Olivet Discourse: Matthew Chapter 25
This chapter is a continuation of Matthew 24:1-51, except that its focus is on the establishment of the Lord's millennial kingdom here on earth. A number of major categorical events are identified in this site on the Matthew 25 timelines. It is an interesting comparison to see the number of events that are prophesied to occur prior to the Lord's return, verses another other time or event in prophetic history. There is a huge wave of events, like a tidal wave, sweep across every part of this globe in preparation for the Lord's return. The events described in Matthew 25 are still future, and will be the time when His kingdom will be physically present on this earth, whereas today it is a spiritual kingdom. The Lord's spiritual kingdom is the body of Christ beginning with all the first Christians who believed and called upon the name of Jesus Christ, Romans 10:9-13, to the present, and until the Lord calls His church at the rapture, 1Thessalonians 4:13-18. As a result, there are two manifestations of the Kingdom of God, the spiritual kingdom that spans from the day of Pentecost, until the Lord establishes His millennial reign. Then it will be a physical kingdom, beginning after the seven years of tribulation. To view the timeline of the kingdom of God, see the Luke 17 timeline on this site.
During the spiritual manifestation of the Kingdom of God, the Lord sent out His 12 disciples to proclaim that the kingdom of God was near, Matthew 10:1-9. At a later time, He proclaimed that the kingdom is within you, Luke 17:20-21, when dialoguing with the Pharisees concerning when the kingdom of God would arrive. He further described how worship of God had to be in spirit and in truth when discussing with the Samaritan woman where one ought to worship the Lord, whether on the mountain within the midst of Samaria, or in Jerusalem, John 4:20-24. At the beginning of the Lord's earthly ministry, in the synagogue at Nazareth where the Lord was raised as a child, He recited Isaiah 61:1 and then the first part of Isaiah 61:2a, then declared that in their hearing that the scripture was fulfilled, Luke 4:18-19. The characteristic nature of the spiritual kingdom is to preach the Good News, which is that the Father has given salvation to all mankind through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, Luke 2:8-11. There were number of other elements in this proclamation that separated the Lord Jesus Christ from any other man, and identified Him as the Messiah. As the many testimonies in the gospels reveal, the Lord did indeed perform many miracles, preach the gospel, healed the broken hearted, and many other things, that no other man has, did, or ever will perform. This is exactly what John testified to as well at the end of his gospel, John 21:24-25, John 1: 1-14. Isaiah 61:2b-3 then go on to describe the Lord's millennial reign. Finally, the symbolism of the new covenant that is described in Matthew 26:26-28 in the breaking of bread and eating it with the cup of wine and drinking it, illustrates that there is an end to the spiritual kingdom upon the physical manifestation of the kingdom of God when the Lord returns and celebrates this supper in His kingdom on earth.
The initiation of the physical kingdom of God on the earth has been described in the other pages on the Olivet Discourse in this site, on Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 17, and Luke 21. The return of the Lord Jesus Christ will be a worldwide event, compared to lightning, which will be seen by all the survivors of the seven years of tribulation, Luke 17:22-24. The description of the physical Kingdom of God is shown in Revelation 20:4-6, Isaiah 65:17-25, and Ezekiel 43, Ezekiel 44, Ezekiel 45, and Ezekiel 46. The main characteristics of this kingdom is the day of vengeance of the Lord, Isaiah 61:2b-7, a time that the Lord will rule this world with a rod of iron, Psalm 2, and whose beginning is symbolized by the renewed supper with the Lord, as shown in the new covenant, Matthew 26:29.
Survivors of the seven years of tribulation will be few in number, as seen on this site on the compressed view of the judgments. Survivors of the tribulation, Matthew 25:1-46, will be in three groups. They will be from the children of Israel, Revelation 12:1-17, the remaining tribulation saints, and the unrighteous Gentiles. These will comprise the first group who are still in their physical bodies. The second group who have their resurrected eternal bodies and are returning with Christ to establish the Lord's millennial reign. This second group will be the church, or bride of Christ, Revelation 19:1-21, and the slain tribulation saints, Revelation 20:1-15. The third group will be the resurrected Old Testament Saints, Daniel 12:1-13. This will indeed mark a unique time in this planet's history in that those in their physical bodies will continue to propagate, and cohabit this planet with those who will rule with Christ in their resurrected eternal bodies.
Despite the chapter break, the Lord is still talking on the subject that ends in Matthew 24:42-51, the watchful servants and the return of the King. There is judgment for all people still alive after the seven years of tribulation, for those who have already died are either reserved for the judgment before the judgment seat of Christ for the righteous or the great white throne judgment for the unrighteous, for it is appointed for men to die once, and then they will be judged, Hebrews 9:27. The state of preparedness of His servants who are still alive is what is being examined and to give them either rewards or judgment. The transition between Matthew 24:1-51 and Matthew 25:1-46 is that the millennial kingdom of the Lord has been established, and at that time several events occur nearly simultaneously. Those who were watching and were prepared, enter into His presence and enjoy the marriage feast of the lamb. This is the time when the glory of the Lord fills His temple, which is assumed to be 45 days after the battle of Armageddon, Ezekiel 43:1-5.
|1-13||Parable of the 10 virgins|
|14-30||Judgment of the servants|
|31-46||Judgment of the nations|
Matthew 25:1-4 is the beginning of the millennial reign of Christ. The first of three parables given by the Lord is about ten virgins who are waiting on the bridegroom. The virgins represent the children of Israel who are still alive and who are blessed to live to the 1,335th day according to Daniel 12:12. In these passages in Daniel, the text is directed to the children of Israel and not the Gentiles. Similarly, those of whom Jesus is talking to are the Jews in that day. In the parable, there are five wise virgins who were watching and were prepared. In scripture, the oil represents the Holy Spirit who seals us, Ephesians 4:30-32. The other five virgins are characterized as foolish. Though they were participating in the watch with the five wise virgins, the foolish virgins were not sealed by the Holy Spirit, and tried to enter through another gate, Matthew 7:13-23, John 10:9. Some teach that this passage supports a partial or midtribulation rapture, which is incorrect. The events described here relate to the beginning of the Kingdom of the Lord, or the beginning of the millennial reign of Christ, not during the tribulation.
In Matthew 25:5-13, the Lord indicates in the parable that all ten virgins are asleep when the call of the bridegroom's arrival is herd. They were all asleep since the hour was late, but the wise virgins were prepared for the Lord’s return. Upon the announcement of the Lord’s arrival, the five wise virgins were taken into the great marriage feast. It is interesting that the wise virgins could not share their oil with the others. This is because the Holy Spirit seals each of us individually, we cannot pray others into salvation. Each individual must believe and confess the name of the Lord to be saved, Romans 10:6-10, no one else can do that for another person, whether the subject of the prayer is still alive or has died. Each person is responsible for their own relationship with the Lord and no one else is answerable for them. The foolish who were not prepared, were not allowed to enter into the feast. Matthew 25:11 indicates that the foolish virgins returned, but it does not say that they obtained their oil. Nevertheless, because they were unprepared, Matthew 25:12 reveals that door was shut and remained shut to them. Despite their pleas, the Lord responds that He does not know them, and they are refused entrance. The warning to all is consistent in all the gospels on the Olivet Discourse, the warning is to watch! Matthew 25:13.
In Matthew 25:14, the word “again” infers that the discussion is still centered about the beginning of the millennial reign of Christ as with the previous parable. Matthew 25:15 begins by showing that three servants were given different amounts of talents by the master of the house who was going away on travel. Each servant was given an amount commensurate with their ability. One servant received 5 talents, the second 2 talents, and 1 talent was given to the third.
In Matthew 25:16-19, the parable continues, and states that the first two servants immediately went out and were able add to the Lord’s investment. Neither of them waited or studied the task given them. However, the wicked servant did not fulfill his Lord’s desires. There was a significant amount of time that elapsed, as indicated in Matthew 25:19, which is similar to Matthew 25:5 with the parable of the 10 virgins. Upon the master's return, Matthew 25:20-23, the first two faithful servants turned in their report, and both received the same praise and an invitation to in the Lord’s happiness. This was centered around their faithfulness and not to the actual amount they returned on the master's investment.
In Matthew 25:24, the wicked servant began to rationalize his position, and lack of effort in the service of the master. He focused his complaint on what he perceived as unfair treatment and cited that for the reason that he added no value to what the master had given him, Isaiah 45:9-12.
In Matthew 25:25-27, the Lord rebuked the wicked servant for not doing anything. Matthew 25:28-30 provides insight on the Lord’s judgment against the servant. He stripped what the unrighteous servant had and gave it all to him that was initially given the largest amount of talents. What He had was taken was given to him that initially received the greatest amount of talents of the three servants. The wicked servant was then cast outside of the Lord’s realm into darkness where those in the same condition suffer with weeping and gnashing of teeth. The wicked servant was not a believer, but rebellious and disobedient.
In Matthew 25:1-46, the Lord first judges His people, the Jews, then He judges His servants, now He is judging the nations. Matthew 25:31 reveals that the Lord will come in His glory with His angels and when He sits on His earthly throne, then these judgments will be pronounced upon those who have survived the tribulation period. This will not be like the prolonged court proceedings so common in the world today, nor will it lack the true justice that is not known in our courts. These judgments will be true, quick, and final, being made by the creator of all things Himself, John 1:1-5, and He will rule with an iron scepter, Psalms 2:6-12.
In Matthew 25:32-33, all the nations will be brought before the Lord and judged. They will be separated, the righteous (sheep) to the right side of Him from the unrighteous (goats) to the left of the Lord. It is not thought that the Lord will assemble every survivor on the face of the world to appear for this judgment, but the leaders of the governments are to appear before Him. There are two reasons for thinking this. First, in Matthew 24:37-42, there is a separation of the righteous from the wicked. The righteous are brought before the Lord and the others are left to continue to attend to the work that they were doing. Second, a judgment of the nations who confederated with the Antichrist is revealed in Daniel 7:1-28. This is when the leaders of the three international bodies who were represented by the winged lion who turned into a standing man, the bear with three ribs in his mouth, and the four headed leopard with four wings will only be able to continue to lead their nations, but without their own authority for a short time longer after the tribulation, Daniel 7:9-12, (see notes concerning this subject on this site on Daniel 7).
Matthew 25:34-46 provide the criteria used in this judgment of the nations. It is to be based on what was done to those belonging to the Lord in their need. Those nations who sought the care and provisions of those identified with God during the tribulation, Revelation 7:2-8, are those who receive the Lord's blessing, Matthew 25:40. Those judged contrary to this were resigned to the lake of fire, that will be consummated at the final judgment before the great white throne judgment, Revelation 20:11-15. The Lord never intended that man should perish, but have eternal life, John 3:16-21. Man was not intended for the judgment as shown in Matthew 25:41, but the lake of fire was reserved for Satan and his angels. Those nations who behaved righteously will let them take their inheritance prepared for them, Matthew 25:34 and Matthew 25:46 . Those nations who misbehaved toward God’s people will be taken away eventually to the eternal fire that was prepared for the devil and his angels, and not intended for man, Matthew 25:41 and Matthew 25:46. During the millennial reign of Christ, there will be a different economy of life that mankind has not enjoyed since the garden of Eden, Isaiah 65:17-20 . Those who are accursed by the Lord will not live beyond 100 years old. During the millennial reign of Christ, the days of life for the righteous will be like the days of a tree, Isaiah 65:22.