MARANATHA: THE MYSTERY IN THE PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS - 1
Excerpts of Dr. Okey Onuzo's Message at the Sunrise Service on Sunday, November 20, 2016
Bible Texts: Matthew 25:1-13; Luke 12:35-48
The coming of our LORD Jesus Christ is something that every believer must constantly keep in focus, lest by any chance, the tragedy of missing it will happen. It is amazing that our LORD Jesus Christ told many stories. The Bible tells us that He told them for a purpose, and quite a few of them, He spoke about the Kingdom of God. Why? He speaks in parables so that only those who are really called can then step aside, and search out the truth in the parables (Mark 8 & Luke 8). In Luke 8:10, Jesus said to His disciples "Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand." Parables were directed to disciples, followers, and people who were determined in their hearts to make Heaven. Parables were devised as a warning, so that disciples can do their own pre-judgement evaluation.
Jesus left us in no doubt as to what will happen; as to the method, details, parameters of what will happen at His coming. That is why He gave us parables of which The Ten Virgins is one (Matthew 25:1-13). Our LORD Jesus Christ was very fond of speaking truth in familiar stories. Looking at the Parable of The Ten Virgins today, it is customary to see bridesmaids dress up and dance to the home of the bride because the bridegroom is going to the home of his bride to take her. Also, the best man guards the entrance to make sure no imposter enters there. As soon as the bridegroom enters, the job of the best man is done. This is what John the Baptist meant in John 3:29-30 when he said, "He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease."
Jesus used a familiar story to speak about the invitation for you to attend the real wedding of the groom and his bride. The problem with this story is, it is very frightening, because at first, the difference is not detected until the very last minute. From the Parable of The Ten Virgins, we see that they were all virgins, they were all invited, they all came, they all waited, they all slumbered, they all slept, they all had lamps, and they all had oil. The culture is that they stay there indefinitely, no matter how long, until the groom arrives. The groom arrived with a herald and that was the point at which it was discovered that five were wise and five were foolish.
It is very difficult not to transcribe the story of The Ten Virgins into today's world. Putting it into today's world, we can say, the Ten Virgins came to Church; they all gave tithes, they all gave offering, they were all baptised, they all attended night vigil, they all prayed, yet, they were different. The question you must ask yourself is, which of them am I? Am I of the wise or of the foolish? Because this is about you. What made them wise, and what made them foolish? Oil. They all had oil but five of them took the precaution to bring extra oil.
The question in the mystery of the Parable of The Ten Virgins is, What does the oil represent? There are many people who use conventional wisdom and say that the oil represents the Holy Spirit, but there is a problem with this. The problem is that you cannot have the Holy Spirit in measures, and you cannot have extra Holy Spirit. The Bible says in John 3:34 that God gives the Spirit without measure. If God gives the Spirit without measure, then the oil is not the Holy Spirit.
The resistance you offer to the Holy Spirit determines the expression of the life in the Spirit. Jesus offered no resistance at all to the Holy Spirit, that is why the Spirit had maximum expression through Him. However, humans offer resistance to the Holy Spirit through various degrees, and that is what determines what the Spirit can do with you, in you and through you.
This extra oil is something you have to pay for (Matthew 25:9b), so it is not something everybody receives for free. Salvation is freely received, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is freely received, but you have to pay for the extra oil. Scripture says that when the five foolish virgins went to buy extra oil, the sellers had closed, so they had to see who they could get oil from at that time of the night. This gave the reason why they took a while to come back, and before they came back, the door had been shut (Matthew 25:10). This tells us that the oil is not something that you can get instantly. It takes time to source, it takes time to find, and you have to pay for it. Part of the revelation in this parable is that it is not everybody that has the extra oil. You have to approach those who are selling it; you must find someone who is able to stock and sell it, so that you can purchase it, and be able to return. The foolish virgins had oil but they did not take extra that would last them all the way. While the bridegroom tarried, they ran out of oil.
The fact that it is oil based, then it must have a connection with the Holy Spirit, using the same thought in the Word. There is quite a lot of consensus that this can only represent what comes from the Spirit - the Fruit of the Spirit. Because Peter was present with Jesus Christ the day the Parable of The Ten Virgins was told, he unveiled the secret to the oil when he said "In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins. So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught" (2 Peter 1:5-12 [NLT]). From these Scripture, Peter emphasizes that you should work hard, do these things and the door will not be shut in your face; do these things and you will be ready to enter when the bridegroom comes. The essence of the reminder of these things is so that nobody in complacency, misconstrues religious observance (i.e. consistency in religion) in exchange for godliness. They are not the same.
The statement "I never knew you" is almost impossible to understand. You need to understand what it means, because you are going somewhere. The greatest tragedy that can happen to a man is that his or her name is not found in the Book of Life on Judgement Day. If such a thing were to happen to you, what would you do, because all the opportunities to surrender your life to Jesus are gone then. Like Peter said, be reminded of the purpose of the Parable of The Ten Virgins. The purpose is for self-evaluation. Are you wise or foolish? Are you confident in your religion or do you live a life that God approves? You need to live a life that God recognises, hence, you should not worry about what people think of you; don't worry whether people commend you every day or not, because man's commendation can be very deceptive. There is a price to pay, that is why the foolish virgins could not get oil at that time of the night. Nobody becomes humble overnight and nobody develops self-control overnight.
Peter said we need to keep reminding ourselves, so that no one is presumptive, because Jesus said that the reapers are angels who would do the sorting out (Matthew 13:24-30, 39). You must constantly evaluate and re-evaluate your spiritual life because if you die unprepared, it would be a monumental tragedy; a tragedy of unbelievable dimension. Pray to God and examine your heart so that you can be sincere to Him and to yourself, and live a life that is worthy of His calling. Peter said he must keep reminding you (2 Peter 1:5-12 [NLT]), so that no one would miss Heaven by the deceitfulness of sin, the world and the devil.
If you have not genuinely repented of your sins and received Jesus as your personal LORD and Saviour, do so now. Repent of everything that offends God, and the Spirit of God will come afresh upon you and begin a fresh work in your heart. If you are willing to repent and surrender your life to Jesus Christ, then pray this prayer right now: O LORD, my God, I thank You for Your Word, I receive Your Word into my heart, I repent of all my sins. LORD Jesus, please come into my heart, and be my LORD and Saviour. I believe with all my heart that You died for my sins, You rose from the dead to give me a new life. I therefore confess You now as my LORD and Saviour. Let the whole world know, let Hell know, let Heaven know that Jesus is my LORD and my Saviour. Thank You for saving me, please write my name in the Book of Life, so that I would spend eternity with You in Jesus name I pray.
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