Vol. 19, No. 22 – June 14, 2020
Luke 12:36, “Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks.”
In the context of this passage and the parallel parables, it relates to the Second Coming of Christ. Luke, uses these to focus on and emphasize the teaching of faith and trust in God.
“Waiting” is the Verb PROSDECHOMAI, προσδέχομαι that means here, “await or expect.” With the prefix PROS, it means the expectation of a personal interaction with someone. We noted this word in Luke 2:25, 38. Cf. Mark 15:43.
Mark 15:43, “Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God; and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus.”
In our verse, the One these men / people are waiting for is the same one that Joseph was waiting for, “the Lord,” KURIOS, translated generically as “master” in this parable. Interestingly, Jesus says they are waiting for their master, “when he returns from the wedding feast.”
“Returns” is the Verb ANALUO in the Aorist, Active, Subjunctive. The potential Subjunctive is not whether or not Jesus will return; He absolutely will. It is for whether or not the person will wait for His return or not. It is only used here and by Paul in Phil 1:23, “But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better.” The root word LUO means to “loose, untie, set free, etc.” The Preposition ANA means “above.” This is the emphasis of our Lord’s return. This is why Jesus came in His First Advent, to set the captives free from their sins. He will return to culminate that freedom by bringing the Jewish Dispensation believers home to the kingdom of God and eternal glory. Therefore, it is the above and beyond setting free.
Here, they are waiting for the master to return from “the wedding feast,” GAMOS that means, “wedding celebration, marriage feast, or marriage nuptials.” It is used in Mat 22:2-12, (the Parable of the Marriage Feast); 25:10; Luke 12:36; 14:8, (analogies using wedding feasts); John 2:1-2, (the wedding at Cana), and Rev 19:7-9, (The Marriage of the Lamb).
By analogy we note the Wedding Ceremony in Hebrew culture. In that process, the groom and his friends went to the home of the bride. The home of the bride in the analogy is planet earth. The groom stood before the bride in her parent’s home and he said, “You are my wife. I am your husband from this day and forever.” Then the parents gave their daughter to the groom. Next, the groom and his friends escorted the wife to the home of the groom for the wedding feast,
Mat 22:2. At that time, the bride’s maids assembled outside of the home of the groom and waited for them, (the parable of the wise and foolish virgins was based on this custom).
In regard to the Church and Jesus Christ, the betrothal occurs at the moment of one’s salvation. The presentation of the bride to the Lord Jesus Christ occurs at the Rapture of the Church. Then when Christ returns at the Rapture, the bride (the Church), is presented to Him. This will continue throughout the Tribulation, until it is culminated in heaven with a wedding feast followed by our Lord’s Second Advent, Rev 19:7-9, that then begins the Millennial Reign.
In our passage in Luke, Jesus is not pointing to the Rapture of the Church, but is pointing to His Second Advent that will occur at the end of the Tribulation. The analogy, “when the master returns from the wedding feast,” (which in reality continues throughout the Millennial Reign), is pointing to the end of the Tribulation, after the wedding ceremony of Rev 19, of Jesus and the Church. At that time, the Age of Israel will be ended and Jewish Dispensation saints, along with all Old Testament saints, will be resurrected as the third or Charlie Company to be resurrected. Cf. 1 Cor 15:20-24. (See Resurrections in Human History chart on our website www.gracedoctrine.org/diagrams-and-maps/ ). This is the resurrection of the Jewish Dispensation believers, (that includes all O.T. saints and Tribulational saints that died or were martyred during the Tribulation), at the end of the Tribulation, at the 2nd Advent, Dan 12:13; Isa 26:19-20; Mat 24:31; Rev 20:4. The first company of resurrections was the Alpha Company, the resurrection of Jesus Christ; the second company, Bravo, is the Rapture of the Church at the end of the Church Age; the fourth company, Delta, is the Resurrection of Millennial Saints at the end of the Millennium. These are all part of the “first resurrections,” Rev 20:5. The “second resurrection,” is the resurrection of all unbelievers from all human history. They will be resurrected and judged for their works and cast into the Lake of Fire, the “second death,” Rev 20:11-15.
Here, Jesus is speaking to OT saints in the Age of Israel, and encouraging them to be prepared, so that at His Second Advent they will be resurrected because of their salvation through faith in the Messiah.
God warns of the importance to honor the marriage relationship between a man and a woman, which also has analogy to the believer’s relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ being held in honor and high regard.
Heb 13:4, “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”
In the second half of this verse, we are told of the type of readiness we all, (Bravo, Charlie, and Delta companies), are to have while waiting for our Lord to return, “So that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks.”
In the Greek, it states the second part first, “having come and having knocked,” ERCHOMAI, “come or appear,” and KROUO, “to knock,” which are both in the Aorist, Active, Participle, Genitive. It is speaking of our relationship with the Lord based on His First Advent, “having come,” that brought us salvation, and our ongoing relationship with Him, i.e., “having knocked.”
This knocking reminds us of Rev 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” This verse is not a call to salvation, but a call for restoration of fellowship with God for the believer.
In addition, this calls to mind our prayer life, which is a main indicator of relationship with the Lord and our readiness to receive Him, as it demonstrates our daily relationship with Him, cf. Mat 7:7-8; Luke 11:9-10, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” For further application of fellowship and relationship analogies, see also Luke 13:25; Acts 12:13, 13.
The “master” (Our Lord Jesus Christ) is the one who is coming and doing the knocking. He will return upon His Second Coming and He does the knocking upon the believer’s soul to get them to wake up from their reversionism or apostasy, as necessary, so that upon His return they will be ready for Him, i.e., “open immediately to him,” the Adverb EUTHEOS, with the Aorist, Active, Subjunctive of the Verb ANOIGO and the Pronoun AUTOS. Again, the Subjunctive is used for potentiality of receiving Him, i.e., “open immediately.”
As Mat 25:11f., tells us, if someone is not ready for the Lord’s return, because of unbelief, they will miss it, “Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us’. 12But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you’.”
Therefore, our Lord is instructing us all to be ready for His return, for Christ’s return will be like that of a thief in the night, 2 Peter 3:10; cf. 1 Peter 1:13. There is thus a relationship between Jesus’ prior words about treasure in heaven and watchfulness.
2 Peter 3:10, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.”
1 Peter 1:13, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
To be ready for His return, we first must have believed upon Him for the forgiveness of our sins, realizing He is our Savior. If someone has done that, they have the opportunity to be ready for Him to return. The one who has his treasure in heaven will be ready and watching for Christ’s return; the one who has his heart set on the treasures of this world will be caught completely unaware at His coming.
Mat 24:42, “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.”
Mat 24:44, “For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.”
Mat 24:50, “The master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know.”
Mark 13:32, “But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.”
Even though this passage is speaking to the believers of the Jewish Dispensation about the Lord returning from a wedding feast, the point of this parable is the preparation for His return that all believers of every dispensation and generation should be anticipating as imminent.
Titus 2:13, “Waiting with keen anticipation for that blessed hope (2nd Coming), even the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.”
Luke 12:37, “Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when He comes; truly I say to you, that He will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.”
The first half is paralleled in vs. 43, and Mat 24:46, the next few verses also parallel the parable of the doorkeeper in Mark 13:33-37.
“Blessed,” is MAKARIOS that means, “blessed, fortunate, or happy,” once again. It is a pronouncement especially upon those who act, that is those who apply God’s Word in their life consistently.
“Slave,” is the typical word DOULOS that means, “slave, bondman, or servant.” Here with, “find on the alert,” speaks of the believer who is actively involved in serving the Lord.
“Master,” KURIOS is once again in analogy to our Lord Jesus Christ.
“Will find on the alert,” uses the Future, Active, Indicative of the Verb HEURISKO that means, “find, discover, etc.” It is where we get our English word eureka from that is used to express delight when finding, discovering, or solving something, or on finally succeeding in doing something. In our passage, it is being found by our Lord upon His 2nd Coming that we are eagerly anticipating His return as demonstrated in our works, i.e., the consistent application of Bible Doctrine from our souls.
It is with the Present, Active, Participle, Accusative, Plural of the Verb GREGOREO, γρηγορέω that means, “be or stay awake, be alert, watch, and be vigilant.” This is the first time Luke uses this word. His only other use is in vs. 39. Matthew and Mark also use it for the alertness we are to have for our Lord’s Second Coming, in Mat 24:42-43; 25:13; Mark 13:34-35, 37; as also in Rev 3:3; 16:15. Matthew and Mark also use it for our Lords pleading with the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane to stay awake with Him, Mat 26:38, 40-41; Mark 14:34, 37-38. It is then used for the alertness we are to have in living the unique spiritual life of the Church Age daily, Acts 20:31; 1 Cor 16:13; Col 4:2; 1 Thes 5:6, 10; 1 Peter 5:8; Rev 3:2.
“When He comes,” gives us the context of our Lord’s 2nd Coming using the Aorist, Active, Participle, Nominative, Singular of the common Verb ERCHOMAI that means, “come or appear,” i.e., His 2nd Coming.
In the second half of this verse, we see a promise of blessing from our Lord to the believer who keeps on the alert, keeps watching for, the Lord’s imminent return.
“Truly I say to you, that He will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.”
“Truly I say to you,” uses the Interjection, AMEN, “truly, surely, so let it be, indeed, amen,” with LEGO HUMEIS. This use in the NT is unique to Jesus and reinforces the importance and truthfulness of His words. In the OT the Hebrew AMEN is often used after prayer as a response of conviction that what is said or asked for is true or will come to pass, e.g., Deut 27:15; Psa 41:13; 72:19; 106:48. It is fitting that Jesus should speak with such assertiveness, for He is the only begotten Son of God.
With this interjection, Jesus is giving the believer three promises that He will fulfill for them upon His return.
1. “That He will gird himself to serve,” which uses HOTI with the Future, Middle, Indicative of the Verb PERIZONNUMI that we noted in vs. 37, as “to gird,” or dressed yourself for readiness. “To serve,” is not in the Greek, which is why it is italicized. As we noted above, the analogies of “gird ourselves,” tell us several things. Here they refer to our Lord Jesus Christ upon His Second Advent.
a. He will have His wedding clothes on. And having received His bride (the Church), He will present her in all her glory.
b. As the Passover Lamb, He is prepared to provide for the believer’s spotless (without sin) life in eternity. He will free us for all of eternity from the slavery or captivity of sin as we leave this body of sin behind and receive a new resurrection body. In addition, He casts Satan and the fallen angels into the Lake of Fire. Therefore, for all of eternity we will never be tempted or influenced by sin from within or from the outside.
c. His is ready to serve us by washing our sins away giving us eternal cleansing and sanctification. (This speaks to our ultimate sanctification).
d. He will be ready, prepared, and strengthened with the armor of God, to care and provide for us, for all of eternity. (This also speaks of the defeat of Satan, who will be in the Lake of Fire, and sin for all of eternity).
2. “Have them recline at the table,” uses the Future, Active, Indicative of the Verb ANAKLINO that means, “cause to recline, lie down (an infant), or recline (at a meal).”
a. It is first used by Luke for the laying of our Lord in the manger by Mary and Joseph, Luke 2:7. Therefore, it speaks of His First Advent. As such, we have the bookends of Jesus’ ministry to care and provide for us, both in time and for all of eternity.
b. It is also used for the command for the people to sit while Jesus fed them from the fish and loaves, Mat 14:19; Mark 6:39; Luke 7:36; 9:15. Therefore, it speaks to Jesus providing for the believer for all of eternity.
c. It is used of the eternal Kingdom, where all believers are invited to recline with Jesus, as used here and Mat 8:1; Luke 13:29.
Luke 13:29, “And they will come from east and west and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God.”
Mat 8:11, “I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.”
Jesus said to the apostles, Luke 22:30, “That you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
This was foreshadowed at the Last Passover Supper, when our Lord used the bread and wine in imagery about His impending sacrifice that they would be able to share in, Luke 24:30, “When He had reclined (KATAKLINO) at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them.” Because of our faith in His sacrifice, we will be able to share in His resurrection and have fellowship with Him for all of eternity.
3. “Will come up and wait on them.” PARERCHOMAI with the Verb DIAKONEO, “serve, wait upon tables, minister, help, serve as deacon.”
Once again, we are reminded of our Lord girding Himself and serving the disciples as foreshadowed in John 13:4-5. As such, the apostles had a foretaste of this honor on the evening of the last Passover. Here, Jesus is making it clear that He is to be understood as a prepared, providing, and plateful (serving) Lord. This was the theme of His First Advent, Mat 20:28; Mark 10:45, and will continue to be an identifier of who He is for all of eternity.
Mat 20:28, “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
This was shocking to the hearers of Jesus’ day, as it was unheard of for the master to serve the servant. But that is exactly what Jesus came to do, and the attitude He wants to find His servants also having upon His return.
As such, our Lord’s instructions for us, His disciples, are to have that same mentality so that He finds us in that mode of operation when He returns. If we do, we will be the greater ones in the Kingdom of heaven, as Jesus is greater because of having that type of heart both in His humanity and His deity.
Luke 22:27, “For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.”
In addition, we are told that there is a special reward in eternity for those who are anticipating the Lord’s return, 2 Tim 4:8.
2 Tim 4:8, “In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
Luke 12:38, “Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.”
“Whether,” is the Conjunction KAN, that is a compound from KAI (and) and EAN (if), so it means “and if.” It is used to give a more intensified meaning to the simple use of KAI or EAN alone. Luke has repeated used intensifiers to his writing. Here it intensifies the fact of the Second Coming of our Lord.
“He comes,” ERCHOMAI, continues to speak of the Parousia of Jesus Christ, His Second Coming. Here we have two potentials for His return, “in the second watch,” EN HO DEUTEROS PHULAKE, “guarding or watching,” “or even in the third watch He comes,” KAN EN HO TRITOS PHULAKE ERCHOMAI. The underlined words are not in the NASB but are in the Greek.
This is language from the Roman and Hebrew military for different times of the night that soldiers would be actively on duty and posted at certain positions to “keep watch” or guard the city from enemies or insurgents.
In a side note, Jesus Christ is our watch keeper who protects us from our enemies and insurgents, i.e., Satan and sin, 1 Peter 2:25.
1 Peter 2:25, “For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.”
In Roman culture, which is most likely what Luke was referring too, the “second watch” was from 9 p.m. to Midnight, and the “third watch,” was from midnight to 3 a.m. Notice that they both have midnight in their watch, which is where we get our “midnight cry” from, thinking that the Resurrections may occur at midnight Jerusalem time, Mat 25:6. The analogy is, if the return of our Lord is very late in the night or toward morning, in the “second or third watch” (the middle and last division of the night hours), the alertness of the servants is even more commendable.
In addition, this is another passage that speaks of the “order of resurrections” for the saints; based on which dispensation they are a part of, 1 Cor 15:20-23.
1 Cor 15:20-23, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 21For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 23But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming.”
Luke’s passage may allude to the Bravo and Charlie companies of believers, (Church Age and OT Saints respectfully, see chart), as noted above. Or, it may just be a generalization, as all believers are to keep watch daily, not knowing when the master / our Lord may return.
Psa 119:62, “At midnight I shall rise to give thanks to You because of Your righteous ordinances.”
Mat 25:6, “But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him’.”
Mark 13:35, “Therefore, be on the alert—for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning.”
In Roman culture the watches were 6–9 p.m., 9 p.m. – 12 a.m., 12–3 a.m., and 3–6 a.m. If he was referring instead to the Jewish system of three watches the times would be 6–10 p.m., 10 p.m. – 2 a.m., 2–6 a.m., 6-10 a.m.
Nevertheless, Mark’s passage lends to not only the Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, and Delta companies, but speaks geographically, as midnight may refer to Jerusalem time, yet for believers around the world the resurrection will happen in their own time zones in relation to Jerusalem’s time / midnight.
Next we have, “and finds them so,” which uses HEURISKO once again. It means that upon Jesus’ 2nd Coming He finds the believer eagerly anticipating His return as demonstrated by their personal Divine Good Production.
This indicates that our major concern should not be the exact time of Jesus’ return. But, what is truly important in the Kingdom is obedience and preparedness. Those who understand this will discover that they are indeed “blessed” by their returning Lord.
That is the promise to “those servants,” DOULOS, who are eagerly waiting for the Lord’s return. They will be “blessed,” MAKARIOS. This tells us of the promise that there is a special reward in eternity for those who are anticipating the Lord’s return, 2 Tim 4:8.
2 Tim 4:8, “In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
To “love His appearing” starts with believing that Jesus is the Savior / King / Messiah based on His First Advent. Yet, it also includes our discipleship post salvation. Are we serving God and man by producing Divine Good, the Fruit of the Spirit, or are we not? If we are, we will receive additional blessing that result in added joy and happiness in the eternal state. This is the context of what Paul states in Phil 3:11, “In order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” This is more than just being a part of it. It is the added blessings and rewards that accompany the resurrection for the mature believer.
Therefore, if you love the Lord’s appearing and look for the day when He returns, then when He comes, He will reward you with the Crown of Righteousness, and joy will flood your soul. The happy ones are those who are waiting for Christ, watching for the Master’s arrival with diligence.
In addition, this is one of four Crowns the believer can be awarded at the BEMA of Jesus Christ. Each is an indestructible crown that will last forever and are tested by fire. They are all linked with living for the gospel of Christ, 1 Cor 9:23-26.
1 Cor 9:24-26, “I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim…”
The four crowns the Church Age believer can receive based on going forward inside of God’s Plan for their life include:
1) The Crown of Righteousness, which is given to the one who has loved His appearing which means it is a decoration for the attainment, perpetuation, and activity of spiritual maturity. This crown is presented to those believers who advance through the three stages of spiritual adulthood, 2 Tim 4:8.
2) The Crown of Life, Rev 2:10. This is one of two major awards. The other being the Order of the Morning Star, Rev 2:28. The Crown of Life is given for living the spiritual life inside God’s Power System (GPS), bringing maximum glorification to God. It is awarded to invisible heroes for maximum production of Divine good through the execution of the Plan of God with emphasis on invisible impact while persevering under trial. Also in James 1:12.
Rev 2:10, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
James 1:12, “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
3) The Crown of Glory for being willing to feed the flock of God, 1 Peter 5:1-4. This includes the Pastor-Teacher who is doing their job well in teaching the Word of God to their local assembly or beyond. It may also be available for others dedicated to providing for the Word of God to be taught.
4) The Crown of Rejoicing for the soul winners, 1 Thes 2:19.
1 Thes 2:19, “For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming?” Cf. Phil 4:1.
In addition, there is The Order of the Morning Star, Rev 2:26-28, which is the highest decoration for living the Christian life. This is awarded for the ultimate in impact through the application of Bible doctrine. The name is derived from the title of our Lord. In His strategic and tactical victory, He is called, “The Morning Star,” Rev 22:16.
Num 24:17, “A star shall come from Jacob (First Advent).
2 Peter 1:19, “So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns (Second Advent) and the morning star arises in your hearts.”
Those who are granted this reward will be given authority to rule in the Millennium, Rev 2:26-27, 20:4. Therefore, for the believer who is living their life daily in eager anticipation of the return of their master, Jesus Christ, they will be rewarded with these and other rewards to adorn for all of eternity.
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#20-059, 20-060, 20-061
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life.
So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!