Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Called and Chosen

We talked about this passage in our church class yesterday:
1 And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, 3 and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. 4 Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.”’ 5 But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. 6And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. 7 But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ 10 So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. 12 So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Matthew 22)

The following verse was presented as a difficult text:

14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

I am aware of different appraoches to this verse in particular and this text as a whole. I haven't found any that adequetely answer this: who are the "chosen" referred to in the passage right before the difficult verse? What do you think?

106 Comments:

  • Hi Rose,

    Personally I think that the "chosen" are the ones who have been chosen to share in the King's banquet. I think the whole verse sums up the whole parable and says that many are invited (called) to share in the wedding banquet but few are chosen to participate in it.

    Just a thought,
    Blessings,
    Andrew.

    By Blogger Andrew, at 8/13/2007 1:08 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I think some believe that that the kingdom of heaven is not eternal salvation, but another teir that can be attained once one has secured entrance. That way the "chosen" doesn't refer to one who is chosen to be saved but rather one who is chosen to come into the feast, a closer group to the king. I don't buy that explaination, but it does point out that your definition of "the kingdom of heaven" will determine who the chosen are.

    What do you believe is the "kingdom of heaven"?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 8/13/2007 1:21 PM  

  • Andrew,
    Thanks you. Yes, Matthew and Antonio have explained that to me. I am not sure about it. Thank you for adding your name to the list on that interpretation. God bless you.

    Ten Cent,
    Who do you think are the chosen in that parable? (you answer me and then I will answer you) :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/13/2007 1:39 PM  

  • Rose,

    I think Andrew summed it up by saying "Personally I think that the "chosen" are the ones who have been chosen to share in the King's banquet."

    The man who was at the banquet and wasn't wearing a wedding garment was not chosen to share in the banquet. I think he was called (invited) but he wasn't chosen. And it appears that his clothes determined his status as chosen or not.

    So then, who are the "chosen"? The chosen are the ones who are partakers at the wedding feast and the evidence of their status of being chosen has to do with their garments. I see the garments as being the righteousness of Christ. Without His righteousness, there will be no seat at the wedding feast. So the chosen are those who are clothed with righteousness of Christ (believers).

    Now it's your turn to answer my question.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 8/13/2007 4:03 PM  

  • Hi, Rose. This is another great question! I never studied out this one before, but I have always made some grammatical assumptions.

    Based on the fact that Jesus was talking to the Pharisees and chief priests, and in context of the parables prior to this, I assumed that the chosen referred to in verse 14 were the Jews. When Christ says, "for many are called, but few are chosen," I never considered that the chosen were those from the many called, but apart from them. I thought Jesus was saying to them - "God called so many - but you, one of the few He actually CHOSE, would not come to the banquet."

    Also, I always thought that the one who was bound was one of the original invited guests (hence the term, friend) who tried to join in with those from the streest that the servants had gathered. He should have come dressed and prepared, as he had been invited, and this was why he had been treated as he was.

    By Blogger Missy, at 8/13/2007 11:09 PM  

  • Oops, hit publish too fast...

    My assumption about the bound man, again, comes from the same context of this parable being a lesson to the pharisees and chief priests Jesus is addressing.

    By Blogger Missy, at 8/13/2007 11:13 PM  

  • Ten Cent,
    You ask:
    What do you believe is the "kingdom of heaven"?

    It is ultimately the millennial reign of Christ on earth in which those living now will be with Christ when it is inagurated at the second coming - for our present purposes, it is being with or "in Christ" while cretaion waits for this to come.

    Your answer is interesting. It made me think about the passage in a different way. Like this:

    many are called = all those who were invited *and* all the others who were called after the originally invited guests did not come (those who heard the open "invitation")

    few are chosen = those who actually came to the wedding *and* put on the clothing provided for the guests
    (I read where someone pointed out that these people were brought in off the streets at the time the feast was ready, the king would have provided them clothing)

    Anyways, Ten Cent, this is one possible explanation for the parable that I had not thought about until I read your last comment.

    Thanks!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/14/2007 9:21 AM  

  • Missy,
    That is actually right along the lines I was thinking!
    At first glance, it seems people think this verse has to do with predestination because in some of our circles, that is a bit of a hobby horse .... but then you shake that off and look at the story and the context of the story, and it is obvious that the originally "invited" were the "chosen people" or the Jews. Who else is chosen in the story? The specifically invited guests! The generally called were not chosen specifically, but the "invited" were chosen. Just like the Jews. Then, they rejected their Messiah, so He went to the "world" and invited whoever would hear of the provision He was making. Just like the gospel went to the Gentiles in the real life version of this.

    Thanks for sharing!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/14/2007 9:37 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    No surprises here.

    Many are called: Indiscriminate call of the gospel to all people. Largely ineffective as it is often laughed off and rejected

    Few are chosen: Those who receive the effectual call which brings them to saving faith in Jesus Christ.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 8/14/2007 9:38 AM  

  • Colin,
    I hear ya.
    That is what I would think you would say. :~)
    How ... in the STORY ... are the ones who come to the wedding chosen? Sincerely. Does the king walk through the banquet and choose those guests who are dressed well? Is that how *in the story* these are chosen?

    If you please?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/14/2007 9:46 AM  

  • Hi Rose. I would tend to agree with Ten Cent's answer.

    By Anonymous Gordon Cloud, at 8/14/2007 9:48 AM  

  • Ho Gordon,
    thanks for visiting. I agree with this part of Ten Cent's answer: I see the garments as being the righteousness of Christ. Without His righteousness, there will be no seat at the wedding feast. So the chosen are those who are clothed with righteousness of Christ (believers).

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/14/2007 9:52 AM  

  • Rose: I think we both agree that God's invitations are sincere. I certainly do not charge Him with insincereity when He says that whosoever will may come and take freely of the water of life.

    Not sure what you mean when you ask if the well dressed ones were chosen - certainly those who remained at the table for whatever reason (in the parable as wearing the wedding garment, which I likewise take to be the imputed righteousness of Christ)were chosen to be there.

    One thing is sure - the man taken out and severely punished deserved to be so, for the Judge of all the Earth surely does that which is right. But I think we agree on that as well.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 8/14/2007 10:02 AM  

  • Thanks, Rose. I am beginning to think a very important part of this scripture is about the guest who was thrown out. Does anyone agree with my opinion that he was one of the original invited to the wedding party?

    Also, did anyone notice that Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is "Like a certain king..." - not that it is like the banquet?

    By Blogger Missy, at 8/14/2007 10:18 AM  

  • Colin,
    I am glad what you say in that first paragraph. How nice to see you type that. I agree with your last paragraph too.

    Not sure what you mean when you ask if the well dressed ones were chosen

    Here is what I mean:
    How ... in the STORY ... are the ones who come to the wedding chosen? Does the king walk through the banquet and choose those guests who are dressed well? Is that how *in the story* these are chosen?

    Surely, there is a moment in the STORY when some group is chosen.

    How do you see that in the STORY - not in the spiritual application, but in the story? When are they ... and what group ... is chosen?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/14/2007 10:21 AM  

  • Rose: I see what you're getting at (Or: "I hear ya" as you often put it)

    I think the choosing part explains the parable rather than needs to be put somewhere into the story line. If it refers to the choice which God made, (and I believe it does) then it cannot go into the story line which obviously relates to a point of time.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 8/14/2007 10:33 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    You said, "It is ultimately the millennial reign of Christ on earth in which those living now will be with Christ when it is inagurated at the second coming - for our present purposes, it is being with or "in Christ" while cretaion waits for this to come."

    I think it's interesting that in Matthew 3, John the Baptist preaches that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. And then in chapter 4, Jesus preaches this same message. And in chapter 23, Jesus pronounces woe on the scribes and Pharisees because they shut off the kingdom of heaven from people and they did not enter in or allow those who are entering to go in. It all seems very near to the time that Jesus was on the earth. It doesn't seem to have much in the way of future implications, meaning it doesn't seem to specifically mention or imply a distant time that kingdom of heaven will be. So for me, I think the second part of your description is more appropriate, "being in Christ".

    You also said, "(I read where someone pointed out that these people were brought in off the streets at the time the feast was ready, the king would have provided them clothing)"

    And I agree, the King had to provide the clothing, just like our King supplies our robes of righteousness. That's why we lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 13:12-14). I really like Rev. 7 where it talks about a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes. And one of the Elders asks John who these are that are clothed in the white robes. The Elder answers his own question and says these are the ones who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. And in Rev. 22:14 it says "Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city." And later on in that same chapter it says, "The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost." It is an open invitation. But how do I know if I'm chosen? Am I in Christ? Am I wearing the white robes that He has provided? If so, then I am chosen. And I can have complete confidence in Him and enjoy the feast that He has prepared.

    That is Good News!

    Thanks for the dialogue.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 8/14/2007 12:46 PM  

  • Missy,
    Thanks for coming back.
    That is a really interesting. Why would he call him friend? Maybe it is as you say - he was one of the originally invited guests.
    Funny that he only casts out just one to the outer darkness. Blows the many/few distinction into a different realm than some of us might think of it ... many are called, few are chosen ... and only *one* is cast into darkness!

    Hey Colin,
    what does that mean to you? That only one was thrown out into the darkness? I would love your thoughts on that.

    Colin,
    I hope "I hear ya" comes across politely. It is meant with the utmost respect.

    I am not sure how Jesus would end his parable with words that did not relate to the story he just told. Are you sure? Are you sure that 'chosen' does not relate to the 'chosen people' the Jews, since he was talking to them about how they had killed the prophets:
    "6And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them"

    I thought I really made a breakthrough with that. Ah, maybe not.

    Hey Matthew,
    If you are around here, can you answer this, according to your understanding of this parable:
    How ... in the STORY ... are the ones who come to the wedding chosen? Does the king walk through the banquet and choose those guests who are dressed well? Is that how *in the story* these are chosen? Thank you if you have time.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/14/2007 1:24 PM  

  • Ten Cent,
    Thank you. I appreciate all you have said.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/14/2007 1:24 PM  

  • I also thought of the white robes of Rev. 7 when looking at this parable as far back as I can remember.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/14/2007 1:25 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I have long learned not to be offended by Americanisms and I could have you splitting your sides laughing with stories from Brits who went "over there" and learned the hard way. I am amused too that you think me polite…but I do try. Sometimes I have to take things out of emails to some people. I put them in to get them off my chest, but take them back out again to maintain some kind of Christian dignity and testimony.

    I think the fact that an individual was "told to leave" (to put it mildly) would indicate that we are to take the matter to heart personally.What did it matter to him if there were more than himself, being bound and foot and cast into darkness etc.? I can't see how this changes in any other interpretation of the passage. Surely this was not an unique person, but a representative one? I see him representative ultimately of every sinner, or at least of every unconverted religious sinner who has an empty Christless faith.

    I would not doubt that there was a particular Jewish leaning when this parable was originally told - as indicated by v6 - but the application is wider than that i.e. gospel (for all) orientated. I certainly wouldn't limit it to the Jews of Christ's time.

    The words certainly relate to the parable, but by way of general gospel application, as opposed to having some mere local part in the parable. Many are called to the gospel feast, but some hope to come on their own terms - as represented by the man who turned up without the wedding garment - and they are rejected. Ultimately only the chosen ones a.k.a. the elect (and we again agree surely that the elect are the Christians, even if we disagree the grounds of their election) stay and partake. So, many are called (in the general gospel call which is often rejected) while the chosen (as said originally) hear in the same gospel call, the effectual call and come to Christ for salvation. They wear the king's garment and stay in the feast.

    I agree with you on the robes from Revelation 7 too.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 8/14/2007 2:26 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Here is how I see it.

    The context of the parable tells the audience who is hearing this parable. This is part of a series of parables that Jesus tells during the week before his crucifixion. The audience includes a crowd, but also the chief priests and the Pharisees. At the end of this section of parables, the Pharisees tried to entangle Jesus.

    It seems the main characters in the parable are the king, which stands for God the Father, the King’s son, which seems to stand for Jesus. There are others, which I’ll point out shortly. This is a wedding feast for the son. Servants are sent to invite people. It would seem to indicate that the servants are the prophets, including John the Baptist, but also other OT prophets. The people who are being invited seem to be the Jews, but I don’t know if the context can say all Jews. Parables often have an interesting twist to them. I think the “invited” ones are those who people tend to look up too, the religious leaders such as the chief priests and Pharisees. They are the ones who “look” invited, who stand out from the others who are not as learned, who are not religiously respected.

    But one twist is those who are obviously invited either ignore the servants, or kill them. So the king punishes those people – and hindsight might even suggest that the destruction of their city was a foreshadowing the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD. So the invitation is extended to a very wide audience. Those who don’t fit in the various “worthy categories” usually found in the peoples’ minds. Beggars, lepers, tax collectors, all sorts of people – and even gentiles.

    An interesting thing happens in this gathering. There are some that are found without a wedding garment. I think the observation that this is the covering of Christ is good. But we at least know that in this gathering there is a mixture of those who belong (who have the wedding garment) and those who don’t belong (without the wedding garment). This reminds me of the parable of the wheat and tares. There is a mixture in the wedding banquet of those who belong and those who don’t.

    I don’t think this wedding banquet refers to some special yet-to-happen end time. It is a description of the current Kingdom of God, who it operates. It is a mixture of people, some good, some bad. Some are chosen, they are the ones wearing the wedding garment, and the non-chosen ones not wearing the wedding garment. Just as God will divide the wheat from the tares at the end, so God will throw out those in his wedding banquet (which, I think refers to the church since the time of Christ) who do not belong.

    In this context then, many are invited and will join God’s people on earth. We celebrate the wedding feast of the Son who died for us and is reigning in heaven at the right hand of the Father. At the end of the age, God will purify his church, only those who have the robes are qualified. The question the hearer would ask is how do you know if you are chosen. You are chosen if you are wearing the robe.

    We could get into a debate about how the people are chosen – but I think that missing the point of the parable. You want to be wearing the robe. That is how you know you are chosen. Be sure to wear the robe.

    By Blogger Earl, at 8/14/2007 2:58 PM  

  • I think it's clear that the outer darkness is a reward issue. It's NOT hell. There is Jewish banquet imagery in Matthew 8:11 and 22:1-14, and because weddings were held at night in brightly-lit banquet halls, outside was the darkness of night. Of course, there is no literal darkness in heaven, but in keeping with the earthly Jewish banquet imagery, Jesus calls the area of the Kingdom outside the hall "outer darkness". Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are "reclining-at-table" (Gk - anaklino) in the Kingdom. The darkness is outside the table, not the Kingdom.

    Before I get to Matthew 22:13, I need to start with Matthew 8:10. When you see the first instance of outer darkness in Matthew 8:10-12, and pay attention to verse 10, you see that the issue is GREAT faith, NOT faith vs. no faith. You can't say that the sons of the kingdom in outer darkness are unbelievers who didn't believe in Jesus for eternal life. They did believe in Jesus for eternal, and therefore they have eternal life. The problem is they didn't have GREAT faith like the Centurion had. Great faith goes beyond believing in Jesus for eternal life. Great faith is believing the harder things that God says. Salvation by grace through faith is kindergarten truth. Jesus was never impressed when people believed in Him for eternal life. In fact, he withdrew from some new believers in John 2:23-25. Great faith goes beyond salvation truth and comprehends greater truth. The centurion believed Jesus could heal his servant long-distance by simply saying a word. That's great faith! And no, the sons of the kingdom weeping in outer darkness are NOT the workers of unrighteousness who are weeping and gnashing their teeth outside the Kingdom in Luke 13:28. There is some similar imagery between Matthew 8:10-12 and Luke 13:28-30, but two noteworthy differences between the passages as well. I'll get to those later.

    Great faith is necessary to recline at the TABLE in the Kingdom of God with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Faith alone in Christ alone makes you a son of that kingdom, but great faith is necessary for the banquet as Matthew 8:10-11 shows.

    When you get to Matthew 22:1-14, it becomes very obvious that the guest without the wedding garment is a Gentile son of that kingdom who belongs in the Kingdom. He's differentiated from those who rejected the invitation. This is a Gentile Christian from the highways who didn't put on the garment of good works necessary for the reception (Revelation 19:7-9). God calls him friend, as he also calls a faithful Jewish Christian "friend" who is complaining that a new-but-faithful Gentile Christian received the same reward as him in Matthew 20:13. Everybody in the Matthew 20:1-16 parable is a faithful Christian, but Jesus makes it clear in Matthew 20:16, that some faithful Christians will have to sit at the end of the table for complaining, while some newer Christians would get first place at the table. This is also made clear in Luke 13:29-14:11, where faithful-and-humble Christians sit in first place, while Christians who are faithful but exalting themselves, like the faithful man in Matthew 20:13, have to sit at the end of the table. But outside of the table are those sons of the kingdom, both Jewish and Gentile, who didn't have great faith (8:10) or good works (22:12, Revelation 19:7-9). They are in the Kingdom, but outside the hall. The darkness outside is a literal place, but it's not literally dark, because, again, Jesus is using earthly Jewish wedding imagery.

    Then you get to Matthew 25:14-30, where one of Jesus' servants is thrown into outer darkness for not having done his Master's business. When you compare Matthew 25:14-30 with its parallel in Luke 19:11-27, you notice that the unprofitable servant is not said to be thrown into outer darkness. Based on Matthew 25:14-30, we will assume he was. Luke just didn't point it out. And Luke does something Matthew doesn't. He introduces an unsaved group in Luke 19:27, differentiating the unprofitable servant from those who rejected Jesus (this goes back to the passage at hand, Matthew 22:1-14). In Luke 19:11-27, the unprofitable servant, (same guy as in Matthew 25:30), is differentiated from unbelievers in verse 27. In Matthew 22:13, the guest without the wedding garment is differentiated from those who rejected Jesus (verses 1-7).

    But what about Luke 13:28, which clearly shows people weeping and gnashing their teeth outside the Kingdom when they see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in it? Simple. These are NOT the sons of the kingdom. Jesus uttered the words of Luke 13:28 in response to a question about salvation (13:23) These people are removed from the mystery Kingdom before the banquet begins, and they are called workers of unrighteousness! In Matthew 8:10-12 on the other hand, Jesus is NOT responding to a salvation question, but is responding to a Centurion's GREAT faith. Jesus starts with great faith and a reclining-table and tells us that great faith is necessary for the banquet - nothing about salvation in the context. Don't have great faith? Step outside of the banquet. You'll weep and gnash your teeth in similar fashion to unbelievers who aren't in the Kingdom.

    Another difference between Matthew 8:10-12 and Luke 13:28-30. Jesus talks about reclining at the table in Matthew 8:11, but doesn't distinguish between first and last place. In Luke 13:30-14:11, Jesus does distinguish between seating arrangements. The first who are last are faithful Christians (see Matthew 20:1-16 for support). The ones exalting themselves are placed into lower rulership positions and assigned to the end of the table. The Christians who humbled themselves are at the first place at the table. In Matthew 8:10-12, 22:13, and 25:30, unfaithful Christians are outside the banquet hall weeping. In Luke 13:28, unbelievers are outside the Kingdom weeping as well.

    The first - Humble, faithful Chritians. First seats.

    The last - Self-exalting but still faithful. Last seats.

    The least - believers weeping outside the banquet hall. No rulership privileges.

    The lost - unbelievers weeping outside the Kingdom.

    Non-Dispensational Free Gracers (like preterists) also concur that the outer darkness is NOT hell. Some Free Grace preterists believe outer darkness was the 70 A.D. destruction of Jerusalem. They believe unfaithful Christians may have been killed there.

    By Anonymous danny, at 8/14/2007 5:57 PM  

  • I didn't make it clear enough. The sons of the Kingdom in Matthew 8:10-12 are obviously Jewish sons of the kingdom, not Gentile ones. They didn't have great faith. Matthew 22:13 deals with a Gentile son of the kingdom.

    Notice that the Jewish believers in Matthew 8:12 are weeping because they are not at the same table as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They thought that faith in Jesus for eternal life meant they could sit with the patriarchs. They're weeping because they now realize that believing in Jesus does not grant one automatic admission to the banquet hall. They needed great faith for that.

    Now, notice that the unbelievers weeping and gnashing their teeth in Luke 13:28 are also Jews (13:23-27). These people are weeping because they can see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom, while they are outside the Kingdom. They didn't believe in Jesus. Notice that verse 28 does NOT say that they see these three patriarchs at the table. The part about people coming to the table doesn't come in until the next verse.

    Both Jewish believers and unbelievers are weeping in relation to seeing Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Jewish believers of Matthew 8:12 are weeping because they are not at the same table as the patriarchs because they didn't have GREAT faith, but they are still in the Kingdom.

    The Jewish unbelievers of Luke 13:28 are weeping because they're not even in the Kingdom, let alone at the banquet.

    The Jewish believers of Matthew 8:12 - Weeping outside the table but still in the Kingdom. They wanted to be at the table with their patriarchs.

    The Jewish unbelievers of Luke 13:28 - Weeping outside the Kingdom. They wanted to be in the Kingdom with their patriarchs.

    Notice that there is no mention of the patriarchs in Matthew 22:1-14. That's because the Gentile son of the kingdom is just that, a Gentile, so Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob don't hold the same significance for him. He's weeping over not sitting at the banquet period.

    By Anonymous danny, at 8/14/2007 6:35 PM  

  • Rose,

    For some reason, the fact that the cast-away is called "friend" sticks with me. I recall that Jesus also called Judas I. "friend" when he came to betray Him. No doubt this is completely opposite the "friend" title given to those that do His commandments in Jn.15 & Abraham being called the friend of God in Jas.2. Hopefully somebody a lot deeper than I will take this & run with it if there's anywhere to run!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 8/14/2007 8:13 PM  

  • Hey David! Read my two posts before yours.

    By Anonymous danny, at 8/14/2007 8:23 PM  

  • Hi Rose and everyone,

    It is a hoot! The different approaches in interpreting this passage. My interpretation has got to look as strange to others as some look to me as I read them.

    This is a lot of fun. Let's meet in heaven and discuss this and have a good laugh as we look back. I'll start off by saying, yeah, I was the one who said this particularly outragous thing ..., and we'll all split our sides laughing over my goofy statements as well as others. :o)

    By Blogger Earl, at 8/14/2007 8:31 PM  

  • Hi Rose- seriously, you are the blogging queen. 27 comments already... how do you do it? :) lol.

    By Blogger Deviant Monk, at 8/14/2007 8:50 PM  

  • Many are called to the intimate band of fellowship in the reign of the servant kings. Many are called to co-glorification with Christ and to share in the joy, honors, and priviliges that He won by virtue of His sacrifice on the cross. Many are called to inherit the kingdom and rule with Christ in the coming age. Many are called to recline at His table in the kingdom.

    Yet few are chosen.

    They are chosen based upon these two requirements:

    1) faith in Jesus by way of His promise to guarantee eternal life to every believer

    2) faithfulness in overcoming in his walk

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 8/15/2007 2:42 AM  

  • David,

    the greek word used for "friend" in this passage denotes mere aquantence, it may not be the best translation. It is like a person calling another with whom he does not have a substantial relationship,"dude".

    In contrast, Jesus' friends will be at this banquet. But what is that requirement?

    John 15:14-15
    14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
    NKJV

    Now Abraham did not become a friend of God until after he was justified by works by obeying God's command to sacrifice his son (see James 2:21-24)

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 8/15/2007 2:49 AM  

  • One thing to note,

    the parable offers a picture of the kingdom.

    As far as I know, no unsaved people will be in the kingdom when it begins. The judgment of the sheep and goats has already appeared.

    The man without a wedding garment is already in the kingdom, thus made it through the sheep and goat judgment at the end of the trib.

    The man thrown outside is still on the property of the King. He was not taken to prison! He was excluded from a feast going on inside that is desireable.

    I explain it to my daughter this way:

    My daughter likes school (I am glad, I hope it lasts). She loves everything there. Especially the jungle gyms. I illustrated. What if one of her teachers said that only the students who didn't get have to turn their cards (or get their name on the board) all week are invited to a celebration during recess. Those who are in the school and who did have to turn their cards are still on the school grounds, and can play on the jungle gyms. Yet the fact of the matter is that these children have experienced a significant loss, becuase no child in their right mind wouldn't want to attend the party like the one that the teachers throw for the students who exhibited good citizenship.

    The story is parabolic.

    THIS MUST BE KEPT IN MIND.

    Each element has a correspondence to literal truth. You must first interpret it, THEN apply it.

    One must not forget we are dealing with figurative expressions.

    No one advocates that anyone in the kingdom (or hell for that matter) will be literally bound hand and foot.

    It is merely a figurative way to denote restiction. And in this case, it is a restriction from the roles, duties, and functions of those who are associated in the intimate band with Christ. They are restricted in the kingdom. Whereas the one's who come prepared to the kingdom are given privileges and honors associated with their sacrifices, those who enter the kingdom unprepared, will be excluded from such, restricted from these duties, honors, etc.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 8/15/2007 3:02 AM  

  • Rose, good morning.

    Antonio, I have a problem here because I put the rapture at the end of the tribulation.

    I think the Sheep and the Goats is a difficult passage for the Post-trib position.

    My own take on that is that the Sheep and the Goats is a judgement of people who are not believers, but who have shown repentance and good conduct during the tribulation.

    They will be converted after this judgment, however.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 8/15/2007 3:29 AM  

  • Matthew,

    Re: your take on the sheep and the goats.

    Are you saying that these people get a second chance? Or is their first chance based on their good works, for that seems to be the difference between them and the other group who are condemned (I assume from your point of view) to hell. Wherein (thinking of their repentance) is their change of mind? Obviously not faith, since you have them remaining unbelievers. You seem to have more than one way of salvation in your viewpoint.

    Correct me if I'm wrong in my analysis of your position.

    P/s Rose loves it, old chap, when we Brits are nice to one another. Eh what?

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 8/15/2007 6:45 AM  

  • Hi Rose and everyone.

    It is fascinating how eschatological frameworks enter into interpreting this parable.

    Periodically I teach a parables class at my church. As I read these interpretations, I know several of you would find my classes like finger nails scratching on chalkboards. I have a brother-in-law who is very Dispensational (where I’m not). You can imagine some of our conversations.

    There have been some very broad things that guide my interpretation.

    (1) I think the kingdom of God discussed in the Gospels was breaking in when Jesus first came to earth. John the Baptist and Jesus preached the Kingdom of God is at hand. Thus I don’t see the Kingdom God referring to some future event in eschatology. This has been the interpretation of most of the Church throughout the ages.

    (2) There is a temptation to heavily over-allegorize the parables. These are similes and metaphors that describe an aspect of God’s kingdom. For instance, on the parable of the Sewer and the Soils, the basic point is that there are several kinds of responses to the gospel. Some debate which of the soils are saved people – but I think that misses the point. The big picture is that there are different responses. If you nitpick some of the details, you loose the big picture. I think parables are usually big picture ideas.

    (3) There is a temptation to dismiss allegory altogether. I think there are some allegorical features.

    (4) I think we need to let the parable stand on its own within its context in the Gospels. I hesitate to start pulling in all kinds of scripture, particularly Revelation, which wouldn’t be written for quite a while when the parables were first told by Christ. I think the concepts are readily accessible to audience of Christ, which included common people, as well as the religious leaders of the time.

    (5) Here is a tip from my Lutheran friends. The parables speak more about Christ and his activity rather than being little moral stories. But where there is a moral point encourage our behavior, that comes from our “indicative” position in Christ (in other words, we have been made holy so as a result do this), rather that the imperative position (in other words, do this so that you will be holy).

    While I am a Calvinist, the people who have shaped my view on the parables have been non-Calvinists. Craig Blomberg of Denver Seminary has been very influential in my thinking. Go to Amazon and see what he has published on parables. I have several of his books. Also, Issues Etc (a conservative Lutheran site), has a wonderful discussion on parables somewhere in its archives.

    By Blogger Earl, at 8/15/2007 8:18 AM  

  • Goodnight,

    I suppose in a sense the sheeps are given a second chance based in their conduct.

    Nevertheless both groups had the opportunity to receive eternal life by faith and the sheep will receive it by faith after they have been spared the wrath of the lamb.

    Their conduct does not lead to their receiving eternal life, it simply extends their opportunity to receive it.

    The reality is that people can do things that increase their chances of receiving eternal life-

    reading an hotel Bible, accepting a tract, deciding to start attending church 'for the sake of the children', seeking counselling from a Christian minister, etc.

    If the heathen seek God as Cornelius the centurion did, God will honour their seeking and grant them opportunities to learn more of Him.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 8/15/2007 10:23 AM  

  • Matthew,

    I don't follow your reasoning here. The things they are rewarded for doing (i.e entering the Kingdom) has nothing evangelical about it at all. They visited the sick etc., as opposed to reading their Bibles and listening to preachers etc. I really do think you're reading a lot into the passage that just isn't there. How can they do anything unto the Lord when they were not in possession of faith that makes any of our works good in the first place?

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 8/15/2007 10:53 AM  

  • Hi Antonio,

    You said, "The story is parabolic.

THIS MUST BE KEPT IN MIND.

Each element has a correspondence to literal truth. You must first interpret it, THEN apply it."

    So are you advocating a one-for-one interpretation of the parable? If so, then could you, according to your interpretation, list out the characters and to whom they refer. Like Earl has done. Or maybe you agree with Earl, the King is God the Father, the son is Jesus, etc... Because, I think if you do, then you'll run into some difficulties. For instance, the servants, who are they? Are they the prophets? If so, why wouldn't the prophets be invited to the wedding feast. And those who come to the feast, are they believers? If so, then who is the son, Jesus, marrying?

    I do believe Earl's approach of treating the parables as revealing something about God's kingdom is more appropriate than a one-for-one approach.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 8/15/2007 12:14 PM  

  • Hi Earl,

    You said, "(4) I think we need to let the parable stand on its own within its context in the Gospels. I hesitate to start pulling in all kinds of scripture, particularly Revelation, which wouldn’t be written for quite a while when the parables were first told by Christ. I think the concepts are readily accessible to audience of Christ, which included common people, as well as the religious leaders of the time."

    I agree with this and at the same time I feel it's important to see the overall picture that is presented in the Word. Matt. 22 is not the only place that this understanding of God's kingdom is revealed. I think it's good to bring other scriptures (no matter when they were written) to further support what's taught in this one.

    Do you not see an interesting parallel in the language presented in Revelation?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 8/15/2007 12:19 PM  

  • Goodnight

    Acts 10
    1 There was a certain man in Caesare'a called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,

    2 a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always.

    3 He saw in a vision evidently, about the ninth hour of the day, an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.

    4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.

    God was evidently pleased with Cornelius' good works, even though this man does not appear to have been a believer.

    God rewarded his piety by giving him opportunity to come to faith.

    But the reward is not so much inheritance of the kingdom, but rather deliverance from eschatological judgment.

    If the Sheep did not repent and do good works, they would be destroyed in the same way that God destroyed the people of Sodom or the people who perished in the flood. The escahtological outpouring of wrath is not a matter of faith in Christ, but a judgemnt of works.

    Because of their works, the Sheep are spared. They will then have the opportunity by grace to receive eternal life and inherit the kingdom (Millennium).

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 8/15/2007 1:43 PM  

  • Matthew: You said: But the reward is NOT SO MUCH INHERITANCE OF THE KINGDOM, but rather deliverance from eschatological judgment.

    Jesus said: 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: (v34)

    I think that you are digging yourself a big hole here on this one.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 8/15/2007 2:03 PM  

  • Hi Ten Cent,

    You said: "... at the same time I feel it's important to see the overall picture that is presented in the Word. Matt. 22 is not the only place that this understanding of God's kingdom is revealed. I think it's good to bring other scriptures (no matter when they were written) to further support what's taught in this one."

    I agree. Just as there is the danger of over-allegorization and under-allegorization, so there is a danger of putting the thoughts one has of another passage on top of a particular passage in question, you're right there is the danger of ignoring other parts of scripture. It's a balance.

    You ask: "Do you not see an interesting parallel in the language presented in Revelation?"

    Yes. There is an interesting parallel. For instance, in Revelation 3:4 it speaks of those in the Church of Sardis who have not defiled their garments, along with other interesting parallels. Revelation pulls in a lot of interesting images from all over, particularly the OT, with changes. I don't think there is necessarily a one-for-one mapping of all the ideas associated with a symbol from one passage (say the garments in the parable) to another (say the garments in revelation). We let those passages speak for themselves and see the similarities, and also allow there can be differences in how the symbols on used.

    With that caveat, I agree.

    By Blogger Earl, at 8/15/2007 2:59 PM  

  • Ten Cent,

    If you would glance at the Parable of the Soils, you will see that Jesus gives the correspondences for the elements. He goes into great detail giving them.

    To answer you sufficiently, thinking about any objection you may find with a simple answer, would take time and alot of words. Any simple answer would get more questions from you.

    If anyone here would like to listen to Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin discuss this parable, be referred to here:

    Zane Hodges discusses the parable of the wedding feast

    It should answer all your questions if you are indeed interested in answers. Zane presents a cohesive, logical, and consistent explanation. If after listening to the audio, you still have questions concerning it, please direct me to them.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 8/15/2007 3:35 PM  

  • Hi Antonio,

    Thanks for the reply. I must have been unclear in my question. Please forgive me for that. I was referring to the parable in question, the king and the wedding feast, not the Parable of the Soils. I do realize that Jesus explains that parable, but I don't believe He explains this one. So that leaves it up for interpretation.

    So then, if we interpret it one-for-one, then I can see, in some ways, how we could get to your conclusions. But I see many problems with interpreting it in that way. The intent of my previous question was not to entrap you, but rather to further test your conclusions about the passage.

    And I believe you've posted on this parable before and I believe I understand your position even though I don't agree with it. And I won't hide my disappointment, I was hoping for a "simple" answer from you. But if you'd rather direct me to a third source to help me understand what you believe, that's fine.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 8/15/2007 4:44 PM  

  • Hi Earl,

    Thanks for your reply. I think were pretty much in line in our thinking. I would accept your caveat. No nails on the chalkboard for me.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 8/15/2007 4:47 PM  

  • Good afternoon, Rose! I hope you are enjoying this discussion. :)

    I've been meaning to get back to one of your comments, but I've gotten distracted by these ideas. Parables USUALLY only have a single theme or moral. ;-)

    You said:
    "Funny that he only casts out just one to the outer darkness. Blows the many/few distinction into a different realm than some of us might think of it ... many are called, few are chosen ... and only *one* is cast into darkness!

    I was wondering about that, too. I suppose there could have been more thrown out, and it seems that everyone else is going with that conclusion. With the audience of this tale and the previous parables in this same setting, maybe the point was to make this a more personal story to the pharisees and chief priests - to say, "YOU, who refuse my garment, will be thrown out. You refused the first invitation, this may be your last chance - when you get to the kingdom, make sure you accept what I give you." As I have read, that garment would have been provided by the king upon entrance to the banquet - and it can obviously be refused.

    As I mentioned earlier, Jesus says that "the kingdom of heaven is like a king who..." - not "the kingdom of heaven is like a banquet..." So if you use this as an analogy of those whom are saved and not saved - acceptance by the king requires wearing the provided garment. I think we all agree that the garment represents the righteousness of Christ - a garment offered freely only waiting our acceptance. It has nothing to do with one's works or appearance of works - or whether you were chosen. One does, however, have to make it to the banquet to don the garment. And you do that by being spoken to by one of the servants.

    That's my take as one ignorant of any ____ology. I'm gratefully soaking up these other ideas, but I don't have enough knowledge to see it yet.

    By Blogger Missy, at 8/15/2007 5:19 PM  

  • Ten Cent,

    Fun chatting with you. We think we are on the same page.

    Missy,

    We're all ignorant in theology. You're blessed to realized. Sometimes I think I know something, but that is hubris on my part. But that doesn't stop me, especially when it should.

    So, here I'll speak out my ignorance. I wouldn't say the garment has nothing to do with being chosen (that's the totally depraved Calvinist in me :o). The parable actually does not say anything about that aspect, one way or another unambigously.

    But as you say, it is important to wear the garment. And if you do wear the garment, then you are one of the chosen ones.

    By Blogger Earl, at 8/15/2007 6:25 PM  

  • Ten Cent,

    My bringing up the parable of the soils is to establish a precedent on how Jesus gave parables. It is highly unlikely that much of what Jesus says is merely "throw away". The precedent from the parable of the soils shows that just about everything he spoke of has real correspondence to truth and reality.

    Why would we not expect the same from his other parables? The word "parable" comes from two Greek words, "para" and "ballein" and literally means, "to throw alongside". It should be noted that these parables are thrown alongside the truth to illustrate them. They aren't so that we can "throw out" the truths when they disagree with our presupposed theologies.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 8/15/2007 6:32 PM  

  • Thanks, Earl - but I've read you before. I would not accuse you of ignorance. :)

    I guess I was trying to make the point that I see the parable having a different focus. Grammatically, I do not see the banquet as the Kingdom of Heaven, but the king as the Kingdom of Heaven. I think the parable definitely addresses the aspect of being chosen - with the audience being the figurative Rosetta Stone of the symbolism. The chosen ones referred to in this story were chosen to attend the banquet, refused, and therefore never even had an opportunity to don the wedding garment.

    By Blogger Missy, at 8/16/2007 2:07 AM  

  • Missy,

    Interesting... I haven't thought about it that way. I had to reread the parable several times.

    The last statement, "For many are called, but few are chosen." seems to be the punch line that refers to the closest condition, namely, a man who had no wedding garment.

    A lot of people were invited, the original ones who refused, and those from highways, as many as could be found.

    So, it seems the called at least refers to all who attend the banquest, but quite possibly refers to all who were invited. The chosen are those who wear the wedding garment.

    But, I am ignorant too. Thanks for your vote of confidence, but alas, I am ignorant, as much as I'd like to think otherwise. So go with what you think is best.

    By Blogger Earl, at 8/16/2007 3:38 AM  

  • Missy, scroll up and read my two posts. The outer darkness of Matthew 22 needs to be considered along with the other two uses of the outer darkness, Matthew 8:10-12 and Matthew 25:14-30. Scroll up and read.

    By Anonymous danny, at 8/16/2007 4:17 AM  

  • Goodnight,

    I do not see any problem. The Sheep inherit the kingdom based on their conduct and are delivered from eschatological judgment through their conduct.

    Just like Noah and Lot escaped God's wrath through their conduct.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 8/16/2007 4:49 AM  

  • Hey, Rose, I am commenting on a completely different text from the one you posted on.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 8/16/2007 4:50 AM  

  • Earl, in considering your comments referring to proximity of the final statement - it crossed my mind that if you applied that reasoning, the "few are chosen" would actually refer to the one who was tossed out... hmmmm, very interesting. Maybe I wasn't thinking grammatically enough?

    Danny, I find your explanation of the outer darkness compelling, but based on traditions of the times of the provision of the garment by the groom's father - how can the garment represent the good works of the wearers?

    By Blogger Missy, at 8/16/2007 8:33 AM  

  • Missy,

    You see, you showed I'm the ignorant one here. Good comment.

    I think you showed that the "punch line" is not just referring to the last statement. In this short response, I think the called maps to the "invited" (both the original and all the others from everywhere) and the chosen to those wearing the wedding garments.

    By implication, the calling (invitation) goes everywhere, and we'll see the invited in the wedding feast without the wedding garmets (both good and bad come) -- but the actual chosen (those wearing the wedding garmets) are much fewer than the invited.

    Try that garmet of an explanation on for size. :o)

    As you notice, the garmets I weave don't compare to the wedding garmet.

    Your interaction is very helpful.

    By Blogger Earl, at 8/16/2007 8:57 AM  

  • Matthew: The point is that they are doing so without any faith or evangelical obedience. They were in rampant unbelief and stood to be destroyed under the terms of 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8. Instead, you have them saved later on, but without one shred of Biblical evidence.

    I wonder if anyone else runs with your interpretation, which (to be honest)seems pretty unique to yourself.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 8/16/2007 12:05 PM  

  • I am really glad I brought this up.
    You all have been very helpful!

    So, if anyone wants to comment further, let me ask you a question:

    In 5 sentences or less:
    What do you think Jesus was trying to teach the Pharisees, stated in non-parabolic language please?
    If you could imagine him saying plainly the point you think he was making, what would that sound like?

    Antonio, Matthew, I really would like this from you.

    Andrew, Danny, give it a shot.

    Earl, you too ... and Colin.

    Ten Cent, pony up.

    Missy, in your own words.

    David, Monk, whaddaya think?

    :~) smiles all around.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/16/2007 1:23 PM  

  • you too Gordon!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/16/2007 1:23 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Here is what I think Jesus is saying the Pharisees and Chief Priests:

    Look, the Kingdom of God is here, the son is right here in front of you. The feast is beginning right now -- I am building my church right now. You have been invited, but you are ignoring me. You of all people should know and be eager to come.

    I'm throwing open the invitation to everyone. I'm going out to the highways and getting everyone (and you know that at least half the people or more in Isreal are Gentiles and other "unworthy" poeple).

    Now, for those of you that come to the wedding banguet -- who come to the church I am building in your midst, just because you're attending, singing the songs, etc., does not mean you truely belong to me. You need the wedding clothes -- my payment of your sin, faith in me -- to be really a part of my church. If you don't have faith, I'll throw you out.

    Many are called to come to my church, the invitation is going everywhere. But few are chosen -- the ones who have faith in me.

    By Blogger Earl, at 8/16/2007 2:25 PM  

  • Pharisees! You are a very powerful part of a people whose history is riddled with rebellions against the very God whom you profess to love and serve.

    Even now, you scornfully refuse to partake of God's salvation which I, as the King's Son have come to proclaim, and this will bring upon your head the wrath of the King.
    God will build His church and include in the Gentiles who will be won by world wide evangelism.

    Only those who have My righteousness imputed to them will be allowed to partake in the marriage supper and any one else, no matter how "real" look will be cast out into hell.

    Although many are called to the feast, denoting the free offer of the gospel, yet relatively few are chosen and they alone shall partake of it.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 8/16/2007 2:40 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Earl, at 8/16/2007 3:01 PM  

  • Goodnightsafehome,

    Brevity is the soul of wit. That is good.

    By Blogger Earl, at 8/16/2007 4:11 PM  

  • [Just like Noah and Lot escaped God's wrath through their conduct.]
    Matthew,
    Don't you mean in spite of their conduct?
    Genesis 9
    Genesis 19

    By Anonymous VA~Susan, at 8/16/2007 4:16 PM  

  • Hi Antonio,

    You said, "It is highly unlikely that much of what Jesus says is merely "throw away". The precedent from the parable of the soils shows that just about everything he spoke of has real correspondence to truth and reality."

    If I implied that we should throw out pieces of the parable, it was not intended. But even you qualify your way of interpreting the parable by saying "just about everything" has real correspondence. My point was that it's not always a one-for-one correlation. It's an overall truth.

    You said, "It should be noted that these parables are thrown alongside the truth to illustrate them. They aren't so that we can "throw out" the truths when they disagree with our presupposed theologies."

    We also shouldn't add information that's not there to the parable to align with our presupposed theologies. I listened to Z.H. from the link you provided. I'll need to listen to it again to give you some concrete examples, but it sounded to me like he was making a lot of assumptions from the information that is provided in the parable.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 8/16/2007 5:13 PM  

  • Hi Missy. Whether or not the groom's father provided the garments is irrelevant. There may have been a price to pay for a garment provided by a King. In Revelation 6:9-11, we see Jesus providing believers with white garments, because of the Word of God and testimony that THEY MAINTAINED. Jesus provides a white garment to martyrs, but it's not free. Jesus provided them with it as a result of their faithfulness unto death. In Revelation 3, Jesus tells believers not to soil their garments. Obviously, those garments are NOT the imputed righteousness of Christ.

    Now read Revelation 19:7-9.

    7Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

    8And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

    9And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

    The fine linen necessary for the banquet is the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE SAINTS (verse 8). It's NOT Jesus' imputed righteousness. There is a price of good works in order to wear the garment possibly provided by the King in Matthew 22:1-14.

    Therefore, outer darkness is NOT hell. Faith makes you a son of the Kingdom. Great faith (Matt 8:10) and good works (Matthew 22:11) are necessary for the banquet.

    And even within the banquet, there are differing levels of honor. Some are first, some are last. Luke 13:30, 14:7-11. What do you think Missy?

    By Anonymous danny, at 8/16/2007 9:35 PM  

  • Here goes my b-day present to you, Rose!

    Salvation is simple. I have already done all the work. Just receive it by faith. Many do. They are called, & also justified (Ro.8:29-30). But, relatively few are the "choice" ones, or "chosen". Those that lived so as to earn rich rewards in My Kingdom.

    There!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 8/16/2007 9:38 PM  

  • One more thing, Missy. In Revelation 3:18, Jesus tells Christians to buy white garments from him. There is a price to pay for those white garments - practical righteousness.

    18I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

    By Anonymous danny, at 8/16/2007 9:40 PM  

  • Rose,

    Jesus is the teacher Par Excellence. As such a teacher, He usually says things that have content to all His listeners. His teachings have something for the benefit of all whose ears had the privilige of hearing it.

    If you analyze this parable carefully, you will see three distinct groups of people:

    1) Those who did not respond to the invitation and whose city was destroyed and who were killed.

    2) Those who were in the kingdom and prepared for the feast

    3) The man who was in the kingdom and unprepared for the feast

    #1 are the rejecting Israelites, and the doom of their rejection. This pronouncement was easily recognized by the Pharisees.

    But the rest of the parable has to do with those who did respond to the invitation to the wedding feast. Those who respond to the invitation have two options before them. Being prepared or unprepared. This part of the parable is applicable to the disciples (not just the 12) who were assuredly present when he gave this parable.

    Many are called! Not only was Israel, but now the message has gone out to the highways and byways for Gentile consideration!

    But few are chosen! Only those who can withstand the Master's gaze when He reviews our lives will be chosen.

    Furthermore, there is not a whit of evidence to suggest that there was some tradition of a wedding garment being provided by the host. It sounds good, but there is no such tradition!

    People came to wedding feasts having dressed appropriately by their own means!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 8/16/2007 11:21 PM  

  • Hey Ten Cent,

    I am pleasantly surprised that you listened to that conversation. I am available to discuss that.

    Furthermore, here is a link that has a short summary by me, and a few more links to GES articles on this parable:

    The Outer Darkness

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 8/16/2007 11:24 PM  

  • Also Missy, read Antonio's posts after mine. There is no evidence of any host providing wedding clothes in the ancient East.

    By Anonymous danny, at 8/16/2007 11:52 PM  

  • I looked up James Freeman's "Manners and Customs of the Bible" and he too states that there is no direct evidence that the King supplied clothing at weddings, although he does point to many scriptures where garments were given to people especially by royalty. Maybe more circumstancial than anything. I note that John Gill in his comments makes no reference to it, and had there been anything in ancient non Biblical literature, Gill was the man to sniff it out and share it with us. (BTW: If brevity is the soul of wit, as Earl accredits me with, then 6 volume Bible commentry Gill must've been the most humourless person who ever lived, but I digress.)

    Although I put in my brief explanation the idea of the imputed righteousness of Christ, I wouldn't be prepared to be burned at the stake for it. If it denotes a practical, godly righteousness, well and good. Such can only flow from saving faith and that makes the difference between the saved and the unsaved.

    I can't see how this odd man out may be viewed as a believer when he was "bound, hand and foot" and cast out into the outer darkness. It is more fitting in these circumstances that it denotes the ungodly going out into his final doom.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 8/17/2007 3:30 AM  

  • Hi Goodnight,

    Seeing that Matthew 22:1-14 is a parable, the binding of the hands and feet is metaphorical for restriction in the Kingdom. The reward view is based on careful exegesis. In Matthew 8:12, the first instance of outer darkness, the issue is great faith (Matthew 8:10), not faith vs. no faith. Jesus found great faith in a Gentile Centurion. He had found faith in Israel, just not great faith. You can't make an inference of non-faith on the part of the sons of the kingdom. These sons of the kingdom have faith (in Jesus for eternal life), but they don't have great faith like the Centurion. After marveling at the Centurion's great faith, which had to do with the healing of a servant, and not salvation, Jesus talks about Gentiles coming from the east and west to recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It takes great faith to be at this banquet. Believing in Jesus for eternal life is NOT great faith. Jesus never marvelled when people believed in Him for eternal life.

    The workers of iniquity of Luke 13:28, on the other hand, are weeping and gnashing their teeth when they see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom and they themselves cast from the mystery form of the Kingdom. They don't see the patriarchs at the table. They see them in the Kingdom. The part about reclining at table doesn't come until the next verse, verse 29, the reverse order of Matthew 8:10-12. The sons of the kingdom are not the workers of iniquity.

    Now, a godly life can and should follow saving faith, but not all believers will live such a life. Some produce no fruit, some have their growth choked, others do persevere at varying levels, some 100-fold, some 60, some 30 (Matthew 13:3-9, Luke 8:4-8). Everyone who sits at the table in the Kingdom is marked by faithfulness, but as Jesus points out in Luke 13:30 and 14:7-11, there will even be distinctions among the faithful. Some will be seated in first place (the humble). Some will be seated in last place (the self-exalting, but still faithful). Those at the end have lower positions of rulership. Outside the banquet hall are those Christians who didn't have great faith or good works. They have no rulership opportunities (Matthew 25:14-30, Luke 19:11-27).

    You can't say these people are false professors who aren't in the Kingdom. You can't say that the temporary believers of Luke 8:13 aren't really believers. They are believers. But don't worry, Jesus himself pointed out that there are still 30-60-100-fold believers in the Kingdom, seated at the table.

    By Anonymous danny, at 8/17/2007 5:29 AM  

  • Danny,

    I don't buy your approach to outer darkness.

    Matthew 8 speaks about the Kingdom of Heaven (or the Kingdom of God, both are use synonymously), which John the Baptist and Jesus said was at hand. The Kingdom was breaking in right then. Jesus marveled at the great faith of the Gentile centurion. He contrasted his great faith the to lack of faith he is finding in Israel. Jesus is using hyperbole, contrasting how the outsiders, the Gentiles, coming from all over, are and will experience fruits of the Kingdom of Heaven. This is in contrast to the ones you’d expect to experience the fruits of the Kingdom of Heaven, Israel, referred to as the “sons of the kingdom”. Jesus is finding that Israel is not exhibiting faith and so will be cast out into outer darkness and will not experience the fruits of the Kingdom of Heaven.

    In much the same way I disagree with your analysis on Luke 13. There will be those who from our earthly perspective look like they are doing great things, but that does not mean they are in the Kingdom of Heaven. They will be cast into outer darkness. Jesus is saying things in the Kingdom of Heaven are not how many people expect them to be.

    In Luke 14, Jesus is saying, don’t promote yourself. Rather, humble yourself and let God promote you. Again, things in the Kingdom of Heaven are not how many people expect them to be.

    So, I disagree with your basic approach.

    By Blogger Earl, at 8/17/2007 6:38 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    You asked, "What do you think Jesus was trying to teach the Pharisees, stated in non-parabolic language please? If you could imagine him saying plainly the point you think he was making, what would that sound like?"

    Jesus is telling the Pharisees what He's been telling them all along, that God desires mercy and not sacrifice. He tells them that He's ready to allow them to know God, to know Him in a way they haven't known Him before. But they didn't get it. They didn't want to know Him and the ones that did, were trying to know Him in a wrong manner. There's only one way to know God and know His Son and that's by having the righteousness that they give to you.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 8/17/2007 8:29 AM  

  • Hi Antonio,

    You said, "Furthermore, there is not a whit of evidence to suggest that there was some tradition of a wedding garment being provided by the host. It sounds good, but there is no such tradition!

People came to wedding feasts having dressed appropriately by their own means!"

    This one of the things that I remember from the Z.H. conversation. But Jesus doesn't tell us if the clothes were provided or if the attendees had to dress appropriately on their own. He's making an assumption. Yes, you could say that I am making the same assumption so that I can connect the robes with Christ's righteousness, but the argument falls back on you as well.

    Here's the implication of your statement. Grace is only good for securing your eternal destiny (justification). Once your saved, the rest is completely up to you. You have to clean up your act and get yourself in a right relationship with God. And if your works meet up to an ambiguous standard that no one really knows, then you can have fellowship with Christ in the kingdom to come.

    Is that how you see it?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 8/17/2007 8:53 AM  

  • Ten Cent,

    You've hit upon it. There is in the other FG approach grace for jusitifcation, but sanctification looks very graceless. As I read that other approach, I think you nailed it.

    The basic point of sanctification is grace -- you will do holy things because you were made holy when you were justified. The other approach seems to be a works-sanctification approach, you will be made holy because of your good deeds.

    By Blogger Earl, at 8/17/2007 9:19 AM  

  • Danny, thanks for your follow up. I'm reading those passages and considering your thoughts. However, and this may be a wrong approach, I tend to read passages for meaning within the direct context. Sometimes I may refer to other passages in the Bible because of a time line and better understanding of the history, but prophecy is so veiled to me, that I don't trust my interpretation of it enough to use it as a reference. That being said, it may take me years! I have basically been participating as one who is thinking "out loud" - thank you for your patience.

    By Blogger Missy, at 8/17/2007 11:33 AM  

  • Rose,

    Seeing as I have little conviction on what this actually mean, I may tackle this with less than 5 sentences:

    "You guys are missing the point, again. For your sake, I hope you get it one day."

    By Blogger Missy, at 8/17/2007 11:35 AM  

  • Earl,

    in Calvinism, sanctification is automatic and inevitable. This doesn't sound like grace to me! It sounds like coercion.

    FG teaches that the Christian has all of the promises, enablements, and graces of God at his disposal. Yet he teaches, that as with all areas of significant responsiblity, failure is possible.

    I have to say that the comments concerning sanctification in FG by earl and ten cent do betray a noteworthy ignorance of FG.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 8/17/2007 4:07 PM  

  • Antonio,

    You said, "It sounds like coercion."

    Which also betrays "a noteworthy ignorance of" Calvinism.

    And you haven't answered the question. So I'll ask it again in a different way. Is grace the UNMERITED favor of God? If it is, then the accusation stands. Sanctification under the FG understanding is not of grace. Because if I have to work to gain God's blessing/favor, then it's no longer of grace, is it? I'm not saying that's a good or bad thing, just trying to define and understand your view.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at 8/17/2007 4:37 PM  

  • Earl,
    You deleted a sole comment. (heehee)

    Thanks to David, Colin, Earl, Antonio, Ten Cent, and Missy for putting into your own words what you think Jesus was saying to the Pharisees. Good going!

    God bless.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/17/2007 4:43 PM  

  • I have my own:

    (I keep these verses from Matthew 21 in mind, which he said as he led up to this discourse we are discussing:

    Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.
    ...

    43"Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.


    So here in my own words:
    Pharisees, you guys have really missed the boat! You are so worried about outward appearance and acting godly, but you really don't want to see God at work. You are not excited for that which God is showing you, rather - you put down and try to tear apart His work. So - We are going to the Gentiles and unlovelies because, although you are in a position of privelege, having been a part of the chosen people and even more - teachers of my people (!) you have proven yourselves, judged yourselves, unworthy of the gift that will come to all peoples.

    Don't think you can come to the Father in this your foolish pride. You will insult Him no further. Get right with your Maker.

    Many are going to be called to feast upon God's goodness, but you were actually chosen! You fools! You have squandered your position in your lust for power and your pride.

    *walks away shaking head*

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/17/2007 4:53 PM  

  • Hey, I know it was more than 5 sentences, but its my blog. ;~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/17/2007 4:53 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Thanks for allowing the discussion. Yeah, I can't spell and I choose wrong words. :o)

    It was interesting seeing the perspectives, including yours, Rose. It allows us to get a peek into how we all think, and that is fascinating.

    Antonio -- it's also fun to interact with you. I think Ten Cent's answer and question is on the mark. What I appreciate about my interaction with you and other FGers is that it sharpens the issues in my mind and refines my thinking in ways I wouldn't get otherwise.

    By Blogger Earl, at 8/17/2007 5:06 PM  

  • ...one thing I'd add to Ten Cent's comment. If Calvinism's sanctification by grace is coercion (which I agree with Ten Cent is a misunderstanding of Calvinism -- but for the sake of argument, let's say it was coercion). I'll gladly take that coercion -- praise God I'd take that coercion and give the glory even more to God. Being coerced into greater santification by God is a bad thing???

    By Blogger Earl, at 8/17/2007 5:12 PM  

  • Rose, I give you my extra sentences as you expressed my opinion of the passages better than I!

    By Blogger Missy, at 8/17/2007 5:16 PM  

  • Goodnight,

    If you read what I wrote carefully, I said that those who sit in the first place are those who humbled themselves. The people at the end of the table are the ones who exalted themselves, but they remain at the banquet as Luke 14:7-11 shows. 14:7-11 is an explanation of what is being said in 13:29-30. Most people think that doing well and judging yourself better than others will get you first place. Obviously, it doesn't. Self-exaltation gets faithful Christians demoted to the end of the table. I never said otherwise.

    As to Luke 13, I never said that all people who do great things are in Heaven. People who try to get in by works (Matthew 7:21-23) do great works, but they didn't believe in Jesus for eternal life. The ones who are in the feast did do works, but the difference is that they knew those works couldn't save them. They believed in Jesus for eternal life, and did works out of love. The ones who humbled themselves get first place at the table. The self-exalting are demoted to the end of the table. Same thing happens in Matthew 20:1-16. The workers in the vineyard are all faithful, but as soon as the start complaining about new Christians who got the same reward, they are demoted to the end of the table, while the new-humble Christians get first place.


    As to Matthew 8, you're still making an assumption that the sons of the kingdom represent those of Israel who have no faith. That's pushing it. Jesus had found faith in Israel (11 of the 12 disciples for example). 11 disciples and many other Jews had placed their faith in Jesus, and Jesus was never impressed. Saving faith is not impressive. Great faith, like believing that Jesus could heal your servant by simply speaking a word was great faith. Jesus didn't say, "I have not found faith in Israel." He said, "I have not found such GREAT faith, no, not in Israel." There's no hyperbole in Matthew 8. Some in Israel believed, others in Israel did not believe. But even among those who had believed, none had expressed great faith like that of the centurion.

    By Anonymous danny, at 8/17/2007 5:51 PM  

  • I'm sorry Goodnight. My last comment was for Earl.

    By Anonymous danny, at 8/17/2007 5:55 PM  

  • Earl,

    If you read what I wrote carefully, I said that those who sit in the first place are those who humbled themselves. The people at the end of the table are the ones who exalted themselves, but they remain at the banquet as Luke 14:7-11 shows. 14:7-11 is an explanation of what is being said in 13:29-30. Most people think that doing well and judging yourself better than others will get you first place. Obviously, it doesn't. Self-exaltation gets faithful Christians demoted to the end of the table. I never said otherwise.

    As to Luke 13, I never said that all people who do great things are in Heaven. People who try to get in by works (Matthew 7:21-23) do great works, but they didn't believe in Jesus for eternal life. The ones who are in the feast did do works, but the difference is that they knew those works couldn't save them. They believed in Jesus for eternal life, and did works out of love. The ones who humbled themselves get first place at the table. The self-exalting are demoted to the end of the table. Same thing happens in Matthew 20:1-16. The workers in the vineyard are all faithful, but as soon as the start complaining about new Christians who got the same reward, they are demoted to the end of the table, while the new-humble Christians get first place.


    As to Matthew 8, you're still making an assumption that the sons of the kingdom represent those of Israel who have no faith. That's pushing it. Jesus had found faith in Israel (11 of the 12 disciples for example). 11 disciples and many other Jews had placed their faith in Jesus, and Jesus was never impressed. Saving faith is not impressive. Great faith, like believing that Jesus could heal your servant by simply speaking a word was great faith. Jesus didn't say, "I have not found faith in Israel." He said, "I have not found such GREAT faith, no, not in Israel." There's no hyperbole in Matthew 8. Some in Israel believed, others in Israel did not believe. But even among those who had believed, none had expressed great faith like that of the centurion.

    By Anonymous danny, at 8/17/2007 6:02 PM  

  • Missy, sounds good. Just keep in mind that the outer darkness only appears 3 times in the NT, all in Matthew. So Read Matthew 8:5-13, Matthew 22:1-14 and Matthew 24:45-25:30. Read Luke 13:23-30, 14:7-11 and Luke 19:11-27.

    Also Missy, know that all 3 parables in Matthew 24:45 through 25:30 are related. Compare Matthew 25:1-13 (the Ten Virgins) to Luke 13:23-30. Jesus says "I don't know you" to both the five foolish virgins in Matthew 25:1-13 and the workers of iniquity in Luke 13:25. Look for differences in those two accounts. What else does Jesus say to the workers of iniquity that he DOESN'T say to the foolish virgins?

    By Anonymous danny, at 8/17/2007 6:29 PM  

  • Hi Earl. If the beginning of my Luke 13 response wasn't clear, I meant that the people who try to get into the Kingdom by works don't get into the Kingdom. The people at the table got into the Kingdom by faith alone of course, and they had great faith, good works and humility, so they were first place at the banquet.

    By Anonymous danny, at 8/17/2007 6:40 PM  

  • I mean those in first place were faithful and humble. Those in last place are faithful and self-exalting.

    By Anonymous danny, at 8/17/2007 6:42 PM  

  • Danny, I'll look at those a little further, but off the top of my head I would wonder how these parables are related when the audience here in Matthew 24 and 25 is privately with the disciples in an answer to a specific question about the coming of Jesus and the end of the age?

    By Blogger Missy, at 8/17/2007 6:46 PM  

  • Hi Missy. The parables in Matthew 24-25:30 are directed toward the disciples as you pointed out. Jesus is discussing with them the judgment of believers. The just servant, the unjust servant, the five wise virgins, the five foolish virgins, the two profitable servants, and the unprofitable servant are all saved people. They all have eternal life. They are judged to see who will rule in the Kingdom.

    The parable of the Talents contains the third use of outer darkness. That's why it is related to Matthew 8:5-13 and 22:1-14. Compare it to Luke 19:11-27, and you see that the unprofitable servant in Luke 19 gives the same excuse and receives the same words of rebuke from the Lord. However, he is differentiated from unbelievers in 19:27.

    Also, when Jesus says "I don't know you" to the five foolish virgins, he DOESN'T tell them to depart from him. He tells the workers of iniquity to depart from him after telling them "I don't know you." But he doesn't say this to the foolish virgins.

    Also, being in outer darkness does not mean a total loss of rewards. People in outer darkness have no rulership privileges, but they may still have received individual rewards for certain good works.

    By Anonymous danny, at 8/17/2007 7:20 PM  

  • Just weighing in with my 2 cents:

    Many are called…hmm. Those who are called are saved according to Romans.

    Romans 8:29-30
    29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

    Comments:

    All believers are predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. If they are predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, they are also called. Notice – many are called, meaning many are saved. Yet few are chosen to be inside the wedding hall. The chosen are those who have a wedding garment. Clearly this parable speaks of a saved person, someone who is called, is ultimately glorified, yet he is not chosen in respect to eternal blessings.

    Re 3:5 - Show Context
    He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

    This is written to those in the Church at Sardis whose works have not been found perfect before God. This verse clearly shows that it is he who “overcomes” that shall be clothed in white garments. This speaks of those who have not lost their reward.

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at 8/17/2007 9:58 PM  

  • Ten Cent,

    Is it not unmerited favor that God:

    1) Blesses the Christian with every spiritual blessing (Eph 1:3)?

    2) Has given everything that pertains to life and godliness to the Christian along with exceedingly precious promises (2 Pet 1:3-4)?

    The Christian has at his disposal every favor needed for success.

    Furthermore, was God under any obligation to set forth before the Christian great rewards that can be won by faithfulness? I trow not.

    God desires my sanctification. He has made it possible by His grace, and has put into place great incentives to pursue it.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 8/17/2007 10:08 PM  

  • In Matthew 21 we read that Jesus entered the temple and began teaching, during the course of which the Chief Priests and elders showed up questioned Him as to whom it was exactly that gave Him the authority to do so. Christ's answer to them reveals both the nature of the trap they were trying to set for him, and the genius of the Lord to answer their question without entering their trap.

    Immediately thereafter Christ begins to address their own authority, though they don't understand it. He speaks to them about John the Baptist, whom they refused to publicly acknowledge as having been sent from God - showing that even tax collectors and prostitutes recognized the John was a prophet - and were entering the kingdom of heaven, but these Chief Priests and elders failed to recognize such things and in doing so were -not- entering the kingdom of heaven, even though (by rights) it was supposed to be theirs.

    The first parable is the parable of the two sons - one who says he will obey, but doesn't, and the other who is at first openly defiant, but eventually relents and obeys - these sons picture the two groups that Christ is -still- speaking about: the first son represented the chief priest and elders whom were called upon to obey but were superficial in their obedience, and the second son represented the prostitutes and tax collectors who were baptized by John who from the very start had rebelled against God, but later returned to God and in doing so entered the "kingdom of heaven".

    The next parable is the parable of the landowner who plants a vineyard - Christ hasn't changed the subject, He is still talking about these Chief Priests and elders who presume themselves to be in the kingdom, and proceeds to show that they are like slaves who have rejected their Master and now regard the vineyard (they are supposed to be serving in) as they were the ones who owned it. He shows how deep their rejection is in that no matter how many times the Master "calls to them" through messengers, they reject their Master's rightful claim on them, by rejecting every one of His messengers, and even (eventually) rejecting their Master's only son whom they go so far as to kill. Christ explains that the Master (God) will reject those wretched slaves (the chief elders), and give their place to others.

    Up until this point (parable wise) Christ had only been speaking of these two groups of Jews: [a] the ones the chief priests and elders were rejecting (the tax collectors and prostitutes), who had through their manifold sins been rebelling against God even though they were of Israel - that is: chosen - and the other group, [b] the chief priests and elders who had abandoned worshipping the Lord in favor of their own traditions - and for whom their obedience was entirely superficial and false. Both groups were chosen, but only one group was going to enter the kingdom - the other was going to be shut out of the kingdom, and their place was going to be given to someone else. The someone else, as we know, ended up being the Gentiles. The Gentiles are grafted into the place that has been vacated by the chief priests and elders who themselves are cast out, and whom represent all in Israel who reject God in favor of superficial religion, or simply never repent.

    The third parable, the one in question - is still speaking to this matter - the matter about who will be in the kingdom. It begins with the words, Jesus spoke to THEM again in parables, that is, to the chief priests and elders whom he had previously been lambasting...

    He explains, that the kingdom can be compared a King preparing a wedding for His Son. He sends out his servants to call those who had been invited (that is God the Father had sent out messengers like John the Baptist to preach to the Jews - His chosen people), but even though the messengers delivered their message faithfully, the ones who were invited (such as the Chief Priests and the elders) rejected the invitation - even though they were originally invited. The invitations were not random - you had to choose whom you would invite - the Jews were invited, that is, they were chosen - but they rejected their invitation, and not only that - just as in the previous parable - the did harm to the messengers who were calling them in God's name. It was only after the rejection of God was complete that the servants are told to go and invite others: anyone they find, not chosen ones anymore, but "whoever" - and this they did so that both "good and evil" (from amongst the gentiles) were "called" to the wedding feast. When the wedding feast was about to begin, the King noted a man who was not dressed in wedding clothes - even though such would have been provided freely by the King Himself - and this man was singled out and cast out. This man again represents anyone and everyone who rejects what is freely offered - the righteousness of Christ, whether applied to the Chief Priests and the elders, or the Jewish tax collectors and prostitutes, or the Gentiles - no one gets in to the wedding feast who rejects the gospel - that is, rejects the idea that only God's righteousness is sufficient to save us, and that such a righteousness is not ours by merit, but rather a free gift given by God and received by faith.

    I haven't given this too much thought but it seems clear enough to me so far.

    I wouldn't insist that this text be understood to mean more than it does in the context in which we find it. The chosen were the Jews - both those who rejected their messiah, and those who accepted him, and "the called" describes everyone who was invited to the wedding feast - both those who were originally chosen (the Jews) and those who were later found in the streets and alleyways.

    When Christ says, Many are called but few are chosen, it seems to me a very pointed rebuke to those whom he called (the Chief Priests and Elders) who were presently rejecting him.

    I think this parable describes, as the other two that precede it, the rejection of Christ by the chosen ones. I think it is a mistake to impose the doctrine of election or predestination upon it - both of which I hold to be valid and right doctrines, but which if projected into this parable muddy their own definition, and confuse both what they teach and what is being taught here in a way that I think is less than healthy.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 8/18/2007 5:22 PM  

  • Hmmm, can this be pushed to over 100 comments? Sure. :o)

    Danny -- I don't think the huge difference is with Luke 14 about humility. The central difference is with your comment: "you're still making an assumption that the sons of the kingdom represent those of Israel who have no faith...".

    If you read my comment, I said, "Jesus is using hyperbole...". Hyperbole is an "extravagant exaggeration" (www.m-w.com). This is a normal figure of speech used by Christ and in the OT. There is a problem in biblical interpretation when people fail to see these things -- and develop "hyper literalisms" that do not conform to what Martin Luther called the literal sense of the text. I think you get derailed over these kind of hyper-literalisms.

    Jon Lee -- "called" in Romans 8 has a different usage from "called" in Matthew 22. We need to recognize that even the same Greek words have meaning developed from within the books and passages they are used in. "Called" in Matthew is a calling that is often turned down. "Called" in Romans 8 results in being justified and glorified without exception. So I would not draw any conclusions in the parable using the same meaning and sense for the word "called" from Romans. You've got to keep the integrety of the passages without force fitting other concepts into them -- as "biblical" as the might be. Sure, calling in one sense results in salvation and perseverance. But in other uses in the Bible there is not that sense.

    Daniel -- I think you too are pulling in words from other parts of Scripture and flattening their possible meanings. You say, "even though they were of Israel - that is: chosen...". The word chosen is used in different ways in the Bible. There is a sense of class identity with God, such as Israel, in which the class of people is chosen by God. But there is also an individual sense of choseness. If you read Matthew 22, I think the word chosen refers more to individuals than to a class of people. I see a lot of people fail to make that distinction, and personally I think the interrpetation derails at that point.

    But what do I know? As I confessed previously, I am also ignorant. :o)

    By Blogger Earl, at 8/19/2007 9:26 PM  

  • Earl,
    I meant to post this in a comment earlier, because I looked these up the other day when studying this out. These are all the same greek word for "called."

    Matt 22:14
    14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

    Romans 1:1
    1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God

    Romans 1:6
    6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;

    Romans 8:28
    28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

    1 Cor. 1:1
    1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

    1 Cor. 1:24
    24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

    Jude 1:1
    1 Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James,

    To those who are called, sanctifiedby God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ:


    I was thinking that meant something, but then a friend reminded me that the same word can be used in different places and mean totally different things. I meant to post them to share them with Jon anyways. Thanks for reminding me.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/19/2007 9:51 PM  

  • Jon,
    Thank you so much for participating here and adding your $.02. It is always nice to see you.
    I guess the real problem I have with that interpretation which you, Antonio and a few others share is that it doesn't seem fitting to me that Jesus is speaking to these Pharisees and He would put that in there at the end ... for His disciples ... to remind them of rewards and places in the kingdom. I just don't see how that fits into the message He was giving to His audience - the Pharisees - and the point He was making to them. It seems like it would be a major after-thought and veering off the path of the build up towards Matthew 23.
    IMHO :~)
    God Bless.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/19/2007 9:58 PM  

  • Daniel,
    You see it the way I do! That is surprising! A rare moment ... we better mark it down!
    Thanks for visiting. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/19/2007 9:59 PM  

  • Earl, the key to my understanding of the word chosen, at least as to how I believed Christ was using it - is to look at who he was talking about when he used it.

    I don't read the bible as though it were a collection of independant verses strung together, but rather as though it was written in a rational, comprehensive way. If Christ is presently talking about the chief priests and elders, and begins to compare them with the tax collectors and prostitutes with respect to who is entering the kingdom of heaven - and if in doing so he articulates once again that God is going to bring justice to the Gentiles, that the Christ will be a light not only to the Jew but to the Gentile, in order to magnify the condemnation of these men for rejecting God - then I don't ignore all that because part of it happened in the previous chapter.

    The doctrines of predestination and individual election are rock solid, such that we need not press every passage into their service. Those who believe they can lose their salvation find all sorts of verses to "prove" their opinions, and we rightly regard such handling of God's word with disdain when they do it. We should be therefore, on our guard to be sure that we do not engage in the same when we handle the word according to our own opinions.

    Jesus was speaking in the temple to real people about a very specific hypocricy - rejecting God in practice while superficially presenting themselves to one another, and even to God, as -holy- men. These would not enter the kingdom of heaven - the ones that these same ridiculed and scorned - tax collectors and prostitutes were entering the kingdom, not because of their nationality as even the gentiles would enter the kingdom - but because of their repentance (that is, because they turned to God in truth rather than simply in form as the chief priest and elders were doing).

    If anything the parable teaches the necessity of repentance in salvation, and that however orthodox our statement of faith may be, that is not our empty profession of faith that saves us, as these chief priest and elders had, but rather the genuine faith that comes bound in repentance.

    It may not be clear from the text, and there is room I in our understanding for charity simply because Christ is speaking in a way that obscured his meaning rather than made it plain - but it seems to me that in attendance were some of those who had been originally invited (chosen), but that most of those who were invited were not in attendance, that in fact, the majority of those at the wedding feast were originally invited. Or said without the veil of the parable, in that Great wedding feast to come, Moses and Elijah will be there - having been invited, and having been faithful to come - they are part of national Israel, but they will certainly be at the wedding feast - but the majority will not be from national Israel, the majority in attendance will be Gentile Christians. Knowing this flavors my interpretation of the passage somewhat, and I mention it to be fair - that is why when I read the text and it says many are called but few are chosen I understand it to be speaking of those in attendance rather than as a filter to who can attend. That is, I don't think it is saying many are invited but only the chosen are let in - rather I think it is saying in line with what Christ was teaching - that resting on your "Jewishness" to get you into the wedding feast is ridiculous - there will be more non-Jews at the wedding feast than Jews - (many called, few chosen), that entrance into the kingdom is through a genuine reconciliation with God, and not through birthright or religion.

    I may be wrong, but that is how I see it until I am convinced to the contrary.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 8/20/2007 8:08 AM  

  • I said to earl, "that in fact, the majority of those at the wedding feast were originally invited"

    Should have been, "that in fact, the majority of those at the wedding feast were -NOT- originally invited"

    By Blogger Daniel, at 8/20/2007 8:11 AM  

  • I think this will be my closing comment. I think everyone has gone home from this great party, and Rose is looking to lock up for the night. Feel free to make any comments to me, but won’t have anything further to add to this thread. Thanks Rose, for your great patience.

    Daniel,

    You said: "the key to my understanding of the word chosen, at least as to how I believed Christ was using it - is to look at who he was talking about when he used it."

    Agreed, and that's why I say the chosen ones are the ones wearing the wedding garment. It's what makes the most sense to me.

    You said, "We should be therefore, on our guard to be sure that we do not engage in the same when we handle the word [predestination and individual election] according to our own opinions."

    Agreed. However, I think the parable speaks more to the issue of having wedding garments (faith, and I agree with repentance, because faith and repentance are flip sides of the faith coin – although you’ll have many who disagree here) as being the indication of being chosen. I think the parable does indirectly refer to predestination and individual election, but probably that is not the dominant theme here. It certainly is present in other parts of scripture. But I don’t think recognizing it isn’t the major theme here allows others to down play it – because this parable is consistent with the scriptural doctrines of predestination and individual election. In fact, that is why I see the most natural reading of the parable, as the chosen are not the “invited” people, but rather the ones wearing the wedding garments.

    By Blogger Earl, at 8/21/2007 12:03 AM  

  • Earl, I agree that predestination and election are not removed from this parable such that we could imagine they do not support these doctrines in any way, my point with regards to that is that this parable is not the place to make that case, it doesn't deny these doctrines, but they are not made clear by them until one has eyes to see.

    Notwithstanding, I think if this parable were not the last of three parables directed against the false understanding of the chief priests and elders I should find the idea that the "chosen" were the ones in wedding garb to be more convincing, and I am not suggesting that you are wrong (to be sure) in your interpretation, rather I am saying that it strikes me as less probably and less consistent with the previous parables to draw that conclusion - less probable but not impossible.

    My remarks are off the cuff - I haven't given myself to studying this particular passage very closely, perhaps more light will change my mind.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 8/21/2007 9:02 AM  

  • Daniel,
    Did you mark it down?

    Earl,
    No problem. Come over anytime and stay as long as you want! (and at my place, you don't have to take off your shoes ... shhhh)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/21/2007 9:48 AM  

  • Rose, I didn't mark it down, but only because we agree about far more than we disagree. ;-)

    By Blogger Daniel, at 8/21/2007 2:24 PM  

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