By Zhang Zhicheng
Thesaid, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened to 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 comes; go you out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to 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 you 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” (Matthew 25:1-10). Here the Lord Jesus admonished us: When the bridegroom comes, only the wise virgins who have prepared the oil will be raptured to the kingdom of heaven and dine with Him, whereas the foolish virgins will be locked outside by Him because of not preparing the oil.
So, what kinds of people are the wise virgins? Some might say: Those who work hard and sacrifice for the Lord, and who take up the Cross, bear the humiliation and pain, and preach theof the Lord, are the wise virgins. They have prepared enough oil. At the of the Lord, they must be raptured to the kingdom of heaven and dine with Him. Is this statement correct? Just think back to those Jewish Pharisees. They served Jehovah God for generations and traveled over land and sea to spread His gospel. Then they fancied the Messiah in the prophecies would reveal Himself before them, and they naturally believed they would have a place in the kingdom of heaven. In view of this, can these Pharisees be considered as wise virgins? And if so, then why is that when the Messiah the Lord Jesus appeared to them, they didn’t know Him and even killed Him? What kinds of people actually are the wise virgins? The question is worth pondering. When the Lord Jesus first came, He revealed the mystery, “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23). According to these words of the Lord Jesus, we are certain that, the wise virgins are not those who only focus on journeying to and fro, spending, suffering and working, but those who focus on obeying His words and way. Only such wise virgins are qualified to . If one only focuses on suffering and working but does not practice God’s word or comply with His commandments, he will serve God according to his self-will and natural character. For example, some do so for the purpose of establishing their own prestige and position among believers; some do so with the intention of gaining God’s blessings, exchanging labor for His rewards and blessing of entering the kingdom of heaven. All of their toil is to make a deal with God. They not only cannot receive God’s approval, but will be detested and punished by Him because of their actions that defy God.
Looking back, Jewish chief priests, scribes and Pharisees were all well versed in the letters and doctrines of the law, and always preached the law to people, but they did not obey God’s word and commandments. And they even killed prophets and righteous men, coveted status and sacrifices, and offered lame sacrifices. Outwardly, they were godly, and appeared upright to people, but secretly, they did innumerable the things of breaking God’s law and commandments. When the Lord Jesus came to do His work, He exposed them, “You blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.” and condemned them, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” Furthermore, when the Lord Jesus came to do the redemptive work in the Age of Grace, they clearly knew that what He said and did are not humanly possible but have great authority and power, yet still did their utmost to condemn and resist Him. It was because they were afraid that the Jews would all follow Him and thus they would lose their position and jobs. In order to deceive the Jews, they fabricated rumors and slandered the Lord Jesus, saying that He was the carpenter’s son and not born of a virgin; they blasphemed Him and said He cast out demons by the ruler of the demons; they stuck to the words of the, said His name was not Messiah, and so flatly denied that He was God’s appearing; they condemned Him as not holding to the law because He healed people on the Sabbath day, and so on. Pharisees served God, worked hard and sacrificed for Him for generations; however, they only focused on explaining the Bile to people and exalting it for being admired and thought highly of and followed by the people, but did not love the truth or focus on seeking to understand the truth and know God. Therefore, they turned a blind eye or a deaf ear toward the truth expressed by the incarnate God, the Lord Jesus, not seeking or investigating, and even wickedly condemned and resisted. In the end, they crucified the Lord Jesus, the coming of the Messiah. These people were the ones who served God in the temple. If they were the wise virgins, why did they not investigate or seek the work of the Lord Jesus but instead crucified Him? From the Pharisees’ failure, we can see the fact that they were not the wise virgins at all. They worked hard and sacrificed only for the sake of consolidating their position, not for leading the people to obey God’s law and commandments. And they even became the obstacle hindering people from investigating the true way as a result.
Knowing the fact that Jewish Pharisees of that time served God but resisted God, let us look at today’s pastors and elders, and see their work, sermons, sacrifice and attitudes toward the Lord’s return. By comparing the two facts, we can know whether the service of today’s pastors and elders is doing evil and resisting God or is preparing enough oil. We all see the fact: Now the church condition becomes worse day by day. Pastors and elders who have expounded biblical knowledge and theological theories for many years cannot provide answers to believers’ needs within the spirit and in life. Believers are depressed in the spirit, passive and weak, and have lost their first faith and love. They follow the worldly path and seek to make bundles, buy luxury cars and live in a mansion in the lap of luxury, living in the enjoyment of the flesh and material comforts. Since pastors and elders have worked and preached so many years, why can’t they supply believers with life or solve the problem of believers’ being cold in faith and love? Primarily because they do not obey the commandments of the Lord and do not practice and experience His words in spite of them working hard and sacrificing. They do not preach according to the true meaning of truth in the Lord’s word to supply believers, but explain the Bible and misinterpret it by their self-will. Ordinarily, they only seek to equip themselves with letters and doctrines of the Bible and theological theories to fellowship lofty doctrine, the aim of which is to make believers admire, praise and follow them. Many believers blindly accept and obey their words without discernment about whether their words conform to the truth. What is more serious is that they only focus on preaching man’s words instead of exalting and testifying the Lord’s words. For example, they have never expounded what is loving God with all our hearts, all our will, and all our strength, what is doing, what sorts of people can enter the kingdom of heaven, what kinds of people are the wise virgins, and how to be sober and ready so that we can welcome the Lord’s return. Rather, they use the prevention of false Christs and antichrists as an excuse to strictly control, deceive and bind believers, and not to allow them to seek and investigate any information of the Lord’s return. Therefore, it can be seen that they are the modern hypocritical Pharisees, the foolish virgins, not the wise virgins at all.
So, what are the differences between the wise virgins and foolish ones? When hearing someone preach that the Lord has returned, the wise virgins can recognize the Lord’s voice. As long as they hear His voice, they will go forth to welcome Him and keep pace with the Lamb’s footsteps. However, when hearing someone preach that the Lord has returned, the foolish virgins cannot recognize the Lord’s voice; moreover, they will not seek or investigate His work, but just wait blindly or follow pastors and elders to blindly deny and condemn it, and to refuse to welcome Him. This shows that how to welcome the Lord’s appearance, find His footsteps and recognize His voice is our top priority now. The Lord Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). Through the conversation with the Lord Jesus, the Samaritan woman knew He was the coming Messiah, , and followed Him. Many people, like Peter, John, Matthew, Mark and so on, knew the Lord Jesus was the Messiah by seeking and investigating and followed Him too. All of them were the wise virgins who met the Lord. Now is the time the wise virgins seek the bridegroom’s voice. Revelation prophesies in many places, “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:7). We are sure that the way we find the Lord’s appearance and His work is seeking out what the Spirit says to the churches. We can also say what the Spirit says to the churches is the voice of the bridegroom. God’s sheep will hear the voice of God. Those who are able to understand God’s voice are God’s sheep. They are the wise virgins. Those who cannot discern God’s voice are the foolish virgins. Do you find what the Spirit says to the churches?