Q. Thanks so much for your very informative site. I have a question regarding Luke 12: 47-48. Who is being spoken of here ? Do these verses indicate punishment for lazy believers or degrees of punishment for unbelievers ?
A. No specific time is mentioned in Luke 12:35-48 but there are some clues. In Luke 12:36 the Lord told them to be ready for service with their lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet. I believe this is a reference to the 2nd Coming. The other clues seem to confirm this because the owner of the house parable in Luke 12:39-40 is identical to the one in Matt. 24:43-44 and the parable of the wise and faithful manager from Luke 12:42-48 is contained in Matt 24:45-51 as the parable of the wise and faithful servant.
Since both the Matthew references take place just after the 2nd Coming, and speak of the Lord’s servants, I think it’s safe to assume the Luke passage is also meant for surviving Tribulation believers. These being parables, the severe beatings are symbolic of the loss of salvation (Luke 12:46) and the less severe ones symbolize a lighter punishment such as the loss of blessings in the Millennium. The point of Luke 12:47-48 is to show that the Lord will judge these survivors according to what they knew about His return. The more they knew and ignored the more severe their punishment will be.
Remember, Tribulation believers will not enjoy eternal security. That is a blessing granted only to the Church. Having been clearly told the details of the Lord’s return and ignored them will apparently be grounds for loss of salvation. It’s a good thing the Church has eternal security or else lots of believers today would be facing the same consequences.