Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

by Jeannette Haley

There are a lot of things that money can’t buy, and one of them is wisdom. Job 28:18b says, “…the price of wisdom is above rubies.” A person can learn all kinds of facts and formulas and still lack common sense. A person can spend years in college and institutes of higher learning and still be nothing more than an overeducated idiot. A person can travel the world over, converse with the religious leaders of every nation and religion, and still end up a faithless fool. Only those who have sought and found the true source of wisdom, which is God and His Word, actually know truth, wisdom, instruction, and understanding. (Proverbs 23:23.) “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” Proverbs 1:7.

Without veering off into the world of politics and insane governmental policies and “regulations,” this is just one verse out of countless others that describes the make up of the fools we see and hear every time we watch the news. It appears that we live in a time when fools have gained total control, and with their grubby mitts on the “world’s steering wheel” are driving hell-bent into total destruction.

Remember Jesus’ parable of the ten virgins, five wise, and five foolish, in Matthew 25:1-13? All ten of them knew that it was time to go forth to meet the bridegroom. All ten of them took their lamps, but only five were wise enough to bring oil to keep their lamps burning. If we are to be identified with the wise virgins, and thus enter in with our Lord before the door is shut, we need to understand what the key differences are concerning both groups. Why were five wise, and five foolish?

All of the virgins believed that the bridegroom was coming soon, and both had a means (lamps) to carry light, but only the wise were prepared for the darkest hours before His arrival. Lamps without oil and light are useless. The wise went out to meet Him prepared: the foolish did not.

The question is, how does a person acquire wisdom? Is wisdom something that people even seek after in this day and age, or are they more caught up with the temporal things of this world, which, tragically, are all wrapped in lies when you get right down to it.  St. Augustine put it this way, “To wisdom belongs the intellectual apprehension of eternal things; to knowledge, the ration knowledge of temporal things.”

In the Book of Job, chapter 28, verse 28 we read what the fear of God constitutes, “And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom: and to depart from evil is understanding.”  Therefore, we know that the wise virgins feared the Lord, and thus received understanding as they separated themselves from evil.  They knew that “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding” Proverbs 4:7. The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy concerning the source of wisdom, “And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” 2 Timothy 3:15. James wrote, But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” James 3:17.

      Up front, Jesus laid the foundation for the parable of the ten virgins by giving a clear contrast between those who were wise and those who were foolish. This leaves no “middle ground” or any so-called “gray area.” Jesus’ teachings never left a “safe zone” for people to hide in who were halting between two decisions, and this parable is no exception. The real Jesus of the Bible stands in stark contrast to the modern Jesus offered by the pulpit pimps and false prophets of today’s apostate churches. This fake “Jesus” always makes people feel good about themselves, wouldn’t harm a fly, and whether we want to admit it or not, is “politically correct” in his socialistic and humanistic viewpoints.

The truth is, the real Jesus of the Bible always presented people with two, not three or more, choices such as which master they would serve. The Bible is clear that everyone has to make the choice between heaven or hell, life or death, the narrow road or the broad road, being born again or lost in sin, to believe or disbelieve, obey or rebel, and to walk in the light or love darkness. People who approach the Bible with a “middle-of-the-road-gray-area” perception are basically unbelievers who will never be able to receive and believe the truth because their minds are already made up about the Bible, God, who Jesus is, salvation, and so forth based on their high opinion of themselves, their intelligence, their pride, and their resistance to repentance! Such people talk about “God” but they don’t know Him, nor do they belong to Him because they do not believe the written Word or the Living Word. Thus, they are children of darkness and the so-called “light” that they believe they walk according to is a false light. (See 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.)

This parable is timely and fitting for these last days that we find ourselves in. Obviously, the ten virgins, like many today, realize that the coming of the Lord is near. All ten of them “went forth to meet the bridegroom.”  The difference is, the wise virgins were prepared, and the foolish were not. The preparation that the wise virgins made came at a price. They had “counted the cost” and “paid the price” to possess the necessary oil to keep their lamps burning, whereas the foolish were left unprepared.

In the times in which we live, we know that in order to spiritually survive the great darkness that is rapidly engulfing the entire earth, we must be prepared. This means knowing Jesus as our LORD, and knowing His Word and living it through faith and obedience. The oil that the wise virgins had was costly. It had cost them their right to their self life. It had been purchased through unwavering faith, dedication, obedience, and faith in the One who had shed His blood for them. Their oil was purchased by total identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. Through consecration, sanctification, and regeneration they had this precious oil. Paying the price involves suffering, overcoming, and sacrifice. The oil that the wise possess is that precious anointing of the Spirit of God that is a flame no man, and no devil, can extinguish. Thus, the wise were ready to meet the bridegroom.

Concerning the foolish virgins, some argue that surely they were Christians. After all, they are called “virgins,” they had lamps, and they went out to meet the bridegroom. Isn’t that what so many people are like today? They have the name of “Christian.” They hang around with Christians, go to church, and carry their “lamps” with them, giving the appearance of being prepared. But, inwardly they are faithless and unbelieving. They have never paid the price. They may have “talked the talk,” but they haven’t “walked the walk.” It is all a half-hearted effort. Therefore, when they go forth to meet the bridegroom, they do so in presumption, assuming He will show up when they think He will show up, and all will be well for them with little, if any, effort on their part. The foolish are “all head and no heart” whereas the wisdom of the wise is contained in their hearts. The foolish lack discernment, as well as the depth of wisdom and understanding of the ways of God, and what He requires of His servants and disciples. Tragically, such flippancy ends in destruction.

We read that the bridegroom tarried, and all the virgins slumbered and slept, both the wise and the foolish. This reminds us of Peter, and the other disciples who slept in the Garden of Gethsemane while Jesus labored in prayer. Then, when the cry was made at midnight, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him,” they all arose and trimmed their lamps, but only the wise had enough oil to go the distance to meet Him. Thus, the foolish demanded that the wise give them their precious oil. However, the wise knew they could not give what they had personally paid for to those who foolishly neither valued nor considered Him who is worthy of all glory, honor, and majesty.

To the foolish He wasn’t worth the price. This reminds us of the socialists of today who despise the righteous, ostracizing and putting them down, slandering and mocking them. Even though the truth and wisdom of the righteous is condemned as being “hateful” and “prejudiced,” they will not be moved. The refusal of the wise virgins to give their hard-earned oil to those who, because of their ideology, slothfulness, and indolence, were caught unprepared, caused anger, jealousy, and resentment.

The conclusion of this parable is a stark reminder that there is indeed a day and an hour coming upon the earth when it will be too late for the unprepared to suddenly get prepared. “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 25:10-12.

May the Lord grant that we will be found with oil in our lamps, burning brightly in this dark world, walking in obedience, faithful in good works, prepared and expectant for His sudden appearing. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!