Search This Blog

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats - Part 2

We now briefly look at the reward and punishment in The Parable the Sheep and the Goats. As we look, we remember the context and purpose of the Book of Matthew which we have covered in these studies.


Matthew is the "gospel of the kingdom" and is given to Israel alone. It's theme is ENTRANCE into that kingdom. The three main sections (Sermon on the Mount, Parables of the Kingdom, The Return of the King and the End) all involve entering the kingdom.


We also saw that in this kingdom, God remembers the promise to the Gentiles (the nations), that they would be blessed through Abraham and through Israel. Matthew starts with introducing the King as "the Son of David" (Solomon and the united Kingdom) and as "the Son of Abraham" (Issac, the child of promise born before Jacob and his 12 sons).


"I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations [gôy, gôy] of the earth shall be blessed."
-Gen 26:4


Psalm 72 is a psalm of the glory of Israel's Messiah:


"His name shall endure forever;
His name shall continue as long as the sun.
And men shall be blessed in Him;
All nations shall call Him blessed.
Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel,
Who only does wondrous things!"
-Psalm 72:17-18a


Here are the reward and punishment of our parable:


"‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world... "
-Matthew 25:34
"‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels"-Matthew 25:41


In in The Parable of the Talents the reward for the Lord's "servants" was to rule in the kingdom. Here, the reward is to "inherit" the kingdom. Gentile NATIONS shall be blessed through Israel. In Matthew 5:5, given to the disciples (Jews), the reward is to "inherit the land." The land is for Israel.


Finally, let's look at the Lord's restatement of their fates:


"And these shall go away to punishment age-during, but the righteous to life age-during."-Matthew 25:46 (Young's Literal Translation)


"Life" in Matthew is connected to the kingdom. The theme is entering into this age-life. It is qualifying to enjoy the kingdom and involved the Law and the Commandments. We can never teach this as the gospel of the free grace of God.


"And lo, one having come near, said to him, `Good teacher, what good thing shall I DO, that I may have LIFE AGE-ENDURING?' And he said to him, `Why me dost thou call good? no one [is] good except One -- God; but if thou dost will to ENTER into THE LIFE, keep the commands."
-Matthew 19:17-18


The Lord is not a liar. Many fanciful things and many enslaving things have been taught from this story, but the question is how to ENTER into the Hope of Israel. the Kingdom, made by an individual Jew. (Our parable, concerns "nations.")


We have covered the "fire that is not quenched" in other studies. Suffice it to say, it involves a real fire in the land (Valley of Hinnom, Gehenna, "hell") and "corpses" (Is 66:24). The judgments in Matthew parallel the teaching of the Revelation as well.


On a personal note, Pope Eugene IV "declared" and "affirmed" and "pronounced" that anyone not in the bosom of the Catholic Church (before death, no matter anything else he may do) is slated for the fire of Matthew 25:41. This fate is declared many time over and specifically for ex-Catholics in the current catechism.


They are free to teach what they want to teach. I don't note that as an attack, but rather to give and extreme example of how this parable has been badly and heretically applied.


This is why we must RIGHTLY DIVIDE Israel from the Body, the Land from Above the Heavens, Resurrection Life from Life in the Kingdom, etc. This is why we spent time looking at "comparing things that differ" and "cutting straight" the Word of God (Phil 1:10; 2 Tim 2:15).


Next time we'll look at again at inheriting the kingdom, this time in the Acts Age epistle of 1 Corinthians.

Friday, May 25, 2018

The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats - Part 1

We now come to, in my estimation, the most dangerously misinterpreted parable in scripture: The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats.

We must note, again, the time frame for this parable.

“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.."
-Matthew 25:31

This is not a judgment of all men of all ages. It certainly can't be applied to those who died 100 years ago, 1000 years ago or yesterday. This is the "parousia," the presence, of the King on the Earth. He is coming with the angels. We see the angels' charge in The Parable of the Tares (they separate). This is a future event.

We must also look at who is judged:

"All the nations [Gk: éthnos, ethnic groups, non-Jews] will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats."
-Matthew 25:32

These are judged as nations, not as individuals. And they are judged as to whether they fed, clothed, visited, cared for, etc. those the Lord calls "the least of His brethren."

This can never be used to preach the gospel of grace. It is clearly a judgment of works. It can never be understood to deal with resurrection life.

For those teaching this, there are obvious questions.

  • How many people must I visit? 
  • What if I visit one person in prison? 
  • Is that sufficient? 
  • Similarly, must I do all the deeds? 
  • What if I do all but clothe someone? 
  • And how are all men the Lord's "brethren?" 
  • Does he not call some "you are of your father, the Devil?"

The point is raised that the parable merely gives a taste of various good works, but are we to believe the goats never fed anyone? Never visited any sick person, etc.? They do absolutely no good works at all?

When we step back and realize these are NATIONS being judged and the Lord's brethren are THE JEWS, it starts to make sense. This is future and is placed just before the entrance (the theme of Matthew) into the earthly kingdom (not heaven). Remember our context for Matthew 24-25, the end of an age.

Let's look at Paul's explanation :

"For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my BRETHREN, my countrymen ACCORDING TO THE FLESH..."
-Rom 9:3
Jews. Israelites.

So, these are nations who are being judged as to how they have treated the Jews during the time of Jacob's Trouble. This is the context of Matthew 24-25.

These nations did what they did unwittingly ("When did we see you naked and clothe you...?"). We contrast this with the Lord's proclamation of future judgment for some in Israel who openly profess his name and who do "many wonderful works."

"Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied (taught) in Thy Name and in Thy Name have cast out demons? And in Thy Name performed many miracles [Gk:dýnamis]?"
-Mattew 7:22

The did all in THY [HIS] NAME. This is not disputed.

To these the Lord will say:

"I never knew (approved of) you: depart from Me, ye that practice lawlessness [Gk: anomía]."
-Matthew 7:23

This is part of the Sermon on the Mount, which is not the rules of the Kingdom, but the conditions of entrance into the kingdom, for Israel. Remember, the "gospel of the Kingdom" was to be preached to JEWS ONLY (Matt 10:5-7). And it is immediately after the Sermon that we meet the Gentile with great faith and the "Sons of the Kingdom" who are cast into "outer darkness." (Matthew 8:5-12)

  • Jews = faith + righteousness = entrance
  • Gentiles = great faith* OR righteousness = entrance

*They cannot have openly rejected Christ.These judgements are age-specific [aeon].

[Romans 2 should be read, noting the specific differences and that which is common to Jew and Gentile. Romans was written during the Acts Age which looked for the earthly kingdom.]

We must see these differences and rightly divide Matthew to understand the pronouncements of this parable. Remember, Matthew concerns the "Son of David" (heir to the throne) and the "Son of Abraham" (heir of the land). (Matthew 1:1)

Next time, we'll look at the entrance into the earthly kingdom.

All these parables, and the whole of Matthew must be understood together.

The Parable of the Talents - Part 2

We now take a quick look at the judgment in The Parable of the Talents for the servant who produced nothing for his Lord.

‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
-Matt 25:29-30

We've looked at the "outer darkness" previously in the Parable of the Wedding Guests and in other studies. We noted that this is not the "fiery hell" of man's traditions; it is a place outside the kingdom.

Remember, in Matthew 8 it is THE SONS OF THE KINGDOM who are cast into the outer darkness. There, these can ONLY refer to Jews as they are contrasted with the faith of Gentile.

The "wicked servant" and the "unprofitable servant" and the guest at the wedding with a garment are all cast into the outer darkness.

The guests at the wedding who answer the invitation are part of the fourth call. This is after the city is burned. We note, in short here, that these are those called in the Time of Jacob's Trouble yet to come.

What garment is he missing? The garment is "the righteous acts of the saints" (Rev 19:8b).

"You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life..."
-Rev 3:4

This missing out on the Kingdom (not life), leads to the "weeping and gnashing of teeth" associated with this judgment.

Note these pointed words spoken by the Savior to the religious hypocrites of Israel:

‘The publicans and the harlots GO into the kingdom of God BEFORE you’
-Matt. 21:31

And this from the Sermon on the Mount:

"For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven."
-Matt 5:20

The "narrow gate" is often used in gospel preaching, but when this happens, it does violence to the context and confuses a gift with something earned.

"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction [perdition], and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and DIFFICULT is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."
-Matthew 7:13-14

Grace is not "difficult," but entrance into the Kingdom is difficult. For that they must have faith, yes, but also "righteous works." Matthew is about ENTERING the Kingdom. It starts with the "Son of David" and the "Son of Abraham." It speaks to Jews and concerns the promised Kingdom.

We note again the first question the Holy Spirit enlightened chosen Apostles of the Messiah have after 40 days of teaching bu the Risen Lord on the subject of the Kingdom:

"speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God... Will you, at this time, restore the KINGDOM to ISRAEL?"
-Acts 1:3,6

These who would "sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes" were not stupid (as men charge), they were the chosen vessels sent to bring the message of the Messiah to Jews only.

These are not easy things. There are tremendous and deep truths in scripture that we must continue to seek out until we can seek no longer. I do not claim to understand every aspect of these things (and it is God's pleasure to hide some things from us).

But much of Christendom wallows in confusion by conflating the earthly Kingdom of God with His Body. We must "rightly divide" these truths.

The Parable of the Talents - Part 1

We now come to the Parable of the Talents. We note again the context of the end and the return of the Lord.

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them...After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them."
-Matt 25:1,19

We note these are "servants." Mary's song in Luke 1, she declares (in part):

"He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.”
-Luke 1:54-55

This is not unique. Israel is called God's servant all through the prophets. The word is not unique to Israel, but it is very clearly applied to the nation.

But you, Israel, are My servant,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
The descendants of Abraham My friend.
You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth,
And called from its farthest regions,
And said to you,
‘You are My servant,
I have chosen you and have not cast you away
-Isaiah 47:9-10

In the age to come, Israel will be called of the nations and back into the land (this has started in our age). When the KIng returns to his earthly kingdom, he will call his servants before him.

As with all the parables, there is tremendous depth here, and we will not plumb all that is here.

Let us jump to the judgment of the servant who buried his talent and has nothing to show for his charge.

‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’
-Matt 25:24-25

Many will say the servant here does not know the Lord, for the Lord is loving and gracious. Of course, that is true, but the Lord is also a just judge. When men do speak of God's judgment, many quote the scripture, "Vengeance in mine, says the Lord," but they often miss its TWO uses.

In Romans 12, the context is leaving the judgment of "all men" to the Lord. However, in the Book of Hebrews, the context is "His people."

Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
-Hebrews 10:29-31

This is severe warning. Note how this chapter ends:

“For yet a little while,
And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.
Now the just shall live by faith;
But if anyone draws back,
My soul has no pleasure in him.”
But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the [preserving] of [life].
-Hebrews 10:37-39

We looked at "perdition" recently. This is "waste." It speaks of a uselessness, just as the "servant" in this parable. See what the lord says to the man:

"But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.'"
-Matt 25:26-28

We will look at the punishment for this servant in Part 2. We have seen this punishment before.

The Big Picture Context of the Parables in Matthew

The parables in Matthew are addressed to a blind Israel which had rejected their King and their kingdom. But in the book we also see a picture of Israel having her eyes opened.

Notice how the two healings which include the use of "Son of David" involve two blind men each. There is a reason there are two occasions involving this healing, but we will just look at them in the big picture.

"When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.” And their eyes were opened."
-Matt 9:27-30
"And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!” Then the multitude warned them that they should be quiet; but they cried out all the more, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!” So Jesus stood still and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They said to Him, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened.” So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him."
-Matt 20:30-34

The two blind, I believe, represent the two kingdoms in Israel. The kingdoms were united under the physical son of David, Solomon, and will be again under the second "Son of David," Christ.

"Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah..."-Jer 31:31 (Heb 8 )

Notice the Lord responds immediately to their cries. However. there is one other "Son of David" plea in Matthew, but here he ignores the cry, and eventually calls the one making the plea a "dog."

"And behold, a woman of Canaan [gentile] came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.” But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.” But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”
-Matt 15:22-26

The Lord is not a liar. He was, indeed, sent only to the house of Israel. But her plea was eventually heard and answered. but only when she dropped "Son of David" and used only "Lord." She was a gentile. He is her God, but not part of the promise of the earthly kingdom. Remember, there is only one way to life in scripture (by grace through faith), but different callings and hopes.

We've noted in the past that we don't need a "harmony" of the gospels, but rather a disharmony. That is, we must compare the things that differ again. Matthew starts off uniquely:

"The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham"
-Matt 1:1

Here is the Lord's two-fold ministry in Matthew. He is the son of David (Solomon, king over a united Israel, a man of peace) and the son of Abraham (Isaac, the son of promise). In David, Israel would have her kingdom. In Abraham. blessing would come to the gentiles through Israel.

"since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth [gentiles] shall be blessed in him"
-Gen 18:18

Entry into the earthly Kingdom runs through the book (as we saw in the Parable of the Ten Virgins and the parables of Matthew 13).

This is the framework of Matthew and the parables must be understood in this context. Trying to cram in the gospel of grace or trying to apply kingdom conditions to the Body will only lead us into grave error... and it has for many.

How many unfortunate souls have been enslaved by The Parable of the Talents or The Parable of the Sheep and Goats? Or fooled into thinking they have pleased God's wrath on sin by the works of the flesh?

The three parables of Matthew 25 nowhere mention the death or resurrection of the Lord. They know nothing of blood sacrifice. Because they do not address the gift of life directly.

As we look at these parables, we will find freedom in understanding them in context. Freedom from fear and/or freedom from pride.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note:

We see two gentiles healed in Matthew, neither sees the Lord and he touches neither of them. We see two great expressions of faith from gentiles. So what is the reward for the faith of gentiles in that age? We get an answer from the malefactor on the cross in Luke (the gospel of Paul in the Acts). He asks the Lord, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42). Notice again "LORD" from a gentile. The Lord ignores his reference to the Kingdom and promises him future access to "Paradise." "And Jesus said to him, 'Assuredly, I say to you today, you will be with Me in Paradise.'" (v.43). Paradise is a specific hope. It is the location of the Tree of Life. No one currently has access to it. The gift of life is, as it has ALWAYS been, available to all sons of Adam... but there are hopes, rewards, promises, prizes, blessings, etc that vary from one called-out group to another.

Texas Shooting and the Subject of Death

I will resume on the parables of Matthew 25 next time.

I briefly wanted to touch again on the subject of death.

After the Texas shooting, a student said this:

"I'm so grateful and blessed that God spared me today."

This seems like a natural response. But in light of traditional Christian teaching on this topic it should seem odd. Imagine the following:

"If you go through this door you will be taken to a villa in the south of France where every need will be met. Food, comfort, companionship, bliss beyond imagination will be yours. About your loved ones? Well, they'll be along in the next few years."

How many would run through those doors? How many would say they were "spared" going to the villa?

E.W. Bullinger gives a quick summation of this reasoning:

God speaks of death as an “enemy” (I Cor. 15:26)
Man speaks of it as a friend.
God speaks of it as a terminus.
Man speaks of it as a gate.
God speaks of it as a calamity.
Man speaks of it as a blessing.
God speaks of it as a fear and a terror.
Man speaks of it as a hope.
God speaks of delivering from it as shewing “mercy”. 
Man, strange to say, says the same! and loses no opportunity
of seeking such deliverance by using every means in his
power. 
In Phil. 2:27 we read that Epaphroditus “was sick unto death;
but God had mercy on him”. So that it was mercy to preserve
Epaphroditus from death. This could hardly be called “mercy” if
death were the “gate of glory”, according to popular tradition. 
-E.W. Bullinger, D.D. DBG, (Excerpt, "The Rich Man and Lazarus: An Intermediate State?")

Scripture consistently speaks of the dead knowing nothing, praising nothing, hearing nothing. The only hope is resurrection, and seeing him in our new, incorruptible, immortal tent!

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns [groans] within me!
-Job 19:25-27

Our hearts should groan for resurrection just as Job and Paul groaned. (2 Cor 5:1-8)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NOTES:
"For in this we GROAN, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent GROAN, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. -2 Cor 5:2-4  
"Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves GROAN within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body." -Rom 8:23 
Jesus said Abraham will rise, no other thought is here concerning Abraham's life, "Moses showed in the burning bush passage THAT THE DEAD ARE RAISED, when he called the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ For He is not the God of the dead but of the LIVING, for all live to Him.”" -Luke 20 
[I have heard this verse used to teach Abraham being alive after death, but it only knows of life in resurrection.]

The Parable of the Ten Virgins.- Part 2

Some final thoughts on The Parable of the Ten Virgins.

I left off our last study pointing to the oil in the parable. Let's take a quick look back to Matthew 8 where the marriage supper in the kingdom (future) is noted by our Lord with a warning:

"I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the SONS OF THE KINGDOM will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
-Matt 8:11-12

We note that those who are cast into the "outer darkness" are not unbelievers of all ages (as tradition teaches), but "sons [heirs] of the kingdom." These are Israelites who will be cast out of their reward. We will see this same punishment in The Parable of the Talents.

These sons are juxtaposed with a Gentile in the passage who has "faith greater than all in Israel."

So, where does the oil in our parable come in? Let us review the two healings at the start of Matthew 8:

1-4. THE LEPER. Israel. The Lord touched Him.
5-13. THE CENTURION’S SERVANT Gentile. Healing at a distance.

The Lord's ministry was to Israel alone (Matt 10:5-7; 15:24), but we also see in Matthew that Gentiles would be blessed through Israel's Messiah (Matt 12:21). So, he touches the leper (Israel) and heals the gentile without his presence being necessary (this is also true of his healing of the gentile's daughter in Matthew 15; in both cases the healing is by another's faith).

Here we must turn to Leviticus 14 where the ritual for the cleansing of lepers is given. Oil is placed on various parts of the leper's body (each with a different significance) along with blood atonement for sin. [I suggest reading the whole chapter.]

The leper in Matt 8 displays his faith and is healed:

“Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed."
-Matt 8:2-23

Just like the Centurion, faith brings healing. But unlike the Centurion, the Israelite is commanded to "show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."
The 10 virgins all had the healing by faith, but 5 did not have enough oil. They are cleansed lepers, but they did not fulfill the work of God by being faithful witnesses and giving a testimony to the nation.

I made this is a separate post because I didn't want to get bogged down in the typology here. I think the oil is simple and would be understood by Israelites who understand the law. Many fanciful things have been taught about it, but we must see it in its Jewish context.

I would add that all these parables are profitable (as is all scripture) to us in our age. There is a plain message here to be "ready, " not to fall asleep (a similar warning is given to us in Ephesians 4). But some have used these parables, wrongly divided, to put Christians under bondage to fear and/or to teach others that the way of life is by a "second blessing" (or anything other than faith). This danger is even more pronounced in the next two parables.

Remember, the leper and the Centurion's servant were healed by faith. It is in obedience to the law that the leper, a Jew, would be judged. His healing is secure, but he still had to obey Moses. This is for Jews, not for Gentiles (of any age).

In Acts 15, Jewish believers are commanded to keep the law, Gentile believers are not (just "four necessary things").

The Parable of the Ten Virgins - Part 1

We now look at the Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25.

We've established elsewhere that Israel is seen as "virgin" in the New Covenant (Jer 31; etc.) and it is specifically virgins of Israel who are sent to preach in Rev 7 (Rev 14:4).

The Revelation tells us the New Jerusalem "comes down as a bride adorned for her husband" (Rev 21:2,9). This is the "better resurrection" reward, "the city whose builder and maker is God" (Heb 11:10,35), that faithful Israelites looked for (and why they shunned comfort in this life). We looked at the "better resurrection" and the difference between life (free gift) and reward (earned) in recent studies.

In the previous parable of the wicked servant, we noted that the central figure is a "servant." He is in employ of the Master. Here we have Virgins and they are invited to the wedding feast. We, again, are looking at a called-out company (Israel).

"The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.."
-Matt 25:3-5

They ALL fell asleep waiting for the bridegroom. ALL of Israel is pictured here.

“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
-Matt 25:6

This should take our minds to 1 Thessalonians 4, and the expectation of Israel for her Lord to come and establish his kingdom.

"For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord."
-1 Thess 4:16-17

The "coming in the clouds" in scripture is a picture of the Lord returning as he left (Acts 1) and coming to establish his kingdom (not to come and leave again). This is the "parousia" of scripture (the presence of the King), not the "epiphenae" (the appearing we look and live for).

See Titus 2:13; 2 Tim 4:1,8.

Those events may be closely related, but the effects and expectations differ.

The Lord is very specific as to the timing in Mark.

“But in those days, AFTER THAT TRIBULATION, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man COMING IN THE CLOUDS with great power and glory. And then He will send His angels, and gather together His ELECT [Israel] from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven."
-Mark 13:24-27

The Revelation speaks of the last trumpet of 1 Thess 4:

“The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”
-Rev 11:15

The Revelation is not sequential. Like its counterpart, Daniel, it must be rightly divided. Clearly here we see the last Trumpet heralding the rule of the King. [A great study is comparing the events described in Matthew 24 with the events of the Seven Trumpets of the Revelation. The parallels will be evident.]

The ten in our parable are all "virgins." They are all of chosen Israel. They are all pure. Yet they are not all overcomers. The New Jerusalem is for the overcomer. [Note: I'm inclined to think there is a picture of the 10 northern tribes of Israel here, but I wouldn't be dogmatic about it.]

Rev 2-3 speaks of the promises to the Jews who overcome in that age. Here is one of the promises:

"He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the NEW JERUSALEM, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name."-Rev 3:12

ALL the virgins sleep, but when the call comes, it is the ones who have ENOUGH oil in their lamps (they are ready) that are called to the wedding. Note the punishment for those with no oil left (they all started with oil).

"And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut."
-Matt 24:10

The Lord says to them,"Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you." This sounds familiar. We look back at Matt 7:

"Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’"
-Matt 7:22-23

They did things in His name, but he did not have intimacy with them.

Why?

They are cast out because they "practice lawlessness." Lawlessness (Gk: anomía) of being without the Law. This is solely applicable for a Jewish audience. In our seven epistles, "the Law" is clearly something against us, something not given to the Body. We are called to walk "lawfully," that is "according the rules" given us, if we want to receive a reward or the prize.

Paul teaches us that The Law is for the lawless (Gk: ánomos; 1 Tim 1:8-9). We walk according to our calling and it is this calling (by grace and found in the Mystery of Ephesians 3 and the last seven epistles of Paul) by which our race will be judged. These are the "rules" we follow.

The charge of "lawlessness" is made against those of us who preach grace is incompatible with the Law of Moses. But I challenge anyone to read Ephesians chapters 4-6 and Colossians chapter 3 and not come away convicted at its "high calling" (Phil 3:14).

We will contrast the punishment of the foolish virgins in this parable with the punishment meted out in the next two parables in future thoughts. We will be "testing things that differ" (Phil 1:10) that we learned, in a previous study, is a key to Bible interpretation.

I will say a brief word about the oil in the next TTotD.
-

[Note: I will NOT be doing these parable full justice. There is much to be said about them that cannot fit here. These short studies are to introduce a template for later study. Traditional interpretations have done violence to the context, IMHO, and I am suggesting a fresh look.]

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Addendum:

"The great point of this parable is that of ‘entering’. The five wise virgins ‘went in’ (eiserchomai) to the marriage, and the door was shut. Here we have the Lord in His last discourses referring back to His first. The man who heard His sayings, and who did them, is likened to a wise man who built upon a rock. The other man is likened to a foolish man. In the day of testing the wise man’s building stands. Reward is promised to the servant who is not only faithful, but wise (Matt. 24:45-47). The Lord does not use the word ‘foolish’ of any others except those cited in Matthew 7 and 25."

-Charles Welch (DBG, Parable Miracle and Sign, page 14)

Introduction to the Parables of Matthew 25

At the risk of upsetting Andy Stanley's sensibilities, we dip our toe back into the parables in Matthew. We've come a long way and we now find ourselves with three end-time, return of Messiah parables (Matthew 25).

If you search for information on the parables, these three come up quite a bit. They are heavily used by the sacramental and works-oriented groups. The irony is that these parables do address works, but the "WHY" and "WHO" and "WHEN" are not "rightly divided" and, thus, tremendous error and slavery result.

Remember our context for Matthew 24-25.

The context is still his "coming and of the end of the age" (Matt 24:3). We are solidly on Jewish ground. All things are seen in light of the Kingdom promised to Israel (the good news of the Kingdom); which the Lord forbade his disciples to preach to anyone but to Jews (Matt 10:5-7; cp Acts 11:19).

"When shall these things be?", and "What shall be the sign of Thy coming, and (what shall be the sign) of the sunteleia [συντέλεια, consummation, that period which is the gathering point of all things just before the end, telos] of the age?"
-Matthew 24

Matthew 25 starts off with the powerful word THEN. The context is given in Matthew 24: the great tribulation (the time of JACOB'S Trouble) and the end of that period.

"For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be."
-Matt 24:21
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened..."
-Matt 24:29

Also seen in Matthew 24 is the "coming in the clouds," the "tribes," "angels," the sound of a "trumpet," and the regathering of the "elect." All of this is Jewish ground.

  • WHO: Israel, the tribes, the elect nation, the land
  • WHEN: at the return of the Son of Man
  • WHY: to judge different groups, by works, in that age

So, these parables will judge works. But what is in sight here is the Kingdom (Israel's Kingdom), the marriage supper, the New Jerusalem.

What is not in question is salvation (life).

The isms. schisms, spasms, cults, red-letter moralists, and sacramentalists use these parables to enslave people to their systems (which promise rescue) and enslave them to either fear or a false hope.

Gentiles are addressed in the last parable of Matthew 25, but as in all scripture in the ages in which Israel is God's channel, they are only seen and judged in relation to Jews.

If we do not recognize these parameters (all clearly laid out by the Lord) we will wander into great error. I do not have space to fully explore these parables, but I hope to give a basic framework that will shed light on their truths and free any who are enslaved or deceived.

In contradiction to Andy Stanley's belief that studying the parables will destroy your faith, rightly divided, these will enhance and encourage us. It is a simplistic study of these parables that is sending many to destruction thinking they're OK or that they must continue to strive to be reconciled to God.

I guarantee those who heed his words to ignore the parables will be the first to be enslaved by bad teaching from them. They will not know how to "rightly divide" and will fall for a cursory reading of them. The "Red-Letter" crew will enslave them.

Let me pause here and add that God has already been reconciled to you.

"God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them..."-2 Cor 5:19

We need only to be reconciled to God by faith. The only barrier between you and God is unbelief. He has removed all sin (He took upon himself our sins as a once-for-all, finished sacrifice), and rose from the dead that we might one day follow him in the resurrection.

"we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
-2 Cor 5:20-21

He holds nothing against you, but you must come to HIm by faith. The GIFT of God is resurrection life. You do not earn a gift, you simply receive it.

Next time we will look at the Parable of the Ten Virgins.

Andy Stanley Teaches Scripture is Dangerous to Faith

If you're a masochist and you've followed my posts, you'll notice that I if I reference a teacher with whom I disagree on something, I reference people I generally like. Most often I quote and point to teachers I really like.

I take something they're teaching and break it down and suggest another interpretation. I can disagree and remain in fellowship... but there are lines we cannot cross.

Today, I take a slightly different tack.

Today I want to briefly say something about a rising star in Evangelicalism; someone whose materials have started to permeate otherwise solid local churches. That teacher is Andy Stanley.

The man has, not just a "low" opinion of scripture, he has a blasphemous view of scripture. He epitomizes the warnings we receive in scripture about Satan and his ministers. Strong language? Yes. Because he's becoming very dangerous and very wealthy.

(Andy would probably love to read that. One of his tactics is to create straw-men "fundamentalists" to knock down. He would scoff and line me up as just another "stuffy" Christian "hung up" on the Bible. You know, bad-fitting suit, etc. But any regular reader of my writings would know I have no problem discussing "traditional" church teachings and no problem departing from conventional interpretations. But I would never degrade scripture or question its veracity.)

As we have noted often, Satan's tactic with believers is to start where they are and slightly move them. He presents "another Jesus." Satan comes as an angel of light. His teachers are teachers of righteousness (2 Cor 11). A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

On the other side, he turns grace into licence. In the name of "unity" he assaults the only thing which can truly unite us: truth. Yes, we have disagreements on some issues, but we unite on the sufficiency and authority of scripture. Andy Stanley assaults scripture, reintroducing Satan's first lie, "Hath God said?" (Gen 3:1)

It's not surprising Genesis receives his disdain. Since the beginning, Genesis has received much of the enemy's hatred, scorn and anger. In it we have three things Stanley disparages: Creation, the Abrahamic Covenant, the selection of Israel.

I don't want to start quoting a lot here, because the volume would be huge and context needed. But as I believe we need at least one example (in trying to appeal to people who also have no respect for the witness of the Law and the Prophets) he states:

"Once they can no longer accept the historicity of the Old Testament; once they couldn't go along with all the miracles; once somebody poked a hole in the Genesis creation, you know, myth; once all that went away, their house of cards came tumbling down; because they were taught, 'it's all true, it's all God's word, and if you find one part that's not true, uh oh, the whole thing comes tumbling down.' Not Christianity. The Bible did not create Christianity, The resurrection of Jesus created and launched Christianity."
-Andy Stanley (Orange Conference 2018)

Well, how do we know about the resurrection? Actually, that's the least of his problems here. He actually says rather ignorant things about the Apostles and the Lord. Jesus quotes Deuteronomy more than any other book. "The hope of Israel" is central to the message of Acts age. The promises to Abraham permeate the Acts age. The Revelation is replete with Old Testament quotes and the entire book is built on the promises to Abraham and to Israel and to Adam!

Stanley insanely states that Peter and James discarded the Old Covenant, the Law and the Prophets. Has he ever read the epistles? They are filled with the Old Testament! Even Paul, in the Acts age writes a chapter about learning from what happened to Israel (1 Cor 10). It is a chapter filled with warnings from the old testament.

"These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come."
-1 Cor 10:11

Paul declares of the the events of Pentateuch that he does not want them to be "ignorant;" without knowledge (1 Cor 10:1). Paul's argument for the gospel is built on Adam in two epistles (Romans and 1 Corinthians). Stanley counts this all as dung, says you don't have to believe it, suggests it's myth and error and will destroy your faith. Nonsense! The opposite is true!

Andy Stanley is a dangerous man. I predict his star will continue to rise. he appeals to the flesh. Watch soon for his church changing its stated position on moral issues.

"Unity" over "doctrine" will become the cry of the professing church. "Love" will be deemed not the greatest among faith and hope, but sufficient on its own. This is often how Satan has tried to deceive God's own. It was a tactic I was taught when I was an enemy of the finished work.

"Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables."
-2 Tim 4:2-4
 
"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer."
-2 Tim 2:15-17

2 Timothy was the last book given to us by our apostle, Paul.

Andy Stanley is dangerous and must be rejected. Rat poison in 99% nutritious, but has enough poison to kill the rat in minutes. Don't swallow his attractive bait.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Addendum:


I was thinking about the many things Andy Stanley has said in disparaging scripture. Among his mockery, he says that the prophets had no idea what they were writing, the parables are too hard to understand, and that the Book of the Revelation is essentially impossible to comprehend.

His recommendation is to give up, Trying to study these things will only ruin your faith.


We covered a little of this yesterday (and the gaping scriptural holes in his arguments should be evident), but it was his assault on "The Revelation of Jesus Christ" that brought to mind a story evangelist Oliver B. Greene used to tell.

He was starting a series on The Revelation and someone said to him, "you shouldn't read The Revelation. No one can understand The Revelation!"

To this, he responded, "It seems strange to me that God put 22 chapters in the Bible we're not supposed to read."

As I have tried to express in my series on the parables in Matthew, yes, Bible study can be difficult. The parables are meant to be difficult to understand (unbelievers cannot understand them - Luke 8:10). But that is a challenge from the Lord to study, not an invitation to blow them off!

We approach scripture humbly, dependent on the Spirit to guide and teach. We build upon previous understanding. We compare scripture with scripture (line upon line, precept upon precept) and we must be willing to go where our study leads us.

I'll stop there and finish with words from the Book of Revelation itself:

" Blessed [is] he that reads, and they that hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things written in it..."
-Rev 1:3

Irony alert: you cannot understand The Revelation without being familiar with the Law and the Prophets.

That anyone with an ounce of discernment would continue to listen to Andy Stanley is beyond me.


The State of the Dead

In light of Tyndale’s thoughts on the resurrection and the state of dead that we looked at in the previous study, let’s look at the death of Jacob and Joseph’s reaction.

“And when Jacob had finished commanding his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people. Then Joseph fell on his father’s face and wept over him, and kissed him.”
-Gen 49:33-50:1

Jacob was dead. There is nothing here (as there is nothing anywhere in scripture) about comforting Joseph with the idea that Jacob is in bliss somewhere.

In covering this passage, teacher David Hocking points to John 11 where we see Jesus weeping over the death of his friend Lazarus. Hocking states that Jesus wept, not because Lazarus was dead, but rather because the others did not believe in him.

What sayeth the Scriptures?

Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”
-John 11:33-36

We’ve looked at this passage before. He wept because he loved Lazarus. The ONLY comfort and the ONLY hope given in this chapter is resurrection.

Martha shows incredible faith here. Resurrection and nothing else is what the Lord uses to comfort her. No “he’s in bliss now” paganism.

Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God...
-John 11:27

This is how we are to comfort the bereaved.

Note the state of the dead in the following passage and the hope Paul references to comfort the living:

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen ASLEEP, lest you sorrow as others who have no HOPE. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who SLEEP in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are ASLEEP. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the DEAD in Christ will RISE first.
-1 Thess 4:13-16

Since Jesus died and rose again, so will those who have died in Christ. This is our hope. The only immortality scripture knows for men is resurrection.

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So WHEN this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, THEN shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”
-1 Cor 15:53-55

Resurrection.

(Also note the state of the BELIEVING dead: Hades/Hell. This is the only time Paul uses the word, and it is in regard to believers. No "fiery torture chamber" paganism here.)

So then death is working in us, but life in you. And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.
-2 Cor 4:12-14

The hope? Resurrection.

This is the context of 2 Cor 5:1-8, possibly the most misquoted passage in scripture.

We must learn to find joy in the hope of our resurrection. In doing so, we glorify his resurrection. For he is the first fruits of those who sleep. His resurrection, the great undoing of the curse of death, makes our hope of resurrection possible. Praise Him!!

Luis Palau Rewrites The History of William Tyndale

K-Love radio offers a daily short message from Luis Palau. I take each vignette on its own. Sometimes I think he's OK, other times, not so much.

Today, Palau ventured into an area about which I would usually get excited, He was talking about William Tyndale. Tyndale happens to be a personal hero of mine. Of course, that doesn't mean I agree with everything he taught, but he is a very important figure in the history of the church of this age, We owe him quite a lot.

If you don't know who William Tyndale is, you're probably familiar with at least some of his work. It is estimated that at least 70% of the KJV New Testament is based on his translation of scripture to English (unfortunately, the KJV translators were under the influence of the state church, but we'll leave that there). Much of the KJV Old Testament reflects his work as well.

Because of his work translating and publishing the Bible in English, he was sentenced to die. For years he avoided capture by escaping to Germany and the Netherlands. But eventually he was betrayed, arrested, and sentenced.

"Tyndale was tried and convicted of heresy and treason and put to death by being strangled and burned at the stake."
-BBC History

In addition to translating the scriptures into English, he also tried to rescue Biblical truth from the Pagan mythology that dominated it for centuries. He exalted the resurrection (Christ's and ours). He fought vociferously for the finished work of Christ and the centrality of the resurrection.

"The true faith [setteth forth] the resurrection, which we be warned to look for every hour. The heathen philosophers, denying that, did [set forth] that the souls did ever live. And the pope joineth the spiritual doctrine of Christ and the fleshly doctrine of philosophers together; things so contrary that they cannot agree, no more than the Spirit and the flesh do in a Christian man. And because the fleshly-minded pope consenteth unto heathen doctrine, therefore he corrupteth the Scripture to stablish it."
-William Tyndale (An Answer to Sir Thomas More's Dialogue )
"Notwithstanding, let me grant it him that some are already in hell and some in heaven, which thing he shall never be able to prove by the Scriptures, yea, and which plainly destroy the resurrection, and taketh away the arguments wherewith Christ and Paul do prove that we shall rise;... and as touching this point where they rest, I dare be bold to say that they are in the hand of God.
-William Tyndale (An Answer to John Fisher)

So why was I not terribly excited about Luis Palau pointing to Tyndale?

Well, I'm happy Tyndale got some press, but Palau did him and his listeners a great disservice by saying he was a "pastor." No, he was an ordained priest. And he wasn't persecuted by unbelievers, but by a church which claims its doctrines can never change. He was excommunicated and eventually executed.

“Let the Protestants of England never forget William Tyndale. His life-work was to bring the Bible within reach even of the humblest peasant. And for no other offence than this, the Church hounded him to his death, never resting till it strangled him at the stake and flung his body to the flames.”
-Sir Robert Anderson (The Silence of God)

I highly recommend the book, "God's Bestseller: William Tyndale, Thomas More, and the Writing of the English Bible - A Story of Martyrdom and Betrayal"

Satan Will Be Cast Down - Part 2

We're considering the casting out of Satan from heaven in Revelation 12. We looked at the pre-trib position that this is John (author of the book) seeing a PAST event. We showed that the context reveals it is yet future and deals, not directly with Christ, but with Israel.

I wanted to address the Lord's reference in the Book of Luke to seeing Satan cast down. I wanted to look at it in context of Revelation 12 (comparing scripture with scripture).

"And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven."
-Luke 10:18

It seems like an odd statement in context.

"But I say to you that it will be more tolerable in that Day for Sodom than for that city. Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades.
-Luke 10:12-15

The Lord had sent out the "seventy" to preach the kingdom of God (10:1,9). Luke reflects the Acts age (he is the author of the Acts of the Apostle). We do not see the seventy in Matthew. We see the twelve sent to Israel alone. The seventy go to ("as well as the twelve") Jews living outside the land, among the nations (as Paul did in the Acts age; cp Rev 7:9).

"Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven."
-Luke 10:19-20

This looks forward to the Revelation.

This chapter then gives us the Parable of Good Samaritan. The parable is in response to the question, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" We see a Jew assaulted. "Religious" Jews" avoid helping him, placing the law above its intent and its greatest commandments. However, a hated Samaritan tends to the Jew, sees that he is cared for, fed, housed and protected.

As we will see when we get to the Parable of Sheep and the Goats in Matthew 25, the nations (the seventy) shall be judged as to how they treated the Jews (the Lord's "brethren") during the Tribulation.

We'll leave that there and get back to 10:18.

The context surrounding the Lord's statement that he sees Satan cast out fits the Revelation 12 narrative. It is a future prophesy as are the judgments to which he refers in Luke 10.

So, the oddity of the statement goes away when we look to Israel's future in the Revelation. Luke is reflecting Paul's Acts-age ministry "to the Jew first" and the "Hope of Israel" (the coming kingdom).

The hope of the Body is in "heavenly places" (Eph). We are at war with the principalities and powers there and look forward to Satan and his minions cast out.

Another thought from Rev 12. We do see the Lord Jesus there (past), but we are the taken to the future tribulation and Israel's future protection in Petra:

"She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. 6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days [3.5 years, "time, times and half a time"].
-Rev 12:5-6

Ezekiel 20:33-38 should be read here. The Lord meets Israel in the wilderness (where he provides for them as he did their fathers) and it is there the sorting takes place before the kingdom is established in the land.

"I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord"
-Ezek 20:38

We then look back at the warning in Matthew 24:

"Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the Holy Place (let the reader understand), then those who are in
Judea must flee to the mountains..."
-Matthew 24:15-16

Edom/Petra (in Jordan) is emptied, but spared. Israel will flee there (Daniel 11:41). There God will provide and protect and judge (as we have seen). Petra is connected to Mount Seir. When armies surround Israel, they will flee to the mountains (Luke 21:20-21).

[This is all in pencil. This is speculative Michael Scotto interpretation... I'm not absolutely certain about Petra... you were warned!]


Satan Will Be Cast Down - Part 1

I was watching Dan Goodwin, author of "The Mystery of the Jubilee," on Prophecy in the News and as part of the discussion on the concept of time, he went to Revelation 12 and Satan being cast to the Earth.

"Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child."
-Rev 12:13 (NKJV)

The traditional "pre-trib" position (held by Dan Goodwin) postulates that this is a vision of the past and not the future. It wasn't the focus of the discussion, but I think it's something we need to dig into.

They teach this as Satan being cast from heaven to the Earth (specifically to the Garden of Eden).

The immediate context of Rev 12:13 seems to point to Satan pursuing Mary and the Christ child (since he is now on the Earth). We can see this in the verse quoted above and by the reference of fleeing into the wilderness (Mary taking the Lord to Egypt, etc.).

But if we continue to look at the passage, it become clear that the woman is Israel (not Mary, although she is a picture of Israel) and it refers to her children (plural); specifically, believing Jews during the Tribulation

"And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."
-Rev 12:17

This is clearly future. These are the believing Jews who have responded to the 144,000 Jewish evangelists (Rev 7) that we looked at in a previous study.

We also see the time code which belongs to the future of Israel (3.5 years, the last half of the Tribulation / Daniel's 70th week) :

"she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent"-Rev 12:14b

Daniel speaks of Israel (Daniel's people) in the hands of the Antichrist:

"Then the [holy ones] shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time."-Dan 7:25b (cp. Dan 12:7) 

"Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come..."-Dan 10:14

We know from Job that Satan (and other fallen angels) are in the heavens.

"Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them."
-Job 1:6; 2:1

We now look at what Paul said about the powers of evil in the age in which we live:

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places."
-Eph 6:12

We recently looked at the "heaven places" and we saw that this is where The Body has its blessings and its hope. We do not look for an earthly inheritance as Israel does. Israel wrestled against flesh and blood in the promised land, we fight a spiritual war (there are different hopes for different people in different ages).

But in regard to the topic at hand, we see that the "rulers of darkness" are in heavenly places. They will be cast out in the coming age, and that is what we see in Rev 12:13

Satan is called “the god of this age” (2 Cor 4:4) and “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 16:11) and "the prince of the power of the air" (Eph 2:2). He walks about looking for those he might devour (1 Pet 5:8). His realm currently is the earth, the sky and in heavenly places.

Satan has not yet been cast out of the heavenly places. This is a future event as I currently understand it. When Satan first rebelled, it could very well be that he was cast to an earth in chaos, but the casting down in Rev 12 is a final act, not a past act.

The Seventy Nations and the Great Parenthesis

We have been looking at Israel's central part in the plan of God for the earth. Through Israel, God will bless and refresh the nations. We see this pictured as the children of Israel left slavery in Egypt by the hand of God:

"And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters."
-Exodus 15:27

In scripture, the gentile nations are seen as the 70 nations.

"The haggadic assumption that there are seventy nations and languages in the world is based upon the ethnological table given in Gen. 10., where seventy grandsons of Noah are enumerated, each of whom became the ancestor of a nation."
-Kaufmann Kohler (Jewish Scholar)

It is through Abraham that the gentiles would be blessed:

"And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, 'In you all the nations shall be blessed.'"
-Gal 3:8

Through the seed of Abraham, Christ, were believers in the Acts age blessed with Israel. We, of course, are also blessed (although our blessings are "in the heavenly places" -Eph).

That concerns individuals. The earth itself, and the nations, will be blessed through the channel of Israel.

Now, while all of this is true, and while we are to bless the seed of Abraham, that does not mean Israel is above judgment. Hardly. As we have seen, tremendous judgments have been declared upon the nation and the tribes.

We saw that in the treatment and judgment of Ephraim. We see this in Reuben, Levi, and Simeon being chastised by Jacob on his deathbed. Reuben loses his double inheritance as the firstborn. Their sins? Reuben's was immorality, Simeon and Levi anger and cruelty. Again, loss of reward, not relationship.

Israel will be restored. This is what the chosen apostles of the Lamb were expecting in the Book of Acts (1:3,6). It is this kingdom which Paul proclaimed. It is this hope that is central in the ministry of the Lord and in the Acts Age.

"For this reason, therefore, I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain" ... So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets..."
-Acts 28:20,23

At Paul's trial, he testified that he preached "nothing" except that which Moses and the prophets said would come; the kingdom to Israel (26:22). NOTHING.

You might be wondering, so where do we come in? Those with blessings and a hope not on the earth, but in heavenly places?

We are part of something Paul tells us was hidden from Moses and prophets and revealed to him only. In the Acts age, he preached Moses, the kingdom, and withheld nothing.

"And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God."
-Acts 20:25-27

He hid NOTHING that had been revealed to him at that time.

Paul's revelation of the "one new man" with blessings "in heavenly places" was new, unknown to the prophets and unknown to Paul in the Acts age. Ephesians chapter 3 tells us that to Paul alone was given this ministry; to reveal something God had hidden in Himself from BEFORE the foundation of the ages.

"He chose us in Him BEFORE the foundation of the world"
-Eph 1:4

As we head back into Matthew 25, we note that at the judgments there, the earthly kingdom is in view:

"Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you FROM the foundation of the world...'"
-Matthew 25:34

Here are the two great plans of God: one revealed FROM the foundation of the ages, the other hidden BEFORE the foundation of the ages; then revealed to Paul.

We live in the GREAT PARENTHESIS in the plan of God for the earth. There is an Israel today, but it is in the land in unbelief. There is great immorality still. This is why she must go through her cleansing so that God can sift the wheat from the chaff and establish the earthly kingdom with the remnant (true Israel).

"His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
-Matthew 3:12

We see that unquenchable fire in Isaiah 66, after the establishment of the kingdom in the land. It is a real fire where "corpses" [dead bodies] are cast. (Is 66:24)

We covered this in more detail in our studies in the parables of Matthew 13.

We must RIGHTLY DIVIDE scripture and MARK THE THINGS THAT DIFFER. Otherwise, we end up in contradiction and confusion.

The Bride, The Lamb's Wife

In his excellent series on Genesis, David Hocking makes an ironic statement. In his rightful defense of Israel as still being in the plan of God and still having a glorious future, in the middle of chastising Replacement Theology, he talks about "the church" as the Bride of Christ.

This is yet another common failure to rightly divide the word of truth and a failure to mark things that differ.

Israel is the Bride of Christ, not the current church.

In this age, the Lord is gathering his Body. The bride has her own head, while the Body's head is Christ.

We do not have Israel's covenants (old or new) and we are not the bride. These errors are expected from those who have sought to rob Israel of her place and promises and highly disappointing for those who should know better.

Replacing Israel (in any way) is part of an old heresy. The phrase "the bride of Christ" is nowhere found in scripture. What we do have is "the bride, the Lamb’s wife." This is near the Revelation (Israel's time).

In the Book of Hosea, we see the Lord commanding the prophet to take a wife of whoredom to illustrate what the Lord experienced with Israel, his wife, chasing after other gods.

The Lord said to him,“Go, marry a prostitute and have children of prostitution, for the people of the land commit great prostitution by deserting the Lord.”
-Hosea 1:2
 
"Plead with your mother, plead:
for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband:
let her, therefore, put away her whoredoms out of her sight,
and her adulteries from between her breasts"
-Hosea 2:1

At the end of the story, she is redeemed by the prophet and restored unto him as Israel will be restored in the "latter days" (the Revelation, as we have looked at in recent studies).

"Then said the Lord unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the Lord toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine. So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for a homer of barley, and a half homer of barley: and I said unto her, Thou shalt abide for me many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man: so will I also be for thee. For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days."
-Hosea 3

They will return to the land and to their God. He will redeem them from the slave market and restore his wife unto himself. Under the New Covenant, she shall again be as a virgin.

Here the entirety of Jeremiah 31 must be read. How Christians can cram the church in here is criminal. We were "strangers to the covenants" (Ephesians). Since the New is for those who had the Old, it must be for Israel alone.

The New Covenant speaks of the restoration of Israel (and specifically Ephraim, remember our study on the lists of the tribes). Israel shall be a "virgin" again. She is the future Bride of the Lamb because she is the past wife of Yahweh.

Gentiles in the Coming Age

We've been looking at Israel's future back in the land. We looked at the 12 tribes. We noted the 12 Apostles of the Lamb sent to Jews. We noted the 12 Apostles will sit on twelve thrones judging those 12 tribes. We saw that in the New Jerusalem, which will come down to earth as a reward, has the name of the 12 sons of Israel on its gates and the names of the 12 Apostles on its foundation.

We haven't said much about Gentiles.

We are going to go back the parables in Matthew 25 in the coming weeks and we will soon see the Gentile nations in judgment when the Lord returns. Again, all that has to do with the earth and the coming kingdom is seen through the filter of Israel and the Jews (the only nations we see in the OT are those who come in contact with Israel or a Jew).

In regard to a mini-timeline of the ages to come (when this age of grace and the silence of God ends) is roughly this:

  • -Israel is placed at the center of God's plan again
  • -Israel finishes the final 3 weeks of Daniel's 70 weeks
  • -The last week being the time of Jacob's Trouble (Tribulation)
  • -The return of the King 
  • -The Millennial kingdom (1000 years)
  • -The final rebellion of Satan
  • -The New Heavens and the New Earth
  • -The New Jerusalem

We have seen these throughout our studies. But back to Gentiles. A day is coming when the whole world will look to Jerusalem to worship the true and the living God.

"Yes, many peoples and strong nations
Shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem,
And to pray before the Lord.’ “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”’
-Zech 8:22-23

[It is recommended that you read the entire chapter for a full picture of the restoration of Jerusalem and Israel. Chapter 8 finishes the first section of Zechariah written during the building of the temple, and following his visions of the kingdom.]

Yes, those gentiles outside Israel will grasp at the sleeve of a Jew and ask him to take them to Jerusalem to worship. Quite a different scene than the hatred of Israel and the Jews we see in this age.

But Israel will have to have this moment first:

It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo."
-Zech 12:10-11

  • -God will destroy the nations that come against Israel (Jews)
  • -God will open Israel's eyes
  • -Israel will weep for their "pierced" Messiah God, Jesus

Israel has a tremendous future, but it will not come without a period of testing and trouble (the time of Jacob's Trouble).

The wicked teachings of Replacement Theology (which teaches the "church" has replaced Israel) dominate up to 85% of professing Christendom. It has led to horrifying treatment of the Jews by "Christians" and an inability of many to "rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Tim 2:15)" or to "test the things that differ (Phil 1"10)" to understand prophecy or to understand the Mystery of Ephesians which defines this age.

All true believers must reject Antisemitism in all its forms. The current nation in the land is presently there in unbelief. We still must try to reach them with the message of their Messiah. But God has brought them back there to accomplish things in the future. "True Israel," a "remnant," will come forth in the coming age and then "all Israel shall be saved."

As we have seen many times, the New Covenant is yet future and it is give to Israel alone. We must stop claiming to be under the New Covenant. That is robbery and a product of Replacement Theology and Antisemitism.

----------------------------------

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: 
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.
-Rom 11:25-26 (cp. Isaiah 59:20, 21)

Comparing the Different Listings of the Twelve Tribes

Carrying on from our last two studies, we now look at the "things that differ" in regard to the 12 tribes. Let's start with the original 12 sons of Israel (Jacob):

"And these are the names of the sons of Israel who had come into Egypt; with Jacob had they come, each with his household: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah; Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin; Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher... and Joseph was in Egypt...
-Exodus 1:1-5

When they occupy the area around the tabernacle in Numbers 2, the list omits Levi, and includes Ephraim and Manasseh; the sons of Joseph.

Jacob had prophesied this. He gave the sons of Joseph a place among his sons:

"And now thy two sons, who were born to thee in the land of Egypt before I came to thee into Egypt, shall be mine: Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, as Reuben and Simeon."
-Genesis 48:5

In Numbers 26, God tells Moses how the inheritance of the land will be divided. He names the tribes and their families. In that chapter, again, Levi is separated out as with the land about the tabernacle.

"[the sons of Levi] were not numbered among the children of Israel, because there was no inheritance given them among the children of Israel."
-Num 26:53

So, when it comes to inheritance of land and occupation of land, the priestly tribe, Levi, had no claim. They serviced the tabernacle (and later, the temple). This was the reason for the tithe. It went to support the temple and the priesthood. It has no place in the current age.

Jumping ahead to Ezekiel 48 and the future temple we see two lists: the first involved the inheritance and, again, leaves out Levi. But when the gates of the city are listed, Levi is there (Ephraim and Manasseh are represented by Joseph).

In the Book of the Revelation (a fully Jewish book which deals with Israel's future) we see an interesting list in Rev 7 (the evangelists during the Tribulation): Levi is there (not a matter of the land), but Ephraim and Dan are missing (Joseph joins Manasseh to make it 12).

Where are Dan and Ephraim? Remember, this is a time of Israel's testing and fire unto purity. Pagan worship in the northern kingdom was centered in Dan and Ephraim. Jeremiah cries out against them:

O Jerusalem, wash your heart from wickedness,
That you may be saved.
How long shall your evil thoughts lodge within you?
For a voice declares from DAN
And proclaims affliction from Mount EPHRAIM...
-Jeremiah 4:14-15

(I believe Joseph takes Ephraim's place as a picture of God's justice and grace in separating out those in Ephraim who did not bow a knew to the pagan gods.)

When the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven, Rev 21, we see the gates which bring to mind the gates in Ezek 48; the original 12 sons of Israel including Levi, Dan and Joseph are listed on those gates.

"These are the exits of the city... (the gates of the city shall be named after the tribes of Israel)..."-Ezek 48:30,31

"Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west."
-Rev 21:12-13

We must also see in the Jewish picture, the 12 Apostles of the Lamb, who were the "Apostles to the Circumcision" as we have seen in recent studies. The Revelation is a fully Jewish book.

"Now the wall of the city [New Jerusalem] had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb."-Rev 21:14

The New Jerusalem is a reward for Jews who overcome and righteous Gentiles in the Jewish age who honor Israel and have faith in her Messiah. This is the city those in Hebrews 11 looked to (v10). This is the "better resurrection" they sought (v35).

Comparing Things That Differ in Scripture

We have looked at Philippians 1:10 in a number of studies. We discovered that the translation in the KJV and a number of other translations have imposed human reasoning and doctrine onto the verse.

"that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ"
-KJV

The NIV inches us closer:

"so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ"-NIV

But when we look at literal translations we see a clearer picture of the charge:

"for your proving the things that differ, that ye may be pure and offenceless -- to a day of Christ"-Young's Literal

"To the end ye may be putting to the test the things that differ, in order that ye may be incorrupt and may give no occasion of stumbling, unto the day of Christ"
-Rotherham Translation

The KJV isn't horrible. We do need to look for the "excellent" thing. But, unfortunately, "dokimázō" translated "approve" is better understood as "testing" something. The word translated "excellent" is "diaphérō" which has the idea of "finding the better of what differs." Strong's concordance gives us this, in part:

"subjectively to “differ”, or (by implication) surpass: - be better"

So, yes, we are looking for what is "better," but we are testing those things that are different to get there. In many cases, we must do this that we may "walk worthy of the calling with which [we] were called." (Eph 4:1)

I must walk in the calling of my age. Adopting practices or doctrines from another age, even though they are holy and of God, may put me in the way of disobedience. So many churches walk in the ways of other ages and claim the promises of other people. They will find themselves wanting in the day of Christ's appearing.

We are called to test or prove the "things that differ." When we look at scripture, we see "things that differ." One of these things are the lists of the Tribes of Israel. Would that mean the Bible is in error? Actually, as with all the things the differ, the differing lists are consistent with the plan of God and reveal to us scriptural and prophetic truth.

Next time we will look at the differing lists of tribes. But for now, let's look at the context of Phil 1:10:

"For God is my witness, how I long for you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ,and this I pray, that your love yet more and more may abound in full knowledge, and all judgment, for your proving the things that differ, that ye may be pure and offenceless -- to a day of Christ"
-Phil 1:8-10 (Young's Literal)

Paul prays that they "may abound in full knowledge, and all judgment" and thus be able to successfully "prov[e] the things that differ."

Here we look to the NIV, as a paraphrased commentary:

"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight"

The perfect (mature) Christian works with the Word of Truth (2 Tim 2:15) and looks to God for "depth of insight" when he sees "things that differ."

----------------------------------

"It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter."
-Prov 25:2

The Twelve Tribes in God's Plan

The Twelve Tribes of Israel are an integral part of God's earthly plan. They are not a relic of the past, but an essential element in our understanding of the New Testament (past and future).

The Apostles are promised that they will each sit on a throne, judging the twelve tribes in the promised Kingdom.

And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
-Matthew 19:28

The Apostle James writes his epistle to the twelve tribes:

"James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ: To the 12 tribes in the Dispersion."
-James 1:1

James refers to them meeting in synagogues (Jas 2:2). Unfortunately, this has been sanitized by Replacement Theologians and those who will not accept that James was writing to Jews, in the dispersion, who still identified as the 12 tribes.

Of the 58 English translations available at Biblegateway.com only 8 use "synagogue" to translate the Greek "synagōgḗ / συναγωγή." Sad.

The "Expanded Bible" uses "church meeting" and notes: "the word can mean 'synagogue,' but here refers to a house church gathering." What? "CAN MEAN" synagogue? That's the actual, Holy Spirit inspired word (synagōgḗ). There is a Greek word for "church" used all through the New Testament. God doesn't need an editor.

Also, note that none of the tribes is "lost." James doesn't say, "To the two we know of, but in case you see any of the others..." In Luke 2 we meet Anna, "Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher..."

The split kingdom (the two southern tribes, Judah and Benjamin vs the 10 northern tribes) is important. We see them pictured in different ways throughout the New Testament. But we assured they will be one again. The two sticks shall form one (Ezek 37:19), all 12 tribes will be called upon to witness for the Lord in the age of the Revelation (Rev 7).

Not only James, but Peter writes to this "dispersion."

"Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the elect who are sojourners of the Dispersion..."
-1 Peter 1:1

Israel is the "elect" nation of God. These two were sent "only to Jews" (Matt 10) and preached only to Jews (Acts 11). They were among the "Apostles to the Circumcision"

"They recognized that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised,[a] just as Peter had been to the circumcised. For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles. James, Cephas and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised."-Gal 2:7-9

In the age of the Acts, God still made a distinction between Jew and Gentile in some matters.

We've covered the New Covenant in other studies. We saw that it is not for the believers of this age, but it is reserved for a united Israel in a future day.

“The days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah
....
This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel
after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people."
-Heb 8:8,10

Note the covenant is to the separated kingdoms (Israel and Judah), yet they will become one again (Israel).

Let us not rob from their promises. And why would we want to? We should be looking for our hope in "the far above the heavens" (Ephesians).

The Parable of the Wicked Servant

We're back in the Olivet Discourse (finally!) and we move on to the parable of the wicked servant.

“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
-Matthew 24:45-51

Noting from recent posrs, we must understand this concerns believers. Both here are "servants." But we must also recall from our studies that the context is Israel. We have been looking at warnings to different groups of believers, in Matthew, we are dealing Israel and her coming kingdom (which we have covered at length previously).

We have also previously looked at the "weeping and gnashing of teeth" punishment in Matthew. We first saw this punishment in Matthew 8:

"the children of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
-Matt 8:12

Those punished are not unbelievers, but "the children of the kingdom." That is, unrepentant and disobedient Israelites in that day. Remember our context for the Olivet Discourse (future judgment):

  • When will these things be?
  • What will be the sign of your coming?
  • What will be the sign of the end of the age?

The context is clearly His coming. Those in view will be judged according to specific tasks assigned at the time of the end. The parable of the fig tree [Israel] and the warnings concerning the last generation and the unknown "day or hour" point to actions taking place when the Son of Man arrives.

This becomes more clear as we enter Matthew 25.

We saw this weeping and gnashing in The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares in Matt 13 and in Parable of the Wedding Feast in Matthew 22. In each case, believers are in view.

In Matthew 13, we read of this judgment:

"The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil."
-Matthew 13:41

Again, this happens at the end; it involves angels; it is in regard to the kingdom on earth; and is based on works.

[This is not a judgment in regard to this current age. We do not face these punishments, but we do face (as we have recently seen) possible loss of reward and missing out on the special resurrection "out from among the rest of the dead." (Phil 3:11)]

There are a number of judgments connected to Israel's earthly kingdom that are connected. Let us quickly look at another parable which illustrates this truth.

Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
-Matthew 18:33-35

This involves "fellow servants," "brothers," their "master," and a teaching that the Father will deal with the unjust servant based on his works. This cannot be forced into this age. These are believing Jews, in the kingdom. As we know, when the Son of Man does rule on earth, "He shall rule them [Gentile nations] with a rod of iron" (Rev 2:27; Ps 2:9) and he shall reward some overcoming Jews (their responsibility) the honor of ruling with Him.

"And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the [Gentile] nations..."
-Rev 2:26

This is very important context to help us understand the parables of Matthew 25, some of the most grossly abused passages in scripture by those intent on teaching the traditions of men.