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The Parable of the Ten Virgins September 9, 2018

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Matthew 25:1-13.

Summary: In this passage, Jesus states that His kingdom can be represented by ten bridesmaids who take their torches to greet a bridegroom. Five of them are prudent and bring flasks with oil, while the other five are morons, failing to bring these flasks.

The bridegroom does not arrive at the expected time, though; thus, they all fall asleep.

At midnight, a cry is raised to announce his arrival. They awake, and the prudent bridesmaids re-light their torches with their oil. The others ask them for some oil; they respond by instructing them to purchase their own oil.

Later, the bridegroom arrives while the moronic bridesmaids are still procuring their oil. The prudent bridesmaids join the festivities; the others are denied entry, though.

Similarly, believers should be alert for His Second Coming – since they cannot predict it.

Thoughts: Here, the ten bridesmaids are asleep when they learn of the arrival of the bridegroom. Ryle offers some insights on this point:

It will be just the same when Jesus returns to the world. He will find the vast majority of mankind utterly unbelieving and unprepared; he will find the bulk of his believing people in a sleepy and indolent state of soul. Business will be going on in town and country just as it does now; politics, trade, farming, buying, selling, pleasure-seeking will be taking up men’s attention just as they do now…

This passage reminds us of the suddenness of Jesus’ Second Coming. It bears repeating that since no one – besides God the Father – knows the exact timing of that event, all who are alive at that moment will be taken by surprise. What we do know is that He will arrive at some point; thus, we must persist in our preparations for that event. Now I submit that as long as we continue to prepare for His Second Coming, God will not disapprove of us when we engage in “politics, trade, framing, buying, selling, pleasure-seeking.” In fact, we may be engaged in those pursuits at His Second Coming – yet if we are prepared for that event, then He will not judge us for such pursuits. Of course, we must not allow such pursuits to distract us from our preparations…

This passage also reminded me of my unbelieving friends and relatives. My impression is that each of them is doing well – and assured of the accuracy of their worldview. Yet I wonder: are they actually masking inner hurts and pains that could be healed by the Gospel message? If so, how can I help them remove that mask of contentment? I must continue to pray that God would be at work in them, softening their hearts and enabling me to capitalize on any opportunities that He might grant me to bring them closer to Him. Indeed, I must remain confident that God can help at least one of them to place their trust in Him.

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The Day and Hour Unknown September 7, 2018

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Matthew 24:36-51.

Summary: In this passage, Jesus asserts that only His Father knows the time of His Second Coming. He reminds His disciples that Noah’s contemporaries did not care about the flood, maintaining their personal and social routines until the cataclysm. Similarly, those who will witness His Second Coming will not care about it until it occurs; at that time, unbelievers will be judged – yet believers will be saved.

Thus, they should be constantly alert for His Second Coming. Just as a man who knows when a thief will come will not allow him to dig through his house, so they should be prepared for His Second Coming.

He then states that the kingdom of God is like a faithful and sensible servant who is told to rule over their master’s house. Their master will place them over all of his possessions – while dichotomizing an unfaithful and foolish servant.

Similarly, at His Second Coming, He will reward those who are faithful to the stewardship that He has given them – while condemning all others to hell.

Thoughts: Here, Jesus asserts that believers and unbelievers will be separated at His Second Coming. Ryle offers some thoughts on this point:

There will be no time for repentance or a change of mind when the Lord appears: everyone will be taken as they are, and reap according as they have sown. Believers will be caught up to glory, honor and eternal life; unbelievers will be left behind to shame and everlasting contempt.

It appears that Ryle believes in the Rapture, based on the phrases “caught up to glory” and “left behind.” Admittedly I am still confused about the mechanics of His Second Coming; thus, I am unsure as to whether Ryle is correct. If the theory of the Rapture is correct, then what will happen to a:

  • vehicle that was being operated by a believer?
  • meeting at work that includes at least one believer?
  • patient who was undergoing an operation led by a believer?

Perhaps it is best to not fixate on the mechanics of His Second Coming and allow God to work according to His ways and timing.

Here, Jesus exhorts believers to be prepared for His Second Coming. Ryle offers some insights on this point:

He knows the sleepiness of our nature; he knows how soon we forget the most solemn subjects in religion; he knows how unceasingly Satan labors to obscure the glorious doctrine of his second coming. He exhorts us to keep awake, if we do not want to be ruined forevermore. May we all have an ear to hear his words!

It should be reiterated that being prepared for His Second Coming does not mean that we should anticipate His arrival on a particular date. Now I also believe that it does not mean that we need to meditate on His Second Coming on a daily basis. Instead, I believe that preparing for His Second Coming is equivalent to serving Him faithfully. In particular, we should regularly ask, “has God been glorified through my thoughts, words and deeds today?” If we can answer that question in the affirmative, then we are ready for His Second Coming; when He actually arrives, then He will reward us for being in a state of readiness.