between the two. As we clearly see here, whatever other sins may or may not have been committed, the SIN of neglecting to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, and to minister to the sick and the imprisoned servants of God, is sufficient to condemn a person to the fate of the devil and his angels (Hell). This kind of neglect proves the absence of the faith, love and trust which are necessary to the Christian character.
Matthew 25:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. (KJV)
Then shall he answer them . . . with a stern expression, in great resentment, as one highly offended, and with the authority of a judge.
Saying, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not unto me . . . since the ones on His left Hand, had given no food to the least of His brethren and friends that stood at His right Hand . . . not a bit of food, water or clothing to any one of them; nor did they minister to their wants, or give attendance, when on sick beds, and in prison; therefore He considered this neglect of them, and lack of compassion to them . . . as if it had been done, or not done, to Him. One of the least of these . . . means those on His right Hand.
It must be considered here that the ground of their condemnation is the neglect of duty, or because "they did it not." We must NOT think that they will NOT be condemned for their open and positive sins. See: (Rom.2:8-9; Eph.5;5; Col.3:5-6; 1 Cor.6:9-10; Rev.20:15; 21:8). Their neglect of doing good to Him and His people is the reason for condemning them here, but they shall also be judged on ALL their sins. According to works: (Ps.62:12; Pro.24:12,29; Isa.59:18; Jer.21:14; 25:14; 32:19; Lam.3:64; Eze.7:8-9; 18:30; Hos.12:2; Zec.1:6; Mat.16:27; Rom.2:6; 2 Tim.4:14; Rev.2:23; 18:6; 20:12-13; 22:12).
Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (KJV)
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment . . . the ones on His right Hand shall also rise, as well as the other (Dan.12:2; Rev.20:13). These shall NOT, as some vain dreamers have thought, have a deep, quiet sleep in the grave . . . NOT according to the Scriptures! Luke 16:23-26 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. (KJV) . . . According to the Lord Jesus, even in Hades, there shall be torment! http://www.godcannotlie.org/hell.htm
But the righteous into life eternal . . . such as are justified by the righteousness of Christ (1 Cor.1:30; Rom.5:1), and who, although they have done works of righteousness under the influence of the Holy Spirit (Rom.8:9), and by the assistance of the grace of God (2 Cor.9:8; Jam.4:6; 1 Pet.4:10), but had not depended upon them, but upon Christ Jesus, for life and salvation (Jn.3:15-16; 14:6). These shall go into their mansion in Heaven, the place appointed for them (Jn.14:2-3; 1 Pet.1:4-5), to enjoy eternal life in soul and body (1 Cor.15:42, 50-52) . . . which is the free gift of God, through Christ Jesus (Eph.2:8-9; Rom.6:23). It shall be a life free from all the sorrows of this present one; a life of perfect holiness (no more sin), and knowledge and incredible pleasure. It shall be a life of being with God, and communion with Him, and which will continue for ever!
This verse also determines the eternity of the punishment of the wicked . . . just as the happiness of the righteous will be eternal, so too the punishment of the wicked will be eternal. There is absolutely no reason to think that the words everlasting and eternal can mean two different things. They BOTH mean for ever! One cannot mean just for a limited time, and the other for an eternal duration. Eternal punishment takes place in Hell (the lake of fire, or Gehenna), the place of punishment after death for all those who refuse to repent. In the Hebrew, three words were used in connection with eternal punishment.
- #1. Sheol, or "the grave," was used in the Hebrew Old Testament to mean the place of the dead, generally thought to be under the Earth. In the Hebrew, this word occurs in Job 24:19; Psalm 16:10; Isa.38:10.
- #2. Hades is the Greek word for the underworld, the realm of the dead. It is the word used in the New Testament for Sheol. In the Greek, this word occurs in Matthew 16:18; Rev.1:18; 20:13-14.
- #3. Gehenna, or Hell, was named after the valley of Ben-Hinnom near Jerusalem, where children were sacrificed by fire to the pagan gods. See: (2 Ki.23:10; 2 Chron.28:3). This is the place of eternal fire (Mat.5:22; 10:28; Mk.9:43; Lk.12:5; Jam.3:6; Rev.19:20), prepared for the devil, his angels, and all those who do not believe in God (Mat.25:46; Rev.20:9-10). This is the final and eternal state of the wicked after the resurrection and the Last Judgment.
When Jesus warns against unbelief, time and time again, He is trying to save us from agonizing, eternal punishment. He loves us and does not want us to go there. NO excuses will be considered on Judgment Day, NO pleas will be considered, and all pretense of affection and interest in Christ and deceptive love for Him, will be cast away. Once sentence is passed, it shall remain permanent and unchangeable, and there will be absolutely NO appeal from it, because there is NO higher court to bring the cause before. And, when judgment has been passed, the execution of it shall follow immediately. These goats, or hypocritical professors, shall be forced, whether they want to or not, to depart from the Presence of Christ, for the mighty angels will be ordered to take and cast them into everlasting burnings (Isa.33:15); they will be driven by them into Hell, the place appointed for them.
May I say that HELL is one of the main reasons I serve my Lord Jesus. Something deep within, seems to push me onward. I just cannot stop. Maybe something that I write, may cause someone to consider that their soul is eternal, and that there are only TWO destinations in “eternity” . . . Heaven and Hell! Maybe that person will change roads, from the devil’s big, broad one they are on, to the small, narrow one of Jesus.
Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (KJV)
Why Were the Virgins Shut Out?
The picture of people arriving after the door has been shut and finding it impossible to gain entrance appears elsewhere in Scripture (Gen.7:16), and in the teaching of Jesus. In Luke 13:25-28, Jesus speaks of such people, who seeing themselves shut out, protest to the master of the house, "We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets." But they are refused admittance; they are excluded from the Kingdom of God. Matthew's version of the Sermon on the Mount contains a parallel to that Passage in Luke. In Matthew's account those who are shut out produce what might be regarded as even stronger credentials entitling them to admittance: "Did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?" (Mat.7:22). It did no good.
The impressive setting of this picture is in the parable of the ten virgins, as it is usually called. The haunting sorrow of the latecomers finding the door slammed shut in their faces, should cause people to think. We all must watch as we wait, for we know not when He shall come!
Not only shall the virgins be shut out, but also the goats, the wicked and slothful servants and those on the left Hand of Jesus. BEWARE! Wake up and WATCH!!!
Gospel of Matthew
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