FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
Biblical Numerology: NUMBER FIVE Part V
Foolish Virgins Know the Truth but Destitute of the Holy Spirit
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
A man without knowledge, and I have read,
May well be compared to one that is dead.
THOMAS INGELEND, The Disobedient Child
From Christ’s Object Lessons by Ellen G. White, pp. 405, 406, 408, 409, 411, 412, 413, 414, based on Christ’s Parable of the Ten Virgins, Matthew 25: 1-14:
As Christ with His disciples is seated upon the Mount Olives, the sun had set behind the mountains, and the heavens were curtained with the shades of evening . . . In many parts of the East, then and even now, wedding festivities are held in the evening. . . . In the scene upon which Christ and His disciples are gazing at, with the young evening as a beautiful backdrop, they see a company awaiting the appearance of a bridal party, intending to join the procession.
Lingering near the bride’s house were ten young women robed in white, each carrying a lighted lamp, and a small flask of oil, all anxiously watching for the appearance of the bridegroom. But there is a delay. Hour after hour passes, the watchers become weary, and drift off to sleep. Atmidnight the cry is heard, “Behold, the bridegroom comes; go out to meet him!”
The sleepers, suddenly awaking, spring to their feet. They see the procession moving on, bright with torches and glad with music. They hear the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride. The ten maidens seize their lamps and begin to trim them, in haste to go forth.
But five had neglected to fill their vessels with oil. They did not anticipate so long a delay, and had not prepared for the emergency. In distress they appeal to their wiser companions, “Give us your oil for our lamps are going out.” But the waiting five, with their freshly trimmed lamps, have emptied their flasks. They have no oil to spare, and they answer, “Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.” While they went to buy, the procession moved on, and left them behind.
But the five with lighted lamps joined the throng, and entered the house with the bridal train, and the door was shut.
When the foolish virgins [also] reached the banquet hall, they received an unexpected denial. The master of the feast declared, “I know you not.” They were left standing on the outside, in the empty street, in the blackness of the night.
As Christ with His disciples sat atop Mt. Olives looking upon the party that was waiting for the bridegroom, He told His disciples this story of the Ten Virgins, by their experience illustrating the experience of the church that shall live just before His second coming.
The two classes of watchers represent the two classes who profess to be waiting for their Lord.They are called virgins because they profess a pure faith [All Christian religions/denomination claim their faith and doctrines are Biblically pure and true.]
By the lamps is represented the Word of God. The psalmist says [Ps. 119:105 quoted]
The oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. [Zech. 4: 1-14 and 4: 6 quoted]. NOTE: Oil is one of the four symbols used in the Bible to represent the Holy Spirit
In the parable, all the ten virgins went out to meet the bridegroom. All had lamps, and vessels for oil. For a time there was seen no difference between them. So with the church that lives just before Christ’s second coming. All have a knowledge of the Scriptures. All have heard of the message of Christ’s near approach, and all confidently expect His appearing.
NOTE: The latter eliminates (1) those who don’t see the need or adamantly refuse to believe on Christ’s second coming, as He himself promised and described (2) Christians who believe that one’s “spirit” or “ghost” already wings its way to heaven at death.
But as in the parable, so is it now. A time of waiting intervenes. Faith is tried; and when the cry is heard, “Behold, the Bridegrooms comes; go out to meet Him,’ many are unready. They have no oil in their vessels in their lamps. They are destitute of the Holy Spirit. [These evidently did not heed Christ’s instructions to persistently ask, seek, and knock for the Holy Spirit in their prayers! See Luke 11: 1-13].
Without the Spirit of God, a knowledge of His word is of no avail. The theory of the truth, unaccompanied by the Holy Spirit, cannot quicken the soul or sanctify the heart. One may be familiar with the commands and promises of the Bible; but unless the Spirit of God sets the truth home, the character will not be transformed. Without the enlightenment of the Spirit, men will not be able to distinguish truth from error, and they will fall under the masterful temptations [and deceptions] of Satan for these last days].
The class represented by the foolish virgins are not hypocrites [as the parable clearly illustrates]. They have a regard for the truth, they have advocated the truth; but they have not fallen upon the Rock, Christ Jesus, and permitted their old natures to be broken up [See Isa. 28: 9-13]. This class are represented also by the stony-ground hearers [parable of the Sower and the four kinds of soil the seed of truth is received. Matt 13: 3-23; Mark 4: 2-20; Luke 8: 4-15]. They receive the word with readiness, but they fail of assimilating its principles. Its influence is not abiding.
The Holy Spirit works upon man’s heart, according to the person’s desire and consent implanting in him a new nature; but the class represented by the foolish virgins have been content with a superficial work. They do not know God. They have not studied His character; they have not held communion with Him; therefore they do not know how to trust, how to look and live. Their service to God degenerates into a form. [See Eze. 33: 31].
The apostle Paul points out that this will be the special characteristic of those who live just before Christ’s second coming. He says, “In the last days perilous times shall come: for men shall be lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; have a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” 2 Tim.3: 1-5.
This is the class that in time of peril [specially the approaching final global crisis over God’s law versus man-made religious laws] are found crying Peace and safety [“unity” by compromise for the sake of peace and prosperity at the expense of Bible truth]. They lull hearts into [false] security, and dream not of danger. When startled from their lethargy, they discern their destitution, and entreat others to supply their lack [having been gradually conditioned to entrust their soul’s salvation to their religious leaders, like the Jewish people in Christ’s time]; but in spiritual things no man can make up another’s deficiency. The [empowering, divine] grace of God has been freely offered to every soul. The message of the [true] gospel has been heralded, [Rev. 22: 17 quoted].
But character is non-transferable. No can receive the Spirit for another. No man can impart to another the character which is the fruit of the Spirit’s working. “Though Noah, Daniel. And Job were in the land, as I live saith the Lord, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.” Ezekiel 14: 20.
It is in a crisis that character is revealed. When the earnest voice proclaimed at midnight, “Behold, the Bridegroom comes, go ye out to meet Him,’ and the sleeping virgins were roused from their slumbers, it was seen who had made preparation for the event. Both parties were taken unawares;but one was prepared for the emergency, and the other was found without preparation.
So now, a sudden and unlooked-for calamity, something that brings the soul face to face with death, will show whether there is any real faith in the promises of God. It will show whether the soul is sustained by grace. The great final test comes at the close of human probation, when it will be too late for the soul’s need to be supplied.
The Ten Virgins are watching in the evening of this earth’s history. All claim to be Christians. [This particularly applies to the Christian mainstream, not to the non-Christian religions such as Islam, Buddhists, Hindus, etc.] All have a call, a name, a lamp, and all profess to be doing God’s service.All apparently wait for Christ’s appearing [The latter clearly applies to Seventh-day Adventists]. But five are unready. Five will be found surprised, dismayed, outside the banquet hall.
At the final day, many will claim admission to Christ’s kingdom, saying, “We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets.” “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? And in Thy name done many wonderful works?” But the answer is, “I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me.” Luke 13: 26, 27; Matt. 7: 22.
In this life they have not entered into fellowship with Christ; therefore they know not the language of heaven [Paul did! See 2 Cor. 12: 1-10], they are strangers to its joy [on earth, holiness was impossible, fanatical, and boring; obedience, a heavy burden]. [2 Cor. 2: 11 quoted].
NOTE: Having a “relationship” with Christ does not automatically mean a vital, abiding, growing, intimate fellowship with Him like that of Enoch “who walked with God for three hundred years” (Gen. 5: 22-24; Heb. 11: 5) or Moses, who, “when misunderstood and misrepresented, when called to bear reproach and insult, to face danger and death,” was able “to endure as seeing Him who is invisible.” (Heb. 11: 27}.
Saddest of all words that ever fell on mortal ear are those words of doom, “I know you not.” The fellowship of the Spirit [Phil. 2: 1, 2], which you have slighted, could alone make you one with the joyous throng at the marriage feast [in heaven]. In the scene you cannot participate. Its light would fall on blinded eyes, its melody on deaf ears. Its love and joy could awake no chord of gladness in the world-benumbed heart. You are shut out from heaven by your own unfitness for its companionship.
We cannot be ready to meet the Lord by waking when the cry is heard, “Behold, the Bridegroom!” and then gathering up our empty lamps to have them replenished. We cannot keep Christ apart from our lives here, and yet be fitted for His companionship in heaven.
In the parable the wise virgins had oil in their vessels with their lamps. Their light burned with undimmed flame through the night of watching It helped to swell the illumination for the bridegroom’s honor. Shining out in the darkness, it helped to illuminate the way to the home of the bridegroom, to the marriage feast.
So the followers of Christ are to shed light into the darkness of the world. Through the Holy Spirit, God’s word is a light as becomes a transforming power in the life of the receiver. By implanting in their hearts the principles of His word, the Holy Spirit develops in men the attributes of God. The light of His glory—His character—is to shine forth in His followers. Thus they are to glorify God, to lighten the path to the Bridegroom’s home, to the city of God, to the marriage supper of the Lamb [Rev. 19: 7-9].
Only the individual can answer this: What kind of virgin are you and I,—wise or foolish? To ignore the question does not make it go away. Not to get involved is a choice.
(To be continued next week)