Volume 48

The Lord's Coming (9)

J. Taylor

Page: 454

Matthew 24:26 - 30,45 - 51; Matthew 25:14 - 46; John 14:1 - 3

J.T. The ground to be covered at this meeting is extensive, and in order to follow, we need to tax our minds and memories as to the scriptures that allude to the Lord's coming, in the four gospels. Matthew's gospel contains the most, and, indeed, covers indirectly those found in Mark and Luke. John's direct references to the Lord's coming are not so numerous. The one read is the most pointed. We have already considered the rapture, to which the verses in John allude. Matthew does not speak of the Lord's ascension, nor does he allude to the rapture directly. He is concerned about the assembly here in the absence of Christ, and in treating of the Lord's coming he has the continuance of the testimony in mind until that event, from the time that the Lord began to minister; whether it be the testimony rendered by the apostles in relation to the Jews at the beginning of the dispensation, their testimony in relation to the assembly, or the testimony that will be rendered in view of the millennium, after the assembly is taken to heaven.

Matthew has in mind the continuance of the testimony to the end. There is no break in it; it goes right on to what is called "the completion of the age" Matthew 28:20; that is, the age to which the law and the prophets referred, and into which Christ came. The apostles had part in it, and others like them will be raised up in the last days after the assembly is removed. The first direct reference is in chapter 7: "Not every one who says to me. Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but he that does the will of my Father who is in the heavens. Many shall say to me in that day. Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied through thy name, and through thy

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name cast out demons, and through thy name done many works of power? and then will I avow unto them, I never knew you. Depart from me, workers of lawlessness", Matthew 7:21 - 23. In chapter 10 He alludes to the apostles' service to Israel and says, "But when they persecute you in this city, flee to the other; for verily I say to you. Ye shall not have completed the cities of Israel until the Son of man be come", Matthew 10:23. That is, he contemplates their ministry going on in the cities of Israel -- confining themselves to Israel -- until the Son of man comes. These scriptures are important as throwing light on Matthew's point of view.

Then, in chapter 11, the Lord refers to His testimony in Galilee, and speaks of the judgment that will ensue upon most of the cities where His mighty works were done; chapter 12 brings out the clean break between Him and the Jews. Chapter 13 is a new sowing for a new crop; hence we have the Lord's coming - called "the completion of the age" Matthew 13:9 -- contemplated in the parables of the tares, and in that of the fish. The testimony is viewed as going on to the end when He send His angels to take out of His kingdom what offends; it is not His coming for His assembly, but to take out of His kingdom what offends. Then we have the assembly itself introduced in chapter 16, and the Lord speaks about the Son of man coming in His kingdom, which is seen peculiarly in chapter 17, on the mount of Transfiguration.

The chapters from which we read, I think, may be used to enlarge on these remarks, because they are the Lord's own point of view as to His coming. They contemplate the circumstances through which the testimony will pass as continuing until the Son of man comes. Chapter 24 is a direct prophetic statement by the Lord covering the whole period bearing on the testimony to the Jews; and then chapter 25 is more the moral side, bringing in the ten virgins and the talents,

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and the Lord sitting on the throne of His glory in view of setting up the millennium, and the part the nations have in it. I make these remarks so that the brethren may have in mind an outline of the truth as it is before us at this time.

F.H.L. Is it of interest to see that the light of chapters 24 and 25 comes out as He is sitting on the Mount of Olives? It seems to be an inside position; the disciples came to Him privately.

J.T. Well, it is suggestive of the Spirit -- the spiritual side of His position. From there He tells them what is going to happen in relation to the then existent state of things at Jerusalem. The passage says, "And Jesus went forth and went away from the temple, and his disciples came to him to point out to him the buildings of the temple. And he answering said to them. Do ye not see all these things? Verily I say to you. Not a stone shall be left here upon a stone which shall not be thrown down", Matthew 24:1,2. His position on the mount of Olives would indicate that the new order of things would be spiritual; no longer a matter of the law and prophets and Judaism, but a new spiritual order of things.

A.N.W. Would you make a little more clear, where the assembly and its ministry fit into that period?

J.T. Well, this chapter hardly provides for that. We have to go back in the teaching of the book for that. Chapter 13 introduces the ministry that belongs to the assembly. Here, the Lord is giving instruction as to His coming, but it is to His Jewish disciples, or apostles. He is instructing them, but He says nothing about the assembly period in this prophetic announcement. It is their ministry in relation to Jerusalem. Luke tells us that Jerusalem is to be destroyed and the Jews shall be led captive in all nations until the times of the nations be fulfilled, but Matthew does not put it that way. The Lord is instructing them as to their then position and what should follow, including the destruction of the

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temple; what they should suffer in relation to it. He does not speak of the great parenthesis of the ministry of the assembly; that was committed to Paul; it is not touched on here, but we understand from other scriptures that it ensues during all these centuries during which the Spirit of God has been operating in relation to the assembly. Presently, as the assembly is translated to heaven, the testimony will again revert to the Jews, so that Jerusalem is the centre of these instructions.

A.P.T. Does this connect in any way with Revelation 7 -- the one hundred forty-four thousand out of Israel and the great number who come out of the great tribulation?

J.T. The first thing mentioned there is the holding up of the winds, so that "the bondmen of our God" (Revelation 7:3) should be sealed -- persons that were to serve . Undoubtedly they would be used to evangelise the nations; "these glad tidings of the kingdom" the Lord says, "shall be preached in the whole habitable earth, for a witness to all the nations", (Matthew 24:14). That is not exactly the gospel that the apostles preached as recorded in the Acts, nor what Paul preached to the nations. The twelve, at least those who will correspond to them, after the assembly is taken up to heaven, will be used to evangelise the nations, and the immense multitude mentioned in Revelation 7 will, no doubt, be the fruit of their service.

A.N.W. So that, whilst the Bridegroom is in view in Matthew 25, the bride is not in sight; but are we right in placing ourselves amongst the virgins?

J.T. The parable of the virgins refers to Christianity; it is a question of all going forth; the allusion is to those who, professedly, form the assembly; half of them do not have the Spirit, and hence they are not ready to go in with the Lord to the marriage. Matthew, almost invariably, leaves the idea of the bride open; he stresses the idea of the Bridegroom.

W.R. Would you say that during the Lord's absence

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all service is to be carried on in the power of the Spirit? The Lord said in Acts 1:8, "ye will receive power, the Holy Spirit having come upon you, and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth",.

J.T. Yes. All testimony was to be in the power of the Spirit. There will be a great testimony raised up after the assembly is taken to heaven, but not in the same heavenly power as the ministry carried on under Paul. It will be the testimony going out from the Jews to the nations as a witness, as the Lord says here.

A.B.P. Is the assembly seen in Matthew as the true Rebecca who occupies Sarah's tent? In that sense, the earth is not her true position, but she is occupying the place of another in testimony?

J.T. That is a good way to put it. It was testimony; Sarah's tent was not the final position for Rebecca; she is there in testimony because Sarah has died. So that the assembly in Matthew occupies the position of Israel until the time for Israel to be restored, and she is regarded as trustworthy, because in chapter 18 it is said, "... tell it to the assembly", (Matthew 18:17) and if one does not listen to the assembly he is to be regarded as one of the nations and a tax-gatherer. "Whatsoever ye shall bind on the earth shall be bound in heaven", (Matthew 18:18) would show that she is trusted.

A.B.P. Is there also the thought that the testimony is going through to culminate in glory?

J.T. The "end" in Matthew is generally the millennium, so that I think the identity of the bride is purposely left open. It may be the assembly, or the earthly bride according to the Song of Solomon. Now, it is the assembly, but when the assembly is taken to heaven, the bride of the Song of Solomon comes in, and Revelation 14 indicates that it is composed of the one hundred forty-four thousand, that are with the Lamb on mount Zion.

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C.A.M. You emphasise the point that Matthew stresses the Bridegroom -- the masculine side - rather than the bride. In view of the fact that this gospel does not record the Lord's ascension, it would be impossible to bring in the rapture, as we call it.

J.T. Quite so; He is not seen as in heaven -- "Behold, I am with you all the days", (Matthew 28:20). He is seen as with the saints.

C.A.M. Would this not be an answer to Rebecca's question, "Who is the man?" (Genesis 24:65)?

J.T. Well, Matthew leaves us in no doubt as to who He is. The stress is on the male side in Matthew. More is made of Joseph than of Mary in Matthew, whereas more is made of Mary by Luke. Matthew begins with, "Book of the generation of Jesus Christ, Son of David, Son of Abraham Matthew 1:1". It clearly sets out who the man is.

W.B-w. Does the expression, "the completion of the age" Matthew 28:20 in chapters 13 and 24, and in the last verse of this book, characterise the gospel, corresponding largely with Daniel's reference to the time of the end?

J.T. Yes, Daniel stresses days , pointing to experience -- the number of days to be gone through -- but "the completion of the age" (Matthew 28:20) alludes to a period characterised in a special way. Really, the allusion is to the period of the law, into which Christ came, as we read in Galatians, "come under law". The apostles were taken up under the law, and they ministered to those who were of the circumcision, according to the Acts, and that ministry will be carried on again. So that the first allusion to their ministry is in chapter 10, where the Lord says, "Ye shall not have completed the cities of Israel until the Son of man be come"; Matthew 10:23 showing that the primary thought is ministry to Israel. In Matthew 25 it is more the ministry to the nations by the brethren

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of Christ; and He regards the nations, according to the way they have treated these messengers -- His brethren. So that there are two ministries; first to Israel exclusively, as the Lord says, "Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel", (Matthew 10:6); and then, as chapter 25 contemplates, a wide ministry to all the nations. The nations are tested as to how they have received these messengers.

W.B-w. In chapter 24, it is His coming in relation to Israel; whereas chapter 25 is in relation to the nations?

J.T. Well, in chapter 24 the Lord says, "And these glad tidings of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole habitable earth, for a witness to all the nations", Matthew 24:14. Whereas, earlier, they are told to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and they would not have gone over the cities until the Son of man shall have come. You can see there are two distinct features of the preaching; the first is in relation to the house of Israel, chapter 10, and the second is by those of the house of Israel as a witness to all nations. And then the final issue is in chapter 25, when the sheep and the goats are distinctly separated; the sheep are those that have received the testimony; they have received and ministered to His brethren.

C.A.M. Did you say that chapter 24 is the historical setting and chapter 25 the moral thought?

J.T. I think it is, bringing out the effect of the testimony, first in the virgins and then in the bondmen, and then in the nations that hear the gospel. It is a very full chapter, discriminative and final, too, because it says, "these shall go away into eternal punishment, and the righteous into life eternal", verse 46. That is final for the nations; not all individuals of humanity, but the nations.

A.C. Does that not place the preaching of the Jewish brethren on a very high level, and also raise a serious question with those who refuse it?

J.T. The nations that refuse it will go into everlasting punishment and those that accept it (because it is a

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question of how they receive the messengers or the brethren of Christ) go into everlasting life.

A.C. Would the same principle be applicable to the present dispensation?

J.T. As we get the primary teaching of any section of scripture, we can apply its principles to our own position.

A.R. Has the historic phase of chapter 24 been fulfilled, or does it still wait for fulfilment? It says, "... if those days had not been cut short, no flesh had been saved", Matthew 24:22.

J.T. That is future. Of course, the apostles and Christians generally had severe persecution, and some would experience much suffering during the destruction of Jerusalem. Thus what is spoken of here has been partially fulfilled, but the complete fulfilment of it is future; it is what is called "Jacob's trouble". It is a tribulation which will be more or less in the confines of Jerusalem and will exceed anything that has ever been, so that the sovereignty of God comes in and shortens it for the sake of the elect.

W.R. Would the testimony rendered to Israel be pre-millennial, and that to the nations, during the millennium?

J.T. Both are pre-millennial. We have the indication of what will happen in Revelation 7, as we have already remarked; a "great crowd" is seen, out of every nation and tribes and peoples and tongues, such as no one can number. John inquired as to whom they are, and the elders said, "These are they who come out of the great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb", Revelation 7:14. They have been evangelised, so that in Revelation 14 we have an angel flying in mid-heaven with the everlasting gospel; that would point to rapidity of service; things will be done quickly, because the time will be very short.

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R.W.S. Will it be toward the east?

J.T. I should say so. The book of Revelation shows that the European nations come under judgment; it would therefore be Asiatic and perhaps African nations primarily; those which have not been evangelised. The Scripture says, "to every nation and tribe and tongue and people", (Revelation 14:6).

H.H. In viewing the testimony in the Acts, is it right to say that it divides itself into two aspects, one which is Jewish, up to Paul, and afterwards, through Paul to the nations?

J.T. Quite so. The twelve were to preach to the nations, but they generally confined themselves to the Jews. According to Galatians, Peter and the other apostles with him went to the circumcision. It is said expressly that they were going to the circumcision, and Paul and those who laboured with him, to the nations. In Paul's ministry the assembly comes out in its heavenly character; it is not touched on in this prophecy at all.

In chapter 24, the Lord is on the mount of Olives; He has left the temple; that order of things is definitely left. It says, "And Jesus went forth and went away from the temple", Matthew 24:1. That is a form of words you get in chapter 16, in view of the assembly. He left the scribes and Pharisees and went away; it is a definite break with them, and now it is a definite break with the material temple, and He is seated on the mount of Olives. Verse 3 says, "And as he was sitting upon the mount of Olives the disciples came to him privately, saying. Tell us, when shall these things be, and what is the sign of thy coming and the completion of the age?" Matthew 24:3 That verse gives the clue to the whole matter. There are certain ones who want to know something, and that is the secret of getting light. You get many instances in the gospel of persons who inquire, and the disciples, in this chapter, want to know. The Lord is in the position

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to tell them; it is not here a question of their services in the assembly, but just what they ask. They had come to Him previously to point out to Him the buildings of the temple. "And he answering said to them. Do ye not see all these things? Verily I say to you. Not a stone shall be left here upon a stone (Matthew 24:2)". But in verse 3, they came to Him privately saying, "Tell us, when shall these things be, and what is the sign of thy coming and the completion of the age?" Matthew 24:3 If we all had such desire we should get wonderful light. We get a little, of course, at these meetings, but we would get far more if every one were asking questions in his heart and looking into his Bible before coming.

C.B. There would thus be a purifying of ourselves as He is pure.

J.T.Jr. The Pharisees and Sadducees stand over against the attitude of the disciples. They were not inquiring, but opposing. Does not the spirit of the Pharisees and Sadducees hinder an inquiring spirit?

J.T. In answer to their inquiry, the Lord says, in verse 4, "See that no one mislead you Matthew 24:4". That is, there are those who inquire about prophecy as they would about signs; they never get any real light about it. The moral side must come in first. Am I adjusted in my soul about the matter? So the Lord says. See that no one mislead you. Look out for yourselves. Are you ready for light? Are you morally clear? If it is a mere matte of inquiry, it is nothing. See how very many of the Lord's people are misled at the present time; right inquiry is lacking, and therefore He says, "See that no one mislead you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am the Christ (Matthew 24:4,5)". That is the first point. The Lord pays great attention to inquiries where people are ready to be adjusted morally, but investigation of prophecy will not help us, unless we are morally adjusted.

A.R. In chapter 13, in the parables, the Lord speaks

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of secret evil in the case of the woman who hid leaven in the meal, and the whole thing became leavened; but here He is dealing more with apostasy in relation to Israel, would you say?

J.T. Quite so. Chapter 13 deals with Christianity -- the sowing for a new crop and how it became corrupted, but this is a testimony in its relation to the age into which the Lord came, and in connection with which Jerusalem stood. This is to show that the testimony stands in relation to that, and in the last days there will be results; there will be completion . The Son of man will come in His glory, sitting upon His throne. That means that He will take up matters definitely with a view to final adjustment both as to the nations and in regard to everyone, because the passage carries right on to eternal punishment. In chapter 13 the wicked are mentioned as cast into the furnace of fire, where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

J.S. Matthew presenting Him as Son of man would be the universal bearing?

J.T. Quite so; Matthew brings that title in much because he wishes to show that the testimony is going outside of Israel. The messengers first will confine themselves to Israel, according to chapter 10, but according to this chapter they go out to all the nations, so that there is a basis for the millennial state of things. The millennium requires that. There is the gospel to every man now, and that involves the heavenly portion for the assembly; but here we are dealing with the position of Jerusalem and the testimony as it stands in relation to that age, and how God will resume His relations with Israel presently, and then the final issue, both as to Israel and the nations as such.

F.H.L. So that we can understand the Lord's comment as to Israel: "Ye shall in no wise see me henceforth until ye say. Blessed be he that comes in the name of the Lord", (Matthew 23:39).

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J.T. Just so. Now, we must go on to the second important part of this chapter; the question of food . In verse 45 we come to a person whom the Lord regards as a "faithful and prudent bondman", so that now we are on the moral side again; the position of service in the absence of Christ, in relation to His house; that is, to the saints; so that He says: "Blessed is that bondman whom his lord on coming shall find doing thus. Verily I say unto you, that he will set him over all his sub-stance. But if that evil bondman should say in his heart. My lord delays to come, and begin to beat his fellow bondmen, and eat and drink with the drunken, the lord of that bondman shall come in a day when he does not expect it, and in an hour he knows not of, and shall cut him in two and appoint his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth", verses 46 - 51. I thought it was right to touch on this because it refers to our own position now, as of His household, in the absence of Christ. It is a question of how to minister a portion of meat to the saints. He sets His bondman over His household to give them food in season or, Luke says, "the measure of corn Luke 12:42".

Ques. What is the difference between the disciple and the bondman? You mentioned that the disciples made inquiry. What is the difference?

J.T. A disciple is one who learns from his master and follows him; so the Lord says, "By this shall all know that ye are disciples of mine, if ye have love amongst yourselves", (John 13:35). A bondman has an owner; he is not his own, "Do ye not know that ye are not your own, for ye have been bought with a price", (1 Corinthians 6:19). As a bondman you cannot use your will; you are to be entirely at the will of another; that, I think, is the reason why the Lord uses the word bondman ; it is very much used in scripture, particularly in the book of Revelation. A bondman cannot be a freelance; whatever His expressed will is, you obey.

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W.B-w. Are you applying this verse to our dispensation -- the assembly now being His household?

J.T. Yes. Verse 43 says, "But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what watch the thief was coming, he would have watched and not have suffered his house to be dug through into. Wherefore ye also, be ye ready, for in that hour that ye think not the Son of man comes. Who then is the faithful and prudent bondman?" Matthew 24:43 - 45. That is, the coming of the Lord is viewed as the coming of a thief; he does not say when it will happen. So it will be in the last days amongst the repenting Jews; the Lord will have His bondmen then, too, but it has its direct application to us now in the absence of the Lord. He needs trustworthiness in those who serve, that they furnish food in season.

W.B-w. Matthew gives it an assembly touch in that way.

J.T. I think we can understand that the household would be that now.

C.A.M. Would it be right to say that it extends to the completion of the age? Yet, the moral feature in all that period is known in reality in the assembly.

J.T. These gospels are written to the assembly. The whole of the New Testament, including the book of Revelation, is written to the assembly, so that we are supposed to know all, and if we know it, we can make application where it fits.

J.S. What do you understand by food in season?

J.T. I think it works out in the way you serve, such as giving an address. You calculate what is suitable. Paul says as to his service at Corinth, "For I did not judge it well to know anything among you save Jesus Christ and him crucified", 1 Corinthians 2:2. He eliminated other things for the moment and confined himself to the line of truth that was particularly needed.

W.R. It all tends to produce bridal affections in the saints.

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J.T.Jr. Would it also apply in 1 Corinthians 14? Each is said to have a psalm or teaching, whatever it may be; there has been exercise in the person before the saints come together, for food must be ministered; somebody has to minister it.

J.T. And you understand the God of measure, that everything is measured. You measure an address, for instance. I was thinking, at the beginning of this meeting, how time enters into service. God Himself was the first to use time; He worked by the day. The Lord alludes to twelve hours in the day. We have a comparatively short time in a meeting like this, so that if we proceed on the line of measure, we try to get all possible into it; not to waste time. And then what are you going to bring into it in the way of ministry? What is needed? So that we read, "each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation (1 Corinthians 14:26)". Let it come out as you have opportunity.

G.H. Matthew speaks much of the idea of the hour. Does it give the idea of what is compressed?

J.T. Yes. I think it would be helpful for us to bear that in mind. Our meetings are short; the point is to make the best use of them. The God of measure implies that.

Now, to proceed, we should look into chapter 25, as to the Bridegroom coming. The virgins all went forth to meet Him, we are told, and they are all called virgins. The word virgin is to be taken here in its context; it does not necessarily mean a real Christian; it may be only a professing Christian, and he is terribly exposed if he is that, because he is left outside; he never gets in to where the Lord is. Verse 5 says, "Now the bridegroom tarrying, they all grew heavy and slept. But in the middle of the night there was a cry. Behold, the bridegroom; go forth to meet him Matthew 25:5,6". The word cometh , which appears in the Authorised Version, should not be

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there; it is a question of the Person of Christ, that He is visible in this sense. "Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their torches. And the foolish said to the prudent. Give us of your oil, for our torches are going out. But the prudent answered saying. We cannot, lest it might not suffice for us and for you. Go rather to those that sell, and buy for yourselves. But as they went away to buy, the bridegroom came (Matthew 25:7 - 10)". That is the solemn side of this parable. Persons often trifle and think everything is optional, assuming that they can get the oil when they want it! But they cannot! The process of getting it is rather lengthy, and if you have left it negligently, you do not get the oil at all; so that the passage says, "But as they went away to buy, the bridegroom came, and the ones that were ready went in with him to the wedding feast, and the door was shut. Afterwards came also the rest of the virgins, saying. Lord, Lord, open to us; but he answering said. Verily I say unto you, I do not know you", Matthew 25:10 - 12. This is a word for negligent persons, who think that having to do with God and Christ and the assembly is an optional matter, but it is not; if you make it that you may be left out for ever.

Ques. Who are these foolish virgins today?

J.T. Professing persons without the Spirit; persons who are not really converted at all, and yet they pass muster as virgins. It is a most solemn matter. It is in the process of procuring the oil that they miss getting in. It is put in such language that it is unmistakable. It is not that they are made out to be wicked persons, exactly, but they are left outside, and never get in. It is because of their negligence and light-heartedness. They typify those who have not gone in for what is vital when they should have done so. The five foolish virgins get the terrible word from the Lord, "Verily I say unto you, I do not know you (Matthew 25:12)".

J.H.E. The oil is something you have to buy.

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J.T. Quite so; you must get the oil. The Lord's word to Laodicea is that He was ready to give counsel in such cases; but that does not come in here; this is to show the terrible result of carelessness in the profession of Christ.

W.R. Is that not also seen in verse 49 of the previous chapter -- "My lord delays to come"?

J.T. In this chapter it is that the virgins have been careless concerning the oil. They have not the Spirit; they have not gone through the process, so to speak, of obtaining the oil.

A.B.P. Would the exhortation, "make your calling and election sure", (2 Peter 1:10), apply here?

J.T. Yes, it would. Certain ones have gone forth to meet the Bridegroom, professedly, but have fallen asleep. That is a serious matter. The ones who had the oil fell asleep, too, but they recovered themselves. He who has the Spirit will recover himself; he will adjust himself and get right in time, but he that does not have the Spirit will not get right at all; he will miss the whole matter and be shut out from the Bridegroom for ever.

A.R. Paul said, when he went to Ephesus, "Did ye receive the Holy Spirit when ye had believed"? (Acts 19:2), and later he writes, "Wake up, thou that sleepest, and arise up from among the dead", (Ephesians 5:14).

J.S. Is there not great need to cultivate acquaintance with Christ? The word here is, "I do not know you (Matthew 25:12)". Is that not serious?

J.T. It is a dreadful thing; a most solemn thing, and yet they are called virgins, though foolish ones. They are taken on at face value and the name given to them, but they are not real. What has been remarked should be enlarged upon a little: "Did ye receive the Holy Spirit when ye had believed?" (Acts 19:2). Well, they say, "We did not even hear if the Holy Spirit was come(Acts 19:2)". This does not mean that they did not know

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there was such a Person as the Holy Spirit; they did not know He had actually come. It is a similar expression to John 7:39 "the Spirit was not yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified",. The Holy Spirit was then available, but the men at Ephesus did not know that and had not received Him. The apostle Paul acquainted them with the fact that the ministry of John the baptist did not go on to Christianity proper. He preached Christ to them, and in his epistle later he alludes to it, saying, "in whom ye also have trusted, having heard the word of the truth (Ephesians 1:13)". He had preached the truth to them about Christ; "the glad tidings of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, ye have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the earnest of our inheritance to the redemption of the acquired possession to the praise of his glory", (Ephesians 1:13,14). I only wanted to call attention to Paul's inquiry at the beginning, and also to the "word of the truth". It is what believers so much need in order to get the Spirit; that is, to get the adjustment in their souls. The word of truth adjusts us as to wrong things which we may have imbibed for years and which may prevent us from coming into Christianity in the true sense. It is the word of truth we need, the gospel of our salvation, but the word of truth first.

J.H.E. It is noticeable that many in the profession say, "Lord", but Paul says, "no one can say. Lord Jesus, unless in the power of the Holy Spirit", (1 Corinthians 12:3).

J.T. That is the true way to say it. We say it in testimony rightly when we get the Holy Spirit.

C.B. Is it not mercy that the opportunity is still open for souls to go to those who sell and get this oil?

J.T. Quite so; but the parable would show that even if you do go, as the Bridegroom comes, you will be too late and hence shut out. You have been neglectful. The Lord says, "I do not know you,(Matthew 25:12)" meaning that you have never had a transaction with Him . That is what

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He means. It is not that He does not know everybody in one sense, but His implication is. You have never had a transaction with Me or I would have known you.

A.R.S. These foolish virgins may be similar to people to whom the Lord did not commit Himself in the end of John 2. They believed on Him, but He did not commit Himself to them.

J.T. Very much like that; they were not trustworthy; not genuine.

A.R. You spoke of having a transaction with the Lord. In John 7:37 He says, "If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink",. Is that the idea of such a transaction?

J.T. If you have had a transaction with Him, He knows you.

A.B.P. We are told, "The Lord knows those that are his", (2 Timothy 2:19).

J.T. Just so; who can afford not to have a transaction with Christ? Persons may have had any number of transactions with other people, but never had one with Christ, to get the blessing from Him.

C.A.M. The last church transaction seems to be, "Buy of me". That is the last opportunity.

J.T. Quite so. There is remarkable grace in the Lord's word to Laodicea.

A.P.T. "I know those that are mine, and am known of those that are mine", (John 10:14).

J.T. Just so; it is a wonderful thing to know the Lord in this way; to have had dealings with Him and settled everything with Him.

J.T.Jr. The fact that the foolish virgins say, "Give us of your oil, (Matthew 25:8)" would seem to indicate that they did not know how to get it.

J.T. They did not know where to get it. It is a transaction with Christ. You cannot get it from the saints. Although the Holy Spirit is here on earth in the assembly, you must go to the Lord to receive the Spirit.

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The idea of the talents is very suggestive. It is a great matter, for the Lord's substance is in mind. He says, "it is as if a man going away out of a country called his own bondmen and delivered to them his substance", verse 14. Of course, we translate this into the fact that the Lord has gone into heaven, but that is not exactly Matthew's way of putting things. It is the viewpoint of a man going away out of his own country where he was labouring. He "delivered to them his substance"; not part of it. It is put as if all of his substance were in mind. He is trusting his bondmen to use it aright. So it says, "To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to each according to his particular ability, and immediately went away out of the country", verse 15. We are well acquainted with the parable, but I think it would be well to have in mind that it is a question of the Lord's substance. The word "talent" represents a very large denomination. It is not a pound, as in Luke, where it is a comparatively small denomination, and where each also gets the same amount. Here, it is distributed according to the ability of each.

J.T.Jr. Is Matthew marked by severity -- the things committed being so great that the Lord shows His severity in the judgment of the one who failed to trade with the talent given him?

J.T. Yes. Matthew is severe. He therefore puts it upon us, if we are bondmen, that the Lord has trusted us with His substance. It is very important therefore, in His mind, because it is His own substance, and He is away out of the country.

E.E.H. Does the responsibility of the bondmen vary?

J.T. Yes; each receives according to his ability, but the first two received the same answers. "He that had received the five talents went and trafficked with them, and made five other talents. In like manner also he that had received the two, he also gained two others. But he

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that had received the one went and dug in the earth and hid the money of his lord". (Notice that it says, "the money of his lord") "And after a long time the lord of those bondmen comes and reckons with them. And he that had received the five talents came to him and brought five other talents, saying. My lord, thou deliveredst me five talents; behold, I have gained five other talents besides them. His lord said to him. Well, good and faithful bondman, thou wast faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things: enter into the joy of thy lord", verses 16 - 21. It seems to me we are on a high level of service here. Think of a man getting so much of his lord's money! What an anxiety it would be, so to speak, to the owner of the money. As we realise the value of the talents, we see the meaning of this and what anxiety a man would have in entrusting his bondmen with so much; yet the one who had the most comes forward and shows that he had doubled it. What a joy to his master! He says, "enter into the joy of thy lord". He does not say just what he is to receive, but He does say, "I will set thee over many things", but in the meantime, "enter into the joy of thy lord". In the application, the Lord is giving His servants to understand that He knows they will value that; that they are not mere hirelings; they want to share His joy.

A.A.T. That ability that the bondman has is not what we call natural ability, is it?

J.T. It is divinely given; you need a mind; you need a body; a man is a vessel, and God furnishes him with ability in view of the service he is to render.

C.A.M. Paul says to Archippus, "Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, to the end that thou fulfil it", (Colossians 4:17). Would it be something like that?

J.T. Yes; "to the end that thou fulfil it"; and again to Timothy, "rekindle the gift of God which is in thee", 2 Timothy 1:6.

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A.N.W. Is it not encouraging to see that the one who had the two talents had the same words from the Lord as the one with the five?

J.T. That is why I think we are on a high level here. The Lord is seen as dealing with men who know Him. These two men knew their lord and thought of his joy. What a thing it is for us to be in the joy of our Lord! The third man did not know his lord. That is the solemn side. The sorrowful side here is that one undertakes to serve a man he does not know. He thought that he was a hard man.

W.B-w. Such have never been affected by grace.

J.T. They do not know Christ; they have had no personal relations with Him; they mistake Him entirely.

A.B.P. The apostle Paul told Timothy, "Keep ... the good deposit entrusted", but he made the exhortation as one who knew whom he had believed, 2 Timothy 1:12 - 14.

J.T. Quite so; Paul said, "I know whom I have believed" (2 Timothy 1:12).

Now the final thought is in the Son of man coming in His glory. It seems as if we ought to have this before us. It is the completion of the matter with the nations, the whole adjustment of things in the millennium. "When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit down upon his throne of glory, and all the nations shall be gathered before him; and he shall separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and he will set the sheep on his right hand, and the goats on his left", verses 31 - 33. This is what we may call the reconstruction of the world. It is the millennial day. The Lord is putting everything in its place, but He is sitting on the throne of His glory. Think of the magnificence of it! Paul said, "he is going to judge the habitable earth in righteousness by the man whom he has appointed", (Acts 17:31). That is what this is.

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J.S. Is it the kingdom prepared before the world's foundation that is in view?

J.T. I think it would be worth our while to look into this carefully, because it is finality; the adjustment of the world. We get it in Revelation 11:15, "The kingdom of the world of our Lord and of his Christ",. In dealing with the present world and adjusting it. He sits upon His throne of glory. He is sitting there to do it all. It is a deliberate matter, and you have finality; the "sheep", or righteous, go into everlasting life, and the "goats" into everlasting punishment; it is final.

W.B-w. In chapter 24 the Son of man is spoken of as coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, but in chapter 25, He is sitting on the throne of glory .

J.T. Sitting is an attitude of deliberateness, but think of the environment, the glorious presentation of the position, the throne of His glory!

J.T.Jr. There are no limitations to this throne. There is no Parliament or Congress to depend upon for laws or support. He has power to deal with things and effect everything immediately.

J.T. It is well to keep our minds on finality, how the Lord has a way of doing things, so that there is a final adjustment of everything.

A.R. His present position is on His Father's throne, that would be different.

J.T. That is the throne of grace . Matthew 25 speaks of His own throne of glory. He says of the overcomer in Laodicea, "to him will I give to sit with me in my throne" (Revelation 3:21); so if overcomers, we share in this.

A.P.T. They do not seem to know why they are blessed.

J.T. It is a question of how you treat the Lord's servants or His brethren, because if you treat them rightly, that shows you are right; you are a subject of the work of God.

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A.P.T. It is in a sense automatic -- the expression of what the person is.

G.H. What is the thought of all the angels being with Him?

J.T. Think of all the angels! You get in Revelation 7:1 that "all the angels stood around the throne" in relation to the multitude whom no one could number. All the angels are there also. These facts bring out their interest in what God is doing.

J.S. And the Son of man is none less than the King: "Then shall the King say to those on his right hand", verse 34.