Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ten virgins

Here's today's picture of the white dove. It was sitting on the pool when we drove in with Buddy just a few feet away, laying down and not at all concerned with the bird.

7/19/11 Tuesday
It is brutally hot out. I just came in from working in the fields. It’s 2:21 PM. At 8:30 this morning I was already sweating gallons as I worked weeding the cantaloupe patch, and that wasn’t hard physical labor. So I’m done for a while. I am planning on heading over to the Stanton jail and see if there is anyone there who wants to talk about Jesus, who can change all of our lives for good. Haven’t been there in a month because of the college classes and working for Jim during the day. The work for Jim has ended so that frees up some time, now that I put in underground irrigation and planted the new melon patch.

There is always a lot on my mind and these days it revolves around things of God and the problems this world is facing. Jesus said that in the last days we will see false teachers and false prophets, who are both deceiving and being deceived. I am so seeing this coming about now. In Ephesians 4 it says “We are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ.

I heard a pastor say recently “Now a lot of the big TV preachers are now saying that not all Christians will be taken in the rapture. Some will be left behind. This helps explain the parable of ten virgins, where five are taken and five are left behind”. It has long been evident to us that this pastor gets her doctrine from those she watches on television, not from careful study of the bible. I will be doing a study soon on the rapture, a doctrine introduced to the world around 1830, by a man named John Darby. Cyrus Scofield, who created the Scofield reference bible, picked up this idea and thus it spread in popularity. The rapture is a well known and quite popular doctrine, with conferences and lots of differing opinions touted regarding it, but is it in the bible? Like so many doctrines, this one is accepted blindly by those who follow whomever is convincing in their presentation. I’ve watched people get upset and make statements like “I just can’t see how some people don’t believe in the rapture”. It has become a controversial doctrine as people build their walls and stake their claims to knowing the truth, when they haven’t personally studied it out, just accepted what they were told.

How about we look at the parable of the ten virgins for a moment. It is found in Mathew 25.

1 "At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6 "At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!' 7 "Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.' 9 " '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.' 10 "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. 11 "Later the others also came. 'Sir! Sir!' they said. 'Open the door for us!' 12 "But he replied, 'I tell you the truth, I don't know you.' 13 "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

We should note that all ten of these people are virgins, and all of them have lamps and oil. Being a virgin is spiritually significant as it indicates a pureness that is obtained from God. They all have lamps and oil, a symbol of the Holy Spirit, so this would lead me to believe they were all people who had an experience with God. Because they were all waiting for the bridegroom indicates they were all invited to the wedding, a clear symbol of that final and last day, when we shall be united with Christ for eternity. Now this will be troubling to those whose doctrine says that once you have that experience with God, nothing can come in the way of the final day of redemption. It’s another doctrine that people cling to desperately and sometimes even violently. We must always be careful to not make the bible say what we want it to say, instead of examining it to glean the truth, however unpleasant or uncomfortable it makes us.

Mathew chapter 24 and 25 are a discourse Jesus made just two days before He was crucified. He had visited the temple and coming out told His disciples that the temple was going to be destroyed. Going to the Mount of Olives the disciples came to him and asked “What will be the sign of your coming, and the end of the age?”. So this parable, and others he told, were a response to their question, and definitely about His final coming at the end of days. He told many parables that make it clear there will be many who expect to make the cut, but will be found lacking. This message seems to have been lost over the ages, as preachers tell soothing stories that make people feel better, but avoid what makes them uncomfortable. The Truth is the truth, whether it makes you feel good or not. Mathew 7:13 "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

So all ten of them go out to meet the bridegroom. If I had the time I would describe to you the traditions of Jewish weddings this is based on, as that would greatly enhance your understanding of this parable, but I don’t have the time. We’re leaving for class soon. Jesus spelled this out pretty clearly. Five were foolish and five were wise. Remember, He is talking about the last and final day and this could well refer to us today. But the bridegroom was a long time coming, (like maybe two thousand or more years) so everyone, both foolish and wise, got tired and fell asleep. This describes the world we are in now, a church that has been drowsy and asleep for a long time.

At midnight a cry goes out. “He’s coming, go out to meet him”. It’s significant that there is a cry, a warning, something that wakes up the ten virgins. Jesus, at another point, said that there would be signs that are forerunners of the last days, warnings of the impending hour. There is a space of time here as they go out. The foolish virgins want to get oil from the wise, but the wise realize that to do so would jeopardize their chance to get to the wedding and refuse. So much to be said here, but I’ll have to invite you to think on this. While the foolish ones rush to buy their oil, the bridegroom arrives. Interesting note, there are many we know of who are buying their way to heaven, or at least think they are. My heart breaks as I watch so much and find so many who are unwilling to listen, being confident in themselves and their righteousness.

End of story, the foolish ones are locked out, the bridegroom says “I don’t know you” and that’s it. No “They got left behind at the rapture to work for the Lord” false doctrine available here. Jesus’ final words on this parable “Therefore keep watch, for you do not know the day or hour”.

Time to run. Got a 45 minute drive to class. Bye


Anna said...

Just read a little bit about your history....have you thought about writing a book...plenty of Christian publishers out there who would be interested in such an incredible story. Glad you are now happy.

Bob said...

The book is in the works Anna. I just need to discipline myself and schedule times dedicated to it. I would love to do some research for it, like interviewing the rescue workers who responded to the wreck I was declared dead at. (Still listed as a fatality by Oklahoma) But don't have the funds to do that currently.
There are other books I am working on as well, that have to do with things I found in the church after waking from the coma and bible studies.