Will you and I be prepared someday to meet the Lord?
In Matthew chapter 24, many prophecies were given which were to be fulfilled as the time of the Second Coming approached. Chapter 25 continues with instructions on how they were to prepare personally for the Second Coming. The Savior uses the Parable of the Ten Virgins to teach them. Verse 1 “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.” When the Son of man returns in judgment, the church will be like ten virgins coming to a wedding ceremony. The coming of Jesus the bridegroom – to receive his church, is often presented like a marriage – with the Church (body of believers) represented as His spouse or bride. In the Greek the term “virgin” would imply clean vessels, purity by way of being covered by faith in Christ’s blood. I need to point out in the story that these ten virgins – or maidens – were not brides – but part of the wedding procession. Verses 2-4 “And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.” Now, throughout scripture oil is often pictured as the Holy Spirit, which is one reason in the Old Testament Levitical priesthood ordinations were accompanied by literally pouring olive oil over the head of the High Priest. So, half of these virgins possessed oil to fortify their torches – lighting the procession way for the groom and His bride – and the other half did not.
Verses 5-6 “While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.” This is a picture of the Second Coming of Christ. Verses 7-9 “Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for the lamps are gone out. 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 five prepared virgins represent those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior. The five unprepared virgins had not enough faith to believe on Jesus and to accept the gift of eternal life. That was something the wise virgins could not do for the foolish virgins. Verse 10 “And while they (the foolish virgins) went to buy, the bridegroom came (catching them unprepared); and they that were ready; went in with him to the marriage and the door was shut.” Locked out – like the shutting door of Noah’s Ark. Verse 11 “Afterward came also the other virgins, saying Lord, Lord, open to us.” I can’t help but notice that Jesus uses the very same words as He does back in Matthew 7:21, where He said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Back to Verse 12 “But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.” Finally, Verse 13 “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”
Before we end, I need to respond to a point made in the Come, Follow Me manual for Individuals and Families. The manual references Mark 12:18-27 claiming this, “We learn from modern revelation that Jesus’s statement ‘When they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage’ refers to those who have not entered into the covenant of celestial marriage (referencing D&C 132:15-16). A celestial marriage, in which ‘a man marries a wife…by the new and everlasting covenant,’ will last ‘through all eternity’ if the husband and wife are true to their covenants (referencing D&132:19).” First, of all the ONLY marriage extolled or celebrated in the New Testament is the spiritual marriage of the believer to Christ. See 2 Corinthians 11:2 and Revelation 21:2. Jesus didn’t view marriage as something that would extend into the next life. When Jesus says, in Mark 12:25 “For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven,” Christ is making the argument that marriage will not exist in the resurrection. All of us go to heaven to be judged on our own. And there, we will be single like the angels. The Joseph Smith Translation leaves this verse unmodified, so it stands as it’s read in the King James Version. Doctrine and Covenants 132:15-16 adds the provision that it is only those who are not married for all eternity by the proper priesthood authority that will become as angels and remain single. All others become gods and their marriage continues. But that is not supported in the Bible nor the Book of Mormon for that matter. Let’s remember, that when the manual quotes from D&C 132, that the heading of this Section states this, “revelation given through Joseph Smith” is “relating to the new and everlasting covenant, including the eternity of the marriage covenant, as also plurality of wives.” In the actual passages of Section 132 verses 58 through 66, it states that the “Laws governing the plurality of wives are set forth.” So, this entire Section 132 was written by Joseph Smith to try and convince his wife Emma that he should live polygamy. He had already married other women behind her back. So, he was trying retroactively, to get her consent. If you go to LDS.org which is the new ChurchofJesusChrist.org and read the Gospel Topic Essay titled “Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo” written in 2016, you will find that Smith had at least 40 plural wives. A third were already married to other men, and another third were teenagers as young as 14. So, I’m quite surprised that the manual would want to open up that can of worms in this lesson.