We Have a Debt We Could Never Pay: 10,000 Talents and 200 Days Wages
TEACHER: Ok, so we are looking deeper into the parable of the unforgiving servant today.
TEACHER: Ok, so the man owes the king basically the highest debt. The numbers, however, have profound meaning. In fact they relate to several other Gospel numbers, and an Apocalypse set.
TEACHER: Yes, in fact we will see that theologically, the profundity includes parallels and corroboration. The numbers related are basically these:
= 10,000 x 6,000 days’ wages
= 10,000 x 20 years’ wages
= 200,000 years’ wages
20,000 x 10,000 troops that kill the third of mankind (Apocalypse 9, 6th trumpet, or 2nd Great Woe)
10,000 army troops going against 20,000 (parable of count the cost; if you have a tower, make sure you can complete it…)
200 days’ wages (the five loaves and two fish discourse)
6 ages of labor for God’s People (the days of Creation as allegory of God’s REcreation of the world)
6,000 years of labor for God’s People (apply principle of a day = a thousand years)
10,000 x 100,000 ministering to the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7 about the Kingdom of God and its adherents)
Let us start by working out the 10,000 talents.
STUDENT: Ok. How much is a talent?
TEACHER: Great question! A talent in ancient times was 6,000 days’ wages. How many years might that be? Well, in a year, you obviously don’t work every day. Remember Sabbaths?
STUDENT: Ah, yes! Every seventh day. Plus, didn’t the Jews have special yearly Sabbaths?
TEACHER: You are absolutely right! For starters, the Jewish year is not 365 days like Roman years. Rather, it had only 360 days exactly. If you take 360 and divide by 7 to get the regular Sabbaths, you have around 51, with three days remainder. Then, there are like around 10 special annual Jewish Sabbaths. When we approximate, especially since 51 varies because there are 3 left over days, we can say 51 + 10 is basically 60 total Sabbaths. So the Jewish year is:
360 days – 60 Sabbaths
= 300 days of actual work
6,000 days wages / 300 days’/year
= 20 years’ wages
That is, 6,000 days’ labor is 20 years of labor. But this is just ONE talent. The man owes 10,000 talents!!!!
TEACHER: Yeah! So our total debt then, in terms of years of labor, is:
= 10,000 x 20 years’ wages
= 10 x 1,000 x 20
= 20 x 10 x 1,000
= 200,000 years’ wages
STUDENT: The man owes 200,000 years of labor! Holy you know what!
TEACHER: Yes, but the raw numbers are not the issue; it is the symbolism. And this number actually is implied allegorically in another Gospel Scripture, a supreme Gospel Scripture.
STUDENT: Ok, where?
TEACHER: The loaves and fishes!
STUDENT: What do you mean? I only remember five loaves and two fish, seven loaves and a few fish, or, at best, 12 or 7 wicker baskets. Where the heck is 200,000?
TEACHER: Aha! We don’t know this verse very well in the five loaves story. It sneaks in. St Philip says, in one Gospel, “Lord, even with 200 days wages, we could not afford to feed these people even a little food.”
STUDENT: Well, ok, but that is 200, not 200,000.
TEACHER: True, but hang tight; it’ll work out.
STUDENT: I’ll believe it when I see it!
TEACHER: I will make you a believer, I promise!
STUDENT: OK, well, the burden of proof is on you!
TEACHER: Challenge accepted. Ok, but first, we need to have a sense of what 200 days wages symbolize; in a literal sense, St Philip is showing the futility of the mere natural order to feed the people physically. That is, even if, in some crazy abundance, Jesus and the Apostles had had 200 days wages, it’d never have been enough to feed these people literally.
STUDENT: OK, and the point is?
TEACHER: The point is, how much more is this true spiritually, in that, if it was true that the apostles had no natural way to feed the people literally, how much more impossible is it for humanity to be fed spiritually on a natural level. No amount of work in our natural state can merit a single grace. Until we have sanctifying grace, we have nothing to wager with with God. For, we could try and try and try to do what is right in our natural condition of Original Sin, but we would never be in a position to demand a single grace, a single sacrament. Too, if we thought and thought and thought and pondered for ages without end in our mind to find the mysteries of God, we would never find even a morsel of Divine Revelation.
And it is these supernatural essences that alone can fulfill our intellect and will, the insatiable longing of our hearts. Too, we would never please God one iota no matter how long we slaved in our natural condition to do that which is good. In the end, the soul that labors merely naturally and that has never received Baptism, is in Original sin, and therefore has simply earned the “wages of sin”, which is “death,” which is also the end result of literal starvation.
STUDENT: Wow! So let me get this straight: you are saying that without God’s help and life, we could never fulfill ourselves nor please God. That only He can give us the things to fulfill us and to enable us to love Him as He loves us! That only Jesus can create grace from within the Trinity and give it us, just like his miracle of the loaves and fishes. And that this is what the 200 days’ wages mean: that in Original sin, all our efforts, unto ages and ages, would only be sin and merit death, and offer to us nothing of true substance, of true fulfillment.
STUDENT: Ok, good, but you said you would correlate this number 200 days to 200,000 years of labor, or 10,000 talents. 200 days is not quite 200,000 years.
TEACHER: Right, but, ”With the Lord, a day is as a thousand years, and thousand years as a day.”
STUDENT: Aha! I can see where you are going. We could foresee an extrapolation on the Gospel:
St Philip could say, “Lord, together we have 200 days wages. Will this be enough to feed the people?”
And the Lord would say, “Phillip, do you remember what My Father said about a day in His eyes?”
“Yes, Lord,” would say Philip, “YWYH said that with Him, a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years are as a day.”
“Very good, Philip,” Our Lord would respond, “Therefore I say unto you, not only is it impossible to feed My children with 200 days wages, but not even with 200 thousand, thousand years of wages in My Father’s vineyard without His help!”
TEACHER: Excellent, you nailed it. This actually gives us a correlation to almost all the other numbers:
200,000 years of labor have been drawn by extrapolation from the loaves and fishes, since they are already the fulfillment of 200 days wages (a day is as a thousand years and thousand years as a day). This matches the debt of the unforgiving servant, 10,000 talents, or 10,000 x 20 years’ labor, = 200,000 years labor.
Too, the other magnitude of number fills in the gap of 20,000 times 10,000:
200,000 x 1000 years, or
200,000 x 1,000
= 20 x 10 x 1,000 x 1,000
= 20,000 x 10,000
The above number is in Apocalypse 9, sixth trumpet, or, the Second Great Woe.
STUDENT: Ok, so now what?
TEACHER: Now, we are in a position to return to the parable. Again, the wicked servant owes the king 200,000 years of wages. Again, from the loaves and fishes, 200,000 years of labor symbolizes the futility of man in his natural spiritual condition: when we are unjustified, that is, in the state of Original Sin, and therefore only natural at best, what we owe God is death: death in this life, death eternally in the next [and if any man saith that one can be saved apart from baptism or the desire thereof, let him be anathema! Trent]. Hence, the wicked man is all of us. We all owe God death, and then hell. We can never repay it. We cannot slave endlessly to pay back God with Himself. So God forgives us, through Baptism and the Gospel. Who are we, then to say we cannot forgive our brother his small debt?