The Bible


Matthew 25



1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

2 And five of them were foolish, and five were wise.

3 For the foolish, when they took their lamps, took no oil with them:

4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

5 Now while the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

6 But at midnight there is a cry, Behold, the bridegroom! Come ye forth to meet him.

7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are going out.

9 But the wise answered, saying, Peradventure there will not be enough for us and you: go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

10 And while they went away to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage feast: and the door was shut.

11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

13 Watch therefore, for ye know not the day nor the hour.

14 For [it is] as [when] a man, going into another country, called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.

15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one; to each according to his several ability; and he went on his journey.

16 Straightway he that received the five talents went and traded with them, and made other five talents.

17 In like manner he also that [received] the two gained other two.

18 But he that received the one went away and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.

19 Now after a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and maketh a reckoning with them.

20 And he that received the five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: lo, I have gained other five talents.

21 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

22 And he also that [received] the two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: lo, I have gained other two talents.

23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

24 And he also that had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou didst not sow, and gathering where thou didst not scatter;

25 and I was afraid, and went away and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, thou hast thine own.

26 But his lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I did not scatter;

27 thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the bankers, and at my coming I should have received back mine own with interest.

28 Take ye away therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him that hath the ten talents.

29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away.

30 And cast ye out the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth.

31 But when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory:

32 and before him shall be gathered all the nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats;

33 and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35 for I was hungry, and ye gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in;

36 naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? or athirst, and gave thee drink?

38 And when saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39 And when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, [even] these least, ye did it unto me.

41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels:

42 for I was hungry, and ye did not give me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink;

43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44 Then shall they also answer, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of these least, ye did it not unto me.

46 And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life.




Explanation of Matthew 25

By New Christian Bible Study Staff

Matthew 25 and the previous chapter, Matthew 24, are the only two chapters in the four gospels for which Swedenborg offered verse by verse explanations. It's great that we have these, because we get some assurance that the methods that he used in his exegesis of Genesis, Exodus, and Revelation can also be applied to the gospels.

The commentary on Matthew 25 is divided into chunks associated with explanations of chapters in Genesis, in the middle of "Arcana Coelestia". For chapter 25, it starts in Arcana Coelestia 4635-4638. Here's an excerpt from no. 4636:

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"The Lord used this parable to describe His own coming. This is clear from every detail in it as well as from the final sentence where He says, 'Watch therefore, for you do not know the day, nor the hour, in which the Son of Man will be coming' - words similar to those used in Chapter 24.... It has been shown already that His coming is the close of the age or the final period of the Church."

Next, in Arcana Coelestia 4637, there's a strong clear attestation to the power and importance of the internal sense of the Word:

"Consequently anyone who does not know this cannot make anything else out of the Lord's parables than ordinary comparisons which hold nothing deeper within them, as with this particular parable concerning the ten virgins. He makes nothing more out of it if he does not know what 'virgins' means in the internal sense, and also what ten, five, lamps, vessels, oil, those who sell, a wedding feast, and every other detail mean. And the same is true with all other parables. As has been stated, the details mentioned by the Lord in them look, in the outward form they take, like ordinary comparisons, but in their internal form their nature is such that they fill the whole of heaven. This is because the internal sense is contained within every detail, and that sense is such that its spiritual and celestial content spreads like light and flame throughout the heavens in all directions. That sense is utterly superior to the sense of the letter, flowing from every phrase and every word, indeed from every tiny letter."

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(Swedenborg's exegesis of the chapter continues in 4662-4664, 4807-4810, 4954-4959, and 5063-5071. It's well worth the read!)

Also, we'll append the commentary on this chapter that Rev. John Clowes wrote back in the 1850's:

Verses 1, 2, 3, 4. That in the last time of the old church and the first of the now, they who are of the church will receive spiritual truths, and some will be in truths wherein is the good of love and charity, and some in truths wherein is no good of love and charity.

Verse 5. That by reason of delay, they will be sluggish in the things of the church, and will cherish doubt.

Verse 6. But that at the last time of the old church and the first of the new, there will be a change, for then will be the judgement, namely, acceptance and rejection.

Verses 7, 8. And then all will prepare themselves, and they who are in truths without the good of love and charity will be willing to have good communicated from others to their empty truths.

Verse 9. But this is impossible, since no good can then be communicated but the good of merit.

Verse 10. Wherefore the application is preposterous, because none can be received into heaven but those who are principled in good and thence in truth.

Verse 11. Nevertheless, they who are in truths without good, are willing to enter from faith alone without charity, and from works in which is no life of the Lord, but only the life of self.

Verse 12. But they are rejected, because they are not in any charity towards their neighbour, nor by it in conjunction with the Lord.

Verse 13. Therefore the life ought to be regulated according to the precepts of faith, because the time of acceptance, and the state, is unknown to man.

Verses 14, 15. For the Lord gives to all who are in the church the knowledges of truth and good from the Word, with the faculty of perceiving them.

Verses 16, 17, 18. And by these knowledges and this faculty, some procure to themselves much intelligence and wisdom, and others procure some, and others none.

Verses 19-23. Wherefore at the Lord's coming, they who had procured much intelligence and wisdom, and they who had procured some, are accepted of the Lord, and gifted by Him with dominion over all evils and falsities, and admitted to conjunction of life with Himsel

Verses 24-31. But they who had procured none are then deprived of the truths which they had possessed in the memory only, and not in the life, and become principled in mere falsities separated from all good and truth.

Verses 24, 25. For not having joined charity to faith, they think harshly of the Divine Mercy, and act from mere natural fear, which obscures the knowledges of heavenly truth.

Verses 26, 27. Whereas they ought rather, by those knowledges, to have procured to themselves charity, and thus have attained conjunction of life with the Lord.

Verses 28, 29. Therefore those knowledges are taken away from them, and conferred on those who apply them to the reformation of their lives.

Verse 30. And they who have lived in faith alone without charity, are deprived of all the truths of faith, and all the goods of charity, having their lot with those who are in mere evils and falsities.

Verse 31. For when Divine Truth shall appear in its light, through the angelic heaven, then shall be the judgement.

Verse 32. And then shall the goods and evils of all be made manifest in the Light Divine, and there shall be a separation of what is good from what is evil, or of those who are in charity and thence in faith, from those who are in faith alone, and not in charity.

Verse 33. And this separation will be according to truths derived from good with the good, and according to falsities derived from evil with the evil, thus every one will be arranged according to his life.

Verse 34. Then shall they who are in charity and thence in faith be received amongst those in heaven who are in truth; derived from good.

Verses 35, 36. Since they are in the affection of good and truth, because proceeding from the Lord, and are averse from what is evil and false, because proceeding from themselves, and thus are in humiliation grounded in self-acknowledgment, and thence in all the offices of charity.

Verses 37, 38, 39. And yet if they had seen the Lord Himself in all the offices of charity, every one would have done them, but not from love to Him, but from fear, nor for the sake of Him, but for the sake of themselves.

Verse 40. Nevertheless the truth is that the Lord is present with those who are in the good of love and charity because He is in that good itself.

Verse 41. But they who are in faith and not in charity, will then avert themselves from all good and truth, and convert themselves to what is evil and false, and remain in the craving of infernal evil.

Verses 42, 43. Since they have never been in the affection of good and truth because proceeding from the Lord, nor averse from what is evil and false because proceeding from themselves, nor in humiliation grounded in self-acknowledgement, nor in any offices of charity thence derived.

Verse 44. And yet in the external form they have done those offices, but not from a principle of love to the Lord, but from fear, thus not for the sake of Him, but of themselves.

Verse 45. For they who are not in the affection of good and truth from the Lord, are not influenced by love to the Lord, but by self-love.

Verse 46. All such therefore will be everlastingly tormented by the concupiscences of evil, but they who are in the good of charity, will have life from that good, because it is from the Lord, who is the life itself.