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Friday, May 25, 2018

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.