Matthew 20:16

16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Read Matthew 20:16 Using Other Translations

So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
So the last will be first, and the first last."
“So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”

What does Matthew 20:16 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Matthew 20:16

So the last shall be first, and the first last
As he had asserted in ( Matthew 19:30 ) and which is clearly illustrated by this parable, as it may be applied to Jews or Gentiles, or to nominal and real Christians:

for many be called;
externally, under the ministration of the Gospel, as the Jews in general were, by Christ and his apostles; but

few chosen;
in Christ from all eternity, both to grace and glory; and in consequence, and as an evidence of it, but few among the Jews; as also in the Gentile world, comparatively speaking: and even but a few of those that are outwardly called, are inwardly and effectually called by the powerful grace of God, out of darkness into marvellous light, into the grace and liberty of the Gospel, into communion with Christ, and to the obtaining his kingdom and glory, according to the eternal purpose of God. It is a saying of R. Simeon ben Jochai F4

``I have seen the children of the world to come (elsewhere F5 it is, of the chamber), (Nyjewm Nhw) , "and they are few".''

Though he vainly thought, that if those few were but two, they were himself and his son.


F4 T. Hieros. Beracot, fol. 13. 4.
F5 T. Bab. Succa, fol. 45. 2. & Sanhedrim, fol. 97. 2.
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