The Ten Virgins
Who are the ten virgins in the parable of Matthew 25:1-13? Who are the wise and who are the foolish?
Remember that a parable is a narration of events to depict a profound spiritual truth concerning the mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven. Many Christians have given the parable different interpretations. But unless God reveals it, one can only guess. And certainly God will never reveal His Truth just to anyone. But I believe, and always will believe, that our Heavenly Father only reveals His hidden Truth to those who belong to Him, those who are His elect and those who have an ear to hear what His Spirit says (cf. Matt.11:25-27; 13:10-17; 16:17; Mk.4:11-12; 1Cor.2:10). That’s the truth. Amen.
There are certain important key words that show the time and the people involved in this parable. Without prayerful and careful examination of the parable, we will miss the hidden truth with which it contains. However, we cannot even begin to look at this parable until we first understand the parable of the SOWER that our Lord Jesus Christ narrated in Matthew 13. In connection to the parable of the SOWER, our Lord narrated six other parables in succession, one after the other (cf. vv.53). These seven parables are unlike most of the other parables, for Matthew is the only Gospel writer to record down these seven parables, as spoken by Christ, in continuous flow and for good reason. Therefore, we need to be mindful to take an overview of these seven parables before we proceed, for denominationalism has distorted their true meanings. The denominations have mainly interpreted each parable as teaching how sinners got saved or would be saved by the Gospel. They are far from the truth. All seven parables show the changes that would take place in the Church of Christ throughout the Gospel Age (or the Seven Church Ages as prophetically illustrated in the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation). Because Christ had won the victory over Satan by His death at Calvary, Satan was undeniably upset. These seven parables show how Satan was to go about hindering the journey of the saints of God, bringing the Church to a crawl, and then how the Church was able to struggle out of it and return to her original position.
The seven parables are broken up into 4 sets. The first three deal with seeds – the germ of life. The fourth deals with leavening – the corruption of food. The fifth and the sixth deal with lost treasures and pearls – things of value that men seek for. And the last deals with a dragnet, the fishermen and the good choice – a great work of separation.
The Parable of the Sower – Matthew 13:1-23
1 The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.
2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
Concerning the mysteries of the "kingdom of heaven" Jesus Christ purposely spoke in parables with good reason. It was to hide the truth of the mysteries from the multitude who heard, for many had ears that were dull of hearing, eyes that were blind and hearts that were hardened. However, to those who were the true disciples of Christ and who had ears to hear, Christ revealed to them the hidden truth. Similarly, He will reveal to His true disciples in this present day.
The disciples initially did not understand the mysteries of this first parable. And Christ said to them, "Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?" (Mk.4:13). Until Christ gives the revelation, it is impossible for anyone to understand the truth of all parables concerning the Kingdom of Heaven. That this first parable concerning the Kingdom of Heaven must be first understood is clear for it concerns THE SOWER and HIS SEED. In verse 37 we are made to understand that THE SOWER sows only GOOD SEED, and HE is the SON OF MAN, Jesus the Christ. It is He Who is "the author and finisher of our faith" (Heb.12:2). And Jesus very clearly expounded His own parable in verses 18 to 23, hence no further explanation is required. There were four grounds upon which the seed fell – the "good ground", the "way side", the "stony places" and "among thorns". Those "that received seed into the good ground" were His disciples. The other three grounds were found among those who were as the rich young ruler, the religious leaders (the Pharisees, the Sadducees) and those who desired only the "bread and fishes" respectively (Joh.6:26).
Immediately after the parable of THE SOWER, Jesus put forth the second parable.
The Parable of the Tares among the Wheat – Matthew 13:24-30
24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
Notice that this second parable begins with these words the "kingdom of heaven". This term the "kingdom of heaven" represents Christ as King to His disciples and believers in this present earth. It speaks of a "heavenly" dispensation, the dispensation of His Gospel. No other Gospel writers used this term. Only Matthew used it. And rightly so because Matthew’s teachings deal with the Kingship of Christ. The term the "kingdom of God" used in the other Gospels represents God’s "eternal" kingdom. The two terms are not always interchangeable. A careful reading of Matthew’s usage of the "kingdom of God" in the five instances recorded in Matthew 6:33; 12:28; 19:24; 21:31,43 will provide the answer. The kingdom of God is right in the midst of the kingdom of heaven. When the kingdom of heaven is fulfilled, the kingdom of God will remain eternally with God.
Why is the "kingdom of heaven" introduced in this second parable? In the first parable our Lord Jesus Christ portrayed Himself as the SOWER sowing the SEED of the Word of God. It depicts how different people who upon receiving the WORD of God would react. But only those that grew out of the good ground could yield fruits, some thirty, some sixty and some a hundred fold. The "kingdom of heaven" only began after Christ had accomplished His work of sowing the Gospel and left His field to His servants to care for it.
"But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way." Evil works are usually done in the dark when men are not fully alert or when they are asleep. As shown in the parable, Satan somehow sneaked into the field and sowed tares among the wheat. He sought to destroy the field, if possible, or at the very least to corrupt and hinder those in it. Tares are imitators of wheat, looking like wheat in their early stage of growth. Both are not easily distinguishable until they come to ear.
Not long after the Church had been established on the Day of Pentecost, the Mystery of Iniquity began to work and soon tares were found among the field of wheat around the year 53 AD. More tares were sown as the first generation of the able men of God went to sleep in their graves. By the Second Church Age (Smyrna - Rev.2:8-11) the tares were many and had become very noticeable. The servants of the Lord in the 2nd Century thought to weed out the tares. However, to prevent harm to the wheat the Master’s advice was to let the tares grow together with the wheat. He had no intention of removing the tares until the Harvest at which time He would send out the reapers to first gather the tares for the burning.
And now we are at the harvest time.
"Declare unto us…" – Matthew 13:36-43
36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.
37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Concerning the Gospel, there are now two kinds of grains in the "field", the wheat and the tares. The wheat, the good seeds, are the true believers of God. The tares, the false seeds, are the make-believers – the children of the wicked ones. Both the wheat and the tares are found growing in the Kingdom of Heaven but only the wheat belong to the Kingdom of God.
The year 1948 saw the formation of the World Council of Churches (WCC). Through it the Lord sent His angels to gather "all things that offend, and them which do iniquity", that is to gather the tares and bind them together ready to be cast into the fiery furnace of the Great Tribulation. Now that the tares are bound up, the wheat are being gathered into the barn (or granary). Remember that the SOWER had sowed only good seeds in His field and would therefore gather only wheat grains into His granary. But before the wheat grains can be gathered and stored in the granary, the wheat are gathered to the threshing floor (sometime referred to as a barn, Job 39:12) to be thoroughly purged of the chaff. The threshing floor is the Word of God. Thus fulfills the words of John the Baptist:
Luke 3:16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
17 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.
Yes, this is the separating time. For "all things that offend, and them which do iniquity", Christ will see to it that they are gathered for the burning. As the seed is not heir with the chaff, so shall the chaff be purged for the burning. The hypocrites, the make-believers and the personality-cult followers are such that must be thoroughly removed from the Kingdom of God.
The Parable of the Mustard Seed – Matthew 13:31-32
31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:
32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.
Notice that the man sowed the grain of mustard seed in his garden (not his field where he sowed his wheat, cf. Lk.13:18-19). The mustard seed is not the smallest of all seeds (cf. Mk.4:30-32). The phrasal words are Jewish proverbial for smallness. (The word "smallest" is used hyperbolically.) The mustard seed is a very small seed and it cannot be hybrid. The plant, looking somewhat like a tree when fully grown to about 10 feet, is actually an herb. Amongst all the other herbs grown in the garden, the mustard plant would certainly resemble a tree with its branches stretched out in various directions.
Denominational preachers have taught that the parable either represents the sinners, which are the birds of the air, being attracted to the Gospel of the Church or the Gentiles being allowed to enter the Church originally for the Jews. A closer examination tells us that the "birds of the air" has no direct relationship with the life of the "mustard seed". The germ of life in the mustard seed has its roots in the earth. As it grew it manifested its branches, leaves and fruits. The birds were not part of the mustard plant. They were of the air. Though they might perch or rest in the shadow of the mustard tree, they were not part of it.
The MAN who sowed the mustard seed in His own garden represents the Son of Man. He sowed the mustard seed of the Gospel of salvation, which bore life and grew into a small plant, the small group of believers on the Day of Pentecost. As it continued to grow, it produced more branches and more leaves. By and by it came to look like a small tree as the Church grew. Remember that the mustard tree is actually an herb. And like all herbs, it has medicinal value. For that reason the birds were attracted to the mustard tree.
By this time the Church had entered into the Pergamean Church Age (Rev.2:12-17), the beginning of the 4th Century AD. Constantine, the then new emperor of Rome, embraced Christianity in 312 AD after his "vision" of the Cross - "in hoc signo vinces " ("in this sign you will be victorious"). By it he had several victories in his battle campaign for the Roman Empire. He pronounced Christianity the state religion. From 320-330 AD, Constantine began to attack paganism through the government but he often persuaded people to follow the laws by combining pagan worship with Christianity. Those who were "converted" to Christianity were safe from persecution. This attracted the men of higher societies and ranks – the rich, the noble, the aristocrat, and even pagan priests and religious leaders – to find shelter in the Church for their personal benefit. These were the birds that came to perch on the branches for shelter and comfort and for protection from the heat (persecution). These birds did not contribute anything to the mustard tree except their weight and their droppings, which soon weighed down and polluted the Church.
With all these strange birds coming together on the tree, there was a constant noisy chirping of the different calls of the birds. This noise was the arguments and debates over certain Church affairs. Through the argument as to whether the Lord Jesus Christ was God or Man, a teaching stirred up by Arius, a priest of Egyptian Alexandria, a council was convened at Nicea, Rome, in 325 AD under the order of Constantine. The product of that council was the false theological understanding of God known as the Holy Trinity, which is accepted by almost all in Christendom today.
During this age of about 300 years there were about 35 men in the Roman Church who were made popes. (As centuries passed, the later popes claimed to be as the God Almighty, "The Pope is of so great authority and power that he can modify, explain, or interpret even divine laws." (Translated from Lucius Ferraris, Prompta Bibliotheca, art. "Papa," (Pope) II, Vol VI, pp. 26-29.) Politics ruled the day and the more powerful birds got to stay a little longer on the mustard tree. But how was the life of that mustard tree to grow as more and more burdensome creatures perched on its branches making it droop and sag and dirty with their droppings causing it to look more and more like a monstrous beast (cf. Rev.13:1-10)? Where was the life of the mustard tree? It simply went right back down into the earth, figuratively speaking. The true elect went "underground".
The Parable of the Leaven – Matthew 13:33
33 Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.
With the true Church going underground, the filthy Church in Rome began to exert her power to do as she wished. In order to rule the Roman Empire, she had to win over the pagans. To make it much easier for the people to embrace Romanism, she took some leaven and hid in three measures of meal until the whole was leavened. (The filthy Roman Church was the "woman" in the parable.) That three measures that God had weighed out to make a meal – a whole loaf, were Justification, Sanctification and Holy Ghost Baptism; all that lie in the Complete Redemptive Work of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Roman Church had to corrupt the very Bread of Life that God provided in Christ. That woman, Mother Harlot (Rev.17:5), took her creeds, dogmas and rituals and hid them in the three measures of meal making it to rise, making the bread easier to eat. The whole loaf was puffed up with nothing but "hot air". She then fed it to the people who were fooled into believing that they were receiving the Bread of Life. It simply looked good and easy to eat, and so the people bought it, ate it and believed that eternal life was in it. It was a lie, a BIG lie. They were eating but corrupted bread.
The Roman Catholic Church had leavened the Truth of Life in many ways. For Justification, "by grace are ye saved through faith", she substituted it with "faith in the Roman Catholic Church", teaching that there is no salvation outside the Mother Church, as she called herself. For Sanctification, she substituted it with indulgences, penance and the confession. For Holy Spirit Baptism, she substituted it with Mass and Confirmation. But there is two leaven that to this day can be found in her "daughter harlot" churches, and that is, Water Baptism in the titles of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, along with the false teaching of the Holy Trinity. The baptism is even done by sprinkling or pouring of water onto the individual’s head.
Throughout the 1000 years of the Dark Ages (of Thyatira, Rev.2:18-29), the leavened bread of the Roman Church was fed to the masses. Not only were the majority of the people feeding on the bread of death in ignorance but their natural life throughout that period was sickly, being plagued by diseases and death due to a restrain on knowledge and advancement in the many fields of science by the Roman Church.
The Parable of the Hidden Treasure – Matthew 13:44
44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
As we come into the fifth parable we see the Age of Reformation or the Sardisean Church Age (Rev.3:1-6). This period began around the 16th Century. Many of the treasures of God’s precious priceless truths were lost to the people during the last 1000-year reign of the woman Jezebel (Rev.2:18-29). During this period there were many men searching for the treasures in the wrong fields. Martin Luther was just such a man. He searched all over Europe in the monasteries for several fruitless years. In hope of obtaining an indulgence promised by the pope, he went to what was called Pilate’s Staircase in Rome and began crawling up the stairs on his knees. While doing this he was halted by the words of the Scriptures, which came to him: "The just shall live by faith". The voice clearly was God’s.
Martin Luther had found a piece of precious treasure. He silently kept that to himself, hiding it from his fellow priests for a good while as he continued searching. Having gotten all the information he needed, he drafted out a claim, figuratively speaking, his 95 theses. Then he went and nailed it to the Wittenberg Castle door of the Roman Catholic Church. He sold back all the religious things he had gotten from the field of that woman, Jezebel, and bought the field of God from where he had found the piece of treasure. The words from the realm of the Roman Church had nothing to offer mankind but lies, whereas those from the realm of the Lord Jesus Christ had many treasures to offer truth seekers of God. There were men like John Calvin who discovered the treasure of Eternal Security of the True Believer, and John Knox, the treasure of Predestination. It is true that many of the treasures were just nuggets but they produced enough excitement among the true worshippers, urging them to take a closer look in the realm of God. "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness" (Isa.55:1-2).
Just a short time before the Reformation started and Protestantism came into the picture, Christopher Columbus discovered the New World – America. With that discovery, many in Europe were able to find freedom away from the oppression and bondage of the Roman Catholic Church. Not only was that Roman Church wounded by the Reformation, but by about 300 years later, in 1808, Napoleon Bonaparte dethroned the pope, deepening the wound on the head of the monstrous Beast (cf. Rev.13:3).
The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price – Matthew 13:45-46
45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
With the close of the Sardisean Church Age, we enter into the Philadelphia’s (Rev.3:7-13). Unlike the man we read in the fifth parable, this man was a merchant by trade. He was in the business looking out for beautiful and valuable pearls. This man was the preacher John Wesley, the messenger to the age of Philadelphia, an age of brotherly kindness.
John Wesley was the 15th of 19 children born to his pious parents. They were from the Church of England, the half sister to the Roman Church. In the period when he was born, the standard of morals in England was ebbing. Gambling, drinking and fighting were common every day events. John Wesley was a well-educated Anglican minister. Desiring to be a missionary and to evangelize the American Indians, he went to Georgia, USA, only to be discouraged. He thought he had something valuable to sell but the American Indians did not want it. After two years, he sailed home to England. He wrote, "I went to America to convert Indians; but oh, who shall convert me?" Despite his good education and serving God, Wesley had no peace with God in his heart. Wesley had every outward appearance of being a marvelous Christian, yet his heart wasn't converted – and he knew it. He belonged to the "Holy Club" in college. He was a pastor. He was a missionary. Yet he wasn't really saved.
On May 24, 1738, at a Moravian Christian gathering, while listening to the reading of Luther’s preface to his "Commentary on Romans", Wesley’s heart was "strangely warmed". He had received a revelation. Then and there he trusted Christ alone for his salvation from sin. With that he began to seek further into the Word and God began to reveal to him the need for a clean lifestyle, a holy living. He began to see a pearl of great price – Sanctification. Yes, John Wesley did not only believe in "the just shall live by faith" but also that "without peace and holiness, no man shall see the Lord". What he once had out of that cold system of the Church of England was nothing short of "having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof" (cf. 2Tim.3:5). He sold that which he had and purchased the "pearl of great price".
On horseback, Wesley rode throughout England and preached to many in the mountains and coal mining towns. Many were converted. There was such a great revival in that hour. But most of the bishops of the Church of England were wary and they would not reform. They closed the doors of their churches on Wesley and his teaching. Rejected but undeterred, Wesley declared "the world is my parish".
Wesley’s "pearl of great price" became known as the doctrine of Sanctification, Consecration and Dedication unto God. His followers were taught to approach their religious activities methodically and with a disciplined life. Hence, they were called Methodists. Many of his followers migrated to America with his message and established a strong Methodist Church before Wesley died on 2 March, 1791.
The Parable of the Dragnet – Matthew 13:47-52
47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:
48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.
49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,
50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
51 Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord.
52 Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.
This is the last of the seven parables and it depicts the last of the Seven Church Ages – Laodicea (Rev.3:14-22). Christ was revealing the consummation of the Gospel (Grace) Age. Remember in the second parable (20 years after the start of the Church), the tares that appeared among the wheat were left to grow alongside until the time of the harvest (the end of the Grace Age). They then would be gathered first and bound up, ready for the burning. The seventh parable appears to be similar but only to some degree. What we see here is the final great Gospel revival of preaching the Word of God to the masses of people around the world. In the parable, the fishing net that was cast into the sea was not an ordinary and commonly used cast net. It was a dragnet, a large fishing net. And when it was full, it took as many fishermen as were required to drag and haul it to shore. On the shore the catch was then separated. When such a great net is cast into the sea, it is inevitable to find every sort of creature from the sea in the net. What the Lord was looking for, in casting the great net, were the fishes – the "good" stuff.
The great net was cast in the early 20th Century. It was so enormous that every religious sort in the sea of humanity found their way into the net. Upon sorting, "spiritual" fishes that were the good (virtuous, beautiful, valuable) were gathered into vessels. The "religious" bad (worthless, rotten), such as jellyfishes, crabs, turtles, sharks, octopuses, eels, crayfishes, sea sluts, etc., were thrown away. (Remember that the Jews understood which sea creatures were lawful, and which were not, to be eaten.)
We are now living in the age where we do not only see the separation of the tares (false seeds) from the wheat (true seeds), but also the gathering of the good (true elect who are beautiful, virtuous and valuable in God’s eye for they conform to the Word) and the throwing away of the bad (make-believers who are rotten and worthless for they do not conform to the Word) in the Kingdom of Heaven.
The revival under John Wesley went on for a good long while in the 19th Century before it began its decline. The movement found itself dividing into many groups, a result of squabbling over certain doctrines. There were also other movements of Christian groups throughout Europe and America. By the end of the century, there were hungry souls crying out for more from God and this caused God to send a wave of revival at the turn of the 20th Century with a great number of souls speaking in tongues. This was the beginning of Christ’s final ministry to gather unto Himself an end time group of true worshippers before His return. Church History marked the year 1906 as the beginning of the revival in which we see the various spiritual gifts of God – prophecies, faith, miracles, divine healing and others, being poured out upon the believers.
"Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not:.." (1 Cor.14:22a). God was using tongues to draw the attention of the unbelievers and also that of the vast number of nominal Christians. However, by 1913 there was much schism in the movement, which soon led to the teaching that the "initial evidence" of having the Holy Spirit was to "speak in tongues". It was strictly taught regardless of the fact that it was contrary to the Scriptures which states that "tongues" was a sign to the unbelievers, that it was a gift to the church, and that not all believers spoke in tongues (cf. 1 Cor.12).
The evidence of having the Holy Spirit is not in the "speaking of tongues" but the love for the Word of God as He reveals It. Consider the words of our Lord Jesus Christ: "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you" (Jhn.16:13-15). It is this love for the Word of God, the love for the Truth, that is the evidence of having the Holy Spirit because God is in His Word. The Spirit and the Word are one. Hence, the Holy Spirit is given to lead and guide a believer into God’s true revelation of His Word. God is also love and if one has the Spirit, he has the love of God. Without that love then all is vanity (cf. 1 Cor.13).
When the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the true worshippers as they sought more from God, they not only spoke in tongues, but they also received the revelation of the One True God and His Redemptive Name in Water Baptism. Like the true worshippers on the Day of Pentecost, they had no difficulty in accepting the truth. They all turned away from the false and pagan doctrine of a Holy Trinity of God to the true doctrine of One God, and from Water Baptism in the triune titles of Father, Son and Holy Spirit to Water Baptism in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. They knew that to put on Christ, one had to take His Name in the New Birth. But soon carnality, intellectualism and power struggles appeared, groups began to be formed, and slowly many moved away from those revelations to focus on the so-called "initial evidence" of speaking in tongues as proof of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit was not to confront the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ as much as it was to confront those caught in the great net with the complete Word of the Almighty God. Each caught within the net was either good or bad. Jesus said, "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him" (Jhn.14:23). Every believer must take heed to the doctrines found in the Word. "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee" (1Tim.4:16). For centuries the churches had so misplaced the Truth of God but now every elect must line up with the Word of His Beloved. Everyone’s doctrinal standing would be tested for there would appear a ministry that would take every believer to the Word to determine if they were one with the Word. The last verse in the parable itself revealed such a ministry. "Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old." Recall how the two words "man" and "merchant" were used to describe the "minister" in the 5th and 6th parables respectively. Here the word used was "scribe" to denote a particular office. A scribe is a gifted man devoted to the study, writing and teaching of the Scriptures. He is very particular about the "iota" and "tittle" of the Word of God. Notice further in the verse, "every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven" denotes that there would be men of God who were specially instructed in the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven. They are instructed (taught) by the Spirit of God and not by men. Each of them would be as "unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old", that is, each of them was as an owner of a repository of treasure from which he would show forth new (fresh) and old (familiar) revelations to his household of God’s family.
Now, the ministry began with a little man by the name of William Marrion Branham of Jeffersonville, Indiana, USA. As the great net was being cast, William M. Branham was the man God used greatly to bring about a wave of emphasis on salvation, Holy Spirit baptism, divine healing, miracles and prophecies just after the First World War. He was given not only the gift of healing the sick but also the gift of "discerning the secrets of men’s hearts". The latter gift is not one of the nine gifts of the Spirit known as the "gift of discerning of spirits" (1 Cor.12:10) as many had insisted, but it is actually a gift that had manifested in only one other person – Jesus Christ when He came as the Son of Man. To Bible students, the gift is known as the "sign of the Messiah". The return of this gift fulfilled the words of Jesus Christ in Luke 17:30, cf. 17:22, to reveal once again the ministry of the Son of Man on the earth. [For more understanding, read my message entitled: The Coming of Christ.] The Jews, to whom Jesus Christ first came, had seen the SIGN in action. With the Grace Age closing, the Gentiles were given the opportunity to see the same SIGN in operation (in William Branham) before Christ returns to take His Bride away.
Through the ministry of William Branham, the revival caused many in the divided Church World, including the Pentecostals – the Oneness and the Trinitarians, to leave their denominations when they received the revelation of the Word of God. Christians began to see that God had truly sent a prophet. Many other men caught the vision and joined in the casting of the great net. Unfortunately, the eyes of many of those men were focused on the outward move of God rather then on the inward move of the Holy Spirit in bringing believers closer towards the Word of God. They soon compromised the Word for popularity and wealth, using their ministries to get them further in this world.
As the great net was being hauled onto shore, the catch was being separated – the good from the bad. As the angels of the Lord were sent out (in 1948) to gather the tares (false seeds which formed the false churches) and to bind them together under the World Council of Churches for the burning, so the Lord also sent His angels to separate those caught in the great net. All creatures that came into the great net might have moved and swayed religiously but they certainly were not all the "good". Through the Word each would be tested for his worth. Hence, we see Christ fanning His threshing floor thoroughly (Matt.3:11-12). Just after the mid-1950, the Lord began then to use the same little man, William Branham, to get the believers to pay attention to the teaching of the Word of God. Christ had a message for the believers and His messenger was the little man.
William Branham began to strike out at the organized churches, at their ideas, at their programs, at their creeds and dogmas, etc., crying out to them to "COME BACK TO THE WORD OF GOD!" He was the first "scribe" to take out from his treasure box things new, such as the revelation of the Seven Seals (which was never revealed in ages past). He also took out things old, such as the individual doctrines that the different Reformers taught in the early years but which they and their followers had trouble accepting those not their own. Branham gathered all of them together and correctly placed them in the Word and told the believers to walk in it. All major apostolic doctrines, that the organized churches had chosen to bury in their archives, were set in order. Branham emphasized ceaselessly on the need to STAY WITH THE WORD to be perfected in preparation for the coming of Christ. He also put great emphasis on the revelation of the One True God and the Water Baptism in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The creatures in the great net were all facing the Word of God as the call for a total separation from unbelief was made. The message was to restore the saints to the Apostolic Faith before a Five-fold ministry comes, according to Ephesians 4, to perfect them. If there were no separation from unbelief, perfecting the Church would be impossible.
No, the majority of the Christendom would never accept the fact that God had sent a little man with a message of restoration to rouse the Church in the Word (according to Malachi 4:5-6) for a Five-fold ministry, which was to come, that would take the Church to perfection. On the other hand, there are a great number of followers of this messenger, running around the world, teaching merely by quoting the oral words of the little man, verbatim, from some two thousands of his sermons recorded on magnetic tapes. They insist that "you have to say exactly what he said or else you are not in the message", something that Branham had never said. This group of people would never believe in a Five-fold ministry of Ephesians 4 that takes and stands upon the Scriptures (the same Bible that the messenger used) and perfects the Church for her translation. In fact, the deceptive and seductive spirits that fell upon the churches in Christendom has also fallen on this group of "believers". These "believers" are not only building up their churches on a collection of statements of Branham, some are also being led into a cultic worship of God’s messenger instead of the Lord God Who sent him. Satan has stolen the Truth that they heard.
With the passing away of William Branham, the ministry of separation continues under the Five-fold ministry of the Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers (Eph.4:11-16), with certain "scribes" in the Apostolic ministry bringing out more treasures, new and old, as the Lord continues to perfect the "good" (the elect) for His return.
So, it is with this final great revival of the casting of the great net that God set the stage for the parable of the Ten Virgins, recorded in Matthew 25:1-13, which this seventh parable overlapped, just as it was overlapped by the second parable.