3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Today is the day of salvation. Jesus spoke to his disciples and prepared them for what they would see and to discern the time in which they are living.
In all reality though, Jesus was speaking to ME and YOU. Who would have ever thought it? Surely, 2,000 years have passed and what is the likelihood that our generation would be THEE GENERATION to see the second coming of Christ???
I am sure the disciples never in a million years thought that they would be the generation to walk with the Son of God. But, they were, and they did.
Christians everywhere— WAKE UP!! The time has come, we don’t know exactly the day or hour, but we will know the season. We are IN IT.
My fear and sadness lies in the fact that so many Christians are unprepared. The church has become lukewarm, ill informed, and subsequently has fallen fast asleep. Let’s contrast Christians today and the parable of the ten virgins, tell me do you see any similarities?
The Parable of the Ten Virgins-
25:1 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins
who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. (Jesus)
25:2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
25:3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, (Holy Spirit)
25:4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
25:5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. (Jesus isn’t coming now, I’ve been hearing that all my life)
25:6 And at midnight a cry was heard:
‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’
25:7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.
25:8 And the foolish said to the wise,
‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ (Knowledge and personal working with the Holy Spirit, in everyday lives)
25:9 But the wise answered, saying,
‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you;
but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’
25:10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came,
And those who were ready went in with him to the wedding;
and the door was shut.
25:11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying,
‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’
25:12 But he answered and said,
‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
25:13 Watch therefore,
for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.
THE PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS.
The parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25 is one of the most enigmatic and intriguing in all of scripture. It seems to be a story of great drama and romance. In it we also see a warning, and some information for the saints of great prophetic significance, It is also a wooing, and a calling into a devotion in God. The Spirit of God is speaking to us in the storyline. We find ourselves being drawn beyond our comfort zone. Deep calls out unto deep …… – Ps.42:7
The facts of the story are straightforward. Five of the virgins were wise and five were foolish. Just who are these 5 wise and 5 foolish virgins? If they are all believers then why the division? Are there two different groups of people within the beloved Congregation of God? And if so, what is it that distinguishes them from each other?
THE SYMBOL OF THE LAMP IN SCRIPTURE.
As we look deeper into the story and survey the poetic imagery we observe that all of the ten virgins carried lamps.
The lamp is often pictured in scripture and in our literature as a symbol of the spirit of a person.
PROVERBS 20:27 NKJV
The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord,
Searching all the inner depths of his heart.”
PROVERBS 20:27 KJV
“The spirit of a man is the candle of the Lord,
Searching all the inward parts of the belly.”
(“Inward parts of the belly” relates to our deepest feelings.
It is a reference to the origin of our true thoughts and motivations.)
So the lamp, or candle, of the Lord is the spirit of man.
There is a flame present and visible to others, – if he is alive and awake.
The spirit of man at any given time is showcasing a spiritual presence. That spiritual presence varies from person to person and from time to time.
The spirit being expressed in a person may be of God,
Or we may have accepted “strange fire” from the enemy of our souls.
There is a ‘mystery of iniquity’ operating in the midst of great deception. (2Thes.2:7)
And there is a ‘mystery of godliness’. (1Tim.3:16)
Our ultimate and eternal happiness is not something that comes from human determination or human striving.
We were designed and created to function in union and in harmony with God.
And the candle of our spirit was originally designed to be lit and fueled by the Holy Spirit. As children in Sunday School we learned the song,
“Jesus bids us shine with a pure clear light,
Like a little candle, burning in the night.
In this world of darkness, so we must shine.
You in your small corner, and I in mine. ”
So the lamp, or candle, is the spirit of man.
What is the chief end or purpose of man?
The answer is, “to know God and to enjoy Him forever.”
Man was created to live and walk in God. He was created and saved not just for a mansion in heaven but to showcase the works and fruits of His Holy Spirit here on earth. The indwelling Holy Spirit of YHVH-God manifests the Christian graces. They are, in fact, the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Our Apostle Paul lays them out for us in Gal.5:22&23. These aspects of Godly character are evidence of the indwelling Christ. And they are increasingly evident in a human being as he grows in God.
The nine fruits of the Holy Spirit are,
love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness,
THE QUESTION OF THE OIL.
Discussions of the parable of the ten virgins usually addresses the question of the oil.
What does the oil represent?
In scripture the meaning of the oil is not a difficult matter to elucidate. A quick word study through the Bible will suffice. The oil quite typically represents the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The scriptures tell of the oil of gladness and the oil of anointing of God’s Presence. The Old Testament scriptures showcase the oil of anointing for priests and kings. Throughout the Bible we also see the oil for the lamps which brings the Light of God’s illumination. Poetically the Word and Light of God is there as “a lamp unto our feet” to help guide us along the pathway when the hours of darkness come.
If the oil is a picture of the Holy Spirit then what does that extra jar of oil represent? As we see in the parable, an extra cruse of oil was carried by each of the five wise virgins. Apparently this extra oil supply was the essential difference between the five wise and five foolish virgins. As the party began in the early hours of the evening the difference between the wise and the foolish virgins was not noticeable. All of them slumbered. All of them were approaching burnout as the night wore on. But as the midnight hour came the presence or absence of that extra oil became a critical issue. The wise virgins carried an extra supply beyond and outside of the oil they had in their lamps. They traveled with this extra supply of oil. That extra oil was with them on their person. When the wise virgins ran out of oil or approached “burnout” they could pause and recharge their lamp. They had this extra resource outside themselves but upon their person. The foolish virgins did not.
This matter of the extra oil is exceedingly important. Here we see a reserve supply of oil that went along with the wise virgins as a matter of course. This extra resource was quite separate from the oil that was in their lamps. The oil the wise carried in their lamps was no greater in supply than the oil in the lamps of the foolish. All ten of them saw their lamps beginning to burn out as the midnight hour approached. So this extra oil supply was not a superabundance overflowing from within the lamps of the wise. The wise virgins certainly had extra oil with them. But that extra was not in their lamps. The extra oil came from another companion vessel that they carried with them.
This is a very important point. In the symbolism we see that the extra oil was not to be found within the spirit being of the wise virgins. Their glory and their esteem was not in themselves. The extra oil of Light and gladness came from an external source. It was a supply and a Providence that was outside and beyond their own souls. It was a personal resource to be sure. And it was a resource they obviously had access to. But this extra energy supply was separate from the oil they had within the lamp of their own spirit. This was the critical difference between those who were wise and those who were foolish. What is God trying to tell us here? Surely the extra cruse of oil is a picture of our Paraclete. The Comforter/Strengthener, our Eternal Supply. He is always with us on our pilgrimage, …… even the fullness of the Holy Spirit. He is our Strengthener, our Illumination, and our Guide. This is not of ourselves. It is the gift of God.
THE EXTRA JAR OF OIL.
OUR SPIRITUAL PREPARATION IN GOD.
This matter of the oil and extra provision beyond ourselves is a hugely important issue. The question of the extra oil is still wondered about and discussed in devotional circles. Many Christians admit that this haunting parable of the ten virgins most assuredly involves them. Deep down in their hearts they also know that God is in some way giving them a warning. It is a call to an important spiritual preparation in God. Is God calling His people to prepare themselves for a coming journey through the darkness? Biblical Christians know that there certainly is a great darkness up ahead. This will come in the end-time “final witness” at the end of this age. So in this parable is our God giving us a ‘heads up”? We are told “A word to the wise is sufficient”.
There is still time for us to respond and to act on this information.
So shall we take the message to heart?
Shall we make it a priority in our busy world to draw aside and to make this spiritual preparation?
If this parable is a prophecy, (and it probably is), then the answer is all too apparent.
Some of us will take the warning to heart.
We shall seek the face of God and make the needful preparation.
And some of us will not.
RUNNING LOW ON OIL.
AND THE TROUBLING ISSUE OF “BURNOUT”.
We also see that all of the virgins were in the same predicament.
As the midnight hour approached they had all come to a moment of crisis.
Both the wise and the foolish were running low on oil.
All of them were approaching “burnout”.
The fact that the virgins came to a time when their lamps were sputtering and burning low is not the main issue at all. This happened to all ten of the virgins, including the five wise virgins. Burnout happens to all of us from time to time as we come to low points and times of crisis in our lives. There is nothing wrong with this at all. It is a common human experience. We cannot pump up our ego or our “self esteem” and expect to avoid this. But our response to the high calling in God amid the challenges of life is what seems to be the issue.
So let us ask ourselves this question. Do we fear God? Do we seek His face when our world enters into a crisis? Have we come to know God more intimately in our dark passages through life? Have we taken time to address the spiritual issues as we walk with God through this life?
It is our spiritual attentiveness that appears to be the critical issue in this parable. We see it alluded to in Proverbs chapter 1. Here we see the woman of wisdom crying out in the streets. But few are listening. The foolish are going their own way no matter what. Only the wise stop to listen and respond to the God who is calling them.
So what was the difference then? Those who were wise had looked around them and seen that the darkness was coming. They then made important preparations for the coming night. They were not trusting and depending on the oil that was in the lamps of their own personal spirit. They knew that their own lamp would fail them somewhere down the line. So they had made their priority to obtain a spiritual supply of oil outside of themselves. They had that extra jar of oil. It was the ‘midnight oil’. With that extra supply of oil the the wise virgins were prepared. They were ready for the great drama that would unfold at the midnight hour. When the hour of burnout came they were not left destitute in the darkness. They were prepared to recharge their lamps with a fresh supply of oil. The wise virgins then arose from their beds of ease and were ready to go out.
For the foolish virgins it was a different story. They had not prepared for the midnight hour. They were in a state of high anxiety and dismayed because their lamps were fading and approaching burnout. They had heard the midnight cry but they were unable to go on. But the lamps of the wise virgins had been recharged and were burning brightly. They were all set. They were ready to go out to meet the Bridegroom.
Let this be a cry of the wisdom from God, and incline your ear to what HE is trying to tell you, he’s giving you a warning, take it!
God Bless all of you, the day of the Lord is at hand!
Credit for the study on the parable of the ten virgins to http://www.endtimepilgrim.org