NEW TESTAMENT - LESSON 22
- Jesus presents the parable of the ten virgins.
- Jesus presents the parable of the talents.
- Jesus presents the parable of the sheep and the goats.
A study of this lesson should help us prepare for the Second Coming
through living righteously, developing our talents, and serving others.
Parable Of The Ten Virgins
- These parables continue the Olivet Discourse or Sermon on the Mount
which began in Matthew 24.
- READ MATTHEW 25:1-13. Parable of the Ten Virgins.
WHAT DOES THE PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS TEACH ABOUT PREPARING FOR
THE SECOND COMING?
- This story calls to mind some of my recent preparations in beefing
up my emergency preparedness and food storage. As many of you know, I have
spent a fair amount of time studying the Y2K computer problem and its possible
consequences. Regardless of whether or not Y2K amounts to anything signficant
after the first of the year, it has been a catalyst for my wife and I to
check our food storage and bring it up to the levels where it should be.
Among the items in our emergency storage are a couple of oil lamps. In
my inventory I found a half a bottle of oil. Lamp oil seems to go a long
way, but we could be stretching it with a half bottle. On one of my trips
to Fred Meyer, I scouted around and found lamp oil. I purchased half of
their entire inventory, which amounted to eight one quart bottles. I thought
to myself, "What will people do if there is a real emergency and they
have not prepared ahead?" The stores carry enough inventory of this
type to supply only a few homes. We have had wind and ice storms here in
the Pacific Northwest that have been sufficient to knock out power in some
areas for up to a week validating the necessity of such preparations. To
be physically prepared is important, but the Savior is talking about something
more than stocking up on lamp oil.
- Once again, the Master is using a story that the people of his time
could relate to. This parable is based on Jewish wedding customs.
- In the time of Jesus, the bridegroom and his friends would escort the
bride from her home to the home of the bridegroom.
- Along the way, the friends of the bride waited to join the wedding
- Upon arriving at the bridegroom's home, the entire party went inside
for the wedding.
- These weddings usually took place in the evening, so those waiting
for the bride and bridegroom carried small lamps fueled by oil.
- IN THIS PARABLE, WHOM DOES THE BRIDEGROOM REPRESENT?
- WHOM DO THE VIRGINS REPRESENT?
- Members of the Church. Marvin J. Ashton, "It can be appropriately
concluded the 10 virgins represent the people of the Church of Jesus Christ"
(CR, Apr. 1974).
- WHAT DOES THE WEDDING REPRESENT?
- WHAT DOES THE OIL REPRESENT?
- Preparation for the Second Coming?
V13: "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the
hour wherein the Son of man cometh."
- We must be preparing at all times. Procrastination is not the order
of the day. If everybody rushes out to buy lamp oil at Fred Meyer when
they see the storm coming, or on New Year's Eve in the case of Y2K, Fred
Meyer will be overwhelmed and run out of stock within minutes. If people
had been preparing all along, Fred Meyer would have incrementally increased
their stock to meet the increased demand.
- Unlike Y2K, no man knows the exact time of the Savior's Second Coming.
It is like old friends calling and saying they will drop by sometime in
the evening. You don't wait until 9:00 to get the house in order. You immediately
set to the task so that you will be ready whether they come over at 7:00
or 9:00. Why should it be any different as we prepare for the Second Coming.
The Master is like an old friend coming around in the evening. It is now
evening, a fact we have learned from the prophecies in Matthew 24. Now
is the time to prepare.
- Consider this familiar ancient fable, The Ant and the Grasshopper:
"In a field one summer's day a Grasshopper
was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart's content. An Ant
passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to
"'Why not come and chat with
me,' said the Grasshopper, 'instead of toiling and moiling in that way?'
"'I am helping to lay up food
for the winter,' said the Ant, 'and recommend you to do the same.'
"'Why bother about winter?' said
the Grasshopper; 'we have got plenty of food at present.' But the Ant went
on its way and continued its toil. When the winter came the Grasshopper
had no food and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing
every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer.
Then the Grasshopper knew: It is best to prepare for the days of necessity."
Heeding this ancient wisdom would be wisdom
on our part. The Second Coming is approaching as surely as the winter.
Now is the day to prepare.
- Spencer W. Kimball: "The day of the marriage feast approaches.
The coming of the Lord is nigh. And there are many among us who are not
ready for the great and glorious event." (Faith Precedes the Miracle,
WHY WERE THE FIVE WISE VIRGINS NOT DECEIVED?
- WHAT DOES THE COMMAND "WATCH" MEAN TO YOU?
- One who is watching for an event is actively preparing for it. One
who is not watching is occupied with other things and is not taking the
time to prepare. Children love to "watch" for Christmas. The
eagerly anticipate opening the windows on an advent calender. They make
decorations, help mom make cookies, and sing Christmas songs. They are
watching for Christmas. We should heed their example and actively be "watching"
and preparing for the Second Coming."
If I am to be prepared for a future power outage, I need to have my
oil lamp filled in advance though I know not the time of such an event.
It is difficult and dangerous to perform this task once the event has arrived.
- D&C 45:56-57: "And at that day, when I shall come in my
glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten
"For they that are wise and have
received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and
have not been deceived--verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down
and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day."
- According to this verse, those that are wise receive the truth and
take the Holy Spirit as their guide.
Ponder these questions:
- HOW CAN WE ADD "OIL" TO OUR SPIRITUAL "LAMPS"?
- Spencer W. Kimball: "One type of oil is the oil of family prayer.
It illuminates us and makes us bright and cheery but is difficult to obtain
at midnight. One drop or two will not keep the lamp burning long....
"Another type of oil is the oil
of fasting. The last midnight is late to start discipling our lives in
preparation for the great day of the Lord...
"Another oil is the Word of Wisdom.
This too is hard to find at midnight. One cannot hope that the drops of
oil accumulated in a moment can make up for years of neglect....
"Another oil that is not available
at midnight is the indispensible oil of home service. This rare oil of
service is accumulated through visits to the sick, through lending a helping
"There is another rare, indispensable
oil without which no one can be fully prepared. We must have the proper
amount of this never exhausting oil, the oil of temple ordinance...."
(from an address delivered in Kansas City, Missouri, Sep. 1978)
- WHY COULDN'T THE FOOLISH VIRGINS BORROW THE OIL THEY NEEDED?
- As we see from President Kimball's teachings, this oil consists of
that which has taken years, maybe a lifetime, to accumulate.
- Joseph Fielding Smith: "In that day the members of the Church
who have not kept the commandments and thus have no oil in their lamps
are in danger of being shut out of the kingdom when the door is shut."
(Answers to Gospel Questions, 2:23)
- Bruce R. McConkie: "Salvation is a personal matter. It comes
only to those who keep the commandments and whose souls are filled with
the Holy Spirit of God. No man can keep the commandments for and on behalf
of another; no one can gain the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit in
his life and give or sell that holy oil to another. Every man must light
his own lamp with the oil of righteousness which he buys at the market
of obedience. Few doctrines are more evil and wicked than the false doctrine
of supererogation, which is, that the saints, by doing more than is necessary
for their own salvation, build up an immense treasure of merit in heaven,
which can be dispensed and assigned to others so they too can be saved."
(Mortal Messiah, 3:468)
- WHAT DID YOU DO THIS WEEK TO ADD OIL TO YOUR LAMP?
- WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOU WILL DO THIS COMING WEEK TO ADD OIL TO YOUR
Parable Of The Talents
- READ MATTHEW 25:14-30. The parable of the Talents.
WHAT DID THE FIRST TWO SERVANTS DO WITH THEIR TALENTS? WHAT WAS THEIR
- WHOM DOES THE MAN TRAVELING TO A FAR COUNTRY REPRESENT?
- WHOM DO THE SERVANTS REPRESENT?
- WHAT DO THE TALENTS REPRESENT?
- In New Testament times, a talent was a sum of money.
- It represents the gifts of God to each of us.
WHAT DID THE THIRD SERVANT DO WITH HIS TALENT? WHAT WAS HIS REWARD?
- Jesus teaches in this sermon that they "traded with the same"
to increase their wealth.
- The Greek word for trade is "ergazomai" which has these possible
meanings (from Lexicon of New Testament Greek):
- To work, labour, do work.
- To trade, to make gains by trading, "do business".
- To do, work out, exercise, perform, commit, to cause to exist, produce.
- To work for, earn by working, to acquire.
- The reward: They were made ruler over many things and invited to "enter
thou into the joy of thy lord".
WHAT IS THE MASTER TEACHING US?
- Unlike the two previous servants who used their money to increase their
wealth, the third servant buried his talent to preserve it.
- Reward: His talent was taken from him and he was cast into "outer
HOW CAN WE DETERMINE WHAT GIFTS THE LORD HAS GIVEN US?
- Many teach that all we need to obtain salvation is to believe. The
Lord has sent us to this earth for a purpose and has given us gifts. What
we do with our time on earth and with these gifts determines the reward
we receive in the hereafter. That is clearly demonstrated in this parable
when the man rewarded each of his servants by what they had done with the
- Jesus clearly is teaching that those who seem to have fewer gifts from
God will receive every blessing if they use their gifts to the fullest.
- James E. Faust spoke of those who seem to have received fewer talents
or gifts: "If their talents are used to build the kingdom of god
and serve others, they will enjoy the promises of the Savior. The great
promise of the Savior is that they 'shall receive [their] reward, even
peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come' (D&C 59:23)."
(Ensign, May 1994, p6)
- Marvin J. Ashton: "It is our right and responsibility to accept
gifts and share them." (Ensign, Nov. 1987, p20)
- Bruce R. McConkie: "There is an eternal principle that states:
Service is essential to salvation. In the parable of the ten virgins, Jesus
dramatized the truth that to gain salvation men must keep the commandments
and be guided by the Holy Spirit. Thus, Obedience is essential to salvation.
By now giving the parable of the talents, he completes the picture. Not
only must mortals keep the commandments to gain an inheritance in the Father's
kingdom, but they must also get outside themselves in service to their
fellowmen. It is one thing to be virtuous and pay tithing; it is another
to persuade others to walk in paths of purity and to make their means available
for the building up of the Lord's earthly kingdom. The Lord will not be
satisfied with the salvation of Moses alone; he expects that great lawgiver
to guide all Israel to the summit of Sinai. Both obedience and service
are essential to salvation." (Mortal Messiah, 3:468-469)
- D&C 60:2: "But with some I am not well pleased, for they
will not open their mouths, but they hide the talent which I have gven
unto them, because of the fear of man. Wo unto such, for mine anger is
kindled against them."
WHY DO MANY OF US HIDE THE GIFTS WE RECEIVE FROM THE LORD?
Take a moment and ponder some of the gifts and talents you have received
from the Lord.
- D&C 46:11-12: "For all have not every gift given unto them;
for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit
of God. To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may
be profited thereby."
- According to the above verse we have all been given gifts. Elder Marvin
J. Ashton said: "Let me mention a few gifts that are not always
evident or noteworthy but that are very important. Among these may be your
gifts--gifts not so evident but nevertheless real and valuable.
"Let us review some of these
less conspicuous gifts: the gift of asking; the gift of listening; the
gift of hearing and using a still, small voice; the gift of being able
to weep; the gift of avoiding contention; the gift of being agreeable;
the gift of avoiding vain repetition; the gift of seeking that which is
righteous; the gift of not passing judgment; the gift of looking to God
for guidance; the gift of being a disciple; the gift of caring for others;
the gift of being able to ponder; the gift of offering prayer; the gift
of bearing a mighty testimony; and the gift of receiving the Holy Ghost."
(Ensign, Nov. 1987, p20)
As we develop actively develop these gifts and talents, we add additional
oil to our lamps.
- Consider one or two of those gifts and think of something you can do
with it in the next few weeks, particulary in the service of others. Write
Parable Of The Sheep And The Goats
- READ MATTHEW 25:31-46. Parable of the sheep and
WHAT MUST WE DO TO PREPARE FOR THE SECOND COMING AND THE DAY OF JUDGMENT?
- At his Second Coming, the Lord will separate us as a shepherd separates
the sheep from the goats.
- WHOM DO THE SHEEP REPRESENT?
- Those who give their lives in service to others. These are they who
inherit the kingdom of God.
- WHOM DO THE GOATS REPRESENT?
- Those who ignore others in pursuit of their own goals.
Again, we add oil to our lamps by the service we give.
- Marion D. Hanks: "Jesus taught his followers the parable of
the sheep and the goats, representing the judgment to come, in which he
clearly identified those who will inherit 'life eternal' and those who
will 'go away into everlasting punishment' (Matthew 25:46). The key difference
was that those who should inherit the kingdom with had developed the habit
of helping, had experienced the joy of giving and the satisfaction of serving.
They had responded to the needs of the hungry, thirsty, homeless, the naked,
the sick, and those in prison....
"Nothing would seem more clear
than the high premium the Savior put upon selfless service to others as
an indispensable element of Christian conduct and of salvation. Helping,
giving, sacrificing are, or should be, as natural as growing and breathing."
(Ensign, May 1992, p9)
The Savior's Second Coming is near at hand. Though we don't know the
day or the time, it is imperitive that we do not procrastinate our preparation.
We must be diligent in keeping our lamps filled by keeping the commandments,
developing our talents, and giving service to others.
Lesson 23: Luke 22:1-38; John 13-15
Additional Reading: Matthew 26:1-5, 14-35; Mark 14:1-2; 10-31
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