The Bridegroom Comes! Will It Be ‘Lord, Lord’ or Will He Make Us “Ruler Over All That He Has”?
Christ’s wedding parables offer a sharp contrast in destiny for readiness when suddenly there is no time to prepare, but it is not His coming in the sky in Revelation 19. It is typified by the event that startled John in Revelation 1 and will be a watershed event, splitting the past, present and future. Many Christians think it’s about a rapture when, after the seven churches, John was told, “Come up,” but why would He rapture lukewarm Christians who are said to be wretched, miserable…and naked? They aren’t even ready to go to the door at His knock. This information sees the wedding parables as having a different biblical meaning.
The foolish women who arrived a little late were shut out. They lacked oil to find their way to the wedding. The Bible shows the oil coming from the two olive trees in Zechariah 4 that represent the Old and New Testaments. Jews who reject the New and Christians who aren’t familiar with the Old Testament may miss seeing how God made a covenant with Israel and later said, “I am married to you.”1
But we can’t just make a covenant with God anytime we feel like it; we need to understand the context. God did something huge to deliver Israel. We are coming to a watershed event for which we will need instant readiness when there will be no time to prepare. All three wedding parables teach this, and it begs prior consideration by all Christians so they can decide if they will be “watching” as Christ said.
Many pastors have been taught the Rule of First Use which says that where a word or phrase is first found in the Bible, it may have a meaning or context to consider for an end-time application because Christ is the Word, and He is also the First and the Last.2 This rule helps us to see additional meaning in Christ’s sayings.
The cry at midnight in Matthew 25:6 is an echo of the cry at midnight when calamity fell on Egypt and God took Israel to Sinai for a covenant marriage. Paul included the Exodus in “all these things happened to them as examples…ends of the ages.”3
The cry at midnight as a calamity is also supported by Luke’s wedding parable where Christ “knocks.” So what’s the knock? The Bible explains itself and the only other place where Christ knocks is Revelation 3:20, for a lukewarm church that ended in an earthquake circa 63 AD. We might think that’s just a coincidence with no bearing on gentle Jesus coming for us, but His “knock” in Revelation 3 is one of six parallels to Luke’s parable.
Luke 12:35 says to have loins girded (same idea as white raiment in Revelation 3) and lights burning (like eye salve), both get a knock and are to open. “Ruler over all that He has” in Luke 12 is the same idea as sharing His throne. Laodicea is the last church and Luke 12:36 is when He comes. These parallels suggest that the Laodicean message is an overlooked wedding invitation, not perceived because we’re asleep on this topic.
The idea of an earthquake as the watershed event to initiate the scenes of Revelation and separate the past from present and future is supported by the Rule of First Use for the great voice of a trumpet that startled John. “Trumpet” is first found in Exodus 19 where it waxed loud and the whole mountain shook at God’s presence in a type of mini-Judgment Day.
“It seemed that…Judgment day had come” were Ellen White’s words re a vision she had of an earthquake while visiting Loma Linda. Most readers think she was reporting the San Francisco Earthquake that occurred then, but her use of Zephaniah 1:8 where God punishes the king’s children in strange apparel suggest a future application for those with no wedding garment.5
God won’t do anything without revealing it and the next sentence is, “A lion has roared! Who will not fear?” We forget that Amos begins, “two years before the earthquake…he said, The LORD will roar.”6 That roaring will be like the roaring of the sea that startled John and like the trumpet he heard and as Sinai shook.
We are to be ready “that when he comes and knocks [we] may open to him immediately.”4 This means there is no time to prepare. It implies prior consideration and our looking for His “knock” to be ready.
So what kind of readiness do we need to “open unto Him immediately”? All three wedding parables have an overlooked context for Passover, enabling us to have “immediate” readiness. When the king was wroth and “burned up their city,” (Matthew 22) it was Titus who came at Passover. The midnight cry in Matthew 25 is an echo of the midnight cry at Passover in Egypt. Luke’s wedding parable has thee clues for Passover.
- “Let your loins be girded” reminds us that Israel had “loins girded” at the first Passover.7
- “Watching” is the key ingredient for readiness, and it was only commanded at Passover. The Greek word, gregoreo, means to be awake, and that’s how Christ used it—Watch with Me. Could you not [be awake] one hour, He asked as He sweat blood with the weight of sin crushing Him.
- For the servants watching (awake) when He knocks (earthquake), “He will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them.” This is an allusion to what He did at the Last Supper, and it was also on the eve of Passover when everything took a huge detour.
James and John had asked to be on Christ’s right hand and left in His kingdom. When He asked if they could drink of His cup, they said yes, and He offered the cup of His blood at the Last Supper, but later they slept when they should have prayed, and ran when they should have stayed with Him.
If they had stayed to support Him at the trial, when accused of intent to tear down the temple and build it in three days, they could have explained that it was about His death and resurrection, inviting everyone to meet at the tomb Sunday morning! If so, the Jews could not have lied then, and Pentecost could have seen the whole nation repenting to receive the Holy Spirit. If so, we might now be seeing a much more law-observant world.
Their failure and sad detour that began on Passover might take up where it left off, at Passover as Christ’s wedding parable clues suggest. As an aid to watching (being awake) on the eve of Passover, here’s an idea:
“It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination grasp each scene, especially the closing ones. As we thus dwell upon His great sacrifice for us, our confidence in Him will be more constant, our love will be quickened, and we shall be more deeply imbued with His spirit. If we would be saved at last, we must learn the lesson of penitence and humiliation at the foot of the cross.”8
But wait a minute! Didn’t Christ say, You don’t know the day or hour? Let’s take a broad look at His words. The Greek word for know is oida, It means to be aware or understand. Christ was saying, You don’t understand, and each time He said it, He gave an example, “as the days of Noah,” when the Flood came with Passover timing, but in the second spring month.
Again after five women missed the wedding He said, “watch (clue for Passover)…for the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country.” Israelites didn’t travel in winter, and if they took a long trip in the spring and couldn’t get back for Passover, they were to keep it in the second month.9 Christ is the Master and He took a long journey to heaven. His return as Bridegroom and for an accounting of talents must conform to the law that He said is in effect till heaven and earth pass.i
His choice to do so at second Passover will help the Jews to understand that He is the Messiah who was “wounded in the house of My friends”ii and is returning from a long journey as their law specifies.
The worst case scenario is that we plan a spiritual exercise of “watching” to review the closing scenes of Christ’s life on the eve of second Passover, ready for His knock, and were refreshed with spiritual insights by considering what He bore for us, in spite of no earth-shaking event.
On the other hand, if this next spring is when He comes to knock (a midnight cry as in Matthew 25), and we are watching, He promises to make us sit down to meat and to serve us as He did at the Last Supper. What that means we don’t know, but the bottom line to this parable in Luke 12 is, “He will make [us] ruler over all that He has,” or we will be beaten with many stripes if we know to prepare and fail to do so.iii
Are we thinking we don’t do Passover? The apostle Paul did; he kept it with Greek believers in Philippi and Corinth and said not to let anyone judge us for these holy days because they are “shadows of things to come.”iv
Paul’s fear for the church at Galatia was their attempt to earn salvation by the works of the law, and they were “hair-splitters.” The Greek word for “observe” in Galatians 4:10 means to the minutest detail. We don’t need to do that. The Jerusalem Council didn’t make observance a requirement before baptism because “Moses has…those who preach him in every city…every Sabbath”v In other words, they would get it as they attended.
This is not an appeal for a Jewish seder or bitter herbs. “As [Christ] ate the Passover with His disciples, He instituted in its place [at Passover] the service that was to be the memorial of His great sacrifice.”vi Having communion on the eve of second Passover is the perfect preparation to watch and pray as He said. Counting from the thin crescent moon as they did in Bible times, seen after sunset on May 7 this coming spring, 2nd Passover would be two weeks later on Sabbath evening, May 21. What a great time to celebrate His sacrifice!
And there is a huge reason why we might be expectant. Adventist pioneers thought the Judgment in Daniel 7:8-14 was on the Day of Atonement in 1844. but the text twice mentions the “great words” of the little horn In 1844, the papacy (the little horn that grew out of the 4th beast of Rome) was NOT speaking “great words.” Napoleon had taken the pope prisoner and he died in exile, and the Vatican land was not restored until 1929. So the context of Daniel 7:8-14 wasn’t fully met in 1844—there were no great words on the Day of Atonement.
But last fall, the pope had “great words” for the UN General Assembly ON the Day of Atonement! Though Orthodox Jews kept Yom Kippur on the 10th day, counting from a dark moon in conjunction, counted from the visible crescent seen in Jerusalem, September 25 was the 10th day when the pope urged his agenda for “common good.”
His “great words” fit Daniel 7:8-14 and its context for the Son of man coming to the Ancient of days for His kingdom. We should be ready for His return as the wedding parables teach, not a visible coming, but amid a calamity that we can be spared if we watch. If the goodman had known, he would have watched and not suffered his house to be broken by the thief. Christ said, If you don’t watch, I will come on you as a thief.”vii
This coming spring, He may come as Bridegroom to accept all who are ready and watching for Him as Luke’s wedding parable implies. “The day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.”viii Sudden destruction came on Egypt as labor pains at Passover when God took Israel to a covenant (marriage) at Sinai.
“The Lord Jesus was the foundation of the whole Jewish economy. Its imposing services were of divine appointment. They were designed to teach the people that at the time appointed One would come to whom those ceremonies pointed.”ix
God “declares the end from the beginning.” Those who sing the song of Moses and the Lamb may have a similar experience to Moses. They are privileged to follow Christ wherever He goes in eternity and they are said to be virgins,x The only passage that helps us understand this is Matthew 25—they are the wise virgins who are ready for an implied calamity, even as “knock” suggests an earthquake as shown above.
In 1844, SDA pioneers gave the first angel’s message to warn others of a time of judgment, and they gave, without phones, faxes email, radio or TV, a midnight cry, a wakeup call that went around the world in the two month before October 22, 1844.
They suffered the “bitter belly” experience of John when they misunderstood the little book of Daniel, but we have now better information that would enable us to “prophesy again” as the angel said.xi What excuse would we have for not forwarding this information? We could whine that we can’t be sure, but “whatever is not from faith is sin.”xii
It’s time to wake up and light our lamps by sharing information so others can choose to do similarly, or shrug it off. Are we afraid, as the days of Noah, of others’ scoffing? There’s so much to gain by complying with Scripture and what’s there to lose but time well-spent watching and praying as Scripture prescribes. We can do this!
And if Christ ‘knocks’ with an earthquake May 21/22, we must “open to Him immediately” with a feast of unleavened bread (doctrines not corrupted by church leaders, Matt 16:12). It’s a 7-day feast (Lev 23:6) and Christ said before He comes, “Elias must first come and restore all things,” Matt 17:11.
Elijah comes in the context of the law seen in Malachi 4:4,5. The statutes and judgments have a 7-fold emphasis in Ezekiel 20:11-24 where they are linked with sabbaths. The 7-fold emphasis is a mark of end-time truth, like the book of Revelation with its 7 angels, 7 candlesticks, 7 churches, 7 seals, 7 trumpets.
For the 7 days of unleavened bread, we should consider the 7 topics that need to be restored so we can cooperate with the work of Elijah to restore them. We don’t know if Elijah will show up literally, but the 7 topics fit also the concept of Bible covenants that were linked to 7’s as in Gen 21:27-30 and Daniel 12:7 where “sware” means to seven oneself as in an oath or covenant.
All of this is to the intent that Christ does not get an ignorant bride as God did at Sinai when Israel worshiped a calf 40 days after agreeing to the covenant. The feast of unleavened bread is like a pre-nuptial agreement of betrothal and if we are faithful to it like Jacob was to Rachel for 7 years, we may expect to eat the wedding cake in heaven!
Think about it–unleavened bread is what Christ used for the communion in the Last Supper. It means union with Him in the Word. Marriage is also union–by covenant, so they have similar meaning and in the Bible, weddings also took a week, Gen 29:27. So we should expect these meanings to coincide if Christ ‘knocks’ with an earthquake on the eve of 2nd Passover as His clues suggest.
A ‘heads up’ sign would be destruction of Jerusalem at Passover in April that introduces “the day of the Lord,” Zech 14:1,2. If we see that, we should do all we can to tell everyone we know to be ready at 2nd Passover. In the meantime, as a would-be bride, we may want to consider those topics that God has emphasized 7 times. They begin with who He is, at http://GodsName1stSeal.wordpress.com
1 Jeremiah 3:14, NKJV unless specified.
5Testimonies for the Church, Vol 9, p 92-95
6Amos 1:1,2; 3:7,8
7Luke 12:35; Exodus 12:11, KJV
8Desire of Ages, p 83
9 Matthew 25:13,14; Numbers 9:10,11
ivActs 20:6; 1Corinthians 5:8; Colossians 2:16,17
viDesire of Ages, p 652
viiMatthew 24:43; Revelation 3:3
viii 1Thessalonians 5:2,3
ixChrist’s Object Lessons, p 34
x Revelation 14:4
NANSINGS sent an email with comments that are relevant to some readers so I’m excerpting and replying here: She first said the Bible identifies the 144,000 (Rev. 14:3-4) as virgin Jewishmen.
Reply: The apostle Paul says, “If you are Christ’s, you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:29. In other words, genetic lineage does not secure salvation; faith does. Faith embraces the Messiah and recognizes Abraham as the father of the faithful and we are all brethren.
NANSINGS says: the 144,000) are they which were not defiled with women; forthey are virgins.
Reply: Revelation 17 identifies Babylon as a harlot involved with kings, sitting on 7 hills (Rome). Verse 5 says she is a mother of harlots–other false churches. Those are are not defiled with those false teachings are pure, or virgins. And they don’t have to be men, for in Christ there is neither male nor female.
NANSINGS believes the gentile church (bride) will be married to Jesus (Yahushua = son of Yahweh; God) and the remnant Jews to God (Yahweh).
Reply: On the surface, it seems like Christians have a “new deal”–a New Covenant that does not require them to do what the Jews did under the Old Covenant. Ezekiel 37:16,17,22 shows two sticks, one for Israel which I believe are the 10 tribes scattered among the nations (Jeremiah 31:10 who get the New Covenant Promise fulfilled to them, verse 31) but Ezekiel 36:24-28 shows them gathered from every nation and given God’s Spirit to keep His statutes and judgments. THIS is the context of the two sticks coming together to be ONE kingdom, Ezek 37:22.
And it’s not just Christians who have to make an adjustment (to keep statutes and judgments that were not ceremonial laws or sacrifices fulfilled by Christ, Matt 5:18), but Jews who accept the Messiah are represented by Judah (the two tribes that were not scattered among the nations when Israel was).
NANSINGS missed my point re a pre-tribulation rapture in opening paragraph: Why would Christ rapture lukewarm Christians who are said to be wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked? They aren’t even ready to go to the door and can’t find it when He knocks. This information sees the wedding parables as having a different biblical meaning. For those who are thinking rapture and not seeing our need to make a covenant of engagement like Jacob with Rachel, faithful for 7 years, please consider a dozen concise reasons at http://ChooseABetterDestiny.com/rapture.htm