No, this week I am not talking just to women, but I would understand if you thought so. One of the things I constantly find fascinating in my study of scripture is that you always seem to find something new when you revisit a passage you thought you had already studied and understood completely. This week I am going to give you an example of that by sharing something new the Spirit taught me about a passage with which I am sure most if not all of you are familiar. Today I want to look closer at the Parable of the Ten Virgins.
"Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. "And at midnight a cry was [heard]: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!' Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us [some] of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise answered, saying, '[No], lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.' And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
Matthew 25:1-10 NKJV
As I said before, most if not all of you are familiar with this parable for it has been the subject of many a sermon. I have taught on it as well, and it was the subject of a blog last year (May 3, 2009..."The Cry of the Virgins") as we approached the Feast of Pentecost which many associate with the Rapture of the Church. Yet what I want to share with you today is simply one word out of this whole passage and it comes in verse seven where we see that when the cry was heard, the virgins "trimmed" their lamps.
Why is this word special, and why did the Spirit point it out to me? Well, if we look at it in the Greek, we see this;
kosmeō...1) to put in order, arrange, make ready, prepare... 2) to ornament, adore...3) metaph. to embellish with honour, gain honour
Kosmeo is where we get the word cosmetic, or cosmetology in the English. Now as I have shared before, I have three daughters, so I would not be too far out of line to say I know a thing or two about putting on makeup after watching all of my daughters learn how, and then practicing daily the act of "preparation" before they venture out into the world. My youngest daughter has even chosen the field of Cosmetology as her profession, so as I watched her study and prepare for that endeavor I learned even more about how complicated the process can be.
So knowing this, when I look at what I at first saw as the act of "lighting" a lamp, it does seem to take on an entirely different meaning. If I had to attempt to write a definition of "kosmeo" without offending my daughters, (or any other women who may read this) I would have to say it is a lengthy process with many steps resulting in an attractive presentation in the best possible light. To me, this gives this passage of scripture, and this particular verse, a whole new meaning. The first thought that crossed my mind was how "attractive" is my lamp, and is it prepared to shine as bright as it can?
"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Matthew 5:14 NKJV
We as believers are the "light" that this world sees. Without question, the Bible commands us to take care of that light so that the world through us might see Jesus. So our responsibility is clear and that is to be sure our "makeup" is the best we can make it. Lamps are filled with oil, which in the Bible almost always refers to the Holy Spirit. We are to be "filled" with the Spirit in order to shine before the world in the most attractive way possible. Paul tells the Colossians this;
For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing [Him], being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
Colossians 1:9,10 NKJV
My second thought was do I carry with me the tools I need to "freshen up" or "touch up" my makeup? It is common for a woman to carry a small (sometimes) make-up kit in her purse. Why? To be prepared for the possibility she might need to touch up during the day. The question here is are you carrying around inside of you what you need for a little "spiritual" touch up? Paul says we need to be filled with the knowledge of God's will so we might walk pleasing to Him, and be fruitful (shine) in an unbelieving world.
In this parable we are told five of the virgins were prepared, and were allowed entrance to the wedding feast while five were not, and were left out. My question to you today is this; are you wearing your makeup? Are you prepared to shine as bright as you can? If so, I have one more thing for you to consider.
While most Bible scholars consider this parable to be a reference to the rapture of the Church, many seem to miss what I feel is an interesting point. After the cry is heard announcing the coming of the bridegroom, there is a short period of time for the virgins to trim their lamps. It is not long enough for the foolish to go get more oil, but it is enough for the wise to "trim" and the foolish to leave in search of more.
As I have thought about this, the question that came to my mind is what exactly will be the "cry" that tells us the bridegroom is coming, yet gives us a very short time to shine? I could spend a lot of time on that question, but I want to leave you with just this; is there going to be an event that tells the world the end is near in such a way as everyone will know? Most of you know I believe that the prophecy of Isaiah 17 is the next major prophetic event on God's calendar, and many of you have read my book, or some other information concerning it. I want to leave you with a few links to follow as it would appear many are beginning to believe that this event prophesied by God is not only on the horizon, but imminent.