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A study by Gavin Finley
25:1 "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
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,
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.
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.'
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.As we approach the end of the age the question is asked. Is the western church 'Rapture Ready'? Are we ready to go out to meet the Bridegroom? Are we equipped in the Holy Spirit to 'go the distance'. And are we equipped and prepared with a proper understanding of the necessity for 'final witness' of the saints? (Heb 12:1) At some point in time a body of Christian believers will 'finish the race'. They will 'break the tape' and wrap things up on behalf of their generation and on behalf of all the saints who have gone before them. It will be a time of deep darkness and apostasy. Many will fall away from the faith. How many understand these things? And just how many of today's pampered western Christians understand blood covenant Christianity?
PICKING UP THE PIECES OF THE PUZZLE.
The parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25 is one of the most enigmatic and haunting of all the parables Jesus taught us. It also seems to be a story, and a warning, of great prophetic significance, In it there is also a wooing, and a calling into a devotion in God. It seems to draw us beyond our present comfort zone and causes us to consider our ways. Just how prepared are we? Arte we really 'rapture ready'? 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. As we look at the poetic imagery here we see that all of them carried lamps. The lamp is often pictured in scripture and in literature as a symbol of the spirit of a person.PROVERBS 20:27Then there is the question of the oil. There has been a lot of discussion about what that oil might symbolize. We also see that all of the virgins, both the wise and the foolish, were running low on oil as the midnight hour approached. All of them were approaching "burnout". As we shall discover, the oil supply is the crux of the whole issue of being 'rapture ready'.
The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord,
Searching all the inner depths of his heart.
Jesus is telling us a story here. And there is a critically important message tucked away in the story. Those who would be wise will take note of it. Others won't bother.
Our Savior explains quite clearly what the difference was between those who were wise and those who were foolish. Those who were wise had an extra jar of oil. This allowed the wise virgins to recharge their lamps with a fresh supply when their lamps were burning low. These were the virgins who were equipped to go out into the darkness and to meet the Bridegroom. These were the ones who in wisdom and foresight and devotion had taken certain actions to prepare. These were the ones who were truly 'Rapture Ready'.
What does the oil represent in this parable? Is the oil a picture of the Holy Spirit as many have suggested? And what is meant by that extra jar of oil? Apparently that extra supply of oil was the thing that made the difference between the five wise and five foolish virgins. That difference became critically important as the midnight hour unfolded. The wise virgins carried a supply of oil beyond the oil that was in their lamps. It was a supply of oil outside of their own spirit. What is God trying to tell us here?
This is a hugely important question as we ponder the issue of being 'rapture ready'. It is still wondered about in devotional circles. Many Christians admit that this parable of the ten virgins involves them. Deep down in their hearts they know that God is giving them a warning here. It is a call to some sort of preparation in God ahead of entering into a deep darkness that will be coming at the end of this age. This parable is giving us a 'heads up". It is a word of warning. "A word to the wise is sufficient" we are told. It seems that there is still time for us to act on this information.
But will we?
Some of us will.
Some of us will make it their priority to be 'Rapture Ready'. And some of us won't.
Just who are these 5 wise and 5 foolish virgins? Do they represent two types of believers? Are there two different groups within the beloved congregation of God? And if so, what is it that distinguishes them from each other?
Certainly we can say that the church of today encompasses people of varying devotion. Then as we look over towards the House of Judah, the yet unsaved Jewish section of the Judeo-Christian family, we also see people of varying commitment to God/YHVH. Most are still not saved. There are stirrings in the Messianic movement in anticipation of awesome times that are ahead. The prophet Zechariah (Zech.12), declared that the Jewish nation will be saved in epic fashion. This national repentance and salvation will be a magnificent occasion. The gnostic religious fog will clear. Eyes that have been partially blinded will be opened. (Heb.11) The Jewish nation, (which is mainly the House of Judah), will recognize their Messiah for who He really is. What a marvelous day that will be! p> This national salvation of the Jewish nation will come very late in the 70th week. Zechariah saw it coming during the siege of Jerusalem. This is right towards the end of the age. This will be a key element of the great End-Time Revival that Joel saw. (Joel 2:28-32) It will come in the lead-up to the Battle of Armageddon. The returning Messiah will destroy the armies of the nations as they muster to the north of Jerusalem up in the Valley of Jezreel.ZECHARIAH 12 9 It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 10 "And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.So it is still early. The stage for the end-time drama is still being set. The full story of God's chosen people and the restoration of Israel has not yet been told. It is far from over. Both houses of Israel are yet to be restored and reunited to form that "royal priesthood and holy nation" that Moses and the Apostle Peter both spoke about. - Ex. 19:6 and 1Pet.2:9 Awesome mysteries still hidden from view are set to be revealed at the climax of the age. Let us therefore commit ourselves to knowing God in the devotion He, and He alone, deserves. Because there is a salvation experience in God that comes with our decision to follow Jesus Christ. This moment of personal commitment brings us into the blood covenant relationship the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph knew. This transition from a life based on 'self esteem' and on to a life in which we walk with God is what happens when we are 'born again'. We then have the opportunity to find our true and lasing esteem. And this is the main lesson. Our provision and our esteem is in Him! This is a pivotal issue as we begin to discuss the matter of the oil and its meaning for us today. This is the true reality of what it means to be rapture ready.
There is more beyond this wonderful salvation experience. God has more 'oil' of His Holy Spirit waiting for us. We can avail ourselves of this if we care to. He doesn't force us to receive this blessing if we do not want to. But there is an 'infilling' of the Holy Spirit which comes into the hearts of God's Elect people after they have been saved and 'born again'. Those who have experienced this 'second blessing' tell a multitude of different and very personal stories. They are usually quite willing to talk about it if they are asked.
In scripture the meaning of the oil is not at all a difficult matter to elucidate. A quick word study through the Bible will suffice. The oil quite typically represents the Holy Spirit. The scriptures tell of the oil of gladness and the oil of anointing, as well as the oil of anointing for priests and kings. We also see the oil for the lamps which brings us the Light of God's illumination to guide us in the pathway when darkness comes. This is all quite clear from a plain reading of the Bible. The holy scriptures are just full of this imagery.
As we look into the parable of the ten virgins we see that the wise carried with them on their person an extra jar of oil. What is this all about? This is an interesting question. It seems that the Holy Spirit is our outside supply. He is the ultimate Source of the oil of anointing. Apparently we can carry His Presence with us. For some Christians this seems a little strange, even 'way out there'. But He lives within the lives of all Christians. They have Him. The question then remains, does He have them?
We saw the oil represented as the Spirit of God in the Hanukkah story. The dark days of Antiochus had ended. The oil they had was just enough for one day. And yet the oil did not run out during those eight days as they awaited the new oil to be prepared. In that Hanukkah oil we see God/YHVH as our never-ending supply. He is there with us filling our lamps day by day throughout all seven days of the week and then on until the 8th day. In Him we have a Supply that never ends. He is the One who fills the lamps of our human spirits so that we never die. He is the God of Providence. And He will provide His Spirit for us even as darkness falls. In this process we shall find ourselves being drawn ever closer to Him.
Let us seek the infilling of His Holy Spirit. Let us find our inspiration and our empowerment not in ourselves but in Him. Jesus promised that when He left the scene He would send the Comforter. He specifically promised that the Holy Spirit would be there to strengthen us and to guide us in the times to come.
He said,"When he, the Spirit of truth is come He will guide youThe Old Testament Hebrew poetry brings us the very same message. There is no difference qualitatively between the workings of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament times and His workings today.
into all truth. For He shall not speak of Himself;
But whatsoever He shall hear, that shall he speak:
And he will show you things to come". - John 16:13"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet,Ten virgins prepare to meet the Bridegroom. If we look carefully it would appear that the whole focus in this poetic wedding imagery is centered on a crucial relationship, - a relationship in which a covenant people of God consecrate themselves to the One who is coming for them. In this relationship the arrival of a Bridegroom is expected. And His Spirit is there ahead of time among the company of the Bridegroom.
And a light unto my path". - Ps.119:105
The wise have taken the time to prepare herself ahead of the anticipated event. The white raiment, even the righteousness of the saints, is upon them. The oil for the lamps has been found. The wise ones know that a long night of deep darkness awaits them. They also know that a great drama and a magnificent romance is up ahead. They know this not just mentally and intellectually but also at a heart level. And they have prepared themselves accordingly.
They have the oil.
They carry it with them.
As we can see, the wise virgins in the bridal party are not passive. They are well aware of what is coming. They are not in a state of denial. They know that they will be up against it. And so they are actively preparing themselves in God.
All of the ten virgins fully intend to meet the Bridegroom. Some of them will. They will make the passage. Others will not. This is the high drama which unfolds in this haunting parable Jesus taught us.
As darkness falls on this night of wonders we see that all ten of the virgins have their lamps with them. The lights are burning brightly in the early hours of darkness. But the five wise virgins know that they are in for a long night. They know that after the midnight hour they will be going out beyond their present place and out on a night passage. This journey of wonder will take them well beyond their present comfort zone. The wise ones know this. And they have prepared for this eventuality. They have that extra jar of oil on their person. It is an oil supply outside of their own lamps. These are the ones who will go out into the midnight darkness to meet the Bridegroom. And this is just the beginning. They are going on a great journey and on into a magnificent destiny. They will meet the Bridegroom in His coming. And they will return with Him to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
Are there some prophetic elements to this story? Are there some thematic overtones here of the 70th week of Daniel? (Dan.9:24-27), Is this a glimpse into the coming darkness midway through the final seven years of this age? This will certainly be a time of great darkness over this earth. The midpoint of the final seven years will bring the 'abomination of desolation'. This will truly be the deepest crisis of faith the saints have ever known. Is this the midnight hour which will usher in the final three and a half years of tribulation darkness?
The midnight cry will be a cry of alarm. The bridal party must leave the house. Is the house a symbol the covering of our present structured spiritual life. We are comfortable here. Our church has been a place of some protection. But has it now become a place of compromise> Has the house given itself given to self indulgence and comforts of the flesh? In the middle of the night something of great import has happened. They must leave the house. The Bridegroom is coming in the night. The five wise virgins are recharging their lamps. They are ready to leave. The others are not.
The night is dark. And the lamps are flickering and burning low. But all is not lost. The wise virgins have the oil. Their lamps are trimmed and recharged. Right here, in fact, we are actually being given a picture of something we do not expect to see. Right in the midst of that deep darkness we see a great Endtime Revival. a picture of a great revival. The prophet Isaiah saw this scene of romance and adventure. He spoke of the time when God's covenant people "arise and shine". - Isa.60 These are that glorious company seen by our father Abraham. He saw that myriad starry host of lights shining in the vault of heaven. (Gen.15)
The wise virgins with their lamps burning will go out into the night. They are ready to make that dark and dangerous passage. They will go out to meet the Bridegroom. They will pass on through the night as a wedding party. Each one of them will go out with their own personal lamp to light the way in the darkness. Their destiny as they move out is totally dependent on the light shining forth from their own lamp. This is the essence of the end-time drama. This is the divine romance. And it leads us right into the magnificent consummation of the age.
The lamp in scripture is a symbol of our spirit within. It is God's Word within our spirit which brings the Life and the Light into our lives. Without Him, (and yes the Word of God is a Person and not an "it"), our lives would be in darkness. Our lamps are ready be fueled with an external yet personal supply of oil. This is how the spirit of the wise is maintained. The extra jar of oil is the key. The lives of the pilgrim saints down through time give abundant testimony that the Light of God shines from their lamps without wavering. These are the people who arise and shine, even in valley of the shadow of death, - even in the midnight hour, - and beyond.
Is the lamp of our spirit burning in devotion to God? Do we merely maintain our spirits in our own self life? And what about this awful possibility of "burnout". If we do come to a time of great darkness and impending burnout what then? Who will bring forth the Light for our flagging spirit? And Who will supply the oil for our lamp as the end-time darkness falls? When that day comes and there is a 'great falling away' from the faith what will happen then? What, or Who will be our supply? Is there a Source of oil beyond our own limited human spiritual supply? Has the vessel storing our extra supply of oil been filled?
"The spirit of man is the candle/lamp of the Lord,
searching all the inward parts". - Prov.20:27
Who is that One that we in Christendom once referred to as Providence?
Do we know Him personally?
These are critical questions. All of us have a certain natural reserve within lamps of our own human spirit. God put that human energy within each of us. As human beings we have a certain spiritual energy. We were made in God's likeness. (Gen.1:26) But in our natural state we are cut off from God by sin. We are not in fellowship with God. And as our own human spirit begins to flag and to reach burnout we fade away. That is the end of us...............
Unless, of course,
we are in communion with the God of Life!
Because He is the One who is our Eternal Source and Supply.
So what happens to us as the awful hour of midnight approaches? Who do we turn to when our 'dim and flaring lamps' begin to flicker. We need that oil of anointing, that oil of illumination. We need the brightness and the cheer to go on. Shall we have the oil with us when we need it? Do we have an outside supply even when our spirits are laid low? Do we have that extra jar of oil to refill our failing lamps? Do we have the oil supply of oil, even the Holy Spirit to revive us, in the midst of Great Tribulation? Will our lamps be filled in the midnight darkness?
At some point in the future we shall hear the midnight cry. The shout of the friend of the Bridegroom will be heard. (Mat.25:6) The message will be the same as when John baptized by the Jordan 2,000 years ago. It will be"REPENT! FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND!"At that time the virgin company of God will awaken. They will begin to stir. For the wise, for those who have the oil Revival will come. For the others there will be burnout and a Great Falling Away. Even a great Apostasy.
For the wise it will be a time of stirring and wonder. The swaddling coverings of our comfortable churchy bed of ease will no longer matter. They will have become a thing of the past. The saints will be stirring even as a butterfly about to emerge from a cocoon. They will awaken from their dreamy state to realize that there are forces pressing in on them. There will be a sense of urgency. That dark night of the soul will have finally come. It will be a time to break away. It will be a time to go out into the Light and on to new things.
The path that lies before us is a strait and narrow passage. (Mat.7:14)
It is the highway of holiness. (Isa.35:8)
The passes are guarded by dragons of fear. They are trying to hold us back.
But for the saints this is the only Way.
Our God will be leading us onward.
The time will have finally arrived for us to "arise and shine".ISAIAH 60The One and only pathway into the glory lies out there in our future. It is a strait and narrow way. This will become even clearer when the trumpets sound the alarm. Our Lord Jesus Christ will become our focus. In the Valley of Achor, (Valley of Tribulation), we shall come to know Him not as "Lord" but as "Ishi", as our Beloved. (Hos.2:15-16)
"1 Arise, shine; For your light has come!
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people;
But the Lord will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you.
3 The Gentiles shall come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.
4 "Lift up your eyes all around, and see:
They all gather together, they come to you;
Your sons shall come from afar,
And your daughters shall be nursed at your side.
5 Then you shall see and become radiant,
And your heart shall swell with joy;
The Bridegroom, is out there in some time yet to come. He will be calling us even in the middle of a great future darkness. When that midnight hour arrives we shall know it. The Bridegroom will be coming. He will be near. And then we shall hear the midnight cry,"Behold the bridegroom cometh;But alas! The lamps are going out!
Go ye out to meet Him!" - Mat.25:6
The bridal party stirs and awakens.
And then that awful question.
Do we have the oil?
We serve a God who created and formed us in His image. We are spirit beings destined to live forever, .... - somewhere. God has a right to each one of us. We were made for fellowship with Him. The lamps of our human spirit were not meant to burn out. They were designed to run on being fueled forever by the downloaded oil of God's eternal Holy Spirit. There is no other Source. We were made from dust, even many of the elements of the periodic chemical chart. God breathed His Life into us at the creation. But that is not the end. Our God is the God of Life and Revival. Other great wonders are still up ahead. With that same Breath of God the whole House of Israel will be revived from death. The prophet Ezekiel saw them rise up from their graves with a rattling sound in the Valley of Dry Bones.
We serve and are ministered to by the God of Life. We were created and designed to run on the oil of His Spirit. The Holy Bible is the Owner's manual for human beings. And our supply of life-giving oil comes by the infilling of His Spirit. Only He can supply this. Are we interested? And if so, then where is this supply of oil to be found?
THE GETHSEMANE OIL SUPPLYOur journey of discovery leads us to a most unlikely place. The oil is pressed at a place called Gethsemane. The word Gethsemane means 'oil-press'. It is a place of crushing. It is a special place. It was the place where the Christ received the cup in total commitment to the Way of the cross. Jesus was there at Gethsemane on the night of His betrayal. It was there, at that place of the oil-press where the victory of Christ, the Anointed One was won. Right there at Gethsemane, the place of the oil-press, Jesus defeated the powers of darkness.
At the place of crushing, and seeming defeat, God will provide that oil of anointing. It is available for us as well. Jesus brought His disciples there. He bid them keep watch with Him there. But there is a cost. We must be united with Christ. He calls us to surrender ourselves to Him. Only in our union with Him in the fellowship of his sufferings can we realize that happy state of eternal supply. Because He won the victory for us all right there at Gethsemane. The true oil of anointing flows freely here. Should we not be wise to this reality? Darkness is coming. Shouldn't we seek to have our vessels of oil filled, even as the sun sets on this present age? We cannot do this for ourselves. Only God can be our Supply. He is waiting for us to realize this. He is waiting for us to turn our eyes toward Him.
"For thou wilt light my candle,Our God is the One who identifies Himself as the 'Father of lights'.
The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness". (Ps.18:28)
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,
and comes down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (James 1:17 NKJV)
The virgins get up as they hear the midnight cry. Like the others, the lamps of the five wise virgins are flickering and about to go out. The 5 wise virgins bring out their personal oil vessels filled with extra oil. They then proceed to fill their lamps. The Bridegroom is approaching in the night.
Isn't this parable a story of incredible excitement and romance? There are a host of other poetic themes in scripture which overlap this story. Remember the Shulamite's two dreams in the Song of Songs? She too heard a call to open the door to her beloved? In one of her disturbing dreams she is comfortable in her own bed of ease. She is too comfortable, in fact, to bother getting up to answer when the knock comes. Her Betrothed is knocking at the door. Finally she goes to open the door to Him but He is gone. She goes out into the streets desperately looking for him. (Song of Songs 5:2-8)
In the letter to the angel of the Church at Laodicea in Rev. 3 we see the Laodicean church pictured in a similar way. Again the poetic imagery reveals to us 'the Beloved outside the door'. This time too the Beloved is knocking. Is God knocking at the door of our hearts?
The ten virgins, even the five wise virgins, all slumbered. Why? We see many instances of slumbering in scripture. Remember the slumbering of the disciples at Gethsemane on the night of Jesus' betrayal?
Gethsemane was (and is) an awesome spiritual place. It is the place of 'the oil press" and the place where the oil is found. For our Savior it was the place where He faced the full implications of the cup that was offered before Him. The place is truly forbidding. And yet this is the appointed place for all those who are the burden bearers of God. Gethsemane is a waypoint and an experience in God for all those who truly seek Him and follow Him in the deepest way. It is here that the true servants of God run up against the forces of darkness. The oil of anointing is there. And wonder of wonders, they reverse the flow of history.
Gethsemane is not spoken about very much today. It is the place where the saints surrender up their own body, soul, and spirit to the will of the Father. It is an awesome place of crushing, of self searching and surrender. Gethsemane, the place of the oil press, is where the oil of anointing flows. Do we really want to go there?
Well it seems that our flesh life along with our ego and our self life certainly do not want to go there. Gethsemane still remains a neglected place for most Christian believers in the western nations. But this is where we find the oil supply!
This, dear saints, points out the current problem in the western church. We are not prepared to make the hard choices in our walk of faith. We pick and choose those things we consider to be 'upbeat' and 'positive'. And in doing so we neglect the venues that will lead us to the real source of power, enlightenment, and inspiration. We are all talk about 'the anointing' but do not want to go to the place where the oil is to be found. This explains our present malaise and the current lack of anointing in our services. We are simply unwilling to go to the real source of spiritual supply. Does this explain the general spiritual decline in the western church?
It is truly unfortunate that some of our most gifted saints, people who started out walking in the Holy Spirit are now primarily focused on building up their own ministerial empires of self, of masonry, and of mammon. The religious bazaars are full of "How to..." books man centered programs and psychological mind games. Men of influence have centered their ministry on material from motivational seminars that has been adapted for the church marketplace. At its root it is based on humanistic positivism. More and more we are seeing the motivational hype of the business world being dressed up and sold as 'Christianity'.
This sort of watered down businessman's Christianity might be 'selling' at this present time. But in the dark time to come this cheap "contractor grade" Christian faith will fall by the wayside as just another "bad deal". It will not "cut it". These man-made substitutes for the true blood covenant devotion. They are are of the flesh. They cannot replace the diligent study of the Holy Scriptures and true worship of God in the Holy Spirit. They provide precious little real anointing and illumination for the pilgrim traveler. For those who are intent on being 'victory minded' the 'way of the cross' has become 'old fashioned'. Self sacrificing Christianity is nowadays an embarrassment to those who are accustomed to the modern and popular church programming. This is why we now we have little inclination to "keep watch" with the Savior when prayer meetings are called. Nor do we want to "keep watch" with His suffering disciples, our brothers ans sisters in other counties who are now being persecuted more than in any other time in history. The narcissistic western church has become self absorbed. She is so full of herself that she does not want to hear about the sufferings of her Savior and His people abroad. And so the western church, as 'Sleeping Beauty' rests on her toxic bed of ease. What spiritual food has she been eating? What is that in her mouth?
How perilously close these present narcissistic sentiments are to the heart of Mystery Babylon. Concerning the end-time harlot church John the apostle said,"How much she has glorified herself,
and lived deliciously". -Rev.18:7a
...........she says in her heart,
"I sit as a queen,
And will see no sorrow". -Rev.18:7b
But Gethsemane is calling. This is a waypoint on the pilgrim pathway. It is a necessary place for the saints to visit on their journey into the gates of splendor. It is right there on the road up ahead. It is also experienced from time to time in the normal life of a Christian. It was there at the oil press of Gethsemane that Jesus asked his disciples to keep watch with Him in His awful hour of trial.
Why was this so important for the disciples to keep watch with Him? The answer is quite simple. It is because He intends to stand watch with us in our hour of trial! He fully intends to preserve/keep us Gr. "ek" or "in, through and out of our own "hour of trial". -Rev.3:10
The Garden of Gethsemane is a place of crushing. It is true that our religious egos and our flesh life recoils in horror from such a place. Yet here at Gethsemane is where the true oil of anointing flows. Without this oil supply our lamps will soon suffer "burnout" in the coming midnight blackness. Here, in witness to the sufferings of Christ is the place where the oil for the lamps the oil for that extra jar of oil flows forth. The Mount of Olives was the place of spiritual resupply for Christ, a word which means the 'Anointed One'. It was not by coincidence that Jesus retreated to the Mount of Olives. He did so repeatedly all through the final days of His Passion. On the night in which He was betrayed Jesus took His trusted disciples over there to Gethsemane at the foot of the Mount of Olives. He did not go alone. On that last night in which He was betrayed He deliberately and purposely took His most trusted disciples along with Him. He wanted them to watch and pray with Him there in the Garden of Gethsemane.
So what does that mean for us? Who are we? Are we not His disciples too? We are witnesses to His trials, are we not? We shall also experience His tribulations; He told us so. (John15:20)
Dear saints, we are in a blood covenant relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. We are betrothed to Him. We sign on the dotted line with Him. This is not at all strange or unusual. Every true bride understands this implicitly. The true Bride will always signs the covenant along with her Bridegroom. It is a blood covenant matter. We are not passive in the covenant as we have been told. Neither are we uninvolved in His sufferings. The popular Laodicean teachings of the day, including pre-tribulationism, denies that we have a role to play as the end of this age approaches. But they are quite wrong about this.
Jesus asked His trusted disciples to keep watch with Him there during that awful night. How shall we respond to His call? Gethsemane seems such an awesome and "negative" place. What do we do? Do we slip away in the darkness saying, "Jesus did it all! I'm outta here!"? Shall we scurry away from the oil-press of Gethsemane to seek what we think might be more a more "upbeat" or "victorious" spiritual place? Shall we join the loud rallies of nationalism and turn our attention to a more political sort of zeal? Shall we go over to join the zealots and the crusaders as they sharpen their swords?
Just what is our relationship to the bridegroom? How do we look at the real Jesus of holy scripture. He was the Suffering Servant in His last appearance 2,000 years ago. Are we a bit ashamed of Him? In our heart of hearts do we think He a "loser"? Or do we prefer the more contentious sword wielding crusader style. Do we seek a 're-engineered' jesus? Do we long for someone who is the popular choice of the crowd? Do we prefer a striving violent 'jesus' instead of the One who leads us to a place of surrender? Do we want a "winner"?
Someone say, like Barabbas?
In this place of crushing our Lord sweats, as it were, drops of blood. Here He surrenders His body and soul to the will of the Father. Even as the paschal moon shines full over the city of Jerusalem out there on the Mount of Olives the midnight hour brings betrayal by a friend. There is political intrigue in high places involving both politics and religion. For our Lord Jesus it was a night of personal agony of spirit. It was a time of grief. It is His "hour of trial". The realization comes that He will be cut off from the Father to bear the sins of the world. His choice disciples are trying to keep watch and pray with Him there. But they are incredibly weary. They nod off, "sleeping for sorrow". -Luke 22:45 They are in a state of utter spiritual exhaustion. At this place of the oil press their lives as well seem to be crushed. Yet it will be at this very place of crushing where Jesus wins out over all the denizens of death and hell. After His night of agony something has happened and things have changed. The place of crushing and apparent defeat has now been transformed.
It has now become the place of victory!
The oil vats are now overflowing with oil!
The disciples are at the Garden of Gethsemane. There, right in front of them, is the oil press. Their "watch" with Jesus was not all "negative" after all. There before them, is the source of the end-time anointing. Right there, in the Garden of Gethsemane, where they kept watch with Jesus in His sufferings, the disciples will find the precious oil! It is there upon this mountain that Jesus will leave them and come again.
THE MIDNIGHT DRAMA UNFOLDS AS MANY OTHERS HAVE DONE BEFORE.Like the disciples, all the bridesmaids are dozing as their lamps burn low. It had been a night of romance and expectancy. But even the 5 wise virgins are slumbering as the night wears on. For some, the coming crisis will lead on to a pathway of glory. For others it will be an awful moment of discovery and loss. Pray God that never happens to anyone reading these words.
AND THE WISE GO FORTH INTO THE NIGHT WITH THEIR LAMPS BURNING BRIGHTLY.
The wise will enter into the divine romance. The virgins with the new oil in their lamps will be off on a grand adventure. It will be a night passage into a realm of glory they have never experienced before. For the wise who had prepared themselves they are at the threshold of a dream. This romance has superseded all other romances. At midnight the virgins awaken. They have heard the shout of the friend of the Bridegroom. They fill their failing lamps and their lamps light the way before them as they head out into the darkness. The hour has come!
The midnight hour is both an agonizing and an ecstatic threshold in time. Its pure drama is seen repeatedly throughout scripture and even spills over into profane literature. Here are just a few of these moments as we see them in scripture. At midnight the death angel passes over Egypt. It brings death upon the firstborn of Egypt and the covering blood on the doorposts brings deliverance to God's people. The family of Israel eats the bitter herbs and the unleavened bread of haste. They are girded and they eat the unleavened bread of haste standing up. They ready themselves to leave on an epic journey. This will come to be known as 'the Exodus'.
It is at midnight that Samson awakens from his slumbers. He find himself in Delilah's bonds of seduction and betrayal. He shakes himself and calls on the anointing of God. Then in a mighty pull he wrenches the Philistine gates of Gaza from their supports and proceeds to lug them up the hill towards Hebron. - Judges 16:3
In a romantic redemptive picture we see Boaz, a type of our Kinsman Redeemer. It is at midnight that He discovers the maiden Ruth lying at his feet. It is the time of harvest. As He slept on the threshing floor she had nestled herself there. She is seeking his covering. And she is appealing to the covenant of Israel for redemption. -Ruth 3:8
In the midnight hours Jesus is betrayed and sent up before Caiaphas. Here in the night watches He faces His awful night of trials.
It is at midnight that Paul and Silas are praising God in prison. No low oil situation here. Deliverance comes as an earthquake breaks open the prison doors. The shackles of the prisoners fall off. The jailer, now under a death sentence comes to Paul and Silas asking, "What must I do to be saved?". -Acts 16:25&26
Are these midnight dramas also in the same pattern as another great midpoint spiritual drama? In the middle of the 70th week the Antichrist is possessed and arises as the Beast. He is no more Mr. Niceguy. He stops the temple sacrifices, (which by this time will have resumed). The Antichrist then sets up the abomination of desolation. The cry of alarm goes up at that time and the saints in Jerusalem flee from the city. This is the crisis of history and it involves all of the covenant people of God. They signed on with a false messiah. And now, not surprisingly, they have been betrayed! The trumpets sound in alarm.
The Church and Israel are both in extreme peril. And yet God is still at work in redemption and deliverance. It is the time of deep darkness for mankind. What is going to happen? Will the lamps go out plunging the world into total blackness? Or will the lights be seen shining brightly as the saints arise and shine? All these wonders are yet to be revealed,
At the midnight hour.
As we return to our story we see that the ten virgins are stirring from their slumbers. The midnight drama is beginning to unfold. The shout of the bridegroom's friend has been heard off in the distance. The bridegroom is coming! The ten virgins are up. Their lamps are burning low and about to go out. The five wise virgins are prepared for this. Excitedly they pour oil from their vessels to fill their lamps. Their lamps are shining brightly as they open the door and step out into the night. But for the five foolish virgins the story is different. In the light of their dim and flaring lamps the awful realization comes to them. They have no oil to refill their failing lamps. They must remain behind to find the oil. But the hour is late; too late in fact. This is an awful situation. They have heard the midnight cry. They know that He is near. Yet they are unable to go out to meet Him.
This haunting parable of the ten virgins is packed with some very powerful themes. It carries a profound and unforgettable message of warning for us all. Even today the oil of the Holy Spirit is available. The time for the procuring of oil is now.
Let us draw near to our God in devotion to Him.
Let us trim our lamps for the coming night.
Let us seek the oil,
and the fullness of His Holy Spirit now.
Grace and shalom to all who love His appearing.