In 1 Peter 4:7, Peter made a statement which is somewhat difficult to apply in such a way as to make it meaningful, and thus believable. He told "the strangers scattered abroad" in various parts of Asia Minor, present-day Turkey, "The end of all things is at hand." Apparently, the "all things" of which he spoke did not include "all" of the things which were to occur in the Grace Age, or of all things which would occur on through the seventh millennium from the creation of Adam.
In Ezekiel 7:6, Ezekiel used the expression, "An end is come, the end is come." The end of the literal application of the law had already come, as had also the end of Israel as a nation. It appears that Peter spoke of the end of all things concerning the Jews being chosen to lead God's work on Earth, as Daniel described them in Dan. 9:24-27. "For the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate." God destroyed the carnal State of Israel in a.d. 70, yet preserving the Church for martyrdom later in the century. The time had come when those who were hidden "in his skirt" (Ezek. 5:1-4) were to be cast into the fire; the time for their martyrdom to mark the beginning of God using Gentiles to spearhead His work.
A somewhat similar thing has been happening with the Gentile Christians for a while now. However, this time it is the end of Christianity, as we know it. An end to the predominant role of Roman Catholicism in Christianity began in the 1500s. Now the words of Peter have gained new meaning. The end of the Grace Age itself is at hand. The end of the sixth millennium from the creation of Adam is a mere few months away, and "the destroyer" is in the land. The day of the wrath of God against Christianity hovers near.
"Thus saith the Lord God unto the land of Israel, "An end, the end is come upon the four corners of the land. Now is the end come upon thee, and I will send mine anger upon thee. ... An end is come, the end is come" (Ezekiel 7:2). Spiritual Israel - Christianity - has now come to the same place, for the end of the Grace Age is here, and the throne of the kingdom is being prepared in the fulfillment of Daniel 2:44-45.
In Matthew 24, the disciples of Jesus asked Him to tell them three things: 1) when it would come to pass that there would be nothing left standing of the temple, 2) what would be the sign of His coming, 3) and of the end of the world. In chapter 24:37-51, Jesus answered their first two questions. Then, in verse 37, Jesus began to explain in parables the events at "the end of the world," beginning with the sign of the prophetic fulfillment of the account of Noah.
In Matthew 25, Jesus continued His prophetic account of those last days of the sixth millennium. He said, "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom." (In that Jesus called them all virgins, we must assume that He meant that they were all Christians.) All ten of them - the entire "kingdom of heaven" both the wise and the foolish - got tired as they waited, and they all went to sleep.
In a time of darkness, someone who did not go to sleep began to sound an alarm. He, or they, began to cry out, "Behold, the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him." All ten of those virgins woke up, and trimmed their lamps. And in Psalm 119:105, the Psalmist sang unto God, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Five of them became acutely aware that they had failed to make sure that they had enough oil for their lamps. They began to ask the wise ones for some of their oil, but all they got was some advice to "go to them that sell," and buy some. So, trimming their lamps simply means that when the cry is made to go out to meet the Bridegroom, they will begin to search the Holy Scriptures for the truth.
One good thing will be happening during all of this. God has provided a blessing to the "foolish" ones. The two witnesses will be there "selling" the oil of understanding, to provide those who do not make it in with enough understanding to escape the strong delusion which God is going to send upon the Christians who have not received a love of the truth, and to overcome "the beast."
When the foolish virgins returned, they were too late to go in to the marriage. The others had already gone in, and the door had been shut, even as it had been on Noah's ark when the flood began. They cried out, "Lord, Lord, open to us," but, as in the days of Noah, the door was not opened. Apparently, this parable was partly intended to reveal something to us about how the allegory of Noah and the ark will be fulfilled.
That Lord of the Marriage answered and said, "Verily I say unto you, I know you not." That did not mean they were bad, but only that their invitations to the marriage had expired. They had not acted wisely, or they would have gotten ready in time to go in. They were invited to the marriage, but they simply waited too long to try to learn what they needed to know about the time of the coming of the bridegroom. (Of course, the majority of Christian ministers will be responsible for that; teaching their sheep that they will not have any lead time in which to get ready.) They missed the appointed time of entry, and the Lord of the Festivities could not accommodate them. Even those who were wise had to hustle to get ready in time to make it in.
This parable concerns one of the last events to take place before Jesus comes for the marriage. For years now, most preachers have taught us that you cannot know when Jesus is coming, and they have lulled multitudes to sleep. God is just, and they will face God, only to be condemned for causing so many saints to be killed during the time of great persecution under the fury of "the beast." The Apostle Paul insisted that some of us will know when Jesus is coming, and those elect saints will know when the Lord is coming, in time to wake us all up and help us to understand the Bible (Lamp) well enough to watch for the opening of the door, and be there to go in when it opens (1 Thess. 5:1-9).
Missing the entry into the wedding will not be a good thing, because shortly thereafter, "the enemy shall come in like a flood," and destroy Christianity from the earth, except, of course, those who went in to the wedding. I cannot put enough emphasis on the part that the light of the Word of God is going to play in this great drama. It is that "oil of light" which shall make all the difference in whether we are found rejoicing at the marriage feast, or weeping and gnashing our teeth in the gross darkness which will be poured out upon the "seat of the beast."
Jesus used ten virgins in this parable because of the fact that the Old Testament allegory depicts the Kingdom of God divided into Israel and Judah from the time that Israel left Egypt. In Psalm 114:1-2, He said, Israel was His dominion, and Judah was His sanctuary. The separation actually came at the beginning of the rule of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon. Before the death of Solomon, the Lord sent Ahijah the prophet to Jeroboam. When Ahijah came to him, he took a new garment and tore it into twelve pieces. He then told Jeroboam, "Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee."
As long as Israel continued as a nation, that separation also continued; prophesying of the condition that Christianity would be in from the second century a.d. until the final preparation for the coming of the Bridegroom would begin. One of the last things God is going to do in these last days of the Grace Age is to gather a group of Christians together from all of the sects of Christianity, and bring them "in the unity of the faith."
We have already arrived at the beginning of the fulfillment of the allegory of Noah. We have also come to the time of the fulfillment of Ezekiel 37, when the rods for Judah and for Joseph shall become one again. Only the anointed messenger of the Lord could have the wisdom and understanding to accomplish such a notable achievement.
The Lord said, "I will make them one nation in the land" (verse 22). These things are specifically about Gentile Christianity today, and shall conclude with the promise, "And David My servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: and they shall also walk in My judgments, and observe My statutes and do them" (verse 24).
The ten virgins are the ten tribes: the New Testament "kingdom of heaven, and the wake-up call will be made by the segment of Christianity which God will choose to be His Sanctuary: the Bride. We are now calling you to stir yourselves to press forward to the knowledge necessary for you to attend the marriage. The parable shows that not everyone who hears, and sets out to go to the marriage will be able to get ready in time. When "the enemy shall come in like a flood" they shall have no defense because they did not have their names "written among the living in Jerusalem" (Isaiah 59:19; Isaiah 4:3-5).
Those who survived the flood in Noah's day are spoken of this way, in Genesis 7:22-23: "All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. (We must hear "the breath of life in Christ Jesus," when we consider its fulfillment.) And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark."
The Lord suggests the same thing in Isaiah 4, saying, "In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain."
That day shall come as a surprise to most Christians, because most of our ministers are busy "tickling ears," and they "cry peace, peace," but there shall be no peace. It is urgent that we hear the words of Joel, and prepare for the war that is coming (Joel 3:9-11).
Many ministers, "while they promise liberty, are themselves the servants of corruption. Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them" (2 Peter 2:19-22).
"Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.
"But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator."
It is high time to wake out of sleep.