The conclusion of our 2 part study on the Olivet Discourse. The focus of this session is the timing of events of the 2nd Coming, and why the parables of the Two Servants, the 10 Virgins, the Talents, and the Sheep and Goat judgment are not meant for the Church.
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So this study is a continuation of our commentary on Mark 13. Last time, we covered the first 31 verses with a sidetrack or two into some other areas. Tonight we’re going to finish the chapter, but instead of going on into chapter 14, I want to spend some time with you in Matthew’s version of this account, which as we know from our last session is called the Olivet Discourse. Because Matthew at the end of his version of this includes four little stories that the Lord told to underscore His point about what the end of the age would look like.
You remember that the disciples had gotten the Lord off to the side—the four of them, Peter, James, John, and Andrew—had gotten the Lord off to the side, and they had asked Him three questions because He had just been told to look back, they were walking out of the city toward the east, He had been told to look back at the beautiful site of Jerusalem behind them as they climbed up over the Mount of Olives toward Bethany.
They looked back at the beautiful city of Jerusalem in the sunset. And you know, Jerusalem even today, by law, all the buildings in Jerusalem have to be clad in white limestone. At sunset, the setting sun turns that white limestone into a golden color, and so it looks like a city of gold back there behind you with the sun’s reflection off the city.
And one of the disciples remarked about its beauty and asked the Lord to comment on it, and His comment was, “I tell you the truth, this whole thing is going to be torn apart and not one stone will be left standing on another.”
And so these four disciples, Peter John James and Andrew, had gotten the Lord aside and said, “Tell us about this, what will be the sign that these things are about to happen?” And then—I’m paraphrasing here—“While you’re at it Lord, tell us what will be the sign of Your Coming?” (Which means the Second Coming) “And of the end of the age?”
And so, Mark 13 has to do with His answer to those questions. There’s a parallel account in Matthew 24 and 25, and there’s another parallel account in Luke, I believe it’s chapter 21. And we’re going to focus mostly on Mark and Matthew tonight; we spent some time in Luke’s version last time. You really need to read all three versions to get the whole story because to get all three of the questions answered requires that you read all three accounts.
This being a study of the Gospel of Mark, we’ve spent most of our time in Mark and have gone back to the other accounts to sort of verify, or fill in the blanks, or add detail to Mark’s story. Tonight will be another case of that.
And so, the session we covered last time was pretty much an answer to those questions:
What will be the sign that these are about to happen?
What will be the sign of your coming?
What will be the sign that tells us the end of the age is here?
And we’ve covered in general those three questions in our last session. Now tonight, we’re going to look at some added detail that the Lord gave them at the end to fill in, expand, on His answers to give them a little better understanding.
And the reason I want to spend this time on these supplemental issues, you might call them, is because they have been almost universally misunderstood down through the ages and misapplied, in my opinion, to the point where the common understanding of these things is entirely different than what the Lord intended.
My goal for tonight is to get you to agree that that’s true, because what I’m going to do is we’re going to look at each verse very carefully, and we’re going to discover that probably most likely what you’ve been taught about these areas, these things, is not consistent with what the Bible really says here. And my goal is that we leave here tonight understanding what the Bible really says.
Then if you still want to believe what you’ve been taught, that’s okay with me, but at least you’ll know what the Bible really says about it, and you’ll have an option there of deciding which version you want to stick with, the one you’ve been taught or the one the Bible says. [laughing]
I’m only half joking about this, because a lot of people, you know, decide to believe things that are different from what the Bible says. Even after they learn what the Bible says, they stick with what they’ve learned because they like it. And it’s okay with me, none of these are salvation issues, so nobody is going to go the wrong direction because of what they believe in this. But it’s nice to know what the Lord was really talking about.
And, by the way, I’m not the only one that thinks this way, I’m not going to give you something that I’m the only one in the world who has the understanding of. You know, whenever somebody says something like that to me, I always run the other way.
And so, there are lots of competent scholars who believe, as I’m going to show you tonight, that this is what the Bible really says about these things. And so, you’ll find lots of support for this idea. But unfortunately, most of the teaching that I’ve heard in the past has not been consistent with the Bible’s teaching here.
So let’s dig right into this now, in Mark 13. We’ve got a few verses to cover in Mark, just about 5 verses here before we get to the end of the chapter, and that’s where Mark will leave the topic of the End Times signs, and go on to his next topic which has to do with the final days of the Lord’s life.
At that point we’ll switch back to Matthew and pick up these four little stories, and we’ll see what we can come up with from that.
Okay, so in Mark 13:32 it says:
“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
“Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”
And that’s the end.
All right, now we’re going to go back to Matthew and hear some of the same things, and so let’s do that and I’ll show you what he was really talking about when he says here, “No one knows about that day or hour.”
I’m going to guess that you have, on several occasions in your life, heard somebody say something that sounds like, “No one knows the day or the hour.” Have you heard that before? No one knows the day or the hour.
Okay, first thing I want you to see is that that’s not exactly what He said here—He is going to say that, by the way, but the verse they quote is this one in 13:32 and it really says, “No one knows about that day or hour,” Right? No one knows about that day or hour.
There’s a difference there, one means if somebody says no one knows the day or the hour, that means you don’t know when this is going to happen. But if somebody says no one knows about that day or the hour, it could mean you do know when it’s going to happen, you just don’t know what it’s going to be like when it does happen. So it’s a different meaning.
And let’s go back to Matthew 24, and I’ll show you a little bit about this. And in Matthew 24 we’re going to start in verse 36 where you’ll see the exact same sentence as we saw in Mark 13.
Matthew 24:36, the Lord says:
“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
Okay? Now, the first thing we have to figure out is what day and hour is He talking about, and that will be the first area where you’ll have to decide whether to believe this, or what you’ve heard before.
Because the Bible tells us what day and hour He’s talking about, and to find out, we go back to—well let me take you to Matthew 24:15, and we’re going to build a timeline through the rest of this chapter that’ll help you see this.
You remember they’ve asked Him, “What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” And in Matthew 24:15, after giving them a whole bunch of general signs—earthquakes, famines, wars, rumors of wars, apostasy, persecution, false Christs appearing—after giving them a lot of general signs in Matthew 24:15, He gave them the first really specific sign, and it went like this.
“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains
And then He goes on down through some other things: Don’t go into the house, don’t stop and take your coat, get out of town.
In verse 21 He says:
For then there will be great tribulation, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.
So, the first specific sign of the end of the age and of His Coming, was when they see the Abomination of Desolation standing in the Holy Place, because that is the sign that starts the Great Tribulation.
Now we know—and we covered a lot of this last time, and so I’ll just give you some highlights here, and then you can go into the CD from the last time if you want to know more about it—we know that that couldn’t happen today. It couldn’t happen because there is no Holy Place, there’s no temple, okay? So what you have to know when He says, “When you see the Abomination standing in the Holy Place,” you have to know that that means two very specific things.
One is, there has to be a nation called Israel existing on Earth that is in covenant with God, and two, there has to be a temple standing in Israel.
Those two things have to happen before this Abomination could take place, okay? Now today, we have a nation called Israel on Earth, don’t we? But they are not in covenant with God, and so that part is only half done. The nation is there, but they are not in covenant with God, and because they are not in covenant with God, they have not built a temple.
The first will come, the reestablishment of the covenant, because that’s why they need a temple, is because the covenant requires one. And so they have to be in covenant with God, and then they have to build the temple, and then you’ll see the Abomination of Desolation.
So, we know from other studies in the Bible that Israel being a nation is an important End Times sign, probably the most important one. The first real End Times sign was Israel becoming a nation, because up until 1948, there was no nation Israel, so there couldn’t have been a people in the holy land, and there couldn’t have been a temple because there was nothing and nobody there to do it, okay? So the rebirth of the nation Israel was the first major sign that we are in the end of the age, and that took place in 1948.
In 1967, this was further enhanced by the fact that for the first time since 135 A.D., Jerusalem was a Jewish city again. In Jewish hands, belonging to the nation of Israel. First time, 1967. The first time that had been true.
In 1948, they only got part of Jerusalem, they didn’t get the part the temple had been in. The part that the temple had been in, East Jerusalem, belonged to Jordan up until June 6th, 1967. And so in 1967 we saw a further development in the fact that that land on which the temple had stood was now finally part of Israel again. Those are the only two things that have happened.
The next thing that will happen is that they will come into a covenant, they’ll be reawakened to their covenant relationship with God, and as soon as that happens they will begin to build a temple.
And when the temple is completed, this Abomination will occur. Now the Abomination is something that has happened once in history, only once, and it was well before Jesus said this, and so we know what it will look like when it happens.
The Abomination that causes Desolation is a specific event wherein a man will stand in the Holy Place and declare that he is God. That’s the Abomination that causes Desolation.
That happened once in 165 B.C. it has never happened before that, it has never happened since.
And so it can’t happen until there’s a temple, can’t have a temple until Israel is in covenant, can’t have a covenant until Israel is a nation. So you see how these things have built.
So what we have so far is we have Israel is a nation, Jerusalem where the holy city was and where the temple used to be, that’s all part of Israel again. Those two things have happened, but they’re not in covenant yet and they haven’t built a temple yet.
And so we’re in the end of the age, but we’re not at the specific point that Jesus is pointing to here when He says in verse 15, “When you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation.’”
When they do see that, then that will start the Great Tribulation, as He said in verse 21.
Now look down in verse 29:
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days
“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
So verse 29 happens at the end of the Great Tribulation. And then verse 30 says:
“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky. And then all the nations of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.
And so, the Tribulation comes to an end, the sun and the moon go dark, the stars go out, it’s totally dark on Earth, and then at some point they’ll see a sign that the Lord is coming back. They won’t see the Lord yet, only a sign that He’s coming. We don’t know what the sign is. But they will recognize it when they see it. And after they see the sign, then they will see Him coming in the clouds. That’s the Second Coming.
All right, now you get down to verse 36 with me where it says:
“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
What day? The day of what? The day of His return, the day of the Second Coming. That’s the day He’s talking about.
And to make sure that you didn’t take “day” to mean something longer than a day, because from looking at all the references to a phrase “the day of the Lord” from looking at all the references to that phrase in the Bible, most of them are talking about a three-and-a-half year period called the Great Tribulation. And so, so that you didn’t misunderstand and think that He was talking about that whole three-and-a-half year period, He said, “That day or hour.”
So now you know He’s not talking about a period of time called “the day of the Lord,” He’s talking about a 24-hour period in which there is one hour that is important, and that’s the hour of His return.
Okay, so now everything after verse 36 is about that day and hour. Everything after verse 36. The Tribulation is over, and the Second Coming has occurred. Now, why is that important? Because we’re going to read things in the next few verses that people attribute to the Rapture of the Church, but it can’t be because they take place after the Second Coming.
I don’t care what you believe about the Rapture right now, nobody believes it will come after the Lord returns. Nobody believes that. No matter where they put the Rapture of the Church, it’s always sometime before. And so, all these verses take place after the Second Coming, so none of these verses can have anything to do with the Rapture of the Church, and they don’t.
In the first place, the Lord never taught anywhere in the Gospels about the Rapture of the Church, you won’t find any teaching from Jesus on the Rapture of the Church. The Rapture of the Church was introduced 20 years later by Paul. And up until that point, nobody on Earth had heard of it. Paul taught it to the other disciples, because he got it straight from the Lord 20 years after the Lord’s resurrection, and he introduced it to the people of Earth in his first letter to the Thessalonians which was written in 51 A.D., almost 20 years after the cross.
Now see, any teaching you’ve heard on these next few verses that has to do with the Rapture of the Church cannot be right. That’s only one reason by the way, here’s another one coming up.
As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
Notice He doesn’t say at the Rapture of the Church, He says at the coming of the Son of Man, at the Second Coming.
And so the non-believers on Earth won’t have any idea, they’ll know they’re going through terrible times. The non-believers on Earth know today they’re going through terrible times! But they don’t expect the Lord to come and take care of it, do they? So they know that times are bad, but they do not know what’s coming.
In the first place, it’s going to get worse than they think, and in the second place, it will eventually lead to a very difficult time on Earth. But they have no idea about this, because you don’t hear this on the news. All you hear is recession, things are getting better, no they’re not, yes they are, no they’re not. Nobody knows! Nobody knows. Nobody can tell you what’s going to happen in the next few weeks or months, because nobody knows.
Because none of the signs, none of the trends work. None of the indicators are working. The stock market is going up right now, and you know what people are saying? It’s a sucker rally, it’s just trying to draw us back in before it crashes again. Now I don’t know if that’s true or not, I don’t have any idea. But that’s the kind of things that are going around, they don’t agree on the trend, in other words. That’s all I’m trying to say.
Okay, we got to stick with the Bible here.
All right, now in the first place, this is in the days of Noah talking about the judgment. I want you to understand something here. In the days of Noah, there were three groups of people on Earth.
The first group was the unbelieving world; they all perished in the Flood.
The second group was Noah and his family, his three sons, and all their wives. There were eight people. They were preserved through the Flood.
And there was a third group consisting of one person, his name was Enoch. He was Raptured off the Earth, before the Flood.
And if the Lord says it’s going to be like that again, that means there’s going to be three kinds of people on Earth again. There’s going to be a group of unbelievers that perishes in the Great Tribulation, there’s going to be another group that is preserved through and survives it, and there’s going to be a third group that disappears before it.
And you say, “Well, Enoch was only one body.” And I say, “Well, so is the Church.”
And that’s not a joke, that’s important because that’s going to be important to you in a few minutes here. So remember, the Church is one body, okay?
All right then we go down to verse 40, it says:
Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
And everybody raise your hand if you heard that teaching in the past referring to the Rapture. Okay, almost all of us, a dozen. And it can’t, and here’s why.
The word “taken”—we suffer sometimes from the fact that when we read our Bibles in English, we’re reading things other people have interpreted the original text to mean. And those other people are humans, and they are not perfect, and sometimes they inject their own biases into the translations.
If you understood the Greek language, and you read this passage in Greek, the word translated “taken” there, is a long word; it’s paralambano. It’s a Greek word paralambano, it means to receive unto oneself. So it sounds like almost the opposite of “taken.”
“Taken” and “receive” seem to be different, but they really are the same. Think of it if you were a kid in school and you’re choosing up teams to play some sport, baseball or kickball or something like that, and there’s two captains and the captains are selecting their teams and one says, “I take you.” And the other says, “I take you, and I take you.”
What it means, what they were really meaning is, I receive you unto my team. Right? That’s what this word means. When it says “one taken” it means one received unto, in this case, the Lord.
Okay, well that happens in the Rapture, people are received unto the Lord. The problem is with the other word, the other word is “left.”
Now, we think of the word “left” as just meaning ignored. But it doesn’t mean that, it means, in the Greek the word is aphiemi, and it means to put away. It was a word that was often associated with the Greek word for divorce, where a husband is said to put away his wife.
In English it’s the same thing. “A man left his wife,” it means he put her away, he put her out of his relationship. And that’s what this meant, this other one will be put away, put out of the relationship.
And that’s a problem, because at the Rapture that doesn’t happen. At the Rapture the people who aren’t taken are literally ignored. They’re not sent anywhere, but this word implies that the second group will be sent somewhere.
And that’s what makes it like the days of Noah, because in the days of Noah, Noah and his family were received unto the Lord, put in the Ark. He put them in Himself, closed the door. The others who were left, were sent away in the Flood to perish.
And at the Second Coming that’s exactly what’s going to happen, there will be a group of people who will be received into the kingdom, and there will be another group of people who will be put away off the face of the Earth.
The Sheep and the Goat Judgment is going to tell us about that, because it is an expansion of these verses. And so in verse 40 here and 41, what He’s talking about is at the Second Coming, a group of people on Earth will be received into the kingdom, and another group will be put away, sent away.
That’s what those two verses mean. That doesn’t happen at the Rapture, it does happen at the Second Coming. And besides, the timing here tells us that this is the Second Coming, so those two reasons tell you that you can’t build a Rapture doctrine on these verses.
Now stick with me, because this will become clearer as we go.
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.
Now, there’s another verse that we have often associated with the Rapture. Nobody knows the day or the hour, people use that verse to make an excuse for not discussing the Rapture, don’t they?
You try to talk about the Rapture to people and some will say, “Hey, nobody knows the day or the hour, so don’t try to tell me!”
I’ve had people come up and say, “You know, I’ve decided I’m a Pan-Tribulationist.”
I say, “Really? What’s that mean?”
“I’m just going to wait and see how it all pans out!” [laughing]
And so, that means they’re telling me, “Don’t talk to me about it. I don’t know, and I don’t think I can know, and maybe I don’t even want to know. I’m just going to wait and see how it all pans out.”
But here it is, after the Second Coming, and it’s too late to be Raptured. Now how can this be, if the Great Tribulation ends, and then the Lord returns, how can it be that people would not know the day or hour? Well it’s simple. If you go back to verse 29 with me I’m going to give you some information you probably already know, but if you don’t you can look this up and check, you can check me out on this.
The Great Tribulation is the most clearly defined period of time in the entire Bible. Sometimes they say it’s three-and-a-half years long. Sometimes they say it’s 42 months long, and sometimes they say it’s 1,260 days long. Now turns out that all those periods of time are the same.
Three-and-a-half years is 42 months, and 24 months is 1,260 days. Especially since the Lord works on His original calendar, which was made up of twelve 30-day months. And so, whether they say three-and-a-half years, or 42 months, or 1,260 days, it’s the same. You can start counting when it starts, you can count to 1,260, and that’s the day it will end because that’s what the Bible tells us.
Now those of you who have heard about a seven year Tribulation, well, what you’ve heard about is the seven year period of time known as Daniel’s 70th Week. It’s a period of seven years. The Great Tribulation is the last half of that period, it’s not the whole seven years.
Now, the whole seven years will be difficult times on Earth, and the Book of Revelation talks about the whole seven years. But the Great Tribulation is only the second half of that period, because Daniel says in Daniel 9:27, in the middle of that period, the Abomination of Desolation will occur. Daniel 9:27.
Jesus says that’s when the Great Tribulation starts. Well, if you’re in the middle of that seven year period, then you’re three-and-a-half years into it, right? And so, if the Great Tribulation starts in the middle it starts three-and-a-half years into that seven year period which means the Great Tribulation is three-and-a-half years long. Which is 42 months, which is 1,260 days. It’s the most specifically defined period of time in the Bible.
So how could the Lord say, “You don’t know the day or the hour when I’m coming.” When the Bible seems to say He’s going to come right after the Great Tribulation ends? Well, He doesn’t really say that.
What He says is, in verse 29:
“Immediately after the distress of those days
“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
That will happen immediately after the end, and that will be the signal that the Great Tribulation has ended. The sun goes out, the moon goes out, the stars go out. That’s never happened before, and so when that happens it’ll get people’s attention. They will know that the Great Tribulation has ended.
The next thing that will happen, verse 30:
“At that time, the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky. And then all the nations of the earth will mourn.
It doesn’t say the Son of Man will appear, it says His sign will appear.
Some believe a giant cross of light will appear in the dark sky, that’s because some believe that’s the sign of the Lord. I don’t know, we don’t know, but with the sun and the moon and all the stars dark, whatever appears in the sky is going to get people’s attention! And that will be the sign.
And then, sometime after that, they will see the Lord actually coming. But they won’t know exactly when that’ll take place in relation to the end of the Great Tribulation.
In fact, in Daniel 12, he says something about the Great Tribulation being three-and-a-half years and then he says, “Blessed are they who are alive at the end of that.” And then he says, “Blessed are they who are alive at the end of the 1,290 days.” And then he says, “Blessed are they who are alive at the end of the 1,335 days.”
And so he gives 1,260, 1,290, 1,335, a 75-day range between the end of the Great Tribulation and the beginning of the kingdom. Somewhere in that 75 days the Lord is going to return, but no one knows exactly when that will be, you follow me? Somewhere after the end of the Great Tribulation, within a 75-day period, the Lord will return.
Go back to Daniel 12. I want to show you this, because I’m getting some blank stares here.
In Daniel 12, the subject is the Great Tribulation, and we know that because verse 1 says:
“At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of tribulation such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then.
This is almost exactly what the Lord said in Matthew 24:21, so we know they’re talking about the same time. Now go over to verse 7, 12:7—let’s go to 12:6 where Daniel says:
“How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?”
The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time.
In the Hebrew language the word for “time” is one year, the word for “times” is a dual, so it means two more years. And the word for “half a time” means a half a year. So you got one year, plus two years, plus half a year, right? Three-and-a-half years. And so the Great Tribulation will last for three-and-a-half years.
Then go over to verse 11 where Daniel is told:
“From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.
Well three-and-a-half years is only 1,260 days, see, so he’s added 30 days to it. And then he says:
Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.
Nowhere else in the Bible is that said, and nowhere is it ever explained. There are books full of ideas about what it could mean, but nobody knows.
And I think this is on purpose, because I think that’s why the Lord was able to say the people on Earth alive at the end of the Great Tribulation will not know the day or the hour of the Lord’s return.
They can know from Daniel that it’ll be somewhere in a 75-day period, but they will not know the day or the hour until it actually happens.
They’ll be, if you can imagine this, they’ll be standing there in the dark. No sun, no moon, no stars. Not a sound anywhere. Standing there in the dark.
At some point they’ll see this sign in the sky, and that’s all there will be in the sky. Every eye will behold it, it will be visible everywhere on Earth. It’ll be nighttime everywhere, because there won’t be any sun or moon or stars, and that’ll be there for a while. Who knows how long.
And then, they’ll see the Son of Man coming in the clouds in great glory. But in advance they won’t know what’s coming or when. You imagine how they’ll feel about that? Imagine how afraid people will be? Imagine how scary that’ll be?
But that is why the Lord could say that even though you know that the Great Tribulation will last 1,260 days you will not know the day or hour of my return.
Okay, is that a little bit clearer now? Okay. Let’s go back to Matthew 24.
And in Matthew 24 we’re down at verse 43:
Understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
In verse 42, we heard him say once, “You won’t know the day or the hour.”
In verse 44, you hear it the second time. He’s going to come at an hour when you will not expect Him. In other words, you won’t know when He’s coming.
He’s going to say this four times in 23 verses. I’d say that means He’s putting some emphasis on it, wouldn’t you say so? If somebody says to you four times the same thing in a period of a minute or so, you know that’s important, all right? This is the second time.
Okay, now in verse 45, here comes the first little story about what’s going to happen when He comes back. And these four stories that I’m going to share with you now all take place after He returns, and they’re all meant to describe what the world is going to be like when He comes back.
None of them have to do with the Church—it’s been gone for years and years from the Earth by then. None of them have to do with the Great Tribulation. None of them have to do with salvation, at least not ours. They all describe what the Lord will find on Earth when He returns after the Second Coming.
Here’s the first one, verse 45:
“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. I tell you the truth, 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
There’s the third time.
and is not aware of it. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
All right, now I’ve always heard that this is what the Lord is going to do with backsliding believers. But you know, it doesn’t match any theology anywhere in the Gospels.
In the first place, it happens after the Second Coming. Now there will be believers on Earth when the Lord returns. If you do the math, and depending on how you do it, you discover that about half of the world’s population will survive the Great Tribulation. That means three billion people are going to die in a seven year period, by the way. That means about one-million-two-hundred-thousand everyday for seven years. On average, one-million-two-hundred-thousand will die every day during the whole seven years of Daniel’s 70th Week.
So, who is this wise and faithful servant he’s talking about? Well right off the bat, we think of the Lord’s servants as being the Church, but the Lord’s servants are only the Church during the church age. The Lord had servants before the Church, He’ll have servants after the Church. And the way His servants are treated before the Church, and the way His servants are treated after the Church, are entirely different than the way He treats us. Entirely different.
This can’t apply to you, it cannot apply to you. Because your salvation is not based on your works, your salvation is based on your faith. And this is a story about works, this is a story about someone who started off being a servant, and then abandoned his job and started goofing around with stuff he shouldn’t be goofing around with. And when the Lord caught him doing that, He cut him to pieces and threw him in the outer darkness. Now, how many of us would wind up cut to pieces and in the outer darkness if that applied to us? Everyone of us.
But you see, our salvation is not based on that, the Church is unique in that regard, we’re the only group in the history of mankind who is saved solely by faith, solely by the grace of God. Not because of works, lest any of us should boast. Ephesians 2:8 and 9.
Our salvation is guaranteed to us the minute we come to faith, the Holy Spirit is sealed within us as a guarantee of our salvation. You can’t show me a single verse in the Bible that says He gets unsealed at some point, you can’t show me a single verse in the Bible that says Jesus will change His mind about us, and, having taken us in and come to live in our hearts, He will suddenly vacate the premises and leave us to go our own ways. You can’t find a single verse that tells you that.
The only verses you can find in the Bible describe Jesus as a good shepherd who takes care of His sheep, and who has promised not to lose even one of them, but to raise them all up. This is not the Church.
Now, it also turns out—and I wish I had time to go into all this with you but you’ll have to check me out on this—I wrote an article a couple years ago called The Nature of Post-Church Salvation and I did a study based on all the things I could find that had to do with salvation during the period of time after the Church is gone.
And what I discovered is, the believers after the Church is gone, do not have the guarantee of security like the Church has.
That guarantee of security ends with the Rapture, and those believers who come to faith after the Church is gone, are responsible for their own salvation. I will show you that, and it will become clearer as we get into the Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids that’s coming up.
But I’ll demonstrate that to you and I’ll show you verses in Revelation that state clearly that people who come to faith after the Church has gone do not have the same guarantee of security that the Church has.
This is something that is given solely to the Church. You should leave here tonight with a new understanding about your position before God, and how unique it is. This wasn’t given to any Old Testament saints, and it won’t be given to any Tribulation saints. The sealing of the Holy Spirit within the believer at the very first moment of belief is unique to the Church and does not apply to any other group of humanity.
So what we have here is we’ve got a servant who started off doing good things. The servant in charge of God’s household, by the way, is someone that in our common vernacular we call it a pastor, a leader of a congregation. And so this is a parable about some of these post Church pastors.
You remember, a parable is a story that is hypothetical, but that applies to reality, and it does so by using substitutions. In other words, things in parables are symbolic of other things, they never mean what they say they mean. That’s why they’re confusing to people.
When the Lord tells a parable, He tells a story about a Heavenly truth, but He puts it into an Earthly context so we’ll understand it. Every parable the Lord told, tells a symbolic story.
There was no “real” Good Samaritan. There was no real man on the road. And He didn’t encounter the people that the story says He encountered, because it was a hypothetical story.
He was telling a story about Himself, He is the Good Samaritan. And the man along the road is you and me. The priest who came along and ignored Him and went the other way, symbolizes organized religion that can’t save anybody. It in fact ignores most of us!
But the Good Samaritan came and stopped, he clothed the man, just like the Lord clothes us. He took the man to a place where he could be comforted, just like the Lord does for us. He bound up his wounds, just like the Lord does for us.
And He purchased us, saying to the innkeeper, “Here’s money for his well being, and if I owe any extra I’ll pay it when I come back.” Just like he does for us. He paid for all the rest of our lives.
And so you see, the story of the Good Samaritan is the story about Jesus and us, it’s not a story about a man on the road in Israel 2,000 years ago.
So, parables are always stories that are symbolic of other things. And so, this servant, in my opinion, symbolizes leaders of congregations after the Church is gone. The Lord’s household are the congregations. Their food is easy, that’s the word of God. It’s our spiritual food, right? It hasn’t changed.
Those who are faithful during this time will be doing an extraordinary thing, and because they’ve been faithful with the congregation the Lord has given them, He will reward them in the Millennium.
But some will grow discouraged, some will lose heart, some will lose their faith, and they’ll stop believing in the promises of this word because times will be too tough there will be too much strain, there’ll be too much pressure, there’ll be too much going on around them that’s discouraging. It will be the most discouraging and dangerous time ever in the history of man.
And some will not stand up under that, but will leave the faith. Some of those will start coming up with oppressive doctrine, that’s what it means by beating his fellow servants; this happens today. I’ve come out of church services where I’ve felt like I’ve taken a beating because of the way the preacher spoke to us. I don’t know if this has ever happened to you, am I the only one?
When it says in verse 49:,“He began to eat and drink with drunkards.” Throughout the Bible this is a model of false doctrine and false religion. What was the woman on the Beast in Revelation 17? How is she described? With a big glass in her hand and the nations of the world are drunk on the filth of her inequities.
Eating and drinking with drunkards is a model for false doctrine, false teaching, false religion, and some of them will deviate off into that. And when the Lord returns He’s going to take care of that, and He’s going to take those who were responsible for others, and responsible for helping to maintain and build their faith in the most difficult time that the world has ever known, and instead they will have lead their flock off the path, they will beat up their people and they will introduce false doctrine into their teaching and He’s going to cut them to pieces and assign them to a place with the hypocrites. That’s who He’s talking about in this story.
Now let’s go down to 25, we’ll take the next story.
25 starts with a phrase, “at that time.” At what time? The time of the Lord’s return, yes. So right away you know that the Parable of the Ten Virgins is about the time of the Lord’s return.
I don’t know if this will help you, but it helped me to put a little asterisk in my Bible. I put one at verse 29 that shows we’re starting immediately after the Tribulation ends. Verse 30, another little asterisk that shows “at that time, the sign of the son of man will appear, and then He comes” and verse 36 another little star, “no one knows about that day or hour.” And then in 25:1 where it says, “At that time” again, I put another star because it’s the same time we’ve been talking about. It’s the time immediately following the Lord’s return.
And it says:
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 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.
So here we got ten virgins. Often, and especially in some of the older translations, they were called bridesmaids, ten bridesmaids. Maybe you’ve heard the story that way. There’s one thing that no translation has ever called them, brides.
They’ve never been called, in any translation, brides.
And in Greek the word simply means somebody who’s never had sexual intercourse. And so that’s all the Greek tells you. These are virgins, but that’s all it says about them.
Now in the Lord’s day, it was typical that unmarried people would not have had sexual relations and so, everybody who was not married was pretty much a virgin. And so, at a wedding, the bride would be a virgin, the groom would be a virgin, the bridesmaids would be a virgin, all the unmarried friends of the bride and groom would be virgins, everybody in the wedding party would be a virgin. Because you didn’t have sex in those days until you were married unless you wanted to die, because that was the penalty for premarital sex in Israel, it was death by stoning. And so there was very little premarital sex in those days. Something we ought to go back to there.
And so these ten young ladies are called bridesmaids in some translations, they’re called virgins in others, but they are never called brides.
And there’s a good reason for that, in the first place how many brides are there for the Lord? One, there is the bride of Christ. There aren’t the many brides of Christ, there is the bride of Christ.
Remember I told you before we’re only one body? There’s only one bride and so that’s one reason.
The second reason is, have you ever heard of a groom who didn’t permit his bride to come into the wedding banquet? Have you ever heard of such a thing? A bride doesn’t need an invitation to her wedding banquet, it’s in her honor! She can’t be excluded from it.
Besides that, the wedding banquet takes place after the wedding; she’s already the groom’s wife! Can you imagine how it would be if you went to a wedding and you saw a man and woman being married, and then you were invited to the reception afterwards, and the groom forbid the bride from coming in? Could this even happen? Not if he knows what’s good for him. [laughing]
And so this is not about brides. There’s no bride mentioned here.
Those who teach that this parable is about the backslidden Church are wrong. First of all, the entire Church is backslidden, okay? There isn’t anybody in the Church who is not backslidden. You want to prove that? Tell me whether you, today, have the same intensity and emotion of faith that you had on the day you were saved.
If you can’t answer “yes” you are backslidden, and so don’t let anybody talk to you about backslidden Christians, because they’re talking about all of us. And especially don’t let them talk about it if they’re distinguishing themselves from the group, because that just means they aren’t telling the truth.
We’re all backslidden Christians, we have all sinned since we got saved. But this is not about backslidden Christians, this is about the kingdom, remember? The Lord has come back already.
At the moment the Lord returns, the bell rings. Nobody gets saved after that, you understand me? At the moment the Lord returns, the bell rings, nobody gets saved after that until in the kingdom a new generation of people is born.
At the Lord’s return, there are two groups of people on Earth: Believers and unbelievers. This is about them.
The believers are represented by the five bridesmaids—not brides—bridesmaids who are welcomed into the kingdom.
In Matthew 22, the Lord gives a Parable of the Wedding Banquet, it’s a parable of the kingdom. The five bridesmaids who have oil are the faithful ones, they’re welcome into the kingdom.
The five bridesmaids with no oil are the ones who lost their faith while they were waiting, and when they try to get in He says, “I’m sorry I don’t know who you are.” And they are excluded.
Now we’ll see what happens to them because the same thing happens to them that happens to the servant who’s not faithful, and that will happen to the next guy we’re going to read about who’s not faithful. And this will all culminate in the story of the Sheep and Goat Judgment, which, by the way, I don’t believe is a parable.
But here you’ve got ten bridesmaids, none of them are brides, none of them are part of the Church. They are all faithful at the beginning, because they all have oil for their lamps at the beginning; oil is always used symbolically of the Holy Spirit.
All ten of them have oil at the beginning, all ten of them fall asleep, none of them goes to the wedding. Did you get that?
None of them goes to the wedding; they’re all waiting for the Bridegroom to come out. When He comes, five of them still have their oil, which means five of them still have their faith. They still believe even though they’ve been asleep and slept through it, they still have their faith. The other five don’t.
Now you can’t give somebody else your faith, and so when the five who don’t have oil ask the five who do, “Give us some of yours.” It can’t be done! You can’t give another person your faith. I would have given mine to several people by now, I imagine you would too.
But you can’t, you have to let them walk away. It breaks your heart to do it, but you can’t give them your faith. They can only get their own.
These five are Tribulation survivors who lost their faith along the way. And when the Lord came back it was too late, and they were excluded from the kingdom. He says, “I don’t know who you are.”
These are Tribulation survivors who once were faithful but lost their faith and are excluded from the kingdom. That proves to you that Tribulation believers do not have eternal security. If they did, they all ten would be welcomed in. They might not have a very good seat at the banquet but they would be there.
And in verse, what is that, 13, He says:
“Therefore keep watch because you do not know the day or the hour.
It’s a warning to people alive on Earth at the end of the age to keep your faith, keep yourselves pure, keep yourselves holy, keep yourselves believing, because you don’t know when I’ll return. It would be a shame to be like these five bridesmaids who fell asleep and lost everything right at the end.
Parable of the Talents comes next. I love this one because this is always used to try and get us to work harder.
Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents he gained two more. But the man who had received one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’
“His master said, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
Same thing happened to the one with two talents.
Then in verse 24:
“Then the man who had received one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
And so he hands him the talent that he dug up and had saved all that time.
“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
“‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Now, remember what I said about a parable, everything is symbolic. The master, of course is, the Lord is talking about Himself. His servants are people He entrusts with something while He’s gone, and He’s gone a long, long time.
The big question here is, what is it that He entrusts these people with? When the Bible was written, the word “talent” did not mean a skill or ability. That’s something that only came along with the English language.
The word “talent” is a Greek word, but it was a unit of measure it had nothing to do with a person’s skill or ability.
It first started off as a dry measure. A talent of this or a talent of that was a certain amount of weight; it was 97 pounds roughly on our scale. Later on it became also used to describe an amount of money, typically about a year’s wages.
And so, the two things that a talent was, in the Lord’s day, was either 97 pounds of something, or it was an amount of money. And to make it clearer the Lord says here, this talent He’s talking about is five talents of money.
This has nothing to do with whatever skill or ability the Lord has given you, because like I said, the word “talent” came to be thought of as a skill or ability. In the English language it never was that way in the Greek.
Now the origin of that meaning comes from this parable, but it comes from the fact that we have assumed that that’s what it means not because that’s what the word actually meant.
To figure out what the Lord is really talking about we got to figure out what’s important to Him. He entrusted these servants with something that was very important to Him, and He gave it to them to do something with it, expecting to see some kind of return when He got back.
All right, so what is important to the Lord? Do we know from our knowledge of the Gospel whether or not money was important to the Lord? We know that it was not important to Him, He taught a lot about it, and about how dangerous it is, and about how we could be careful with it and what we do with it, and that we should not let it distract us from the really important things of life. But He Himself never had any money, nor did He ever seem to need any. It was not important to Him.
How about your ability? Let’s just say for a minute that He thinks your ability is important to Him. Do you think that’s the case? Do you think the Lord is dependent upon your abilities? No, in fact, He would probably be a lot better off if we didn’t help so much. No, it’s not your abilities.
This is not based on your works, you see, because once again there’s no theology in the Gospels about you having to make sure that you use whatever ability your Lord has given you or else you’re going to lose your salvation over it. There’s no theology about that anywhere.
Even those people who believe in a combination of grace and works to earn or protect your salvation, don’t believe that it’s based on using your abilities, they mean it’s based on the holiness of your life.
Anybody who espouses a salvation by works theology, the works part is you living a holy life. It’s not you doing good things, or using your abilities to the best of your capability. And so any interpretation of this parable, based on how well you’ve used the talent the Lord has given you, is improper. It’s not seeing the symbolic nature of the word “talent.”
But there is something that is very, very important to the Lord. Extremely important, in fact it’s more important to Him than His own name, which I think you and I would agree is pretty important to Him. But this is more important to Him than His name, it’s the most important thing in the universe to Him.
If you want to know what I’m talking about, let’s turn to Psalm 138.
Psalm 138:2 says:
I will worship toward your holy temple
and will praise your name
for your loving kindness and your truth,
for you have magnified your word
above all your name.
What is the most important thing? It’s His Word. And so if you were going to be true to the rules of interpretation for a parable, where everything is symbolic of something else, and you took a parable that talked about a large amount of money, which five talents was, and you say, what could that represent? What could represent a substantial amount of money like that to the Lord? You’d have to come to the conclusion that it’s His Word. Because His Word is the most important thing to Him.
How do we invest His Word? We share it. And the more we share it, the more return is gained from it. Some people are given a greater understanding of His Word than others, and so the person with five talents had a very good understanding of all the Lord’s Word, and he invested it, he shared it and it was magnified. There was a return on that investment, and he doubled it.
The person with the two talents, he didn’t have as broad an understanding of God’s word but what he had, he put to work. And it paid off!
The person with one talent buried it in the ground. Now what happens with God’s Word if you don’t use it and multiply it? You lose it. You find out later on that you don’t even understand the little bit you thought you knew when you began! And that’s because they didn’t do anything with it, he didn’t think about it, he didn’t share it, he didn’t talk about it.
Right from the beginning God has said, “Talk to each other about these things, teach your children these things, make sure they understand this stuff because this is important.”
And so this Parable of the Talents is again about people who have been entrusted with God’s Word—teachers.
Now in James 3:1 it says:
Not many of you should become teachers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
That’s what this parable is about. At the hardest point in human life, people are going to survive based solely upon their belief in God’s Word. And those the Lord has invested with the responsibility of sharing it will either be rewarded substantially or punished severely, depending on how they use it, depending on how they fulfill that responsibility. And that’s what the Parable of the Five Talents is all about.
Now again, it has to be in a post-Church situation because once again, the one was given God’s Word, entrusted with it, but at the end he was thrown out into the outer darkness because he didn’t do anything with it. We don’t know whether or not he believed it, all we know is that he didn’t do anything with it. And you see the basis of our relationship with the Lord is our belief, and so this can’t be us. This is another story about what the Lord is going to find on Earth at the end of the age when He comes back.
How will the people who have survived the Great Tribulation, how will they have handled the spiritual part of life? So far we’ve learned that some of the people who have been given responsibility to be servants providing for God’s household, some of them will have done well and others will have failed miserably. And the ones who fail will be punished.
Then we learned that, from the Parable of the Bridesmaids, that some will have worked and maintained their faith and when the end comes they’ll be welcomed into the kingdom. Others will have let it slip away and gotten distracted by other things and lost it, and they’ll be excluded.
And then we learned just now that some will be entrusted with the role of teaching others about the most important thing God has, and that’s His Word. Some will have done a great job and they will have magnified His Word throughout the land and they’ll be rewarded for it. Others will have ignored it, until even what little they had will be taken from them, and they’ll be punished.
These are all circumstances that apply after the Church is gone. The doctrine of salvation by grace, the doctrine of eternal security, the exalted place to rule and reign with Christ sitting on His throne with Him in eternity, to be the finest example the Lord has ever created about the incomparable riches of his grace, those belong only to the Church. And at the Rapture all that ends, and the world goes back to more like an Old Testament form of relationship with God where the rules are different again.
The Church is unique, the Lord only marries one bride. This is probably why He builds such a strong case against divorce in the Bible, because He has only one bride. He’s not going to marry another one later; there’s only one ever, and this bride of His is exalted above all mankind.Seated at the very throne of the Lord, co-heirs to all of His inheritance.
We’re the only ones who get this. Israel doesn’t get this, the Tribulation believer doesn’t get this, only the Church. And when we hear the shout and the sound of the trumpet and we disappear off the face of the Earth, all that ends. And those who are left behind have a whole different set of rules to live by as far as their eternal destiny is concerned.
One more here tonight, and this is one in Matthew 25:31 and there really shouldn’t be any doubt to anyone as to when this one takes place.
Matthew 25:31 says:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.
When do you suppose that takes place? This is after He’s come back.
In the Book of Joel, it talks about gathering all the nations in the Valley of Judgment—this is it. After He comes back. This again is after the Second Coming. Sheep and Goats aren’t various brands of Christian, and so don’t let anybody teach you anything based on that because this has nothing to do with the Church, this is long after the Church is gone.
This again, is another story about Tribulation survivors.
All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
Now, let me clarify something else. The Lord doesn’t judge nations, He judges people, okay? And be glad for that. The word translated “nations” there is just people of all races, the Greek work is “ethnos,” it’s the word from which we get “ethnic”. It just means people of all races.
And he is going to separate them, some are going to be sheep and some are going to be goats. Sheep on his right, goats on his left.
the King will say to those on his right,
These are the sheep.
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
So right away we see that this has to do with the kingdom, the coming kingdom, the kingdom He establishes when He returns.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
All right so here what we see is the action they take where it concerns the Lord’s brothers is a demonstration of their spiritual condition. It’s easy to see this as some kind of works thing, where you did this, you did this, you did this, you went to the hospital, you clothed the sick.
Well, they did all that, but that was as a result of their faith, it did not produce their faith, it was evidence of their faith, you understand me? Because in those days, they will do those things at the risk of their own lives; this will be a very dangerous period of time.
Whether you see the Lord’s brothers as believing Jews, or whether you see them as believers of all races, helping one of them will be a very dangerous thing to do because there will be a concerted effort to wipe out all believers during the Great Tribulation.
This will be especially prevalent about the Jews, because Satan understands that the Lord has said that He will not return to Earth until Israel petitions Him. He said that in Hosea. Hosea 5:15 – 6:1 talk about the Lord going back to where He came from until they admit their sin.
And He says “When they admit it, they will call Me, and when they call Me I will come.”
And so, for the Second Coming to take place, Israel has to officially petition the Lord’s return. If Satan can wipe out the Jews, he can prevent, he thinks, he can prevent the Lord’s return.
You know how many times in history the Jewish line of succession has come down to one person? Not one Jew, but one official who could have petitioned Him. They’ve come very close to being wiped out on several occasions.
The Holocaust in World War II was an effort to wipe out the Jews. It might have been put forth by someone who believed he was building a pure race, but the man behind the scenes, the one we call Satan, was doing it to wipe out the Jews so that they could not petition the Lord. You and I can’t call the Lord back, only Israel can do this.
And so because things will be so intense—because you know, the Great Tribulation is really a battle for planet Earth. To put this into a science fiction terminology, this is a battle for planet Earth, this is a battle between Satan and God for control of planet Earth. Satan has had control of it ever since he stole it from Adam. The Lord purchased it back at the cross, but hasn’t come to repossess it yet.
The Great Tribulation is the time when the Lord comes to repossess the planet and Satan is going to do everything he can to prevent that. Helping any believer will be a very dangerous thing to do, only a true believer would be willing to help a Jew during those times.
And so, the Sheep and Goat Judgment is the time when the Lord looks at people’s behavior as evidence of their faith. And those whose faith was strong enough that they helped one of His brothers upon the threat of their own life, will be rewarded. Those who refuse to help will have been showing that they did not have the faith. And so like everyone else, they’re saved by their faith, their behavior is evidence.
We talk about fruits in our terminology, for them it’s even more serious.
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
This is a great insight here for you. The eternal fire was never prepared for man, it was prepared for the devil and his angels. Man has to choose to go there.
For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
And they give Him the same answer, “When did we do this?”
And He said:
“‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
Then they will go away to eternal punishment,
These are the goats.
And the righteous to eternal life.”
This is the point at which the survivors of the Great Tribulation have their destiny determined. Some are welcomed into the kingdom. Those who remain faithful, those who were faithful teachers and preachers, and those who are faithful in their own hearts to the Lord and to His Word. They’ll be welcomed into the kingdom.
Those who were not, will be taken off the Earth—put away, as it’s said in Matthew 24.
And so we’re back to those verses 40 and 41. Some will be received into the kingdom, others will be put away into the outer darkness.
At the beginning of the Millennium, surviving believers will repopulate the Earth. And for a generation, the first generation of the Millennium, there will be only believers on Earth. All unbelievers will be taken and put away.
And so the kingdom will consist of believers, whether they are Jewish, in which case they’ll live in Israel, or whether they are Gentiles, in which case they will populate the nations. They will all be believers.
Zechariah 14 says there will only be one King on that day and He’ll be King of the whole Earth. The Lord Almighty is His name.
Now these four stories then are supplements to the disciples questions about, what will be the sign of Your coming? They are not an answer to that question, but they are supplemental information that told them what it would be like on Earth when He returned. They do not have to do with the Church, they do not have to do with whether the Church has eternal security or not, they do not have to do with any kind of salvation by grace plus works, they do not have to do with how good we are, or how good we need to be to be worthy of the Rapture. They have nothing to do with any of that.
Our position before the Lord is based on faith, for it is by grace you have been saved through faith; it is not by works. You understand all this? All right let’s have a closing prayer.