darkness02I received the following question:

I have a question regarding Matthew 25:30. “Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” This seems to be saying that he has been condemned, i.e. thrown into hell. So wasting your talents can get you tossed into hell?

I have heard people in talking about this parable speak of our “talents and abilities.” They play off of the fact that we have an English word “talent” that is basically the same as the Greek word talanta for a unit of money. Just because this coincidence exists does not mean that what we think of as “talents” is what was represented in the parable. The word El means “God” in Hebrew. The word el means “the” in Spanish. We cannot conclude from this that “God” and “the” are synonymous, or symbolic for each other.

Israel at the time Christ was speaking was God’s nation, and so those who were leaders over it were God’s servants. Some of these had served God faithfully, and some had taken advantage of their position to benefit themselves. When the kingdom of God comes, the whole house of Israel will be gathered together, from every part of the world by God’s power, and from every period of history by resurrection. (This is set forth in the book of Ezekiel, in such chapters as 37 and 39.) At that time, those unfaithful leaders in Israel from the time of Christ will stand before God, be found lacking, and be cast out of the kingdom into death.

In the kingdom of God, there will likewise be leaders who will squander the position God has given them. They will fail the great test of all men on earth that takes place in the tribulation. As such, they too will be cast out of the kingdom into death.

The talents, I believe, have to do with authority from God, not “talents and abilities.” There is no one who has this sort of “talent” from God today.