The Last Generation
Nothing appears to be so melodramatic as the book of Revelations, but beware. All will come to pass! Moreover, Jesus and the apostles were adamant that there were different degrees of reward in hell and in heaven (Matthew 11:21-24; Luke 8:5-8; 1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 1 Corinthians 15: 40-42). Whatever we sow in this life we shall reap in the next (Galatians 6:7; 2 Corinthians 9:6).
Truth and righteousness are currently quickly disappearing into a dark void. In a vision I saw many swept away in a cultural torrent sweeping the world, but I also saw crowds pressing forward on a low bridge just above the waters. These are ones who will run into the name of Jesus for refuge. His name is a strong tower. So what lies ahead? Are we willing to consider and prepare?
PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS
For my article on how the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus will take place please consult the article on my sister site creation6000.com.au by clicking here. As end-times approach the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13 also becomes an urgent matter to consider in earnest together with the fore mentioned article.
To which of the ten virgins will we belong to, to the five wise or to the five foolish? All ten were virgins signifying people washed in the blood of the lamb. They were caught asleep in the middle of the night when the call came ‘the bridegroom is coming’. They arose and trimmed their lamps. They knew where they had to go but needed their lamps in the darkness. Five of them could not proceed for their oil had run out. The five wise virgins could not give them of their oil.
It is clear from the parable that 'oil' is a personal possession. It was not something the five wise virgins could give to the five foolish ones. Who are the five foolish virgins and in what were they found wanting?
The number 10 is indicative of a trial or test. The parable is full of symbolism. Five had run out of oil and failed the test. What does 'oil' represent in scripture? Oil can symbolize many things; anointing, consecration, the Holy Spirit, the word of God, unity, joy and gladness, for example.
The name Gethsemane, in Hebrew, means “oil press”. Oil is still pressed from the fruit of eight ancient and gnarled olive trees that give the garden a timeless character. It is fitting that this was also the place where the will of Jesus was totally crushed. 'Not my will, but Yours' and He sweated drops of blood. Jesus was crushed in soul when He presented Himself as the Lamb of God, carrying all our sins, and released the oil of self-sacrifice as a sweet aroma to the Father. He could have called out to the angels to save Him from this ordeal, but He chose not to.
Turning our attention back to the parable, what was it that the five virgins lacked? All ten had fallen asleep, so sleep was not the issue. Here we shall focus on the first major issue. Later we will look at another shortcoming in the foolish virgins.
SHORTCOMING NO. 1.
An important clue is provided by the manner in which Jesus rejected the five foolish virgins when they arrived much too late at the door - ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you’. They presumed to have the right to participate in the wedding because they had been washed in the blood of the lamb.
Where have we come across that before? Jesus warns us in Matthew 10:33 - ‘But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in Heaven’. In other words, 'I do not know you'. These are the sort of Christians who will find themselves carried away in the torrent described in my vision. Fear and peer pressure will cause them to capitulate to the ungodly demands of the world around them. They will compromise their Christianity for the sake of a peaceful and prosperous life. Jesus said that the end of the world will be as in the days of Lot when Sodom and Gomorrah set the standards. Lot settled in Sodom and Gomorrah because the locals accepted him, in their midst, as long as he didn't 'ruffle any feathers'. Lot's married daughters and wife eventually perished because they were tied to Sodom. Lot's life did not end well (Genesis 19:30-38). Lot lost a great deal by living a compromised life with the Canaanites. His descendants eventually became enemies of God's purposes.
Persecution of the Jews has a long history. As a nation, the Israelites rejected the gospel and have suffered much ever since. Their peace will come when they reconcile with the one they crucified. A small portion, but growing in number, the Messianic Jews, already have.
In Germany, trying to live alongside that gentile nation only prolonged their sufferings as the events of Kristallnacht and its aftermath demonstrated. Having to display the Star of David singled out the individual and businesses as fair game for persecution. Muslims introduced this compulsory practice in the 8th Century long before Hitler did.
In Germany, many Jews escaped early or went into hiding, or attempted to hide their identity out of fear of the populace. 'There's no way the Germans we live with will continue to do these things. It's only an episode.' That was the atmosphere. It was also the atmosphere on Kristallnacht. They couldn't comprehend it. It came as a blow. I remember my mother standing pale and crying… I remember her phoning her gentile friends – she had more gentile friends than Jewish friends – No answer. No one answered her.’ Professor Zvi Bacharach.
When I had the reputation of being a creationist, on academic staff at an Australian university, in the 1980's I was similarly ruthlessly targeted, not because I was a Jew, but because I believed the Bible more than evolutionary philosophy. I was a biological scientist with a chemistry-physics background. That made me a worse thorn in the flesh of the university than if I had belonged to any other discipline. Although there were a few other Christians of high standing in the university none of them dared to intervene on my behalf. One should not be surprised that many Christians hide their faith even today to protect their status. However, Jesus wants all to make a stand. Jesus gives grace and boldness for us to make a stand, as the lyrics of this song from Isaiah 45:4-6 encourage us to do.
Be strong, fear not:
Behold your God will come with vengeance,
Even God with a recompense;
He will come and save you.
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped,
Shall be unstopped.
Then the lame man shall leap as an hart,
And the tongue of the dumb sing:
For in the wilderness shall waters break out
And streams in the desert'.
Not all who deny Christ today face extreme persecution. In most instances, attending local bible studies or worship groups means facing raised eyebrows from even our closest friends, relatives and work colleagues. Milena and I faced that for years! So-called friends turn their back on you when you want to talk about Jesus. The hardest to face is the daily rejection by close family members. Jesus warned that this would happen.
'Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I did not come to send peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man's foes shall be those of his own household’ (Matthew 10:34-36).
I know many who believe they are saved, but hide in the woodwork. They dare not talk about Jesus to their friends for fear of losing them. Neither will they utter a single word in our defence nor will they risk ridicule from peers by openly attending a bible study. We knew a couple who hung a picture of Jesus in their doorway, but could we ever discuss our common faith in Jesus with them? Never!
I was humiliated in my academic position for years. However, there was a member of staff who would kindly rent his holiday house to our family, on occasions. Imagine my surprise at his funeral when the pastor gave the eulogy. He apparently was a faithful member of the church, but did he ever open his mouth in public or come to my defence? No! He wasn’t going to risk his status at work. He didn’t have enough oil or grace for that.
We remember the words of the apostle Paul ‘I beseech you therefore brothers by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is that good and pleasing and perfect will of God’ (Romans 12:1-2).
Unfortunately, many are not willing to stand up for Christ in public. If they are afraid today how will they respond when society and schools really get worse? As Jesus said, ‘For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry'? (Luke 23:31).
OIL AND SACRIFICE
There are at least 43 scriptures associating oil with a sacrifice in ancient Israel, the ‘grain offering’ in particular. This offering, carried out on the brazen altar, symbolised the anointing given to Christ to enable Him to bear His sufferings. An angel visited Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane to strengthen Him just before His passion. The grain offering prophesied of the sufferings of Christ that was fulfilled 1500 years later.
‘When anyone brings a grain offering to the LORD their offering is to be of the finest flour. They are to pour olive oil on it, put incense on it and take it to Aaron's sons the priests. The priest shall take a handful of the flour and oil, together with all the incense, and burn this as a memorial portion on the altar, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the LORD’ (Leviticus 2:1-2). Jesus was that finely milled flour, the bread from heaven, crushed and pure, given to us and blessed with sufficient oil or anointing to carry His mission through to the end until He could say ‘It is finished’.
Fortitude under persecution is seemingly one of the things the five virgins lacked. It is not something one can pass to another person. It is gained by experience. It is a personal possession. Jesus had much to say about that in a number of His parables.
‘And these are those likewise being sown on stony places who, when they hear the Word, immediately receive it with gladness. But they have no root in themselves, but are temporary. Afterward when affliction or persecution arises for the Word's sake, they are immediately offended. And these are those being sown among thorns, such as hear the Word and the cares of this world, and the deceit of riches, and the lust about other things entering in, choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful’ (Mark 4:16-19). To avoid shame some Christians hide their light under a bushel.
SHORTCOMING NO. 2
What advice did the wise virgins give to the foolish ones about their lack of oil? 'But the wise answered, saying, no, lest there be not enough for us and you. But rather go to those who sell and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came'. (Matthew 25:9-10).
What does this advice remind us of? 'Buy the truth and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding' (Proverbs 23:23). The foolish lacked all of these. They might have been intellectuals and formerly highly educated but they were foolish in spiritual matters. I have a deep sense that aspects of all four of these were missing in their lives. They had not been teachable at church nor had shown any great interest in bible studies, and most probably thought much of the Old Testament irrelevant. They had not paid the cost of giving up their time to study the word of God. Like the first group, who hid their light under a bushel, there was also no real desire to seek out communion and fellowship in the church. As we shall see in the next section, such people only had an 'Outer Court experience' of the Lord, figuratively speaking. If this statement is meaningless to you then it probably means that you also have had much too little Old Testament teaching! Please have a look at my bicycle parable regarding the Old and New Testaments.
Now perhaps we can begin to appreciate why it took such a long time for the foolish virgins to buy their oil and why the Master was angry with them. It takes time to catch up on biblical knowledge and to learn proper interpretation. The five wise ones had probably spent hours and hours attending bible studies and participated in deeper church activities than just fetes. This is not something one can gain overnight. So the foolish missed out on the marriage.
A THREE-WAY SPLIT
Scripture is clear about a three-way split that will divide Christians into three distinct groupings before the 3 ½ year rule of the Anti-Christ that coincides with the prophetic ministries of the two special witnesses (Revelation 11:3-13). Pastor Hal Oxley, of Life Ministry Church in Melbourne, expressed the same in his book 'End Day Prophecy', 2018. (email@example.com).
Two of the groups will be spared from Satan (the red dragon), but one faction will have to face the full onslaught from the red dragon - the 'Outer Court' group. These are the ones who will not be able to buy or sell unless they conform and sell their soul to the will of the beast whose number is 666 (Revelation 13:13-18). This will be a fearsome time especially for those with young families. Now is the time to escape from this potential fate. The choice is ours. We ought to aim to belong to one of the first two groups - Either to the Bride or to the Manchild. Realistically speaking our aim ought to be in the Bride of Christ. We know very little about the Manchild group who are caught up to heaven which I associate with the character of Enoch, the 7th from Adam, who pleased God so much that he ascended to heaven whilst still alive ('And Enoch walked with God, and then he was not, for God took him' (Genesis 5:24). The number 7 always points to the book of sevens, Revelation.
The Outer Court Group - those who will be given over into the hands of Satan to try
Marc Dupont in his book 'Persuing Open Heavens' (Sovereign World, Kent UK 2002) touches upon the same thing on page 89 and onwards. He explores the difference in the attitude of Christians as to where they are living right now in relation to their place in God's temple. 'How to enter the Holy of Holies. take us past the brazen altars of the outer court and bring us into the Holy of Holies. Do we really understand what we are asking for? Probably not, but still that is the prayer the Holy Spirit is raising up within us as He cries out "Abba Father" in the language of our hearts.
In the tabernacle of Moses and Solomon there were three different and distinct courts, or areas to enter. Each represented a more intimate area of relating to God. First there was the outer court, then the Holy Place and finally the Holy of Holies. The outer court was where the Burnt Offering Altar and Laver could be found......come into the gates of the temple and the courts of the Tabernacle First with thanksgiving - the expression of daily mercies and care. But, if we are to press further in something more is required - worship or adoration of who He is. Now we are going beyond "mere singing"; we are beginning to minister to Him as opposed to just singing about Him... much more than thanksgiving.....That sacrifice is much more costly! It requires the sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart! (Psalm 51:16-17).....in short, God is after a people who are as desperate for Him as He was for us...a heart that is burning for His burning, consuming presence'.
This split into three specific groups of Christians towards end-times is clearly evident from a careful reading of Revelation Chapters 11 and 12. Let us begin with Revelation 11:1-2. 'And a reed like a rod was given to me. And the angel stood, saying rise up and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and those who worship in it, but leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it was given to the nations. And they will trample the holy city forty-two months'.
What does this mean? It is symbolically talking about a group of people who are neither in the Holy Place nor in the Most Holy Place of the temple (in a spiritual sense). They are, figuratively speaking, in the 'Outer Court' of the temple/tabernacle where the blood sacrifices were being burnt. As Christians they know of and believe in the blood of Christ for forgiveness. They reap the various benefits of being in Christ. They are within the curtain, representing God's embrace, but their heads are not covered, so to speak, and will be open to spiritual attack of the most dreadful kind - the inability to buy or sell unless they take up the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:17). This would mean loss of their salvation and the denial of Christ. Such 'offers which one can't refuse' are already being made by militants in isolated instances in Indonesia where Christians are being coerced to convert away from Christianity on the pain of death. What a dreadful choice these people will have to make.
This 'Outer Court' group is the same group identified in Revelations 12:17 as the rest of her seed, 'And the dragon was enraged over the woman, and went to make war with the rest of her seed who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ'. Satan is given power over them for 3 1/2 years, as before.
'And a mouth speaking great things was given to it, and blasphemies. And authority was given to it to continue forty-two months. And it opened its mouth in blasphemy toward God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, and those dwelling in Heaven. And it was given to it to war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given to it over every tribe and tongue and nation' (Revelation 13:5-7). There it is again, forty-two months which is 3 1/2 years.
The 'Woman' group - out of Satan's reach for 3 1/2 years in the wilderness
Who is this woman? 'And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars, and she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered' (Revelation 12:1-2).
She is not Mary waiting to be delivered of baby Jesus. Jesus is already a fully grown man in His glorious resurrection body as King of kings, seated at the right hand of the Father. This woman shines with the glory of the SUN. This woman has the testimony of Jesus Christ and can be none other than a representation of the glorious bride of Christ, not of the Virgin Mary with baby Jesus. How do we know that she has the testimony of Jesus Christ? Because the rest of her seed has the testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 12:17). Moreover, the Shulamite woman, a widely acknowledged allegory of the bride of Christ, is spoken of by the groom in the following terms, 'Who is she who looks forth like the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, awesome as armies with banners?' (Song of Solomon 6:10). This is a perfect description of the woman in Revelation 12:1-2.
'Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, and that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church. For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church'. (Ephesians 5:25-32). Jesus is the bridegroom. All this spiritual symbolism prophesies a physical reality still to be realized.
Although the image doesn't show it, she wears a crown of 12 stars - 12 latter day apostles of the Lamb (as Pastor Hal Oxley of Life Ministry Church in Melbourne also believes). The bride of Christ is the true church that will bring a manchild forth. As you will see below, she identifies with people spiritually located in the Holy Place which contained the lampstand, the consecrated bread and the altar of incense which speaks of the prayers of the saints. When Jesus appeared to the apostle John, on the Island of Patmos in a symbolic vision, Jesus explained that the candlesticks that John saw, is the church.
'the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand and the seven golden lampstands. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches' (Revelation 1:20). In the Greek, the word for angel (angelos) can mean either a spiritual or human messenger. The 7 stars, in Revelation Chapter 1, signify the fullness of the apostolic company,
'And truly He gave some to be apostles, and some to be prophets, and some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. And this until we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a full-grown man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ' (Ephesians 4:11-13).
The Manchild group - caught up to heaven out of Satan's reach
Who is this Manchild? The Bride shines with the glory of God. The bride comprises the righteous whether ‘Jewish’ or gentile Christians.
She labours in pain and brings forth a manchild, who is caught up into the presence of God before the dragon can overcome him.
'And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them onto the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman, being about to bear, so that when she bears he might devour her child. And she bore a son, a male, who is going to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her child was caught up to God and to His throne' (Revelation 12:4-5).
The manchild represents a multitude as is also true for the glorious woman who represents the bride of Christ. It is a male because 'he' will rule the nations with a rod of iron. Biblically, headship is always associated with maleness. 'His' total purity allows Him to be entrusted with this mandate. Many associate the manchild with the 144,000.
'These are those who were not defiled with women for they are virgins. These are those who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men as a firstfruit to God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile, for they were without blemish before the throne of God' (Revelation 14:4-5).
My take on this is that it has nothing to do with sex or literal women. The term 'defiled with women' could symbolically mean seduced by spurious or false doctrines in wayward churches such as the stunning harlot called Babylon that sits on the beast in Revelation 17:4-6. She is called a harlot because she is in collusion with Satan while simultaneously claims Christ as her husband. In the Song of Solomon a woman refers to a church not to an individual woman. The comely black woman, smitten with love for her lover in the Song of Solomon, symbolizes the Bride of Christ. Many other women represent churches in the scriptures. Rebecca, the wife of Isaac, and Eve, the wife of Adam, are types of the bride of Christ for example.
The pattern of being caught up, as in this case where the manchild is being caught up, follows that of the ascension of Enoch who was the 7th from Adam (Genesis 5:24). Enoch was caught up because he walked with God and pleased God. One could say Enoch was found perfect in the eyes of God. Like Enoch, the manchild obviously will please God 100% (100-fold as in the parable of the sower, Matthew 13:18-23). I associate this group with those who are figuratively located in the Most Holy Place, in the very presence of God. That is, of course, exactly where they are also physically transported to - into the throne room of God.
BODY, CHURCH and BRIDE
My current understanding is summarized in the schematic flowchart below.