A Prophetic Witness to the Church Today
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Are You Among the Wise or the Foolish Virgins?
In the parable of the
ten virgins, where do you fit in? Are you among the foolish virgins or the wise? How would
you know? Can you tell? Jesus related that parable shortly before His departure to the
Father. Located in Matthew 25, among other end-time prophecies, Jesus wanted it remembered
by His Church right up until the end. Clearly, the lesson it contains is an important one
for the Church, especially at this time, just before His second coming!
It is a parable
climaxing in the End Times! We are now in those times!! The Church now is
nearly 2,000 years closer that pivotal event than when Jesus first spoke those words.
The parable is a warning, and a prompt to help prepare you as one of
those He has called to be part of His bride.
So, where do you fit in? Take a look and see.
1. They take their lamps.
The Parable of the Ten Virgins
The parable first states that the virgins took their lamps with them (Matt 25:1). What
is your lamp? David wrote:
Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path (Ps 119:105).
The virgins all take their lamps. They all take note of God's Word. Just how much they
see in it, of course, varies from place to place, depending upon background, maturity,
culture and so on. But, by taking their lamps with them, the parable indicates that they
live by what they understand in God's Word.
2. They go out to meet the Bridegroom.
Jesus is the Bridegroom. His second coming is depicted in symbol as the wedding
ceremony, the time when He will be fully united with those whom He loves and who love Him.
The virgins go out (25:1). They leave the ways of this world and begin a new life, a
life which is destined to culminate in the bliss of a marriage union with their Creator.
3. Five are wise; five are foolish.
Among the ten, half of them are wise, half are foolish (25:2). The difference between
them has something to do with oil. What is the oil?
I have found My servant David; with My
holy oil I have anointed him (Ps 89:20,
What are God's servants today 'anointed' with? The
Holy Spirit. The oil
symbolises the Holy Spirit.
4. The wise take oil with them, the foolish don't.
Jesus depicts the wise virgins taking oil with them, but the foolish go through life
without the oil (25:3,4).
Do you know that you can live your life - even living it according to the Word of God
(so you think) - yet quench the oil of His Spirit?! You can go self-righteously on,
thinking you are obedient to God, living by His laws, being utterly convinced that you are
pleasing Him, yet being totally deceived!
This is what Jesus is trying to warn you about.
Tragically, there are many Christians like that. They think they are living a Christian
life, they think they are being obedient to God, but they are doing it all on their own.
God is a bystander. He is not living in them. He lives in us by His Spirit.
You have been called by God. You accept His Word. You have 'come out'. You are on your
way to the Wedding. You are waiting for your Groom.
That's all very fine. But it's worthless if you neglect one thing. Your lamp is no use
if you haven't got oil. Your walk is in the dark if you can't see where you're going. If
the light of your life is dim because of lack of oil, you will lose your way. He will not
be guiding you as He should.
5. They all slumbered and slept.
Many believers think that it is only the foolish who fall asleep. But the parable
states that ALL the virgins fall asleep (25:5).
The Church is presently in this somnolent state. Some are waking up, but very few at
What is this sleep? Deception; delusion; incomplete awareness of spiritual things.
All the Church, in its various sectors, is asleep!
- Some are asleep to the relevance of the law of God in their lives.
- Some are asleep to spiritual gifts they should be using.
- Some are asleep to ministry gifts; unaware that apostles, prophets and evangelists are
present in the body, as well as teachers, preparing it for what is ahead.
6. At midnight a cry goes out.
Midnight is a symbol of the unexpected.1 At an unexpected time, an unexpected thing happens. Actually, several unexpected things
occur, because the Church is not located in one area, so God duplicates His preparation in
various ways wherever His people are to be found.
He sends out a 'cry'. The prophet was customarily the 'crier' in the Old Testament. He
Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their
transgression... (Is 58:1, NKJV).
Prophets may be used as God's instruments to wake up the Church now. Certainly,
prophets are around. The office did not die out with the birth of the Church, or with the
[apparent] passing of the Church Age. Prophetic ministry is still an equally viable
ministry today as teaching ministry (Eph 4:11; 1 Cor 12:28). If it were not, your Bible is
a fraud - which, I hasten to add for the naive, it is NOT!
Depending upon the situation, God either raises up a prophet to speak out, or a
prophetic voice (someone who does not stand in the office of prophet, but who is used by
God temporarily in a certain situation to say what God wants to say), or miraculous
circumstances of His own devising. Whatever His method - and He frequently does things the
way people least expect - He 'announces' His message.
His objective is to wake up - to spiritual realities - those who will listen, but the
obdurate or slovenly will not heed. They will just dismiss the occurrence as of no
consequence or with a rational excuse.
Prophets are rarely heeded. Most people mock and disdain... until it is too late!
Unbelief also holds many back from perceiving God's hand in miraculous circumstances.
But, regardless of the reaction, God sends out a 'cry'. He would want all to take heed,
but not all can. Some are foolish and miss the cry for lack of spiritual perception. The
cry is to prepare the Bride. She should be ready and alert to spiritual caveats and
What is Jesus trying to awaken the Church to see? The imminence of His return? Yes, but
more than that: the imminence of His personal coming in our lives. That
is of greater importance.
You may die before His second coming occurs in the natural. But His second coming will
occur in the supernatural when you die. That is the coming which is more important. All
true Christian martyrs will have already seen His coming, just as Stephen did (Acts 7:56)
and will return with Him to earth at the allotted time.
He is trying to awaken you to the imminence of His spiritual coming in your life; hence
the metaphor of the oil and the disclosure that only the wise accept it.
He wants to come into you more fully. That is the essence of the Midnight Cry.
The question is: Are you letting Him come in? Are you heeding His 'cry'? Are you
hearing His voice? Are you even listening for it?
If you are not, you will be shut outside the door when the wedding feast begins!
The cry is: "Behold the Bridegroom is coming; Come out to meet
This sentence has great significance. I explain in
God's Great Genius that the
numeric value of the whole sentence in the Greek is 5,920, which is also the numeric value
of the sum of four expressions of God's Son in the New Testament. These are:
(592), Jesus (888), Christ (1,480), and
Man (2,960). The numerics of the sentence also point to the essence of its
We are to come out of everything that holds us back from
full union with Him. He
wants His Bride to come into a much closer relationship, and for this to occur,
must accept all He gives her. Revelation mentions her accepting the robes of
righteousness He offers. This acceptance is preparation for the wedding.
Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come
and His bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear
What must you accept to which you are now 'asleep'? Is it:
- His Spirit?
- His law?
- His gifts?
- Or, His prophets?
7. All the virgins wake up.
Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps (25:7).
Something dramatic occurs to cause the virgins to see that the time has arrived!
Suddenly, they become acutely aware of their need of the oil of the Spirit. For the
foolish that will be when catastrophe strikes; when the Great Tribulation arrives. We are
forewarned of the time of Jacob's Trouble in Jeremiah 30:7. Paul also wrote of sudden
destruction coming upon those who are spiritually blind as well as asleep (1 Thes 5:3).
And Jesus foretold of the time when He would physically separate His own from impostors in
the Church (Matt 24:40-42).
For the foolish, who neglected to get the oil they needed to survive, it will be too
late to 'buy'. There is to be a famine of hearing the Word of the Lord (Amos 8:11). There
will be such austerity in the years ahead that if you have not already invested in God's
Spirit, you won't be able to acquire it.
NOW is the time to acquire the spiritual riches God wants you to seek. This is the crux
of the parable. It is an urgent call to take hold of what Jesus offers you now. He is
offering you things of spiritual value and you must accept them or be counted among the
By accepting these spiritual aspects - either His Spirit, His law, His gifts or His
prophets - you are accepting Him. That is His coming in your life.
The Wise Virgins Prepare
OK, so we know when the foolish wake up. But the parable says the wise also sleep and
they also wake up. There is something that the wise lack too.
They use the oil of God's Spirit in their spiritual walk. They don't just wander
through life 'in the flesh'. They live in communion with Jesus in spirit. They go through
life, aware of Him, with living faith, trusting in His constant presence, drawing on His
power and love.
Yet even they fall asleep! In this world of Satan, they fall prey to some of his
deceptions. But before Jesus' return, He sends 'Elijah' the prophet to wake them up and
restore what was lost.
For this to happen something dramatic occurs which wakes them up... before it is too
late! We know it is before it is too late because they are ready to enter in when the
Bridegroom comes, whereas the Spirit-dead foolish virgins are not.
What is this dramatic happening to awaken the wise?
What was it which awoke the widow of
Zarephath? Was it not when her son was raised from
the dead? When Elijah prayed and God responded by restoring life to the dead child:
Then the woman said to Elijah, "Now I know that you are a man of God and that the
word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth." (1 Kings 17:24.)
The dead will be raised in this day! You are about to see those who have lain dead for
some time - for several years - brought back to mortal life as part of the work of the
end-time 'Elijah'. This 'Elijah' is not the man who lived 2½ millennia ago. He is the
prophetic voice God uses in this age, for your particular place and time.
The unbelieving will argue about those who return, inventing demented excuses and
carnal rationalisations instead of simply believing in the power of God. They refuse to
humble themselves and give God the glory He deserves. Their hard hearts will condemn them.
The wise, however, will realise God is doing a new thing on earth. Jesus promised that
those who believe would do even greater feats than He did in His lifetime (Jn 14:12). He
will shake all people before His return. The Church will be shaken so that what is
incorrect and impermanent will be removed from it (Heb 12:27).
The wise virgins will see God's hand at work, and will wake up. They will come to learn
what they failed to see before, having grown up in a world - and Church - possessing only
part truth. They will awaken to the error they had unwittingly believed, and come to
appreciate the full light of His truth.
What Must Come & What Must Go
Let's get specific. What does the Church need to awaken to? What must come, and what
I have already mentioned the four basic areas:
- His Spirit.
- His law.
- His gifts.
- And, His prophets.
In some large denominations, while they may accept the Bible as God's Word, they are
devoid of the Spirit. To be ready for His coming and be accepted in the number to be His
bride, they must accept His Holy Spirit.
To cite one example, the Jehovah's Witnesses may knock on your door. You will see two
well-dressed and nicely groomed people with a smile on their faces. That smile soon
disappears, however, when you suggest they come in and view a video you have on which
Jesus heals the sick. They will leave faster than they came!
They don't accept the Spirit of God. They may say they do, but they don't. They ascribe
the works of God to the devil. In actual fact, it is the devil which is behind many of
their teachings. He doesn't mind teaching anything which is from God's Word, so long as it
keeps you away from a true acceptance of, and union with, God's Spirit. Thus, he can
thwart God's purpose in your life.
God wants you to accept the fullness of His Spirit so that you can grow in His love, and
develop the godly characteristics which Paul calls fruit (result) of the Spirit in
You are to live by the Spirit, and keep in step with the Spirit (Gal 5:25).
None who deny God's Spirit will be in the Bride of Christ. The time to awake is now!
Get rid of anything which prevents the flow of the Spirit in your life.
The majority of denominations and churches subscribe to the view, whether wholly or in
part, that the law of God as revealed in the Old Testament is antiquated and done away.
Many assume that Jesus came to institute a new law, one which had none of the 'harshness'
of the old.
Love and grace, they say, has replaced law and
There are as many variants of this view as there are Heinz varieties.
What most fail to perceive, however, is that Jesus' statements modifying the
O. T. law
did not undermine it, rather they strengthened it. He enhanced its moral purpose. He
magnified the law and made it honourable (Is 42:21, KJV).
The obligation upon Christians today, is therefore much greater than it was for Israel
under the Old Covenant. We are obligated to observe the commands of God in the spirit as
well as in the letter. What Jesus repudiated was worthless 'obedience' to outward rituals
of the law while the inner motive of the heart had not materially changed. The only
aspects of 'the law', as Paul often called the Old Covenant, which are inappropriate to us
today, are the aspects of its physical legal administration (as it was applied to the
nation) and physical sacrifices for sin. (This subject is more fully covered in
Jesus Fulfil the Law For Us?, The Controversy Concerning Law and Grace,
Our Sabbath Rest.)
The sectors of the broad Church today which still perpetuate the pagan derivatives of
observing Sunday, Christmas, Easter and other meaningless syncretistic practices must wake
up to their moral laxity or be counted among the foolish virgins.
None who deny Him by denying His law will be counted among the Bride of Christ. The
time to awake is now!
Stop observing Sunday, Easter, Christmas, and get back to the faith once delivered to
the saints. Observe the true holy days God bequeathed to His Church via Israel. You are
grafted into the same vine (Rom 11:17,18).
The Pentecostal and charismatic churches have championed the gifts of the Spirit for
decades. Since the outpouring of the Spirit in Azusa Street, Los Angeles in 1906, a
Pentecostal revival has swept through North America and also into various countries of
Europe. More than 90 years on and its waves are still advancing.
But there are some very stubborn pockets of resistance to this move of the Holy Spirit.
There are those dispensationalists or cessationists, and traditionalists who still cling
to former teaching that the gifts of the Spirit are not for today, and who ignorantly
assume that what Pentecostals and Charismatics have been experiencing is not from God.
To cloud the issue further, Satan has done his bit too. He has thrown in, via Toronto
and other places, a number of counterfeit manifestations to confuse those who might
otherwise be willing to learn the truth. The fakes and falsities bring into disrepute the
real spiritual gifts and manifestations of God's power. Some just don't want to know. They
fear to get close, just in case they could get hooked!
Fear of this sort is devilish. God will not let any child of His, who is genuinely
seeking a close obedient walk with Him, be sucked in by the devil without hope.
Fear restricts, fear restrains, fear retards. The fear Satan has engendered in some by
his false manifestations of spiritual power holds them back from accepting God's power.
They shy away from taking on board His spiritual gifts.
Those gifts are pure, true, lovely and uplifting. They bring hope and give freedom.
The Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom (2 Cor
If you still resist accepting the supernatural gifts of God's Spirit, and have neither
spoken in tongues, nor interpreted tongues by God's spontaneous inspiration, nor
prophesied in like manner, nor administered a gift of healing, etc., then you need to
re-examine your spirituality. It is deficient. You have not yet accepted all that He wants
to give you.
You are told to eagerly desire spiritual gifts (1 Cor 14:1), just as much as you should
desire God's greatest gift which is love. But that love is not a replacement for His
spiritual gifts. His spiritual gifts and His love are mutually supportive. Gifts operate
properly in love, and love is enhanced by His gifts.
They are not physical or natural proclivities, they are supernatural. So, don't let any
liar convince you that you automatically have spiritual gifts by virtue of being a child
of God. You have to accept them, develop them and use them in His service. You may have
His Spirit, but because of wrong teaching, deny His gifts.
You can have His Spirit with gifts, or without. Better to have the fulness He offers,
for those who deny the gifts when they know better will not be counted among the Bride of
Christ. The time to awake is now!
Get out from under false teachers who deny the power of God. Come into an acceptance of
Satan will do all in his power to detract from anything God is doing to wake up His
chosen. He confuses with false teaching, sends delusion with counterfeits and frauds. The
fact that there are counterfeits is a sure sign that the genuine exists!
Such is the case in the matter of prophets. There are true and there are false. Only
those with spiritual discernment can really perceive the true. That discernment is a gift,
too (1 Cor 12:10), to those who are open to it. It doesn't come naturally.
What does come naturally is opposition to God's prophets. If you have resentment or a
measure of hostility against someone claiming to be doing God's will, you can rest assured
you have been infected with a dose of Satan's venom. More than likely it is against one
doing God's Work, but which you cannot perceive.
The major part of the Church is presently asleep to God's prophets. They see, but they
don't perceive them. They hear them, but they don't understand them.
Because of satanic resistance to what God is doing through His prophets, you can bet
that the area of greatest contention in the Church is one in which a true prophet is at
So, don't be put off by contention. Don't assume division to be the true prophet's
legacy. It is Satan's, by virtue of his resistance to what God is doing. And don't assume
that Jesus does not work through prophets today. He has not changed (Heb 13:8).
The question is, have you? Have you changed as a result of the prompting of those He
sends? Or are you still sound asleep?
WAKE UP! Wake up to the message of Elijah! He is here - now - to awaken you to
He is telling you that
if you resist Jesus' full spiritual coming in your life
now - accepting all He gives as part of His spiritual preparation - neither will you be
ready at His second coming.
He is behind these words. He has come to you today. You must do something
Bridegroom! Come out to meet Him! (Matt 25:6.)
Malcolm B. Heap
(This article first appeared in
Awake! Awake! of Nov/Dec 1997, Vol.
6, No. 1.)
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This is explained in our article The Midnight Cry.