I have some bad news and good news for Christians. The bad news is that the condition of the church as a whole in these present, last days, is lukewarm and falling asleep, if not completely in dreamland. The good news is that Christ will be returning, mid-air, for His bride, The Church, anyway.
Some people believe there will be a last pouring out of God's Holy Spirit on everyone (Joel 2:28-32), before the Rapture. I hope and pray the world experiences that. However, if you read that full prophecy, I believe it has not been fulfilled in its entirety. In addition, Peter thought that prophecy was being fulfilled in his day as he gave a speech. He explained to the crowd in Jerusalem that the Holy Spirit's ministry of the disciple's speaking the Gospel in all the different languages represented in the city at the festival that year was the fulfillment of the Joel prophecy (Acts 2:14-41).
Perhaps this Last Outpouring of the Holy Spirit has many occurances and one of them is future at The Church's Awakening alluded to in the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13).
Many, if not all, Biblical scholars note the virgins in this telling by Jesus represent The Church. Not just one, three, five or seven virgins, but all ten virgins compose the church - “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom." We also know from reading this that half of them are wise and half foolish because of the presence or lack of oil in their lamps, which represents The Holy Spirit's wisdom, covering and ministry in the believer - "Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps."
I find Peter and Paul's soon expectation of Christ's return interesting in light of the huge hint Jesus grants them and us down through the ages that - "The bridegroom was a long time in coming,". The promise to return by Jesus like a theif in the night (Rev. 16:15) speaks to unexpectancy by us or Christ's eminent return. The promise by Jesus to come soon or quickly describes the method of His coming (Rev. 22:12). Here, I believe we get a sense of the time elapsed before The Rapture - "a long time" (in fact, two thousand plus years).
After Jesus declares that the bridegroom will be a long time in coming, He then says, "and they [the ten virgins] all became drowsy and fell asleep." Notice that not one, not three, not five or seven, but all of the virgins, all of the church - falls asleep.
Where else do we find that we cannot stay awake with the Lord in Scripture? One instance is in the most crucial time of Christ's ministry, The Garden of Gethsemane, praying before The Trial and Crucifixion (Matthew 26:36-45). Another time has supposedly come and gone in the age or dispensation spoken of in Revelation 3:1-6 where the church was so asleep that God considered it "dead". And the complacent, lukewarm age of the church that Christians are supposedly in now according to Revelation 3:14-22 may well as place us back into slumber.
However, returning to the sleeping virgins - all the virgins/church awaken at the arrival of the groom. Then they trim their lamps and proceed with the amount of oil or Holy Spirit wisdom, covering and ministry they have - “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps." The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
Besides the description of The Last Days in Matthew 24, the culture of the season in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 and the lukewarm state of the church in the last days pictured in Revelation 3:14-22 - another sobering thought is that fifty percent of the virgins, half of the church is ready for the Bridegroom's Return. Not a good statistic. This stat is backed up by imagery provided by Christ on this very topic of The Rapture when He describes twice, "Two men will be in the field, one taken the other left. Two women will be grinding at the handmill, one will be taken and the other left." (Matt. 24:4o-41) Fifty percent imagery, very interesting.
With these numbers there is no wonder why Jesus commanded then and commands believers now to "watch and pray" - “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour." (Matt. 25:13). This is not a suggestion or recomendation. However, it is an order that can be either followed or not. The command is a state of alertness. It is a condition of active waiting. Will we be found serving the Lord when He returns with a loud command/shout, the voice of the arch angel and trumpet of God? (1 Thess. 4:16) Jesus says that Christians should be faithful and wise with what God has blessed them with for the extension of the Kingdom - "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns." (Matt. 24:45-46) Can We [The Church] Not Stay Awake?
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