THE BOOK OF REVELATION
~ The Revelation of Jesus Christ
Revelation Chapter 7
This chapter is quite easy to understand. It clearly shows that there are two groups of people who have to go through the period known as the Great Tribulation or Jacob's Trouble (Jer.30:7). The Great Tribulation comes in the second half of the last week of Daniel's Seventy Weeks prophecy recorded in the Book of Daniel chapter 9. We need to look into this Seventy Weeks prophecy for a little background.
The prophecy of the seventy of weeks was given to Daniel while he was a captive together with his people in Babylon. As a faithful man of God Daniel regularly prayed to God, made his supplication, confessed his own sins and the sins of his people, and pleaded with God to bring about the promised return of his people to their land. On one such supplication, in the evening time, God sent the Archangel Gabriel to talk with Daniel and said (in Daniel 9:22b-24):
O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.
Notice what that ministering Spirit said to Daniel upon greeting him I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. Saints, I believe God has a group of able ministers, in this closing hour of the Gentile Church Age, who are also greatly beloved of God as Daniel was and who are given the skill and understanding in handling the Word of God. This would be the ministry that would perfect the saints of God (cf. Eph.4). Amen.
Now let us look at the prophecy without going into much detail.
Dan.9:24: Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
Seventy weeks is 70 times 7 years which equals 490 years. This time frame of 490 years determined or decreed upon thy people and upon thy holy city is associated with the people of Israel and the city of Jerusalem to accomplish a six-fold purpose. Because the total number of years determined has not run its course, the six-fold purpose has yet to be completely fulfilled. Thus far only that which was to make reconciliation for inquity has been fulfilled.
Dan.9:25: Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
Here we see Gabriel clearly marked off two counts of weeks (of years) 7 and 62. From the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince was to be a total of 69 weeks (483 years) exactly. Seven and threescore and two weeks were marked off to show the troublous times the Jews had to go through because of their enemies in those separate periods.
Dan.9:26: And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
After the second period (that is, the 62 weeks) has run its course shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself. Now, it cannot be any clearer that Jesus Christ was to be crucified right after a total of 483 years had run its course. Christ Jesus rode into the city of Jerusalem after 483 years from the time King Cyrus (of Persia) issued the decree to the children of Israel to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem. (Read Ezra 1:1-4; 5:13,17 and Isaiah 44:28.) He rode into Jerusalem and was hailed as the Prince of Israel (Lk.19:29-44). And in less than a week He was crucified and had nothing for Himself, even though He was a Prince.
Now, of the total of seventy weeks, there is still one week left for God to accomplish His six-fold purpose. This one week (of seven years) was marked off because the Messiah was not completely accepted by the people whom He had come to save. So, God put it 'on hold' while He turned to the Gentiles to get a people for His Name. Of course, this was in the foreknowledge and divine plan of God from the very beginning. The Prophet Daniel and the Apostle Paul wrote a great deal about this time of the Gentiles and God's dealing with them.
The rest of the prophecy of verse 26 was fulfilled in 70 A.D. when the Roman soldiers of Prince Titus (the people of the prince) came and laid siege to the city of Jerusalem. The city of Jerusalem was ravished and the Jews were scattered.
Now, historians and theologians may dispute over the actual year that the decree was issued to the Jews to restore and rebuild Jerusalem because the history of the Medo-Persian period was obscure in many places. Most historians, who based their calculations using the 'canon' of Ptolemy, believed that there were at least ten kings, from Cyrus to Xerxes, ruling over Medo-Persia, and that these kings altogether reigned a total period of 205 years. But according to Jewish and Persian traditions, the period was slightly over 50 years. And Josephus, the Jewish historian, concluded that there were only six kings, one more than that listed in the Bible (Dan.10:1; 11:2).
Also, all the calculations are based on the assumption that the years mentioned in the prophecies are 'prophetic years' of 360 days per year. This is probably based on the days and months mentioned in the Book of Revelation in which the 70th week (the last seven years of the seventy weeks) is divided into two equal periods of 3½ years or 42 months each. And since a 'prophetic year' literally shortens the time, a king later than Cyrus, who issued the original commandment in the year 454 B.C., had to be picked.
Dan.9:27: And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
The one week in this verse is the last week of the seventy weeks allocated. The he in the verse points not to Messiah the Prince but to a prince (Heb: nagiyd a commander, an honourable person) who shall come from among the people of Rome. (In 70 A.D. it was the people of the prince who went to Jerusalem but in the future, at the beginning of the 70th week, it would be 'the prince of the people' who will go to Jerusalem.) In the light of other prophetic Scriptures he definitely refers to the Antichrist who is none other than the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. He shall be accepted by the Jews for what he is (and will be) as represented to the world in that hour. It would be just as Jesus said to the Jews (in John 5:43): I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.
The Antichrist shall enter into a strong and firm covenant with many Jews and political leaders of the world for a period of seven years. (When this covenant is made the Bride-Wife of Christ would have been whisked away into Heaven for the final stage of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.) The Jews will restore their practices of temple sacrifices and oblation at that time. After 3½ years the Antichrist will break the covenant and demand that the Jewish practices of temple sacrifices and oblation must cease. He will move into the temple of Jerusalem, take office there and declare himself as God (2 Thess.2:3-4) and make war on those who will oppose him. He is the abomination that shall cause the desolation of the temple of God but his end has been determined.
Now, it is Scripturally plain that there is yet one more week of seven years for the Jews. The teaching that Jesus Christ was crucified (cut off) after 69½ weeks cannot be substantiated by any Scripture at all. With this understanding we now approach the 7th chapter of Revelation.
The 144,000 Jewish Servants of God
Verse 1: And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
The Apostle John is now seeing another vision a vision of things to be on earth right after the Bride-Wife of Christ is raptured. The four angels standing on the four corners of the earth speaks of a place where North meets South and East meets West; and that is, the Bible Land of the Middle East. There are no angel literally standing on those four positions of the earth. But there are angels watching over one particular nation and that is none other than Israel. This is the area that was once the Garden of Eden. This is where the Light of God came into the world and where Mankind began its existence. And this is the area where the final showdown of good and evil will take place to bring the time of the Gentiles to an end. Then the Lord Jesus Christ will reign with His saints for a thousand years in the Age of Regeneration.
These four angels standing on the four corners of the earth control the four winds of the earth that they might not blow upon the earth and start the Battle of Armaggedon in the Middle East. The four winds are not natural winds. They signify the primary powers or forces of devastation which influence the nations and people of the world to a certain goal or condition. These four forces are the political power, religious power, economic power and military power. At present it appears that these winds are blowing in the Middle East but only to a certain extent.
Verse 2: And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
Verse 3: Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
When the Jews rejected the Gospel, God turned to the Gentiles. From around the middle of the First Century, the Gospel was carried mainly northward and westward. Centuries later it was carried across the Atlantic Ocean to the American continent. Then and there the Gospel began to spread to the Far East and throughout the world. As the Gentile Age begins to wind up, the Gospel is now moving towards the Jews. That is why John saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God which is the Spirit of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Cor.1:21-22; Eph.1:13). Wherever that angel went Asia Minor, Germany, England, Ireland and the U.S.A. the Gospel had a great spiritual impact. But once the Church was bogged down by the traditions of man, the angel would move to a new place and revival never returned to the previous place. The last great world-shaking revival started in the early 20th Century in America and it later moved across the Pacific Ocean to the Asiatic World. The revival throughout America lasted about half a century after which the nation went into fanaticism, bewitched by the many different gospels of religious men. And many of such men are high-minded, haughty, pharisaical, liars, insincere and even immoral. America has since then been on the sliding board. She will never rise again. She is finished. That's right. The angel with the Gospel does not backtrack, so to speak. The only revival left for the Gentiles is the perfecting of the saints where Christ is formed in her, the Bride of Christ until the Seven Thunders utter their voices. This will be the only revival for the Bride who is shut in with Christ. As for the organized church world there is nothing left for them but the judgement of God.
The Gospel message was carried from Jerusalem going westward around the world and is now going back to Jerusalem from the East. The Apostle Paul said this: For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in (Rom.11:25). Yes, Jerusalem will soon see the power of the Gospel of the very Messiah they had rejected when the fullness of the Gentiles is complete.
When John saw this particular vision, it seemed that those four winds were well built up to blow upon the earth with great devastation to the earth, sea and trees. But John saw four angels holding those four winds and another angel ascending from the east crying out to them to restrain those forces as it was not yet time for them to bring about the world condition for the Battle of Armageddon until after we, the two prophets of God (the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11), had sealed God's servants in their foreheads.
When the Two Witnesses appear on the scene in Israel, they will preach to the nation of Israel the very Gospel that the children of Israel had rejected. They will prophesy and work signs and miracles in the spirit and power of Moses and Elijah. And in so doing 144,000 men will have the revelation of their Saviour Jesus Christ. They will be called out and sealed by the Holy Spirit with the Name of the Almighty God in their foreheads (cf. Eph.1:13; 4:30; 2 Cor.1:21-22).
Verse 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.
But notice those 144,000 who were sealed; they were of all the tribes of Israel. John saw 12,000 men sealed of each of the 12 tribes. None of them was a Gentile, showing that the Gospel was returned to the Jews.
Verse 5: Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.
Verse 6: Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.
Verse 7: Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.
Verse 8: Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.
[The tribes of Dan and Ephraim were replaced by those of Joseph and Levi because they had committed spiritual whoredom idol worship. Read Hosea 5:3; 6:10; Judges 18.]
Because the Two Witnesses will be in Israel during the first 3½ years of the 70th week (7 years) to preach the Word of God, it is obvious that all those 144,000 Jews to be sealed will also be in Israel. (The teaching of the British Israelites that the Anglo-Saxon race belongs to the lost ten tribes of Israel has no foundation in Scripture. It is basically egoism which drives such Caucasian men to think of themselves as the supreme race that they teach such bias doctrine to put themselves in the limelight.) Since World War II, several million Jews have returned to their homeland from all over the world since they were scattered after the Roman laid siege to the city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.. God is preparing them to hear the Gospel to be preached in Israel by their very own prophets whom God will send before Christ Jesus returns to set up His Kingdom on earth.
The ministry of the Two Prophets will last 1260 days after which they will be killed by the Antichrist. Then the 144,000 Jewish servants to be sealed by the Holy Spirit will preach the Everlasting Gospel and warn the world against bowing to the Babylonish Religious System of the World Church. They will not only warn the people about Mystery Babylon the Great and her Harlot daughters, but will also nourish the remnant of Israel with the Spiritual Food of God as the Israelites flee from the wrath of the Antichrist and become scattered all over the world, hiding themselves in secret places. All these are recorded in the 12th, 14th and 18th chapters of Revelation.
The Great Tribulation Saints
Now, in this next vision the Holy Spirit presented to John a scene in Heaven where a great multitude of people stood before the throne of God. It is important to note what they were wearing and what were said of them.
Verse 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;
Verse 10: And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
Verse 11: And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
Verse 12: Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
Verse 13: And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
Verse 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.
It is clear that this great mixed multitude of people standing before the throne and worshipping the Lord are none other than the Great Tribulation Saints. But who are they? Though only one group is specifically featured here, there are actually two groups of people standing before the throne as we shall find them mentioned in chapters 15 and 20 of Revelation. One group consists of Christians who will die for bearing the testimony of Jesus Christ and the other the Jews who will die for holding on to the Word of God. It is the first group that is featured here. To understand who they are, let us take a closer look at the parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew chapter 25:1-13.
Matt.25:1: Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
Matt.25:2: And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
In this parable Jesus pointed to a time in the future then or at that time denoting that at a certain period in the kingdom of heaven (that is, the dispensation of the Church Age) when a number of virgins would go forth to meet the bridegroom. Jesus gave this parable after He had told His disciples about the signs of His Second Advent and of the end of the world. Notice that the parable also speaks of an oriental wedding which takes place in the evening time and culminates in the bridegroom taking his bride-wife home to his father's house in the morning hour. Hence, the parable points to the setting of the Sun (Gospel Light) over the Gentile Age before It rises again to shine on the children of Israel.
Our Lord Jesus used the number of ten virgins, five of whom were wise and five were foolish. These numbers do not represent the actual numbers of saints but there is a reason why they are used. The number 10 indicates a completeness or perfection of the divine order of things. These 10 virgins are aware of the Word concerning the soon return of Christ that they must prepare and get themselves ready for His return. The number 5 speaks of the grace of God towards both the wise and the foolish virgins.
But who are the virgins? 'Virgins' are those who are 'unmarried, pure, knowing no man'. These are Christians who are separated from the Church system formed by the traditions of men.
The traditional teachings dished out by the religious men in Christian churches today are no different from those dished out by the religious teachers in the days of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus hated such teachings and spoke against them (Mk.7:3-8). Paul also warned the true worshippers about them (Col.2:8). When religious and academically educated men, who lack the anointing of the Spirit, put their own ideas to the Word of God they make the Word useless and of no effect upon the heart of their listeners. Most of the people who listen to such intellectual men are just having a form of religion without the power of the Holy Word of God. They are burning religious candles without the Light or the Revelation of the Word, so to speak.
At this juncture I need to point out that the parable speaks neither directly of the Rapture of the saints nor of the Bride of Christ getting wedded though it mentions a wedding taking place. But, it speaks of a certain category of Christians, whom Jesus termed the virgins (unmarried maidens or bridesmaids), who went forth to meet the bridegroom and only the wise ones went with him into the marriage feast. This going forth to meet the bridegroom is obviously not referring to going forth into the Rapture since almost all Christians of different faith believe that they are the wise virgins and that they would make it to the Rapture. Rather, it refers to an event where only the virgin Christians know the importance of meeting the Bridegroom. The Bridegroom, of course, is Christ. However, it is not merely the physical Person of Jesus Christ but the glory of Christ the Word. Actually the virgins or bridesmaids (of the Bride) are excited about the marriage and they are eagerly looking forward to receiving and ushering the Bridegroom into the place where the marriage is to be held. They want to be a part of this wedding feast. The virgins are looking forward to seeing and understanding Christ the Word in a very personal and intimate way. When a Bible believer has received and understood Christ the Word then he could and would receive Christ the Person of the Word.
Remember that the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is a spiritual one and that the Marriage of the Lamb and His Bride is also spiritual. The Marriage or Wedding of the Lamb is to take place spiritually here on earth as the Word-groom comes to claim His Bride. It is an invisible union of the Heavenly Bridegroom (or Word-groom) and the Earthly Bride (or Word-bride). After the marriage feast and nuptials are over and the Word-groom is satisfied that His Bride-Wife has made herself ready (cf. Rev.19:7) then, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, the Lord Jesus would sweep His Wife home to His Father's House. This going home to the Father's House is what we call the Rapture. It is there in Heaven that the Grand Marriage Supper of the Lamb will take place. So, the Bridegroom in the parable does not speak of Christ, the physical Person, but rather of Christ, the spiritual Word, that would come to the spiritual Bride for the holy union.
In the early 20th Century (about 1903-1906), God poured out a blessing upon several groups of sincere hungry souls in California, U.S.A. and gave them various spiritual gifts. That brought forth a spiritual revival with the manifestation of signs and wonders. The most noticeable gift was divers kinds of tongues (1 Cor.12:10) speaking in different or unknown languages (Grk: glossolalia) the least of the 9 spiritual gifts. This experience of speaking in unknown tongues came to be called the Pentecostal experience in reference to the experience of the disciples of Christ on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon them. (At that time, the doctrine of speaking in tongues as being the initial evidence of the Holy Ghost Baptism was not taught.) Of course, organized denominational churches fought against it in one way or another. There was never a revival that the adversary of God was not working to thwart it. In less than a decade (about 1913) some opinions within this revival led to the formation of several different Pentecostal denominations. All these happened within the space of fifty years before another Holy Ghost Baptism phenomenon came along and was called the new Pentecost or Charismatic Movement. Today, Pentecostalism and Charismaticism have taken new forms which are both radical and extreme.
Now, the Parable of the Ten Virgins is to be fulfilled in this 20th Century. Shortly after the revival started, many Christians awoke to the awareness of the soon return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many songs on the soon return of Christ were written. Many were seeking, receiving and being filled with the Holy Ghost in preparation of Christ's return. This phenomenon was evident throughout the church world. The message was clear: Come and get oil! Obviously those were the VIRGINS preparing themselves to meet the BRIDEGROOM. On the other hand, many of those traditional churchy Protestant people were fighting against this move, shutting their religious doors in God's face, and went to sleep in their man-made traditional ideas. Such were obviously the TARES. The gathering of the tares to be burned began in 1948 (cf. Matt.13:24-30).
Having obtained the oil, the virgins looked forward to meeting the bridegroom. It was evening time. We are told, in the parable, that five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
Matt.25:3: They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
Matt.25:4: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
Matt.25:5: While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
Notice that all the virgins took with them their lamps. Each one of them had a lamp with oil that fueled a burning wick. However, only the wise virgins carried with them an additional vessel of oil. This 'extra' oil proved to be a blessing to the wise virgins as they did not know when the bridegroom would arrive from His 'far away' home. They knew that it would take more than just some Holy Ghost sensations to keep their lamps burning. The foolish virgins were not so thoughtful. They obviously thought that a lamp with certain amount of oil having some Holy Ghost sensations, signs and wonders would be 'enough' for them as they expected the bridegroom to arrive according to their own timing. Unfortunately, the bridegroom tarried His coming and all the ten virgins slumbered and slept.
When the spirit of Ecumenism went out in full force in 1948 to gather the Tares, practically every church was affected by it in one way or another because the spirit of bondage was at work keeping people in the dark. It even caused the virgins to slumber among them. The denominational churches were like sepulchres within which the people were entombed in spiritual darkness. The Lamp (Word) of God was replaced by some religious candles (creeds and dogmas) of theological men.
Matt.25:6: And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
This 'midnight cry' was made by the forerunner and messenger of the bridegroom. Just as John the Baptist was the forerunner and messenger of Christ's First Advent, so was there a forerunner and messenger of Christ's Second Advent. His name was William Marrion Branham. And the 'midnight cry', calling the virgins to come out and meet the Word-groom, was made some time in 1956. The phrase go ye out to meet him should be translated as come ye out to meet him. This is true. The fact is that the bridegroom had sent His messenger to wake the virgins up from their slumber and get them out from among the denominational sepulchres. Like John the Baptist, William Branham was not sent, or approved, by the religious systems of his days. They were disliked by the religious, ecclesiastical and pompous leaders of the church world because their messages hit out at their falsehoods. But the common people heard their messages and received them gladly.
Matt.25:7: Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
The 'midnight cry' of the forerunner sounded throughout the church world and the virgins awoke to the urgency of the hour. Notice that the virgins arose and started to trim their lamps. Why? They needed LIGHT to show them the way (Psm.119:105). A dim light can hardly show the pathway clearly at night. Also, danger lurks in the darkness (cf. 1 Pet.5:8). Because the virgins had been asleep for a long time, soot built up on the wicks had dimmed their lamps. This speaks of their revelation of the Word being diminished or darkened by reason of their slumber in the religious church system. If they had not slumbered they would have watched and made sure that soot (deceptive doctrines and spirits) did not blacken their wicks (their understanding or revelation of the Word) which were fueled by the oil (the Holy Spirit). In other words, their white robes were stained by false doctrines and false spirits.
So, the 'midnight cry' awakened all the virgins to get them to come out of the religious church system and to meet the bridegroom so that they would not be judged along with the harlots in their spiritual fornication (cf. Rev.18:4). They had to trim their wicks of understanding by getting rid of all spirits and doctrines that darkened and dimmed their light. They had to separate themselves from unbelief and meet the Word-groom personally before they could see the Truth clearly.
Matt.25:8: And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
Matt.25:9: 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.
In trimming their lamps the foolish virgins found out to their dismay that their lamps were getting dim because the oil in their lamps were almost used up while they were slumbering. Without the oil, the light in their lamps would go out and they would not be able to find their way to meet the bridegroom. Their requests to the wise virgins for some oil were rejected; instead they were told to go and buy them from the oil merchants. They realized too late that whatever 'sensations, signs and wonders', which they had depended on, were not good enough. The wise virgins knew the time of the hour and the need to quickly trim their lamps that they might find their way to meet the bridegroom. Because they had carried extra oil with them the wise virgins were able to keep their lamps burning brightly. In other words, they had a continuous supply of the Holy Spirit flowing in their life to fuel the revelation of the Word of God. Praise God! A wise believer will always keep his spiritual vessel filled up with the Spirit and the Word. Remember the wick must be continuously supplied with the oil. The wick and the oil as one give light (life) to the lamp (Christian) just as the Word and the Spirit are one (Jhn.6:63). The Holy Spirit is always connected to the Word and the Work of God.
Matt.25:10: 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.
And while they went to buy denotes a period of time that the foolish virgins had to spend looking for the oil merchants. The bridegroom came during that time. The forerunner of the Christ's Second Advent had come to herald His Parousia (Coming, Presence) and to introduce Christ the Word to the virgins (as in the parable). And those virgins who were ready went into the marriage. Here the parable ends, but we understand the implication that these individual wise virgins refer to those members who would make up the Bride of Christ. As such they were enjoying a personal spiritual intimacy with the Lord as they feasted with Him in the Word of God. They were getting themselves ready as the Wife of Christ for the Rapture while the foolish virgins were frantically trying to buy oil from many different oil merchants (preachers who preached about the Holy Spirit, just like those among the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements today). The marriage celebrations (which include the feasting and the nuptial events) have already started and are still going on at this present time. It will last until the door is shut. Then the last trump will be made known to the Bride and the Rapture will take place. The 'midnight cry' was made some time in 1956 (some forty years ago) to call the virgins to the marriage which will climax with the Seven Thunders uttering their voices to the members of the Bride-Wife of Jesus Christ (cf. Rev.10).
Matt.25:11: Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
Matt.25:12: But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
The foolish virgins returned later to find the door shut. Whatever oil they had bought from the different 'oil merchants' was of no use to them. Had they 'purchased' the right kind of oil earlier on they would have made it on time to the marriage celebrations while the door was still opened. The foolish virgins had missed the day of visitation and were shut out for they had stayed 'too long' in the second realm of the Spirit. Their pleas were met with a rebuff from the Lord, I know you not. (Some ministers use Matthew 7:21-23 to support their teaching that the foolish virgins are not saved because of the Lord's rebuff to their plea. But those people mentioned in Matthew 7:21-23 were called workers of iniquity who were told to depart from the Lord. It was not so with the foolish virgins.) It does not mean that the Lord did not know them as they were but rather He did not know them intimately as those who were married to Him by spiritual revelation of the Word, as a man and his wife are joined together in holy wedlock (cf. Eph.5:25-32; Eph.4; Rev.19:7). The door was shut when the last of the wise virgins went in to the marriage. The wise virgins making up the Bride-Wife of Christ were sealed to await the mysterious utterances of the Seven Thunders for their Rapture.
That's right, the Bride is now being united with the Bridegroom in Spirit and Word! She is now looking beyond the second realm of the Spirit into the Word, the Shekinah Glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostle John was a type of the Bride-Wife of Christ who heard the utterances of the Seven Thunders. He was told not to write them down because the revelation was for the Bride at the end of time.
Matt.25:13: Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
Let us take heed to this warning and be watchful while there is still time. If we are born again of the Spirit of Christ, let us quickly come into the Word and be joined with Him in spiritual wedlock to receive the revelation of Jesus Christ and be ready for the Rapture. Certainly, there will be some who will come so close to the revelation of the Word and still miss the Rapture because they do not hear the right Word in the right way. Such are the Branhamites who keep wandering around in the 'wilderness' of religious confusion with the Shout Message that they have heard. They have come out but they have not come to the revelation of getting into the Promised Word and be one with the Word-Groom. Yes, they have heard the message but they have not heard it right. If they have heard it right, they would have received specific instructions to enter into spiritual wedlock with the Word. Yes, we need to be one with the WORD not with the Message. Without the Word of God for this present hour no one can go into the Rapture. So, take heed what you hear and how you hear that you might have the Faith that was once delivered to the saints.
At this present hour God is dealing with the virgins, especially the wise ones who have met the bridegroom and entered with him into the marriage. Now, there is no doubt that, in the very near future, the foolish virgins will wake up to the fact that they have been careless with what they have possessed and realize too late that they had missed the Rapture (which they had looked forward to). And with the Two Witnesses appearing and prophesying in Israel, they will know that Daniel's 70th week has began for Israel. With that knowledge the foolish will also know the identity of the Antichrist. They will have to stand firmly against the False Church, whose leader, by that time, will have deceived many political and religious leaders of the world in his ultimate move of bringing the world under his subjection. The foolish virgins will realize that they will have to die for their faith, but they are not the only Christians which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (Rev.7:14). Obviously there will be some born again Christians in the denominational churches who will be shaken, somehow, by what they hear and see in that hour of time. Besides looking at the signs and wonders performed by the Two Witnesses in Israel and their death, in the hands of the Antichrist, and their resurrection after three days and nights, the continuing message of God through the 144,000 Jews (Revelation chapters 14 and 18) will shake them out of their religious allegiance to their denominations. These Christians will also die in the hands of the Antichrist for their faith in Christ. They will resurrect and stand together with the foolish virgins before the throne of God as the Christian group of that great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues (Rev.7:9). However, the tares (religious unbelieving Christians, make-believers, impersonators) who are being gathered to be burnt will continue in their religious activities with the False Church and its Image right until Christ Jesus returns physically for the Battle of Armageddon at the end of the Daniel's 70th week. Remember, during the Great Tribulation, salvation will no longer be offered to the Gentiles.
As I have mentioned earlier, there is one other group among the great multitude, standing before the throne of God, not featured here in this passage of Scriptures. They are the many faithful Jews who do not know Jesus Christ but they will die at the hands of the Antichrist during the Great Tribulation period for holding on to the Word of God. In Revelation chapters 15 and 20 they are shown standing before the throne of God with those Christian martyrs. But the 144,000 Jewish servants who are exclusively sealed by the Holy Spirit for their ministry to the nation of Israel will not be harmed by the Antichrist; they will not be killed. They are ordained to nourish Israel, the Woman of Revelation 12, until the Messiah shall return for the Battle of Armageddon at the end of the Great Tribulation (cf. Isa.26:20-21). In the Age of Regeneration, when the Kingdom of God shall be set up on earth, the 144,000 will serve the Lord Jesus Christ and His Wife as 'eunuchs' in His temple set up in the City of Jerusalem for the nation of Israel. Read Isaiah 56:4-5 and Matthew 19:12.
Verse 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.
Verse 16: They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
Verse 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.
Yes, the Great Tribulation Saints are Christ's redeemed people; they are His people. They will be thirsty and hungry during the period of the Great Tribulation because they will not be able to buy or sell for refusing to receive the Mark of the Beast and to worship its Image. They will also suffer the heat of the sun because the weather will be changed drastically as God deals with Israel (cf. Isa.30:26). But their sufferings will cease when Christ Jesus dwells with them and they with Him. Because they are not the overcomers who are made ready as the Wife of Christ and taken up into glory before the Great Tribulation (Rev.3:21), they shall not sit with Christ in His throne during the millennial Age of Regeneration but shall serve him day and night in his temple. This temple is not the Millennial Temple set up in the City of Jerusalem for the nation of Israel but the Temple of Christ's Body, His Wife who sits with Him in glory. However, when the New Heaven and New Earth come into being these Tribulation Saints will be part of the Holy City, New Jerusalem (cf. Rev.21 and 22). In the Eternal Age, all the redeemed born again children of God, who shall be given a spiritual (glorified) body, will form the Holy City, New Jerusalem.
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Revelation Chapter 8
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