by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
"Then came to Him the disciples of John, saying, 'Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but your disciples fast not?' And Yeshua said unto them, 'Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast'." Matthew 9:14-15
"Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, 'Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise answered, saying, 'Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.' And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us.' But He answered, 'Truly, I say to you, I do not know you .' Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour." Matthew 25:1-13
I don't have all the answers - just questions. The way my questions are answered is to ask YaHoVeH (click on highlighted words to view content) for His guidance into all Truth that He promises and then to read the Book just for what the words on the page say and mean - not what I or anyone else may "think" it says or what temptation there might be to "shoehorn" something in that isn't there. The purpose of these articles are to inspire you to ask questions of the Source of Life and to research the scriptures for yourself to see if the things advanced here are true. If there is something you find in these words that cause you to draw closer to the Father - then "Baruch haShem" (Hebrew, bless the Name). If not, then, "Yevarech Otka HaShem" (may the Name bless you).
A question I have had before the Father has been: if those who have embraced the example of Yeshua's Life constitute His Body and ethnic Israel is the Bride then, who are the "children of the bridechamber" mentioned in Matthew 9:14-15 and the "ten virgins" of Matthew 25:1-13 above? The passage in Matthew 9 plainly tells us that Yeshua was answering a question put forth about His disciples. He was, obviously, referring to Himself as the bridegroom that would soon be taken away from them, but He did not call His disciples, "the Bride." He called them "the children of the bridechamber" or the "friends of the bridegroom". Various versions translate this word "children" differently as guests, attendants, children, friends - but, they all come from the Greek word huios which is more appropriately translated "sons" of a family (i.e., ones born of the same father). Jewish Betrothal Customs tell us that, once the bethrothal with the bride has been made, the groom goes to prepare a habitation, a "bridechamber", for them to reside in. Traditionally, the friends of the bridegroom assist in that preparation until "like a thief in the night" the groom comes for his bride to take her away to the place prepared for them. When the friends of the bridegroom hear the voice of the bridegroom, they know the wedding feast has begun. So, when John the Immerser says in John 3,
"He that has the bride is the bridegroom: but the
friend of the bridegroom,
which stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: In this my joy therefore is fulfilled."|
he is describing himself as a friend of the Bridegroom, Yeshua. This word "friend", from the Greek word philos, would be more appropriately defined as he who associates familiarly, peculiarly favored with his intimacy. This is the same word used in John 15:14-16 where Yeshua says He no longer calls His disciples servants, but "friends." John the Immerser's joy is fulfilled because, upon hearing the Voice of the Groom, he knows he will have become a participant in the consumation of this marriage. The Hebrew word for "one" is echad and is associated with "fulfillment of joy". This is the same word Yeshua used when He prayed to the Father that all those who believe in Him to be (or may become) one in the Father as He is one with the Father - that His joy might be fulfilled in them (John 17:13-21). It is this oneness, in an intimacy with the Father, that our relationship with Him is fulfilled, the same as Yeshua's. But that oneness, or intimacy, is not given to us simply because we have been given descendency or mouth acquiescence (see what it means To Believe). To enter into that intimacy with Yeshua, we must choose to become One with Him, to become as He Is (1John 4:17, see Flesh and Blood). But it is a choice we make to enter into that intimacy with Who He Is - not Who we think Him to be. This is why Yeshua said there will be many who will say to Him, "Lord, Lord" to whom He will say, "I never knew you" because, even though they had access to His Power they never made the choice to know Him in the Truth of Who He is. They were wanting to fashion Him after their own image instead of being fashioned by Him. They settled for less than His Excellence.
|A Wedding Celebration|
|"While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept ." Matthew 25:5|
The Greek word translated as the English slumber in this verse is nustazo and means to nod in sleep, to be negligent, careless - but is a derivative of the root Greek word neuo which means to give a nod, to signify by a nod, to beckon. Notice that both the wise and the foolish virgins are pictured as having fallen asleep as they waited for the long overdue bridegroom - but there is a critical difference between the two. This verse has been grossly mistranslated, and the translation is misleading. This parable thus far has provided two antithetical groups of people (i.e., wise and foolish virgins). There is a difference in the reactions between these two, but the translators failed to see this. A correct paraphrase of this verse would be: While the Bridegroom tarried in His coming, all of the ten virgins either beckoned (translated slumbered) for him to return or they fell asleep. An accurate, literal word-for-word translation of this verse is as follows: While the bridegroom tarried, they all beckoned or slept. The Greek word that has been translated "slumbered" literally means to nod in signaling or beckoning for what one desires to be done. To beckon means to signal or summon, as by nodding or waving. The five wise virgins are beckoning for Yeshua to return to redeem His Bride and, in her redemption, to complete the restoration of His Kingdom but the five foolish virgins have fallen asleep. They have become negligent and careless in their knowledge and understanding of the vital role of the Jewish Bride due to the delay of the return of the Bridegroom. He does not know them because they do not know Him as Hebrew. To "wake up" to the knowledge that He is in Love with Israel and is coming to redeem her to a rightful place at His side only when it becomes apparent, simply acknowledges their treatment of the "least of these", His brethren the Hebrews, in the following parable of the sheep and the goats - thereby placing themselves in the category of those who will not make it into His Kingdom (Matthew 25:32-45). In the world of everyday wedding feasts, not being ready when the bridegroom comes, though socially awkward, does not automatically exclude someone from the joy of the celebration. Usually, they would graciously be allowed to enter after a humble apology. But this parable is not speaking of a simple tardiness, it is in the manner in which they are waiting that marks the difference between them. When the Bridegroom finally comes, which will be the occasion of the fullness of His Joy, those having not demonstrated a readiness to follow His embrace of the Hebrew Bride (Israel), will never be allowed into that feast at all. If believers constitute the Body of the Groom, how can they be expected to marry someone they don't care for, have not attended to or do not even acknowledge the presence of? Those not willing to embrace the Hebrew Bride, Israel, will lose out completely even after remaining pure because they have not become intimate, become One with Him, to know and understand His Love and Compassion for His Family of Israel.
My friend, Robert, asked me, "What was the oil the foolish virgins did not possess, had to go purchase to obtain, and who are they that had oil to sell?" (Matthew 25:1-13). He went on to explain that scripture tells us the oil that keeps our lamp burning is the law of righteousness contained in Torah (Psalm 119:105-106). Psalm 141:5 tells us the way we obtain that oil is from a "smiting" or a reproof from the righteous. Hebrews 1:8 tells us a "scepter of righteousness" is the scepter of His Kingdom. The English translated word "scepter" comes from the Greek word rhabdos and means a "rod of the most rigorous rule". His rule out of His righteousness, contained in Torah, is what "smites" our heart and causes us to be reproved. The Hebrew word for smite is halam (meaning a breaking) and is the same Hebrew word used in Judges 5:22 for the English translated word "broken" in describing the effects of the hoof of a horse striking the ground. This is the same word picture painted in Revelation 19:11 to describe the "white horse" (the righteousness of YHVH) that YHVH will ride in upon to judge all of mankind, "...and His Name is called, the Word of God" (v13). Although the virgins had enough oil to make it to the Bridechamber - they did not have the "extra" supply of Righteousness required to be invited into the wedding because they did not recognize Torah as being legitimate for them. Torah is where we learn of His Righteousness, the Life of Yeshua
There are many who, at the last moment will realize they have not been prepared in His Righteousness - not understanding that to do so necessitates time in His Presence. This impartation of His Life into ours is not something that comes through verbalization. It is not something that once confession is made we are then granted a seal of immunity allowing us to participate in avarice and greed with distain for the results of those actions upon the brethren. The Words of YHVH are truly a born again way of living that is pleasing to YHVH. That Life is not acquired overnight or in a day. The ones that have it will come to realize they have not the time to help lay a foundation to build a home for the foolish when no oil is found in their lamps in the last of the day. For, even though they involve themselves in "good", they refused to go on unto perfection (Hebrews.6:1-3, Luke 13:22-28, see Perfection & Presumption). While the foolish virgins slept, their readiness to follow the bridegroom was depleted, consumed by time and the accompanying fire. The wise virgins' lamps burned, too, but their readiness to follow was not depleted, for they had a whole other flask of oil, the Torah, that had not been consumed. Thus, they were able to refill the vessel that had been depleted by the same time and fire as had affected the other five. Why does Yeshua issue such a warning? Because He knows that His coming will be delayed. It is easy to be ready if the bridegroom comes quickly. It is so much harder to be ready if he is delayed. And he will be delayed for before He can come, all the nations of the earth will have to be arrayed against His Hebrew Bride - Israel (Zechariah 14:2). Those who have their "extra oil" will be those who are willing to stand alongside Hebrew Israel, Yeshua's Bride, embracing her in her time of trial with the same intimacy with which He has embraced her and, while waiting, clothing her, adorning her, covering her with their righteousness - even as they have been adorned and clothed by Him. (Revelation 19:8, 1Peter 4:8).
Presently, many are able to say, "Sure, we will stand with Israel" because the price for that statement today doesn't cost much. How committed will we be when the price becomes higher - your property? How long will we stand when the stakes are moved closer - your life and the lives of your family? How much extra resolve will we have prepared for our lamps when the Bridegroom tarries and the world outrage toward Jews in every corner becomes intolerable - as it now rages in Europe with an intensity not seen since the beginning of World War II? If we are wise, we will know and understand the nature of YHVH's promise. YHVH will inevitably keep His promise to both sides of His Family (the Body and the Bride) - but He will not keep it quickly. The Kingdom of YHVH will come in all of its Glory as He said it would, but it probably will not be soon - remember, all the authors of the Messianic Writings were expecting it in their day. Can it happen overnight? Surely - but exactly when He will come we do not know. Knowing that uncertainty, we who are wise will do what we must do to be and to remain ready to follow the Bridegroom to the feast when finally He does come and, in the meantime - attend to His Bride. But, if we are not aware of who the Bride is, we will find ourselves unprepared for the onslaught that is to come until it is too late. What does it mean, then, for us to have oil in reserve, for us to be ready to follow the bridegroom? YHVH requires one and only one thing of us: He wants us to want the coming of His Kingdom more than we want anything else in this life - more than life itself. It's little to ask, and it's a lot to ask because it will cost us every thing we have and everything we desire of this world. But it's the only thing He asks. At the end of this age, if He finds that we want from the core of our being to be His Kingdom He intends to establish here on this earth through the one new man born of the consumation of the marriage of the Body and the Bride - then citizenship in that Kingdom is ours. But if He finds our eyes, our desires, and our affections fixed on the stuff that is passing away, our own desire to not suffer the wrath of the world due to an open affiliation with our brethren, Israel - then we are unworthy of His Kingdom, and His words to us will be, "I do not know you."
Part One - the Gentile
Part Two - the Church
Part Three - the Bride
Part Four - Children of the Bridechamber
Part Five - the Covering
Part Six - the Land
"For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you (Israel), and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you."|
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to partake with you of what the Spirit is uncovering.