Tod Kennedy, August, 2008

Introduction and Outline to Chapter 25

  1. Why study Matthew 25?
    • It instructs us about the events that precede Jesus’ return to earth and about the future for Israel and Gentiles.
    • We must get the right interpretation and then are able to make applications about present and future history, about being ready for Jesus Christ to return and service for him, and about rewards.
  2. Outline for Matthew 25
    • Ten Virgins and the readiness for the bridegroom compared to readiness for the coming of the kingdom of heaven, Matthew 25:1-13. The point is that everyone is to prepare and therefore be ready for whenever Jesus returns. Prepare and be ready.
    • A property owner entrusted money (talents) to each one of his servants for each to use to gain a profit until the he returned, Matthew 25:14-30. The point is that Jesus gives abilities and opportunities to his servants for use until he returns. Faithful and wise service.
    • When the son of man returns to earth, he will judge the Gentiles based upon their treatment of Israel while he was gone, Matthew 25:31-46. Treatment of Israel will be punished or rewarded.

Exposition of Matthew 25

  1. Ten Virgins and the readiness for the bridegroom compared to readiness for the coming of the kingdom of heaven, Matthew 25:1-13. The point is that everyone is to prepare and therefore be ready for whenever Jesus returns. Prepare and be ready.
    • Jesus gives the disciples and us a comparison to help understand something about the kingdom of heaven. The comparison is to ten young maidens who were to attend a wedding celebration.  “Will be comparable” is Strong #3666 ὁμοιόω. The word indicates a comparison or says something is like something. Examples include Matthew 4:30 and Luke 13:20.
    • A wedding included 1. The groom went to the bride’s home to claim her, 2. The wedding ceremony, 3. The procession of the groom, bride, and guests through the streets to the groom’s home, 4. People waiting along the street to escort the groom and bride to the banquet at the groom’s home. When this procession was at night, oil lamps or torches were needed for light. Without a lamp or torch one would not be able to join the procession.
    • Matthew 25:3, the foolish person was unthinking, unwise, and sometimes used for a scoundrel.
    • Matthew 25:4, the prudent person was a sensible, thoughtful, wise person (Strong # 5429 φρόνιμος).
    • Matthew 25:13, “be on the alert” Strong# 1127 γρηγορέω, is a present active imperative. It is a command to prepare and we ready for Jesus’ return to earth.
    • This is, in context, a command to the disciples and others to prepare and be ready for Jesus’ second coming to earth—the subject of Matthew 24. Church believers will be taken to heaven before this event, but we also are to be watchful and ready for the rapture of the church as Titus 2:13 teaches.
  2. A property owner (master, Matthew 25:18 and 9 more times) entrusted money (talents) to each of his servants for each to use to gain a profit until he returned, Matthew 25:14-30. The point is that Jesus gives abilities and opportunities to his servants for use until he returns. Faithful and wise service.
    • A talent in Matthew 25 was silver money. Verse 18, money, is Strong # 694 ἀργύριον, silver. A talent of silver weighed about 80 pounds. In 2008 prices one talent of silver would be about $24,000.
    • Matthew 25:21 and 23 teaches that the master is very happy when his servants take and use the money he has given them. He rewarded the servant with more authority and responsibility and allowed him to share the master’s joy.
    • Matthew 25:24-30, the servant with one talent did not use what the master had given him. The master was angry with the servant. He took away his one talent and punished him.
    • The principle is in Matthew 25:29. The master gives out talents for his servants to invest. Those who use them will be rewarded. Those who do not use them will have what they were given taken away and they will be punished.
    • The talents in this story are abilities and opportunities that are to be used to serve Jesus Christ until he returns to earth. He will be pleased with those who are faithful and wise in their service by using the abilities and opportunities that he gave.
    • We in the church also live in the time of history between Jesus’ first and second coming. We to have abilities and opportunities that he means for us to use in service to him. Our abilities begin with our spiritual gifts and God given talents. God then provides opportunities for us to serve him. Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:16, “making the most of your time, because the days are evil.”
  3. When the son of man returns to earth, he will judge the Gentiles based upon their treatment of Israel while he was gone, Matthew 25:31-46. Treatment of Israel will be punished or rewarded. Let’s get some observations down and then try to draw some conclusions. After all the coming of Jesus Christ dominates all creation. This passage teaches that Jesus will return to earth after there is a time of tribulation. He will separate, judge and bless. Most of you have been dogmatically taught about the Second Advent and the rapture. What does this chapter add to or subtract from what you think about those events?
    • Important words in Matthew 25:31 that set the scene include these.
      • Son of Man is used many times in the Bible to refer to a human. In this context it goes back to a specific use in Daniel 7:13, “one like the son of man coming.” Daniel is looking ahead to the Messiah.
      • Comes in glory indicates the magnificent entrance to earth of the Messiah.
      • Angels with him takes us back to Matthew 24:31.
      • Glorious throne indicates the messianic ruler and his divine rule. See also Matthew 19:28.
    • What phrases or clauses in Matthew 24 give us insight into Matthew 25:1?
      • Matthew 24:3, your coming and the end of the age.
      • Matthew 24:27, coming of the son of man.
      • Matthews 24:30, the sign of the son of man will appear; the son of man coming….with power and great glory.
      • Matthew 24:31, send forth his angels…gather his elect.
      • Matthew 24:37, coming of the son of man.
      • Matthew 24:39, took them all away….coming of the son of man.
      • Matthew 24:42, day your Lord is coming.
    • The activity of the son of man sitting on his glorious throne, Matthew 25:32-33.
      • Another key word is nations, Strong# 1484 ἔθνος. This word means
      • “a body of persons united by kinship, culture, and common traditions, nation, people; people groups foreign to a specific people group” (BAD 3rd edition); and, a number of people accustomed to live together, a company, body of men (HG Liddell, An Intermediate Greek English Lexicon).
      • “Separate them from one another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats” adds the action of this passage.
      • Sheep on the right, goats on the left (Matthew 25:33).
    • Note some additional observations in Matthew 25:34-46.
      • The sheep are blessed and inherit the kingdom.
      • In Matthew 25:35-40, Jesus gives the reason why they are blessed. Verse 40 indicates that they helped the Jewish people (these brothers of mine, Matthew 25:40). The kingdom is the first stage of their life with God.
      • Matthew 25:41-46 describes the judgment of the goats. Their judgment was because they did not help the Jewish people (one of the least of these, Matthew 25:44, brothers of mine, Matthew 25:40). These are the remnant of Jewish believers who came through the tribulation.
      • When did this happen? In our context this help happened between Jesus’ first coming and second coming. Can we be more specific? The judgment is right after Jesus comes to earth the second time and therefore must be right after the events of the tribulation. This judgment also seems to be the details of the comparison to the days of Noah (Matthew 24:36-39) and the men and women taken and left (Matthew 24:40-41).
      • What does Matthews 25:41 add to the entire passage? It says that the eternal fire was originally prepared for the devil and his angels. It was not prepared for mankind. Therefore this fire judgment was probably designed before the fall of man and as a result of the fall of Satan and his angels. Mankind goes there because they side with Satan in his rebellion against God. Comments? We could also now discuss when did Satan fall?
      • Matthew 25:46 tells us that those who did not help the Messiah’s fellow Jews will be sent to eternal punishment, κόλασιν αἰώνιον.
        • Punishment is the word κόλασις. It is also in 2 Peter 2:9 and 1 John 4:18.
        • It means suffering or pain in chastisement or punishment. Eternal is αἰώνιος, a long period of time, a time without beginning or end, unending duration, eternal, lasting for an age, everlasting. Revelation 20:11-15 gives us information that helps understand the timing of the completion of judgment. That passage indicates that the unbelievers will be resurrected from Hades and sent to the lake of fire.
      • Those who were righteous—helped the remnant of Jewish believers—passed into the kingdom.
  4. Lessons from Matthew 25
    • Everyone is to prepare and therefore be ready for whenever Jesus returns.
    • Jesus gives abilities and opportunities to his servants for use until he returns. Whatever abilities and opportunities God gives each of us, we are to be faithful, consistent, and responsible in our Christian living and service.
    • Our treatment of Israel is important. Though the passage in Matthew 25 refers to the tribulation period that precedes Jesus return to earth, by application we also are to view Israel as God’s people and treat them accordingly.
  5. Other doctrines that relate to Matthew 24-25
    • Understand the distinction between Jesus’ coming in the air for his church and Jesus’ coming to earth to judge and reward and set up his kingdom.
    • Trends of history.