Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as recorded by the apostle Matthew. More specifically, today’s selected passage is found in the first thirteen verses of the twenty-fifth chapter. When you come to the twenty-fifth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew you find the third chapter in a series of three chapters that provide us with a tremendous wealth of teaching from the lips of Jesus. When you start coming to the end of the gospel concerning Jesus Christ which was written by the apostle Matthew you will find that immediately after Jesus indicted and rebuked the scribes and Pharisees for their hardness of heart and hypocrisy, His disciples attempt to show Him the magnificent and wonderful buildings of the Temple. Upon hearing and listening to their enthusiasm concerning the buildings of the Temple Jesus immediately responds by declaring unto them that not one of the stones of these buildings would remain atop each other. Essentially, that which Jesus was declaring unto the disciples was that there was going to come an event when a sudden destruction and devastation was going to take place within the city. It’s worth noting and mentioning that Jesus didn’t reveal the devastation and destruction that would come upon and befall the city of Jerusalem and inhabitants, but merely alluded to the fact that there was coming a day when Jerusalem itself would be seized, would come under attack, and would experience a tremendous devastation and destruction. If you study the history of the Jewish people you will find that less than forty years from the time Jesus died upon the cross, was buried in a borrowed tomb, was raised from death to live, and ascended to the right hand of the Father, the city of Jerusalem would be seized by the Roman army, and would come under tremendous attack and opposition. Ultimately the Roman army would enter into and invade the city of Jerusalem, and the Roman tenth legion would completely and utterly destroy the Temple by burning it to the ground with fire. In the year 70 A.D. the city of Jerusalem experienced such a great affliction and such a great opposition as not only was the city invaded, not only was the Temple which stood upon the Temple Mount utterly and completely destroyed, but the Jewish people themselves would be scattered within, upon and throughout the earth. As a direct result of the invasion of the Roman army into the land of Judaea and in the city of Jerusalem, countless men, women, children and families were displaced from their homes and all they knew within the city of Jerusalem. What’s so incredibly interesting about this is that there were those who listened to and heeded the words and warnings of Jesus and the apostles, and who fled from Jerusalem and from Judaea in order to escape the coming devastation and destruction. There were some who were present during those days who listened to and heeded the warnings, and as a direct result of their actions, were able to escape the devastation and destruction that would befall the city of Jerusalem and the inhabitants which remained within the city.
The rest of the twenty-fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew is Jesus speaking unto His disciples about the end times and the Last Days after they had asked Him when these events would take place and what would be the sign of His coming. If you read the twenty-fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew you will quickly discover that it is a chapter that is entirely devoted and dedicated to Jesus teaching and speaking unto His disciples concerning the Last Days. What’s so incredibly interesting about that which we find in this particular passage of Scripture is that when Jesus begins to answer and respond to the disciples’ questions, He doesn’t do so by providing them with a specific date and time for His return. The disciples asked Jesus when these events would take place, and what would be the sign of His coming, and the first words out of Jesus’ mouth centered around and centered upon deception, for in the fourth verse we read the following words spoken by Jesus unto His disciples: “Take heed that no man deceive you.” Pause for a moment and consider that reality, for when we speak about the end times and the Last Days it is absolutely imperative and necessary that we recognize what is perhaps the single greatest danger facing these times—the danger of being deceived and allowing others to seduce and deceive us with false doctrine and false teaching. What is so interesting about that which we find in this particular passage of Scripture is that when Jesus warns the disciples against being deceived, He not only directly links and connects it with those who would come in His name declaring and professing themselves to be Christ, but also those who would rise up as false Christs and false teachers among them. Consider if you will the words which Jesus spoke within this passage concerning deception, and how when we speak concerning the Last Days, that which is perhaps the greatest warning concerning the Last Days is that we guard our hearts and our minds from and against deceit. Beginning with the fourth verse of the twenty-fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew we find the following words concerning deception and the great need to guard our hearts against its presence and influence within our hearts and lives:
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:5).
“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 24:11-13).
“Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, Here is Christ, or there; Believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For where so ever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together” (Matthew 24:23-28).
Is is clear from each of these passages of Scripture that what is perhaps the single greatest danger facing and surrounding the Last Days is that of deception, for not only will false teachers, false apostles and false prophets abound in the earth, but they will do so in record number. What’s more, is that the New Testament authors and writers recognized and understood the dangers of false teachers, the dangers of false apostles, and the dangers of false apostles, for within their writings they warned the church of Jesus Christ and the people of God concerning the dangers. As early as the words which the apostle Paul spoke when bidding farewell to the Ephesians elders, we find the apostle Paul truly and genuinely concerned over the Ephesian congregation, for he knew that after he departed savage wolves would come in not sparing the flock. The apostle Paul knew, recognized and understood that there would come false prophets, false teachers, and false apostles who would creep in and enter into the Ephesian church, and would seek to lead captive and deceive those who were present within and among the congregation. Such concern wasn’t merely for and over the Ephesian congregation, for if you turn and direct your attention to the second epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Corinthian saints, you will find that he again feared that as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so also would he beguile and deceive them through his own false doctrine and false teaching. The apostle Paul was truly and genuinely concerned over the Corinthian congregation, for he feared that they would be beguiled and deceived away from the simplicity that is found in the gospel concerning Jesus who is the Christ. What’s more, is that this concern wasn’t merely over the Corinthian and Ephesian churches and congregations, for if you turn and direct your attention to the New Testament epistle which was written unto the churches in Galatia, you will find the apostle Paul expressing his concern over them as well. When writing unto the churches in Galatia, the apostle Paul spoke of another Jesus and another gospel which would be preached unto and among them—one that would be completely different from the one which they themselves had preached unto and among them. The apostle Paul was fearful and genuinely concerned over these churches, for he was aware that there had already been false teachers, false brethren, false apostles, and the like who had crept in among them in order to lead captive those who were capable of allowing themselves to be deceived. When reading the New Testament epistle which was written unto the churches which were in Galatia, it is necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand the apostle’s genuine concern for and over them, for he was fearful and worried that they would be and in all ready had already been deceived and beguiled away from the truth that is found in Jesus Christ.
It is true the apostle Paul recognized the tremendous dangers of false teachers, false prophets and false apostles that would creep in among the churches, but it is also true that there were others who were just as concerned regarding such rampant deception. If you spend time reading the second epistle written by the apostle Peter, as well as the first epistle written by the apostle John, and even the epistle which was written by Jude, you will find that these three men also wrote concerning the great dangers of false teaching and false doctrine that would be perpetuated among the saints of God within the various churches which were present within and upon the earth. Men such as the apostles Paul, Peter and John, as well as Jude were greatly and genuinely concerned over the churches, for not long after the early church was established there would be false teachers and false prophets who would rise up within and among the churches in order that they would not only lead captive men and women through strange and silly doctrines, but they would also greatly deceive men and women through their false teaching and false doctrines. The apostles and New Testament authors recognize and understood the tremendous dangers that faced the churches of Jesus Christ, for the enemy and adversary would attempt to lead captive men and women through strange doctrines and false teaching which were not taught by the apostles, nor even by Jesus Christ Himself. When you read the words which Jesus Himself spoke in the twenty-fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew you will find His concern that in the Last Days—not only would there be false Christs who would rise up among the people within the earth, but there would also be false prophets who would rise up as well. What’s more, is that Jesus even spoke of those who would come in His name and would declare and profess themselves to be Christ, and would deceive many. I have to admit that until very recently—in fact, as recent as last year—I read the words which Jesus spoke in this particular passage of Scripture, and I thought and believed that He was speaking about those who would rise up within the earth and would actually profess themselves to be Christ Himself. For the longest time I thought and believed that there would be those who would rise up upon the earth and would profess themselves to be Jesus Christ in order that they might deceive those who did not know, follow and understand the truth. I thought and believed that there would be a great number of individuals who would rise up upon the earth and would literally and actually profess themselves to be Jesus the Christ in the flesh. This would be particularly and especially interesting for the Jewish people, for there are those present within the nation of Israel who believe that the Messiah hadn’t yet come in the flesh, and is still to come.
The more I read the words which Jesus the Christ spoke unto His disciples concerning the Last Days and the end times, the more I am completely and utterly convinced that that which Jesus spoke about, and that which Jesus was referencing was not those who would rise up and actually profess themselves to be Christ Himself—those who would profess themselves to be Christ in the flesh. I have come to believe that while it is possible that there have been those who have risen up in the earth professing and declaring themselves to be Christ, and while there will in fact be others who will rise up and declare and profess themselves to be Christ as the Last Days continue to unfold, the greatest danger comes not from those who profess themselves to be Christ, but from those who come in the name of Jesus the Christ and make the profession that they are in Christ and those who would make the profession they are of Christ. I am convinced that the key to truly understanding that which Jesus was speaking about in this particular passage of Scripture is in the fact that He prefaced this statement by declaring that there would be many who would come “in His name”—a reality which was found earlier on in the New Testament gospel of Mathew when Jesus declared that there would be many who would come in His name, saying, Lord, Lord, and yet He would profess and proclaim that He never knew them. There would be those who would come unto Him in that day and would profess and proclaim “Lord, Lord,” and would go on to boast of their great and wonderful works, their casting out devils, and their prophesying in His name. Jesus emphatically declared that not everyone who says unto Him, “Lord, Lord,” would enter into the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of His Father who is in heaven. It’s interesting and worth noting that not only did these individuals speak of and profess their great exploits and works which they did for Christ, but they also professed that they did such works in His name. It was in fact true that they did prophesy, and that they did do many wonderful works, and that they did cast out devils, and it is even true that they believed they did it in the name of Jesus Christ, yet Jesus would respond to them in that day and declare unto them that He never knew them. I am convinced this is key to understanding that which is found in the twenty-fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew, for when Jesus speaks of those who would come in His name professing and declaring themselves to be Christ, I am completely and utterly convinced that what Jesus is actually referring to are those who just like the ones who spoke of the many exploits and wonderful works claimed to do so in the name of Christ. There would be those who would come in the name of Christ—those who would profess allegiance and association with Jesus Christ—and would even profess that they belong to Him, and yet nothing could be the furthest from the truth. There is not a doubt in my mind that that which Jesus spoke about concerning those who would come in His name and those who would profess that they are Christ, or those who would profess that they are in fact in Christ. I am convinced that one of the greatest dangers facing the saints of God in the last days comes from false brethren—those who would seek to enter into our ranks and into our midst, and would make the declaration and profession that they are of and in Christ, and yet are nothing more than wolves in sheep’s clothing and imposters seeking to deceive and lead captive the people of God.
The more I read the words which Jesus spoke unto the disciples in this particular portion of the New Testament gospel of Matthew, the more I am convinced that while one of—if not perhaps the greatest danger facing the saints of God in the Last Days is that of deception, there is yet another danger that is found in this particular portion of Scripture. In all reality, it begins to be mentioned and alluded to in the final verses of the twenty-fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel fo Matthew, and is in all reality the main crux and central theme of the passage that is found within the first thirteen verses of the twenty-fifth chapter. If you being reading with and from the forty-third chapter of the twenty-fourth chapter of this New Testament gospel you will find Jesus speaking unto his disciples concerning the reality that if the Goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. As you read the words which are found in the final set of verses within the twenty-fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew, you will find the underlying theme being that of watching and being ready in the Last Days. Consider if you will the words which Jesus spoke which are recorded by the apostle Matthew and begin in and with the forty-third verse of the twenty-fourth chapter:
“But know this, that if the Goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is. Faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he lookers not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:43-51).
If and when you read the words which are written and recorded in this particular passage of Scripture, you will find Jesus beginning to shift gears from speaking of the dangers of deception, offense and anxious hearts in the last days, to something that is perhaps more severe than all of those combined and put together. As you come to the end of the twenty-fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew you will find Jesus beginning to speak unto his disciples concerning the tremendous need to be ready, to be prepared, and to be found faithful in watching for the coming and return of the Son of man. It wasn’t enough for Jesus to simply warn the disciples concerning the dangers and signs surrounding the Last Days, for Jesus also needed to bring them into the place where they would devote their time and their days watching and waiting for His return and from His coming. As I am sitting here right now I can’t help but be completely and totally gripped by the reality that one of the greatest dangers facing the churches of Jesus Christ in these Last days is that of unprepared saints who aren’t watching and who aren’t waiting and who aren’t praying for the coming and return of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am sitting here right now and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I myself have not been living in a place where I have been looking for and waiting for the imminent return and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. If I am being honest with you who are reading the words contained within this writing, if I am being honest with myself, and if I am being honest with the living God of heaven and earth, I have not been that faithful and wise servant who has been watching and who has been waiting for the soon coming and imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have not spent my days and my time looking for and looking unto the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have not been one who has spent my days, and my time, and my energy watching and waiting for the coming and return of the Lord Jesus Christ. As I read the words which our Lord spoke unto His disciples, I am convinced that one of the greatest dangers facing the churches of Jesus Christ in the last days is that of unprepared saints—those who aren’t watching, and those who aren’t diligently working to making themselves ready for the return and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. What’s more, is that if we truly read and understand that which Jesus was speaking unto His disciples, we must admit that He not only spoke of those who are watching, but also those who are ready and prepared for when He finally does appear and return as He said and promised He would.
UNPREPARED SAINTS WHO FAIL TO WATCH AND MAKE THEMSELVES READY! While it is true that I believe that one of the greatest dangers facing the inhabitants of the world in the Last Days is wide spread and rampant deception, I am convinced that what is perhaps the greater danger is that of those who aren’t watching, those who aren’t waiting, those who aren’t praying, and those who aren’t making themselves ready. I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the apostle Peter wrote in the final chapter of the second epistle which he wrote unto the saints which were scattered abroad concerning the coming and return of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you begin reading with and from the first verse of the third chapter, you will find the following words written by the apostle who walked with and followed Jesus Christ for three and a half years:
“This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: that ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior: knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: but the heavens and the earth, which are now, but the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longer suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless, we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwellers righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the long suffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him by glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:1-18).
IF you read the words which the apostle Peter wrote in this second epistle, you will find him writing concerning what I believe is one of the greatest dangers facing the world today in these Last Days—the danger of being unready and unprepared for the soon coming and imminent coming of the Son of man. In the twenty-fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew we find Jesus beginning to speak about the tremendous need to be found wise and faithful, and to demonstrate both by watching, by waiting, and by praying for the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we are going to talk and speak about the Last Days, and if we are going to speak about the soon coming and imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand that we cannot have such a conversation without talking about the tremendous need to be watching, to be waiting and to be praying for the hastening of the return of Jesus Christ. In the twenty-fifth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew we find Jesus speaking unto the disciples in what would be the first of a series of parables intended on providing them with instruction concerning the Last Days. I am completely and utterly convinced that what we find in the twenty-fifth chapter is a powerful teaching—not only concerning the Last Days, but also how to prepare ourselves, and how to live our lives in light of and in the midst of the Last Days. There is not a doubt in my mind that would began with a parable concerning the ten virgins with their lamps would continue in a wonderful and powerful teaching concerning the great and wonderful need to not only be watching, but to also be ready and prepared for the soon coming and imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ. What is so incredibly interesting and unique about this first parable found within the twenty-fifth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew is that the parable doesn’t merely begin with ten virgins, and it doesn’t merely begin with ten virgins who each had their lamps and oil in their lamps, but also ten virgins who went forth to meet the bridegroom. Perhaps one of the most incredible realities surrounding this particular parable is that while there is a clear and decisive line between the five foolish virgins and the five wise virgins, we must understand that all ten virgins took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. The foolish virgins weren’t foolish because they were not looking for and going out to meet the bridegroom, but because they didn’t bring enough oil with them when meeting the bridegroom. If you read this particular parable you will notice that not only did all ten virgins have lamps, and not only did all ten virgins go out to meet the bridegroom, but all ten virgins slumbered and slept while the bridegroom tarried and delayed in and with his coming. On the surface there was virtually no difference between the five foolish virgins and the five wise virgins until you come to the place in the parable when you read that their lamps went out, and they had no oil to light their lamps. At midnight when the cry went out to meet the bridegroom, all ten virgins awoke from their slumber, and trimmed their lamps, however, the lamps of the five foolish virgins had gone out for they had not enough oil.
NOT ENOUGH OIL TO MEET THE BRIDEGROOM! WHEN THE LAMPS GO OUT WHILE YOU SLUMBER AND SLEEP! The point of this parable is not that the five foolish virgins did not go out to meet the bridegroom, nor even that they didn’t have lamps with which to go out and meet the bridegroom, but rather that they didn’t have enough oil with them for when their lamps went out. Did they anticipate their lamps running out? Did they anticipate the delay of the bridegroom? Did they anticipate themselves slumbering and sleeping while waiting for the bridegroom to arrive? The parable does not provide answers to these questions—only that when the five foolish virgins realized that their lamps had gone out and they did not have enough oil, they tried asking the other virgins for some of their oil in order that they might light their lamps. The five wise virgins were unwilling to give of their oil, lest there would not be enough for both they and those who asked. Instead of giving of their oil unto the five foolish virgins, the five wise virgins instructed those who were foolish to go unto them that sell, and buy oil for themselves. As the parable progresses, we find that while the five foolish virgins went to buy oil for their lamps, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut behind them. Shortly thereafter the five foolish virgins came unto the house where the marriage was taking place and asked and entreated the Lord to open up the door unto them. What’s. Interesting about this parable, is that the same language which Jesus used when speaking of those who professed and proclaimed Lord, Lord, and spoke of prophesying in His name, and casting out devils in His name, and doing many wonderful works in His name is used here. Jesus declared that He would declare unto those who came to Him in that day, saying, Lord, Lord, and yet did not do the will of His Father in heaven would not only hear “Depart from me ye worker of iniquity,” but they would also hear “I never knew you.” When you come to the words which are found in this parable, you will find the same language of “I knew you not,” or “I never knew you” being proclaimed and declared unto the five foolish virgins. This is actually quite interesting, for these five virgins weren’t those who weren’t looking for, waiting for and perhaps even expecting the return of the bridegroom. In fact, I can’t help but think that there is a fine line between waiting for and expecting the return of the bridegroom and actually being ready and prepared to meet Him when He comes. There might be those who are watching and waiting for the bridegroom to come, and yet just as these five foolish virgins weren’t ready for the bridegroom when he came, so also these men and women are unprepared and not ready when the Son of man comes. If you continue reading this chapter, you will find that Jesus concludes by instructing His disciples to watch, for they know neither day nor the hour wherein the Son of man comes.
What is so unique about this passage of Scripture is that Jesus begins this parable by using the word “then” to describe the kingdom of heaven. In previous parables—when speaking concerning the kingdom of heaven—Jesus would simply declare that the kingdom of heaven is like, or the kingdom of heaven could be likened unto, and then He would proceed to speak forth a parable concerning the kingdom of heaven. When, however, you come to this particular passage of Scripture, you will find Jesus seemingly changing His speech and changing His language to not describe what the kingdom of heaven is like, but what the kingdom of heaven will and shall be like. Jesus begins this parable by declaring “Then shall the kingdom of heaven by likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.” It’s necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this concept, for it comes directly on the heels of what we find in the previous chapter concerning the dangers and signs concerning the Last Days and the end times. The twenty-fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew concludes with Jesus calling His disciples to watch, to be ready and to be prepared for His coming and His return, and He immediately transitions His language to declaring that the kingdom of heaven will be likened unto ten virgins who took their lamps to go out and meet the bridegroom. The entire premise and point of this parable was not that the five foolish virgins didn’t have lamps, nor even that they didn’t at one point have oil for their lamps, nor even that at one point their lamps were shining, nor even that they were with the five wise virgins who went out to meet the bridegroom. These five foolish virgins weren’t considered unprepared and unready to meet the bridegroom because they were somehow not eagerly anticipating and expecting his arrival, or even to go out and meeting him. The five foolish virgins were considered foolish for one reason and one reason only—they didn’t have enough oil in their lamps to go out and meet the bridegroom when he actually arrived. Oh, they began at one point with oil in their lamps, and at one point their lamps were in fact lit, but there came a point while they were slumbering and sleeping that their lamps went out. Jesus defined being ready and watching in this parable as having enough oil in and for your lamps, so that when He finally does arrive, you are ready and able to meet Him and enter into the house where the marriage supper is taking place. The question is not whether you have a lamp, nor is the question even about whether or not you are waiting for and expecting the bridegroom to return, but whether or not you have enough oil for your lamp to shine when the bridegroom does in fact come. WILL YOU OIL SHINE WHEN THE BRIDEGROOM COMES? WILL YOUR LAMP STILL BE SHINING WHEN THE BRIDEGROOM COMES? WILL YOU STILL BE ON FIRE WHEN THE BRIDEGROOM COMES? WILL YOUR LAMP SHINE BRIGHTLY ON THE DAY THE MASTER RETURNS?