“Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 25:13)
This past weekend my wife and I had dinner with some good friends from church. A little sign above their kitchen clock caught my eye. It read: “Perhaps Today.” It reminded me that Henry M. Morris, founder of the Institute for Creation Research, kept a similar placard on his desk as a constant reminder that Jesus could return any day. Jesus Himself commanded that we should “watch” for His return. That word in the Greek is grēgoreuō, and it means to “keep awake,” to “be vigilant.”
Jesus issued that exhortation in the context of the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13). Five of the virgins were characterized as “wise” and the other five were “foolish.” All ten virgins fell asleep. Perhaps the expected Bride Groom tarried longer than anticipated, and they all grew weary in waiting. The difference is that the wise virgins were prepared with extra oil for their lamps while the foolish virgins used all they had and made no provision for the unexpected. When the herald announced the coming of the Bride Groom, the wise virgins, prepared with extra oil for their lamps, went on in to be with the Bride Groom while the foolish virgins missed the wedding.
Oil is often used to symbolize the Holy Spirit. We who are “born again” have the advantage of the Holy Spirit residing within us, and, like the wise virgins, we have the provision of the Holy Spirit so that no matter when the Lord returns, we will be prepared. However, just like the wise virgins we can become weary of waiting for the Lord’s return, and we lose focus. We fall asleep often distracted by the cares and worries of this world, and we forget to watch. Sometimes we lament, “How long for His return!” While the foolish, distracted and unconcerned, say, “Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Peter 3:4). And so, they have no “oil” for their lamps; they are unprepared.
Our dinner conversation quickly turned to the topic of eschatology, the study of end times. All of us at the table are on “watch” and anxiously await our Lord’s return. Someone brought up the fact that there are four “blood moons” (lunar eclipses) and a solar eclipse expected on significant Jewish feast days in 2014 and 2015. The first will occur on Passover (April 15) 2014 followed by the second on the Feast of Tabernacles (October 8) 2014. The third will occur on Passover (April 4) 2015 followed by the fourth on the Feast of Tabernacles (September 28) 2015. This infrequent sequence of lunar eclipses has historically held great significance for the Jewish people.
For example, when it happened in 1493 and 1494 Jews were expelled from Spain. The blood moons in 1949 and 1950 came right after the nation of Israel was assembled, giving the Jews a homeland for the first time in thousands of years. And in 1967 and 1968 it was linked to the Six-Day War.
In addition to this, a solar eclipse is expected on March 20, 2015. This date equates to Nisan 1 on the Jewish calendar which is New Year’s Day on the Jewish religious calendar. When measured against Scripture, these phenomena should make us pay attention.
When God initiated these feasts (there are seven), He said, “these are My feasts.” “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts” (Leviticus 23:2, emphasis added). Besides the seven, modern Jews celebrate Purim and Chanukah, but these are not “feasts of the LORD.” The Feasts of the Lord is a fascinating study, which I cannot cover in this brief article. They hold great significance as they reveal God in the Person of Jesus Christ and demonstrate His plan for the ages.
The fact that this sequence of blood moons, along with the solar eclipse, looms in our immediate future has many who study eschatology excited for the prospect of Christ’s imminent return. “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come” (Joel 2:31, emphasis added).
How are you fixed for oil in your lamp? “Ye are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). Are you prepared for the Lord’s return? Perhaps this year! Perhaps today!