14 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.
15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.
16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.
17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also.
18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money.
19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’
21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
22 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’
23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.
25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’
26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.
27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.
28 Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.
29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.
30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
The words “the kingdom of heaven” (v.14) aren’t in the Greek. The verse should read “For it is as if a man traveling …” But it is obviously referring to the sentence immediately preceding (there are no verses in the original, so there is no break here). “… the hour in which the Son of Man cometh.” So, along with the context of the whole passage, this makes it clear that it’s still referring to the Lord’s return at the beginning of the millennial kingdom.
talent (v.15) — A talent was a large sum of money, varying greatly in value according to whether it was silver or gold, and could weigh from 58 to 80 pounds. A silver talent could be worth as much as $2,000, and a gold talent could be worth as much as $30,000. With the rise in price of these metals, today the value would be even higher. When taking into consideration that a man’s wage in Christ’s time was 16 cents a day, the purchasing power of this amount of money was very large. At maximum, the five-talent man could have received as much as $150,000, a fortune, which would be worth millions today in purchasing power. — Walvoord, pages 197-198
The explanation seems to be that this wicked man had the same kind of cunning that Judas Iscariot used when he accepted the money for the betrayal of Christ. Judas had reasoned that if Jesus was indeed the Messiah, his betrayal would not matter, and he would be ahead thirty pieces of silver. If Jesus was not the Messiah, he at least would have the silver. So, the wicked one-talent man likewise reasoned: If my lord returns, I will be able to give him back his talent and cannot be accused of being a thief, but if he does not return, there will be no record that the money belongs to him, such as would be true if I deposited it in the bank, and then I will be able to use the money myself. His basic problem, like the problem of Judas, was a lack of faith.
The one-talent man did not believe that it was sure his lord was coming back. It is therefore clear that his basic problem was that of being an unbeliever, not simply being unfaithful in service. Accordingly, the conclusion of the illustration, “for unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath” (v.29), refers to everyone who has faith or who is lacking faith. — Walvoord, page 199.
In the second parable (Matthew 25:14-30), Christ again taught that following His return and Israel’s regathering the nation must undergo judgment, This again will be a judgment to determine, on the one hand, who is saved and therefore to be accepted into the kingdom, and on the other hand, who is unsaved and to be barred from entering the kingdom. In this parable the Lord taught truth similar to what He had taught in Luke 19:11-27. In that parable in which there was equal distribution, Christ taught equal opportunity; here however, where there is an unequal distribution, He taught individual responsibility.
Christ in this parable revealed that the nation Israel, which had been set aside as Gods servant (Exodus 19:5-6), received a responsibility for which they were answerable. In the Old Testament Israel was designed to be God’s light to the Gentile world. The candelabra in the tabernacle was to be a perpetual reminder of Israel’s function. Because Israel was faithless to that function, Isaiah promised that another Light would come to bring light to the Gentiles (Isaiah 60:1-3). Christ came as the “true light’ (John 1:9; 8:12). God will set apart Israel again during the Tribulation to be His light to the world (Revelation 7:1-8). When Christ comes the second time, the nation will be judged to determine individual faithfulness to that appointment. Faithfulness will indicate faith in in the person of Christ. Those who prove themselves faithful will be accepted into His kingdom, but those who are faithless will be excluded from His kingdom.
Thus, in these two parables, Christ described the judgments that will come on the nation Israel following their regathering after His second coming. — Pentecost, page 408-409