Have you been keeping up with the headlines in the news lately? All over the world, we see destructive weather patterns, wars and violence. Uncontrollable wildfires burn in California due to a forever ending drought. Japan’s largest volcano has erupted suddenly. Earthquakes are happening all over the world on a daily basis. Last week, Israel experienced the worst sandstorm since the Jews have returned to their homeland. Not to mention the signs in the skies. In the past week we have seen rainbows over the One World Trade Center, lightening strike the Muslim temple in Mecca and a double eclipse of the sun on Rosh Hashanah. One must ask, “What in the world is going on?” The people of the world believe that man’s careless treatment of the earth has caused these events, but according to the Word of God, God caused these events.
As the end time prophecies unfold before our eyes, Christians should realize that the rapture could happen at any time. However, many in the church seem asleep to these prophecies. What has happened to the church? A parable in Matthew 25 answers this question. Please read Matthew 25:1-13. By studying this parable, we will not only learn why the church is asleep, but we will also see when the rapture takes place.
In verse one we see that 10 virgins with lamps are waiting to meet the bridegroom. This is a picture of the church (bride) waiting for Christ’s return (bridegroom). The virgins cannot represent the world, because the world is not looking for the return of the bridegroom. Only those in the church are taught to watch and wait. All of these virgins have lamps, so they have made some type of preparation, but 5 of the virgins have a serious problem with their lamps.
In verse 3 we see that 5 of these virgins do not have oil in their lamps. Oil in this passage represents the Holy Spirit. The only way to have the Holy Spirit is to have genuine salvation through Jesus Christ. Even though the foolish virgins had lamps, attended church and were looking for the Lord, they did not have salvation. When the bridegroom returns for the bride, the foolish virgins are left behind.
You can be a member of the church or call yourself a Christian, but unless you are a born again believer, you will get left behind at the rapture. These virgins did not lose their salvation as some teach, because Jesus said in verse 12, “I do not know you.” Unfortunately, half the virgins are left behind. Does that mean that half of the church is lost? Only God knows the answer, but the Bible says, “My sheep hear my voice and follow me”. If a person calling himself/herself a Christian, is asleep to the end time events, then according to the Bible he/she may not saved. If you suspect that you might not be saved, please take a look at The Christianity Test written from the book of 1st John. When in doubt of your salvation, work it out with the Lord. Please don’t assume you are saved as the 5 foolish virgins did.
It is time to sound the alarm in our churches. God is showing great signs of the end all over the world. We must blow the trumpets in Zion. Those who are lost in the church need to be awakened before it is too late.
Why is there such an urgency? When will the rapture take place? Some believe that it will happen before the tribulation while others believe it will happen at the end. This parable gives us a clue as to when this event will take place. Notice in verse 10 that the bride went to celebrate the wedding feast; and the door was shut. This does not sound like the second coming described in Revelation 19. When Christ returns to earth, every eye will see Him as He comes in the clouds on His white horse. At this time, there will be no time to celebrate a wedding feast.
When does this wedding feast take place? According to Revelation 19:7-8, the marriage supper of the Lamb occurs during the tribulation period. At this great feast, the bride is made ready. She is given clothing of find linen, bright and clean. The bride then returns to earth with Christ on white horses (Rev. 19:14). So here is biblical proof that the rapture cannot occur at Christ’s second coming. Do not be afraid of what is going on around you. Keep your eyes on Jesus and look for the blessed hope.
“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” Titus 2:11-14 (NASB).
“Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come” Mark 13:33 (NASB).