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five wise

July 12, 2007

Mike Ingham delivered a great sermon/message/teaching (whatever you want to call it) last night on the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25. It was wonderfully insightful, and if you weren’t there you should pray fervently that it was recorded and rush to buy it on Sunday.

I do have one question kind of nagging at me, though.

Mike Ingham pointed out (with a fair degree of fervor) that “the wedding” mentioned in verse 10 is not the kingdom of heaven, is not salvation. All ten, after all, are described as “virgins,” which symbolizes purity, which can only be had through the blood of a Savior. So all ten were believers. All ten had lamps that burned. Oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit, so all ten were Spirit-filled believers. This should indicate that all ten will eventually enter the kingdom of heaven.

Then what is the “wedding?”

Because I thought the wedding that scripture refers to was Jesus coming back for His Church – His bride. Revelation 19 talks about the bride making herself ready for this wedding; is that not talking about Jesus calling the faithful unto Himself?

In Matthew 25 the foolish virgins cry out, “Lord, Lord” but He answers that He does not know them. In Matthew 7, Jesus declares that not everyone who says, “‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven” because He “never knew you.” Even the parable of the ten virgins begins, “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins …”

We know that salvation can be forfeit. During that waiting period in verse five when they slumbered and slept, could it not be that some who once claimed purity by the blood of the Lamb grew weary, bored, and dispassionate? If the “testing of your faith produces patience (James 1:3),” could the foolish virgins be those whose seed fell “on stony ground,” as in Mark 4? I know people even now who once believed, and who once spoke in tongues, but have fallen far from Grace.

Certainly, all ten of the virgins slept, but that period could, as Mike Ingham suggested, be a dry, level period of church history. When there is no revival, no mighty work going on in the Church (or at least in your local church) and the congregation as a whole “slumbers,” will you have enough of the Holy Spirit to come out of it, or will your oil burn up?

Isaiah tells us to “seek the Lord while He may be found.” Will there be a time immediately preceeding Jesus’ return wherein He will be hard to find? When trial and tribulation and the apparent tardiness of the Lord will cause the bridal party to relax a bit on the duty of watching (which will call out the real watchmen, because someone cried out when He came)? How many will have the strength of spirit, the overflow of God’s presence, the Word sown in their hearts, to maintain their fires through that period? (Jesus seems to think about half – five out of ten.)

I’m open to the idea that the wedding in Matthew 25 is not the kingdom of God, but what is it, then?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. KnowYourGod permalink
    July 14, 2007 7:57 pm

    can’t remember where, but a roman soldier asked jesus how many would go to heaven, He replied, are you going?
    you see when i come across questions such as this though valid in their quest for truth I tend to fall on the fact that I KNow I am going :)

  2. Lex permalink
    July 17, 2007 3:26 pm

    That’s what gets me, though. I WANT to go, and I really think I will … but all ten virgins thought they would too. Everyone who argues, “Lord, Lord, did we not …” sounds pretty surprised too.

  3. Anonymous permalink
    July 17, 2007 8:49 pm

    This all gets into very controversial stuff, but one way that I have been challenged to look at this whole thing is that Bride of Christ is a company of people within the Kingdom of God. This causes controversy because it is exclusive; like JW or Mormon culty kind of thinking. And many contemporary leaders resist this approach. Even, I believe, our friends in KC; but I also disagree with their end-time stance on some stuff.

    Anyway, Jesus made statements of exclusivity; “I never knew you…”, and the varying degrees of fruitfulness, “some 30, some 60, some 100 fold”. The nation of Israel was chosen out of all the earth for no other reason than God decided to show His exclusive favor to them and bring His Son through that people group. There are closer encounters with God typified in the tabernacle in the wilderness; the outer court, the Holy place, and the Most Holy Place. Only certain chosen and appointed people could enter in to some areas. But many others were needed to tend to the rest of the work of the tabernacle. Peter, James, and John seemed to enjoy a more exclusive relationship with Jesus than the other disciples; John being called “the beloved disciple”. This bothers some people.

    I think the wedding of the Lamb is an event in eternity for which not everyone qualifies as Bridal material (obedience is part of the key). Beyond the wedding day there is an eternal marriage and the marriage is one of many levels of relationship that will occur in the Eternal Kingdom. There is no marriage or giving in marriage – person to person – in the Kingdom because there will be only one wedding, one marriage; the Lamb and His wife. This is a mystery.

    I think of a literal kingdom and its structure when I think of what the Eternal Heaven will be like. God’s Throne Room is the hub of all the activity but surrounding that Room are other rooms, courtyards, streets, the royal palace (the house that Jesus is building), the city of Zion, gates, mountains, rivers and all. David says he would rather be a doorkeeper in God’s house than live his whole life somewhere else. There are doorkeepers. Jesus revealed to John in the Revelation, “him who overcomes will I make a pillar in the Temple of my God”. Some people will be pillars; and that’s a reward. Its going to take a lot of people to operate and manage what goes on for eternity, and to make sure that the King and Queen are well attended. It boggles my mind.

    By the grace of God, I’m just giving myself to attempt to obey the Holy Spirit as faithfully as I can, make my desires known to God, and leave the rest to His good judgments.

  4. Anonymous permalink
    August 4, 2007 1:38 pm

    uh uh. i have so many scriptural disagreements with that, it’s not even funny. -tam

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