Written by Darlene Quiring
There are many prophecies and predictions of the Lord’s second return within the Bible. Both the Old and the New Testament are packed full of promises that Jesus will return again. In the Old Testament are 1,845 references to the second coming, there are 17 Old Testament books that give the Lord’s return pre-eminence of theme. In the 260 chapters in the New Testament there are 318 references to His second return – 1 out of 30 verses speaks of Jesus coming again, 23 out of the 27 New Testament books refer to it over and over again and again. The only four books that don’t, three of them are letters written to individuals about specific situations and subjects, and the fourth is the letter to the Galatians in which the second coming is implied, even if it is not mentioned.
Now, think about this: for every mention of the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ within the word of God, there are eight mentions of His second coming! You know all the prophecies, you hear about it in Church perhaps at Christmas, where it talks about ‘Bethlehem-Ephrathah, though thou be little among the cities and the tribes of Judah, you will receive the Messiah’ – He was to be born there. You read about it in the book of Isaiah, about His crucifixion, you read about Him being called Emmanuel – God with us. So many prophecies within the Old Testament Scriptures about Jesus coming to the earth the first time, but listen to this: there are eight times more prophecies about Him coming back again!
Historians are more sure that the Lord Jesus Christ, His feet walked in Palestine on our earth, than they are about the existence of Julius Caesar – and you don’t hear anybody discussing or debating about whether Julius Caesar lived or not, do you? It’s an accepted fact – and it is an accepted, historical, documented fact – that Jesus Christ walked in flesh. No matter who you think He is, no matter what you think about Him, He walked down here. If you’re sure about that, you can be eight times more sure that He’s coming back again. Have you got it? Be under no disillusion about it: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is coming back again!
Ladbrokes, the bookmakers in London, has lowered the odds of a visit from outer space from 100-1 to 33-1, because of all things going on in America. Well, boy are they going to have a rude awakening one of these days! It’ll not be an alien, it’ll not be a green man with six eyes! It will be Jesus Christ, the Son of God, will burst through the clouds and come to this earth – and you, my friend, if you’re not saved, you’re going to have to reckon with Him!
The parable that we read about depicts His coming, about people being surprised because they aren’t expecting it. In the chapter before, in chapter 24 and verse 37, Jesus said: ‘But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be’. A lot of people and preachers would often say – and they’re right in a way – that the days in which Noah lived were extremely sinful days, there were things going on that you couldn’t even mention from the pulpit, sins that made God so angry that He had to come with a flood and wipe man off the face of the earth. That is partly what it means, as it was in the days of Noah so shall it be at the coming of the Son of man – because things, the Bible says, will wax worse and worse. There will be so much sin – there is a cup of iniquity and it’s being filled by the moment with all the abominations that we see in our land – and there’s a day coming when it’s all going to bubble over and overflow, and God’s going to come in judgement.
But what I believe, primarily, Jesus meant when He said: ‘As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be at the coming of the Son of man’, is that in Noah’s day they weren’t expecting it. It says they were eating, they were drinking, they were giving and taking in marriage – what’s that? That’s normal life, isn’t it? They were going to school, taking the kids to school. They were going to their work, going to the office, going to the factory. They were going to their bed at night with a full belly and a happy heart, and everything was going well for them – day by day was normal, as usual – and all of a sudden: Bang! God came!
Och, yes, they knew about that idiot Noah. He was loopy-loo, a fool, he was building an Ark! ‘Is his head away with it? Look at him! It hasn’t been raining in ages, and this man tells us that God has told him that there’s a great judgement coming upon sin – and look what he’s doing! The whole family as well, away with it!’. They didn’t expect, people maybe you’re like these people in Noah’s day – you mock it. All these Christians talking about gloom and doom, and the end of the world, and: ‘The end of the world is nigh!’ – my friend, it will happen to you, the same as it happened to people in Noah’s day. You’ll not be expecting it, and you’ll be going about your business, and the last thing on your mind and heart will be the Lord’s return – and all of a sudden it will come upon you!
Peter says – and this was way back then, almost 2000 years ago when he wrote this small book in the Bible – he says that people were mocking even then: ‘Where is the promise of His coming? You Christians’, at this time, ‘for 50 years have been talking about Jesus coming back after He’s went, and where is He?’. That was 50 years, and we’re standing here in the year 2000, and it’s almost 2000 years, and people are saying the same thing: ‘What about it? Where is He? Didn’t He say He was coming quickly? Didn’t He say He was coming soon?’. I want you to listen to what’s on your heart – if you have any doubts concerning this great thing, I want you to look at this parable in Matthew chapter 25.
The picture here is a wedding. In Palestine a wedding began at the bride’s home, and then the bridegroom arrived at the bride’s home, and they observed the wedding ritual, and they went away from that home, man and wife. There was a procession that went from the bride’s home, and was led to the bridegroom’s house for the festivities and the completion of the whole marriage. But from that journey, from the ceremony and ritual in the bride’s home, to the completion and festivities in the bridegroom’s home, there were these little girls – if you like, bridesmaids – that brought the procession, and led it through the dark with their little lamps.
That’s what Jesus is talking about in these verses. First of all, the wise and the foolish virgins – verses 1 to 3. He says: ‘Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them’. Let’s cut through it all: what was Jesus trying to say? Half of them were foolish, half of them were wise – and the foolish were foolish, first of all, because they were unaware that they were unsaved!
I want you to get this, ten of them intended going to the wedding, ten of them, but how many got there? Now, outwardly speaking, they were all dressed for the wedding, they had all the make-up on, they were groomed and trimmed and smelling wonderful, because every single one of them was looking forward, anticipating the wedding – as far as they were concerned, they were going to be there, they were going to meet him, they were going to escort him to his home, they had their lamps ready, they were expecting him to come before the day was out…but they didn’t know exactly when he would be there.
But what about inwardly? To look upon those ten virgins, they were all the same – you couldn’t tell any difference between them, but they were different: because Jesus says five of them were foolish, and five of them were wise, five of them were totally unprepared to meet the bridegroom – why? Because they had no oil! Do you see what Jesus is saying? You might look like a Christian, you might talk like a Christian, you might live like a Christian, you might think like a Christian – but, my friend, if you’re not washed in the blood of Christ, if you’ve never had an experience on the road of your life where you’ve trusted the death of the Saviour, you’re unprepared. You’re not ready! And I here this all the time, people near and dear to me say: ‘Well, sure look at him, he’s a Christian and I’m far better than him!’ – and you know, sometimes they’re right! But, you see, that makes no difference with God, for God’s not looking for how clean your clothes are, or how well you’ve brought up your children – although that’s good – God’s not looking about how soapy clean your tongue is, or your thoughts are, all that God is concerned with is if you have the mark of the blood of His Son upon you – that means that you’re trusting in the death of His only begotten Son!
Have you received the Saviour? Do you know the life of God, the abundant life? Do you know those waters welling up within you, of satisfaction, of refreshment, of true peace? The Lord spoke a parable about the sheep and the goats, and He said that on the day of judgement that God would separate the sheep and the goats – and, you know, in Palestine it’s different than here. You can tell the difference, even I can tell the difference, between a sheep and a goat – but you see over there? You can’t, they both look the same. You all look the same to me, you’re all well groomed, aren’t you? You all dress well, turned out well, you’re probably all ‘good living’ and have done well for yourselves – but, my friend, there is a great divide that divides us all, and the gulf cannot be fixed now or in eternity, except through the blood of Christ!
Darlene Quiring is a lover of Jesus Christ from Mt. lake, Minn.