Jesus unequivocally was the greatest teacher who ever lived upon this earth. Even skeptics find it difficult to argue against the effect His short 33 years on this earth, and even shorter 3 ½ years of ministry has had on the whole world, bringing the principles of Christianity to peoples everywhere. Saying that I must quickly add however that human history as it has played out in its ugliness and horrific bloody purges of untold millions and the many religious wars were not representative of what the Master taught.
If even just the parables Jesus used in His teachings had been understood for what He said in them and then followed, history would read much differently.
In considering the extreme lateness of the hour we live in; seeing that a major dispensational change is coming by the ushering in of the long ago foretold 1,000 year reign of Jesus Christ on this earth very possibly beginning within this decade or certainly not long after, God’s people must be about the business of “watching and praying” as well as preparing for the greatest events we have ever or ever will experience this side of eternity.
Many of Jesus’ parables not only taught principles of living godly lives but also had deep principles tied to the Kingdom—principles that directly pertain to His followers, not just during that Kingdom, but also today, in preparation for this Kingdom. We will now begin to look at the things Jesus said that have often been misunderstood or even totally ignored.
The parable of the “Ten Talents” is found in Matthew 25:14-30. It happens to be the second passage in Matthew that mentions these four things:
- The Kingdom of Heaven
- Being cast out of fellowship
- The outer darkness (or the darkness outside)
- Weeping and gnashing of teeth
As always, with anything written or heard expounding truths from the Word of God, Acts 17:11 should apply. It reads like this:
“They received the Word with all readiness of mind, but then searched the Scriptures daily whether these things were so.”
We should always be open to new thoughts and ideas but they must be proven by our personal study and meditation on God’s living Word, the ultimate source of truth. God’s Word must always validate what has been brought to our attention.
Here is the parable as Jesus told it:
“For the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them. His lord said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” He also who had received two talents came and said, “Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.” His lord said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” Then he who had received the one talent came and said, “Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.” But his lord answered and said to him, “You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming ai would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (NKJV)
How upset the Master was with the third servant is obvious. When he called him a “wicked servant”, this translates out as “hurtful in influence, but not in character.” In the NKJV, “lazy” is used for the old KJV “slothful”, which is “unprofitable.” The consequence in verse 30 is one item worth a more in depth look because this verse is often explained in a way that other Scriptures will not confirm. Even more often, this “consequence” is totally ignored and written off as something not to be worried about; it is after all, only a “parable.” Not one word in the Bible can be ignored or passed over as being of little importance. God’s Word was very carefully put together and was not just authored by men using their human abilities, but by the Spirit of God as He gave these authors the exact specific text to put into writing.
I also believe that every single book in the Bible has a specific purpose in the all-knowing council of God. The purpose of the book of Matthew is described well in a resource book I have had in my personal library for nearly 50 years. Author, Dwight Pentecost, in his book, “Things To Come”, said this:
“The purpose of the writing of the Gospel of Matthew was to record the presentation of Jesus Christ as Messiah: to tracer the opposition to Him and His offered Kingdom by the nation and to record the official and final rejection of that King and Kingdom by Israel.”
The Kingdom of Heaven was not only offered to Israel by John the Baptist, but also by Jesus for the entirety of His 3 ½ years of ministry. Starting in Matthew 11 and continuing for several chapters, Jesus angered the Jewish religious leaders by criticizing them for their ability to predict the weather for the next day because of the obvious signs, yet missing something eternally more important—their time of visitation from the throne of God. He went on to tell them that He would as a result, turn His attention to another nation—a nation that would bring forth fruit. This is recorded in Matthew 21:43 and is referring to the Gentile Church. The Church was not to form of course until after the day of Pentecost, but had already been referred to earlier by Jesus in Matthew 16:18-19.
A splendid passage that speaks to this very thing concerning the other nation Jesus was referring to is found in 1 Peter 2:9-10, which reads like this in the Geneva Bible of 1599:
“But ye are a chosen generation (or ‘people’), a royal Priesthood, an holy nation, a people set at liberty, that ye should show forth the virtues of Him that hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light, which in time past were ‘not a people’, yet are now the people of God: which in time past were not under mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”
You and I are those same chosen people and that royal priesthood! How are we doing? Self examination is always profitable.
As far as the Jewish nation is concerned, even though having rejected their Messiah King, as well as His Kingdom, and having had this calling and Kingdom given to the Gentiles, will in fact be offered the Kingdom once again during the Great Tribulation, also called “The Day Of The Lord”, or “Time of Jacob’s Trouble.” In our day well over 50% of the Christian denominations and churches in America reject the fact that God still has the Jewish people directly in the center of His eternal plan. This is what is called “Replacement Theology.”
Scripture makes it clear that the Jewish nation has not been eternally rejected, with the Gentile Church taking their place. Romans chapters 9-11 make abundantly clear that the Gentile Church has been grafted in to the tree still holding the original branches, the Jews! God’s intentions for the Jewish nation are found in Hosea 5:15 and Galatians 3:6-14, along with an abundance of other passages.
Zechariah 12:10 is also a powerful prophecy foretelling how the Jewish people will have a complete turn-around in the midst of Daniel’s 70th week, or the Great Tribulation. It reads like this:
“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of compassion, and they shall look upon me, whom they have pierced, and they shall lament for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and be sorry for him as one is for his firstborn.” (Geneva Bible, 1599)
Having now taken a brief look at some of the history behind what some of the causes of conflict between Jesus and the Jewish leadership, let’s take a deeper look at our subject parable.
Jesus told parables in order to confirm truths already taught but by using everyday practical stories. An important difference between the “stories” Jesus told and those told by any other storyteller is that they were crafted by the Spirit of God. Because of His authorship, not one word was wasted, nothing was missed, and every single word had great significance.
“Para” means “to come alongside.” Matthew 24 and 25 is full of truths concerning the Rapture of the Church—how we are to be watching for the return of the Messiah at any moment and the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 24:32-25:30). Jesus used parables in order for His disciples and followers to understand, but so His enemies could not. He confirmed this in Matthew 13:10-11.
Most people see Jesus’ parables as just “stories” and miss the fact that they are prophetic in nature. My reason for this study series and the parables that will be scrutinized is because they prophetically tell the story of events between the rejection of the Kingdom of Heaven by the Jewish people and how the destiny of the Church is to be fulfilled. Mainly four major events will be looked at:
- The Rapture
- The Judgment Seat of Christ, or “Bema Seat”
- The Wedding
- The Marriage Feast
Right after Matthew 24, Jesus left off speaking to the Jews and turned His attention to His own disciples, the beginning of the Church which would be birthed at Pentecost: What Jesus spoke to the disciples is directly applicable to us—the grafted in branch, the Gentile Church.
The emphasis of this parable was not in the possession of the talents, but in what was done with them—the action. This action was then recorded as faithfulness. This is why the first two servants heard the Lord say to them:
“Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord!”
When the Lord confronted the third servant, the man was told that he had been lazy and unprofitable. The word unprofitable in the Greek, which the New Testament was originally written in, is defined as “not worthy of”, literally meaning “not being fit or prepared.” I believe this is why there is such an increasing emphasis today to prepare ourselves to stand before our Master and KING. This message, is an anointed message from the Holy Spirit, and those that are awake and aware, are catching it. In churches that are more interested in hanging onto their people, and don’t want to offend anyone, the message of repentance, holiness, and humility is not heard.
Now back to our third servant. In telling him that he was not worthy, he was being told that he had not been faithful, obedient, or persevering in his walk with God. He had in fact treated God’s gift of grace as having little to no value to him. Because of this, his life was lived selfishly and the Master was given no place. Because of this he was not qualified to enter into the joy of the Lord.
The consequence given to this servant is primarily what is either explained away or ignored all together because it makes the reader very uncomfortable. Could I be so bold as to say God intended the things said to this servant to stun us a bit as we recline in our spiritual recliners? This is exactly what Jesus intended. This man was confronted; he was left without excuse, and then “cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
It is no wonder that so many will try and avoid dealing with this portion of the parable, so lets define some terms to help us understand what Jesus was saying. The word “cast out” has two definitions. In my “Strong’s Concordance”, it is “Ekballo”(#1544, Greek). The definition is to “be cast forth from his original position grudgingly, a position he was once part of but now ejected, sent forth, and sent away.” This is the Greek word always used when having to do with outer darkness or the darkness outside.
There is another Greek word, “ballo” (Strong’s #906), which in contrast is always used for “casting away, throwing out violently, not caring where it falls.” “Ballo” is always used in connection with being cast into hell, or eternal damnation.
It is obvious that the two are quite different from each other. Since the Bible is very accurate, and we have access to what the original language was saying, it is safe to say that we also must make a differentiation in our understanding between the two. The problem for some will be that this leaves us with something that may go against our traditional belief and understanding. Because of this, we should find out what is being said, regardless of what traditional teaching has always said. As was shown in part one of this series, there have been many notable preachers and theologians, people who have been well respected and well known, who have also come to a conclusion significantly different than the traditional explanation. If we follow this to its conclusion, the Scriptures make themselves clear. Once again, we are called to be good students of the Word of God, proving Scripture with Scripture.
The word “outer darkness”, (Strong’s #1857 and #4655) literally defines an area outside of the light of God’s presence, yet not far away. The joy of the Lord experienced by the first two servants is apparently visible to the third servant but he is not able to enter into it. Yet, it is not hell, nor is it the lake of fire. Before anyone becomes confused or frustrated, let’s work our way clear through the passage as well as other Scriptures which help clear up what is prophetically being said.
Another term used here describes this place of “darkness” where this servant will experience “weeping and gnashing of teeth”. Most of us have always thought this to be a description of hell. Yet, many other Bible passages describe Christians “walking in darkness.” One of these passages is 1 John 2:10-11 which says:
He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him, but he that hateth his brother is in darkness because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.” (KJV)
This was obviously not an unbeliever being referred to because he is called a “brother.” The word for “darkness” here in the Greek is the identical word used in our parable in Matthew 25.
The “weeping and gnashing of teeth” means “profound regret.” It is important to realize that the promise Jesus made to wipe away all our tears does not happen until at the end of the millennium, and at the beginning of the eternal state we will all be in. There is much about the Kingdom that we do not understand unless we do some in-depth study of God’s Word for ourselves. Very little is taught about the soon coming Kingdom today. When is the last time you remember a teaching on the subject? Yet, Jesus’ parables refer to this Kingdom many times.
When we see and begin to understand what is really being said in this and some of the other parables, we can see why the Apostle Paul put such an emphasis on running this race with everything we have. He expressed so much concern that he said he “beat” his body into submission. Of course, he didn’t beat himself, but rather disciplined himself to walk the line as was expected of him. He also expressed his purposeful following of Christ’s example by saying that he did not “fight as one that beats the air.” He intended to win! He lived his whole life to glorify Christ, and it didn’t matter to him what the personal cost was.
This is something quite rare to hear in our day of materialism and addiction to entertainment. The more we see how crucial our understanding is of the Christian walk, and how we are to judge ourselves so that we are found “spotless and without wrinkle,” the more we see that we should all be preparing ourselves, knowing that we will soon be standing before our Lord. We will have no facades to use as a cover for our negligence.
A life of repentance, truth, holiness, and humility is not a life of legalism, as some would say, but rather the life we would want to live in order to live up to the standards that have been set before us by Jesus Christ Himself. We don’t live a sanctified, holy and humble life as an accessory to our Christian life, we live it because it is expected of us and because it brings glory to Christ.
Each of us has been given a “talent” of some type. It is different for each person. God does not expect us to be anyone but ourselves, but what He has gifted us each with does not leave any excuse for us to ignore what our short life on this earth is all about. We must remember that we are just passing through.
Too many people are putting almost all their efforts, their money, their dreams, and plans into this world’s system. This world’s system is corrupt and is going to crash. In missing the gravity of this point, we will miss much of what God has had planned for us to accomplish. Either we are our own lord, or He is our Lord. A little introspection is good for each of us. The Bible exhorts us to judge ourselves so that God does not need to do so. As Elijah said, “Choose you this day whom you will serve!” Are your plans based upon your own desires, or are your desires and plans subservient to the God who paid to set you free? How much of what we have will go with us when we leave this earth? Nothing! What sacrifices will we have made for the Kingdom of God, that shows He truly was the Lord of our lives? Now is the time for whatever adjustments we need to make. Next year; next month; next week; or even tomorrow may be too late to do so. Today is the day of salvation. Salvation means “total wholeness”, spirit, soul, and body.
A passage of Scripture that I would like to leave with you as part 3 is brought to a close. It is found at the end of the fourth chapter of James: Here is how it reads in the “Message”:
“And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, ‘today—at the latest, tomorrow—we’re off to such and such a city for the year. We’re going to start a business and make a lot of money.’ You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing, Instead, make it a habit to say, ‘If the Master wills it and we’re still alive, we’ll do this or that.’ As it is, you are full of your grandiose selves. All such vaunting self-importance is evil. In fact, if you know the right thing to do and don’t do it, that, for you is evil!”
…To be continued in Part 4, where we will deal with the location of the place that the third servant was sent. In the continuation of this series, we will closely examine the parable of the ten virgins; the man caught at the feast without the proper attire, as well as other parables dealing with the coming Kingdom. The Rapture will also be discussed, along with the Judgment seat of Christ, the Marriage of the Lamb, and the Wedding Feast, including the timing for each. Thank you for reading. Comments and questions welcome.
KEEP LOOKING UP,