(Matthew 25:11) Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. (25:12) But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. (25:13) Watch therefore, for ye know not the day nor the hour.
I’m not a prophet or a watchman but sometimes I am compelled to say hard words that no one wants to hear. This usually gets me in trouble. In the past, much less often nowadays, I have made the mistake of pointing out the simple fact-based truth about popular End Days doctrines to some earnestly devoted believers. For my effort, I was rewarded with the unpleasant lesson that spitting in the wind results in spit on your face. So, I rationalized, well, what difference does it make what people believe so long as they profess Jesus as Christ; time will tell, I reasoned. But this never quite sat right and it poked at me so I postulated that perhaps it did matter a little because, if for no other reason, when things don’t happen as expected, they might lose their faith. Perhaps some would be disappointed but not devastated? I hoped.
But, in time, this also presented as a weak position as well. At its core, this perspective is skewed because it ignores what Scripture tells us over and over that what Christ wants from us is abiding faith, even in the clinches. (Matthew 24:13) But he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved. God doesn’t interfere or manipulate whether or not we have faith; that is up to us. In fact, we get lots of testings to prove our faith. Crisis, tribulation, temptations. While salvation is a free gift, sanctification is entirely our responsibility. We choose how and whether we will grow or not, learn, mature, and share, multiply what we have been given by giving it away in order to further the cause of Christ. So, using that reasoning, why would He make allowances for anyone who loses his/her faith because he/she chose to believe a “safe” doctrine that had been made up to further a specific agenda a mere three hundred years ago?
More importantly, are we really willing to test how long He will strive with those who are determined to turn doctrine, of any kind, into an idol, choosing, instead, to honor the doctrine more than the Savior?
With that in mind I took it to the next level and considered, okay, what if it does matter what we choose to believe? What if, when the worst happens, there are those who might be able to hang onto their faith anyway but the door is shut and qualified faith (the I’ll-have-it-when-I-need-it kind) is rejected? Those who have always called themselves Christians, snug in their religiosity and devotion to doctrine, might be likened to the five unprepared virgins who knock on the closed door crying, “Lord, Lord!” What if they are unprepared not only because their lamps were low on oil (TRUTH) but also because they never desired to fill up on the truth to begin with?
What if the foolish virgins not only don’t know that they are foolish, at some point, they are actually blinded so that they aren’t able to wise up in time? But if their eyes are blinded and their ears closed are they still accountable? Will He say, “I know you not” and thus they will be “ ... punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thes. 1:9). Talk about hard words. Can this mean what it says? What if being a Christian is not looking like one outwardly but being one inwardly? What if the foolish virgins were only pseudo-saved and that’s what He meant by “I know you not”?
What if a little errant belief is more than enough to destroy all ability to discern truth? A little leaven does leaven the whole lump. Granted, it is easier to acquiesce to something that has been neatly laid out for us rather than simply read the Word, praying to be filled and guided by the Holy Spirit and follow the clear, simple gospel of Jesus Christ even if it requires the sticky business of acknowledgement of sin and repentance on our part and having to endure...until the end.
After pondering all this I have to admit I am left with two strong emotions. First, I struggle with not wanting to believe that there is a door closing, an ending to a grace period because I have loved ones who aren’t there yet. I can’t want to accept that because their hearts are disinterested in the things of the Kingdom today that they might be hardened at some designated moment so they then are not allowed to see. Second, I don’t want to consider that if this scenario is a reality, the time for this metaphorical door to shut has either already come or is close at hand.
So many what ifs.
Regardless my personal concerns, if this is true, what if there is no great END DAYS REVIVAL either? Though I can’t find this event in the book of Revelation, I’ve been given to believe all my life there would be one and then we’d know for sure it is the end. But what if the last two thousands years has been all there is going to be? Isn’t Christ our First-Fruits and Latter Day Rain as the original church fathers believed? Did He not fulfill those prophecies for us already? Are expectations of one last glorious chance to be called merely diversions to lull us into thinking that we have plenty of time before we have to get serious? If we are busy doing anything and everything but filling our lamps because we are depending on and giving credence to expected signs and wonders are we not actually fulfilling Matthew 25:1-13?
We have always been taught that we can be reconciled to God if we exercise the faith to believe on and follow the gospel of His Son, Jesus Christ. We have also always been taught that one day Christ will return and this heaven and earth will pass away. You cannot accept this without also agreeing that this means time is indeed finite and thus there is an end when, by default, it will be too late to get it.
Here’s a sobering what if...What if the beginning of eternal torment and everlasting destruction is kicked off by seeing the truth too late?
Whew! I don’t know about you but just the possibility of this “what if” is enough to send me to my knees.
(2 Peter 3:17) Ye therefore, beloved, knowing [these things] beforehand, beware lest, being carried away with the error of the wicked, ye fall from your own stedfastness. (3:18) But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him [be] the glory both now and for ever. Amen.