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BRIDAL VIRGINS WAITING FOR THEIR BRIDEGROOM!

Thoughts…
From the Parable of the 10 Bridal Virgins, in the New Testament.

WHAT A ‘PARABLE’ IS.

&  The parables we are most interested in, are from the Holy Bible.
They are what Bible teachers call, “Earthly stories with a Heavenly meaning.” That’s right! Maybe we would say parables all have a spiritual meaning, & since we are all ‘spiritual’ people, these are the kind of stories we need to inform us, as they catch our attention, and so often they are just like something we have experienced, and so we can learn from them. God is a wonderful Teacher!

&
  BUT there is something very important about ‘parables’.
They always have ONE MAIN THEME!
However, because Jesus was the master story-teller,
He included other details * often - to emphasise the main theme.
Of course, in the case of Yeshua’s stories, (as written in the ‘New Testament’), being told in a time like He was in 2000 years ago, (in the land of Israel); they clearly reflected that time & the life & customs of the people around Him. – Yet they can mean a lot to us today! The subject of the stories were - masters & servants; weather & plants & animals; health, wealth & happiness, as well as sickness, sorrow & suffering. Parties, visitors, taxes, work, stones, sleep and all of life, were woven into these parables. The Bible is a very exciting, interesting Book – but such a help to living our lives for Him right now! We hope you are enjoying reading the Bible for yourself? It is an honour to have written messages from the KING of Kings!

&
  A principle fact about parables is:
NOT every detail * is meant to have a separate meaning.
Because Yeshua/ Jesus was the Master story teller, often the lesser details in the story do not have to be interpreted too carefully - & only as they contribute to the MAIN meaning or lesson of the parable story. However the main message must be taken in the context of the whole background teaching & verses around them. So, the details * are part of the whole parable, and therefore can add to the main meaning & teaching we need to learn.

&
 Who doesn’t love a good story!
We all like to hear ‘real-life’ stories, in fact good stories can make millions of dollars from books or films or ‘reality TV’! Yeshua, as the greatest communicator of all time, knew this too! Just in this section of teaching about His own Return to Earth as Messiah King He used 10 separate little ‘picture stories’ recorded in Matthew chapters 24 & 25.

If you look carefully, Jesus actually ‘painted’ these 10 pictures to emphasise that
MAIN THEME about His Second Coming in all of them.
IT IS: KEEP TRUSTING ME, NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS!
BE PREPARED FOR SOME SPECIFIC EVENTS,
WHICH WILL AFFECT YOUR LIVES,
YET WITH NO KNOWN DATES, OF THE FINAL EVENT.


FIRST WE WILL RE-CAP ABOUT THE IMPORTANT SUBJECT
OF MATTHEW 24.


The Subject is: ‘The Specific Events of the Future’.
The disciples had been with Jesus at the glorious Temple in Jerusalem.
King Herod had almost finished his ‘make-over’ of the rather plain building that had been completed 400 years before, by the returning, poverty-stricken Jews who had come back from Babylon. It was, now, (like Herod’s other building projects), absolutely magnificent! Yeshua’s disciples were sure the Temple was part of God’s next plan to over-throw the Roman Government & for Yeshua to become Israel’s glorious King – with themselves as His helpers! Two of them, James & John, through their mother, had already asked for special positions in the Kingdom, Matthew 20: 20 –23.

The only thing they weren’t sure about was when this might happen. So as they left the area and commented to Him about the spectacular buildings – they were absolutely shocked at His answer. “You see all these things? – I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; everyone will be thrown down.”  So then they simply had to ask him privately, “Tell us when will this happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the Age?”

 
The rest of this chapter, (& Mark 13 & Luke 21) records Yeshua’s answers - all the events – called ‘signs’ that would happen, before His Return at “the end of the age,” out of His desire for them to be prepared.  These signs were: deceiving false messiahs, wars, famines, earthquakes, persecution & betrayals, false prophets & increasing wickedness, with “the Abomination that causes desolation’  & incredibly -“dreadful … days of distress unequalled”  in any other time! This is what they should expect & in love He was giving them serious warnings of what to really expect. So they could not have failed to be deeply concerned.

Ö  The Timing of the actual Coming of the Messiah King.
Jesus had told them the events, so then He talked about the time. “Immediately after the distress of that time…” [there would be unusual ‘sky signs’] “At that time … they will see the Son of Man Coming on the clouds of the sky, with power & great glory.” The Jews would remember that, ‘Son of Man’ meant the ‘Messiah’, as that was what Daniel the Prophet had written about, in his book. So verses 1 – 31 of Matthew 24, cover a summary of the general signs they should expect to see, so giving the background of His later words in answer to their questions.

But also they especially needed to know & accept that – “No one knows about that [exact] day or hour…only the Father.The actual time of the Coming of the Son of Man at the End of the age, was only known to God, Himself! NOT anyone else. There was an important reason for this!

BUT, JESUS WAS KEEN FOR THEM TO UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF THE TIMING! Yes, Yeshua was keen for them to understand the importance of the signs, & the timing!
So to make it clear & easy to remember He gives these little ‘picture’ parables.

SHALL WE LOOK AT THE FIRST 5 STORIES, TO THE END OF CHAPTER 24?

1.
  The Fig tree. [32-35.]“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: as soon as it’s twigs get tender & it’s leaves come out, you know that summer is near, -‘right at the door’.”  Jesus actually added another little idiom to emphasise the point.) ‘Spring’ tells us, ‘summer is coming’.

      ·  Message: you will have indications of coming changes, before the great Day!

2.  But unbelievers will be caught out. [36-39.]“No one knows about that Day or hour, nor even the angels in Heaven, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the Coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the Flood, people were eating & drinking, marrying & giving in marriage up to the day that Noah entered the Ark; & they knew nothing about what would happen until the Flood came & took them all away. This is how it will be at the Coming of the Son of Man.”

      ·  Message: unbelievers will carry on ‘living life’ & be totally unprepared.

3.  There will be a division between Believers & unbelievers. [40-42.] “Two men will be in the field; one will be taken & the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken, & the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what Day your Lord will come.”  Like us, expectant Believers will mix with the un-believers, as we wait and watch. Until the Coming, no one will know who is really involved & is waiting eagerly for the Messiah Jesus & who is not – but finally it will be known.

4.  A thief does not send a message when to expect him. [43-44.] “Understand this, if the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch & would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, [i.e.- watching], because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.”  Jesus is NOT a thief – we belong to Him, but we need to realise He will come without telling us the exact date. [This is an example of a detail * i.e. ‘thief’, often used wrongly by Bible teachers. It only emphasises the unexpected timing of Jesus’ Second Coming, which as we’ve said is the main message of all these parables.]

·  We know Yeshua is coming at an undisclosed time,
so even more, we need to be alert!

5.  We are given a specific responsibility until Yeshua’s Coming. [45-51, a double-sided parable.]

A)Who then is the faithful & wise servant, whom the Master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food *at the proper time? It would be good for that servant whose master finds him so doing when He returns. I tell you the truth; He will put him in charge of all His possessions.

B)BUT, supposing that servant is wicked & says to himself, ‘my Master is staying away a long time*,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants & to eat & drink with drunkards. The Master of that servant will come on a Day when he does not expect Him & at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces & assign him a place with the hypocrites, [Gk –‘actors’], where there will be weeping & gnashing of teeth.”  Clearly, among the Believers, there are some privileged servants with special responsibilities to care about other servants, on behalf of the Master. So this is an extra detail *, with a challenge for us.

·  Message: God expects us as servants,
to be faithful workers while we wait & watch.
[This is the main message of another parable in the next chapter, 25.]

So all these small parables set the scene,
in the right context for the next Parable.
Yeshua/ Jesus was saying, ‘the waiting time is important!’

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

WITH THESE LESSONS IN OUR MINDS WE NOW LOOK AT THE
1ST PARABLE IN CHAPTER 25: THE TEN WAITING BRIDAL VIRGINS.


A SWEET STORY WITH A VERY SERIOUS MEANING
[We recommend you open your Bible beside you.]

Very many explanations! As we have prepared for this study, we have looked at the articles written by many other people. Like every part of the Bible referring to the Coming of Yeshua/ Jesus, it seems there are so many variations in explanations, which in a way, makes us sad. Yet, perhaps it is important to give an alternative explanation (in some cases) so that you, as a Bible –reading Believer, with God’s Holy Spirit, can pray about what God wants you to understand? [That is what we long for – we know we may not always ‘be right’.] But we do recommend you see www.endtimepilgrim.org/tenvirg.htm


THE INTRODUCTION TO THE PARABLE.

[Scripture quoted from the N.I.V version.]

 “At that time the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ~
Ten virgins,
Who took their lamps,
And went out to meet the Bridegroom.
Five of them were wise,
And five of them were foolish.
The foolish ones took their lamps, but did not take any oil with them.
The wise, however took oil in jars along with their lamps.
The Bridegroom was a long time coming,
And they all became drowsy and fell asleep.”
 We’ll pick up the rest of the story, later.

Our summary of the story as a whole, and its vital meaning.
Forgive us if we over-emphasise, but the reason we have looked at the previous 5 stories and noted the main meanings, is so we can do the same with this story. Yeshua was teaching the need to not only expect His Coming, but knowing the timing was uncertain, the waiting time was very important, & should be used wisely! As we believe, we are very probably in the ‘End times’ & closer than ever before, we need to learn & be everything God wants us to know & be, so we can be accepted into the Bridegroom’s Kingdom. It depends on us! So this parable could be even more applicable & important to us Believers (in these ‘End times’),
than any other Believers in the past!
In 2 Peter 1: 10 he says, “Try even harder to make your being called
& chosen a certainty!”


A.
  GENERAL NOTES ON THE PARABLE –STORY.

1. The waiting young women.
Firstly, we believe the ‘VIRGINS’ represent ALL of those who would call themselves “Christians”, - all Christian or Messianic Believers, male & female, Jews & Gentiles, all with a basic expectation of the ‘Second Coming of Jesus’. So, they were all interested in meeting the Bridegroom, (Who we know is Yeshua/ Jesus.) Of course the ten virgins varied in some ways, just as the 1 billion ‘Christian’ followers of Jesus Christ do, coming from every nation & ethnic group.  In these times, the world now sees a religion called ‘Christian’ – (as opposed to Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. etc.)

Christianity’ it is called, based on the whole Bible, but New Testament teachings, especially.

·  In a generalised way, the Bridal-virgins seemed to have a lot in common.

Secondly, the use of the words ‘bridesmaids’ (as given in some versions) is acknowledged to be a little misleading to our modern minds. This is because the use of the word ‘bridesmaids’ suggests to some people to think of them as separate from the concept of a Bride. But the best way of seeing this story is that they all wanted to be with the Bridegroomin a special relationship - that is why we call them ‘bridal-virgins’. The fact that they are also described as ‘virgins’ indicates they all had a right (as a ‘good-living’ group), to be considered as those eligible to have a relationship with the Bridegroom. Christians worship an invisible God, so perhaps in that way they were pictured as unattached ‘virgins’ still waiting for a Husband. All Believers are, in this spiritual sense, ‘virgins’ because of believing that Jesus’ death atones for our sins, so these are people who keep themselves ‘pure’ for the intimate relationship that marriage pictures with one future Husband, the Messiah Yeshua/ Jesus Himself.

Paul used this illustration in 2 Corinthians 11:2. ”I promised to present you as a pure virgin in marriage to your one Husband…”
This is clearly who and what they are. To anyone who knew them, they all appeared to be equally eligible to have a relationship with the Bridegroom & be part of His Kingdom.

·  This reminds us of other parables Jesus told, that showed that in this life it can be impossible to know who are ‘tares or wheat’, that is, who are genuine Believers, or not.
[See Matthew 13:36-43 & 47 – 49.]

2.  The number ‘ten’.
This is given by knowledgeable people to mean a ‘complete’ number. Dr E.W. Bullinger writes, “Ten is one of the perfect numbers, & signifies the perfection of Divine order, commencing… an altogether new series of numbers. Completeness of order, marking the entire rounding of anything, is therefore the significance of the number ten.” He then gives good examples, like Noah being the tenth generation from Adam, the ‘Ten Commandments’, the ten Plagues of Egypt, and several more. So here in this parable, ‘ten’ stands for ALL the people who profess to be Christians or Believers, (as we like to call ourselves.) But among the total group some were sensible –or wise, & some were not!

·  The ten virgins represent a complete, but varied group of End time Christians.

3.  The lamps they all had.
Some research suggests they were not the small clay containers used in homes for light, with a burning, removable wick of flax or wool. Those lamps would not only be dangerous (hot) to hold out doors, but would blow out quickly in the night air. Therefore they were much more likely to be ancient ‘torches’. These were sticks of wood, wrapped at one end with cloth soaked with olive oil to burn – more like a giant candle, which was held at the lower end. There were also various kinds of lanterns made of bronze or metal – but only used by the officials of Rome, or rich people. However some of the girls may have had these lamps with a chain handle, as they could have come from different social backgrounds, though this would have nothing to do with being wise or foolish.

Whichever kind they were, each maiden had a lamp, and they all needed olive oil for light.
In Psalm 119, we read, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet & a light to my path.”  We will come back to this point, but in this 21st Century the Word of God, the Bible is becoming more & more available, yet we are afraid that in many Western nations, it is not often read, nor treasured for the wonderful Book that it is. There is literally NO other book like it, and it is well established that it is the most reliable, & authenticated Scripture in the whole of the world, through historical, scientific & archaeological ‘measurements’. The written Holy Bible holds all we need to know of God’s essential Truth for salvation & instruction, in its 66 books, and ONLY through the Bible can we, with the Holy Spirit’s help to become totally devoted our Loving Bridegroom, and so be adequately prepared for the real future of this world.

&
To be a Christian it is absolutely essential to have a knowledge of,
& treasure, some part at least, of the Bible.

4.  All the bridal-virgins had oil for the lamps, but some had extra containers of oil.
So it is clear, it was not the type of oil, not the quality of the oil, not the cost or colour or source of the oil that was important, it was the prepared extra supply of oil that was crucial. So we will carefully study this, in the next section. The point is, the extra amount of oil was vital! It is almost certain that olive oil was the kind of oil, which was understood to be used for lamps.

5.  The fact that the Bridal-virgins *all slept.*
This would seem to have meaning in connection with another phrase we also read in the other parables. “The Bridegroom was a long time coming, * and they all became drowsy & fell asleep.” They were simply doing what was normal. Having decided to be ready to meet the Bridegroom, in the course of ordinary life, which still has to go on, there came a time to physically sleep. For this writer and many Christians, we do so much long to work for our Lord Jesus, & serve Him in our daily lives, yet sometimes wishing we could be more free from the ‘daily needs’ of ordinary lives, so that we could do more for Him. For women it can be chores like shopping, cooking, cleaning, washing, putting things away, & attending to family needs. For men it may be their daily employment, servicing the vehicle or the house or grounds, & being available for their families too. God understands, & Jesus knew what it was to be hungry, thirsty, tired, and pressured. *This is an important detail *. We must use our time well, but take rest, too.

·  Life must go on” is true & includes a time for legitimate activity & rest in sleep.


B.  THE CONTINUATION OF THE STORY.

At midnight
the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the Bridegroom! Come out to meet Him!’
Then all the bridal-virgins woke up & trimmed their lamps.
The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘give us some of your oil, our lamps are going out.’
‘No’, they replied, ‘there may not be enough for us & you.
Instead go to those who sell oil & buy some for yourselves’.”


1.  Their expectation that the Bridegroom would come was right.
Clearly, as we have said the whole context of Matthew chapters 24 & 25 are about the return to Earth of Yeshua/ Jesus Messiah. He is the loving Bridegroom we so much long to be with! And we will not be disappointed. [Some Christians, of course, will be gathered to him in death, as Isaiah 57: 1 & 2, says, before Jesus comes back, but will be first to be resurrected to meet Him.] Millions of Christians expect Messiah Jesus to return to Earth at the ‘Second Coming’, though they may differ in understanding every aspect, especially the timing of His Return.

·  And Jesus will return - after ‘the long time’, He warned us of.

2.  There came a time for final preparations.
Each one of the Ten had lamps, they all wanted to meet the Bridegroom & have a relationship with Him in His royal Kingdom. But the kind of ‘torches’ mentioned would need to have the burnt pieces of rag cut off, & be dipped into fresh oil, & then relit perhaps from a fire, before going out into the night air. But oh! Horrors! Half of those waiting found they needed extra oil – but had none! Of course these Five wanted the other Five to share some of their extra oil, which they had thoughtfully brought with them. Remember? “The wise ones, took oil in jars along with their Lamps.” These Five wise ones said ‘No, because there will not be enough for us & you.’ It was simply a statement of fact – not an aggressive reply, at all! Each Bridal virgin now had to make her own brief, final preparations, before it was too late.

··  There will come a time when opportunities to make our individual preparations,
or to meet needs ~ will be past!

3.  The solution to the problem was well known by all ~ more oil was needed!
Where do you think the ‘bridal-virgins’ had got their oil in the first place?
In our modern times – out of the probably 6 thousand year history of the world, mankind has only known how to get light from electricity or batteries or other modern devices since 1882, (125 years ago). For us in these modern times, it is hard to imagine that without oil lamps, there was no other source of light except a fire or the sun, moon & stars! Even a child would know that to have a light, you needed a lamp and oil in it.

·  Every household would regard the purchase of oil for the lamps as essential.


THE SOURCE, COST, AND EFFORT REQUIRED TO GET THE LAMP OIL.

How and where and when would oil for lamps be available?
Answer: from those who had probably grown the olive trees, harvested the olives (or bought some from other olive orchardists), then processed them in the large stone ‘mills’ that still can be seen in the Middle East. These oil presses involved using heavy stones to crush the gathered olives, which almost without exception meant that it was an organised communal activity, which was divided into two steps. First the olives were roughly crushed in a revolving stone mill to break the outer skin, & soften the flesh of the olives. Secondly, the crushed fruit would be gathered into a bag and other heavy stones would be placed – or lowered by pulleys onto the bags and left overnight. Throughout the procedures the oil was carefully collected into containers, separated into cooking oil & oil for lamps, (perhaps some also set aside to make cosmetic oils), & so finally made available for sale to the public.

It was a lengthy and costly procedure to harvest the oil from the olives. Of course there would be grades of oil, the first pure and light, then later some useful but slightly darker in colour, but all a precious commodity & therefore reasonably costly to buy, because of what was involved in producing it. Presumably, the salesman would sell it in a container, or fill a container/jar for the buyer.

If you wanted oil for lamps you paid for it at a trader’s place. Sensible people would always make sure they had plenty to ensure their usual needs, & some extra, in jars for emergencies.

·  There would always be a cost in money, time & trouble to obtain the needed oil.


C.  THE END OF THE STORY IN MATTHEW 25.

But while [the foolish virgins] were on their way, The Bridegroom arrived.
The virgins who were ready went in with Him -
To the wedding banquet.
And the door was shut.
Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’
[or ‘LORD, LORD’]
They said, ‘Open the door for us!’
But He replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t even know you’.
Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

Those who were ready were able to join with the Bridegroom.
There was no problem. He came once, as expected, they met Him, & so proceeded to the expected wedding celebration - described here as ‘the wedding banquet’. The legal agreements would have already been made as ‘betrothal’ or engagement was as binding as a modern marriage ceremony. So the Wedding Banquet would be an open celebration of what had been agreed to previously, and now was going to be a permanent marriage with the home provided, & ready. It was a very happy, extended time with everyone who had the right to be with the Bridegroom dancing, singing, talking, laughing & just rejoicing in the love that would be shared. It would involve being under the wedding ‘canopy’ or ‘huppah’ to form the centre of the celebrations. The bride of ‘Song of Solomon’ described her longed-for experience by saying, (in 2: 4), “He brought me to the banqueting place, & His banner (Hb-‘Huppah’) over me is love!”

Many of us long for & look forward to the fulfilment of all that is pictured throughout Scripture in the one & only ‘Second Coming’ back, of Yeshua/ Jesus Messiah at the ‘End of the age’.
See Revelation 19! [Look for a future article about the Bride of Messiah on this site.]

·  But it is and has to be, because of our devoted love for the Bridegroom!
 

May we add a note, that we believe the Bridegroom comes to the home, provided by the Bridegroom & His Father, which is this amazing Earth! It is being devastated by sin & will be, right up to the Return of the Bridal Creator, who will remake it, as it was in the beginning ~ perfect! The Earth was made by the Bridegroom’s Father, as the home of the human race, where He hoped to have close fellowship with them.  Sadly, mankind, as a result of rebellious sin, is destroying it in many ways, but one day it will be recreated as the home for the redeemed human people of God, who also will be ‘recreated’/ resurrected at the Coming of the Bridegroom. Even the Bride has been ‘purchased’ through the blood-price paid by Yeshua/ Jesus, Son of the Father.


BUT THERE WAS A BIG PROBLEM FOR HALF OF THOSE
WAITING FOR THE BRIDEGROOM!

Here is the main spiritual meaning of Jesus’ Parable for us, written in Matthew 25: 1 – 13.This is the crux – the alarming crucial challenge – of the whole story!

1.  The story is about a particular group of people, here called ‘Bridal-Virgins’.
In another parable the same group is depicted as men servants waiting for their Master, but also a specific group of human people. See Luke 12: 35. “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from [a pre-wedding banquet] so that when He comes & knocks they can immediately open the door for Him. It will be good for those servants whose Master finds them watching when He comes. We believe the group they represent is the specific group, world wide who would call themselves ‘Christians’ – all those who believe in Jesus’ Second Coming, who would profess to be ‘waiting for the Bridegroom’.
(Therefore it does not include any non-Christian people, or people of other religions.)

2.  They all had a lamp. &
“Thy Word is a Lamp to my feet & a light to my path.” Psalm 119: 105.
Almost every Christian has access to at least part of the Biblical Scriptures, and while interpretations of the Scriptures vary very widely, every one would hold to the fact of the Bible being the basis of their beliefs as ‘Christians’. Psalm 119: 130, “the unfolding of Your Words gives light.”  Proverbs 6: 23 says the same, “These commands are a Lamp, this teaching is a light”. As already noted without the Bible we would have no light of knowledge of God, or His wonderful plans for those who choose to be in His Royal Family, let alone how this could happen. We would not know what to look forward to in a glorious union with God, nor how to be prepared for it. The picture of a Marriage is so beautiful & meaningful, but probably barely explains a most wonderful, exquisite love relationship for every saved sinner! In fact God Himself is in His Word, as David’s song in 2 Samuel 22 says, “You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD turns my darkness into light.” We believe He does this through the oil of the knowledge of God through His Word, read, understood and lived by! This knowledge comes because of a deep, devoted love for the Bridegroom, with a longing to see His truth, to know His heart, to share His concerns. As we come to know Him, He comes to know us & our hearts’ desires.

·  All we need to know - is all in the Lamp of God’s Word!

3.  They all had some oil in the Lamps.
They all had some truth in their understanding of the Scriptures. So surely, some oil would be better than no oil? No! That is simply not true, because it was not their possession of a lamp, or having some oil, it was not having the extra-prepared supply of oil that made all the difference in their acceptance by the Bridegroom. Whatever does this mean?

4.  The fact that some had an extra supply of oil showed the great, defining difference!
Half of the expectant, hopeful Bridal-Virgins had gone to the extra trouble & effort motivated by their devotion to the Bridegroom, by realising:

a)     The Bridegroom might not be able to return for a long time.

b)     That this meant it could be at any hour of the dark night.

c)      Therefore they needed to find containers & buy extra oil to be safe.

d)     It was the individual responsibility of the Bridal virgins!

e)     Anyone else in the group of ten could have known & prepared also.

5.  The shocking truth was ~ that the result of not being prepared, spelt doom & disappointment!
Now we are coming to the very serious implications of this sweet but serious story, told by the loving Bridegroom Himself! How could something so seemingly obvious as the need to be prepared for such a special event be over-looked? Sadly the simple answer in the story is they were foolish!  The wise king Solomon noted in Proverbs a difference between wise & foolish people, (ch.10: 14) “Wise men store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool”, [from an empty mind?] “invites ruin.”  Individually the 5 unprepared Bridal-virgins - were ‘stupid fools’. We must not mask the reality, because it is too important for each of us today! They did not need to be labelled as ‘stupid’, they were part of the group, all correctly hoping & waiting for the Bridegroom. Probably they had met a number of the pre-wedding preparations, but not, it seems the main one – because it turns out they did not really know the Bridegroom! Their level of devotion was very low. It came down to whether they had a deep, passionate love for the Bridegroom that made them find out & know what He cared about, what demands He might make of them, how they could be one with Him in every way, whatever the cost.

·  Their lack of devotion ~ was shown ~ by not having the ‘extra oil’.


CONSIDERING WHAT THE SPIRITUAL MEANING
OF THE STORY REALLY IS.

The point of having a lamp & oil was so that a flame would then create the light.
This might be so obvious it is ridiculous to mention it.
Yet in some studies this point seems to be lost.
It also emphasises what was virtually common knowledge, regarding the wedding customs of the times Jesus/ Yeshua was in, in the land of Israel in what we call the first years of the period called A.D. or ‘The Common Era’ by Jewish people. The Bridegrooms would traditionally come at the end of the working day, (& perhaps to surprise the Bride), at night-time – after dark, even as late as midnight. Having a source of light was very important – when there would be no moonlight (& certainly no ‘street lights’ as we take for granted!) So a source of light from a lamp was standard, normal preparation.

The key question is, ‘what does not having extra oil’, mean?

It would mean NO LIGHT. The need was to have a light to go into the night to welcome the Bridegroom. In this story it was an essential preparation – more important than food or clothing. Jesus chose a very clear symbolic story to bring together ~
THE KEY POINT ~ OF THE NEED TO BE PREPARED FOR HIS COMING!
All who heard it – or even heard later about it, would not soon forget this parable!

1.  The Lamp. We believe as we’ve said that the ‘Lamp’ represents the Word of God, the Scriptures. “Your Word is a Lamp to my feet, & a light for my path.” Psalm 119: 105 cannot be denied. Each of the group had a Lamp, without which they could not have any light. The lamp was not the problem in this story. Most Believers in the world today have access to the Scriptures. All our Faith is based on the understanding of the teachings of the Holy Bible, the Tanakh/O.T. & the N.T. There is no other source for life-giving, eternal TRUTH! This is the only place or book where the Light of truth is available! God took great trouble, using about 40 writers, over some 13 centuries to write these 66 books, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It is our greatest treasure as is its Author, God Himself, truly a love-letter in every sense of the word. His love has made it possible for us to know about the future.

2.  The oil, therefore in the story is the key factor. No oil – no light.
Many Biblical writers suggest the oil represents the Holy Spirit, and in Scripture, especially the Tanakh, the oil that was used in the anointing of the kings, priests and the Tabernacle or Temple furniture was olive oil and as a specially prepared sacred mixture it certainly does represent the Holy Spirit. It was similar to the oil in the Menorah in the Temple, very special and it needed extra preparation, therefore a suitable picture of the Holy Spirit producing the light in the Sacred worship place. [See Exodus 30: 25 & 35: 29.]

However, the oil in this parable story was not the special sacred oil, used in Temple worship. We do not believe the oil in this story represents the Holy Spirit – Who cannot be bought, nor do we store extra supplies of the One who is a Person of the Godhead. To those who will accept Him, He is given without measure, and can be invited daily into our lives. Jesus said this (in Luke 11: 13), “If you, being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will God give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.”  Again in 1 John 1: 7”If we are walking in the Light, [of the presence of Jesus Who IS the Light], “as He is in the light, then we have fellowship one with each other, & the blood of Jesus Messiah, God’s Son, Yeshua purifies us from all sin.”  JNT. This is Light from Him, the source of all Light with Whom we can have a moment-by-moment relationship by a ‘walk’ of FAITH.

3.  The oil in this story is the EXTRA oil of the knowledge of God’s Word, we have obtained.
Perhaps in the context of this story the Holy Spirit would represent more realistically the creation of the Light by a flame, produced by the adequate amount of ordinary oil in the lamps. The Holy Spirit works through the oil of our understanding of the Word of God. The Lamp, the oil, and the flame these three create light. We are responsible for prayerful reading of the Word of God, using our will and our God-given intellects to understand and apply the knowledge of the Word of God in our lives. This includes learning about & preparing patiently (even for a long time *) for the Day of the coming of the Bridegroom. The lamp of the Word, the oil of our mental understanding, set on fire by the Holy Spirit will produce the Light of witness. Even the word ‘witness’ comes from the word ‘martyr’, which instead of hoping for escape from suffering (as in a ‘Pre-tribulation rapture’), means that we say, like Job, “though He slay me, still I will trust Him.”  By understanding, we count the cost.

This is how we can understand God’s words to Israel in Hosea 4:6”My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you…”
How sad is that!

So those with the extra oil have brought together the Lamp & the oil to make the light, by their extra careful, costly, heartfelt devotion. Their love had inspired them to make sure they had enough oil to last to the very crucial time when they would be united with the Bridegroom. We can & should make sure we have ‘procured’ all the knowledge of God’s future plans & purposes in our minds & in our hearts, to give the Holy Spirit the fuel to produce the light of love & witness in our lives - but He alone can bring illumination from the oil. YOU, O LORD keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light,” the psalmist wrote in 18: 28. Our devotion to the Bridegroom drives us to seek to really know Him truly through His Word, because we love Him so much!

We are passionate to know His passion for lost souls, His desire for us to be like Him,
even if we must suffer or lay down our lives for Him, as He did for us.
1 John 3: 16 says, “This is how we know what Love is: Yeshua/ Jesus Messiah
laid down His life for us.
And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”
  

This is a ‘twin verse’ to John’s Gospel chapter 3: 16, of God’s sacrificial love for us.
To really ‘know’ the Bridegroom, means we go to extra levels of commitment to know
His plans & purposes & costly requirements.
This is how He comes to know us in an intimate way.

Scripture gives an example of how the extra oil of the knowledge of the future can prepare us for it! In this connection Daniel’s words in chapter 11: 29 speaks of the serious last sign of the Coming of Messiah Jesus. It is the actions of the False-messiah who has had cruel control of the world. But at a given point of time, (verse, 31) “His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the Temple,” [in Jerusalem, Israel.] “With flattery, he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, [which he had previously made,] “but the People who know their God will firmly resist him. Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered.”

[Of course this is a Scripture that has two fulfillments, as this happened to a degree at the time of the Maccabees, as now celebrated in the Feast of Hanukah. At that time verse 33 was fulfilled; because when the faithful Jews started to fall, some others who were not sincere did join them.] However it seems from the words of Jesus in Matthew 24: 15 – the very discourse that we have been looking at – that this Scripture will definitely have another, future fulfillment, when it will be too late for those without the extra oil to make changes.

There will be a terrible time of tribulation under another Evil-ruler –the Anti-christ, or ‘False-messiah’, when many Christians will find themselves in a time “when there will be great distress, un -equalled from the beginning of the world until now - & never to be equalled again.” 
Christians in a last, terrible, worldwide - ‘holocaust’!
But by having the extra oil of dedicated knowledge, we ourselves, will be able to stand true “even unto death”  ~ or as God permits it, until the End.

[There will be some who do have the extra love & devotion, but have not been able to find the true knowledge of what to expect from the Word of God for themselves, but have been misled, often by others. These are the ones, who hope to be raptured before the time of Tribulation, but still they say, “but whatever happens, I do want to stay true to my Lover Lord.” It is the heart’s attitude that is important, so although they may not have grasped the knowledge of the future “time of distress” being for true Christians, their heart’s devotion will be like the extra oil.]

But the tragic reality of this story told by Yeshua/ Jesus Himself, is that 50% of the Bridal virgins will NOT be united with the Bridegroom, nor celebrate in the Bridal Feast!

 This is the heart-rending message, which we emphasise NOW, so that perhaps in the goodness of God, He will help us to warn some Christians to take the time & trouble to obtain the extra oil of an understanding of what the cost of our future testing time will be. Let us listen again to the end of the Parable.

The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out’. ‘No’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves’.
BUT while they were on their way to buy the oil, the Bridegroom arrived.
The virgins who were ready went in with Him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’
But He replied, ’I tell you the truth, I don’t even know you.’
[Jesus concludes,] “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”

The enormity of the meaning of these last words can hardly be exaggerated. But we end this study as we began. Yeshua/ Jesus was emphasising in love, the fact that the long, unknown waiting time would be a great test of the faith & love of His Followers. The very uncertainty of it demanded the need for the extra understanding, (the extra oil) which His true Bride would need to endure the test of waiting & watching!

What seems so amazing is the Bridegroom’s reason for excluding these Christian/ Bridal hopefuls! “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.”  Yet this is the omniscient God, Who knows all things! Who allowed His Psalmist to write in 139, “O LORD, You have searched me and You know me. You know when I sit & when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar… You are familiar with all my ways.”  Yet here - He says, “Indeed I tell you, I don’t know you!”
 
That is an absolute tragedy!

BUT to be in an intimate relationship with the Holy God, demands a total understanding & knowing on our part. No wonder in His last intercessory prayer as reported in John 17, He prayed, “that they might KNOW YOU, the only true God & Jesus Messiah that You have sent.” This is a total knowing and growing of every aspect of a committed, passionate love, for the Lover of our souls!  They have accepted this truth; “if we have died with Him, we will also live with Him. If we persevere/ suffer with Him, we will also rule with Him.” 2 Timothy 2: 11/12. This knowledge actually strengthens us for the future.

The sponsors of this web site, have a deep concern for the lack of understanding of the future, by many, many people, it seems.

But we are not alone. C. R. Mann, a moderator for a well-known web site discussion board wrote on 29.10.2006, his understanding of this parable. “As we get closer to the great Tribulation, those who expect to go through it will become spiritually stronger. As the things of the world become worse, those who expect to go through the Tribulation will consider the things of the world as worthless.” He writes, what we believe, that our willingness – not to expect an easy escape in a pre-tribulation rapture, is derived from a costly mental understanding of Yeshua/ Jesus’ warnings.  Those who are wise Believers are driven by our love for the Bridegroom, & are seeking in every way, to be prepared, with a Scripturally based understanding of the cost of being one with the Bridegroom here, - even to being willing to die for Him. There is so much that could be written about this attitude of total commitment, using the oil of our God-given understanding to have the extra attitude of total preparedness to suffer or die for the love of our LORD. This is not being arrogant – it is being wise about the teaching of the End times that Yeshua was explaining to His disciples.

There seemingly will be a short time between the announcement that
‘The Bridegroom is Coming’ and His actual arrival.
*

While they were on their way to buy the (extra) oil…” As the above writer says, ”those who expect to be ‘caught up’ in a Pre-tribulation rapture will have a hard time putting that expectation away.” We might use different words, such as suggesting there will be real confusion, fear, disappointment, anger, & frustration if there is a public announcement of the requirement of every person to get a personal I.D. on their hands, (or head) instead of credit cards, etc, to manage all parts of their daily lives. We imagine this will be followed by a knock on every door – rather like at the time of a census – offering this ‘service’ on behalf of the new global Dictator. There will only be a short period of time, (a matter of weeks), we believe, for people to make this serious decision. What it means is there will be no further time or opportunity to gain the extra oil of a deep, loving understanding of the Bridegroom. The relationship with God, through the Lord Jesus/ Yeshua requires a willingness to die to ourselves, & any concept of an ‘easy ride’ into the Presence of a HOLY GOD, is foolish!  In all the confusion, the lack of ‘the extra oil’ will leave many Christians unable to make any costly changes to their understanding. ‘Self-preservation’ will blot out a willingness to die for Messiah. There is not room to enlarge on the subject here, but we recommend studying our articles about “The End Time Events”.
Even better, read letters like Paul wrote in 2nd Timothy, & 2nd Thessalonians or 2nd Peter!

The tragic result will be that the unprepared, ignorant, Christians will be lost!

In their blindness to the real message of the Word – without the extra oil of commitment – (which each one could have had) they will hear the Bridegroom say the most amazing words! “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you!”  Knowing God though Jesus, requires total commitment and total dedication, which can only come, as we know Him, through His Word, set alight by the Holy Spirit of TRUTH. He also it seems, comes to know us, as those who long for Him to come back as our victorious, saving, kingly Bridegroom.

All we can say in closing this study is, that we trust you will be among those who consider carefully the need for that extra oil of knowledge & devotion, as you search the Word of God for yourselves. Yeshua said in Matthew 24, “because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.”

Our concern is that there will not be less than 50% who will meet the Bridegroom joyfully because they have obtained the extra oil that ensures that they will be united with the Bridegroom! We would so much long to be in that number ourselves, & trust the readers of this site & many more will be, too!

We would like to believe that the division into 5 plus 5, is a detail *, given to emphasise the seriousness of the situation that Yeshua/ Jesus was so concerned about! The loss of any percentage of Christians, in the light of the cost of the very life of God’s Son as well as all the efforts to win many people to know God through the Christian message, is heartrending!

May God give us the grace to be ‘wise’ Believers who long for the
Coming of our Bridegroom Yeshua/ Jesus Messiah.
TO GOD’S GLORY, ALONE!


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