September 18, 2015
So far in the past week, we've laid the foundation for understanding a fundamental principle of our relationship with the Lord in the picture of being literally created for him. Just as Eve was taken out of Adam's side -- and Jesus is referred to as "the Last Adam" -- we also have been literally taken out of Jesus' side. We will get into this picture more, possibly today, and maybe not until next week, but let's return to the prophetic cry of the Lord as it was given by Jeremiah.
We wrapped up last week by saying that when Jeremiah delivered his prophetic Word to Israel, the Lord was literally crying out because of the search that was going on for His people, desiring to be joined once again to that special people He had chosen for Himself. They were the reciprocal of the Lord in the earth -- and they had gone astray, seeking after other gods.
Consider, then, the prophetic parable that Jesus shares in the 25th Chapter of Matthew as he talks about the ten virgins. In this parable, the ten virgins are supposed to be a picture of a people prepared as a bride-to-be and betrothed to the Lord.
Matthew 25:1-12: 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: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
Before we get too far into this parable, let's define some terms used here in the KJV as "wise" and "foolish" from the Greek words used in the original text.
The word used to describe the "wise" virgins is the Greek, phronimos, and it comes from a root word, phren, which means: to rein in, to curb, to discipline one's minds and feelings. The word, phronimos, by extension, means: to be thoughtful, discreet, cautious and practical. There's a whole lot here in this description of the "wise" virgins, and we'll break this out momentarily.
In contrast to "wise," the Greek uses the term, moros. We get our English word, "moron," from this term, but its true definition is: thoughtless, imprudent, without forethought or wisdom; empty, useless. J. H. Thayer adds to this definition, one who thinks he can operate outside of God's wisdom; one who neglects and/or despises the sozo offered.
OK, so far? Good! Then, let's put these terms in the context of Jesus' parable.
What was it that defined the "wise virgins?" Let's see if we can enumerate what the Bridegroom was looking for in His betrothed.
(1) They had their lamps lit, and an ample supply of oil. Throughout the Word, the lamps have been a picture of passion and pursuit of relationship. In Psalm 119:105, David makes the statement, "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." That passion with God tells you where you are with Him, and it lets you know (by revelation) where you are going with Him.
The oil is a picture of the anointing that comes by and through Holy Spirit. One does not come by that anointing carelessly and heedlessly. It comes by being in His presence -- NOT occasionally, NOT when one just feels like it, NOT because you want something from Him -- because you love Him. You WANT to be with Him. You desire to KNOW Him. You crave what He wants. Your purpose is to know His very heartbeat, to feel what He feels. Your aim is to be everything that fulfills Him, everything that completes Him.
(2) The ample supply of oil -- the extra beyond what was needed for the moment -- indicates that the "wise virgins" were prepared for the possibility that the Bridegroom might not come when they expected Him, and that they could not allow their passion and pursuit of His presence to wane during any potential delay.
(3) There is an extraordinary aspect of this extra oil that often gets missed in the reading of Jesus' parable. That oil cost them dearly! It cost them -- in many instances -- their reputation, their occupations, their friends, their resources ..... all that might have been dear to them in the natural! One thing they absolutely had been required to set aside was their plans, their reasoning, their thoughts, their doctrines and ideas. They had come to the place where it just didn't matter what it cost them; having the Bridegroom's heart, having His best wasn't just important: it surpassed every other consideration!
(4) When the announcing cry sounded, "Behold the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet Him," the Greek text uses the term, kosmeo, to describe the virgins "trimming" their lamps. In fact, this term, kosmeo, literally means: to put in proper order, to decorate (both literally and figuratively), to garnish, to adorn. [We get our modern English word, cosmetics, from this Greek word.]
Again we get a picture of the "wise virgins" who put their lamps and the burning flame "in proper order," who "adorned and garnished" themselves with their passion for the Bridegroom. You see, they were ready for Him! They may have nodded off in the delay incurred before His coming but they knew He was glorious; every fiber and cell of their existence and preparation for Him was that they would be an adornment for that Glory.
I've probably just scratched the surface of this so far, but let's consider the "foolish virgins." Remember the Greek term that describes them? Moros. Thoughtless, imprudent, without forethought or wisdom.
(1) The sad commentary on these virgins is that they were virgins. They started off right! They had been seen by the Bridegroom as someone desirable, someone with potential, someone with a destiny who could be a part of His destiny, someone in whom there was passion and desire.
The problem was not in how they started, but the fact that they were so sidetracked by their preconceived notions of when and how He would return for them that they failed to spend the requisite time in His presence to really get to KNOW Him, His heart, His desires, His plans, His purposes.
(2) These five "foolish virgins" actually started off with oil. Their lamps were lit. They displayed a passionate love for the Bridegroom. [Let me draw an analogy here that some folks may take issue with.] As we have noted, the oil is a picture of the anointing that comes through and by Holy Spirit. It comes by being in His presence.
The five "foolish virgins" yielded themselves to what we have come to know as "the baptism of the Holy Spirit." They experienced the initial flow as Holy Spirit took their yielded tongues and began to speak through them with the tongues and languages of men and of angels. The problem was that they stopped there. They treated the experience as a goal or an objective to be reached in their preparatory walk with the Lord instead of a gateway to intimacy. They received enough oil in their lamps to have a flame burning with passionate love.
(3) Ephesians 5:17-20: Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Reading the above passage in Greek can be a hilarious experience, but let me focus on the express verbiage in the second half of verse 18, but be filled with the Spirit! The Greek text looks like this: Plerousqe en Pneumati. Literally translated, it becomes, Be being (continually) filled and furnished in and by (Holy) Spirit. I'll continue with this translation and amplification momentarily, but there's no such thing as a one-time experience of being filled with Holy Spirit. This is a continuing daily, moment-by-moment, hour-by-hour experience.
Baptism in the Holy Spirit is an initial immersion which takes place when we yield our tongues over to His control. He begins speaking through us with words and languages that go far beyond our learning and natural reasoning. He shuts down our minds so that we are not partaking of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and causes us to begin eating of the Tree of Life and drinking from the River of Life. Our minds may be going a hundred miles a minute, but what is coming out of our mouths has absolutely nothing whatever to do with whatever is going through our minds. It becomes a gateway to being continually filled and experiencing a dimension of intimacy with the Lord that is not available any other way.
I've said all of that to say this: the "foolish virgins" failed to keep filling their vessels with the oil of the Spirit. They never really got to KNOW the Bridegroom. He was a figurehead in their life, a goal to be achieved, a future provider and source of provision, but not someone to know and be known by at the level of the Spirit. The concept of what it would cost them to be in that place of continually being filled was foreign.
Let me take just a bit more of Ephesians 5 before we move on.
Where our English translations render the word lalountes (lalountes -- fromlaleo) as "speaking," in fact the proper word in the Greek to use if we want to render this as "articulate, reasoned, thought-out speaking" should have beenlegountes (legountes -- from lego). The difference here is that the word lego isarticulate speech, whereas the actual word used, laleo, means: to utter a sound, to use the tongue or the faculty of speech.
If you're looking at me cross-eyed, thinking, what difference does this make, let's be clear! If I articulate words to you, I'm speaking out of forethought. My words are planned. I have reasoned out what needs to be said.
On the other hand, if I'm just making sounds, what comes out is what Episcopal Rector, Dennis Bennett, referred to in his book, NINE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING, as glossolalia, describing his experience of being baptized in the Holy Spirit. They are words, all right, but they are words NOT formed from my forethought or reasoning: they are words in languages that I know nothing about.
What Paul is saying, therefore, is this: "speaking (or singing) to yourselves in Psalms (the praise or worship or intercession) written (mostly) by David, [that which has already been set forth as music with words], hymns (NOT what we have referred to as "hymns" from the hymnal) -- repetitive, celebratory short songs or phrases, and spiritual songs [supernatural, spirit-driven, divine utterances], singing and making melody (the Greek term is, psallo, which means to pluck or strum on a stringed instrument) in your heart (the Greek phraseology here is to agree in your mind with what is coming forth by the Spirit) to the Lord.
Let's see if we can assemble all of this in a cohesive sentence:
Don't be intoxicated with wine, but intoxicate yourself with the Spirit, being continually filled and furnished [saturated and satiated] in and with Holy Spirit, freely allowing your tongue to become His vessel in speaking and singing to yourself the Psalms, celebratory, repetitive short songs and phrases, and supernaturally given, Spirit-driven, divine utterances, singing and playing upon an instrument, agreeing in your mind with what Holy Spirit is uttering [beyond your natural abilities or learning]. (Ephesians 5:17-18, RAC Translation & Amplification)
THAT, folks, is how the five wise virgins kept their passionate and fiery love alive for the Bridegroom. THAT is how they had an ample supply of the oil of the Spirit.
There's one other factor that I will touch on briefly, here, but we will dig into it more next week. The oil that was used in the lamps, as well as the oil in the Golden Candlestick in the Tabernacle of Moses, was an oil which came from a crushing process. It is a picture of the crushing that takes place in those who have the oil of the Spirit. That crushing is necessary in us to get rid of all of our carnality so that the Glory of the Lord can be revealed.
This picture has a lot to it, and it is germane to the cry of the Lord as revealed in Jeremiah's prophecy, so let's stop here and pick it up next week.
More next week.
I remind those of you in need of ministry that our Healing Prayer Call takes place on Mondays at 7:00 PM Eastern (4:00 PM Pacific). As of Monday, September 14th, our call-in number has changed to (712) 775-7035. The new Access Code is: 323859#. Our previous conference line experienced drop-outs and periodic audio quality issues, so this was a needed upgrade!
At the same time, in case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:45AM Pacific. That conference number is (605) 562-3140, and the access code is 308640#. We hope to make these gatherings available by Skype or Talk Fusion before long. If you miss the live call, you can dial (605) 562-3149, enter the same access code and listen in later.
Blessings on you!
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