Lamps are for Light

By Jacob Garcia

Jesus Christ of Nazareth spoke many parables, some of which were so evidently clear in content that the chief priests and scribes perceived that He spoke of them and sought to lay hands on Him (Luke 20:19). Other parables are still a mystery unto this day. He spoke unto the multitude in parables, "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world" (Matt. 13:25).

I would imagine that for many, using parables might further keep those things a secret until someone boldly replies, as Peter did unto Jesus, "Declare unto us this parable" (Matt. 15:15). Here, we see that even Peter, a prominent disciple of Jesus, asked to have certain parables declared unto him in order to truly understand the meaning thereof, yet a large percentage of Christians regard the parables of Jesus as nothing more than simple lessons on morality and good, ethical behavior. Meanwhile, our responsibility as followers of Christ, is to indeed seek to have such "secrets from the foundation of the world" declared unto us as well.

"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" (Matt. 25:1-5). At the beginning of this parable, Jesus compares what is now modern day Christianity, to ten virgins who took their lamps in anticipation of meeting the bridegroom to join the marriage ceremony. Doesn't this scenario sound familiar? Do not we, as Christians, embrace our Bibles and declare unto God, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path" (Psalms 119:105). And do not we also anticipate the coming of the Bridegroom, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? These are only a few elements that reveal the condition of modern day Christianity and what will become of it.

The next significant action taken in this parable is a choice made by the wise virgins who took oil in their lamps and the foolish virgins who went forth with no oil. In Matthew 25:7, we see that all the virgins trimmed their lamps but only the wise virgins were able to produce light. The foolish virgins, although still having lamps, did not have any light. This is where most Christians find themselves today. How long will Christianity survive by continuing to walk with lamps (Bibles), yet having no light? Furthermore, what is it that Jesus is declaring unto us of the condition in which Christianity will find themselves during the time just before His soon appearance?

Those who foolishly choose to carry their lamps around, having made no effort to prepare their lamps for use, will find themselves in utter darkness. Jesus tells us "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me" (Matt. 11:29). How foolish would we be found, having the teachings of Jesus for so long with no one bothering to learn of Him and of His truths. Jesus said, "If a man love me, he will keep my words" (John 14:23). Yet His words often seem to be the farthest thing from our minds.

America, in particular, has made many successful attempts in recent history to ensure that our lamps are not allowed in schools and various other public establishments, making it more difficult to have our light shine for Christ in the midst of a growing darkness which is slowly overtaking this nation. For this cause we must "search the scriptures" (John 5:39) and obtain as much knowledge of the truth of Jesus' plans for us at this end of the age, lest we also find ourselves as the ten virgins who "while the bridegroom tarried, . . . all slumbered and slept."

Paul writes to the church at Thessalonica saying, "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober" (1 Thess. 5:1-6).

If you find yourself getting weary and sluggish during your wait for Christ's return, remember that until then, "ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry" (Heb. 10:36-37). Therefore, let us "buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding" (Pro. 23: 23), for in so doing, we shall become as the virtuous woman spoken of in Proverbs 31 who "openeth her mouth with wisdom" and who's "candle goeth not out by night" (Pro. 31: 26, 18). Amen.