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The Ten Virgins / End Times Today / EP. 27

March 1, 2021

Part 27 of 31
End Times Today

JOHN'S BOOK.

QUESTIONS?

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Broadcast 27

Description: “The Ten Virgins”

What in the World Is God Doing?

Viewer Screen: What in the World Is God Doing?

In the ever-changing political landscape:

Viewer Screen:Israel Wants U.S. to Maintain Course on Iran - Ben Caspit (Al-Monitor)

According to this article, “A broad political coalition of Middle Eastern states are preparing to present the new administration in Washington with a clear and determined stand: There is no going back to the original 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran. Iran must not be rewarded for its actions. Conditions have changed as has the situation on the ground. The U.S. must leverage the achievements of the sanctions on Iran. At their first meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu will present the new president with fresh intelligence - irrefutable proof that Iran lied when it consistently denied the existence of its nuclear military program.”  The article goes on to say that “the Europeans also understand that simply going back to the original agreement is not possible and that there is real need for improvements."  

This article cites the four key players which will be used by God to bring about the Dan 9:27 treaty which will inaugurate the Tribulation period. I believe God is using Iran to draw Middle East leaders to Israel to strongly exhort and support Israel’s attack upon Iran. When the Iranian regime is taken down by the Lord, European leaders will be drawn together with Middle East leaders to confirm the Dan 9:27 treaty with Israel. 

Upon confirmation of this treaty, the rapture will occur, and the seven-year Tribulation period will inaugurate. God is certainly at work, assembling the players on His end-times stage to fulfill His prophetic word. 

The clock is ticking; so keep looking up! 

This is: “What in the World Is God Doing?

What in the Word Is God Saying?

“The Ten Virgins”

Viewer Screen: “The Ten Virgins”

A college student sent the following terse text to his mother: “Mom, have failed everything. Prepare Dad.”

The next day the student received this reply: “Dad prepared; prepare yourself!”

As important as it was for that student to be prepared to meet his father, it is far more important for believers in Jesus to be prepared to meet their Lord. The New Testament often exhorts us to prepare ourselves for the return of Christ, and Jesus told more than one parable to drive home that important concept. 

One of those parables is recorded in Matthew 25:1-12 and is aimed toward Jews who will believe in Jesus during the first half of the Tribulation period. This parable provides us with a clearer understanding of Jewish believers and God’s role for them during the rest of the Tribulation period. 

This parable is part of Jesus’ Olivet Discourse, so called because He gave this extended teaching to His disciples on the Mount of Olives, the very hill from which Jesus ascended into heaven and upon which Jesus will return to the earth. In this discourse, Jesus taught about what will take place during the Tribulation period in response to questions by the disciples. Though Jesus utilized their questions to teach His first-century disciples about the Tribulation, He was actually directing this material to Jewish disciples who will live through the very Tribulation period He was describing. 

The parable begins in this way: 

Viewer Screen: “ ‘Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom’ ” (Mt 25:1).

Here the parable illustrates the future kingdom of heaven. We will learn that the parable reveals different experiences of believers in the future kingdom of God based on their respective wise or foolish choices. 

Verse 1 introduces us to the characters of this story—ten virgins and a bridegroom. In the first act of the parable, the virgins take their lamps out to meet the bridegroom. 

This first verse shows us that this story stems from, and revolves around, a Jewish wedding ceremony. In the ceremony, young, female torch dancers (the virgins) would wait at the home of the groom. Upon the approach of the wedding party, the virgins would light their torches and go out to meet the party. Then, they would light the pathway back to the house where the wedding supper was to be held. When the party was seated, these virgins would perform the torch dance, a series of patterns and movements with the torches.

The first step in understanding the parable is to determine who the characters represent. Ephesians 5:23–25 identifies the bride of Christ as the Church and the bridegroom as Jesus Himself. The Church is the universal body of believers, consisting of everyone who has believed in Jesus for eternal life from the day of Pentecost to the rapture of the Church. 

It is important to point out that in the Jewish wedding ceremony the virgins are not the bride. Instead, the virgins represent those outside of the Church. 

It is also important to note that this parable makes no statement about the need for faith in Jesus for eternal life. Because it contains a “kingdom of heaven” truth, the virgins in the parable represent those who already have received eternal life. Since this parable is part of a unit of teaching on the Tribulation period, these virgins represent believers in Jesus during the Tribulation, specifically Jewish believers. This makes sense because, in this Olivet Discourse, Jesus is addressing believing Jews in the Tribulation period. 

While the 144,000 Jewish believers in the book of Revelation are described as “virgins,” the virgins in the parable refer to all Jewish believers in the Tribulation, not just the 144,000 who represent one segment of all Jews who will believe in Jesus during the Tribulation. 

In the Jewish wedding ceremony, the Bridegroom, Jesus, returns home, where he is met by the virgins outside his home. So, where might that be? For the answer, we turn to two Old Testament passages—Zechariah 14:2–4 and Jeremiah 3:17. 

Jeremiah 3:17 reveals that the city to which Jesus will return is Jerusalem:

Viewer Screen:  “ ‘At that time [after Jesus returns to the earth] Jerusalem shall be called the Throne of the Lord, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem.’ ” 

Zechariah 14:2–4 shows more specifically where the Bridegroom will return: 

Viewer Screen: “And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives” (Zech 14:4).

This mans the virgins will meet Jesus outside of Jerusalem at the Mount of Olives. 

We need to remember that Israel and Jerusalem are the earthly home of the Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ. Some two thousand years ago, He left that home to find His bride. When He meets His bride, catching the Church into the air, He will return to His home (Jerusalem) with her. When He returns to set up his kingdom, He will be met on earth by those who have believed in Him and have gone forth to meet Him. These are the virgins of our parable. 

Now, let us continue in our parable by looking at verses 2–5: 

Viewer Screen: “Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept” (Mt 25:2-5).

The Lord calls five of these virgins wise, while he identifies the other five as foolish. We learn from this parable that five are considered wise because they took extra oil for their lamps. 

In the ancient Jewish wedding ceremony, these lamps were actually torches that consisted of long poles or sticks, with rags wrapped around one end. The rags were dipped in oil and lit. However, they would burn only for about fifteen minutes, so they had to be repeatedly soaked in oil for them to continue to burn. 

Undoubtedly, the virgins would want their lamps to be burning at the arrival of the Bridegroom. In fact, it would be shameful if they met the Bridegroom with unlit lamps. Therefore, those who prepared well, by obtaining extra oil, would be viewed by the Bridegroom as wise, while others would be seen as foolish. 

Then the parable mentions this:

Viewer Screen: “. . . while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept” (Mt 25:5).

There are times in Scripture when slumbering is a metaphor for spiritual dullness. However, in this context, slumbering is not presented as a bad thing. After all, all of these virgins slumbered and slept while they waited for the Bridegroom—even the wise virgins. Had sleeping during this time been wrong, wise virgins would not have slept. 

The folly, in this parable, is not found in going to sleep. If the Groom and wedding party are not going to be there until sometime after midnight, then the virgins might as well rest while they wait. 

Keep in mind that this parable of the ten virgins is about the revealed prophetic program of the future Tribulation period. Those knowledgeable of that era will be the Jews who believe in Jesus during the first half of the Tribulation period and who will be taught by God’s two prophets in Jerusalem. They will realize that, during the unfolding of this seven-year era, there will be a period of time before the Bridegroom will come for them. These Jews will understand there will be an opportunity to rest and to conserve their strength prior to the midpoint of the Tribulation period. 

Earlier, in Mt 24:6, Jesus makes an announcement concerning the first half of the Tribulation period that, ultimately, is for Jewish believers living during that period of time: 

Viewer Screen: “And you will hear of wars and reports of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet” (Mt 24:6). 

This declaration indicates that Jesus tells them to relax, or rest, during the first half. He does it by indicating that they are not to allow events during the first half to disturb them. Thus, they can be at rest because the end is not yet. 

With that in mind, look at verse 6 in our parable: 

Viewer Screen: “ ‘And at midnight a cry was heard: “Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!” ’ ” (Mt 25:6)

The word “midnight” is translated from two Greek words that literally mean “in the middle of the night.” The concept of night is a natural reference to the day of the Lord or Tribulation period. That future period is described in Scripture in these ways:

Viewer Screen: “ ‘That day is . . a day of darkness . . . thick darkness’ ” (Zeph 1:15); “ ‘. . . the day of the LORD . . . . will be darkness, and not light. . . . very dark’ ” (Amos 5:18, 20).

With that in mind, let’s return to verse 6 of our parable:

Viewer Screen: “ ‘And at midnight a cry was heard: “Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!” ’ ” (Mt 25:6)

Here, Jesus reveals a cry in the middle of the night, which alerts the virgins to get ready to meet the Bridegroom. 

Remember that chapters 24 and 25 of Matthew are all one teaching unit. In chapter 24, Jesus provides us with a powerful exhortation based on a Satanic-inspired event occurring at midnight of the Tribulation period. This is the cry announcing “the abomination of desolation,” which occurs at the very midpoint of the Tribulation period. This is when the Beast of Revelation abominates the temple by entering it and putting a stop to Jewish sacrifices and offerings to the Lord. 

But prior to abominating the temple, the Beast will kill the two prophets of God. No doubt, at this horrendous occurrence, the word will spread like wildfire. 

Following the Beast’s triumph over God’s prophets, he will seek to show his domination of the God of Israel by abominating the temple of God. At this point, the cry will go out to believing Jews in and around Jerusalem that they need to immediately flee for their lives into the Judean hills! 

The cry will reach down through the streets of Jerusalem, into the homes of believers, and on into the fields outside of the city. Faithful followers of Jesus will heed the cry and will flee from Jerusalem into the hills, where they will have the best chance of escaping the pursuing armies of the Beast. 

The exhortation in Mt 25:6 that pictures what Jesus exhorts in Mt 24:16–20 is this: 

Viewer Screen: “ ‘Go out to meet him!’ ” 

At that point, Jewish believers will be leaving the home (Jerusalem) of the Bridegroom to go out to meet Him just as the ten virgins go out from the groom’s home to meet the wedding party. Yet, there will still be three and a half years left until the actual return of the Bridegroom, so extra oil will become very important, as we will see in verses 7 and 8. 

Viewer Screen: “ ‘ “Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘ “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out” ’ ” (Mat 25:7-8).

Unfortunately, the lamps of some believing Jews in the Tribulation will go out. Note, for example, what Jesus says in Matthew 24:12–13: 

Viewer Screen: “ ‘And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many [Jewish believers in Christ] will grow cold’ ” (Mt 24:12).

When Jesus speaks of love, it is that which is sourced in God and is displayed by those born of God when they sacrificially give of themselves for one another. Jesus’ description of love that “will grow cold” during the Tribulation period is the love of believers—in this case, Jewish believers. For some Jewish believers during the Tribulation period, it is a love that, unfortunately, will wane because they have been influenced by the environment of lawlessness all around them. Since Jesus defined love as obedience to his commands—which includes the command of believers loving one another—His description of love growing cold indicates that some Tribulation believers will drift into unfaithfulness. In other words, their lamps will go out.

In returning to our parable, it is important to understand that the oil does not refer to eternal life. Verse 9 helps us to see that: 

Viewer Screen: “ ‘ “But the wise answered, saying, “No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves” ’ ” (Mt 25:9). 

This oil is something the virgins need to buy, while eternal life is a free gift that has already been purchased by Jesus. The oil refers to the cost believers must pay to gain the spiritual reserves needed to keep their lamps burning for Christ during difficult times. 

We need to pay the cost to obtain the spiritual reserves necessary to keep our lamps burning for Jesus through dark and difficult times. We “buy” those reserves by paying the cost through making efforts to grow in our relationship with God by spending regular time in his Word (the Bible), by daily prayer, through weekly worship of God, through serving God by serving believers, and by obedience to the Bible in other areas as well. Spiritual growth is costly, because it takes time, effort, and sacrifice on our part. However, by paying the price, we buy the oil of spiritual reserves needed to keep our lamps burning through dark and difficult times. 

According to our parable, the wise virgins cannot provide oil for the foolish ones lest they not have enough to keep their lamps burning until the Bridegroom comes. No believer can provide spiritual reserves for another believer. Each Christian must pay the cost for his or her own reserves.

As the parable continues, we find this: 

Viewer Screen: “ ‘ “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you” ’ ” (Mt 25:10-12). 

The Jewish wedding ceremony included joyful festivities, such as a supper where only honored guests were welcome to experience the joyful privilege of dining with the Bridegroom in a special manner. Jesus illustrates this in Luke 12:35–37. 

Viewer Screen: “ ‘Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them’ ” (Lk 12:35-36).

In these verses, Jesus exhorted His followers to keep their lamps burning, being ever watchful of his return from the wedding. Here we see that a substantial reward awaits those who keep their lamps burning—who remain faithful—till the Bridegroom returns. They will have the privilege of sitting down at the table of the Bridegroom where He will serve them! These wise believers will experience the amazing joy of being highly honored by Jesus! 

Now let’s return to the last few verses of our parable:

Viewer Screen: “ ‘ “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you” ’ ” (Mt 25:10-12).

Understanding the reward presented in Luke 12 enables us to realize the meaning of the shut door to the foolish virgins. Though these foolish ones will be granted entrance into the kingdom, the door will forever be shut to them of the opportunity to experience very unique and special joy, honor, and privilege in the kingdom. 

The announcement, “I do not know you,” by the Bridegroom to the foolish virgins refers to being shut out of the special privileged intimacy, joy, and honor that wise virgins will obtain as a reward. It is very different from the announcement Jesus will make to unbelievers in the future when he declares, “I never knew you; depart from Me, . . . !” in Matthew 7:23. In fact, Jesus chooses a different Greek word for know in Matthew 25:12 than he does in Matthew 7:23 in order to portray a different meaning. While Jesus’ address to unbelievers in 7:23 indicates he has never had a relationship with them, His announcement in 25:12 reveals that the foolish virgins do not have intimacy with the Bridegroom. The Bridegroom only offers intimacy and reward to the wise, faithful ones. 

While this parable is directed toward Jewish believers in the Tribulation period, it has a powerful message for us. It is critical for us to keep our lamps burning by maintaining reserves of spiritual oil. By doing so, we will be prepared for meeting Jesus at His return; and He will welcome us into privileged, honored, intimate, and eternal reward.

This parable of the ten virgins has illustrated the choice Jewish believers will have during a most difficult time—the Tribulation period. Next time, we will return to the unfolding, dramatic story of the Tribulation period, as Satan and the Beast prepare for the return of Jesus by gathering together an army of the nations of the world to war against Jesus. 

Viewer Screen: Next time on End Times Today: “Gathering to War

Join us here next time on End Times Today where we will take a front-row seat to “Gathering to War.” 

Questions / Answers

Q: If Israel goes after Iran do you still think that war will result in the signing of the seven-year peace treaty? ---Chris , Pennsylvania

A: I believe that if Israel  were to launch an attack against Iran, the Iranian opposition movement (which is currently underground) would use the resulting chaos from that attack to overthrow that terrorist regime. If that occurs, it will bring down the largest sponsor of terrorism in the world, doing damage to all of the terrorist entities in the Middle East. In fact, the deposing of the Iranian regime may very well be used of God to defeat terrorism.

The Bible indicates that terrorism will appear to be defeated, as world leaders cannot truly proclaim “peace and security!” (cf. 1 Thess 5:3) with terrorism raging. I believe the overthrow of the Iranian regime will not only lead to the defeat of terrorism, but will also open the way in the Middle East for the seven-year treaty with Israel. This treaty will be the end-times treaty which will start the clock ticking on the final seven years leading to the return of Christ. I also believe at the very moment that treaty is confirmed, the rapture of the Church will occur. 

Thank you, Chris, for that question; and thank you for joining us here on End Times Today. Until next time, keep looking up!

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