The Parable of the Ten Virgins PII

Matthew 25: 1- 13

How does laziness insult God? How does it keep you from succeeding in life and in your faith? 

The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’  Matthew 25: 5- 6 

Behold the bridegroom.” The groom’s whereabouts were often heralded to the waiting guests by announcers. As “grooms” were often late in that culture, something they should have known and been prepared for. When was the last time you went to a Wedding that started on time?  

Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. Matthew 25: 7

They should have known as we should know. “Grooms” were often late in that culture, something they should have known and been prepared for. When was the last time you went to a Wedding that started on time?  

Behold the bridegroom.” The groom’s whereabouts were often heralded to the waiting guests by announcers. 

The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.Matthew 25: 8 

Give us. They probably kept the torches burning slightly to be ready; it was difficult to relight them in an era before matches. Extra oil was necessary!  

For the Church, the oil can represent the Holy Spirit. As the virgins received their conviction, what their duty and responsibilities were, only half of them responded wisely.  

“‘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.’ 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. Matthew 25: 9-10

There was no place to buy oil at night; they would have had to wake someone up or borrow. As, the door was shut. Most homes were in a courtyard where a main door closed it off to the rest of the community for safety; it also served to corral the animals, thus shutting out visitors and those who were late.  

Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ Matthew 25: 11 

Lord, Lord, as in master, master (not God). To us, it refers to the analogy of God shutting Himself off to converts after it is too late for them—after they die, or after Christ comes back!

But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ Matthew 25: 12

Then the frightful response, I do not know you. Their neglect cost them the wedding and precious opportunities. They were responsible for the most crucial aspect of the Jewish wedding ceremony, escorting the bride into the groom’s home to consummate the marriage. They insulted the host, neglected the bride, offended the groom, dismantled their reputation in their community and forsook opportunity in favor of laziness. Therefore, they were not admitted to the feast, and they probably did not meet their future grooms. (Marriages were prearranged; going to a wedding was a way to get to know their potential groom and his family as a part of courtship.)They most definitely offended any potential in-laws!

The foolish succumbed to the fate that they set in motion. They will be judged and removed from the wise. The wasteful and fearful will be separated from those who love and trust in Christ (Matt. 25:31-46). 

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. Matthew 25: 13

Keep watch. This is the main point of the parable. To be ready is to be prepared for a long delay, as Christ may return tomorrow or in another two thousand years. His timing is to help our faith development and preparedness. The day or the hour—the parousia, meaning, the coming of Christ (Matt. 16:27; John 14:2-3)! 

The main point? Are you ready for His coming? What stops you from being prepared? For us, it means to obey by keeping our minds on Christ as Lord—always! When our minds are on Him, we are ready for anything, even His return! Professing your faith is only as real as you make it, because it can be faked!  

What is this not about? No. This was not about not sharing; if they did share, they probably would not have had enough oil for any of the touches later on for the groom; thus, no procession or illumination would have taken place! The wedding ceremony would have been a disaster.  

In order to obey Christ, we must keep our minds on Him, because the only real cure for laziness is to be filled with Him. Obeying is faithfulness; it is not about education, intelligence, or skill. Rather, it is accepting the task He gives us and doing it. It is taking what He has given, then replicating, increasing, and using it for the benefit of others—as well as for our own growth—for His glory (1 Cor. 4:2). Those five wise virgins knew this; the other five neglected it. Thus, the foolish ones were not just judged by the wise, but, rather, by what they were capable of. God judges us against ourselves! So, never worry what others are doing; only seek what you can do better! To be ready is to be prepared for a long delay, as Christ may return tomorrow or in another two thousand years. His timing is to help our faith development and preparedness. Seek Him, and let your confidence be in who you are in Him—not how others respond to you! May God’s oil of His grace keep you lit! 

Questions to Ponder

Have you ever wasted what Jesus gives? How can you, why should you, and what actions can you take to avoid being lazy? 

How does not being prepared cause one to pass up vital opportunities? Have you done this? Have you seen others do this? Has this been done to you? If so, how did you feel?  

What is the oil that keeps your lamp of faith lit? What does it need to be? 

What does Jesus want you to understand from this parable? 

 

© 2004, 2011, R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

 

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The Parable of the Ten Virgins PI

Matthew 25: 1- 13 

What can you do to be more obedient and faithful in your walk with Christ?  

With His impending crucifixion just three days away, Jesus used one of His last parables, to illustrate and help us understand the events of His coming judgment and the importance of our being ready. This parable is not about sharing or demonstrating benevolence; rather, it is meant to encourage us to be watchful and productive. This is not about having the correct esoteric theory; rather to be focused on what is most important, to be loyal to our Lord and be on the ready for His call, opportunities and when He comes to call and collect. This end times Parable calls us to be willing to take a look around us, to determine what our loyalties and responsibilities are, and how we can become better in the responsibility to Christ as Lord, being of benefiting to others, preparing ourselves, and most of all, glorifying our Lord.

The general theme is to be prepared and take your responsibility seriously.  

At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Matthew 25: 1

The ten virgins had the magnificent opportunity to help in an important ceremony, the most important ceremony in Jesus time—a wedding. It was a seven-day long feast, and they were the principle structure of the wedding. As they are like today’s “Bridesmaids, then called Virgins. Basically, they had the honor and duty of preparing and arranging the wedding celebrations and for this part of the parable, escorting the bride and groom around. They were responsible for preparing the bride for her marriage ceremony, called then, “to meet the bridegroom,” just as today, and carry the ceremony under a canopy. Then, it was a much greater honor.

Lamps” refers not to the classic small oil lamp, but, rather a torch on top of a staff with a wick soaked in olive oil, or a staff wrapped with a rag soaked in oil. The burnt ends of the rags were cut off (trimmed) and then the oil was added. Olive oil burns very slowly and is not as hot as petroleum.  

Why the need for lamps? “Weddings” were held in the evening, after a day of dancing and celebration, and torches were used to light the occasion and in a procession, leading the bride to the groom’s house. The celebration lasted up to seven days; thus, the oil supply was one of the big responsibilities for the bridesmaids. Not to have enough oil for one night was very irresponsible, as it might be needed for a week or more! 

Five of them were foolish and five were wise. Matthew 25: 2 

Foolish” refers to relying on zeal only, and not thinking through what needed to be done or being prepared. It was laziness! It was like going on a trip without either a destination or the resources to complete the trip, relying only on the excitement of the trip, which would get people nowhere except for being literally broken down without gasoline. In matters of eternal security, this is devastating. The person who is not in Christ will be cut off forever, because he or she chooses to neglect preparation (Matt. 25:31-46); he or she fails to see what Christ has done, relying on emotions and passion for life, and not considering the death and judgment to come.  

Five of them decided to plan ahead and fulfill their duty; the other five decided to let only the excitement be their guide, neglecting to plan out what they needed. They thought, why should we plan? We can just borrow it from the others. But, the others could not share or it would have ruined the wedding. “Not to be prepared,” to miss their opportunity was unthinkable—a nightmare for most young women, then as it is today.  

The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. Matthew 25:3 

The torches had a very finite amount of fuel and needed to be refueled; they would have known this. They required large amounts of oil in order to keep lit, and the oil had to refill the wick or rag several times an hour. The virgins showed a blatant disregard of responsibility and duty. They also threw away their chance to meet their potential groom and become known in the community. They threw away a prized opportunity to better themselves because they did not feel like preparing!  

Now, it comes down to us; where do we invest our lives—in Him or in what is foolish? When we are in Him, do we waste what He gives? We, as Christians, are His servants and we need to be productive and faithful as we wait for His return. If we wait in a foolish manner, we will miss our opportunities, attesting our foolishness (2 Tim. 4:8; Rev. 22:20). This parable is about the importance of being prudent and being prepared. The five virgins were not prepared to meet the bridegroom, as someone who does not know Christ as Lord and Savior will not be able to meet Him when He returns! 

The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. Matthew 25: 4

Wise.” These were ones who upheld their duty, honored the groom and the host, and who remained faithful and watchful. They were those who saw opportunities that would be of benefit to them, and took advantage of them by being industrious, but, with dignity and respect.

For us it is a call to be prepared to be the escort of our faith to those around us, as Christ is the Bridegroom, is Who we honor and prepare for. Perhaps for the disciples, they were in denial, or maybe they were stunned that Jesus was talking about His second coming because they did not realize His first was almost over! He wanted them to understand that when He leaves they should not waste their time in doing nothing, in being depressed, or to give up while waiting. He wanted them to know it was still a “go” for doing life! He wanted them to get on with life, to be busy preparing themselves and others for the Kingdom, and yet, to remain watchful. 

Questions to Ponder

How does being on time and respecting the time of others honor God and portray good character? 

How are some churches irresponsible with the opportunities God gives them? 

Are you ready for His coming? What stops you from being prepared? 

What can you do to guard against becoming lazy? How do we make our actions count for His glory?

How does keeping our minds upon Christ as Lord help us be ready for anything, even His return? 

© 2004, 2011, R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

What does Revelation 13:11-18 mean to us now?

 

Who are the beasts in your life?

Once in a sermon, Augustine asked his people if any of them was antichrist, as in opposing Christ, in character or unfaithfulness. The 1 John definition of antichrist, the only place in Scripture this term appears, simply means anyone who opposes Christ. It isn’t about an ominous opposing personality rising up and tricking us; rather, it is about our willingness to be tricked. God gives us a mind and incredible resources of His Spirit and Word; we have no excuse to be disloyal to our Lord. The call here is to heed the warning, not engage in vain speculation; rather, we are to make sure we are lined up to Him, loyal to our LORD! This means that as we lead our lives and run our churches, we have to seek Him and ask, are we being disloyal to our Lord? If so, guess what? The antichrist is not a political figure; it is you! We are the ones who are opposing Christ! This aspect is far more important that the speculations, because it all comes down to one thing, loyalty. Are you devoted to Christ or a slave to your will and to the manipulations of others? 

This passage could also mean that Christians may think that as long as they are not worshipping in a pagan temple, they are OK; but, to be loyal to evil or compromise God’s Word is worshipping something that is not of God! What we can do is trust Christ and be prepared, and that is John’s message to us. Stand firm in faith and do not be carried away with trivialities or intense persecution. 

Questions to Ponder: 

  1. Why do these sings and wonders astonish people and, in turn, greatly deceive them? Do you believe people are personally responsible for allowing themselves to be deceived?
  1. What do you think this image is? What do you think the purpose is for the statue/image? How would you react to see this image come to life and speak? What would be the motivation for people to worship it?
  1. What do you see as the danger of the beast to us today, either personally or to the Church? What about relativism, diminishing values as Christians, replacing biblical teaching with faulty trends, and faulty logic and thinking?
  1. Why are there countless speculations on the mark and the number 666? Why would a pastor desire to preach by his personality and ignorance and not out of the Scriptures?
  1. What does it mean to you, as a Christian, to be watchful and loyal? Do you believe that when the beast does come there will be no mistaking of his identity? Then, how and why will Christians be tricked? What can we do to prevent ourselves from being deceived?

 © 2006 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.intothyword.org

The Four Main Views of Revelation 13:11-18

 

The Preterist view: There are three prevailing theories in this camp about who or what this second beast is. First, it might be a representation of the emperor worship cult that was estranging Christians economically and socially as they were being forced to worship Caesar and disown Christ; it was an ultimate test of loyalty. Were they willing to lose everything for our Lord’s sake? Are you? The second theory is that this is about a religious persecutor either from within the Church or outside, because of the designation of the two horns, such as pagan religions influencing or persecuting the Church or false prophets from within the Church doing so. The third theory is that this beast represents local or geographical persecutions such as governors of local provinces because of the land/earth and under authority references, Others have said it could be corrupt internal religious leaders or Jews attacking the Church (Matt. 7:15; 23). The image of the beast is seen as paying honor and homage to Rome, as Jews did during their occupation.  From the Hebrew translation of Greek numerical values, 666 is seen as a cryptogram for Nero. The mark and buying and selling are seen as a boycott of Christian products and services meant to ruin them economically. Others see it as the corrupt Jewish officials forcing faithful Jews out of business. 

The Futurist view: They see this second beast not as strong a persecutor of the Church, coming in disguise as a faithful Christian (because of the two horns), and then tricking people into worshipping the beast. This may be a counterfeit Jewish messiah or a slick false preacher who is the “false prophet” mentioned in Rev. 16:13. Others see it as the corruption of the Church. Others see him as the antichrist. The image brings all kinds of speculations—from an idol coming to life to a robot. Most believe it is technology that is key and God can’t do anything until the technology is right and ready; this ignores His sovereignty and omnipotence! Some see this as the rebuilt Temple captivating people. The mark and buying and selling are seen as the world changing to a cashless society, ripe for corruption and control by the antichrist. The mark is seen as a computer chip implanted in people. This 666 is seen as a theme for apostasy in the Church or world; others see it as the antichrist and still others see it as a literal number tattooed on people’s foreheads. Others see it as a symbol of man’s defiance of God. Such theories may be possible (a big stretch at least), but usually are ridiculous and miss the main point of the passage. 

The Idealist view: They see this beast as a support to the first beast and dragon, unified in strategy and purpose. Most see it as false prophets and teachers in the church or a singular master false teacher. Another view is that it is false theology, paganism, and/or other forms of extreme corruption in the Church. Some see the Church switching its focus from serving God to serving governments and/or current trends and secular thinking. The image is seen as conforming to nationalism and being disloyal to Christ and/or actual signs and wonders meant to deceive people. The mark and buying and selling are seen as one’s life philosophy and choosing loyalty to God or to the world. Others see this as economic boycotts and pressures on the Church. The 666 is seen as a representation of impurity and corruption, or false religions. 

The Historicist view: They see this passage as the Church going into apostasy, or those who blaspheme holiness and persecute the faithful. The first beast is the corruption of the Papacy and the second beast is the corruption of the priesthood. The second beast, as with the first, is seen as emphasizing the corrupt priests under the corrupt Catholic Papacy. Others focus on “Charlemagne” and the Holy Roman Empire around 800 AD and/or oppressive ecclesiastical power, or perhaps the emperors of Rome. Image is seen as false or alleged miracles, appearances of Mary and such being used to manipulate people down through the centuries to the corrupt practices of the Church. The 666 is seen by Irenaeus’s perspective as a representation of the last of Daniel’s Kingdoms and/or the “Lateinios,” the Latin reign and language of the Church, keeping God’s precepts from the common people as a control mechanism. The mark and buying and selling are seen as the corruption of worship practices and/or the Papal powers controlling the economics of Europe during the Middle Ages.

Six hundred and sixty-six!

What does 666 mean?  

It is a symbol typical of first century Jewish apocalyptic riddles usually known to the audience being written to; John’s readers knew who he was talking about. It perhaps referred to Nero, and thus was a warning about making loyalty-oaths to Caesar. It was not a secret code to the hearers, only to those outside of the Church such as Roman officials. 

This was also a common way to express or warn about godlessness or those opposing Christ (could be attributed to a specific person such as Nero, or to any person in opposition to right and God) while avoiding unnecessary reprisals. Some commentators have said this is “the trinity of evil”, referring to the number of the antichrist who seeks to combat God and His people. This is called in the Greek a “triangular number;” it is used as a parody or a word play in the first century, referring to someone or something else. 

It was also a cryptic code word that referred to Nero, using the Hebrew translation of the Greek numerical values. This type of code is called “gamatria” where each of the letters in the Greek or Hebrew has an equivalent numerical value, such as alpha stands for one. This was not secret but common Jewish thinking; Jesus, in the Greek (IhsouV), has a numerical correspondent to 888. Some early Christian thinkers, such as Irenaeus, have attributed this to Euanthas or Lateinos or Teitan; Martin Luther thought it might refer to a Pope Benedict, and to other various evil Popes. 

In addition, 666, as a number, is diametrically opposed to the perfection of the number seven which means fullness and completeness. Thus, the theory of the numerical value is that a future antichrist may have a name equal in numerical value to 666 when it is written in Greek. “Nero Caesar” is 666 in the Greek when transliterated from the Hebrew (Matt. 24:15, 36-51). 

There is no reason or call to seek to decode this; it is not about the world’s population hitting 6,666,666,666 that may have happened in Nov 2006, or some mathematicians’ theory or whatever the theory of the day is. The plain meaning, is far more important to us than what speculators have come up with… 

Which is? That we are to be watchful to those who oppose Christ and make sure we are not opposing Christ in thought, word, or deed, taking oaths, or making promises that counter Christ’s principals!

The Mark!

What does the Mark mean? 

It is simple, it means ownership and control; in this case it also refers to a forgery of the seal and love of God given to Christians (Ezek. 9:4-6; Rev. 7:2-8; 14:1). 

This “mark of the beast” is about who controls us, Satan or God. This beast forces people to bear the mark as a way to control and also as a counterfeit to the Holy Spirit that “marks” a true believer. This is also a pattern of the stranglehold that has been repeated throughout human history, such as the trade guilds that controlled who could buy or sell in the midst of the church at Thyatira (found in Revelation 2:18-29.) 

Also, it is the corruption as exhibited in John’s time by both Jewish and pagan priests, and especially the emperor cults. It is also represented in countries that are run with totalitarian tactics by corrupt officials and/or dictators. There are countless speculations on this, but it really denotes from the word meaning and the context, that it is a metaphor for ownership and control, but the means by which this will occur is unknown. 

All we can do is see how this has played out before and be ready for the future. Fear mongering over technologies and personalities are beside the point; neither Satan nor God need technology to make this happen, because it has happened before in grand scale without it. However, since we do have it… (Eph.1:13; Rev. 14:9-11; 15:2; 16:2; 19:20 and 20:4).

Exegetical look into Revelation 13:11-18

 

  • Another beast. As a word, it means a ravenous animal; as a symbol, an opposing power. In association with earth, it represents religious powers or people serving secular authorities. He is acting as a counterfeiter of good, turning it into evil; as a “propagandist” (dispensing deceptive misinformation) for evil, it is the first beast and Dragon—Satan. He seeks to bring glory to himself and that of evil, whereas in contrast, the Holy Spirit brings glory to Christ. This beast is also called the “False Prophet” in Rev. 16:13; 19:20 and 20:10.
  • Coming out of the earth. This may refer to a locality or regional persecution whereas the beast from the sea is more universal. Romans had local enforcers; various cults also had their representatives, such as the emperor cults and various personalities who waged their ways and evils upon the population (Dan. 7:3, 17; Acts 19:30-31). 
  • Two horns like a lamb/horned lamb. This is a parody and distortion of Christ, perhaps referring to the power of evil governments such as Persia in Daniel. This may mean he starts off as gentle, and then manipulates behind the scenes until he rises to power. Whatever the form may take in the future, this beast seeks to manipulate and deceive people with seemingly miraculous signs and wonders, counterfeiting the work and purpose of the Holy Spirit. This will be very evident prior to the return of Christ (Dan. 8:6; 2 Thess. 2:9; Rev. 5:6).
  • Spoke like a dragon. His true colors come out, such as Jesus’ warning in Matthew 7:15 concerning wolves in sheep’s clothing. When this happens, there should be no doubt who he is and what he is up to.
  • Exercised all the authority. This means under the authority of Satan or working on his behalf. It can be in the form of evil secular authority, corrupt religious figures, or the compromise and apostasy of the Church. Some see this as an evil trinity of Satan/dragon, the antichrist/beast and the false prophet mimicking God’s Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • Great and miraculous signs. Wonderworkers were common in this time although most did not have real powers. Like today’s magicians, they tricked people. The danger to us today is relativism, as Christian values diminish and are replaced by faulty logic and thinking (Duet 13:1-3; Ex. 7:11; Matt. 24:24; 1 Cor. 10:20; 2 Thess. 2:9; Rev 19:20).
  • Fire to come is a parody of Elijah and of God’s marvels and powers, as well as how false prophets worked in the Old Testament. Satan seeks to deceive us while he discredits God (Ex. 7:11, 22; 8:7,18; 2 Kings 18: 24-39; Rev. 11:5).
  • Image… it could speak. It was a common magician trick used by priests to cause their idols to speak in this time, today we call it “ventriloquism.” Such deception was used for propaganda as well as evil personal gain (Deut. 13:1-11; 2 Thess. 2:4).
  • Refused to worship. The issue was perhaps not worship in the sense of religion, but rather loyalty pledges. This is a clear warning to early Christians to refrain from apostasy, as our loyalty is to Christ and thus, we should never compromise ourselves or His message. This beast can make the pronouncement of apostasy to those who refuse, such as what the faithful faced during the period of the Maccabees 175-134 BC (1 Macc. 1:50-51—Apocrypha; Dan. 3 and 6).
  • Forced everyone. Many Greek and Roman occupiers of Jerusalem forced the Jews to do this, thus, it was not an unexpected enterprise. Such a mark was, in the past, a tattoo, membership in a guild, code words, and/or an imperial stamp, etc. This is why early Americans reacted so negatively to the British Stamp Act of 1765 that was used to control, subvert, manipulate, and steal from the colonists. There was a tax on anything that had the king’s stamp on it. Many Greek people in this time had tattoos for the god and/or guilds to which they bore allegiance.
  • Right hand or on his forehead refers figuratively to a brand on a slave signifying to whom the person belonged. Not necessarily a literal tattoo or mark on the body, this was more a metaphor for allegiances, either to evil systems or to God. Romans who graduated from a class on emperor worship were given certificates that led to many privileges and opportunities (Is. 44:5; Rev. 3:12; 7:3; 14:1; 15:6; 17:5; 19:12; 22:4).
  • No one could buy or sell. Refers to commercial discrimination such as the trade guilds at that time, which had an economic boycott against people of faith. But, it will become more strict and cruel.