Q. Please explain to me how you come to the conclusion that the “parable of the talents” and the parable of the “sheep and goats” have to do with people only in the Tribulation. I’ve read these parables many times before and I have never gotten that message.
A. Beginning in Matt. 24:15 there’s a string of what I call time stamps. When I first discovered it, after spending several years studying Matt. 24-25, I wondered how I (and many others) had ever missed it, because it makes the sequence of the things Jesus was talking about unmistakably clear.
Matt. 24:15 is a prophecy of the Abomination of Desolation. Matt. 24:21 tells us that’s when the Great Tribulation begins. Matt. 24:29 begins a description of things that happen after the end of the Great Tribulation. Matt. 24:36-37 tells us that no one knows about “that day or hour”, the day and hour of the Lord’s 2nd Coming, which follows the end of the Great Tribulation. I think He used the phrase “day or hour” to make it clear that He was talking about the very day of His return, not just the general time surrounding it.
Matt. 25 begins with the parable of the 10 virgins, telling us that it will happen “at that time”, the time of the 2nd Coming, and describes something that takes place shortly after the Lord’s return. By this we know that the 10 virgins are Tribulation Survivors and not the Church, because even post-trib believers place the rapture before the 2nd Coming, not after it.
The parable of the talents begins in Matt. 25:14 with the word “again” indicating that He’s describing the disposition of Tribulation Survivors just as He did in the parable of the 10 virgins, but in a different way.
The sheep and goat judgment, beginning in Matt. 25:31, completes the chapter and his briefing, and confirms the time he has been talking about. Verse 31 reads, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His throne in heavenly glory.” It’s clear that this event also happens after the 2nd Coming. It’s actually an expansion of Matt. 24:40-41, where one is taken (literally received) and the other is left (literally put away).
By these “time stamps” we know that everything after Matt. 24:29 takes place after the end of the Great Tribulation, and everything after Matt. 24:36-37 including the three parables in Matt. 25 takes place after the 2nd Coming and deals with people still alive on Earth at that time.