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The Parables of Matthew 25

In this article, I want to deal with a topic that has nipped at my heels for as long as I can remember. Like many believers out there, I have long struggled to properly sort out some of the details of certain aspects of the Olivet Discourse, arguably the premier teaching on the end times that Jesus delivered to four of His disciples during the last week of His earthly ministry.

And in this case, the heel-nipping of which I speak pertains to the three parables that appear at the beginning of Matthew 25:

1. The Parable of the 10 Virgins (Matt. 25:1–13)

2. The Parable of the Talents (Matt. 25:14–30)

3. The Sheep and Goat Judgment (Matt. 25:31–46)

(I came t-h-i-s close to calling this article "Ladies, Loot, and Livestock," but luckily the Holy Spirit was able to wring that one out of me...although I admit it took a couple of trips to the woodshed.)

I will end up focusing a bit more attention on the Sheep and Goat Judgment than I will on the first two parables because, as we shall see, I believe the Parable of the 10 Virgins and the Parable of the Talents both speak directly to the Sheep and Goat Judgment in ways many people miss.

And I can say that with a clear conscience because I missed this for years.

On a somewhat technical note, be aware that although a lot of people casually refer to all three of these teachings in Matthew 25 as parables for the sake of simplicity (this writer included, most of the time), many Bible commentators do not consider the Sheep and Goat Judgment to be a parable per se—and I must say that I agree. In other words, there is a reason why it is called the Sheep and Goat Judgment (aka the Judgment of the Nations), and not the Parable of the Sheep and Goats. I'm just saying...so when I refer to the "parables" of Matthew 25, as I did in the title, just be aware that I'm tossing in the Sheep and Goat Judgment.

Rather than a parable in the traditional sense (i.e. a succinct, fictional story that serves as a metaphorical analogy that is intended to teach or illustrate one primary, overarching principle without excessive reliance on minor structural details), in reality it reads more like a slightly parabolic description of an actual event. The majority of Bible commentators agree that it refers to a real judgment involving real people that will take place in a real geographic location at a real point in time, and that Jesus is merely injecting a couple of symbolic images into it. In other words:

This is a real judgment, but Jesus isn't judging barnyard animals here.

But whatever you want to call the Sheep and Goat Judgment, as I worked on my last article I began to see a few things that helped clear the fog that had caused me to struggle with some of the interpretive details of these parables in certain ways for a long time. So, in a sense this article finishes something I started in my last one.

First, however, I want to deal with an important topic that will help the rest of what I want to discuss fall into place much more easily...and it concerns what I am convinced is one of the key stumbling blocks that causes good people to go stumbling off in any number of wrong directions in regard to the interpretation of these three parables. Again, I touched on some of this in my last article, but I want to look at it now in a bit more detail.

An end-time Who's Who

I think I've come to understand and appreciate the reason why so many people go off in a variety of wrong directions in their effort to correctly interpret the parables of Matthew 25, and I certainly can't blame them for it. It's a very easy problem to fall victim to, and I'm in a perfect position to say so because I fell victim to it for many years. It takes a wee bit of logic and grunt work, but it's not really a difficult problem to solve once we confront it straight on. It's a simple problem, and it is simply this:

Not every piece of information we need to

correctly interpret the parables in the Olivet

Discourse is found in the Olivet Discourse.

Profound, I know. (And note that this same principle applies to many passages of Scripture, not just these three parables.) In other words, many people tend to look at these parables in a relatively isolated context, and then proceed to rub their chins and muse:

"Gosh, who could these wise virgins, foolish virgins, faithful servants, lazy servants, sheep, and goats possibly be?! Let me put on my thinking cap!"

And it's off to the speculative races without first stopping to give any serious consideration to who they can be, who they can't be, and why. The point is that we have to avail ourselves of pertinent details that are found in other places in Scripture to get some clear ideas about who these characters are (and aren't) before we even try to interpret what the Lord is communicating to us about the end times. So with that thought in mind, it's a-hunting we will go.

First off, timing. I'm sure this is old hat for many of you, but the first step is to ascertain the time these three parables are associated with...and luckily the plain text of Scripture makes this surprisingly easy:

1Then [Greek: tote (then; at that time)] the Kingdom of Heaven [i.e. the Millennial Kingdom] will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.

(Matthew 25:1 / emphasis & [comments] added)

14For it [the Millennial Kingdom—same thing discussed in the previous parable] is like a man going into another country, who called his own servants and entrusted his goods to them.

(Matthew 25:14 / emphasis & [comments] added)

31But when the Son of Man comes in his glory [same deal—when He returns at the Second Coming to establish the Millennial Kingdom], and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.

(Matthew 25:31 / emphasis & [comments] added)

Tote—the opening word of chapter 25 tells us everything we need to know about the timing, but each of the other two teachings reinforce the same idea in their very first verse:

At. That. Time.

OK, at what time? Now, don't let yourself be lulled to sleep by the fact that these are the opening words of a new chapter...back up. That's right, keep backing up...back into chapter 24. Back...back...back...AH HA! There it is—the previous event that pins down the time being referred to:

29Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

(Matthew 24:29–31 AKJV)

The Second Coming of Christ to the earth to establish His kingdom. So that puts a timestamp on these three parables:

All three occur at (or at least shortly after) the time Christ returns to the earth, and is in the initial process of setting up the Millennial Kingdom.

This is a crucial detail, because it gives us the ammunition we need to determine who the players can (and cannot) be in these parables.

Now, let's break this down and carefully consider all the distinct groups of people who could at least theoretically be around at the Second Coming, and what their potential relationship to the Sheep and Goat Judgment and the subsequent decisions concerning entrance into the kingdom might be. And note that I'm focusing attention on the Sheep and Goat Judgment because, as we shall see, the Parable of the 10 Virgins and the Parable of the Talents both speak directly to this judgment.

a. The Church

Nope, sorry. Let's knock this one out right now. The body of Christ is long gone at this point, because we are raptured before the Tribulation even gets started. However, since the Church will be returning with Christ at the Second Coming, technically speaking the Church will be around for the initial proceedings that take place prior to the launching of the kingdom—just in our glorified bodies. But that doesn't count in this discussion—we're only talking about natural-bodied people here.

Minus the Church, which includes both Jewish and Gentile believers, we can separate the remainder of humanity into Jews and Gentiles who were not part of the Church and so entered into Daniel's 70th Week. However, let's first dispense with all those who fall victim to the deception of the Antichrist:

b. Those who took the mark

I mentioned this in my last article but I'm afraid I was a bit sloppy in the way I said what I said. So, I want to clarify this and be a bit more precise:

19I saw the beast [the Antichrist], the kings of the earth, and their armies [in Greek, a form of strateuma—the exact same word used to describe the "armies" returning with Christ], gathered together to make war against him who sat on the horse and against his army.

20The beast was taken, and with him the false prophet who worked the signs in his sight, with which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. 21The rest [i.e. all their "armies" with them in verse 19, all of whom would have received the mark] were killed with the sword of him who sat on the horse, the sword which came out of his mouth [slaying the "armies" of the Antichrist is part of job one, right along with dispatching the Antichrist and the False Prophet to the lake of fire]. So all the birds were filled with their flesh.

(Revelation 19:19–21 / emphasis & [comments] added)

When I discussed this in my last article, I jumped to the conclusion that verse 21 alone allowed me to conclude that this included all those who took the mark. That was a little bit sloppy on my part, however, because there is a bit more to it than that—I missed a step. "The rest" in verse 21 doesn't grammatically refer to all those who took the mark, it grammatically refers to the armies of the Antichrist (i.e. him and his "kings") in verse 19.

Now, it's pretty safe to assume that everyone in the Antichrist's "armies" would certainly have taken his mark and worship his image. But I am still convinced this represents all the those who took the mark who are alive at the Second Coming, and here's why.

Note with care what verse 14 says about Christ's return to the earth just a few verses earlier:

14The armies [a form of strateuma, the same word used for the Antichrist's "armies" in verse 19] which are in heaven, clothed in white, pure, fine linen, followed him on white horses.

(Revelation 19:14 / emphasis & [comments] added)

This is the Church—the entire body of Christ returning with the King to rule and reign with Him in His kingdom. And we are referred to using a form of the exact same Greek word strateuma (an expedition, an army, a company of soldiers) that is rendered in many English translations as "armies" in both verses.

So, it easy and quite natural to think of the Antichrist's "armies" in verse 19 in a manner similar to the way we think of the Church: The "armies" of the Antichrist are all those who worship him and choose to follow him during the Tribulation, in much the same way that the "armies" of the Lord who return with Him in verse 14 are all those who worshiped Him and chose to follow Him (and were raptured to be with Him) before the Tribulation.

And since all those who worship the Antichrist and have chosen to follow him comprise all those who have taken his mark and worship his image, there we have it: We can readily conclude that all living markees are killed at the Second Coming in Revelation 19:21 because they can all be thought of collectively as the "armies" of the Antichrist in verse 19, just as the entire Church that returns with Christ at the Second Coming can be thought of collectively as the "armies" of the Lord in verse 14. Thus, those who took the mark of the beast cannot be players in the parables of Matthew 25 because they are all dead. Q.E.D.

This is precisely what I stated in my last article, but I just took a more carefully thought-out route to get there this time.

The argument could also be made that there is no need for those who took the mark to stand at any such judgment anyway, since their judgment is sealed according to the third angel who flies around the earth in Revelation 14 prior to the release of the bowl judgments:

9Another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a great voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is prepared unmixed in the cup of his anger [i.e. their judgment is sealed]. He will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11The smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. They have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name."

(Revelation 14:9–11 / emphasis & [comments] added)

The eternal fate of all those who take the mark is pronounced by an angel. Done deal—no exceptions. No need for any further judgment to be made.

Now, as we shall see, Christ is judging people for their faithful Christian witness (or the lack thereof) at the Sheep and Goat Judgment to determine if they warrant admittance to His kingdom. So...I'm sorry, but why in heaven's name would anyone who took the mark of the beast and worshiped the image of the Antichrist and as a result had their judgment and eternal punishment already announced by an angel need to show up at a judgment to determine if their "Christian witness" was sufficiently up to snuff for the Lord to grant them entrance into His Millennial Kingdom?

Be sure and get back to me on that one.

c. The 144,000

As I've discussed on previous occasions, I am convinced that all of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists that are sealed in Revelation 7 and bring in a huge harvest of souls into the kingdom are martyred (by being beheaded, just like their prototype Paul) before the trumpet judgments are complete during the Great Tribulation. In other words, I believe their being sealed simply protects them long enough to complete their mission. But be advised:

That is my scriptural oh-PEEN-yun.

There is no shortage of highly capable commentators whom I greatly respect who disagree, and believe that the seal the 144,000 receive in Revelation 7 guarantees their survival all the way to the Second Coming. It's just that I see this differently. I won't get sidetracked on it here, but I have what I believe are scripturally sound reasons for holding this view.

But whichever way that jodenkoeken crumbles, I look at it this way:

If that's the case, then just consider the 144,000 as an auxiliary group to the Jewish remnant. It won't cause me any heartburn, nor will it cause any damage to any of my other oh-PEEN-yuns. I just happen to disagree.

Oh, and by the way: It goes without saying that there will be positions of honor reserved for every single one of these 144,000 apostle Pauls in the kingdom. Some even speculate they will serve as Christ's royal guard.

d. Unbelieving Jews

I don't want to be dogmatic about it, but I am of the opinion that unbelieving Jews in the Great Tribulation will be induced by the strong delusion of 2 Thessalonians 2:11 into worshiping the Antichrist as their Messiah, and I think it's safe to assume that this will include taking his mark and worshiping his image. But mark or no mark, Scripture makes it clear that the Antichrist will still go after all the Jews with a vengeance. Why?

Because Satan doesn't want their devotion—he wants them dead.

Opinions vary among capable Bible commentators, with some seeing many unbelieving Jews surviving to the end of the Tribulation and others taking a more literal tack on Scripture and seeing them all slain by the forces of the Antichrist prior to the Second Coming. Personally, I go with the latter because it appears to me that's what the plain text of Scripture indicates.

To wit, note one of the verses that speaks to the fate of the Jewish people during the Tribulation found in Zechariah:

8And it shall come to pass, that in all the land [i.e. in Israel], said the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein [in the mountainous region of Seir (aka Edom) that lies across Israel's eastern border in Jordan, which includes Petra].

9And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.

(Zechariah 13:8–9 AKJV / emphasis & [comments] added)

And for what it's worth, note that the mountains of Seir are in modern-day Jordan and lie along the eastern side of the valley that forms the border between Jordan and southern Israel—but in the eyes of the LORD it's still part of the land of Israel. 'Nuff said.

The one-third that are refined as silver and tried as gold constitute the believing Jewish remnant who call upon the LORD at the climax of the Tribulation to save them from the overwhelming forces of the Antichrist, who is just about to make Satan's dream come true. How? By doing what Satan has dreamed of doing for the last two thousand years: wiping out the Jews so they can't call upon the LORD to save them—which He will and in the process bring Satan's pathetic excuse of a kingdom to an inglorious end.

Note that the unbelieving two-thirds "shall be cut off and die," and most commentators believe that, as I said, they will be slain by the forces of the Antichrist. Satan's man is going to pull out all the stops in going after all the Jews in the Great Tribulation, but God protects the believing remnant in the mountains of Seir, aka Edom (Rev. 12:13–17; Isa. 63:1). But his failure to get the remnant doesn't stop him from going after the others, regardless of whether they worship him or not.

And according to Zechariah, he'll get them.

e. The Jewish remnant

The believing Jewish remnant clearly survives the Tribulation for the very purpose of being ushered alive into the Millennial Kingdom. It is they who will call on the name of the LORD to save them at the climax of Daniel's 70th Week, and save them He will. In other words, it is they who actually trigger the Second Coming to begin with, which is precisely why Satan has worked so hard and for so long to completely annihilate the Jewish people.

Some people want to see the Jewish remnant as the sheep at the Sheep and Goat Judgment, but this makes little sense. Since they are promised point-blank in Scripture to be ushered into the kingdom, it strikes me as odd that they would be required to stand before Christ to be judged in order to be granted admittance to the kingdom. But here's the clincher:

It's an ethnos thing: Matthew 25:32 refers to the sheep and the goats collectively as "the nations," and uses a form of the Greek word ethnos. This virtually proves the sheep and goats are all Gentiles.

So, not only does it not make any sense to see the Jewish remnant standing at the Sheep and Goat Judgment to be judged as to whether or not they qualify to be allowed into the kingdom, but are we told straight out that the sheep and goats are all Gentiles.

Let me be quick to point out, however, that although I am certain the Jewish remnant are not players at the Sheep and Goat Judgment in the sense of being subject to any such judgment in order to gain admittance to the kingdom (as are the sheep and goats), as we shall see in a moment I believe it is clear that they are present at the Sheep and Goat Judgment, since the Lord clearly refers to them as if they were. In other words, it appears they're in the audience.

And last but by no means least:

f. Gentile Tribulation survivors

This final group consists of Gentiles who survive the Tribulation—and as we discussed earlier, since a very strong case can be made that all living markees are slain by Christ at the Second Coming, we can state with a high degree of confidence that none of these Gentiles who survived the Tribulation took the mark of the beast or worshiped his image.

The fact that none of these took the mark is a subtlety that slides by many, and it is here we get a bit of interpretive jerky to gnaw on. Many students of the Bible tend to divide this group into believers and unbelievers—the saved (the sheep) and the unsaved (the goats), in the same way people are separated today during the Church Age. In other words, according to them:

You got yer Gentile believers,

and yer Gentile unbelievers.

Sheep and goats—cut and dried.

They instinctively take the same saved/unsaved Church Age mentality that legitimately applies to people now during the Church Age, and apply it to people who have witnessed that Church Age come to an abrupt, earth-shattering end and God's hand move mightily in judgment. But after the Church Age ends, that same mentality that is based in part on the doctrine of the eternal security of the (Church Age) believer no longer applies—and that poses some legitimate questions that warrant legitimate scriptural answers.

Just to be clear: When we say "eternal security," it doesn't mean the eternal security of all believers in general, for all time. It means the eternal security of Church Age believers...that is, the eternal security of members of the body of Christ. Not exactly the same. When Jesus says in John 20:29 "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed," He is talking about members of His body—His Church. There will be millions of believers in heaven who were never part of the body of Christ—the only group in Scripture promised such an incredible blessing.

As I mentioned in my last article, I believe all these surviving Gentiles at the very least possessed some degree of faith in God and belief in the gospel at some point during the Tribulation. After all, they had it in them to reject the lies of the Antichrist and refuse to worship him as God. They risked their lives by rejecting his mark and refusing to worship his image, which made them fugitives existing on the fringe of society.

Not to mention capital criminals subject to execution if apprehended.

Not to belabor the point, but that's pretty heavy duty, wouldn't you say? That suggests to me that they possessed some understanding of the evil behind what was happening in the world, and enough spiritual horse sense to reject it at all costs. But why...but how could they do that if they rejected Christ and spurned the message of the gospel—the gospel they must surely have been exposed to? What, you mean they just didn't like or trust the Antichrist...sorta like the way most Americans feel about Joe Biden today?

No. Satan is pushing and shoving the world to the point where it will be absolutely black and white—a world where you are either on his side or you will be hunted down and killed. There will be no middle ground whatsoever. Trump-supporting MAGA extremists versus woke left-wing liberals? Oh baby. You ain't seen nothin' yet. People today scarcely know the meaning of the word "divided" compared to the way things are going to be during the Great Tribulation.

Many who see these Tribulation survivors as either saved or unsaved just as people are differentiated today in the Church Age argue that the mark of the beast will basically be a glorified version of the vaccines: Some simply won't take it. They think some people will refuse the mark just as many today refuse vaccine, even at the cost of their jobs. They argue as follows:

If that's the case, then just consider the 144,000 as an auxiliary group to the Jewish remnant. It won't cause me any heartburn, nor will it cause any damage to any of my other oh-PEEN-yuns. I just happen to disagree.

Suck it up: Hey, if people can have the courage to refuse the vaccine, people can have the courage to refuse the mark. A lot of people didn't fall for the lies behind COVID-19 and the phony vaccines, and so a lot of people are just as liable to refuse to fall for the mark of the beast. Just as with the vaccines, plenty of people are liable to just suck it up and just say "no"...ya know? And just as today, many of those people won't be saved—they'll just be people with a healthy dose of gumption and common sense.

(*Sigh*) Sorry, but that dog don't hunt. We can't even begin to imagine what life on this planet is going to be like during the Great Tribulation—not in our most terrifying nightmares. So not to put too fine a point on it, but is this a valid comparison? Not even in the ballpark.

No? Look at how much the world has changed over just the last three years. Our world is almost unrecognizable compared to what it was in the early days of 2020, and I don't even feel the need to spell it out. We are tumbling into the abyss of end-time prophecy at breakneck speed, and the COVID-19/vaccine lies, lunacy, and deception are just part of the process of getting us warmed up for what is coming:

During the Great Tribulation, the world will be a place where everything you do will be monitored and controlled in ways we've only seen in sci-fi movies. The world will be under the dictatorship of a man who appears to have been raised from the dead, claims to be God, and is passing himself off as someone who is in contact with a benevolent alien race who has come to assist our world through the period of violent changes it is experiencing (i.e. the judgments prophesied in the book of Revelation).

Everyone on earth will be required to "ascend spiritually" (with the assistance of demonic beings disguised as members of that benevolent alien race, not to mention the mark itself) in order to help Mother Earth get through these changes, which are necessary because our Earth Mother Gaia simply must cleanse herself of the dark, negative energy that is draining and weakening her and which persists due primarily to those who cling to primitive religious superstitions (i.e. biblical Christianity).

Understand that taking the mark isn't necessarily going to be like "You must take zee mark of zee beast or vee vill kill you...mua ha ha ha ha!" Talk about "safe and effective"...the mark will be billed as a phenomenal, life-changing necessity that will grant you a couple of hundred years of disease-free life as well as save the planet and all of humanity. I believe it will be billed as including a genetic modification that will help us "ascend spiritually," when in reality it will "switch off" the area of the brain that is involved in spiritual experiences, rendering people incapable of responding to the Holy Spirit. But either way, those who refuse and cling to their archaic superstitions will be putting the future of the human race at risk by failing to help Mother Earth get through the convulsions she is experiencing—and as a result those selfish, superstitious cretins must unfortunately be eliminated as expeditiously as possible because the fate of the planet and all of mankind will be at stake.

(Excuse me, I need a moment...my head is spinning.) Refusing the COVID vaccine doesn't quite stack up to what I just described, does it? So pardon me for saying, but taking the way things are now and attempting to extrapolate that to the way things will be during the Great Tribulation is highly questionable at best, and foolish and naive at worst.

Not to mention impossible.

OK, that pretty well covers the bases, and be aware that there is bit of unavoidable overlap between two of these groups (that is, I believe many of the unbelieving Jews take the mark because they have been deluded into believing the Antichrist is their Messiah).

Here's a brief summary of the results:


Players at the Sheep and Goat Judgment?

The Church:

X NO: Raptured—in the kingdom.


X NO: Dead—not in the kingdom.

The 144,000:

X NO: Dead (or alive)—in the kingdom.

Unbelieving Jews:

X NO: Dead—not in the kingdom.

The Jewish remnant:

X NO: Present, but not players.

Gentile Trib. survivors:

√ YES: Players—both sheep and goats.

So based on all we've discussed, it appears that the only people who will be taking part in the Sheep and Goat Judgment following the Second Coming will be Gentiles who survived the Tribulation, refused the mark of the beast, and as a result apparently possessed at least some degree of faith in God and belief in  the gospel at some point during the Tribulation. And as I said, I believe the Jewish remnant is present, but they're certainly not players.

The parables

Now that we've got a grip on who can be players at the Sheep and Goat Judgment, we are better prepared to look at the parables of Matthew 25.

1. The Parable of the 10 Virgins

1Then [after the Second Coming at the establishment of the kingdom] the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3Those who were foolish, when they took their lamps, took no oil with them [they had some oil in their lamps, but they didn't bring an extra supply with them], 4but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps [they had oil in their lamps, but they brought some extra oil with them]. 5Now while the bridegroom delayed, they all slumbered and slept. 6But at midnight there was a cry, "Behold! The bridegroom is coming! Come out to meet him!" 7Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish said to the wise, "Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out." 9But the wise answered, saying, "What if there isn't enough for us and you? You go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves." 10While they went away to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast, and the door was shut [i.e. the wise virgins entered the kingdom]. 11Afterward the other virgins also came, saying, "Lord, Lord, open to us." 12But he answered, "Most certainly I tell you, I don't know you." [...and the foolish virgins are denied entrance] 13Watch therefore, for you don’t know the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

(Matthew 25:1–13 / emphasis & [comments] added)

Meanwhile, the bride (who isn't even mentioned) has gotten carried off by the Bridegroom and married (in heaven) and is now enjoying her wedding feast (on earth) with Him, so can we please dispense with the notion that any of these 10 virgins are in any way connected to the Church? They can't be.

Of course, oil is always the Holy Spirit. After the Rapture (the "midnight cry" in v. 6) and early in the Tribulation, they all had at least some oil in their lamps. They were all exposed to the gospel, no doubt preached by the 144,000. They believed, and had an initial "dose" of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

But the wise were wise enough to go all out and dig deeper and continued to faithfully yield themselves to the Spirit's leading, and put to use what God gave them for the welfare and benefit of other believers in dire need. As a result, the wise virgins were able to maintain a strong Christian witness throughout the Tribulation in the face of intense persecution, and for that they are granted entrance into the kingdom.

The lamps of the foolish virgins, however, were going out. In other words, they had a tiny bit of oil left, but so little that they couldn't get their lamps to stay lit and then POOF...they just went out. They had made no effort to bring an ample supply of oil, they ran out, and as a result they were denied entrance to the kingdom. I'll have more to say about this later.

2. The Parable of the Talents

14For it is like a man going into another country, who called his own servants and entrusted his goods to them. 15To one he gave five talents [a "talent" was a considerable amount of money], to another two, to another one, to each according to his own ability [notice they all received some capital from their Master]. Then he went on his journey. 16Immediately he who received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17In the same way, he also who got the two gained another two [the faithful servants got busy and put their Master's money to work]. 18But he who received the one talent went away and dug in the earth and hid his lord's money [the lazy servant did nothing with what he had been given].

19Now after a long time the lord of those servants came, and settled accounts with them. 20He who received the five talents came and brought another five talents, saying, "Lord, you delivered to me five talents. Behold, I have gained another five talents in addition to them." 21His lord said to him, "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things, I will set you over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord."

22He also who got the two talents came and said, "Lord, you delivered to me two talents. Behold, I have gained another two talents in addition to them." 23His lord said to him, "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things. I will set you over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord."

24He also who had received the one talent came and said, "Lord, I knew you that you are a hard man, reaping where you didn't sow, and gathering where you didn't scatter. 25I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the earth. Behold, you have what is yours."

26But his lord answered him, "You wicked and slothful servant. You knew that I reap where I didn’t sow, and gather where I didn't scatter. 27You ought therefore to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received back my own with interest [in other words, you could have at least deposited it in the bank so I'd get a little bit of interest, but you couldn't even be bothered to do that]. 28Take away therefore the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.

29For to everyone who has will be given, and he will have abundance, but from him who doesn't have, even that which he has will be taken away. 30Throw out the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

(Matthew 25:14–30 / emphasis & [comments] added)

According to most sources, a denarius was equivalent to one day's wages, and a talent was equivalent to 6,000 denarii (over 16 years' worth of wages). So, anyway you slice it, even one talent was an awful lot of money. So all three of the servants received a sizable amount of capital from their Master.

When the Master returned from his absence (i.e. when Christ returns to establish His kingdom), the two faithful servants have dutifully put what they received from the Master to work, have produced worthy results, and are rewarded by being invited to enter into the joy of the Lord's kingdom.

On the other hand, the lazy servant has done absolutely nothing except bury his Master's money in the ground, and is sent off to punishment—and again, I'll have a bit more to say about this shortly.

And that brings us to the main event: the judgment itself.

3. The Sheep and Goat Judgment

As I said, most agree this is an actual judgment, and according to the prophet Joel it takes place in the Valley of Jehoshaphat ("the LORD judges"), more commonly known as the Kidron Valley, which runs along the eastern side of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and separates it from the Mount of Olives.

2I will gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will execute judgment on them there for my people, and for my heritage, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations [notice the motivating factor of the judgment]. They have divided my land,

(Joel 3:2 / emphasis & [comments] added)

Before we continue, here is the full text of the Sheep and Goat Judgment:

31But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32Before him all the nations [almost always a reference to Gentiles] will be gathered, and he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

34Then the King will tell those on his right hand, "Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35for I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you took me in. 36I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison and you came to me." 37Then the righteous will answer him, saying, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? 38When did we see you as a stranger and take you in, or naked and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and come to you?" 40The King will answer them, "Most certainly I tell you, because you did it to one of the least of these my brothers [a reference to a third group], you did it to me."

41Then he will say also to those on the left hand, "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels; 42for I was hungry, and you didn't give me food to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink; 43I was a stranger, and you didn't take me in; naked, and you didn't clothe me; sick, and in prison, and you didn't visit me." 44Then they will also answer, saying, "Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and didn't help you?" [they actually seem surprised] 45Then he will answer them, saying, "Most certainly I tell you, because you didn't do it to one of the least of these [Jesus refers to the same third group], you didn't do it to me." 46These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

(Matthew 25:31–46 / emphasis & [comments] added)

Notice that Joel says the Lord will judge the nations of the world "for my people, and for my heritage Israel." Most people believe (and I agree) that this means Jesus is rewarding the sheep for the aid and assistance they gave to members of the Jewish remnant during the Tribulation (His "brothers") and condemning the goats for the lack thereof.

Note also that the way Jesus refers to "these my brothers" when He addresses both the sheep and the goats makes it a virtual grammatical necessity that He is referring to a third group that is present (but apparently not being judged).

Many argue that these "brothers" are the Jewish remnant simply because Jesus uses the word "brothers," which they insist is being used in an ethnic manner—to which I politely reply "poppycock." The word "brothers" used here could legitimately refer to either Jews or Gentile believers (Heb. 2:11; Rom. 8:29).

The problem with seeing the "brothers" as Gentile believers, however, is that the only available Gentile believers Jesus could be talking about would have to be among the sheep and goats! So...the sheep helped themselves?? Now things are getting silly...not to mention illogical since Jesus is clearly referring to a third group that is separate from both the sheep and the goats, whether that group is present at the judgment or not—although it sounds as if they are.

Hang on...incoming:

"Yo, Bible Dude, I thought you said the Jewish remnant was off hiding in the wilderness across the border in Jordan during the Great Tribulation, being protected by God. Well, if that's true, then how can all these sheep (who are Gentiles living all over the world) be busy doing stuff like giving members of the Jewish remnant food and drink, clothing them, visiting them when they're sick or in prison, and so on. Excuse me for pointing out the obvious, but that doesn't make a lick of sense. So...I guess that blows your little theory out of the water, huh?"

Yo, Captain Obvious, who said the sheep helped the Jews during the Great Tribulation? It's a valid point, but during the first half of the Tribulation, many Jewish people will still be living in other nations around the world, just as they do today. As legions of these Jews begin to respond to the gospel preached by the 144,000 and come to faith in their true Messiah, you can bet anti-Semitism will skyrocket far beyond what we are already seeing. This is where the sheep come in, who are Gentiles who have come to faith in Christ during the Tribulation and who have gone out and put it all on the line in aiding and assisting believing Jews all over the world at great risk to themselves in the midst of the persecution of all believers that will be growing by leaps and bounds during the first half of the Tribulation.

Not only that, but after God's thundering, miraculous intervention on their behalf in the battle of Gog Magog, Israel will (temporarily!) be thrust into a place of relative dominance over their Muslim enemies, who have just gotten their tails royally kicked by the God of the Jews. And as they watch their new temple being built, large numbers of Jews will be motivated to make aliyah and relocate to Israel.  As we get closer to the midpoint of the Tribulation, I believe it will reach the point where the great majority of Jews (believing and otherwise) will have relocated to the Jewish nation.

In fact, it wouldn't shock me if the rising leader who will become the Antichrist actually encourages Jews to relocate to Israel. Why? Simple:

Satan knows it will be a whole lot easier to

annihilate them if they are all in one place.

A couple of takeaways

There are any number of ideas we can take away from the three parables of Matthew 25, but there are two primary ideas that I want to leave you with before I wrap this up.

1. The relationship among these three parables

One thing I want you to see clearly is that all three of these parables in Matthew 25 focus on the time when Christ is preparing to establish His kingdom, and all three speak to the same event: the judgment that determines who among Gentile Tribulation survivors shall be granted or denied entrance to the kingdom (aside from those who are already guaranteed entrance, that is). And as we have seen, the only group of people available to be judged as to their worthiness to enter the kingdom are Gentile survivors of the Tribulation who refused the mark. That means all the players mentioned in all three of these parables—the five wise virgins, the five foolish virgins, the two faithful servants, the lazy servant, the sheep, and the goats are all collectively this group: this group of Gentile Tribulation survivors.

Then, when the judgment commences, this group is divided into two subgroups: one of which is welcomed into the kingdom (the sheep) and one that is sent off to eternal punishment (the goats).

So, the Parable of the 10 Virgins and the Parable of the Talents are speaking of the same thing: a judgment where people are either granted or denied entrance into the Millennial Kingdom. Then, the actual judgment itself is described in the third teaching in the Sheep and Goat Judgment.

But note with care what these first two parables do for us. The Parable of the 10 Virgins speaks of oil, which is the Holy Spirit, and so describes the virgins preparedness in terms of how much of the Holy Spirit the virgins possessed. Or, to be more accurate, how much of the virgins the Holy Spirit possessed. This parable characterizes the judgment in spiritual terms—in terms of how much these people sought and submitted themselves to the leading of the Spirit. And in the parable, all 10 of the virgins had the Holy Spirit within them to some extent, at least at some point during the Tribulation.

But the wise virgins went all in, and submitted themselves to the leading of the Holy Spirit to a far greater degree and as a result were deemed worthy of entering the kingdom. The foolish virgins let the light of the Holy Spirit go out in their lives, perhaps due to being overcome by the cares of the world—which is understandable from a human perspective since they will be forced to endure incredible hardships. And as a result they were denied entrance.

On the other hand, the Parable of the Talents speaks of this judgment in terms of what the servants did with what their Master entrusted them with. It characterizes the  judgment in terms of faithful service and stewardship of what God gave them. And all three servants were given an amount of capital they could use in their Master's service, and for which they would be held accountable upon His return.

Since all 10 virgins did in fact have some oil, and all three servants were in fact given some capital, I think we have to treat this as part of the primary principle that both parables are designed to communicate. When you see the same element repeated in two consecutive parables, that clearly suggests to me that it's not a trivial mechanical detail that can be dismissed as insignificant, which I have seen people try to do. We can't do that here.

It would have been just as easy for the Holy Spirit to have the five foolish virgins have no oil whatsoever. It would have been just as easy for the Holy Spirit to have the lazy servant be given nothing, and present these two parables in a corresponding manner. But He didn't.

And this leads quite naturally to the second takeaway:

2. Salvation during the Tribulation

I have long believed that Gentile believers during the Tribulation will have to find it within themselves to maintain a faithful witness in order to be judged worthy of entering the kingdom (and some will and some won't), and that's because they will not enjoy the blessing of being sealed and indwelt by the presence of the Holy Spirit as does the Church. I believe Revelation 16:15 and Matthew 24:13 suggest as much, but a closer look at these three parables goes a long way in providing further scriptural confirmation of this in my opinion.

Houston, we have a problem: While we are on earth, the Church is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16) because He is sealed in us and dwells within us. That began on the day of Pentecost two thousand years ago and ends at the Rapture, and only the Church is promised such a blessing (John 20:29). At the Rapture, the Church is translated to heaven and the Holy Spirit will stand down from this ministry and will no longer have His temple on earth. Incidentally, this also represents the end of His ministry of restraining evil (2 Thess. 2:6–7), and during the Tribulation evil will rapidly engulf the world in ways we cannot even imagine. But consider: If the Holy Spirit were to begin to seal and indwell believers during the Tribulation in the same manner as He did for the Church during the Age of Grace, it would mean that He did an about-face after the Rapture and returned to begin establishing another temple on earth. Of course, the Holy Spirit will still be active and operative on earth among Tribulation believers just as He was in the Old Testament, but that's not the same thing. Houston, we have a problem.

One telling point about the goats is something I brought up in my last article, and that's the simple fact that it is clear from the nature of the goats' response to the Lord's accusations that they are genuinely surprised that they are being denied entrance to the kingdom. They act as if they actually expected to be admitted, and seem innocently perplexed at the fact that they are being turned away and shut out.

Consider: Everyone standing before Christ at the Sheep and Goat Judgment is a Gentile who survived the Tribulation and refused to give in to incredible pressure to receive the mark of the beast. And under the circumstances, that means something...more than many realize.

It strikes me that the only thing that could realistically motivate any person to reject the mark of the beast and risk being beheaded for doing so would be the fact that they have gotten a taste of God's grace and mercy. They must be people who have at the very least been introduced to the gospel of His salvation, and made a profession of faith. The Holy Spirit made some initial inroads with them. There really isn't much else you can attribute this to—rejecting the mark is going to be beyond the pale to a degree we cannot even imagine today.

Again, this is going to be nothing like refusing to take a COVID vaccine—that's child's play compared to this. The pressure to take the mark will be orders of magnitude greater than anything we've seen for the vaccines, and you will be promptly hunted down and killed for rejecting it. And untold legions will be.

But the goats gave in to the raw fear and the instinct for self-preservation that will permeate the world at that time. They looked out for number one, and failed to seek and submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit and tap into His power to any perceptible degree and as a result He ultimately left them high and dry. After all, He will not be sealed in them and indwell them as is true for members of the body of Christ, who were His temple on earth prior to being removed in the Rapture.

The point is that God is going to require more from those who foolishly trampled His grace and mercy underfoot during the Church Age, but who have now witnessed the revelation of His miraculous removal of hundreds of millions of believers at the Rapture, as well as the revelation of His mighty hand moving in judgment on the entire world (Rev. 6:16–17). As I discussed in a previous article entitled "Dropping the Hammer":

With God's revelation comes responsibility—

with the rejection thereof comes judgment.

People in the Tribulation will be people who foolishly spurned the gospel during the Church Age, but who will witness the revelation of the things I just described. And God will require more from them: He will require them to maintain a faithful witness until His Son returns at the Second Coming. And demonstrating that witness will involve aiding and assisting Jewish believers who will desperately need their help to survive. So make no mistake:

Believers during the Tribulation are

going to have to hang on to the

Holy Spirit like there's no tomorrow.

Because for many, there won't be. That's what it will take for them to be considered one of the wise virgins, one of the faithful servants, and one of the sheep. That's what it will take for them to be set on Christ's right hand and hear Him say:

"Well done, good and faithful servant.

Enter into the joy of your Lord."

So if you don't take anything else away from this article, take this:

The Church has been blessed with the

sweetheart deal of all eternity, because

we have seen nothing and yet believed.

We never saw Jesus walk on water. We never saw Him raise the dead. We never saw Him heal crippling diseases with a single word or a simple touch. We never saw Him cast out demons with a terse command. We never saw Him alive after His brutal crucifixion.

We never saw the scars.

Yet we believe—we have placed our trust in His work of atonement for our salvation in simple, childlike faith. And according to Christ's own words, the Church is blessed on account of this:

29Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed [and that blessing is being sealed with the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit].

(John 20:29 AKJV / emphasis & [comments] added)

And the parables in Matthew 25 clearly involve those not so blessed.

John 20:29 is a verse I'd like to rub in the face of half the people in the body of Christ today (actually I'd settle for half the preachers), because many in the Church do not grasp this because they have sat under preaching that is more concerned with life applications than the life-changing truth of God's Word.

So if nothing else, let me leave you with a sense of the incredible riches and blessings we have in Christ now during the Age of Grace, and in being sealed with and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who faithfully convicts us of sin and gradually conforms us to the image of our Lord and Savior.

Class dismissed

I'm certain this doesn't apply to any of you dear readers out there, but when I was just a young lad in my early teens, I had a bad habit of daydreaming in church. In one such daydream, I would be in heaven, standing before the Lord in front of a large crowd of admiring believers, and the Lord would say that line to me: "Well done, good and faithful servant—enter into the joy of your Lord." And I would be blushing and aw-shuxing, like an actor who just received his first Academy Award...and breathing a sigh of relief that God apparently hadn't gotten the memo from the CIA (Celestial Intelligence Agency) regarding that magazine under my mattress.

But that's not our line. We will never hear the Lord offer us an invitation to enter His kingdom, and the reason is simple: He won't have to. We were guaranteed a place in His kingdom the moment we humbled our hearts before God, and believed in faith that Christ died and rose again to atone for our sins. From that moment on, it was a done deal. We were in there. We were sealed and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and He never left us for one single moment for the rest of our earthly lives—in spite of our occasional but ultimately futile efforts to shut Him up and tune Him out.

These days, however, I have a very different daydream. In this one, I am in the middle of teaching one of my adult English classes, and I am interrupted by what sounds a lot like a trumpet. Then I hear a very different line:

"Come up here!"

"Uhh...class dismissed!"

From Greg Lauer @ A Little Strength—APR '23
Post A Comment


  1. If my email is any indication, I have a feeling I'm going to get a few testy comments on this one. So don't be surprised if I make myself scarce in the Comment Section for this article. Ain't in the mood to argue--just know that I stand by every single word I wrote 100 percent. 'Nuff said.

  2. Greg, I hope you at least read the comments ๐Ÿ˜‰. I always find your articles insightful, well researched, and well considered, but this one is astounding! So much to think about, so many new thoughts to consider. In my early days as a new believer, 1980's, I came across a teaching on the parable of the virgins by David Hocking that convinced me they are not saved/unsaved church believers in danger of losing their salvation, if their works are not sufficient. Your explanation above is amazing. I had not thought of putting them into the actual moment of Return and then in the context of the Sheep and Goats judgments. Same with the Talents parable. The Talents parable has always left me unsettled and insecure--as I have NO ability or insight in multiplying "investments." What a relief to think I won't be "judged" for that. Also putting the aid to Jewish believers in the first half of the Tribulation. Wow, my prayers for the Trib saints have just been notched up monumentally. In addition to praying for the salvation of my unsaved family and friends, I now need to include, not just their ability to persevere, but their ability to be an Oskar Schindler sor Corrie ten Booms. And yes, you make a good case for the Jewish Remnant being in the audience, not a player in the Sheep and Goat nations. Just the "nations" reference alone would seem to eliminate them. Israel at this point is a Sheep, not needing to be judged nationally. Unlike the Gentile nations.

    For many years as a believer, I just assumed ANY believer in God/Christ, no matter when in history, would be heir to the same "heaven" promises. Only the Church is the Bride, but somehow I assumed all the others would ultimately benefit from "heaven" in the same way (minus the Wedding). What a shock when I first read, and considered, that Trib Saints would not be indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Changes everything.

    A few years ago it struck me the INCREDIBLE grace those of us in the Church age have been given. God didn't just allow us to be born during the Age of Grace; He actually APPOINTED us to be born now, at this time in human history. If that is not humbling, I do not know what is! The gift we have to be appointed, born, called and justified--included--through NO merit of our own--to be a part of the Bride of Christ, frankly, is beyond my comprehension. Puts a whole new spin on the whine "Why me, Lord" when we experience something uncomfortable!!! Why me is right: Why me? Why do I get to be included in the most monumental (and inexplicable regarding me personally) blessing of all Eternity?

    Thank you for a really insightful and thought-provoking article! Blessings to you/your family and the Household of Faith where you live. Praying no weapons formed against you prosper, and that your lights are shining like floodlights in the darkness!


    1. I screwed up my courage to read the comments, and instead of being beaten up I was brought to tears.

      Thank you for your kind and encouraging words, Judi. I gave this article everything I had--and after the bell rang to end the 15th round, I was still on my feet.

      I knew I was entering a slippery area when I tackled this topic, and I have gotten a couple of "E-e-e-e-w...that sounds like salvation by w-e-e-r-r-k-s!" emails that made me brace myself for a storm.

      So thank you for the sunbreak. =:)

    2. Most welcome, Greg. I didn't comment on this above (probably forgot, since there is so much there) but your mentioning the emails accusing your of salvation by works reminded me. I found your statement about eternal security during the Tribulation intriguing. Like believing all followers of Christ are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and not realizing until just a few years ago that they aren't, I think I automatically assumed all believers fell into eternal security as does the Church. However, in thinking about it, if Trib Saints are not indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and they are living under a different "dispensation" of grace (salvation is always by grace alone no matter when a believer lives), then they seem to have a different accountability before God. As did the OT saints e.g. As I was thinking further on this, it added another layer of urgency for people to wake up, come to their senses, repent of unbelief and believe--now; it's not just a salvation issue. The utterly amazing opportunity to be a part of the Bride of Christ--and ALL the benefits thereof--is a once in a lifetime chance, only available during the Church Age. Again, thanks for all the good food for thought.

    3. Ladies, Loot and Livestock is bad, why?

  3. Bravo, bravo, bravo. Well said my friend.

  4. Thank you Greg L. - because of your words this once blind one ' now sees ' , Blessings & Peace.

  5. Lovely article. I've heard before that the parable of the Virgins isn't for the Church, but never about the parable of the Talents - it really does make so much more sense in this context ( because trying to apply it to salvation in the age of Grace was a headache and a half).

    I'll suggest one slight modification, possibly, on the above article, which is that "bretheren" (the third party) might also mean the Trib Saint who ended up martyred. I'm just thinking of my ne k of the woods - a little nowhere villa town, and I doubt there's a single Jew anywhere. How would my neighbors left behind "visit them in jail" or all the rest when, frankly, the vast majority are on the other side of the planet? They'd have to jump on a plane to do this and it just seems unreasonable. But the believers all around will likely be rounded up and put in local jails, in need of all that the Bible lists. And these too are people who won't be at the Judgement as they're dead! So they could reasonably be the third party. I mean, I could be wrong, it's nothing to fight over, but I think it's worth considering.

    Overall, loved the article! That trumpet is going to be soon!

    1. I actually gave that angle no small amount of thought, and you have a valid point. However, in the "BIG PICTURE," so to speak, I still think Scripture makes it clear the major focus is on Jewish believers. Scripture clearly delineates these groups, so in the end I gotta go with what the Word says.

      Thank you for your words of encouragement!

      And that trumpet can't sound too soon for me!

    2. Thank you for your response. I totally agree, the Big Picture of the Trib is the Jews. I am eternally greatful I live now in the Church Age - it may be a messy world right now, but there is nothing but hope for a beautiful future. The Tribulation is nasty enough, but adding on top of it the idea that some "believers" will end up in Hell because they bunkered down through it all is just the cherry on the awful pie. Makes me soooo grateful for this Age and God's Grace now!

  6. I believe eternal life is received by faith alone in the promised Seed of the woman in Genesis 3:15. It is the same through time. Eternal life is never received by works of any kind and eternal is eternal.

    1. I agree, faith is essential, but there has to be some way to interpret the parable of the Talents. How else can it be viewed except as actions that determine salvation? The "bad servant" is sent to hell, and the gift he was given is taken away - so what is the gift that wasn't used correctly that would send someone to hell? In the church age, I can think of nothing! Salvation/faith or the Holy Spirit is an unshakable gift and once you have it, your eternity is permanently secure. Period. But nothing other than a lack of faith would sent a person to hell. And I don't believe a person can have different levels of salvation (different "talents") or faith and then later lose that and be sent to hell (if so, then it is a works based salvation that's earned). So the reasonable conclusion seems to be as the article says, that this parable is NOT for the Church Age. And we have examples in the Old Testament of the Holy Spirit leaving people. Without the presence of the Holy Spirit (gained upon believing in faith), then how can a person have the necessary faith?

      I mean, it seems like if we assume that the "talent" is faith, which is necessary for salvation, and that all the people (in the parable) initially have it, but that the only difference between then and now is that in the Trib a person can lose that faith through continuously ignoring the prompting of the Holy Spirit to do good works... then that seems to work with the idea that it is the faith that provides the salvation, but the difference is whether it is permanent or possible to lose it.

      Eh, I guess I just think the Old Testament seems to indicate that a change in how the Holy Spirit works is possible.


    2. If anyone goes to Hell in one of the parables or during the tribulation period it is because they haven't been born again of God. Unless one is born again he can not see the kingdom of God. If they are born again they can't be unborn. Just because we don't understand something that seems to contradict what we know is true doesn't change the truth. I used to avoid reading I John because I couldn't understand why it seemed to be teaching works as the basis for judging whether one was a "real" Christian. Then I read the article and study by Jeff about what was going on in I John and now along with John's Gospel and Revelation it is a favorite book of mine.

      As for the talents in the parable I read an article where it was believed that the talents represent God's word. God's word never returns void but accomplishes something (multiplying believers, increasing faith in believers). There will be a famine of the Word of truth of the Gospel. Faith is just the conviction of the truth of some proposition. The faith that gives eternal life is the conviction that what Jesus said in John 6:47 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes on Me has everlasting life." is true. I believe it is the Holy Spirit that revealed this to me. I heard before but never understood until one night. I believe it is the Holy Spirit that opens the eyes of everyone that is born of God. Once blind now seeing. The servant that hid his talent did not know the grace of God and was not born again. He thought the master was a hard man and was afraid. How the Holy Spirit works after giving birth to the believer whether it's in the Old Testament, the New or the Tribulation I'm not exactly sure but once we have eternal life we can't lose it. The Church has a special unity with Jesus as His Bride. Other believers in other times can not have that. Here is a link to a good article on the Sheep and Goat judgement: https://faithalone.org/journal-articles/matthew-2531-46-salvation-by-works/

    3. To Dennis W

      No arguments here, Dennis, since my article says what I think. I respect your opinions, whether I agree or not.

      Go in peace and grow in grace.

    4. Sherrill777 wrote:

      "So the reasonable conclusion seems to be as the article says, that this parable is NOT for the Church Age."

      Bingo...which is exactly why these parables cause so many in the Church such difficulties and confusion. We've never known anything except the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit, so anything that seems to veer from that in any way tends to get bent and twisted out of shape.

      It saddens me a bit, but it actually astonishes me how may good people there are in the Church who may be born-again, heaven-bound members of the body of Christ, but who have never been given a clear scriptural understanding of what we have in Christ.

      And not to sound all conspiratorial or anything, but I honestly believe it is part of Satan's program to weaken the Church by encouraging and arranging for preachers all over the land get into the groove of spewing toothless, feel-good mush that keeps people coming back for more instead of the anointed Word of God. (Ditto for the "Death to the Pre-Trib Rapture" manifesto--the point is to weaken the Church by discouraging people from even talking about it, much less believing it and looking forward to our blessed, purifying hope.)

      When people in the Church realize the riches they have in Christ, they tend to start living lives honor Him, spreading the gospel, and getting folks saved.

      You might say that's not part of Satan's plan.

  7. The coming elections of the European Parliament in May 2024 could be a great opportunity for the antichrist coming to power.

    Revelation 17:12-13 (KJV):

    12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
    13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.

    I think that is very likely that the antichrist will come to power during the elections for the European Parliament in May 2024. And these 10 kings who will give their power to the beast, could very well be 10 Euro commissioners who will receiver their power just after these elections. Or these 10 kings are 10 prime ministers or presidents of newly formed governments which could be formed during the period between the Rapture and the start of the Tribulation Period. After the Rapture there will be so much chaos in Europe, causing various European governments to fail and to be replaced by new governments which will form the 10 kings alliance.

  8. Thank you brother Greg, it is always a pleasure to read you and it is enriching from all points of view. I agree 100% on your beautiful article! Be blessed my brother! Maranatha!!!

  9. Dennis W. wrote:

    "I believe eternal life is received by faith alone in the promised Seed of the woman in Genesis 3:15. It is the same through time. Eternal life is never received by works of any kind and eternal is eternal."

    Yes...as a broad, overarching statement, that's fundamentally true. But God makes it quite clear in His Word that there is more that comes into play for different groups of people, and a careful reading of His Word reveals that there are good, valid reasons for that.

    In this case, it's God that's in the details.

  10. Greg, that was beautifully done. I feel truly blessed to be able to absorb this teaching. Me and my daughter always pondered this because to be given instruction, you have to be serving the master, which all of the groups in the parables were, initially...just the foolish and lazy servants became unfruitful...they were unsealed, which is not the church. Very clearly demonstrated and explained for me. Thank you! Excited to pass this on to my daughter and others I fellowship with. Blessing and Maranatha!

  11. Politico: https://www.politico.eu/article/nato-warns-russia-could-target-undersea-pipelines-and-cables/ "NATO warns Russia could target undersea pipelines and cables". When Russia attacks natgas pipelines and internet cables, we can expect a total economic and societal chaos in Europe. Will this happen before or just after the Rapture?

  12. Parables in the Olivet Discourse

    In Matt 24:1 Jesus and the disciples are leaving the temple and Jesus tells them that the temple will be destroyed. A short time later they are sitting on the Mount of Olives and the disciples ask Jesus to tell them when all this would happen and when would He return, and what signs should they be looking for to announce His return. Jesus’ explanation is often called the Olivet Discourse. In it He explained some of the events of the tribulation and the Second Advent.

    There are several parables that Jesus told during the Olivet discourse. It is crucial to understand the context of these parables or you will try to make application to the church, but these do not apply to the church. They apply to those who will be living in the tribulation and awaiting the return of Christ after the tribulation.

    Context Tribulation and 2nd Coming

    Parable of Fig Tree When you see the signs, the 2nd Coming is soon to follow

    Watchful Doorkeeper
    Watchful Owner Don’t be caught off guard - watch! Watchfulness = Faith

    Wise Servant Faithfulness will be rewarded

    Ten Virgins You must have your own faith

    The Talents Faithfulness will be rewarded

    Sheep and Goats Gentiles will be judged for treatment of Israel

  13. There's going to be 144,000 in a reconstituted nation, Israel, the mother, and their going to be sealed. That's your man child. I will prove it later.

    There is no description in the 12th chapter of the catching up of the 144,000, because symbol has been substituted in the 12th chapter. The woman is the nation, the dragon is Satan, and he doesn't look like that dragon. The seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns upon his heads, in symbol, simply say, he was the real ruler, crown being the symbol of rulership. He was the real ruler of all of the seven kingdoms that oppressed the people of God.

    This man child is the 144,000. The reason you don't find anywhere between the 7th and 14th chapter. The 7th chapter, the 144,000 are sealed, the 9th chapter, the 144,000 are still here, and there is no symbol in the 9th chapter, those demons are not symbol. That's the way they are going to look. The locusts are not symbols.

    Don't make a symbol where no symbol is meant. And don't make substance, reality, historic fact, out of symbol. Don't start with symbol and have it produce the man child. The man child is symbol, the dragon is symbol, and the woman is symbol. Understand that, and you will understand how the 144,000 get up there.

    The 7th chapter they are sealed. In the 9th chapter, they are not to be touched by these demons. In the 14th chapter, I looked and lo a Lamb stood on the Mount Zion and with him a hundred and forty and four thousand having His fathers name written in their foreheads. That chapter is Mount Zion in Heaven. From the 7th to the 9th to the 14th chapter, we find that they are sealed, then protected and then they are up there. How did they get there?

    The 12th chapter told it in symbol. The 12th chapter sees the man child caught up so that Satan cannot destroy him when he gets down here, limited to this earth. The 144,000 were sealed and protected from the demons and will be dislocated, removed to Mt. Zion, and Satan is finally limited down here.

    But, no prophecy of scripture is of private interpretation; Daniel also told us what happened if you don't stick to one verse. And at that time, Michael shall stand up, the great prince that standeth for thy people, and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was, since there was a nation, even to that same time.

    What is that time of trouble? Let me go on - right back to revelation 12. She brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron, and her child was caught up unto His throne. God picks the child up, the 144,000.

  14. Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and three score days. Isaiah, in prophecy, shows a watchman, on watchtower in some border village in Israel. And he looks across, in prophecy, and say, who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Basra? The answer comes back, I that speak in righteousness. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, the watchman says. I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the people, there was none with me, then he unfolds the year of vengeance is come.

    Where is Edom and Basra? That place prepared! How did it get prepared? He shall enter into the glorious land, 41st verse, 11th chapter, and many countries shall be overthrown, but these shall escape out of his hands, even Edom, Moab and the children of Ammon. God prepared that place.

    Back to revelation 12:6; The woman fled into the wilderness where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there, 1260 days.

    Now, I want you to see the capsule way in which this story is told. He tells in one summation, the nation Israel, the man child born, the child caught up, the woman flees. That's a cameo backdrop. Now He's going to fill in the details.

    Because the woman flees in the 14th verse, as he now introduces the detail into the cameo backdrop. The cameo backdrop, the woman, Israel, produces the child out of herself, the child is caught up, the woman flees, but that is a cameo backdrop, it is not a prelude.

    You don't have verses 1 through 6 done and finished and then start verse 7. Verses 1 and 6 are the background, if you paint it like a picture because it's symbol. You paint the background, now you put the detail on the background. This is the detail. While Israel is there, and the child has been brought forth under a time of persecution and travail which is the symbol of travailing in birth as this child comes froth, and as the separation is occurring and as the people have seen the false messiah rise, and as the seals are opened and the trumpets are blown, and suddenly, the 144,000 are sealed. See the birth in broad cameo, and the processes of birth, the shaping and coming forth of 144,000 in the midst of travail. The demons have been unleashed - that's the backdrop. Let's put Antichrist back in to Daniel 11 & 12. While this is going on, Antichrist and the king of the south are in a tug of war. The king of the south raises up and Antichrist has moved across the land and Edom and Moab and the children of Ammon have been missed. That's the backdrop.

    What's going on up in Heaven? Put this right into the cameo backdrop. There was war in Heaven. Daniel said at that time Michael will stand up, while Antichrist is zooming down on Egypt, and hearing the tidings that disturb him. And while the seals have opened and the trumpets have blown and the 144,000 have been brought forth and sealed, during a troubled time for Israel, same time Michael stands up.

  15. And there was war in Heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon fought, and his angels, and prevailed not, neither was their place anymore in Heaven, and the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the Devil and Satan which deceiveth the whole world, he was cast out into the earth and his angels were cast out with him.

    And I heard a loud voice say,(where?) In Heaven now is come salvation and strength and the kingdom of our God and the power of His Christ, for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him, (Who?) the brethren who had been accused. They're up there in Heaven. They overcame him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they loved their lives unto the death, therefore rejoice, Ye Heavens, and Ye that dwell in them, nobody else, Rejoice ye heavens and ye that dwell in them, that includes the Church, the saints that have been Raptured, Old and New Testament, those that were raised., all ready in Heaven with their Lord. That includes the Man Child, that's been caught up, therefore the 144,000 are up there now, everybody in heaven, as Lucifer is cast out now, he no longer can come into those courtrooms of heaven.

    Therefore rejoice ye heavens and ye that dwell in them, but there is still an earth here, there is still everybody else left. There is still the woman, the nation Israel. Now the 6th verse had her fled already, no, that's the cameo background. Now we're filling the details in.

    Woe to the inhibiters of the earth and of the sea, that includes Antichrist, that includes the Kings of the earth, that includes Gog and Magog, that includes the kings of the east, for which the River Euphrates will be dried up, to make room for them to come into the plain of Meggido for the final battle of Armageddon, that includes the Nation Israel, but it does not include the man child, he's caught up, doesn't include the 144,000, they were the man child, they're caught up, doesn't include the Church, they went up with John, in the 4th chapter.

    The cameo background gave us that. All the time Michael is working them over. He persecuted the woman; the Devil did, and to the woman was given two wings. Now, we get the detail for verse 6. The woman fled into the wilderness. Now we get the detail.

    To the woman were given two wings of a great eagle which she might fly into wilderness, into her place. No, no eagle wings are going to sprout on the Jews. This is symbol! If they are going to put helicopters and airplanes in, this is the place to do it.

    This symbol - that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place where she is nourished for a time, times and half a time from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth, water as a flood.

  16. Immediately, those who confuse symbol with fact, have the serpent, which is a symbol of the Devil, not the devil at all, casting real water, running down those canyons as they flee down the Jordan Rift.

    The serpent is a symbol, the Devil doesn't look like either the serpent or the dragon, and the flood is a symbol. Whatever it is, be it, armies under his control, or be it some of these demons, the flood that goes, is symbol, and the Devil sends them that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.

    And the earth helps the woman. The earth opened up her mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of it's mouth. Again, that's symbol. I don't know how it occurs, but that's symbol. The result is the same as when the earth opened up and swallowed up those worshiping the golden calf, or the Egyptian army being swallowed up by the red sea.

    And the dragon was wroth with the woman and went to make war with the remnant of her seed. Not everybody will be smart enough to flee to Edom, Moab and the land of the children of Ammon. Some are going to stick it out and hold the fort in Jerusalem.

    The Devil pursues the woman, the flood is swallowed up by the earth, and however that symbol expresses itself, his hoard is swallowed up and the woman escapes to the place prepared as the 6th verse says.

    He now goes back to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandants of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. That means that there are some of the remnant that are not going to go with the Jews as they flee down to that hideout in the wilderness, they are not a part of the sealed that were caught up with the 144,000, man child. The seed that keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ, he's going to make war on them.

  17. Did you all hear of PETA's new "animal friendly" version of Genesis? Talk about evil. It replaces the ram sacrifice God provided Abraham with a lamb that they adopt and "make friends with". Adam and Eve are now not clothed in animal skins by God, but in hemp and bamboo. Along with other blasphemous changes. They plan to do the whole Bible this way.

    Just another sign of the times.

  18. Greg L,

    A needed journey unpacking the details of who's who. A subject few understand and one I've been working on in part via the orders of the first resurrection. I love your comment,

    "John 20:29 is a verse I'd like to rub in the face of half the people in the body of Christ today (actually I'd settle for half the preachers), because many in the Church do not grasp this because they have sat under preaching that is more concerned with life applications than the life-changing truth of God's Word."


    A little later I would like to add a little concerning those Gentiles who go through the last week of Daniel.



    16 So we do not lose heart. Though
    our outer self is wasting away, our
    inner self is being renewed day by day.

    17 For this light momentary affliction
    is preparing us an eternal weight of
    glory beyond all comparison,

    18 as we look not to the things that
    are seen but to the things that are
    unseen. For the things that are seen
    are transient, but the things that are
    unseen are eternal.

    (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV)

    Lifting the families of the lost, the survivors and first responders of the twin tragedies in Texas on 5/6 in prayer. The news out of Allen, Texas is so bad that my wife and I cannot talk about it. All we can do is pray.

    Join us if you will.

    Grace and peace to you,



    I just noticed a fun fact about this year. Every ninth of the month it will be 9/23. September 23 is a banner date for we who watch. I'm shocked it took me this long to make that connection.



      The heinous attack at the outlet mall in Allen, Texas this past weekend is noted having happened at 3:36 PM local time.

      Strong's Concordance (G336)
      anairesis: a taking up, a destroying, slaying
      Original Word: แผ€ฮฝฮฑฮฏฯฮตฯƒฮนฯ‚, ฮตฯ‰ฯ‚, แผก
      Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
      Transliteration: anairesis
      Phonetic Spelling: (an-ah'-ee-res-is)
      Definition: a taking up, a destroying, slaying
      Usage: taking away (of life), killing, slaying, murder.

      There is no such thing as "coincidence".

    2. About the months... I'm not sure that has any meaning. After all, every month also has a 1/23, a 2/23, a 3/23.... and last year there were 12 each of 1/22, 2/22....
      Not a whole lot of meaning when it happens for every date of every month of every year...
      Although I will concede that this only works for the first 28 years of a century. And it would be an amusing "coincidence " is something major happened on the 23rd of the 9th month, and God could certainly do something like that just for fun.

    3. It may not have any meaning. But each month this year (23) will have a ninth day. There won't be a 23rd year of the century for another 100 years. If days were years it occurred to me the 23rd day would be equal to the 23rd year.

      Apart from being my wife's birthday, 9/23 also reminds me of the Great Sign. This year offers 12 months that have 9 and 23 like this was my point. Sorry if I didn't make that clear...

      Just geeking out.

    4. Hey, Geek out all you want! It's fun to be included in other people's enthusiasm.

    5. Certainly was a Banner date... Verses 1 and 2 of Rev 12. Specifically though to me, verse 2 nails it as the start of the Birth Pains prior to Tribulation. Now, how long those pains to complete... well... :)

      [๐ŸฆŠ Foxman] Jack

      ๐Ÿšซ ๐Ÿ‡

      ··╱ษท ษท╲··

      Foxman on the Wall

  21. Replies
    1. It just makes me sick at heart that there's even any need to bring awareness to this issue.


    The Real Obstacle Preventing Us From Colonising the Solar System

    An extremely disturbing look at gene editing by a YT'er that reports on space and technology news. IHMO, monstrous.

  23. IT'S SHAVUOT!!!


    Quoting, Chabad.org,

    "Shavuot 2023 (a two-day holiday, celebrated from sunset on May 25, 2023 until nightfall on May 27, 2023) coincides with the date that G‑d gave the Torah to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai more than 3,000 years ago. It comes after 49 days of eager counting [of the Omer], as we prepared ourselves for this special day."

    Shavuot is when the Holy Spirit was given in the Upper Room and is what many of us here call the conception (birth) of the Church as recorded in The Acts of the Apostles. Shavuot (today) is calculated based upon the Pharisee understanding of the Feast of First Fruits which is different than that of the Essenes.

    Essene Shavuot is on June 4, 2023 this year. A good Day to go Home?

    We shall see.



    1. Odd the Hebrew calendar celebrates it before the Bible does... Lev. 23:16 is explicit that it has to fall on a Sunday. The day after the 7th Sabbath.


    2. Yeah, Omer Day One was Friday, April 7 and today (5/25/23) was Omer Day 49. First Fruits according to the Essene calendar was Sunday, April 16 thus the difference in dates for Shavuot.

      We'll know REAL SOON if Jack Langford (among others) is right about a Pentecost Rapture!

    3. I was just thinking how Pentecost seems like such a perfect time for the rapture. God seems to do things with so much meaning and symbolism. Like the crucifixion at passover. The church started with the giving of the Holy Spirit, so makes sense to end the church at the same time with the removal of the Holy Spirit, or at least stopping the restraining of the Holy Spirit.
      So Rich you are saying there are two possible dates for Pentecost?

    4. Hi Jake,

      Each sect kept their own way of doing things with the Essenes and the Pharisees no exception. The ruling party of the day 30-33AD was the Pharisees and their lunar calendar is how time was kept. The Essenes were not in power at the time but had their own reckoning of time as well. Their's is a solar calendar (totally different from the Pharisees).

      So, yes, in a certain perspective there can be different days for Pentecost just as we see different days for holiday between the Eastern Orthodox and Western church traditions today. (Basically the same idea)

      What stands out to me about the Essene date is that Jesus was crucified by the Pharisee calendar for the Passover and raised to life on the third day (first fruits). That would TOTALLY fly in the face of the Sadducees who didn't believe in the resurrection. Jesus being raised on first fruits (a date that they interpreted to calculate Shavuot) also pinned the tail on the Messiah.

      Given those facts that were MASSIVE hints to the ruling elite of the day and that ONLY JESUS fulfilled them...it makes me wonder if He will come for His bride per the calendar that most closely reflected God's calendar. That is the calendar of the Essenes.

      Why the Essenes?

      It appears that John the Baptist was Essene. Jesus IS King, Priest and Prophet forever in the Order of Melchizedek...an order who's records were kept by the Essenes and seen today in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Essene theology is basically what we would see as Christian today. Triune God featuring a Messiah who would come as a man and die for the sins of all mankind.

      Could Jesus have been crucified according to the Pharisee calendar, raised by their calendar and return for His bride according to the Essene calendar?


      We'll find out either way...but "Yes!" Shavuot is a beautiful story of the Rapture and when considered per the Essene calendar; Shavuot is ALWAYS on the 15th day of the third month (Sivan). This year the day count from New Year's Day, 2023 to the dawning of M3D15 of the Essene calendar (that's on the evening of June 3, 2023) is 153 days. Compare that to John's account of the catch of 153 large fish in (John 21) for a study that blows minds.

      Blessings, always!


    5. PR

      According to the sages: The new moon of Nisan (ื—ื•ื“ืฉ ื ื™ืกืŸ) marks the start of sacred time, Passover remembers the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb, the first day of Unleavened Bread remembers the Exodus from Egypt, the seventh day of Unleavened Bread remembers the crossing of the Red Sea, the counting of the Omer recalls the days before the giving of the ืฉื‘ืขื”( Torah at Sinai, and Shavuot remembers the giving of the Torah exactly seven weeks after the Exodus (on Sivan 6). Indeed, Shavuot at Mount Sinai is sometimes )ืฉื‘ื•ืขื•ืช considered the day on which Judaism was born.

      The Priestly Avodah - Shtei Ha-Lechem
      In the priestly avodah (service) at the mishkan (and later at the Temple), the 49 day countdown to the holiday is called Sefirat Omer ("Counting of the Omer"), every day of which a special blessing was recited naming exactly how many more days were left before the climactic 50th day - a Jubilee of days!
      Just as a sample of the first crop of barley was waved before the altar during the festival of Firstfruits, so on Shavu'ot a sample of the first crop of the wheat harvest was brought to the priests, baked into two loaves of leavened bread (shtei halechem), and then waved (tenufah) before the altar as a concluding rite of the season. This was the only time leavened bread was used by the priests for the avodah (see Lev. 2:11).

      Shavuot stands in contrast to Passover that requires unleavened bread (matzah), since the two loaves of bread made from the first fruit of the wheat harvest were baked with chametz (yeast) before being "waved before the LORD" (Lev. 23:15-20). There is some uncertainty among Jewish sages regarding the meaning of the use of the otherwise forbidden leaven (Lev. 2:11), though prophetically it is a picture of the "one new man" (composed of both Jew and Gentile) before the altar of the LORD (Eph. 2:14).

  24. Recently I did a Google search, the question was:

    When is the rapture of the church?

    And I was amazed at the answers and excuses to explain it away or just make sense of what they thought it should be.

    Basically, they don't know!
    And they want to convince you of that.

    Whatever brand of Christian you go by, is under the umbrella of Christendom.
    Most people are taught by Preachers, teachers, ministers who also are taught certain curriculum in a school of theology.

    This list is a very short list:

    Rapture - Wikipedia

    Liberty University


    Assemblies of God

    Biola University


    You Tube

    Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

    Revival Christian Fellowship

    Only when one is free, are they able to ask the right question!
    "Question Everything"

  25. I have to absorb this some more, but I like this, so I hope you have not gotten blowback as your worried about in your first comment.

    I don't know how many times I have had these parables thrown up in my face about "Christians who aren't cutting the mustard" or "Christians who aren't ready for the Rapture" blah blah blah...

    These parables just don't fit the Grace Age Saints or the Age of Grace itself.

    Having said this, there is though, a wealth of truth and good lesson to everyone in them.

    So thank you for this. ;)

    Grace and Peace to you in Christ Jesus.

    [๐ŸฆŠ Foxman] Jack

    ๐Ÿšซ ๐Ÿ‡

    ··╱ษท ษท╲··

    Foxman on the Wall



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