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Matthew 25:1-46

Last Updated 1/17/01

CHAPTER 25:1-46 TEXT:

Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 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: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 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: 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: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 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: 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: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 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. 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: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 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. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then 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. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

1  Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

The Kingdom parables were discussed in detail in the chapter 13 notes.

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

The oil in the lamp could equally represent the Ruach haKodesh or the Torah, as the two cannot be separated (i.e., Romans, chapter 8) See also note to verse 12 below.

Psalm 119:105-107 - Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments. I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word.

The parable of the virgins is meant to teach preparedness, a common theme in Judaism with regard to the coming of God's Kingdom:

Midrash Rabbah – Ecclesiastes IX:7 - LET THY GARMENTS BE ALWAYS WHITE; AND LET THY HEAD LACK NO OIL (IX, 8). R. Johanan b. Zakkai said: If the text speaks of white garments, how many of these have the peoples of the world; and if it speaks of good oil, how much of it do the peoples of the world possess! Behold, it speaks only of precepts, good deeds, and Torah. R. Judah ha-Nasi said: To what may this be likened? To a king who made a banquet to which he invited guests. He said to them, ‘Go, wash yourselves, brush up your clothes, anoint yourselves with oil, wash your garments, and prepare yourselves for the banquet,’ but he fixed no time when they were to come to it. The wise among them walked about by the entrance of the king's palace, saying, ' Does the king's palace lack anything?’ The foolish among them paid no regard or attention to the king's command. They said, ‘We will in due course notice when the king's banquet is to take place, because can there be a banquet without labour [to prepare it] and company?’ So the plasterer went to his plaster, the potter to his clay, the smith to his charcoal, the washer to his laundry. Suddenly the king ordered, ' Let them all come to the banquet.’ They hurried the guests, so that some came in their splendid attire and others came in their dirty garments. The king was pleased with the wise ones who had obeyed his command, and also because they had shown honour to the king's palace. He was angry with the fools who had neglected his command and disgraced his palace. The king said, ' Let those who have prepared themselves for the banquet come and eat of the king's meal, but those who have not prepared themselves shall not partake of it.’ You might suppose that the latter were simply to depart; but the king continued, ' No, [they are not to depart]; but the former shall recline and eat and drink, while these shall remain standing, be punished, and look on and be grieved.’ Similarly in the Hereafter, as Isaiah declares, Behold, My servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry (Isa. LXV, 13). Ziwatai said in the name of R. Meir: These will recline and eat and drink, while the others will recline without eating and drinking; because the vexation of him who stands [at a banquet without participating in it] is not the same as of him who reclines [without participating in it]. He who stands without eating and drinking is like an attendant, but he who reclines and does not eat suffers very much more vexation and his face turns green. That is what the prophet says, Then ye shall I sit and discern between the righteous and the wicked (Mal. III, 18).

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.

The marriage banquet is for Messiah, the bridegroom, and His bride, the faith community of Israel, made up of both Jews and gentiles who trust in Yeshua and His Torah. The end-times book of Revelation shows the necessity of Torah, as part of one's faith in Yeshua, in order to enter the Kingdom of God:

Revelation 12:17 - And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, [Torah] and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Revelation 14:12 - Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the
commandments of God,
[Torah] and the faith of Jesus.

Revelation 22:14 - Blessed are they that do his commandments, [Torah] that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

This is the same reply Yeshua gave in chapter 7, which was directed to those who thought they could follow Him apart from the will of the Father and His sayings, both of which refer to Torah:

Matthew 7:21-24 - Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father [Torah] which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

The above would lend credibility to the idea that the oil in the lamps of the virgins represents Torah.

14-15  For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.

There is a principle in Judaism that God gives to each one of his servants as much spiritual enlightenment as they are capable of handling. The human being that had the greatest enlightenment was Moses, who spoke directly with God, and not in dreams or visions. Everyone else since Moses sees things less clearly:

1 Corinthians 13:12 - For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

29-30  For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Yeshua's stern message here is that even those who are given a small amount from God will be held accountable to Him for what they did with it. (i.e., All believers are called to obedience.)

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:

The Talmud teaches that seven things were seven things created from the foundation of the world:

Talmud - Mas. Pesachim 54a - Surely it was taught: Seven things were created before the world was created, and these are they: The Torah, repentance, the Garden of Eden, Gehenna, the Throne of Glory, the Temple, and the name of the Messiah. The Torah, for it is written, The Lord made me [sc. the Torah] as the beginning of his way. Repentance, for it is written, Before the mountains were brought forth, and it is written, Thou turnest man to contrition, and sayest, Repent, ye children of men. The Garden of Eden, as it is written, And the Lord planted a garden in Eden from aforetime. The Gehenna, for it is written, For Tophet [i.e., Gehenna] is ordered of old. The Throne of Glory and the Temple, for it is written, Thou throne of glory, on high from the beginning, Thou place of our sanctuary. The name of the Messiah, as it is written, His [sc. the Messiah's] name shall endure for ever, and has exited before the sun! — I will tell you: only its cavity was created before the world was created, but its fire [was created] on the eve of the Sabbath.

The Messiah's sacrifice also goes back to this time (Hebrews 9:26; Revelation 13:8).

The Bahir (a book of deeper Hebrew teachings on the Torah that we address in our Revelation study), affirms Yeshua's words. It compares the Kingdom to a special light from God set aside since the foundation of the world:

Bahir 190 - "What is Fear of God? It is the First Light. Rabbi Meir thus said: Why is it written (Genesis 1:3): And God said 'Let their be light, and there was light.' Why does it not say: 'And it was so?' But this teaches us that the light was very intense, so that no created thing could gaze upon it. God therefore store it away for the righteous in the Ultimate Future.

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.

Yeshua's brethren are the children of Israel and those gentiles adopted into the faith of Israel. They are those who trust in Him and keep His Torah (1 John 2:3-4; 3:22-24; 5:2-3; 2 John 1:6; Revelation 12:17; 14:12; 22:14).

"Works" are an integral part of "faith" in Judaism:

James 2:24 - Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

It can thus be said that those persecuting Torah-observant followers of Yeshua, are in fact persecuting Him.


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