What does it mean in the Bible when it says “The first will be last and the last will be first”?

Automatic Transcript Generated

Speaker 1

Alright so Vicky is asking what does it mean in the Bible when it says the first will be last and last will be first?

Speaker 2

Alright so I’ll open with this one and know Tanny Corbyn if I’m wrong but I say there’s probably at least two answers to that.

Speaker 3

I would agree.

Speaker 2

It first shows up in Matthew 19. Well let’s not say start at verse two. We’ll bring up a verse soon. But Jesus is talking about the Kingdom of heaven and he talks about this. Well I should say he just encountered the rich young ruler and this man who came and asked Jesus be his disciple. Jesus said I’d love for you to follow me to be my disciple but you’re going to have to give up everything you have, sell it and give it to the poor. And the man walked away very sad because he couldn’t give that stuff up. And Jesus that made this comment to his disciples, it’s going to be very hard for the rich to enter into the Kingdom of heaven and they’re like well if they can’t do it, who can? That’s scary because I think these are blessed people and all. And after this discussion Jesus makes this comment down in verse verse 30 of Matthew 19. Just put it up, Matthew 19.

Speaker 1

But many that are first shall be last and the last they’ll be first.

Speaker 2

So this is the context that this is stated and it’s in the context of the rich people are going to have a hard time making it to heaven. If they do, they still might not. They’re probably going to be going from first class citizens on Earth to maybe being at the bottom of the barrel in the Kingdom of heaven. Things that we think are great and worthy of exultation in this world actually in heaven’s eyes are things which are not usually very plausible, whereas the people have so little and give so much of what they have might then be perceived greater in heaven was Matthew 19. We also see this concept discussed elsewhere in Luke 13. It’s a similar context, but Jesus is similar to talk about how the poor are not going to be able to make it. This would look 1323 to 30. So you could go ahead and take a look on your own time, talk about the saved people being on the outside of the door knocking to try to get in. And I’ll tell you, Jesus says where you are from, depart from me, all your workers of iniquity they’ll be weeping gnashing of teeth.

Speaker 2

When you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God and yourselves thrust out, they will come from the east and west from the North, south and sit down in the Kingdom of God. And indeed there are last who will be first and there are first who will be last. Jesus now is talking about basically those of you who think you’re good Godly people. You’re in the Church, you’re going to be close with God. Guess what? You’re going to be surprised. Probably you might not make it into heaven even. You might totally be worshiping the wrong God. And actually, this is something we’ll talk about probably a little bit later, or if you get it to heaven, you might be totally off base. And again, you might now be at the bottom, whereas people you thought were like second class citizens, people who shouldn’t even be in the Church. Maybe now God is going to say, wow, these are really the type of people that I want in my Kingdom. Shocking. And in the context of the Jews, Jesus is saying, probably there’s going to be a lot of Gentiles, there’s going to be a lot of people that you don’t even want to be caught in the same room with.

Speaker 2

And those are people that might be first in my Kingdom. And finally, we come to Matthew 20 versus one to 16. And that’s why I say there’s kind of two meanings of this concept. And we have here the parable of where Jesus is talking about this man who goes out and hires laborers for the day, and he hires some at the beginning and he promised him one denearius. And then this man says, Wait, I need more people to help me in the vineyard. So midday he goes, hires more people, and then he still needs more people. And at the 11th hour, he goes and still hires more people. They get the job done and it goes through and pays them all the same amount, the same reward at Daenerys. And the workers are complaining about this, and this is not fair. They say, we were there first at the very beginning, and we’re getting paid the very same as the people came at the very end. And the man says in verse 14 of Matthew 20, this is Matthew 20, verse 14. Take what is yours and go away. I wish to give you to this last man the same as to you.

Speaker 2

Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things, or is it your eye evil because I am good? So the last will be first and the first last. For many are chosen, but few. All right, many are called, but few are chosen.

Speaker 1

A lot of different contexts here.

Speaker 2

Yeah. And this was interesting in terms of talking about the work, and God talks about his Church instead of being like a vineyard. And I would say here, God’s talk about how you have different people, maybe who have started the missionary work, maybe their whole life they’ve been a missionary, been active for God. And then you have people who come at the very end of time or maybe even near the end of their Christian walk, and we all get the same reward. We’re all going to get Salvation while being the Kingdom. In that sense, those who worked with God the entire lives and those who came in at the end, we might be a bit surprised again by the reward that we’ll get.

Speaker 4

I have a question. Is this context supposed to be kind of like an instruction for how we run business, that we should pay the laborers differently? Is that the takeaway one of the takeaways we’re supposed to get from this? So it doesn’t matter if it shows up where.

Speaker 2

No, this is more just in the context of God has one reward to all of us, and that’s eternity with him in his Kingdom.

Speaker 4

This is a symbolic kind of text or an analogy.

Speaker 2

Right.

Speaker 4

And it’s really just about it’s a parable. Yes.

Speaker 2

And people sometimes get in trouble when they try to take a parable too literal and say, oh, every aspect of this parable is somehow meaningful for real life. There’s limits. And here in this context, Jesus is telling us what the Kingdom of heaven is like at the very beginning of Matthew 20, verse one, it says, for the Kingdom of heaven is like, good question. Thanks for clarifying that. Tina. What are your thoughts?

Speaker 3

I’ve always thought that’s kind of an interesting verse, the last three first and the first last. And I guess in my mind always kind of goes to the spiritual. I want to say philosophical, but just kind of Jesus always says, he who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit of God is saying. And so I’m always kind of like, what’s the deeper meaning? And to me, when I read that verse, what I kind of get out of it, in addition to I think what you’re saying is right as well. But I guess what I kind of get out of it is to be humble and just the idea of true humility, like the mother of John and his brother, where she came to Jesus and she’s like, I want my sons to sit on your right hand and your left hand. And Jesus says, you don’t know what you’re asking because do you know what it takes to sit there? And he’s like, he’s like, you don’t know what you’re asking, basically, because in order to be great in heaven, you have to be the least in this world. And Jesus, who I mean, he was the son of God.

Speaker 3

And yet you read in Philippians, chapter two, starting verse five, it says, Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but humbled himself and basically came in the fashion of a man, and basically that humbled himself and was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. And so when I think of the last shall be first and the first last, it’s like, maybe in this world you are your top dog or whatever but in heaven, that doesn’t mean anything. What really matters was your humble service for Jesus and just being just that willing and submissive servant. And it just also kind of reminds me of that verse in Peter. Peter says, and I can’t off the top of my head where it is, but it basically says, Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, and he will lift you up in due season. And so on this Earth, we might be humble. We might not get any glory or Fame or riches or whatever, but in heaven, God is recording those works that we do for him in secret and those things that were done in secret, God will reward you openly in the Kingdom.

Speaker 3

So I guess that’s kind of my take on that verse. I.

Speaker 2

Was going to say exactly right. And I think what it is is it’s more putting the rubber to the road of what I was saying. So what I was saying, people be like, confused. Well, okay, so what do I do to then be high in heaven? But you’re right, the more we humble ourselves, the lower we go, in a sense, the higher we are in God’s eyes.

Speaker 4

And I was thinking, too, you mentioned how they’re all saying who can sit by his side? And it’s like you think about what responsibility that is. How much have we as humans tried to show up for other people the way Jesus showed up for people? That’s a really hard task to do, especially on a consistent basis. And it’s so interesting that they’re all clamoring for that position, if you will, not realizing at all like what they have to do to achieve that.

Speaker 2

In fact, what does Jesus say? Mark 1044 maybe we could put that up. Mark Ten, verse 44.

Speaker 4

Jesus is whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all.

Speaker 2

Yeah. Or other translations might be like a servant of all, you got to serve everybody. And so many times we get that wrong. Even in our Church, where we think of it that everybody should be serving the leaders of the Church. And to some degree, yes, we should be respecting our elders and taking their counsel and going with them, but they really should be seeing themselves. Everybody should be seeing them as really the greatest servants of all of us to aid everybody in carrying out the gospel mission and just think how different Church would be if we were all more mindful of that.

Speaker 3

I absolutely agree with that. And I think to what you’re saying, I don’t know if the story in Mark is the same thing, but it reminds me of when Jesus at the Last Supper, the disciples are sitting around saying, arguing who’s going to be the greatest in the Kingdom? And they’re arguing that they’re going to be the greatest. And Jesus just silently goes and starts washing their feet and he just humbles himself and does the dirty task that nobody wants to do because they think that they’re the greatest. And Jesus shows us by his life and his example of what greatness really is, which is humble service. And, I mean, he even washed the feet of Judas, who he knew was going to betray him, like how merciful, how loving, how good our God is. Yeah. That just blows my mind when I think of how amazing God is and how much we fall short of his perfect example.

Speaker 2

Yeah, so true.

Speaker 4

Yeah.

Speaker 2

So I noticed we had a question come in from Gary. Would you like to take that up now, Tina?

Speaker 4

Oh, sure.

Speaker 3

I haven’t told the Holy Spirit is you in your mind. That is an interesting thought. I would like to show you some Bible verses that maybe will change your mind about that. If you go with me to the book of John Fitzenburg 17, I want to make sure I say the right thing or chapter 16. Go with me to John, chapter 16, and let me see where we should start. I’ll just read a few verses because it’s pretty clear now, Jesus, before he went back to heaven, I’m sure you probably know this story. He spoke to his disciples and he was praying for the comfort to come, which is the Holy Spirit. And he says something very a few things that are very interesting about the Holy Spirit. And it says, like I said in John chapter 16, in verse seven, I’ll say it says, Nevertheless, I tell you the truth, it is expedient for you that I go away. For if I go not away, the comforter will not come to you. But if I depart, I will send him unto you. So the comforter the Holy Spirit is being sent from Jesus in heaven to you.

Speaker 3

So it’s not something that’s just in your mind. And to go on further, he speaks about what he’s going to do in verse eight, says, when he has come, he will approve the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. And Jesus specifies kind of what that means. And then very specifically in verse 13, Jesus says, how be it when he so he’s signifying the Spirit as he the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth, for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, he shall speak, and he will show you things to come. So I really think that’s pretty clear that the Holy Spirit is not just something in your mind, like your conscience or something like that. I think that the Holy Spirit speaks to your conscience, but the Holy Spirit is definitely a member of the Godhead. Jesus also says in Matthew 28, as part of the great Commission that he sent his disciples to go baptize everybody in all nations in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. So I think it’s very dangerous to diminish who the Holy Spirit is.

Speaker 3

We don’t know everything about him. There’s still definitely some mystery about the Holy Spirit. I couldn’t say everything about him, but I would be very careful to diminish the Holy Spirit because as you know, the impartial sin is the blaspheming of the Holy Spirit. And you want to be very careful when you’re making claims about who God is, because we don’t know everything about who God is. All we know is what we’re given. And like it says in Deuteronomy, I believe it’s 29 29, Let me make sure this is one of my favorite verses that I use a lot when we get questions about the Bible and I’m like, I don’t know everything. So I will say this. Deuteronomy 29 29 says, the secret things belong unto the Lord, our God, but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever. That we may do all the words of this law. So there are some things we don’t fully understand. We don’t 100% know everything about the Holy Spirit, but we do know he is sent from Jesus and that Jesus speaks through him to you and he leads you into all truth.

 

Speaker 3

And so it’s very important that we don’t grieve the Holy Spirit. It’s important that we don’t make the Spirit go away. Like, remember David when he was praying for forgiveness in Psalm 51 after he sent his great sin with he says, Take not thy Holy Spirit from me. So it wasn’t just something in your mind. It wasn’t just like a thought or feeling. It was definitely something much more than that. Again, if we’re baptized in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit, that’s definitely something we want to give reverence and respect to. Any other thoughts, Jay or Wendy?

Speaker 2

Yes. So I can see sometimes where people might get that viewpoint that we have the Holy Spirit acting as our mind, because for example, in Philippians 25, it says, the King James Version, for example, says, Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. But if you look at other translations, such as the New Living Translation says, you must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. And Paul goes on to explain how Christ was a servant and he gave up everything he had and was willing to die. It’s more having the same mindset as Jesus is where we need to go. Not saying we need the Holy Spirit to think for us, but there is definitely an aspect where the Holy Spirit can help our thinking. It AIDS our thinking. And even if staying in Philippians too, he’s talking about unity that comes from the Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that allows all of us to even get into one accord because it’s helping us to empty ourselves, of ourselves, to be more in alignment with God. But yeah, again, it’s still us making the decisions, us choosing where to go us cooperating with God and as Tina said, it is a bit of a mystery that we’ll probably have to wait later on to really understand how that worked.

Speaker 3

Yeah.

Speaker 2

We have a comment that came in from Nancy.

Speaker 1

When we fully realize our sinfulness and that it’s the punishment for our sins that Jesus took upon himself at the cross. We have absolutely no claim for any greatness in heaven or even a place in heaven. Yet God will exalt us there because we have humbled ourselves with sorrow and repentance for our sins and giving of our lives to Jesus for what he has done for us.

Speaker 2

Yeah, that’s a great comment. If you type out what we talked about earlier on the first question, what does it mean that the first will be last and last will be first? Great comment. Thank you, Nancy.

Speaker 3

Thank you. Beautiful. Thank you.

For full episode:
https://youtu.be/vvKiSgZRPEc

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