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June 24, 2013
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June 24, 2013
Olivet Discourse Little Apocalypse And Book Of Revelation, Jesus Warns His Followers To Remain Alert And Be Prepared For His Return, Parable Of The Ten Virgins, Wrong Interpretation, Misguided Bible Teachers, God's Word Often Interprets Itself, Test All Doctrines Against The Scriptures, Led By The Spirit, Jesus Knows Who God Has Drawn To Him And Who He Has Chosen, Jesus Will Never Reject Those Who Are Predestined Chosen And Drawn To Him By His Father's Will, Jesus And Apostles Were First Sent To The Children Of Israel Only, Major Portion Of The Bible Was Written For And Directed To First Century Jews, Jesus Will Shut Out Cast Into Outer Darkness And Throw Into Everlasting Fire Those He Doesn't Know And Who Do Not Belong To Him, Jesus' Warnings Were Directed To The Unbelieving Jews Who Assumed Themselves To Be The True Children Of The Kingdom
As many Christians readers will no doubt already be aware, the twenty-fourth -- and by extension -- the twenty-fifth chapters of the Gospel of Matthew compromise what is commonly referred to as the Olivet Discourse in theological circles. A discourse is simply a discussion or a sermon. This particular sermon by Jesus -- which discusses the signs which lead up to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, His Return, and the end of the age -- is likewise sometimes referred to as the "Little Apocalypse". The word "apocalypse" finds it origin in the Greek word "apokalupsis", which means to lay bear, make naked, disclose or reveal. It is for this reason that the Book of Revelation is also known as the Apocalypse. In other words, the Olivet Discourse is somewhat like a condensed version of the Book of Revelation.
Similar to the Gospel of Mark chapter thirteen and the Gospel of Luke chapter twenty-one, within these two chapters in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus shares a number of Parables in which He warns His First Century listeners to always remain alert, and to be prepared for His Return. One such Parable which is known to many Christians is the Parable of the Ten Virgins, as we see by the following verses:
"Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh."
Matthew 25:1-13, KJV
What actually motivated me to write this current series is an online comment I came across where a certain person took it upon themself to identify the five foolish virgins who the Lord mentions in this Parable. As I read their comment, I had to shake my head in dismay, because to be quite honest, it was so off the mark, and not the least bit supported by the Scriptures. According to this individual, these five foolish virgins are children of God who are members of the Laodicean Church. This person went on to explain that because they were lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, the Lord would reject them at His Return. Not only that, but because this individual is also apparently a staunch supporter of water baptism, they noted that -- in their opinion, at least -- the five foolish virgins had not been water baptized.
As I said, this misguided interpretation regarding the five foolish virgins finds no basis in the Scriptures whatsoever. From the very beginning when this individual claimed that the five rejected virgins were children of God, I realized that they know not whereof they speak. The New Testament contains a number of verses which describe people who endeavor to be teachers of God's Word who are not only confused themselves, but who confuse others with their twisted interpretations and wayward doctrines. Consider the following Scriptures and be warned:
"And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know."
1 Corinthians 8:2, KJV
"If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself."
1 Timothy 6:3-5, KJV
"From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm."
1 Timothy 1:6-7, KJV
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;"
2 Timothy 4:3, KJV
"Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."
Hebrews 5:11-14, KJV
"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction."
2 Peter 2:1, KJV
"And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction."
2 Peter 3:15-16, KJV
Perhaps if this person had taken some serious time to delve into God's Word -- as I have now done -- they would not have made this error. As I have so often said to my readers, the Bible in large part interprets itself. However, if we are so full of our own preconceived ideas and the doctrines of men, and don't properly invest the time to rightly divide the Word of Truth, we will no doubt arrive at the wrong conclusions as this person has done. Rather than blindly accept what others teach, we need to test what they say against the Scriptures, compare verse with verse, and make certain that whatever it is they are teaching agrees with God's Word. We also need to be led by the Spirit in our understanding.
This very same standard equally applies to my own articles as well. If after reading what I have to say regarding a particular subject, and studying all of the verses which I have shared to support my views, you still remain doubtful and unconvinced, then simply pray about, or outright reject it if you feel so inclined. This healthy study practice is made evident by verses such as the following:
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15, KJV
"And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
Acts 17:10-11, KJV
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."
1 John 4:1, KJV
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
John 14:26, KJV
"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come."
John 16:13, KJV
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
James 1:5, KJV
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
1 Corinthians 2:14, KJV
To continue with our discussion regarding the Parable of the Ten Virgins, as I said, my investigation into the Scriptures has fully convinced me that the aforementioned interpretation is dead wrong. As I will now prove to you through a plethora of verses, this Parable has absolutely nothing to do with the Laodicean Church. Furthermore, it has nothing to do with the Christian Church at all, or with water baptism, or even with Christian service to the Lord. Last of all, I am convinced that the five foolish virgins do not represent true children of God whatsoever. In other words, they are not even saved.
If you are feeling somewhat confused by my statements, don't be. My regular readers should know by now that I would not make such bold statements unless I was absolutely convinced of them through a thorough study of the Scriptures. So let us begin by discussing a few basic Biblical principles which will enable us to unravel this Scriptural mystery. If there is one thing that the Bible makes clear, it is that the Lord most certainly knows who the Father has drawn to Him, who He has chosen, and who belongs to Him. This particular doctrine is made quite clear by the following verses:
"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day."
John 6:44, KJV
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:"
John 10:27, KJV
During the Passover meal, just prior to to His arrest and Crucifixion, Jesus said the following to the Apostles regarding those whom He knew and had chosen, as opposed to the traitor -- Judas Iscariot -- whom He had not chosen:
"I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me. Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he."
John 13:18-19, KJV
Only two chapters later, Jesus would again confirm that He knew who He had chosen with the following verses:
"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you . . . If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."
John 15:16, 19, KJV
In His second Epistle to Timothy, who was his beloved son in the faith, the Apostle Paul likewise affirms that "the Lord knoweth them that are his", as we see by this verse:
"Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."
2 Timothy 2:19, KJV
Following are some additional verses which are found in the New Testament which confirm and verify that God the Father has indeed predestinated and chosen certain individuals to Salvation through faith in the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ:
"So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen."
Matthew 20:16, KJV
"For many are called, but few are chosen."
Matthew 22:14, KJV
"And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days."
Mark 13:20, KJV
"And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed."
Acts 13:48, KJV
"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,"
2 Corinthians 6:17, KJV
"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."
Romans 8:29, KJV
"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love . . . Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will . . . In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:"
Ephesians 1:4-5, 11, KJV
"But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:"
2 Thessalonians 2:13, KJV
"No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."
2 Timothy 2:4, KJV
"Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?"
James 2:5, KJV
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:"
1 Peter 2:9, KJV
"These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb."
Revelation 14:4, KJV
"These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful."
Revelation 17:14, KJV
In addition to informing us that Jesus fully recognizes and knows who His true sheep are, as I explain in "OSAS: Are We Once Saved, Always Saved?", the Bible likewise makes it very clear that Jesus will never reject those individuals who have been predestinated, chosen and drawn to Him by the Will of His own Father. Consider the following verses which confirm this doctrine as well:
"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
John 6:37, KJV
"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand."
John 10:28-29, KJV
". . . for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Hebrews 13:5, KJV
Before we proceed, it is important that you are convinced of the previous two points, because in a minute I am going to show you something else that is revealed, not only in the Parable of the Ten Virgins, but in a few other places in the Scriptures as well. However, before doing that, let me share with you another important point first. As I amply explain in the series entitled "Dead to the Law: God's Laws Written on Our Hearts", contrary to what is commonly believed by a lot of Christians, many of the Parables and warnings which are recorded in the four Gospels are not directed to Gentile Believers. How do I know this? Because Jesus Himself clearly informs us that during that period of time, neither He nor the Apostles were sent to the Gentiles, as we plainly see by the following verses:
"These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
Matthew 10:5-6, KJV
"But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
Matthew 15:24, KJV
"Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews."
John 4:22, KJV
The truth of the matter -- and this may be difficult for some Christians to accept -- is that not only were the Scriptures written by the Jews -- under the inspiration of God's Spirit -- but a major portion of the Bible -- up to and including the Book of Revelation -- was written specifically for the Jews, as well as directed to the Jews of Israel of the First Century. This includes the Parables which we find in the four Gospels, including the Parable of the Ten Virgins.
Now, we have clearly seen that not only does the Lord know and recognize those Believers who truly belong to Him, but we have also seen that -- based on the promises of His very own word -- He will never reject or cast out those who have been drawn to Him by the Father. However, in direct contrast to these truths, Jesus informs us in several of His Parables -- including in the Parable of the Ten Virgins -- that He is going to do that very thing with certain people. He will say that He does not know them; He will slam the door right in their faces; He will cast some of them into outer darkness; and He will even send them to everlasting fire. This truth is made quite apparent in verses and Parables such as these:
"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, 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? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
Matthew 7:21-23, KJV
"And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Matthew 8:11-12, KJV
"And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen."
Matthew 22:1-14, KJV
"Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not."
Matthew 25:11-12, KJV
"For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Matthew 25:14-30, KJV
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left . . . Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:"
Matthew 25:31-33, 41, KJV
"Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last."
Luke 13:23-30, KJV
So exactly who are these "workers of iniquity" who the Lord orders to depart? Who are these "children of the kingdom" who are "cast out into outer darkness"? Who is the man without a wedding garment regarding whom the king says "cast him into outer darkness"? Who are the five foolish virgins to whom the Bridegroom says "I know you not"? Who is the unprofitable servant who is likewise cast into outer darkness? Who are the stubborn goats on the left to whom the Son of Man declares "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels"? Who are these people to whom the Master of the House says "I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity"? Who are these who believe themselves to be first, but who in fact "shall be last"? Finally, why does Jesus keep making a reference to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the Prophets?
In case you haven't figured it out yet, Jesus' warnings and rebukes in the previous verses are all directed to the Jews themselves. More specifically, the Lord's words are primarily directed to the self-righteous religious leaders of Israel; that is, the chief priests and the elders, who were in large part comprised of the major religious sects of the Scribes and the Pharisees, and the Sadducees. This becomes evident by verses such as the following:
"And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? . . . Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them."
Matthew 21:23, 43-45, KJV
"Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you."
John 10:24-26, KJV
Please notice that by stating that the Kingdom of God shall be taken from them, Jesus is in fact confirming that in the previous verses where He says "the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness", He is referring to them. In other words, it is not that those unbelieving Jews were truly the children of the Kingdom, it is that in their blindness and haughtiness, they deceived themselves into believing that they were. That this is who Jesus means when He says "children of the kingdom" is also evidenced by the fact that in the previous verses, we are even told that "they perceived that he spake of them".
Please go to part two for the continuation of this series.
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