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Bible Studies

Matthew, Mark and Luke
Lesson 23
Parables of the Final Judgment

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Reading assignment for this lesson: Matthew 24:37-51, 25:1-46, Luke 12:39-46, 17:26-27, 34-35, 19:12-27, 21:37-38

In this lesson, there is no more discussion of the destruction of the temple. All talk now turns to Jesus' second coming, also known as the parousia, a Greek word meaning "appearance" or "presence." Jesus tells that we must prepare ourselves spiritually for that event. He gives several examples of how we should prepare and how we will be judged.

1. a) How will people be divided when Jesus comes again?
b) Will we have a chance to repent at that time? (See Matthew 24:37-41, Luke 17:26-27, 34-35, Matthew 3:12, 13:40-43, Luke 13:24.)

2. a) Will we be able to predict when Jesus will come again?
b) How should we prepare ourselves for Jesus' second coming? (See Matthew 24:42-51, Luke 12:39-46.)

3. Questions 3 - 5 refer to the Parable of the Bridesmaids (Matthew 25:1-13). The bridesmaids were to escort the bridegroom, when he arrived, in a nighttime torch-light procession.
a) Who does the bridegroom represent? (See Mark 2:19-20, John 3:27-30.)
b) What does his arrival represent?

4. a) What did the wise bridesmaids do differently than the foolish ones?
b) What happened to the five foolish bridesmaids as a result of being unprepared?

5. What is the lesson of the parable?

6. How do Jesus' warnings to be prepared for His second coming apply to us, even if Jesus does not return in our lifetimes? (See Luke 12:16-20, 16:19-26, Hebrews 9:27-28.)

7. The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) and the Parable of the Pounds (Luke 19:11-27) were discussed in Lesson 19, Questions 13 - 15. What is the main lesson of these parables?

8. Questions 8 - 11 refer to the description of the Final Judgment at the time Jesus returns (Matthew 25:31-46). This is not technically a parable, but does have some symbolic elements. At the Final Judgment, Jesus will individually judge all people of all nations of the earth. Like a shepherd separates sheep from goats, He will separate people into two groups, one at His left and the other at His right.
a) What good actions will cause a person to be placed in the right-hand group?
b) What bad actions will cause a person to be placed in the left-hand group?

9. a) What will be the fate of the group Jesus places on His right?
b) What will be the fate of the group Jesus places on His left?

10. What is the lesson of this description of the Final Judgment?

11. Many Christians are uncomfortable with this description of the Final Judgment because it seems to teach that doing good works is the way to eternal life rather than faith in Christ. What do you think about that? Why? (See Matthew 7:21-23, Luke 10:25-28, John 3:14-16, 5:24, 28-29, 6:29, Romans 2:6-10, Galatians 2:15-16, James 2:14-26.)

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