THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS
The second parable in Matthew 25, the parable of the talents, shows the same principle. All are servants, and yet some are not allowed to enter into the manifestation of the kingdom of the heavens. Let us read from verse 22: "And he also who received the two talents came and said, Lord, you delivered to me two talents; behold, I have gained another two talents. His lord said to him, Well done, good and faithful slave; you were faithful over a few things, I will set you over many things; enter into the joy of your lord. And he also who received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew you, that you are a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter; And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the earth; behold, you have what is yours. But his lord answered and said to him, Evil and slothful slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter. You ought therefore to have deposited my silver with the bankers, and when I came I would have recovered what is mine with interest. Take away therefore the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents: for to everyone who has shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from him who has not, even that which he has shall be taken away from him. And cast out the useless slave into the outer darkness; there shall be the weeping and gnashing of teeth." The faithful slaves were invited into the joy of the Lord, but the slothful slave was rebuked by the Lord and cast into the outer darkness where he would experience weeping and gnashing of teeth. The slothful slave was punished so that he might become ripe and matured.
A SERIOUS WARNING
The kingdom of the heavens is the heavenly ruling, the heavenly government of the Lord Jesus. After we have been regenerated, we have to be under this ruling. If we are under this ruling, we will be victorious and overcoming. We will be in the reality of the kingdom of the heavens, and we will enter into the manifestation of the kingdom of the heavens to rule and reign with the Lord. But if we are defeated Christians, when the Lord Jesus comes back we will suffer a loss and we will be punished so that we may become mature. When the Lord returns, we will be rewarded or punished according to our exercise in the kingdom. If our exercise has been proper in the kingdom of the heavens, the Lord will reward us with the manifestation of the kingdom. If we have not exercised in the kingdom of the heavens, the Lord will render a certain kind of punishment to us. This does not mean that we will be lost, but that we will suffer something to help us ripen. We are the Lord’s children, His crop, His plantation (1 Cor. 3:9, lit.). As the Lord’s crop, we must eventually be matured, whether in this age or the next. If we are not willing to be ripened in this age, when the Lord Jesus comes back He will deal with us, and we will be forced to be ripened in the next age. On the one hand we have eternal security; once we are saved we are saved forever. But on the other hand there is a serious warning. Today, the Lord gives us the kingdom of the heavens as an exercise to test us. When He comes back, He will give us the kingdom of the heavens as a reward if we exercise ourselves properly. Otherwise, He will render a certain kind of punishment to us so that we can pay the price to be ripened. May the Lord be gracious to all of us.
(The Kingdom, Chapter 48, by Witness Lee)