Who is the servant who hides his treasure in the parable of the talents? Is this an end time parable?
This is the fifth article in the series “Why is the Rapture Debate Important?”
In the First Article, we examined whether one can take the Mark of the Beast and still be forgiven. We decided the answer was no.
In the Second Article, we discussed why the rapture debate is necessary and why Churchgoers with weak faith are at risk of falling away. In that article we discussed the three parables Jesus told his disciples after delivering the Olivet Discourse, his teaching on the Tribulation and his return. These parables are Jesus’s primary instruction on how he wants his end time teaching applied.
In the Third Article, we examined Jesus’s warning to Christian leaders in the Parable of the Head of the House, the Thief and the Master (Matt. 24:43-51).
In the Fourth Article we examined the Parable of the Ten Virgins. We saw this was a parable about those who think they are Christians but are not and how they will fall away and not participate in the rapture.
It will be helpful to read these other articles and watch the videos prior to reading this article as it will make more sense
Who is the Servant who Hides his Treasure?
In this article we will look at the third parable Jesus told as application of how to prepare for his return. You certainly have probably heard this parable interpreted in other ways. These other interpretations may also be valid. This particular parable lends itself to other solid interpretations. But what was Jesus primary idea in giving us this parable?
As we said, positionally this parable is located within the Olivet Discourse, Jesus’s great teaching on his return. As such it is an application of that teaching. And sure enough, the parable tells us it is about the return of the Master.
For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, … Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. (Matt. 25:14,19)
So the parable is about what happens after the return of the Master. It is about him “settling accounts” with his stewards; paying them for the services they provided him.
In the very next passage of scripture, the sheep and goat judgment, Jesus provides a literal prophetic look at a similar settling of accounts.
Three Servants and Treasure
Since this is a familiar parable, I won’t quote all of it in this article. Most of you are probably aware that in it the Master entrusts his great wealth to three of his servants to manage while he is away on a journey. Two of the servants utilize and invest his treasure, and the third one hides the treasure.
What is usually overlooked, however, is the fact that all three characters are servants of the Master. They are all followers of Jesus. The one who hides his treasure isn’t a heathen, he is a follower. And when we examine what the treasure is, this becomes even more evident.
Traditionally, the treasure in this parable has been thought to represent the gifts we have been given by God: money and talents. Of course, that is a sound and useful analogy: it preaches well. However, money and skills are not our greatest treasure – not by far. The Gospel is our greatest treasure.
If we assemble all the pieces of the parable together, we learn that it is about Jesus judging those who consider themselves his followers upon his return on the clouds. He will judge them on how well they testified about the Gospel.
Sharing or Hiding the Gospel
Those who have saving faith in Jesus love him with Agape love. Even in the end times, when testifying to the Gospel may be a capital crime, they will still testify. These are the servants in the parable who wisely invest their master’s great treasure. This testifying, especially in the end times, will result in “compounded interest!” As we know, the Holy Spirit will be very active during those days (Joel 2:28, Mark 13:11), giving his servants the words to say. And those Spirit-influenced words will reap a great harvest. This is God’s great purpose for his Church during the Tribulation.
And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. (Rev. 12:11)
God’s servants will overcome Satan in their own lives and in the lives of those hearing their Spirit-influenced testimony. Perhaps those most influenced will be those who currently have weak, human-based belief in Jesus. Will the Spirit infill them at that moment of testimony when they watch their fellow servants testify and die for Jesus?
Of course, not all will testify. Many will “hide” their belief in Jesus. But hiding this belief at this crucial moment in history is no faith at all as we have discussed in all our previous articles. In the first article we analyzed Luke 12 and how this “hiding” of belief and denying Jesus to take the Mark of the Beast may be the “Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit” and the unforgivable sin. (If you need more insight on this, check out that previous article).
Others may hide their faith by becoming a “survivalist” and burrowing into a bunker to eat beans. But the Scriptures are clear that :
If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints. (Rev. 13:11)
God has a destiny for all of us. Even those who think they are “preppers” may be found out by the Antichrist. Preparing for the return of Jesus is not planning to “hide” in my opinion. It is preparing emotionally and spiritually to testify.
The Risk of Pretrib. Rapture Teaching
This series of articles is titled “Why is the Rapture Debate Important?” How does Jesus’s teaching in this parable apply?
By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. (Heb. 11:7)
Jesus, of course, is “the” Ark of our salvation. But we are to prepare as well for the salvation of God’s household, and this will be credited to us as righteousness according to faith. Faith is believing the “things not yet seen” that God has told us are coming and preparing for them.
Now one might say, “Even if there isn’t a pretrib. rapture, the saved will still be saved.” That is true, but he whole point of this series has been that up to 50% of those attending our churches are unsaved with only weak, human-based belief. And there are three ways that those favoring a pretrib. rapture theory may harm those with weak, human-based belief under their leadership:
- ) They may fail to recognize the Antichrist or the Mark of the Beast saying, “we are supposed to be raptured first so this can’t be him.”
- ) They may realize the rapture wasn’t pretrib. and reject Christianity entirely saying, “If you were wrong about something as important as the rapture, maybe you’re wrong about Jesus as well.”
- ) They may fall away due to a lack of time to be emotionally and spiritually prepared to persevere through the tribulation.
In our final installment of this series, we will summarize Jesus’s teaching on preparing for his return.