Matthew Chapter 24
Once again we return to the parable of “The Faithful Servant and the Evil Servant” as taken from Luke Chapter 12.
Verse 38 “And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.”
A THOUSAND YEARS...ARE AS A WATCH IN THE NIGHT
According to the ancient Jewish method of reckoning the night time, the second watch would be from ten to two o'clock and the third from two to six o'clock. The parable does not state in which watch the Master may be expected. That question was left open; the faithfulness of the servants would be tested in proportion to his delay.
Many would find it easy to keep awake and alert during the first watch, not so many during the second watch and still fewer (now) during the third. It is in accord with this implication of the parable that we find today general lethargy prevailing amongst Christian people respecting the return of the Bridegroom and the glorious things of the Kingdom then to be brought unto his faithful household. Many are asleep in Zion; many are overcharged with the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches. Not only have worldly people made a god of business, money and pleasure, but many (believers) who are at heart lovers of righteousness and who desire to be considered servants of the Lord, are seriously overcharged—absorbed in worldly things.
Their hearts are so filled with these and their minds so occupied with dreams of Churchianity (viz. an excessive or narrowly sectarian attachment to the practices and interests of a particular denomination or church) and pleasure and personal interest that they cannot hear the knock. They know not of the Master's presence; they open not their hearts to this wonderful announcement, for which the Lord's people have waited so long and prayed so earnestly, "Thy Kingdom come." They are missing, as a consequence, a great blessing implied in our Lord's parable, and definitely stated in Daniel's prophecy--"O, the blessedness of him that waits and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days." (Dan 12:12)
Verse 39 “But know this that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.”
HIS PRESENCE UNKNOWN TO THE WORLD
The reference here is to a thief-like coming and the Greek word, translated broken through or into, would mean literally "dug into." Many of the houses of olden time were not built of stone or bricks but of dried mud, somewhat like what are known as adobe houses in some parts of the West and in Mexico. Entry into such houses could be gained more quickly by digging through the wall than by forcing the door.
The master of the house or its master does not refer to the Lord, for the house referred to is the "present evil world"--the social structure as at present organized. It is not necessary to conclude that Satan is meant, although he is in a general way the master of present institutions, "the god of this world," the "prince of this world." We may properly enough understand the master of the house to here signify earthly governments, the powers that be, the representatives of the ten toes of Daniel's image and of his fourth beast.
This matter of the second coming of the Lord and the knock which will be heard by those of his servants (believers) who are awake, but not heard by his servants (believers) who are asleep and overcharged, will be totally unknown to the world. To them his presence will not be that of a master longed for and served, but that of an opponent whose house they have in his absence taken possession of and used contrary to his interests. These, if they knew the time of his coming, would have fortified themselves in some manner and have sought to defend present institutions and to perpetuate them.
The coming as a thief upon the world signifies a quiet coming, unostentatious, unknown, without heralds or any commotion likely to disturb. The breaking up of the strong man's house--the breaking up of present institutions, civil, religious, political, financial-- is already under way, just as the knocking for his servants is in process. The entire social structure is under control of the new Prince. He is even now marshaling his forces (the Lord’s great army), and will cause even the wrath of man to praise him and to work out his purposes in the overthrow of every known institution built upon selfishness. Great will be the fall thereof--"a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation"; but upon the ruins the King of kings and Lord of lords will rear the grand Kingdom of the Lord, for which all who are his already pray, "Thy Kingdom come," and which, when it shall come to be instituted by the Lord, will be indeed the "desire of all nations."--Haggai 2:7.
Verse 40 “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
IN SUCH AN HOUR AS YE THINK NOT
The essence of this lesson is summed up in the 40th verse, "Be ye also ready; for in an hour ye think not the Son of man cometh."
No one will be aware (in advance) of the hour of the Son of man's coming; it is not a matter that is left in such a form as to be speculated upon in advance. His knock will be the first intimation of his presence.
And so it has been fulfilled: none of us knew in advance when the Lord's coming would take place; it was after it had occurred that we heard the knock-- his voice through the prophets of the Old Testament (the more sure word of prophecy), declaring to us that we are already in the harvest time and in the days of the presence of the Son of man.
Here we have fulfilled the words of the Lord in Matt 24:37, "As the days of Noah were, so shall also the parousia [presence] of the Son of man be." The text shows that the thought is that as the world was ignorant of coming events in Noah's days, and, being ignorant, was eating and drinking and planting and building, so it will be in the days of the presence of the Son of man: the world (as well as the professing church) will be ignorant of the fact of his presence, and the ordinary affairs of life will be progressing as usual. Only "ye brethren" who hear the knock will discern the presence and get the blessing.” (R3355)
Continued with next post.
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