The Call to the Sleeping Virgins

There are two statements in the Spirit of Prophecy that motivated me to search the parable of the ten virgins as for hidden treasures. One of them is found in the Review and Herald, September 19, 1890, and it says: “I am often referred to the parable of the ten virgins, five of whom were wise, and five foolish. This parable has been and will be fulfilled to the very letter, for it has special application to this time, and like the third angel’s message, has been fulfilled and will continue to be present truth until the close of time. In the parable, the ten virgins had lamps, but only five of them have the saving oil with which to keep their lamps burning. This represents the condition of the Church.”

The second statement is in an article on the parable of the ten virgins in the Review and Herald, October 31, 1899, and it says: “Every specification of this parable should be carefully studied.”

“As Christ sat looking upon the party that waited for the bridegroom, he told His disciples the story of the ten virgins, by their experience illustrating the experience of the church that shall live just before His second coming. The two classes of watchers represent the two classes who profess to be waiting for the Lord. They are called virgins because they profess a pure faith. By the lamps is represented the Word of God. The Psalmist says, ‘Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.’ Ps. 199:105. The oil [we know] is a symbol of the Holy Spirit.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 406

Remember that there were ten virgins. They all had lamps, and the lamps were all lit. They all initially had oil. They were all anxiously awaiting the bridegroom, but there was a delay. In this delay, they grew very weary. Hour after hour passed, and God’s people began to slumber and sleep. At midnight the call was heard, and all ten arose. They saw a procession going by. The ten virgins seized their lamps and began to trim them, but only five of them had the oil so needed. Those who had the oil made preparation, joined with this procession of people going by and entered into the house with the bridal train.

Let us remember also that every specification of this parable is to be studied and that it has been and will be fulfilled to the very letter.

When the bridal party—remember, the bride is the true church—came along, the call was given, and five of the waiting virgins, representing the professed church, joined with the bridal party and went in to the feast.

For a while the waiting virgins all looked the same, until there was a shaking, a message that startled them from their lethargy.It then became apparent who had made preparation and who had not. To the five who were the foolish virgins the master said: “I know you not.” They were left without in the blackness of night.

“The class represented by the foolish virgins are not hyprocrites. They have a regard for the truth, they have advocated the truth, they are attracted to those who believe the truth; but they have not yielded themselves to the Holy Spirit’s working. They have not fallen upon the Rock, Christ Jesus, and permitted their old nature to be broken up.” Christ Object Lessons, 411. Ellen White also tells us that they are not open sinners. They are professed Christians. “In the time of peril they are found wanting and their cry is peace and safety.” See Review and Herald , October 31, 1899.

In the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 985, 986, Ellen White states three different times that the bride is the Church, the Lamb’s wife. Yet it is stated in Christ’s Object Lessons, 406, that the ten virgins illustrate the church that shall live before the second coming of Christ.

In trying to understand this apparent contradiction, I began to study. How could the bride, who is obviously with the party that is passing by on their way to the wedding, and the waiting ten virgins both represent the church of Christ? I found some very interesting and enlightening statements regarding this parable.

“All the Christian world is represented in this parable. The bride constitutes the church that is waiting for the second appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 16, 268. Did you notice that the church—God’s true church—is represented by the bride? A little further along in this same article, Ellen White, speaking specifically of the ten virgins, says that “They represent the church of professed Christians.” Ibid., 271. Here we have a distinction being made between the true and the professed church.

In Christ’s Object Lessons, 405, we are told: “By torchlight the bridal party proceed from her father’s house to his own, where a feast is provided for the invited guests. In the scene upon which Christ looks, a company [the professed church] are awaiting the appearance of the bridal party, intending to join the procession.”

We are told in the Spirit of Prophecy that the five wise virgins joined with the little company (the true church) that had given them the light. Ellen White also makes another observation. “At midnight the cry is heard, ‘Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him.’ The sleepers, suddenly awakening, spring to their feet. They see the procession moving on, bright with torches and glad with music.” Ibid., 406

Friends, I was puzzled. I thought, the cry is coming from the bride, but the bride is the church; and yet the ten virgins are the church. As I studied further, everything began to come clear. As Paul preached of two Israels—literal Israel and spiritual Israel—so this parable represents literal, or professed church members, and spiritual, or faithful and true church members.

Wise virgins, please let us wake up. There is a procession going by; I see it in Caleb and Joshua, outside; I see it in camp meetings across the country; I see it in the voice of the independent ministries, speaking loud and clear a distinct message: “Prepare to meet thy Lord.”

I Jeremiah 3:1, the Lord tells Israel: “But thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD.” He rebukes them because they have polluted the land with their whoredoms and their wickedness, and in verse 3, he tells them: “Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore’s forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed.” They would not heed the call from the true bride.

Notice what it says in verse 8. Here was the church; here was Israel, His professed people, and the Lord says: “And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce.”

I then looked in Jeremiah 7:30,34. “For the children of Judah have done evil while in My sight, saith the LORD: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by My name, to pollute it.” “Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride.”

“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken.” Jeremiah 6:16,17 [All emphasis added]

As we go further down in time, to the time of John the Baptist, there is again another voice crying, this time in the wilderness. John was independent of the professed church, working for the Lord, calling Israel to repentance.

We read in The Great Controversy, 382: “It was by departure from the Lord, and alliance with the heathen, that the Jewish church became a harlot.” Just as Jeremiah was telling Israel—you have become a harlot; you have become an adulterous wife, and I must give you a bill of divorce—see John the Baptist giving the same message because the Jewish Church became a harlot, and he is trying to call them back to repentance.

Another time in which God raised faithful ministers to call His people from apostasy was in the days of William Miller. It was called the first great Advent Movement and took place in the 1840s. Ellen White makes a comment on this in Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 222. “To Wm. Miller and his colaborers it was given to preach the message in America, and the light kindled by their labors shown out to distant lands.” The procession that God had called—His true bride—with torches shining, glad with music, was giving light to America; this time to the harlot churches. It goes on to say: “The testimony of the Scriptures pointing to the coming of Christ in 1843, awakened widespread interest. Many were convinced that the arguments from the prophetic periods were correct, and , sacrificing their pride of opinion, they joyfully received the truth. Some ministers laid aside their sectarian views and feelings, left their salaries and their churches, and united in proclaiming the coming of Jesus. There were but few ministers, however, who would accept this message; therefore it was largely committed to humble laymen. Farmers left their fields, mechanics their tools, traders their merchandise, professional men their position; and yet the number of workers was small in comparison to the work to be accomplished. The condition of an ungodly church and a world lying in wickedness burdened the souls of the true watchmen, and they willingly endured toil, privation, and suffering that they might call men to repentance unto salvation.” Ibid., 223

“Under the proclamation of these messages the cry was made, ‘Behold the Bridegroom cometh….go ye out to meet Him.’ Many who heard these messages thought they would live to see Christ come; but there was delay in the coming of the Bridegroom, in order that all might have an opportunity to hear the last message of warning to a fallen world.” Review and Herald, October 31, 1899

In the same article it says: “At the call, the sleeping eyes are opened, and everyone is aroused. They see the procession they are to join moving on, bright with torches and glad with music. They hear the voice of the Bridegroom and the voice of the bride.” Who was the bride who was giving the message to those churches? William Miller and his co-laborers, whom God had called to announce it to the world, were fulfilling this. The five wise virgins trimmed their lamps and went forth to meet the Bridegroom. You see, they joined the procession that was moving on and left the harlot apostate churches.

“Unfaithful watchmen hindered the progress of the work of God. As the people were roused, and began to inquired the way of salvation, these leaders stepped in between them and the truth, seeking to quiet their fears by falsely interpreting the Word of God. In this work, Satan and unconsecrated ministers united, crying, Peace, peace, when God had not spoken peace. Like the Pharisees in Christ’s day, many refused to enter the kingdom of Heaven themselves, and those who were entering in, they hindered. The blood of these souls will be required at their hand….

“Many were persecuted by their unbelieving brethren….Not a few were cut off from the fellowship of the church for no other reason than expressing their belief in the coming of Christ….

“Angels of God were watching with deepest interest the result of the warning. When the churches as a body rejected the message, angels turned away from them in sadness….many were deceived by husbands, wives, parents, or children, and were made to believe it a sin even to listen to such heresies as were taught by the Adventists.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 226,227

Do you see a parallel today? Every letter of this prophecy will be fulfilled.

I see today that the true church is calling the professed church to wake up. The voice of the bride—the true church—is once again sounding to the apostate structure.

“Many who went forth to meet the Bridegroom under the messages, of the first and second angels, refused the third, the last testing message to be given to the world, and a similar position will be taken when the last call is made.” Review and Herald, October 31, 1899

I believe we are seeing history being repeated one more time.

“The state of the Church represented by the foolish virgins, is also spoken of as the Laodicean state.” Review and Herald, September 19, 1890. You see, the foolish virgins equal the Laodicean state.

“Since the time of the Minneapolis meeting, I have seen the state of the Laocicean Church as never before.” Ibid., September 26, 1890. The people of God have rejected the message of 1888. They have rejected the call of the Holy Spirit and the righteousness by faith message—victory over all sin. They bolted the door shut and drove the Spirit of God away.

Eight years later, Ellen White said: “The Church is in the Laodicean state. The presence of God is not in her midst.” Notebook Leaflets, 99. She likens the church to the foolish virgins. These are those who call Him by His name, and they say: “Didn’t we go to church every Sabbath. Wasn’t I an elder and a deacon. Didn’t I serve and put my tithe faithfully in the collection plate.” But he looks and says, “But you did not do the will of My Father. You sat by and preached a peace and safety message while millions around you were perishing for the truth.”

Today, God’s faithful are being disfellowhsipped and many are again hearing the call from the Bridegroom and the bride. Jesus is ready to come and the procession is moving on again.

“Some will not receive the testimony that God has given us to bear, flattering themselves that we may be deceived and that they may be right. They think that the people of God are not in need of plain dealing and of reproof, but that God is with them.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 259. They think that God is with them, but she said in 1898, that he is not. “These tempted ones, whose souls have ever been at war with the faithful reproving of sin, would cry: Speak unto us smooth things….There can be no deception here. This message must be borne to a lukewarm church by God’s servants.” Ibid. You see, the true bride is giving the cry to the professed bride. “It must arouse His people from their security and dangerous deception in regard to their real standing before God.” Ibid.

Why do you have the right to speak and rebuke open sin publicly? Because open sin is to be publicly rebuked. I am pleading within my heart for a church to come to repentance, because the door of probation is closing fast; God is withdrawing. And when the professed believers persecute God’s faithful servants, they are silencing the voice of the bride.

“The Lord here shows us that the message to be borne to His people by the ministers whom he has called to warn the people is not a peace-and-safety message….The people of God are represented in the message to the Laodiceans as in a position of carnal security. They are at ease, believing themselves to be in an exalted condition of spiritual attainments.” Ibid., 252. But they are not.

“The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation will consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take place, what would result?” Special Testimonies Series B, no. 2, 54,55
I want you to see the identifying marks of a new organization. You tell me if it is the one that the independent ministries are preaching, or is it one that you see taking place in the structure of the Seventh-day Adventist Church?

“The principles of truth that God in his wisdom has given to the remnant church, would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced….Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of the new movement. The leaders would teach that virtue is better than vice,….they would place their dependence on human power, which, without God, is worthless. Their foundation would be built on the sand, and storm and tempest would sweep away the structure.” Ibid.., 55

How long can you sit within an apostate structure, a false bride that is receiving a bill of divorce from God, and think you are in the remnant church of Bible prophecy? Who has conditioned your mind?

“One thing it is certain is soon to be realized,—the great apostasy, which is developing and increasing and waxing stronger, will continue to do so until the Lord shall descend from heaven with a shout. We are to hold fast the first principles of our denominated faith, and go forward from strength to increased faith.” Ibid., 57

Do not apostatize. Do not accept this new movement. Hold firm to the first denominated faith. Hold to the old paths—the landmarks of Adventism. Jesus Christ is ready to come.

The church structure became a harlot in Jeremiah’s day. It rejected Christ and His truth in John the Baptist’s day, and in William Miller’s day it again did the same. Today modern Israel is following in the footsteps of ancient Israel. I believe that God’s last call to the professed Seventh-day Adventist structure is now being sounded by His bride. Soon it will end, and when it does, of which group will you be a part?

The End