.... In the church of the last days, all Christians will gravitate toward one of two distinct mind sets, or schools of thought, regardless of their denominational backgrounds. But the two schools are not the same. Half of the end time church will be considered wise, and the other half foolish. As discussed in our previous posting, we've draw this conclusion from the parable of the ten virgins (Matt 25:1-13). When Jesus returns at the end of that parable, this is the situation He actually finds as the kingdom of God is accounted for, so it includes a glimpse of the church itself in its final days.
.... But what is the essential difference between those two mind sets? What makes wise virgins wise, and foolish ones foolish? Jesus explained the difference by saying:
.... "Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps."
..... It is commonly agreed that the oil, in this parable, represents the Spirit ( as in 1 Samuel 16:13), so let's offer a thought to build on this. It was stated that the virgins carried the oil in their vessels (within themselves), and that the oil was applied to their lamps -- but what do the lamps represent?
.... "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."
.... In other words, the lamps represent the Scriptures. Those virgins with oil in their vessels (those Christians having the Spirit of God within themselves,) were those who sought, from deeply within their hearts, to connect with the spirit of Scripture as opposed to its letter (2 Corinthians 3:6,17). And this means they were yearning to see Jesus Himself in the things they studied:
.... "for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
.... As they passionately searched the Scriptures for His heart and mind, He met them and transformed their lives from within, so that a living relationship formed between them. "I know you." He would say to them in love; and the Greek word (ginosko) means that their acquaince was mutual. For He would say to the other group in contrast, "I do not know you." (Matthew 25:12), which means that a relationship never formed. .... Now let’s apply this understanding to our modern denominations. Every Christian has a commendable loyalty to the teachings of their church. Yet every true Christian has a higher loyalty still: to Jesus Himself, who saved their very soul. So if it comes to a choice between a Christ-centered doctrine and a traditional one that is not necessarily Christ-centered, every true Christian will gravitate toward Jesus before long. To do otherwise would, in fact, mean denying something of Him, and no true Christian would ever do that. So seeking Jesus is the key to opening new dialogues, and by this many Christians will come to the unity of the faith before the end (Ephesians 4:13). .... In this sense the end-time church will excel even the first century church, which had frequently stumbled at this very point. Though individuals may still belong to denomi- nations because of their personal history and sense of community, they will trans- form those denominations from within to form a lively new relationship with God through Christ, that is shared with their fellow believers. Even though their ‘brand names’ may remain out of habit, there will no longer be essential differences in their beliefs (Ephesians 4:13-16).
.... The five foolish virgins, too, will gravitate toward a common mind set, which we will discuss in our next posting (see below).