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Summary: A message of the soon coming of the LORD for his church, in reference to the parable of the 10 virgins.

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Matthew 25:1-13

- I know some of you found it difficult to fully understand the message last Sunday of the 70 weeks of Daniel

- if you don’t grasp anymore than this: understand this prophecy in Daniel tells us clearly that there will come a final 7 year period upon the earth in which God will once again deal specifically with Israel

- this final 7 year period is known as the great tribulation, a time when God’s wrath and judgment is poured out upon the earth

- what I want talk about today is the event that happens before this final 7 years begins

- the event is called “the rapture”

- the Rapture is as the Greek says the “catching away”, or “snatching away” of believers to be with the Lord

1 Thess 4:17 ....we who are still alive and left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

- and so the church is removed from the earth and now God deals once again with national Israel and the nations of the world .....but the church is in heaven

- our scripture portion read today is often titled the 10 virgins or the 10 bridesmaids and it is a parable that follows the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 24 which deals solely with the second coming

- in Matthew 24 the disciples have asked Jesus what the signs will be at the end of the age... and Jesus tells them

- at the end of the chapter he brings a warning “keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”

- and in the next chapter shares this parable about 10 bridesmaids (No chapter divisions)

- for us in the 21st century this parable does not make a lot of sense because our customs have changed and so we need to understand the custom of the 1st century Jewish wedding

- the first difference we would notice is that in this 1st century Jewish wedding the bridegroom was a more important figure than the bride, (umm) and the bride would pay for all the expenses of the wedding (very different!)

- the wedding was quite different ..... 1st came the formal engagement which was usually arranged by the parents of the future groom and bride

- the bridegroom settled on the purchase price with her parents and the marriage covenant was established,

- from that moment the young man and woman were regarded as husband and wife, even though the actual ceremony had not yet taken place, and they were not to be intimate

- the young man then left his bride to go to his own father’s house and prepare a place for them to both live, the general time frame for this was about a year

- At the end of the period of separation, the bridegroom would come unexpectedly usually at night - to take his bride to live with him.

- the groom, the best man, and other male escorts left the father’s house and conducted a torch-light procession to the home of the bride.

- although the bride was expecting her groom to come for her at some time, she did not know the day of his coming (she knew the season but not the day)

- she and the bridesmaids had to be ready, because it was usually at night and so they needed to have lamps filled with oil to light the way

- the groom’s arrival was preceded by a shout, which announced her sudden departure to be gathered with him.

- it was now that the actual marriage ceremony began and lasted for 7 days

- during these 7 days the bride and groom remained hidden in the bridal chamber

- at the end of the 7 days the groom comes out of the bridal chamber and presents his bride to everyone

- the veil is removed from his wife so now everyone can clearly see her

- this of course parallels Jesus coming for his bride, the church and our necessity to be ready

- and so Jesus used this parable of 10 virgins or bridesmaids to illustrate a truth

- this is the picture that Jesus paints for us… 10 young women are waiting to join a wedding party, they are all expecting the groom to arrive any day

- please read that ALL WERE EXPECTING the groom to return at some time

- but 5 were wise and 5 were foolish

- the only difference between the wise and foolish was the foolish had no oil for their lamps, they had failed to prepare

- and the words of Jesus to these 5 foolish is grim “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you”

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