There is a well-known parable found in Matthew 25. It is the parable of the ten virgins, five who were wise and five who were foolish. This parable has been one I’ve thought about frequently. Have you? As the time of our messiah’s return draws closer for that event we commonly refer to as the rapture, this is one of those parables that has captured my attention. While my understanding of it has increased significantly over the past few years, there has been one thing that I’ve wondered about in the parable. Now don’t get me wrong. I understand this is a parable, a word-picture of sorts to help us understand various truths that God wants to relate to us, but I can’t help but think that Jesus was trying to tell us something in the seemingly insignificant parts of this parable. Jesus isn’t one to say things He doesn’t mean, or to say things simply to say things, or to say things that have no purpose or significance for us.
In this parable we understand that the ten virgins represent those who have entered into a saving relationship with Christ. We also understand that their waiting for the bridegroom to return relates to Christians waiting for Christ’s return to take them back to His eternal home in Heaven. We know that five of them were wise while five of them were foolish as brides in not adequately preparing themselves for the bridegrooms return. When the cry was made all ten of the virgins woke up and began to trim their lamps, and it was at this time that the foolish ones were discovered in that they didn’t have enough oil for their lamps. Prior to this point in the parable none of them seemed to know who was foolish and who was wise, but once this became apparent the wise instructed the foolish to go to those who buy and sell. While the foolish are looking to get more oil before the bridegroom’s return, the bridegroom returns and takes with him the five wise virgins leaving the five foolish ones behind. When the five foolish ones return they find that the door is shut and they are denied entry to be with the others. I’ve touched on the above points at different times in previous blogs, but now I want to focus on one particular point in the parable.
In Matthew 25:6, Jesus starts off by saying, “And at midnight a cry was heard: …” This statement for whatever reason has stuck with me for quite some time. To begin with I noticed it does not say at the ‘midnight hour’, but instead ‘at midnight’. This might seem trivial to some but I think there is a lot of significance behind it. After all, the foolish virgins did not have enough time to go get more ‘oil’ before the bridegroom returned. This one point seems to not only expose who were foolish in their preparations for his return, but also shows the consequences of such foolishness by not giving them a lot of notice between the cry of his return and his return. It’s almost as if the bridegroom didn’t want to reward their foolishness by giving them time after the cry is made to get prepared if they were not already prepared. When I think about it, what better reward would one have for their wisdom and efforts to be prepared at any time than to be numbered among the selected few who are ‘taken’ back to the bridegrooms home? So, the nugget we could pull from this is that there is very little time between the cry at midnight and the return of the bridegroom. Are you ready and prepared? We see that all ten virgins wanted to go with the bridegroom and were looking forward to his return, so this isn’t the issue. The issue is more how wise or foolish they were in preparing for it.
Another thing about this statement of Jesus in the parable is the ‘cry’. I have to admit that for the longest time I was stuck on the fact that Jesus said ‘at midnight’ and not ‘at the midnight hour’, and because of that I didn’t give much thought to the ‘cry’ and what it is. I think for the most part I thought it would be anointed and Spirit lead teaching and preaching alerting people to Christ’s soon return, until recently that is. A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend about end time events and this very parable. In our conversation he asked if it was safe to say that the ‘cry’ mentioned in the parable was anointed teaching and preaching on the soon return of Christ. At first I said it could be but the more I thought about it I realized that could not be the case. I know that many think that there will be a great revival that comes before the rapture of the church, and I would join in the hope and excitement of such, but I find myself leaning more to a great revival happening after the rapture instead of before it. There are numerous passages that indicate not everyone that calls themselves a Christian will be chosen, especially from statements that Jesus, Himself, made. I also find myself thinking that anointed teaching and preaching could not be the ‘cry’ since we’ve been hearing that literally for decades. So, what could the ‘cry’ be that we should be ‘listening’ for? Hmmm.
Is there anything in Biblical prophecy that might indicate what that ‘cry’ might be? Can we even say that the ‘cry’ is mentioned and identified in prophecy? I believe there has to be something that we can point to as the ‘cry’ so that we know what to be listening for, or are we supposed to be in the ‘dark’ until it sounds hoping we will know what it is when we hear it? In the ancient Jewish marriage customs, the very customs that we find parallel with our relationship with Christ in so, so, so many ways, the virgins waiting for their bridegrooms return had some idea of what that ‘cry’ would sound like and what it would involve, so how is it that we could think that Jesus would not make us aware of what that ‘cry’ would sound like or what it would involve? Well, I believe He has in fact given us some clues as to what that ‘cry’ would be and what it would involve. Are you ready for it? It’s probably not what you’re thinking.
When asked by His disciples Jesus gave a list of things to look for as a way of knowing when He was going about to return. Many of these things have been around for a long time, so to look at the individual items may not be a good pointer of the ‘cry’, but we know when all the things He mentions begin to happen at the same time with increased frequency and intensity then we can know that His return is very near. Did you catch it? I know you did but let me tell you anyways. I believe the ‘cry’ mentioned in the parable of the ten virgins refers to the increasing fulfillment of Biblical end-time prophecies before our very eyes. Think about it. It isn’t something that mankind can dictate, manipulate or control, so when it happens we know it is God and not us. We cannot control, though we may try at times and in different ways, when and how Biblical end-time prophecies are fulfilled, but Jesus said that when we see these things begin to happen we know that His return is very near.
Unlike any other time in history we are literally seeing, for those who are watching, the fulfillment of end-times Bible prophecy before our very eyes at a rate of speed that could make one’s head spin. It seems that key pieces, both small and great, are coming together like never before and in ways never before imagined or believed, taking final steps in preparation of the tribulation period. And, if the rapture happens before the tribulation as I and others believe it would, then what we are seeing must be the ‘cry’ of His soon and perhaps imminent return. So, if the ‘cry’ is the fulfillment of end-time Bible prophecy as I said, then it behooves us to make sure we respond to that ‘cry’, trim our lamps, and prepare for His very soon return.