Monday, November 12, 2012

Who Are the Redeemed and Are We Seeing the Wrath of God?

There is so much smoke blown over the subject of the second coming of Christ, the gathering, the wrath of the Lamb, and the wrath of God.  Not to mention the confusion regarding natural disasters. Simply put; these are all different events.  We have to do an audit of the word of God to see that these are multiple events; all different in timing and specific in their own right. After hurricane Sandy and the recent Nor’easter, just as with hurricane Katrina, some people blame God; while others decide that God is judging America.  But those ideas fall short in light of the word of God.  I was remembering the children’s Sunday School song about the wise man who built his house upon a rock and the foolish man who built his house upon the sand.  Jesus wasn’t joking, or just trying to inspire a children’s song.  He was speaking wisdom.  When the rains came down and the floods came up, some homes went splat and some stood firm.  If we simply remember, the rain falls on the just and the unjust, and natural disasters (whether you believe they are due to global warming, or Harp and Elf waves, or simply weather patterns) happen and have always happened, we will start to be able to discern what is from God and what is not. In his day, Jesus calmed storms; so we have to ask ourselves, are storms new? Of course not, we haven’t kept records long enough to compare, but we know of several devastating storms in south in the last hundred years.  We also know there are multitudes of cities now under water all over the world.  Were the cities built under water? No, they ended up there.  So then what we can ascertain from Jesus’ story about the wise and foolish men and where they built their homes is that there are better places to build than others.

There are people mentioned in the word of God called the redeemed.  Who are the redeemed?  What is their destiny? The people Jesus bought with his blood have a different destiny than those who reject Him.  We have previously looked at the constellation of Pisces as that is the age we are in, but we did not specify the destiny of the redeemed.  Jesus told us a very interesting story and Paul gave us quite a few clues to the redeemed.  One of the first things we see is that the redeemed are rescued from the law.

Gal 3:13 Christ hath redeemed [1805]us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:KJV
Gal 4:5 To redeem [1805]them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.KJV

Redeemed NT:1805 exagorazo (ex-ag-or-ad'-zo); from NT:1537 and NT:59; to buy up, i.e. ransom; figuratively, to rescue from loss (improve opportunity):KJV - redeem.(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

Why do we need rescuing from the law? As we have seen before, the law came so that sin might abound, Romans 5:20.  The law was a curse, but we’ve been rescued so that we could be adopted.  Humans didn’t even know they needed rescuing but God did. 

Shortly after Jesus’ crucifixion, two of the men on the way to Emmaus were wondering what was going on, they expected Israel to be redeemed. They may have been thinking that all the Israelites would be singled out and at the same time Rome would be annihilated; and that the Messiah would sit on His throne in Jerusalem. What they might have done, which is what we do today, is mix up Jesus’ timing.  We have to remember very few Israelites believed on Jesus.

Luke 24:21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed [3084] Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.KJV

Jesus told them, while he was on earth, that he had other sheep that were not of this fold.  The word other is allos, which denotes another of the same kind. Already in Jesus’ knowledge, there were sheep that needed to be redeemed but they were not in the group he was speaking to.  He came to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  Then, by his death and resurrection he made salvation and redemption available to lots of other sheep.

John 10:14-18 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.KJV

We know from the constellation of Cancer that its decans are the greater and lesser sheepfold.  These are sheep that Jesus has, but are not of (or ek, out of) this fold, that Jesus himself has to bring these sheep from where they are to their destination.  After Jesus brings in these other sheep, they will together make one single flock.  What the Israelites missed was the other sheep Jesus needed to bring into the fold.  Therefore their timing was off.  The small group that believed he was the Messiah didn’t understand that he had others to bring in. The time to restore Israel was going to be after several other events that he had told them about.    

As the men on the road to Emmaus were thinking Israel would be ransomed, Peter points out that we were not ransomed with corruptible things.

1 Peter 1:18-21 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed [3084]with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.KJV

Titus tells us that we are looking for the appearing of Jesus Christ and that he might ransom us from all sin.

Titus 2:13-14 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem [3084]us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.KJV

Redeem NT:3084 lutroo (loo-tro'-o); from NT:3083; to ransom (literally or figuratively):KJV - redeem.(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

Jesus paid our ransom, although we might have been unaware of the fact that we had been kidnapped.  Adam and Eve realized they were kidnapped, but we’ve lived this way for six thousand years; to our understanding this is the way life has always been.  So it seems strange to a world that doesn’t know anything different to be told that they were ransomed.  If you told people “don’t worry, someone paid your ransom”, most people, even Christians, would question when they had actually had been kidnapped.  But Jesus knew he was not only to pay the ransom for the Jews who would believe, but for the non-Jews as well.  If we remember our study on the age of Pisces, we also recognized that those who believed on the coming Messiah, from Adam through to Moses, were also redeemed.  Remembering that the law was not given until Moses, people prior to the law lived in a free fellowship with God, as we do today.

 Next we see we have been purchased.

1 Cor 6:20 For ye are bought [59] with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.KJV
1 Cor 7:2323 Ye are bought [59] with a price; be not ye the servants of men.KJV

We were also bought, not just ransomed; therefore we should not be servants of men. There will be people who will lie about being purchased; they are called false prophets and false teachers.  Why will these people lie, probably for monetary gain. The false prophets and teachers tell people they are not good enough to be saved; therefore people should follow them (the false prophets and teachers) and do these works to be saved.  We have already seen that we are redeemed from the curse of the law.  If anyone tells you to go back to doing the works of the law, they are incorrect.

2 Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought [59] them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.KJV

Bought/Redeemed NT:59 agorazo (ag-or-ad'-zo); from NT:58; properly, to go to market, i.e. (by implication) to purchase; specially, to redeem:KJV - buy, redeem.(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

It would seem that John saw a picture of the Redeemed.  He sees people from every tribe, language, people, and non-Jewish nation; and the redeemed are singing a new song to the Lamb.  These groups of worshipers are called the above congregation, as we will see shortly. They point out that he, the Lamb, not only redeemed them, but made them kings and priests.

Rev 5:8-12 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed [59] us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.KJV

Nation NT:1484 ethnos (eth'-nos); probably from NT:1486; a race (as of the same habit), i.e. a tribe; specially, a foreign (non-Jewish) one (usually by implication, pagan):KJV - Gentile, heathen, nation, people.(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

Let’s go back to Revelation 1 and gain a bit more understanding.

Rev 1:1-2 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.KJV

Revelation NT:602 apokalupsis (ap-ok-al'-oop-sis); from NT:601; disclosure: KJV - appearing, coming, lighten, manifestation, be revealed, revelation.(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

Firstly, these are not plural revelations, but there one revelation of Jesus, given to him by God, an important sign shown to John by an Angel. This is a very strong point.  Many people seem to treat the book of Revelation as several different dreams or visitations.  This is not the case; it is not like the book of Daniel where Daniel has several angelic visitations and revelations.  This is one revelation, one apokalupsis, one disclosure, one revealed understanding.  Therefore, unless the book itself uses parenthetical phrases, for purposes of hindsight or foresight, or multiple events happening at the same time, we are not to split up the book into different “visions”. This is why people do not understand it.  Overall this is a chronological revealing.  John is first giving this message to the churches, the called out, the ekklesia. Jesus has some warnings and encouraging words for the churches.  After the churches have been dealt with, John then sees what transpires in heaven.

John is going to tell us all the details of the appearing of Jesus. Those who read it and hear these words of foretelling are blessed, and the ones who hear and read this are to hold fast to these things.

Rev 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.KJV

John addresses the seven churches; not that it is written only to them because we just read that whoever reads and hears this book is to keep its words.  The seven churches were the first group of people this was sent to, and as the custom was, it then was passed around to other places.  This was from God, and the seven Spirits.

Rev 1:4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;KJV

This disclosure is also from Jesus Christ, the martyr.  Here it is pointed out that Jesus Christ washed us from our sins by His blood.

Rev 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, KJV

Remember this is the appearing or revealing of Jesus Christ, and Jesus points out that he not only washed us, but made us kings and priests unto God. 

Rev 1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.KJV

We just saw the group of individuals that were from every tribe, language, people group, and non Jewish nation, saying that they were made kings and priests. Those then who are kings and priests, who were washed by Jesus’ blood, were the redeemed who were singing a new song and waiting for the Lamb to open the book and loose the seals.  If the redeemed are in heaven, watching the Lamb open the seals, then they are not on earth while the Lamb is opening the seals.  They will be the kings and priests who will reign with Jesus.  The redeemed are not on earth at this time, they are in heaven.  Look at the next verse.

Rev 1:7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.KJV

From the Message:
 Rev 1:5-7 and from Jesus Christ — Loyal Witness, Firstborn from the dead, Ruler of all earthly kings. Glory and strength to Christ, who loves us, who blood-washed our sins from our lives, 6 Who made us a Kingdom, Priests for his Father, forever — and yes, he's on his way! 7 Riding the clouds, he'll be seen by every eye, those who mocked and killed him will see him, People from all nations and all times will tear their clothes in lament. Oh, Yes. (from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)

Jesus comes with clouds and every eye shall see him. Here, before the redeemed are in heaven, he comes in the clouds.  Let’s keep this point in mind while we venture on a short rabbit trail because there is another group of redeemed that we need to look at. There are two events that will take place as Paul tells us.

2 Thess 2:1-2 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.KJV

Here we see two different events: the gathering (the episunagoge, the above congregation, especially a Christian worship assembly) and the coming (the parousia the return of Christ to punish Jerusalem). Let’s look at Titus again

Titus 2:13-14 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing [2015]of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem [3084]us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.KJV

Appearing  NT:2015 epiphaneia (ep-if-an'-i-ah); from NT:2016; a manifestation, i.e. (specially) the advent of Christ (past or future):KJV - appearing, brightness.(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

We are looking for the glorious advent of Christ.  We know we will be judged and receive a crown of righteousness if we love his appearing.

2 Tim 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing [2015].KJV

Will you love his appearing or will you tear your clothes? We know that Christ is going to appear a couple of times, once in the clouds, where he does not come to earth. Then once when he comes to earth in the middle of the tribulation, upon Mt Zion, and then again Christ will appear and bring 10,000’s of his saints.

1 Thess 4:16-18 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.KJV

Here the redeemed meet the Lord in the air.  He doesn’t actually stand on earth, but comes as far as the atmosphere above the earth. Then it says those who meet him in the air, the dead and the living will ever be with the Lord.  This is the above congregation, the episunagoge. The words shall be caught up is the word harpazo, to seize or take by force.  At this time, there is no longer a choice, it’s by force that people are caught up.  One cannot choose to be caught up at this time; the choice to be saved has to be made before this time. We will see an example of this shortly. The dead leave paradise, the living leave earth, and then they are with the Lord. If the redeemed are with the Lord, watching him take the book and open the seals, the living and dead in Christ must have already met him in the air.

The first words John hears, as recorded in Revelation 4:1 are “Come up hither”, John is moving forward in time.  Chapters 2 and 3 are words of exhortation and warning for the called out. Chapter 4 comes next which is in heaven.  The open door of heaven happens right after the churches are told to be over comers.  Jesus said if they overcome they will receive certain rewards.  The “next thing” is what is going on in heaven. When a door opens in heaven, everyone, dead and alive, will see it. When the dead and alive meet Jesus in the air, someone will have to open the door of heaven so that everyone can enter in.  Once the door is closed, people may want to knock on the door and ask to be let in but once the door is closed, it is closed as we will see shortly.

Rev 4:1 Then I looked, and, oh! — a door open into Heaven. The trumpet-voice, the first voice in my vision, called out, "Ascend and enter. I'll show you what happens next." (from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)

All of a sudden the redeemed are in heaven.  These are not only the dead who are redeemed, because they are going to meet Jesus in the air with the living redeemed.  Whether we are living or dead at the time Jesus comes in the clouds, the next event is the opening of the seals.  If we are redeemed, we will be watching. Then comes the wrath of the Lamb, the second event of 2 Thessalonians 2:1, the parousia.

Rev 6:16-17 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? KJV

The wrath of the Lamb is the start of the Lamb opening the seals where the redeemed are watching. But there is another group of people redeemed in the middle of the tribulation, and then comes the wrath of God. Let’s take special note that when the Lamb comes to earth he stands on mount Zion.  First he comes in the clouds then later he comes to Mt Zion.

Rev 14:1-5 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed [59]from the earth.4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.KJV

This group sings a new song too.  I think that is interesting.  These are the redeemed from out of the middle of the tribulation. If we look backward as to where the 144,000 came from, they were from all twelve the tribes and Angels sealed them on their foreheads as in Ezekiel. Something interesting to note is that the wall of the new city, the new Jerusalem, is 144,000 cubits, in chapter 21.

Rev 7:3-43 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.KJV
 Rev 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;KJV
Rev 7:13-17 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.KJV

The word men from chapter 14 implies male or female, but the text says they were not defiled with women as in having a wife. So these could be male virgins.  If you think you are among the 144,000 as I’ve heard some say, you must be a male virgin, an Israelite, and one who has no guile or fault.  That certainly narrows it down doesn’t it? This does not give the ages of the redeemed; therefore it could be a person of any age, young or old.

Something we have to understand is that there are multiple things happening. John is watching simultaneous television screens, if you will. The angels are trashing earth and the 144,000 are sealed, then cleaned up by the blood of the Lamb, and then are serving before the throne of God, all while the earth is going through more terrible things. The two witnesses come to earth, and that is a whole drama all while the redeemed are still in heaven. We have a different synopsis occurring in chapter 12, giving the details about the entire history and future written in the heavens and the spiritual aspects of what is taking place. We also have the kings of the earth and their agenda. Keeping the events of earth on one television screen while on another screen the events of heaven, and yet another screen showing a spiritual summary of our story, helps us to relate to what John is saying.

The next thing that happens in Chapter 14 is that an Angel preaches to the earth dwellers, those from every non-Jewish nation, tribe, language, and people group.  I love what the Angel says.

Rev 14:6-7 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.KJV

Next, we see Babylon fallen; this indicates that before this time we have to see Babylon rise again, as it is not the center of world commerce or religion yet.  Babylon is the one that makes all nations sin.

Rev 14:8-10 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: KJV

We see another angel warn that if anyone worships the beast and his image or takes the mark of the beast, he shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God.  The second half of the tribulation is called the wrath of God.  The first half is the wrath of the Lamb, the second half is the wrath of God.  Those people will be tormented with fire and brimstone. 

Before we go any further we have to understand that the redeemed will come back with Jesus.

Jude 14-15 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,[40]15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.KJV

Saints NT:40 hagios (hag'-ee-os); from hagos (an awful thing) [compare NT:53, NT:2282]; sacred (physically, pure, morally blameless or religious, ceremonially, consecrated): KJV - (most) holy (one, thing), saint.(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

When does the Lord come with 10,000’s of his saints? It would seem he comes when the kings of the earth try to make war with the Lamb. 

Rev 19:5-16 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND Lord OF LordS.KJV

Now that we have looked at the destiny of the redeemed, we need to look at a parable that Jesus told.  The parable of the ten virgins gives us some insights into timing and revelation.

Matt 25:1-13 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

Where is this kingdom? In heaven, not earth. This is not the same thing as the kingdom of God. This kingdom is in heaven and it’s like ten virgins. This is the same word used in Revelation 14. They all went with their lamps to meet the bridegroom.  In the understanding of the Jewish wedding, a bride was betrothed to the bridegroom, similar to being engaged. The bridegroom would leave and build an addition onto his father’s house for his soon to be bride.  No one knew when the bridegroom would come for his bride. Usually the bridegroom would get the OK from his father that the room was done, and then about midnight he would start his walk to go get his bride. The bride did not know when he was coming but when friends and family saw him leave his house, they would go out on the road and wait for him to come back with his bride.  The bridegroom would then take his bride back to his house, the friends and family would join them, and the celebrations would begin.

2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

Five were foolish, not evil, not rebellious, just unprepared.  They may not have realized they needed extra oil, but the wise ones were ready for the entire night. Interestingly they all had some oil and they all knew the bridegroom left the fathers’ house.

5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

We know that the bridegroom left his father’s house and the ten virgins went out to meet him. But as it seemed to be taking a while for him to come back, the virgins all fell asleep. 

6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

A herald announced the bridegroom was coming and the virgins woke up.

7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

They trimmed their lamps, meaning they turned up the wick, added extra oil and had light for the way.

8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

The foolish virgins ran out of oil. They didn’t have enough oil to carry them through to the end of the night.

9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

The wise said they wouldn’t have enough for themselves and the others so they told the foolish to go buy some more oil. 

10 And while they went to buy [59], the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

When the foolish went to buy oil (same word as redeemed), the bridegroom passed by, and everyone went with him to the marriage celebration.

11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

The foolish virgins got the oil they needed and tried to get into the celebration but the Lord did not know them.

12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.KJV

First of all, some were wise and some were not, but if Jesus does not come back until the end of the tribulation, how could any of them buy or sell oil without the mark of the beast?  Are we to assume Jesus didn’t know what he was talking about? Of course not, Jesus was perfectly aware of what is to happen. The wise virgins would have had to have had the mark of the beast to get their oil in the first place. This means that they will drink the wine of the wrath of God.  The wise told the foolish to go buy oil.  Pretending the wise didn’t have the mark of the beast, they would have been quite evil suggesting the others to buy oil when they would have had to take the mark of the beast to do so.  Jesus told us what the kingdom of heaven is like, if all had taken the mark of the beast, none would have entered in.

Because this parable is about the kingdom of heaven, it has to be at the time the redeemed enter heaven.  There is no point in Jesus telling us about the kingdom of heaven if there are only angels there.  This has to be about the time when Jesus comes for his bride who must be among those who will come into the kingdom of heaven. The bridegroom is coming for his bride; therefore the ones going to the wedding are brought inside.  Inside the kingdom of heaven will be those who are the bride, and the guests. Outside are those who are not the bride or the guests.  The redeemed are inside the kingdom of heaven, the non-redeemed are outside.  Remember, the door opens, then the call “come up hither”; the door then must shut as people end up outside knocking. One would not knock on an open door, but a closed one.

The ones without the oil missed the bridegroom’s coming and could not get into the wedding.  The foolish virgins on the outside knew he was coming but were not prepared.  Their efforts to get oil or redemption at the last minute failed. The foolish virgins also knew of the bridegroom, they asked for entrance into the celebration but he said he didn’t know them. Being that the redeemed are forcibly taken up, there is no time, at that moment, to confess Jesus as Lord. This is similar to the others that will say Lord, Lord. If we remember we answered the question of whom does the Lord know?  He knows those who love him.

 1 Cor 8:3 But if any man love God, the same is known of him.KJV

Some people take the oil of the virgins and equate it to the Holy Spirit as the Holy Spirit is associated with oil.  That is possible. If we love the Lord, and confess Him as Lord, and believe God raised Him from the dead, we have the Holy Spirit on the inside. But the big point of the story is that of timing.  The bridegroom has to come at some point after the churches are told to be overcomers and before the seals are opened. 

But we are told by Paul that the redeemed are saved from the wrath of the Lamb and the wrath of God.

Rom 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.KJV
1 Thess 1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.KJV
1 Thess 5:9-10 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.KJV

Here Paul tells us the redeemed whom are washed by the blood; are saved, delivered, and not appointed to wrath.   The bride and guests of the bridegroom are the redeemed, meeting the Lord in the air, bought by the blood of the lamb, and made to be kings and priests. The second group of redeemed people meets the Lord on Mt Zion, which is Jesus’ second coming, and then minister around the throne of God.

Matt 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.KJV

The rain does fall on the just and the unjust. The wise build houses on the rocks not on the sand, and the wise virgins are prepared ahead of time for the bridegroom. We can see now that God is not pouring out wrath on humanity yet, as the redeemed have not left earth for the kingdom of heaven, along with the dead in Christ.  However, evil breeds evil. Evil men and deceivers will wax worse and worse. That is normal life on earth. The first order of events is the rising of the dead in Christ, as well as those living in Christ meeting Jesus in the air.  The next event is the opening of the seals, and the wrath of the Lamb.  Then the second coming, Jesus coming to earth to get the marked redeemed.  The whole earth is witnessed to and then Babylon falls.  Those who worshiped the beast or took his mark will drink of the wrath of God and be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the Angels and the Lamb.  The marriage of the Lamb happens next. Then when the kings of the earth try to make war with the Lamb, the Lamb will come with his armies of heaven, the saints who are the ceremonially consecrated, the 10,000’s of his saints. The beast is chained for one thousand years, and those who went through the tribulation but did not receive the mark of the beast, will live and reign with Christ for the thousand years. The unjust dead come back after the thousand years along with the loosing of the devil.

While there is so much more that can be added, we are simply looking for a general overview to establish time.  When is the wrath of God coming? When are the saints gathered?  Is God beating up America? Evil people do evil things, false prophets and teachers deceive the masses because fear is a good motivator. People will continue to put themselves under bondage when they reject God. God is not doing these things yet.  One day the redeemed will watch the wrath being poured out on the earth.  The question is are you wise or foolish?