Part Two: THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS
The "foolish virgins" of Matthew 25's first parable have now become "wise". They are, primarily, the 144,000 of the book of Revelation who have repented at the preaching of the Two Witnesses. This parable is about Christ commissioning them on their global gospel mission (Revelation 7) and their reward afterward.
[Mat 25:14-30 NASB] 14 "FOR IT IS JUST LIKE A MAN ABOUT TO GO ON A JOURNEY, WHO CALLED HIS OWN SLAVES AND ENTRUSTED HIS POSSESSIONS TO THEM. 15 "To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. 16 "Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. 17 "In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. 18 "But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money. 19 "Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20 "The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, 'Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.' 21 "His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.' 22 "Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, 'Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.' 23 "His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.' 24 "And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. 25 'And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.' 26 "But his master answered and said to him, 'You wicked, lazy slave, YOU KNEW THAT I REAP WHERE I DID NOT SOW AND GATHER WHERE I SCATTERED NO SEED. 27 'Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. 28 'Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.' 29 "For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 30 "Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
THE CHURCH AGE GOSPEL MISSION
In many ways, this parable is emblematic of anyone's service to Christ during the Church Age. Christ gave the Church the "great commission" to evangelize the world just before He "went on his journey...for a long time" when He ascended to His Father's throne room (Matthew 28:16-20). In evangelism, we "sow” the gospel (Matthew 13:3-23) but it is Christ who "reaps where He did not sow". Our only job is to be faithful in throwing out the seed but the miracle of spiritual regeneration is exclusively the work of the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-11; 2 Corinthians 9:10; Titus 3:5). And yet God will reward us as having a hand in the process…as being "fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19).
THE TRIBULATION GOSPEL MISSION
For a "long" two thousand years the Church has done her job in varying degrees of obedience. Her replacement evangelists after the Rapture, the 144,000, will largely be faithful as seen by the tremendous number of souls harvested for God during the otherwise dark, approximately three and a half years of their ministry (Revelation 7).
IT'S NOT THE AMOUNT OF FAITH BUT WHAT YOU DO WITH IT
Again, as all the parables of this chapter, the Parable of the Talents, although specific to the 144,000, is "just like" the two thousand-year Church Age in that "faith without works is dead" (James 2:18-26). Those who have come to know Jesus and His great salvation have always been compelled by the love of Christ to spread this gospel word.
Even though specially marked, transported, and protected from death by angels, the 144,000 will have those who do not fully trust Christ (similar to the apostate preachers who are recorded to scoff at the imminent return of Christ during the last days of the Church Age...see the "Evil Slave" parable of Matthew 24). Like those in the pulpits of Matthew 24's last parable, they will have no reward in Christ because they were not really of Christ. The fruit of their "talent" of faith will be a faithless fear that refuses to act on Christ's behalf for the gospel. To their utter chagrin, they will meet the same fate as the false teachers of the Church Age: "they will be cast into outer darkness". What would have been their rightful place and reward will go to those who engaged in the simple obedience of faith.
HERE, HAVE A CITY
Matthew 25's Parable of the Talents has a near twin in the gospel of Luke (Luke 19:11-27). There a departing Christ has given his servants each a single "mina" to invest in "the kingdom of God". As in the first parable, Christ assesses the laborers’ investment on His return. That the identity of these “slaves" is still the 144,000 Jewish gospel messengers of the Parable of the Talents seems evident from the nature of their "reward".
Degrees of faithfulness in Luke's parable receive a dividend not just in “many things” but in "cities". The more faithful the investment by the 144,000 gospel workers, the more souls reached to Christ's profit and glory, the more cities Christ deals out in return to the workers. Of course, Christ will reward all gospel sowers of the current Jew/Gentile Church Age. But this "Parable of the Minas" can only be a reference to the end of that age and the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom based in Israel and its "cities".
What seals the argument is that the context of this parable is Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem. With Christ's rejection and crucifixion at Calvary came Israel's loss of King and Kingdom. In its place came the Church Age and "Thy Kingdom (yet to) come" (Matthew 6:10). The reemergence of national Israel indicates that the Millennial Kingdom is indeed now all but "come".
Through the dark, seven-year Tribulation period, the Jews are about to claim their long-awaited inheritance. The bright spot on the other side is a fairytale land "flowing with milk and honey", where "the lion lies down with the lamb". The 144,000 will be its benign administrators. Their faithful service to Christ during the Tribulation gospel mission will be rewarded with "cities" full of wonderful, grateful, God-fearing people with whom to fellowship in the global New Eden based in Israel.