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Second Quarter 2018 April • May • June
COMMENTARY—PREPARATION FOR THE END TIME
Week 7: May 12–18
COMMENTARY ON "Matthew 24 and 25"
Following is a combined commentary on the material included in the Bible Study Guide with references as necessary to the supplemental passages included in the E. G. White Notes for the Sabbath School Lessons.
Note: Unless otherwise stated, all biblical quotes are from the English Standard Version (ESV).
This is the memory text for this week:
For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. (Matt. 24:24)
There are important warnings and lessons Jesus gives us concerning the end times in the parables we will be examining however in Christ Jesus there is no fear. When we study the parables Jesus gives us in Matthew chapters 24 and 25 it is important to learn, remember and understand that those who have accepted in faith Jesus' covering shed blood for the full atonement of their sins can never be separated from the love of God.
The commentary for the Quarterly Week One lesson established the following points which are the foundation for this week's commentary:
1. The unbiblical book and Great Controversy doctrine as taught from within Adventism is false and heresy because it limits the sovereignty of God. When considering the warning given in this memory text it is critical to know that the author and promoter of the Great Controversy doctrine is a false prophet. Therefore the commentary for this week will ignore the Ellen G. White quotes.
2. Those who have accepted in faith the completed atoning blood Jesus Christ shed for the sins of the world at Calvary have been transferred into the kingdom of God and know they can never be separated from the love of God. Those who know they are in the kingdom of God need have no fear concerning the coming tribulation because there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus:
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Rom. 8:1-4)
3. Jesus Christ fulfilled perfectly and completely the conditional requirements (laws) of the Old Covenant and thereby replaced the Old Covenant with a New Covenant. The "law of the Spirit" is not the "law of sin and death".
I. Jesus responds to the apostles question of his promised return (Matt. 24)
In Matthew chapters 24 and 25 the apostles have asked Jesus about "your coming" at the "end of the age" (Matt. 24:3). Jesus first responds to their question with; "See that no one leads you astray....." (verses 4-8) then says:
"Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." (Matt. 24:9-14)
Those who endure to the end will be saved. So, who is it that will endure?
Romans 8:31-39 gives Christians the assurance that those who have been transferred into the kingdom of God can never be separated from the love of God because our salvation is founded solely upon who our all knowing all powerful sovereign God is instead of the our own fallible strength or works.
Looking to the end of this Gospel of Matthew we see where "The Gospel of the Kingdom" is summarized by Jesus' command to "make disciples of all nations":
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:18-20)
According to Scripture what is the "gospel of the kingdom"?
The gospel that will "make disciples of all nations", the one and only gospel that brings a sinner into the kingdom of God is that Jesus died for the sins of the world at Calvary as the perfect Lamb of God, descended into the grave and then arose three days later in triumph over death. Those who accept Jesus as their Savior in faith receive the promised indwelling Holy Spirit which brings their spirit to life, Gal. 1:9, Gal. 3:14 & 1 Cor. 15:1-5.
Scripture assures us that Jesus will always be with us, meaning the saints of God will never face the 'end time events' without his promised indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It is another lie of Adventism to teach that the saints of God will ever be forced to stand alone in the face of evil because we can never be separated from the indwelling Holy Spirit, Rom. 8.
The Apostle Paul has this to say about "the faith" (to whom and to what we place our faith upon) "in later times":
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. (1 Tim. 4:1-5)
The Adventist health message, the so called "the right hand of the gospel", is a false message that denies all foods are to be received with thanksgiving. This is not the message we are commanded to preach to all nations. On the related issue of what defiles a person we have Jesus' own teaching:
And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him..." (Mark 7:14-15)
Even though the right health practices may be good for our physical bodies, attaching such a message to the gospel of Jesus Christ produces a false gospel which denies the completed atonement of Jesus' shed blood at Calvary for the sins of the world.
II. The Abomination of Desolation (Matt. 24:15)
“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains..." (Matt. 24:15-16)
Matt. 24:15 begins with the phrase "So when you see". Therefore we should to step back and review the context that comes just prior:
And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matt. 24:12-14)
If we are to apply this warning to the world wide body of Christians outside of Judea we should remember:
• Those sinners who have accepted in faith Jesus' covering shed blood have been transferred eternally into the kingdom of God and have God's promise that they will never be separated from the love of God. Therefore they have the assurance that they will endure to the end.
• The coming "Abomination of Desolation", terrible as it will be, is an exciting sign that the end of this age with all the evil that it contains is coming to an end because of Jesus' soon return.
• The "gospel of the kingdom" that we are commanded to preach to all the world is simply and only centered on Jesus' blood he shed at Calvary for the full atonement of the sins of the world.
III. The Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matt. 25:1-13)
• In this parable of the ten virgins, those who are awaiting the coming of the groom are not identified as the bride. Since the oil for their lamps represents the Holy Spirit, those virgins who have enough oil for their lamps do have the indwelling Holy Spirit.
• Those who do not have enough oil for their lamps go to the source for that oil meaning they must accept in faith the shed blood of Jesus' atonement to receive the indwelling Holy Spirit before the groom arrives. That is, before the return of the Messiah Jesus Christ.
• Since the context of this parable is a Hebrew Wedding and was first giving to Jesus' Jewish apostles it becomes clear that the five virgins who are included in the wedding party are Jews that have accepted Jesus as their long awaited Groom. Although it doesn't fully fit the pattern of a traditional Jewish wedding, the five virgins with enough oil in their lamps are also members of The Bride of Christ.
IV. The Parable of Using Your Talents (Matt. 25:13-30)
• The Master (Jesus) is "going on a journey" but will return. While away he entrusts his servants with a certain amount of "talents".
• Keeping in mind The Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20) what Jesus is saying is that his true servants will be preaching the biblical gospel message of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-5) and nothing that isn't the gospel (Gal. 1:9), thereby bringing in an increase to the kingdom of God while the master is away. While he is away his true servants will be indwelt and empowered by the Holy Spirit who will never leave them, Rom. 8:33-39.
• The true servants bring in a great increase and are blessed by the master.
• The false servant hides the "talent" given him and has nothing good to report. This "wicked and slothful servant" is cast into "the outer darkness". Since this parable was given by Jesus from within a Jewish context, this appears to apply to those Hebrew people who have not accepted Jesus as their promised Messiah. They have the "talent" but are not using it.
• A true servant is one who has responded in faith to the biblical gospel and therefore knows and preaches nothing but the gospel of Jesus' shed blood for the sins of the world.
V. The Final Judgment (Matt. 25:31-46)
The lessons for this week ignores the final discourse Jesus is giving the disciples concerning the end times.
• Jesus has returned, is sitting upon his throne where upon he judges the nations and separates the "goats from the sheep". There is no so-called investigative judgment here. Eph. 1:4 declares God knew who would be "holy and blameless in his sight...before the creation of the world".
• The "sheep" inherit the kingdom prepared for them "from the foundation of the world". In-other-words, God's plan for fallen mankind was in place before Adam sinned.
• Jesus describes the acts of those who are righteous in verses 35-40 and ends by saying; "...as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me". We need to remember that this is what the righteous do, but is not how they are declared righteous. Only as we accept in faith the blood Jesus shed at Calvary are we righteous in the sight of God.
• The "sheep" have displayed the two greatest commands of Jesus (to love God as he loves us and to love all others in this fallen world as God loves us) through their deeds. This display of love follows upon having been given, as an unearned gift, eternal life.
• The "goats" depart into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his evil angels. "Eternal fire" means eternal and has no ending otherwise "eternal life" wouldn't be what God promises it to be.
1. The sign and seal of the Christian faith is Jesus' promised indwelling of the Holy Spirit, John 6:27, John 14:15-17, 1 Cor. 5:5 & Eph. 4:30.
2. It is a foundational lie of Ellen G. White that Christians must 'stand alone' without the indwelling Holy Spirit during the "end times" because Scripture teaches that God's elect can never be separated from the love of God.
3. The saints of God in all ages have been (and are now being) persecuted for their faith in God as stressed in Hebrews chapter eleven. Therefore persecution, as such, is not unique to the end times that immediately precede the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The warnings of Scripture concerning the increasing madness of our times that now seem to be upon us should assure Christians that God knew all of this before time began. Instead of fear we should anticipate with joy the soon return of our loving righteous Savior Jesus Christ who will bring all things evil to an eternal end.
4. For now we should keep in mind that the two greatest commands for the saints of God are to love God as he loves us and to love all others in this 'life of the flesh' in the same way God loves us. This godly love is to be displayed by our actions. When you 'see someone hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison', out of godly love you respond to their needs.
5. The greatest need of all sinners is to meet the Savior Jesus Christ. The command to "make disciples of all nations" means to preach the biblical gospel of Jesus Christ's perfect sinless shed blood for the full atonement of the sins of the world.
6. Those who have in the "faith of Abraham" accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord are already ready for the return of Jesus at the end of this age. All saints of God, in all ages, have the very same promise Jesus gave to the thief on the cross even as we may have either died in Christ or are alive at his soon return.