In the Fulness of Time/Part 141

By: Dr. Thomas O. Figart; ©2011
Illustrations 4 and 5 in the series of seven illustrations dealing with Jesus coming back to earth.

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Parables of His Second Coming (Continued)

4. The Householder: No Expectation of His Coming. Matthew 24:43-44

Mt. 34:43-44 “But know this, that if the householder had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore, be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”

The word for “householder” is oikodespotes, from the words oikos,house,” and despotes, “the lord, as distinct from the slave.” Putting these two together, Rengstorf compared the Old Testament baal bayith,lord of the house,” which, “like the New Testament oikodespotes denotes the owner of the house in the most comprehensive sense.” (Rengstorf, Karl H., “despotes,” in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Vol. 2, pp. 44, 49, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1965-1976).

This differentiates verses 43-44 as an illustration as distinct from verses 45-51 dealing with servants. In this case it is the owner who is not watching “his house” carefully enough. The thief could come during any of the watches of the night and “dig through” (diorusso, see 6:19) the mud-dried bricks and steal whatever was in the house.

The application is the same as before; “Be ye ready” (etomoi, to be ready, to prepare yourself) “for in such an hour as ye think not.” Readiness with regard to robbery by a thief, therefore, must be total, with expectation in the most unimaginable hour, for thieves come when you are least expecting them. It is impossible to press every detail of an illustration; the major thought here is to be expecting the Lord. Those not ready are those not saved, and the time will be very short before the Lord returns, after the signs of the tribulation period are fulfilled.

5. The Servants: No Fear for His Coming. Mt. 24:45-51

Mt. 24:45-51 “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them food 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 if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, 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.”

Two types of servants are the focus of this parable. The first is called “faithful and wise.” The word “faithful” is pistos and marks him out as a believer. He is also “wise” (phronismos, “one having common sense”) which is seen in his response to the instruction given to him by his lord. The second is kakos, “evil,” an unbeliever; Luke 12:46 actually indicates that this servant will be appointed “his portion with the unbelievers” (the apistoi, the exact opposite of pistos).

Both servants are equally designated as a doulos, a “slave,” though in each illustration the specific slave is put in charge over his fellow slaves. Luke 12:42 uses the word “steward” from oikonomos, which means “law of the house,” showing that he has been set over his master’s household. The faithful and wise slave carries out his lord’s will gladly and efficiently, providing food for all “in due season.”

The wicked slave is next mentioned as an alternative illustration. His heart has not been changed, as is evident from his statement: “My lord delayeth his coming.” The NASB translates it: “My master is not coming for a long time.” Because he is wicked he has no fear of unexpectedly having to answer for his failure to fulfill his responsibilities. Therefore his evil nature asserts itself by beginning “to smite his fellow servants,” possibly for not responding immediately to his wicked demands, especially since he will be “eating and drinking with drunkards.” His drunkenness no doubt will be the cause for the ill-treatment of those put under his care, and this condition may also be added as a reason why he is not aware of his lord’s return; for the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he “looketh not” for him. The two words ou prosdokai mean “not look for, wait, or expect in hope.” This servant is not fearing the return of his lord, since his mind is in a neutral state. This evil servant is obviously not looking, since he has no fear of his lord’s return, and further, since he is probably drunk when his lord does return, he is not even aware of it!

The parable closes with an awesome prediction of the punishment awaiting such unbelievers at that time. Three things are to be incorporated in regard to the evil servant: his lord “shall cut him asunder” from dichotomesei, a word used in Hebrews 11:7 to describe how some Old Testament saints were treated by their enemies: “sawn asunder.” While this is an awful way to die, the spiritual consequences are far worse: “he shall appoint him his portion with the hypocrites,” who have already been noted as “unbelievers” in Luke’s account. This will be an eternal “portion,” involving “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

How much of this is literal and how much symbolic, it still remains as eternal punishment of the lost. God is not only the God of love; He is equally Jehovah tsidkenu, the “LORD our Righteousness,” One with Whom men dare not trifle. He must punish the wicked, or He would not be righteous. It must be remembered that this specific message of judgment was given in Matthew 8, 13, 22, 24 and 25 in different situations, so that the Jews could never truthfully say that they did not know the consequences of rejecting Jesus Christ as Messiah; but, “in the fulness of time” they, and all unbelievers, will remember all these things; and then they will fear God, in His overwhelming wrath upon sin!

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