Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Savior's Final Week: The Ten Virgins

On this day many parables were taught: the parables of the sheep and goats, talents, wicked husbandmen, wedding of kings son,the widows mite,  and the ten virgins.  For references to those parables. {click here}


The Parable of the Ten Virgins has always intrigued me



T
This parable  teaches us about how to prepare wisely to meet the
 Lord at His Second Coming.

“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins(v. 1).

The ten virgins, “represent those church members who are looking for the Bridegroom to come; and the oil-filled lamps are symbolic of the Holy Spirit which lights the way before the saints.” -Elder Bruce R MConkie

“And five of them were wise, and five were foolish” (v. 2).

 This parable is not about “good and bad, not righteous and wicked, but wise and foolish. That is, all of them have accepted the invitation to meet the Bridegroom; all are members of the Church … but only five are valiant therein.”-Elder Bruce R. McConkie

In the parable, only those with oil in their lamps were able to enter the house of the bridegroom. In modern times, only those worthy of a temple recommend may enter the house of the Lord.

“They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them;
“But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps” (v. 3–4).

In biblical times constant effort was needed to ensure that an adequate amount of oil was maintained in lamps. In our day we must exert constant effort to remain temple worthy. In the parable the virgins were not able to enter the door without oil. In our day neither can we enter the door of the temple without a recommend.

The Lord commanded the children of Israel anciently to use “pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually” (Leviticus 24:2). According to The Guide to the Scriptures, olive oil is a symbol of purity and of the presence and influence of the Holy Ghost. In modern times a temple recommend is an affirmation of a person’s purity or worthiness.

“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” (v. 5–6).

Elder McConkie explains that “from evening to midnight there was no direct word from the bridal party. At midnight, the most unlikely of all hours for a joyous celebration to begin, the cry goes forth to a sleeping world.” Likewise, the Lord’s Second Coming will be “more distant than the early saints supposed.”

The Lord will come again in a dark “midnight” hour when the world is ripe in iniquity and when for the “elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:22). In such a dark time, what a truly stunning moment it will be when the Light of the World appears and darkness is banished!

“Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps” (v. 7).

They all thought they were ready. Outwardly, they all appeared prepared.

“And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out” (v. 8).

In the parable oil could not be loaned to someone else. In our day we cannot loan our temple worthiness to someone else.

“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” (v. 9)
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” (v. 10).

The closed door is a poignant reminder that “this life is the day for men to perform their labors” (Alma 34:32). It would be foolish to procrastinate the day of our repentance until the midnight hour or to leave this life without oil. Just as oil is not purchased at midnight, neither is righteousness developed in an instant.
“Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us” (v. 11).

The fact that the five foolish virgins knocked, expecting to enter the marriage supper, indicates one of two things: (1) they thought they could prepare themselves after the Bridegroom came, or (2) knowing that they at first had not been prepared to enter, they were hoping for mercy. Either way, the door was shut.
“But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not” (v. 12).

Our Lord, on the other hand, knows each one of us, even the thoughts and intents of our heart (see Alma 18:32). Joseph Smith’s inspired revision of the scriptures places responsibility for being prepared right where it belongs: “Ye know me not” (Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 25:11). In this parable it was the bridegroom himself who answered the door. In the Book of Mormon we learn that “the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; … for he cannot be deceived” (2 Nephi 9:41). He is the one who will symbolically be checking recommends at the door to the kingdom of heaven.

Church doctrine teaches us that Judgment Day will go beyond a recommend interview. The “Gatekeeper” has taught us that there are additional requirements, such as being humble, forgiving our fellow men, having charity, and so forth. we are not worthy to enter the house of the Lord here on earth, common sense tells us Having a recommend may not be a guarantee, but worthily obtaining one would be a wise way to prepare for the kingdom of heaven. Logically, if that we will not be worthy to enter His celestial home either, the one being symbolic of the other.

*{excerpts from the talk Oil in our Lamps, Ensign June 2007, Elder Glen G. Robbins}

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Widows Mite {click the link for the Bible Video}

I love this picture of the Widow's Mite depicting a young widow instead of an elderly widow that we usually envision.