FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
Biblical Numerology: NUMBER FIVE Part I
Five are Foolish, Five Wise of the Ten Virgins
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
Some are wise, and some are otherwise.
-Old Proverb, Anon
Being a spiritual “virgin” does not automatically guarantee predestinated irreversibility that one somehow is rendered incapable of yielding to temptation and is above foolishness all because of two stark realities: Satan is yet to launch his final campaign in desperate confederacy with all his agencies of evil spirits and wicked men against the faithful of the remnant church, we are still making choices, and, as free moral agents, are capable of changing our minds and altering our previous and present covenants and even firm convictions. This is at the core of true freedom and liberty.
Five in the Bible is symbolic of incompletion. Matt. 25: 15-20. The correct study of Bible prophecy is based on context and association. Otherwise erroneous conclusions will be easily arrived at. The late Australian evangelist, Bible scholar, and author Louise F. Were points out the following:
“Because of the sinfulness of the inhabitants, five ancient cities received God’s judgments. These cities are brought into the Revelator’s picture of the judgments of God upon spiritualBabylon. The last three enumerated below are said to be harlot cities:–
- Bozrah. Rev. 14: 18-20; 19: 3, compare with Isa. 34: 6; 63:1-6.
- Babylon. Rev. 14:8; 16:19; 18: 2, 4, 10, 21
- Tyre. Isa. 23: 17 See texts given previously.
- Nineveh. Nahum 3: 4; compare with Rev. 18: 23.
- Jerusalem. (A harlot city when the professed people of God turned from God.) Rev. 17: 16. Compare with Ezek. 16: 37-44, and verses 15, 20-29; Isa. 1: 21; Jer. 2: 20, 21, etc.”- “The Certainty of the Third Angel’s Message,” p. 103. First Impressions 776 Bluff View, Berrien Springs, MI 49103.
Ephesians 6: 10-18. – Christians, lulled by “peace-and-safety” messages and doze off in themidnight of this world’s history, become blissfully yet foolishly unaware they are drifting into the dangerous edges of the spiritual Niagara Falls. They are about to fall over, as in “Babylon is fallen, is fallen.” Apostle Paul warned: “And that knowing the time, that now is it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is salvation is nearer than we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” See Romans 13:11-14.
All need reminders, no matter where, how, or from whom or what means or form they may come to us. Indeed, “The straight testimony to the Laodiceans, “Know ye not that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked,” comes home to those who do not apply it to themselves.” Presumptuous self-assurance is no blessed assurance!
God omnipotent is not limited by man’s frailties, limitations, and defective, double and even multiple standards. The Almighty works through different agencies, animate and inanimate and also through trials, sufferings, and sudden reversals of the most carefully-laid-out plans—all designed to save from deception—Satan’s most effective tool from his soul-destroying bag of tricks, particularly the folly of self-deception. It’s worth repeating the cliché: “When someone deceives me once, shame on him; if twice, shame on me.” Indeed, another trite saying comes to mind: “One word is enough for the wise.” Again, an old proverb, and a paraphrased quote from the inspired pen attest, respectively, to this truth that seems so hard for people to learn, including the intelligent, rational, and educated. They are: “Zeal without knowledge is the sister of folly.” “Motion does not necessarily means there is life; it may be run by a machinery.”
To the detriment of our souls, we often forget the most important lessons and warnings of the Bible, authored by One who alone can see the end from the beginning, from eternity to eternity. And so we let the guards of Christ’s admonition “to watch and pray lest ye enter into temptation” down, when, in fatal self-confidence we think its “safe” to do so, heedlessly cast away part of “thewhole armor of God.” When the brash, self-confident Peter, allegedly “the first pope,” as long claimed by the Church of Rome, turned his eyes away from Jesus, the waters on which he was miraculously walking on like it was concrete immediately returned to its natural state; he quickly began to drown. Only when, in desperation he cried “save me!” did Christ save him, first from his fatal self-confidence followed by death by drowning.
The Bible’s infamous “roaring lion”—“our adversary the devil,” is constantly prowling about, desperately “seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8), “knowing his time is short” (Rev.12: 12). He has already deeply infiltrated the churches once considered as the last safe havens and sanctuaries for preserving the genuine gospel, and religious liberty. Wolves disguised in sheep’s clothing prey on the credulous, spiritually naïve votaries who are unprotected by the whole armor of God and are like helpless sitting ducks unable “to quench the fiery darts of the wicked one,” incapable of discerning and successfully “standing up against the wiles of the devil.”
Entranced and distracted, they stumble into the glittering gossamer-like webs of the enemy of all truth and righteousness. While some are able to disentangle themselves by the empowering grace of God in Christ, many are not able to do so—not because they could not but because they stubbornly would not. When they finally decide to awake, oftentimes times it is too late. The damage is done.
Then we hear the complaint, “we simply cannot overcome,” contradicting, in fact, denyingChrist’s command, “overcome even as I overcame,” vainly hoping this oft-repeated excuse will pass muster. It cannot because it is a disavowal of the divine power God promised to impart to all who are in Him in a living branch-to-the–Vine relationship—by all who are willing to becomeco-workers with Him in the divine-human participatory plan of redemption. As E. G. White says: “It is not that we cannot overcome but because we will not to overcome.” We refuse to submerge our will on God’s side in complete surrender. We choose not to exercise simple child-like faith and cheerful obedience to God’s word and commandment that underwrite how we can and must overcome all our hereditary weaknesses, sinful tendencies and propensities, and the “sin that doth easily beset us.” .
This is the battle against self,—all selfishness and self-serving. Self-seeking prevents knowledge of God, leads to hypocrisy and substitutes man’s traditions for God’s commandments. The peace that “passeth understanding” is the result of self-surrender to Christ, the condition of resisting temptation, and of true discipleship.
We are daily engaged in a life-and-death struggle for eternal life. Hence, we must be “strong in the immortal Lord and in the omnipotent power of His might”—not ours, for as mortals we have none, nor theirs for it is just like ours, nor in any nation’s most advanced, awesome, and fearsome military apparatus—as they display in “military exercises” deadly nuclear warheads. We are in a battlefield not a romantic get-away paradise-like beach resort, or now the make-believe yet virtual internet world. But be reminded: “This world is full of cyber warfare, and your computer is part of that war zone,” said Joe Loomis, CEO of CyberSponce, in an interview with Business Insider regarding Ms. Hillary Clinton’s (past Secretary of State) use of a private server, bypassing the State Department’s server.
How are you then using your computers and smart phones? What are you watching, reading, and playing? Without life, there is no time to spend. The former comes from Him, the latter belongs to Him, thus its value is beyond computation.“Of no talent God has given will He require a more strict account than of our time.” (E. G. White, COL 342). Let’s keep this Scripture close to our hearts and minds: “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4: 12, 13, N.K.J.V.
History of the Disappointment of the Advent Movement Prophesied and Illustrated in the Parable of the Ten Virgins
First, why did Jesus preach in parables? There are at least 40 of them recorded in the synoptic gospels.
“In Christ’s parable-teaching the same principle is seen as His own mission to the world. That we might become acquainted with His divine character and life, Christ took our nature, and dwelt among us. [See John 1: 1-14; Rom. 8: 3; Heb. 2: 9, 10, 1416-18; 4: 15, 16]. Divinity was revealed in humanity; the invisible glory in the visible human form. Men could learn of the unknown through the known; heavenly things were revealed earthly; God was made manifest in the likeness of men. So it was in Christ’s teaching: the unknown was illustrated by the known; divine truths by earthly things with which the people were most familiar.
“The Scripture says, ‘All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: ‘I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundations of the world.’ Ps. 78:2. Natural things were the medium for the spiritual; the things of nature and the life-experience of His hearers were connected with the truths of the written word. Leading thus from the natural to the spiritual kingdom, Chris
t’s parables are links in the chain of truth that unites man with God, and earth with heaven.” –E. G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons, “Teaching in Parables,”ch., pp. 17, 18. Pacific Press Publishing Co., Oakland, CA.
The Tarrying Time Revealed in the Parable of Ten Virgins and Habakkuk’s Prophecy
The parable of the ten virgins of Matthew 25 also illustrates the experience of the Adventists of the Christian mainstream. See Matthew 25: 1-13 and, this specific special prophecy: “Then the Lord answered me and said: Write the vision and make it plain upon tablets, that he may run that reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Behold, the proud, his soul is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk 2: 1-4, N.K.J.V. Now this:
“As early as 1842, the direction given in this prophecy, ‘to write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readerth it,’ had suggested to Charles Fitch the preparation of a prophetic chart to illustrate the visions of Daniel and the Revelation. The publication of this chart was regarded as a fulfillment of the command given by Habakkuk. No one, however, then noticed that an apparent delay in the accomplishment of the vision—a tarrying time—is presented in the same prophecy. After the Disappointment [in 1844], this scripture appeared very significant: ‘The vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie; though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry . . . The just shall live by his faith.’
“A portion of Ezekiel’s prophecy also was a source of strength and comfort to believers: ‘The word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth? Tell them. Thus saith the Lord God, . . . I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged.’ ‘They of the house of Israel say, The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off. Therefore say unto them , Thus saith the Lord God: There shall none of My words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done.’ Eze. 12: 21-35, 27, 28.” – E. G. White, Great Controversy, 1911, pp. 392-393.
(To be continued next week)