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Matthew  ◦   Chapter 25

1 "At that time in earth's history, God's people on earth will be like ten undefiled bridesmaids who took their lamps and went out into the dark world to meet the bridegroom.2 While all ten were sincere students of the Word, only five were wise; the other five were foolish.3 The five foolish went out into the dark world with their lamps of God's Word, but they didn't fill themselves with the oil of the Holy Spirit.4 The wise, however, not only carried their lamps of God's Word but also filled the jars of their hearts with the Holy Spirit.5 The bridegroom took much longer in coming than they expected, and all ten bridesmaids became drowsy and fell asleep.

6 "In the middle of the night, a loud cry was heard: 'The bridegroom is here! Come and meet him!'

7 "All ten bridesmaids awoke and started to prepare their lamps to shine brightly,8 but the foolish ones realized they could not prepare without the oil of the Holy Spirit. They looked to the five wise ones and said, 'Give us some of your oil; our light is going out.'

9 "But the five wise said, 'We can't! The oil of the Spirit that enables us to shine brightly is only provided in a sufficient quantity for each lamp. You must go to the source yourselves and get your own supply.'

10 "While the foolish ones were out searching for oil, the bridegroom arrived. The five bridesmaids who were prepared went in to the reception with him, and the door was closed tightly.

11 "Later, the foolish ones came banging on the door, shouting, 'Master, let us in!'

12 "But he replied, 'The truth is, you're not my friends; I don't know you.'

13 "So stay alert and be vigilant, because you don't know when the Lord will return.

14 "Similarly, it will be like a man who takes a trip; but before he leaves, he turns over his property to his assistants to maintain, invest and develop for him.15 He gives five thousands dollars to one, two thousand to another, and one thousand to a third, entrusting each with the amount appropriate to their experience and ability. Then he leaves on his trip.16 The assistant who received five thousand dollars immediately invested the funds and gained five thousand more.17 Likewise, the one who received two thousand dollars gained two thousand more.18 But the assistant who had received one thousand dollars did not use what they received but neglected it, burying it in the ground.

19 "After being gone a long time, the master finally returned and assessed how well the assistants had done with the resources entrusted to them.20 The one who had received five thousand dollars brought the other five thousand and said, 'Master, you entrusted me with five thousand dollars, and I am happy to report that I have gained another five thousand.'

21 "The master smiled and said, 'Excellent! You have done very well and are a trustworthy and reliable assistant! You have handled well the few things I entrusted to you; I will trust you with much more. Come and enjoy partnership with me!'

22 "The assistant who had received two thousand dollars came and said, 'Master, you entrusted me with two thousand dollars, and I have gained two thousand more.'

23 "The master smiled and said, 'Excellent! You have done very well and are a trustworthy and reliable assistant! You have handled well the few things I entrusted to you; I will trust you with much more. Come and enjoy partnership with me!'

24 "Then the assistant who had received one thousand dollars came and said, 'Master, from what I know about you, you are a harsh man, taking from people what is not yours, and expecting payments to appease your anger.25I was afraid of you, and terrified to disappoint you and lose your money, so I hid it in a hole in the ground. See, here is your one thousand dollars, that has never been used.'

26 "The master was saddened and said, 'Your mind is filled with wicked lies about me, and you were too lazy to discover the truth. But if you thought that I was harsh and take from people what is not mine, and that I expect payment to assuage my wrath,27 then why did you not at least put my money in a bank so that you could give it back to me with interest?'

28 "'Take the one thousand dollars from this wicked assistant and give it to the one who has ten thousand,29 for everyone who uses what they have will develop more. But whoever doesn't use what they have will lose it, for if you don't use it you lose it.30 Send that useless assistant out into the darkness, where there is no remedy but only pain, suffering and death.'

31 "When the Son of Man comes again in his unveiled fiery glory, all his angels will be with him, and he will sit upon his throne in heavenly splendor.32 All humanity will come before him, and he will separate the healed-those who have partaken of the Remedy-from the unhealed as easily as a shepherd separates sheep from goats.33 He will put the healed on his right and the unhealed on his left.

34 "Then the King will gladly say to those on his right, 'Come home, you who have been healed by my Father; receive your inheritance-the kingdom of love-designed for you at the creation of the world.35 For you lived in harmony with my kingdom of love: I was hungry and you fed me; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you invited me home;36 I didn't have clothing and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me; I was in prison and you visited me.'

37 "Then the healed, whose hearts are right with God's kingdom of love, will answer the King, 'Lord, what are you talking about? When did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?38 When were you a stranger to us, or without clothes, that we needed to clothe you?39 When did we ever nurse you when sick or visit you in prison?'

40 "The King will smile and say, 'The truth of my kingdom of love is this: Whatever love you gave to the least of my family on earth, you gave it to me.'41 "Then the King will say to the unhealed-those on his left, whose hearts remain embittered with fear and selfishness: ‘You have what you’ve chosen: Depart from me, you who are terminal, doomed by your own condition; your end is eternal fire prepared to consume evil.42 For I was hungry and you let me starve; I was thirsty and you let me thirst;43 I was a stranger and you left me on the street; I needed clothes and you gave me none; I was sick and you let me suffer; I was in prison and you let me be abused.'

44 "They will be shocked and protest, 'Lord, it isn't so! We never mistreated you. When did we fail to feed you, or give you drink, or invite you home, or provide you clothing, or nurse you when sick, or help you in prison?'

45 "The King will reply, 'The truth of my kingdom of love is this: Whatever you did not do for one of the least of my earthly family, you did not do for me.'

46 "Then they will pass away for all eternity, but the healed-those whose hearts are in harmony with God's kingdom of love-will receive eternal life."