February 12, 2023 Frightening Parables

Frightening Parables

Part One

Feb 12, 2023

Read  Matthew 24:45-51.


Verse 45 continues our Lord’s answer to his disciples’ question. He is teaching his disciples. This is important to see because, in the three parables that follow, some commentators bend over backwards trying to assert that these parables are about the lost. Why is this when the context makes it clear that he is both teaching his disciples and that the characters within the parables are followers of the Lord Jesus? It is because these parables communicate very negative consequences to those who are not ready for his coming. Christians in the modern era simply will not tolerate any teaching that presents negative consequences in the next age for disobedience.  Their unspoken motto is “I don’t like it, so I don’t believe it.”


These three parables (Parable of the Faithful and Wise Servant, Parable of the Virgins, and Parable of the Talents) are given by our Lord in order to illustrate the importance and necessity of his command in verse 44:


Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. [1]


Who is the “you” in verse 44? Of course, it is his disciples! Our Lord is returning at a time when we do not expect. But, we must be ready! The parables illustrate the consequences both of being ready and of not being ready. Our Lord’s own disciples could be ready or they may not be ready!


In his first parable, Jesus speaks of servants (“slaves” is the proper translation; doulos). In the context of serving the Lord, this term is always used to designate someone who belongs to Christ (Mat. 10:24-25; 18:26-33; 20:27; Mark 12:2-4; Luke 2:29; 12:43-47; 19:17; 20:10-11; John 15:20; Acts 4:29; 16:17; Rom 1:1; I Cor 7:22; Gal. 1:10; Phil. 1:1; 2 Tim 2:24; Titus 1:1; James 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1; Jude 1:1; Rev 1:1; 7:3; 11:18; 15:3; 19:2-5; 22:3; 22:6). [27 instances!]

The “master” puts them in charge of his household. Of course, the master represents our Master, Christ. The household is the church (I Tim 3:15). When did God charge unbelievers to take care of his church? Never! The lost do not own Christ as their Master. Neither do they feed his flock. They avoid his flock!

Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.[2]

No one has a problem with assigning this slave as a Christian. Why? Because everything is so positive and happy! “I am happy about the idea of being in charge of the Lord’s possessions in the next age. These verses must be about me.” Then comes the end of the parable:

But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know 51 and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. [3]


This part of the parable is unsavory to many. But, note verse 48: “if that wicked servant…” It is the same servant acting in different ways. It is the same servant!

The household spoken of in verse 45 refers to the believers (Eph. 2:19), who are the church (1 Tim. 3:15). To give them food is to minister the Word of God with Christ as the life supply to the believers in the church. We all must learn how to minister the life supply to the household of the Lord at the appointed time.

Verses 46 and 47 say, ‘Blessed is that slave whom his master when he comes shall find so doing. Truly I say to you, that he will set him over all his possessions.’ To be blessed here is to be rewarded with ruling authority in the manifestation of the kingdom. The faithful slave of the Lord will be set over all His possessions as a reward in the manifestation of the kingdom of the heavens.”[4]

But, if the slave of the Lord, a true believer, beats his fellow slaves (meaning he does not treat them well but abuses what spiritual authority he has been given) or if he eats and drinks with drunkards (that is, he spends his time with worldly people[5] just satisfying his own appetites), then bad things – very bad things – will happen to him or her.

What are these bad things? That slave will be “cut in pieces,” according to the ESV. The word, pieces, is not in the original language (Greek). The literal rendering is “cut in two” or “cut asunder.” And so the KJV, NKJV, NASB, and NET translates it. But, what does that mean? It either means that he is cut off[6] from the Lord or that person is divided in themself. That is, the division of their soul wherein one part of them wants to follow the Lord and another part wants to live by their own desires is now made fully real: they will suffer the consequences of such a divided soul.

That slave will go to the same place that hypocrites go. It is a place where there will weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

What does that mean? Most obviously it denotes a place of suffering. The phrase, “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” is used several times by Matthew and once by Luke. Sometimes it refers to the condition of the lost after judgment and sometimes it refers to the condition of believers after judgment. Here it refers to a place where the unfaithful believers will go. But hypocrites will be there too. When we examine the Parable of the Talents we will see again that it is possible that believers may end up in a place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Hence, this phrase communicates a suffering that will take place in the next age. It is rather an intense suffering. As has been said, this is unpalatable to the average believer. But, do not Christians, even in the present age, sometimes experience intense suffering? Yes, they do.

When will all this take place? Look at verse 46 again. In reference to the faithful servant the Lord says:

Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. [7]

The reward will come to the faithful when the Lord returns to the earth. The reward is to be placed in charge over all that the Master owns. This will be in the kingdom age, which will follow soon after the Lord’s return.

Likewise, when the Lord returns, the unfaithful slave will be severely disciplined. The severity of the discipline is made known by both phrases: “cut in two” and “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

The sequence of events when the Lord returns to the earth are these:

[1.] He will descend from heaven:

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. [8]

As Paul writes, those who died as Christians will rise from the dead at his return and we will meet them and the Lord in the air.

[2.] Then the Lord will judge all of his own people:

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. [9]

This is where the judging of his slaves in this parable takes place: at the judgment seat. It will likely be in the air! The results of the judgment (either receiving the reward or being sent to a place where there will be weeping) will be delayed for a short time while the Lord next judges the whole world of those who are alive:

[3.] “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. [10]

Thus, after he judges the church, he will judge the “nations of the world.” Those who are counted as his sheep will inherit the kingdom. Those who are goats will be cast aside eternally (vs. 47).

[4.] After all the judging has been done (all are judges except unbelievers that have died; they will not be judges until much later), then the Lord sets up his kingdom upon this earth:

 They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection.[11]

The “they’ in this passage refers to the overcomers, the faithful slaves. They will reign with Christ along with those from among the nations who were sheep (elected by God and belonging to him[12]

[5.] This glorious earthly kingdom will last for at least one thousand years. (Rev. 20:6)

[6.] Finally, there will be a final judgment, called “the Great White Throne,” when the kingdom age is completed. Two groups of people will be judged there: all the unbelievers who have ever lived and the unfaithful believing ones (from all ages) who did not enter the kingdom age. This answers the question of where they have been. They have been in a place where they have undergone divine discipline throughout the entire kingdom age. It is the place where they experience “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” It is called a place of outer darkness (Matthew 25:30).

Now, for an important question: How do we ensure that we are counted as faithful? We have touched on this already, but let us reaffirm what we saw.


“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time?[13]


We must feed those in God’s household. As one man of God has put it:


To give them food is to minister the Word of God with Christ as the life supply to the believers in the church. We all must learn how to minister the life supply to the household of the Lord at the appointed time.[14]


Elders and teachers have the gift of feeding, that is, teaching. Yet, as this author says, “We must all learn to minister the life supply.”  In that sense, feeding our fellow brothers and sisters is like any other gift. Some have the gift of giving and some do not. But all still must give to the work of the church. Some have the gift of evangelism and some do not. But all still must share the gospel. So it is with feeding.


In order to feed others we must have something to feed them with. This means we must abide in his word so that we will be supplied and then we can supply others. If we do not abide in his word we will be unable to feed others.


How can we be faithful? One way, the way of this parable, is to feed others. Let us know God’s word so that we can supply others! Make God’s word your priority! Let us encourage each other as we build up God’s household. Start today.


‘Thank you, Lord, for this wake-up call. Encourage us so that we may encourage others.”


[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 24:44). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 24:46–47). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 24:48–51). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] Witness Lee, Life-Study of Matthew, Message 63.

[5] We ought to spend time with worldy people for the ourpose of sharing the gospel, but not to “eat, drink, and be merry.”

[6] As per Young’s Literal Translation.

[7] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 24:46). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[8] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Th 4:16–17). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[9] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (2 Co 5:10). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[10] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 25:31–34). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[11] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Re 20:4–5). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[12] The question that is often asked is, “How can there be more saved ones (the sheep) if the church was already judged beforehand?” There is more than one way to answer this question. One way is to understand that there may be several years between the Lord’s judgment seat of his own people and his judgement of the world (possibly seven years?). During this intervening period those on the earth will be given another opportunity to place their faith in Christ. This shows the great mercy of our God!

[13] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 24:45). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[14] Witness Lee, Life-Study of Matthew, Message 63; Living Stream Ministry; Anaheim, CA.