This concludes our five part study on the 144,000 as revealed in the Revelation and now in the parable of the ten virgins of Matthew 25 which is directly applicable to the experience of the Seventh-day Adventist church today. Who will be the compose the wise and who will compose the foolish? Come and find out what inspiration has to say.
“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at mid-night there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 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. 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. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” (Verses 1-13.)
Observe that the 25th chapter is a continuation of the 24th. Mark the word, “then,” meaning the time they fulfilled the prophetic words contained in verses 48-51. The virgins are a figure of the church. Number “ten,” has the symbolic meaning of universal (the church as a body). Note that they are all “virgins.” The 144,000 are designated by the same word. (See Rev. 14:4.) The word “virgins,” signify that the class represented by them (ten), are not those who are called out from Babylon (fallen churches) at the time the “cry” is made. For, if they were to come out of Babylon by the call “Come out of her, my people” (Rev. 18:4), they would have been defiled with “women” (fallen churches), and therefore, could not be called “virgins.” Thus, the message of the “Midnight Cry” must find them in the house of God—virgins.
The “Midnight Cry” was first proclaimed prior to 1844, and the coming of the “Bridegroom” was Christ’s coming to the Most Holy place in the heavenly sanctuary for the investigative judgment of the saints. The investigation being in two sections; first, the judgment for the dead, and the second for the living, the “cry” must be repeated, otherwise we would have no present truth for the time of the judgment of the living. The “cry” for the living being of a greater importance to the world than the one for the dead, and as the “virgins” are a figure of the living church, the parable must have a direct application to the church at this present time,—the coming of the bridegroom for the judgment of the living. But indirectly it points back to the commencement of the “Midnight Cry” (the first angel’s message—the judgment for the dead). The messages being of the same event, judgment, both (for the living and for the dead) are called the “midnight cry.” The same is proven by the parable itself.
“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. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.” Note that they “slumbered and slept” before the cry was made. In the summer of 1844, midway be-tween the time when it was first thought that the 2300 days would end (on March 21), and the second date (October 22 of the same year), this period they applied as being the “tarrying time.” But mark that the “cry” had been going on for some years (the message by Miller), and the tarrying time was applied at its close after they had discovered their miscalculation; which is contrary to a proper application of the parable; for according to the parable they tarried before they cry was made. Therefore, the tarrying time must be the judgment for the dead, before the bridegroom came to the investigation of the living; in which time the “ten virgins” developed. So, that is the time in which they all slumbered and slept. This application is also in perfect harmony with the message to the Laodiceans. (See Rev. 3:14-19; Isa. 52:1, 2.)
If the foregoing application is correct, then at the end of the tarrying period, or just prior to the commencement of the judgment of the living, there must be a message—“cry”; and if the “virgins” are a figure of the church as a body in the time of the “cry,” then, the message must be for the church only. This is also proven in “The Great Controversy,” page 425. In as much as there is just such a “cry” presented in “The Shepherd’s Rod,” Vol. 1, it not only shows that the application of the parable is correct, but it also proves that church to be the “House of God.”
“They all slumbered and slept.” This statement by the Master proves that the church as a body has been asleep —being in perfect harmony with the previous explanation of the 24th chapter of Matthew. Five were foolish and five wise. Number “ten”being a symbol of the church as a body, the number five and five, mean half and half. The denomination numbers at the present time a little over 300,000; half of this number would be about 150,000. If we should subtract the dead material (backsliders, but still on the church record), the number derived after such deduction would be about 144,000. Thus again it proves that the 144,000 are the five wise virgins; and the foolish ones are they who shall fall under the destroying weapons in the hand of the “five men.’
“But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.” The “oil” is a symbol of the Spirit of God in the form of a message (truth); for, it is the substance that gives the light (the prophetic Word of God). The lamp must be a symbol of the heart into which the Word (oil) is being retained. The trimming of their lamps, is the “trimming” of their hearts; that is, their conscience being aroused they began to show interest. But only five of them had an extra supply of oil in their vessels. As they started out to meet the bridegroom, the lamps of the foolish ones went out; and as they found themselves in darkness, it made their progress impossible. Now, the question arises: What made their lamps go out, and why could they go backward, but not forward? As the message of the judgment for the dead was the present truth since 1844, at the beginning of the judgment for the living (when the cry was made), it became present truth no longer. Consequently their lamps went out. They could not move forward because they were foolish; that is, they did not accept the light—the judgment for the living. Was the “oil” beyond their reach? The words in the parable prove that they all heard the “cry, “arose, and trimmed their lamps.” Five of them failed to get the supply of oil because they were “foolish,”—they did not study for themselves. Allowed others to think for them; they chose the easy, popular side, and accepted the decisions of the leaders, copies the mistakes of others and were thus left without a supply of oil,—robbed of the truth, cheated of glory, and left in darkness!
“And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.” At last the foolish virgins saw them-selves in darkness. Then they went to the wise and asked for oil as a gift; “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.” The oil is sold and there must be something given in exchange to obtain the supply. The price they had to pay was to “sigh and cry for the abominations done in the midst thereof,” give up sinning and obey the truth. Their receipt for the value of exchange would have been the seal of the living God in their foreheads.
“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. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.” As the foolish virgins at last came to the door, it is evident that they obtained the oil (learned of the message) but there had been a delay—the door was shut, and they were left out. Now, why were they unconcerned at first, and very zealous at last? The experience in this instance is about the same as that of the deluge. While Noah preached the coming of the flood, the world paid little attention to this message; but those who believed, went into the ark at a given time and the door was closed. But not long afterwards, signs of Noah’s prediction appeared; and as drops of rain began to fall the wicked multitude became alarmed and rushed for the ark, but the door was closed and they were left out. The door that “was shut,” is a symbol showing that probation for the church had closed just shortly after the foolish virgins became alarmed. At last they were willing to pay the price and buy the oil; but it was not a change of heart, only the fear of losing out. Their course of action had left them without the seal—“the man with the writer’s inkhorn” had passed them by. What a terrible mistake! What a disappointment! Almost saved, but entirely lost.
“The coming of Christ as our high priest to the most holy place, for the cleansing of the sanctuary, brought to view in Daniel 8:14; the coming of the Son of man to the Ancient of days, as presented in Daniel 7:13; and the coming of the Lord to His temple, foretold by Malachi, are descriptions of the same event; and this is also represented by the coming of the bridegroom to the marriage, described by Christ, in the parable of the ten virgins, of Matthew 25.”—“The Great Controversy p. 426.
The description by Daniel applies to the commencement of the judgment for the dead; but the one by Malachi 3:1-3, is applicable to the judgment for the living—all of the same event—day of atonement—cleansing of the sanctuary.
“The coming of the bridegroom, here brought to view, takes place before the marriage. The marriage represents the reception by Christ of His kingdom. The holy city, the New Jerusalem, which is the capitol and representative of the kingdom, is called ‘the bride, the lamb’s wife.’ Said the angel to John, ‘Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.’ ‘He carried me away in the spirit,’ says the prophet, ‘and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.’ Clearly, then, the bride represents the holy city, and the virgins that go out to meet the bridegroom are a symbol of the church. In the Revelation the people of God are said to be the guests at the marriage supper. If guests, they cannot be represented also as the bride. Christ, as stated by the prophet Daniel, will receive from the Ancient of days in heaven; ‘dominion, and glory, and a kingdom’; He will receive the New Jerusalem, the capitol of His kingdom, ‘prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.’ Having received the kingdom, He will come in His glory, as King of kings and Lord of lords, for the redemption of His people, who are to ‘sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob,’ at His table in His kingdom, to partake of the marriage supper of the Lamb.”—Id., pp. 426, 427.
The virgins were called to meet Him, and thus by faith go in with Him to appear before the Father—the Great Judge. The seal is the permit; it places their names in the Lamb’s book of Life, and thus it grants to them the right to appear before the Father in the judgment; not in person, but in figure; thus having their sins blotted out. Matthew 24:36, 50, are descriptions of the same event. “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” (Matt. 25:13.) This has reference to the time of the judgment, and not of His coming to earth; for, the saints shall know the day and the hour of Christ’s coming in the clouds to receive the redeemed, as it shall be announced by the Father shortly before His coming. (See “The Great Controversy,” p. 640.)
Summary of the Ten Virgins
The number, “ten”, being a symbol of universal, it represents the church as a body prior to the commencement of the judgment of the living—in the sealing period of the 144,000, and before the “Loud Cry” of the Third Angel’s Message; being the period of the first fruits of the harvest. The five wise virgins were they who trusted in God and His word only; having no confidence in man, and were hungry for truth, searching for light, and gladly accept-ing it when it came. Thus they received the seal of God’s approval, their sins were blotted out, and their lives made sure—they passed from condemnation and death into glory and life eternal. They are God’s servants, kings and priests—144,000 in number.
The five foolish virgins are they who had confidence in men; they were willing that others should think and study for them. Their love for this world and the things of it, exceeded their love for Christ and the world to come. They had no true sense of the awful result of sin. Their zeal for self, drowned their zeal for the house of God and His honor. They were satisfied with their lamps trimmed and but little oil in them. They saw no necessity for more light—prophets, truth or message. They said in their hearts, we are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing. They were prejudiced against light upon the word of God, and accepted not the truth because the channel through which it came was not of their choice.
The knowledge of present truth, which the five foolish virgins possessed since 1844 is the judgment of the dead, and was the only oil in their lamps. When the judgment of the living commenced, and the “cry was made,” they were found without this extra oil in their vessels; they had neglected their Lord’s command: “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” Thus when the wise ones started out to meet the bridegroom the lamps of the foolish went out, for, the judgment of the dead had passed. Therefore, it was present truth no more, and thus they were left in darkness. At the beginning of the judgments of God they saw their mistake and rushed for the ark of safety, but it was beyond their reach for they knew nothing of the message, and by the time they acquired it (filled their lamps with oil), there had been a delay, the angel had passed “through the city, through Jerusalem,” the church—the sealing was finished, and probation for the church had closed—the door was shut. Thus they were left out. Then they came with these words: “Lord, Lord, open unto us, But He answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.” “Appoint his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” What a disappointment that will be!
It will be noticed that the close of probation for the church and the one for the world are two different events. The former is a miniature representation of the latter. The Scripture for the preceding one is found in Matthew 25:11, 12; but of the final one we read: “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” (Rev. 22:11, 12.) At this time those who were like the five foolish virgins, will say, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” (Jer. 8:20.) “And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.” (Amos 8:12.)” — The Shepherds Rod, Vol. 2, pp. 181-187.
(This concludes our five part series on the 144,000. We hope you have been blessed with knowledge and wisdom about this important group of people and how they fit into latter day prophetic events. May God continue to bless you as you search for Truth as for hidden treasure. — The Publishers).