Mat 25:1 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ 7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ 9 “‘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.’ 11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ 12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
Matthew 25 concerning the ten virgins is a provocative picture of a fallen church, waiting too long for Jesus, forgetting her first love and the power of the Holy Spirit. It also reflects together with the other parables in Matthew 25, the make-up of the church – with sheeps/goats, virgins with oil/no oil, a very wide and inclusive makeup until the day when Jesus comes back when it all does not matter, for the gate is Jesus and not our own righteousness.
The Ten virgins on the outside are all the same, white in clothing, with a lamp. They represent Christians in the church, all white, as a reflection of righteousness. It is not easy to separate the virgins because they all looked alike, white from the outside and carrying a lamp. This was a picture in Rev 9:11, when each were given a white rob waiting for the return of Jesus Christ.
In Singapore, when we fall asleep whilst waiting for Jesus:-
- We loose the purpose of our calling to be the Antioch of Asia to reflect and proclaim the Gospel of Salvation in Jesus, the oil of annointing that burns brightly. It is a church without the mighty works of power and healing as if the Holy Spirit has departed because there was no regular refills of Pentecost.
- We engaged in anti-gay activities, to proclaim our righteousness and whiteness. There was no revelation within of the Holy Spirit of the grace of God. We are of the religious law.
- We are concerned our own fame, power, control, and wealth. We build large mega churches, meet the kings and queens of this world as royalty in the courts of the mighty. We become equals to the kings of this world.
- We want to become famous in the world, to be mega pop stars using the funds that was meant to extend the gospel.
- We no longer preach the Gospel, we no longer burn and light up, to be the light of the world to the Gospel of salvation in Christ Jesus. There is no oil of the Holy Spirit to give us revelation and annointing to preach the testimony concerning Christ. The oil is the Holy Spirit who gives testimony to Jesus Christ.
I am reminded of love Singapore wearing all white in their fight against the pink gays. They were all suitably qualified and self-assured of entering heaven. But they didn’t realise that Jesus is coming back for His Kingdom in heaven and not their kingdom on earth with strictly enforced religious laws where they are above the religious laws in their hypocrisy.
Religion and religious activist such as Love Singapore tries to be moral gate keepers when there is only one gate, and His name is Jesus, the name above every other name and every god and power.
The Ten virgins represent the mainline Christianity where we are clothed by tradition and sacraments. But no one sees on the inside, what we believe and have focus of faith, and where our aspirations hold. In the world, they are innocent virgins, married to the church. But God was looking for a righteousness apart from self, and apart from the law and led by the Holy Spirit.
Out of the Ten, the Five virgins chose not to fill their lamp stand with oil or bring additional jars even though late in the day. Why? Because they thought they were part of the body of Christ on account of their religious affiliations. But inside, although their bodies were possible abode for the Holy Spirit, they were empty. Jesus was not their Saviour. They had faith, they had religion and spirituality.
The five virgins without oil reflects churches who took the Holy Spirit for granted and as optional. There is no baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not required when we no longer preach Jesus, nor proclaim his power to save, heal and deliver. It was a church without power but only acts of love and good works, no different than a charity.
For these Five virgins without the oil of the Holy Spirit, perhaps God is Creator God from Genesis. They thought that they were wise. But their theology could not see beyond, to a God of judgment, to the fall at the Garden of Eden, and the flood, and the Cross of Calvary. They thought that Hell does not exist and God would not sent them to hell. After all, they were innocent virgins. The wise were too smart for themselves and became foolish.
The Five virgins had to turn back to the basics to get re-filled because they didn’t believe that Jesus was the gate, the way to God for which the Holy Spirit was poured out through Jesus. They were not fully prepared even though they knew the times because heaven to them was on earth.
For the remaining Five, who had their lamps filled, the infilling of the Holy Spirit was a deliberate act to receive the Holy Spirit by faith in Jesus, to nurture the Word of God in our lives as to walk by the Spirit of God, and to have a relationship with the Holy Spirit of God. Hence, through the Holy Spirit they were in relationship with Jesus Christ, and therefore discerning the times.
The virgins were wise because they were always ready for Jesus return, wiser than many bible school graduates who didn’t believe in hell, heaven above or that Jesus is coming back.
Were the five virgins who were very greedy and had jars of oil so that they had the Holy Spirit to discern Jesus and the times any better than the remaining five? Were they involved in making this place a better world to live in? or redeemed the Jews from their foreign occupation? Nope.
The Five virgins were indeed very selfish. They didn’t share oil with the remaining five. For salvation is not corporate, it is individual salvation. It cannot be shared for it is an individual decision of faith. It cannot be taken from us. There is no common salvation on earth.
Jesus spoke of the parable of the Ten virgins before He was resurrected. Only Five believed Jesus was the way, the gate. The remaining five were half-hearted. They didn’t have the Holy Spirit because they did not go through the baptism of Faith by the waters of redemption. It was not the act of baptism, but their hearts didn’t believe. When the crunched came, and Jesus was really returning, it would be too late.
The Five virgins were wise because they accepted the grace of salvation and were ready to return to Jesus at any time. They didn’t with until the last moment.
The five virgins who were left behind were likely to be well educated even with theological degrees. But Jesus called them foolish, because one doesn’t wait for the actual return of Jesus to start believing that Jesus is Lord and Savior. Their intellect, their thinking theology did not help them. It was too late for them.
The parable of the Ten virgins is about being too late. Jesus answered I never knew you, because they were not of the Holy Spirit of God. They had faith in their own good works and righteousness rather than the grace of God through Jesus Christ. The number who entered is five, the number of Grace. We could be all attending church and be of people of faith, yet be not prepared. Because inside they were empty, empty of Jesus, empty of the Holy Spirit who revealed Jesus as savior in our hearts.
The bridegroom Jesus was very late in coming, at midnight. The virgins fell asleep. The church had fallen asleep. The church has made heaven, the kingdom of earth, a church hierarchal with power and control centered in a few. There was no oil in the church of Jesus Christ. It ran out of brightness to reflect Jesus as Saviour and the truth and life to God. It ran out of oil because it did not have a continous baptism of the Holy Spirit to refill the oil.
It is said that the church in Europe is dead because their faith and theology have scrubbed the bible white beyond the first chapter where God is the creator. Having Faith has replaced having a redemptive faith in Jesus. But even the devil believes in God and quotes the bible. We replaced a God of judgment, righteousness and Holiness, with a God of love. Love becomes God. Even the devil is replaced as a myth, hence there could not be hell based on their faith construction.
At the end, it was sad when Jesus told the five virgins, “Truly I tell, I don’t know you”. Wasn’t Jesus harsh? Didn’t they now bring their brightly lit lamps? But Jesus said, that He had never knew them all along. Didn’t they pray, worshiped God, attended church? Yes, they did! Yet, Jesus said, I never knew you.
Jesus wasn’t harsh. He was long suffering and waited and waited for them to be ready. We live in a period of grace. Once the door is shut, once midnight has passed, there is no other way to God. Once, the gate closes and we are not in the Kingdom of God, we become forever separated from God. They had religion, an external spirituality, but not Jesus living within.
The Gate is still opened today. The Holy Spirit bears witness to our spirit and gives us unending oil when we believe Jesus as Lord and Saviour. We don’t know when Jesus is coming back, but today is the day is salvation for tomorrow might be too late.
The five virgins who entered heaven were wise because they were prepared all the time for Jesus to come back anytime because they have made their peace with Jesus with the Holy Spirit being the seal of their redemption. The remaining five were foolish because they were too smart in their own eyes and was too late to change or even make a decision of faith in Jesus when the time came.
Jesus will come in an instance of time. There is no telling when! Only the wise will be prepared with the Oil of the Holy Spirit burning within. We need a regular Pentecost, a refill of the Holy Spirit.
Are you ready for the instance of time when our mere existence of earth is forever changed by Jesus coming back? Jesus wouldn’t be asking whether you are gay or straight! for He is inclusive of all who called on Him as Lord and Saviour and God.