“A VOICE from the wilderness” asks that we give our view upon the above subject. We are willing to comply as best we can. The parables are dark sayings, and were not understood by the apostles only as their true import was revealed to them by the Savior. Generally they are intended to show the just condemnation of the carnal Jew or pharisee and the blessing of the gospel to the spiritual Israelite. This one teaches, however, several things, among them is that the kingdom of heaven had not as yet come, but that its coining was sure, though it should be delayed (note Luke xix. 11-26). The nobleman called his ten servants and delivered them ten pounds, saying, “Occupy till I come.” He goes into a far country to receive a kingdom for himself, and return. The delivery of the ten pounds assured the servants of his return to them, though his absence should be long. The Savior taught his disciples to pray, saying, “Thy kingdom come.” He said also to them, If I go away “I will come again, and receive you unto myself.” In the coming of the kingdom it was not, only with glory, but with justice and judgment, which are the habitation of God’s throne. The apostles had received an earnest of the kingdom of heaven in the appearing of Christ to them in the flesh; this assured them the certainty of its coming, hence they continually looked for it. In our understanding, the application of the parables, generally speaking, to the church experimentally, is secondary. Let us bear in mind that the Scripture docs not say the kingdom of heaven is like unto talents, nor like unto servants, but rather “as a man traveling into a far country,” who called his own servants and delivered unto them his goods; therefore much importance should he attached to the “man “and what he did and said. This parable is found between the parable of the ten virgins and of that of the sheep and the goats, “when the Son of man shall come in his glory,” and like all other Scripture has its connection or bearing upon that which precedes and that which follows.
In the parable of the virgins the statement is positive that all ten were virgins, five were wise and live were foolish. The wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps, but the foolish took no oil with them; this was because of a lack of wisdom in them, hence they are called foolish (not fools). Paul said his brethren after the flesh (Israelites) had a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge, hence were foolish, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and went about to establish their own righteousness. (“Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles become in. And so all Israel shall be saved.”) Paul was found among the wise, and entered with them into the marriage with the Bridegroom.
When the man spoken of in the parable under consideration took his journey into a far country, he called his own servants unto him and gave them talents (money); to every man he gave according to “his several ability,” which is as much a gift as the talents. To one he gave five, to another two and to another one. The servant who received one talent was as capable of using it to profit as were the others who had received the five and the two; therefore we can make no excuse for him upon the ground that he was not competent to use that which had been given him. Let us remember that all who received were servants, the same as in the case of the virgins. The two faithful servants made good use of that which was given them, but the other one did not; he was slothful, hence an “unprofitable servant.” He had knowledge enough to know what should be done, and wisdom enough to do it, nevertheless he acted unwise in the neglect of his duty.
After a long time the man (lord) of these servants came and reckoned with them; the one who received the five talents brought other five, which he had gained in trading (proper use) with the five given. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of thy lord. The other servant who had received two talents came also and had made gain of two other talents. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Each of these servants received the same blessing, namely, entered into the joy of their lord. The third servant who had received the one talent said to his lord, “I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thon hast that is thine.” He also accused his master of being hard and unjust, reaping where he had not sown and gathering where he had not strawed. Having this opinion of his master he should have put the talent (money) to the exchangers, that his lord might have received his own with usury when he came; this his lord tells him. We see his unfaithfulness, hence slothfulness, and his wickedness in accusing his master of being hard and unjust. His lord asked nothing unreasonable of his servants, and least of all did he exact anything dishonest on their part. In a sense, shall we not class this “unprofitable servant” with the foolish virgins’? They entered not with the bridegroom, neither did this servant enter into the joy of his lord. And shall we not class the faithful servants with the wise virgins? They entered in with the bridegroom to the marriage, so did the two faithful servants enter into the joy of their lord.
We have no thought that “outer darkness “means eternal destruction, but rather chastisement. “That servant which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.” “Nevertheless my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.” He is still a “servant,” but unprofitable.
In the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew the Savior tells his disciples (servants) of various signs by which they might know of his coming, (in his glory) and the end of the world (legal dispensation). “But of that day and hour knoweth no man.” Then adds, “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, that he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord del ay eth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken: the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” The above quotation helps us to grasp the subject more fully. The Savior was about ready to go to his Father, and before leaving his apostles, appoints their labor or stewardship, and gives them to understand that each one of them shall give an account of their stewardship or ministry when he comes again. “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account.” – Heb. xiii. 17. “Be ye also ready,” means, be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord; be faithful, diligent in the office to which you are appointed; watch unto prayer; do not sit down to eat and rise up to play, but continue ye in my love, keep my commandments; preach the gospel to the poor and thereby “feed my lambs “and my sheep. Such a servant, at his coining, says the Savior, shall be blessed or made ruler over all his goods. This blessing does not only imply more service, but honor; faithful servants are to “be counted worthy of double honor.” When be comes in his glory (Spirit) the blessing is given, viz: “Inherit the kingdom prepared for you.” (Enter into the joy of thy lord.) We do not understand this kingdom to be the realms of immortal glory, but the kingdom that should come, the place prepared in the going away of Jesus, the spiritual kingdom, the heavenly Jerusalem, the new heaven and the new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. Now all nations are gathered before him, but the faithful servants who feed, clothe, visit and minister unto the brethren of Christ, and thereby minister unto him, are those, and those only, who are thus blessed. (Note Matt. xxv. 31-46.)
Where much is given, much is required, and where little is given, little is required. This is as true now as it ever was, and that each one of God’s “servants” is accountable to him for their stewardship, is as true as ever it was. (See Romans xiv. 4.) Of the servant or minister of the Lord who is blessed with a clear, able gift to expound the word of God, much is required, either in preaching or writing, but where the gift is small little is expected, but that little is required. He must not, because his gift is smaller than his fellow servants, or for any other reason, bury it, which would be unfaithfulness and be become “unprofitable.” The improvement of the one “talent” is all that is required of him, and his “ability “is equal to that which is given him, according to the parable. We have no reason to think that Timothy was as able a minister as the apostle Paul, hence Paul admonished him to neglect not the gift that was in him; be also tells him how to improve his gift (talent): “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.”
Each child of God is endowed with some gift, either great or small. To one is given the gift of healing; to such an one we would say, Use the gift faithfully. To another is given a hand; then whatsoever thy hand finds to do, do with thy might. To another is given an ear to hear; then give attention to what the Spirit saith unto the churches. To another is given a heart to meditate; then think upon the things that are pure, honest and of good report.
We, the children of God, are looking for him to appear the second time, without sin, unto salvation. “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.” – 1 John ii. 28.
We have now given such thoughts as we have upon this subject, and leave them for the consideration of our inquiring friend and all who may read them. If no comfort or instruction is found in what we have written, we hope that at least the pure minds of our readers may be stirred up to meditate upon the word of God, and may his Spirit guide us more and more in all truth. K.
Editorial – Elder Ker
Signs Of The Times
Volume 74., No. 3.
FEBRUARY 1, 1906.