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Matthew 25:4 but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps.

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      4. But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps--What are these "lamps" and this "oil"? Many answers have been given. But since the foolish as well as the wise took their lamps and went forth with them to meet the Bridegroom, these lighted lamps and this advance a certain way in company with the wise, must denote that Christian profession which is common to all who bear the Christian name; while the insufficiency of this without something else, of which they never possessed themselves, shows that "the foolish" mean those who, with all that is common to them with real Christians, lack the essential preparation for meeting Christ. Then, since the wisdom of "the wise" consisted in their taking with their lamps a supply of oil in their vessels, keeping their lamps burning till the Bridegroom came, and so fitting them to go in with Him to the marriage, this supply of oil must mean that inward reality of grace which alone will stand when He appears whose eyes are as a flame of fire. But this is too general; for it cannot be for nothing that this inward grace is here set forth by the familiar symbol of oil, by which the Spirit of all grace is so constantly represented in Scripture. Beyond all doubt, this was what was symbolized by that precious anointing oil with which Aaron and his sons were consecrated to the priestly office (Ex 30:23-25, 30); by "the oil of gladness above His fellows" with which Messiah was to be anointed (Ps 45:7; Heb 1:9), even as it is expressly said, that "God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him" (Joh 3:34); and by the bowl full of golden oil, in Zechariah's vision, which, receiving its supplies from the two olive trees on either side of it, poured it through seven golden pipes into the golden lamp-stand to keep it continually burning bright (Zec 4:1-14) --for the prophet is expressly told that it was to proclaim the great truth, "Not by might, nor by power, but by MY SPIRIT, saith the Lord of hosts [shall this temple be built]. Who art thou, O great mountain [of opposition to this issue]? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain [or, be swept out of the way], and he shall bring forth the head stone [of the temple], with shoutings [crying], GRACE, GRACE unto it." This supply of oil, then, representing that inward grace which distinguishes the wise, must denote, more particularly, that "supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ," which, as it is the source of the new spiritual life at the first, is the secret of its enduring character. Everything short of this may be possessed by "the foolish"; while it is the possession of this that makes "the wise" to be "ready" when the Bridegroom appears, and fit to "go in with Him to the marriage." Just so in the parable of the Sower, the stony-ground hearers, "having no deepness of earth" and "no root in themselves" Mt 13:5; Mr 4:17), though they spring up and get even into ear, never ripen, while they in the good ground bear the precious grain.

JFB.


Questions Related to this Verse

Where in scripture does it mention the parable of the Bridegroom?

Where In Scripture does it talk about the second coming of Jesus Christ?

Where In Scripture Does It Talk About Procrastination?

Where In Scripture Does It Talk About Resurrection?

Where In Scripture Does It Talk About Unfaithfulness?

Where In Scripture does it talk about being wise in the things of God?

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Matthew Images and Notes

The Book of Matthew

Matthew 2:2 - Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

Matthew 18:3 - And Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew in The New Testament - A Brief Overview

Matthew by Rembrandt
Painting of St. Matthew with Angel by Rembrandt

Introduction to The Gospel of Matthew

The Word Gospel. The first book of the English Bible that most of us read from is the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew is the first of the four gospel writings, yet there is only one gospel about Jesus Christ and there are four different writers: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The word "Gospel" means "good news", and the good news is about Jesus Christ dying on the cross and then 3 days later conquering death and rising from the dead, offering salvation to all mankind, this is the Gospel.

Summary of the Book of Matthew

Brief Summary. Jesus of Nazareth is indeed the long awaited Messiah King of he Jews as foretold by the ancient Jewish prophets. He came to reveal how to enter the "Kingdom of Heaven."

Purpose. It is very obvious that the Gospel of Matthew was written for the purpose of revealing that the man Jesus of Nazareth was actually the King of the Jews, the long awaited Messiah, the sovereign Lord Jehovah who came from heaven to this world revealing to mankind the "kingdom of heaven". The King of the Jews, the Messiah Jesus fulfilled every prophecy that was spoken about Him in the ancient Jewish Scriptures, in the Old Testament. The prophecies that spoke of the "Kingdom" that the Messiah would bring would be a spiritual Kingdom that would never be destroyed.

Map of Israel in the Time of Matthew

Audience. When reading the book of Matthew it becomes clear that the writer was speaking to a Jewish audience. One of the obvious reasons is that the "Kingdom of Heaven" is mentioned over 30 times and never the Kingdom of God. This is because the Jews do not speak the name of God and this could be the very reason that Matthew used this phrase. There are many times while reading the book that an event happens and a prophecy is cited. The event is mentioned as the direct fulfillment of a promise made to the Jews by one of their Jewish prophets, and the fulfillment of the prophecy was happening before their very eyes. It is clear that the audience of people are the Jews, they were awaiting their King, and Matthew records that the King had come and they rejected their King.

Authorship. Early Christian writings and traditions have attributed the authorship of the Gospel of Matthew to the apostle Matthew. Many scholars question whether or not Matthew was the true author of the first Gospel, but there is no way at this current time to be absolutely positive based on historical evidence. Most agree that Matthew was the author. The Bible reveals that Matthew, or Levi, as he was sometimes called, collected taxes for the Romans. One day Jesus passed by and called Matthew to come and follow him, and Matthew did so. The Bible also records that Matthew held a banquet at his house with several of his tax collector friends and Jesus being invited to the banquet was the guest of honor (Mark 2:14-15). The Bible also provides a list of the 12 apostles and Matthew was named among them.

Date. There is no way to determine with absolute certainty the date that the book of Matthew was written. Most scholars agree that the book of Matthew was written before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., this is because Jesus spoke of many events as though they had not happened yet. A large number of scholars do not believe in the miracle of prophecy and therefore insist that the Gospel of Matthew was written after the fall of Jerusalem because of the accuracy of the predicted events.

Language. There are many references among the books in the history of the early church that state that the Gospel of Matthew was originally written by Matthew in the biblical Hebrew language, and he was writing to an audience of  Jews throughout the world who had become followers of Jesus. Unfortunately there is no evidence whatsoever of a Hebrew or Aramaic manuscript, so many scholars have agreed that the Gospel of Matthew is not actually a translation from Hebrew into Greek, but was actually written in Greek. The whole subject of the Gospel of Matthew being written in Hebrew must remain speculation rather than fact.

Outline of the Book of Matthew

The King Comes and His Kingdom is Rejected - Matthew 1-12
The Rejection of the King's Teaching and Ministry - Matthew 13-25
The King's Trial and Crucifixion - Matthew 26-27
The King's Victory and Resurrection - Matthew 28
The King's Commissioning of His Apostles - Matthew 28

Matthew - Interesting Notes

Study Bible Icon Matthew mentions four women in his genealogy which is not typical for Jewish genealogical records: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheeba who were all associated with some sort of immorality. Tamar (incest), Rahab (harlotry), Ruth (a descendant of Moab who committed incest) and Bathsheba (adultery). Christ's greatness was in Himself not his genealogy.

Study Bible Icon There are many intimations for the word "King" in Matthew if one takes the time to look. For example in chapter one there is a royal genealogy mentioning king David at the start. Chapter two reveals the kingly gifts of the Magi. Chapter three calls John the Baptist a "herald" which is a cultural term that represents a herald for a king. Etc. 

Study Bible Icon There are similarities with the number four. The four colors in the veil of the Temple were purple, scarlet, white, and blue. The four faces of the cherubim are the lion, ox, man, eagle. The four Gospel accounts are Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. 

Quick Reference Maps - Matthew

Israel in New Testament Times

The Kingdom of Herod the Great

The Divisions of Herod's Kingdom

The Flight into Egypt

The Baptism of Jesus

The Beginning of Christ's Ministry

Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee

Jesus Ministers in Galilee

Jesus Comes to Jerusalem

Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus

Jesus Journeys from Nazareth to Jerusalem

The Final Journey of Jesus to Jerusalem

 

Jesus written in Hebrew
The Name Jesus In Ancient Hebrew Text
"Yeshua" in First Century Hebrew Text. This is how the name "Jesus" would have been written in ancient Hebrew documents. The four letters or consonants from right to left are Yod, Shin, Vav, Ayin (Y, SH, OO, A). Jesus is the Greek name for the Hebrew name Joshua or Y'shua which means "The LORD or Yahweh is Salvation".

Matthew Resources

Outline of the Life of Jesus in Harmony
Simple Map of First Century Israel
Topographical Map of First Century Israel
Map of the Ministry of Jesus
Map of the Roads in Ancient Israel
Map of the Roman Empire