In this episode we discuss the parable of the wise and foolish servants in Matthew 24 and the parable of ten virgins in Matthew 25. The parallels in Mark and Luke indicate that the details communicated in the parables need not be understood allegorically. Rather, Jesus is simply exhorting his disciples to sobriety and urgency in light of common Jewish apocalyptic expectations concerning the day of God and the coming of the Messiah.
- The apocalyptic context of the parables – Ascension of Isaiah 5:1; Life of the Prophets Isaiah 1; Hebrews 11:37 (4:11)
- The lamps and the oil are not allegorical (11:03)
- “The delay” in Jewish thought – 2 Peter 3:4; Psalm 90:4; Ezekiel 12:22; Habakkuk 2:3; 2 Baruch 21:8; Tobit 14:4; 1QpHab 7:1-14 (14:45)
- Early application of the parable: the Didache – Didache 16:1-8 (27:28)
- The apostolic witness of “staying awake” – 2 Timothy 4; 1 Peter 1:13 (30:33)
Bill, John, and Josh tackle your questions in this eleventh Q&A episode. Among many topics, we discuss supersessionism, God’s purposes for the Gentiles in this age and the age to come, and Zionism.
- What does the parable about the new and old treasures in Matthew 13:52 mean? (2:22)
- What are some of the primary ways modern Christianity has deviated from the theology of the early church? (6:52)
- Can you please discuss a few of the primary passages used by the eternal torment view as well as the annihilationist view? (17:39)
- How do Jews and Gentiles integrate in God’s plans/purposes both now and in the age to come?
In this episode we discuss the parable of the wedding feast from Matthew 22 and Luke 14. In both accounts, apocalyptic themes set the context for the telling of the parable. While typically viewed as a parable about salvation history and 70AD, Jesus’ primary audience is expressly named as “the chief priests and Pharisees” (Matthew 21:45). The parable is simply about responsiveness to Jesus’ and John’s proclamation of the coming judgment, kingdom, and resurrection (cf. Luke 14:14).
- The apocalyptic context of the parable (4:32)
- This parable is not about salvation history (13:03)
- The burning of the city in the parable is not allegorical of 70AD (17:36)
- The wedding garment (21:36)
- “Many are called, few are chosen”: Jewish-apocalyptic remnant theology – 2 Baruch 44:12-15; 4 Ezra 7:47-48 (25:54)
- Appropriate attire at the wedding – b.
In this episode we discuss the parable of the tenants from Matthew 21:33-45. This parable, spoken against the chief priests and Pharisees, condemns the corrupt stewardship of their authority and their mismanagement of the Temple. Rather than an annulment of the covenant between God and Israel and an affirmation of supersessionism, the parable is a strong affirmation of God’s enduring covenant with the people of Israel and intention for the Temple within the commonly held Jewish apocalyptic ideas of the day.
- The apocalyptic context of the parable and the quote of Psalm 118 (3:56)
- The context: the cleansing of the temple – Targum Isaiah 5:2, Isaiah 56:6-7 (10:14)
- The priesthood at the time of Jesus – 1 Maccabees 14:41–42; Matthew 23:3 (17:06)
- Condemnation of the temple leadership and the parable of the two sons – Matthew 21:27-32 (23:01)
- Covenant maintenance through the prophetic witness (27:32)
- Supersessionist assumptions and remnant theology – 2 Samuel 7:23; Psalm 33:12; Isaiah 26:1-2 (33:19)
- Modern interpretations of the parable (41:36)
In this episode we discuss the parable of the vineyard laborers from Matthew 20:1-16. Following the story of the rich young ruler and the disciples’ inheritance of the twelve thrones in the age to come (19:16-30), this parable highlights the “payment of wages” (20:8) and God’s generosity toward Israel’s marginal (i.e. the disciples). Thus, both sections conclude with the apocalyptic, two-age saying, “the first [in this age] will be last [in the age to come]” (19:30; 20:16).
- The historical, apocalyptic context of the parable (5:42)
- The well-known elements of the parable – Leviticus 19:13; Deuteronomy 24:14-15, Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 12:10 (8:54)
- The payment of wages and heightened apocalyptic expectation – Luke 19 (10:01)
- The first, last, and the parallels in context – Matthew 20:16, 27 (22:57)
- Modern approaches to the parable (28:35)
In this episode we discuss the parable of the unforgiving servant from Matthew 18:21-35. Jesus speaks forcefully of divine mercy and forgiveness within the traditional Jewish apocalyptic expectations concerning the “settling of accounts” (v. 23). When this eschatological framework is marginalized or ignored, the gravity and impact of Jesus’ teaching concerning forgiveness is lost.
- The apocalyptic context of the parable: the day of judgment – Luke 7:40-42; Matthew 18:1, 7, 8, 9, 14 (5:12)
- Many of the details of this parable are not particularly allegorical (12:10)
- Understanding the debt – Luke 11:4; Luke 7:41-50 (20:39)
- Forgiveness in Judaism – Leviticus 19:18; Sirach 28:2; b.
In this episode we discuss the parable of defilement in Matthew 15 and Mark 7. The parable is set in context to Jesus’ conflict with the Pharisees concerning the hypocrisy of their traditions. The explanation of this parable, particularly in Mark’s gospel, has been widely used to support the idea that Jesus abrogated the Torah’s dietary instructions. By examining the context and the various translations of Mark 7:19, it becomes clear that Jesus is actually upholding Jewish dietary laws and is simply emphasizing “the weightier matters of the law,” so to speak.
- This parable is often used to show that Jesus was redefining Jewish ideas (4:04)
- Context of the parable: understanding ritual purity – Manual of Discipline 5:13-14; Galatians 1 (8:52)
- An indictment of hypocrisy – Matthew 15:-3-9; Mark 7:9-13; Matthew 23:16-22 (19:30)
- Mark’s missing verse and the parable’s explanation – Mark 7:15-17; Matthew 15:16-20 (26:33)
- The phrase added by translators changes the parable’s meaning – Mark 7:19 (30:00)
- Apocalyptic convictions – Matthew 15:13 (39:19)
In this episode we discuss the parable of the strong man from Matthew 12. After healing a demon-possessed man, Jesus responds to the accusation of the Pharisees that he drove out the demon by the power of Satan. The parable of the strong man is part of a larger argument that the Pharisees’ accusation is both illogical (vv. 25-29) and immoral (vv. 31-32), which is the basis of their eschatological judgment (vv. 36-37). The parable simply argues that Jesus’ power over demons proves that he is indeed “the Son of David” (v. 23), and he will thus plunder Satan’s house at the end of the age.… Read more
In this episode, we discuss the parable of the children in the marketplace from Matthew 11 and Luke 7. This short parable follows a complicated discussion about the imprisonment of John the Baptist, but is often read outside of that context and through the lens of realized eschatology. Rather than reimagining the commonly held Jewish apocalyptic eschatology of the time, the parable was simply an indictment concerning the false accusations of the religious leaders that John was demonized and Jesus was a glutton. On the day of judgment, the wisdom of their lives will ultimately be vindicated.
- Who are the children and the playmates in the parable?
In this episode we discuss the parable of the wineskins (and the patched garment) from Matthew 9, Mark 2, and Luke 5. Contrary to the popular interpretation of a radical redefinition and subversion of Jewish apocalyptic eschatology, this parable communicates the simple principle of dysfunctionality or maladaptation. You cannot force Jesus’ disciples to fast while the Messiah is with them. It does not work. But when he is “taken away” (cf. Isa 53:8 LXX), they will fast. Through this parable, Jesus (and the Gospel authors) sought to establish the discipline of fasting in the early church.
- Fasting and Jewish apocalypticism – Matthew 9:14-15; Isaiah 53:7-8 LXX (4:03)
- The common supersessionist approach – Origen, Blomberg, and Wright (10:09)
- The purpose of the parable: dysfunctionality and maladaptation – Joshua 9:12-13 (24:18)
- Other parables that simply teach a principle – Luke 10:27, 29; Luke 12:15; Luke 11:8 (29:48)
- How should we understand this parable if there is no radical redefinition of Jewish eschatology?