Lay Apart

James 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls

So many warnings are written in the Word of what we should not be guilty of or partake in, but so many excuses contradicting God’s Word are still used for those who chose to remain in sin (Rom. 6; 1Jn. 3; 5:18).

We MUST lay apart all moral filthiness and wickedness, impure and unholy affections, baseness, vileness and depravity. Only then can we receive the engrafted Word. It is by the Word of Truth inborn and implanted in the soul that one is saved and begotten (Jas. 1:18; Eph. 5:26). The Word is called seed (1Pet. 1:23; 1Jn. 3:9). When it is implanted in the soul it germinates and springs forth into eternal life. Only the seed that fails to be sown on properly prepared soil and cared for, will fail to bring forth fruit (Matt. 13:3-30).

Be Slow to Speak/Wrath

James 1:19-20 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. 

The wrath of man cannot work the righteousness that God requires. For example, no zeal of doing anything out of anger can be justified before a just God. Therefore, we have been given two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.

One of God’s attributes is that He is slow to anger (Psa. 103:8; 145:8; Joel 2:13) and we are warned that a wrathful man stirs up strife: but he that is slow to anger appease strife and that he that is slow to anger is better than the might, and he that rule his spirit than he that takes a city (Pro. 15:18; 16:32). The usage of the tongue is the one thing we are warned of the most in the Word of God and something we should all be sufficiently aware of (See Pro. 18: 7; 20-21; 1Pet. 3:10; Jam. 1:26; 3:1-12).

Begotten by the Word

James 1:17-18 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. 

Whatever is good comes from God who never changes; whatever is evil comes from satan and fallen man who are bent on doing whatever gains a selfish and sinful end.

God is the Father of Lights, which refers to Him as the creator of that which give light: the sun, moon and stars, which causes changes in the seasons of the year. But there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning in God, He is always – in every season – the same and does not change like the shadow of a sundial (Heb. 13:8).

It is God’s will that all people be saved – begotten by the Word (John 3:16; 1Tim. 2:4; 2Pet. 3:9). The Word of Truth is one of the agents that make men new creatures (John 3:5; 1Pet. 1:23; Eph. 5:26).

Do Not Err

James 1:13-16 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempted he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bring forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. 

After using the word temptation in the sense of trial, it is now used in the sense of solicitation to sin. God cannot be tempted with evil, neither does He tempt any man with it. Evil temptations come from evil, not from good. Do not be deceived by supposing that God is the author of sin or that He impels any man to commit it.

Temptation starts with us being tempted in our thoughts of evil, thereafter we are drawn away with strong imagination and lust or delight in viewing whatever we put our minds on. We are being enticed as our wills are weakened and lust conceives as we yield and a sinful act is committed. The result of actual sin is death.

Fade Away

James 1:9-11  Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withers the grass, and the flower thereof falls and the grace of the fashion of it perish: so also, shall the rich man fade away in his ways. 

A poor Christian must rejoice in his hope of heaven, but the rich one in his humiliation, for both are here only for a short while (Ps. 90:10). Lives burdens are compared with the burning heat of the sun that withers us away as we age.

The rich man who is outside of Christ fades away like a flower. Riches in Scripture are considered the cause of much sin and rebellion against God; and, for this cause, there are many warnings to men, especially converted men, to shun all covetousness of such (Mat. 6:19; Luke 6:24; 12:15-20; 1Tim. 6:9-18).

Ask in Faith

James 1:5-8  If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that give to all men liberally, and upbraid not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that waver is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. 

If you need answers, advice or wisdom in any situation: ask God! Don’t be as quick to turn to others for council (Ps. 1:1) or to operate from your own understanding (Pro. 3:7; 26:12). Pray to the Father who gives to all men liberally (Mat. 7:7-11) without finding fault, in the name of Jesus by the Holy Spirit, having a full understanding of your rights and privileges (Jam. 4:3-4) in harmony with the Word (John 14:13), ask in faith, nothing doubting (Heb. 11:6), with praise for the answer (Php. 4:6).

He who doubts is like a wave that is rising one moment, sinking the next. One minute he believes; another he does not. He says yes and then no to what God has promised, never making up his mind which way he believes. He staggers like a drunken man, helpless in prayer. It is as certain that a doubtful man will not get an answer as it is that the man of faith will get an answer. The term ‘double-minded’ was used by the Jews of a man who attempted to worship God and still loved the creature; who wished to secure both worlds. He would not give up the world here and yet was loathe to give up heaven: one torn between carnal and spiritual things.

Count It ALL Joy

James 1:2-4  My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith work patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 

Be joyful when you are going through a trial since it will produce the right fruit IF you choose to keep on trusting and relying on God (Heb. 11:1) instead of looking at your circumstances and reacting to what you feel or see.  Remember that we are tempted by the enemy to sin against God, thus guard your heart against complaining. Trials test religion and faith and the man who stands true in them proves his religion sound and his faith genuine. Tests work patience and patience works perfection (Jas. 1:12; Rom. 5:3-5; 1Pet. 1:7).

Two blessings come of perfect patience: personal perfection in the knowledge of the gospel and the will of God which will have a direct effect of you being without spot or blemish when you are perfect in your actions and reactions (Mat. 5:48; 2Tim. 3:17); and personal completeness in all graces and gifts of God.

The Parable of the Talents

For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.  His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Mat 25:14-30 KJV

The last parable of Matthew 24-25 illustrates another truth concerning the kingdom of Heaven (not the Church) and is connected with the parable of the ten virgins and the literal coming of Christ. After warning people in the kingdom of Heaven at His return to Earth to “watch” for they would not know the hour of His return, Christ gives this parable illustrating diligence in view of the hour of His coming. In other words, He explains the necessity of watching and being ready for the day of His appearing, at which time He is to judge His servants as to their faithfulness during His absence from the Earth.

Just as the man in this story went into a far country and trusted his servants with his goods until he returned, so the Lord taught that He was going to Heaven for a period and then return to test His servants as to their faithfulness while He was away. Just as this man returned and judged his servants as to their faithfulness, so the Lord will come again at an unexpected time to judge His servants. The ones that prove faithful will enter into greater responsibilities, but the ones who fail will be cast into Hell fire. This is the same judgment as the judgment of the nations.

The Judgment of the Nations (Mt. 25:31-46)

The judgment of the nations ends the Age of Grace and begins the Millennium. This description of judgment at the end of this age was the last part of the answer to the third question of the disciples “and of the end of the age?” This description of judgment tells us what Christ will do when He comes to Earth to set up His kingdom. This judgment will end man’s sixth probationary period and will end man’s sinful rule on the Earth. Jesus Christ in person, along with the resurrected saints of all ages, will reign on Earth for a thousand years to put all enemies under His feet and re-establish the universal kingdom of God. When the kingdom of God is fully established Christ will reign forever. This judgment will determine who is worthy of entrance into the kingdom of Heaven and who will be executed and cut off from entrance into the kingdom. Daniel 12:12 will then be fullfilled, “Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days”, which is the actual day of the proclamation of the kingdom. During this time the nations will be gathered and judged, the Jews will be regathered and settled in the land of promise, and all necessary preliminary arrangements for the kingdom will be made.

Thus, Jesus answers the three questions asked Him by the disciples concerning the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., concerning signs of His Second Advent, and concerning what will take place when He comes to the Earth at the end of this age. The prophecy of Mat. 24-25 is the greatest one in the New Testament outside the book of Revelation.

We can sum up the central truths illustrated by the five parables in Matthew 24-25 as follows: the parable of the fig tree illustrates the nearness of Christ’s Second Advent, the parable of the good man of the house illustrates readiness, the parable of the servants illustrates faithfulness, the parable of the ten virgins illustrates watchfulness, and the parable of the talents illustrates diligence in view of the Second Advent of Christ.

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

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 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. 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 to 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.  Mat 25:1-13 KJV

It can be seen that the events of Matthew 24-25 occur in consecutive order and are connected to each other by such words as “then,” “for then,” etc. The order of events can easily be traced by these connecting words. The first connecting word is in Matthew 24:9. The statement in Matthew. 24:7-8 tells of “the beginning of sorrows,” such as wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes. “Then shall they deliver you up . . . And then shall many be offended”. Mt. 24:9-10 The next definite timepoint is in Matthew 24:15, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation [Antichrist sitting in the temple of God in the middle of Daniel’s Seventieth Week] . . . Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains . . . [Matthew 24:16-20]: For then shall be great tribulation . . . [Matthew 24:21-22] Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there . . . [Matthew 24:23-28] Immediately, after the tribulation of those days  [from the abomination on to the Second Coming of Christ Himself]  shall the sun be darkened . . . And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven” Mt. 24:29-31 The next connecting word is in Matthew 24:40, Then [at the coming of the Son of man] two shall be in the field, the one shall be taken, and the other be left.” Following this truth, there are two parables which are connected to the Second Coming of Christ in that they illustrate readiness and faithfulness in view of His coming. Mt. 24:43-51

The first word in Matthew 25 is the first word of the parable of the ten virgins. It is another connecting word then, which connects the parable to the coming of the Son of man “immediately after the tribulation,” as explained above. It is clear to begin with that the parable of the ten virgins illustrates truth connected with the literal coming of Christ to the Earth. It can be seen that any connection with the Rapture of the Church is out of harmony with the truth that is intended to be illustrated by the parable. This parable is a continuation of the answer concerning “the end of the age” and should be understood in that light. This fact alone will prove that it has a different setting from that which is commonly understood and will culminate the many unscriptural and fanciful interpretations that are based upon the details of the illustration.

Then [at the literal coming of Christ to the Earth with the saints] shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins.” This is an illustration concerning the kingdom of Heaven, not the Church. The whole truth illustrated is plainly stated in Matthew 25:13, “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” Since this is the truth Jesus is illustrating by this story of a particular oriental wedding ceremony, then there is no other point definitely illustrated by Him here in this parable. A parable is simply an illustration of some truth and the details are not to be stressed unduly. They are necessary only to make a complete story so that a truth can be illustrated. Thus, it is important that no hidden meanings are given to details of a parable.

REFUTING SOME FALSE THEORIES

It is almost universally believed that oil in the parable symbolizes the Holy Spirit and that the virgins symbolize different classes of Christians. Some insist that the wise are those who have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and that the foolish have not. Thus, it is implied that both the foolish and wise have salvation (lamps), but only the wise have the Holy Spirit (oil). Others go further and insist that only those who have the baptism in the Holy Spirit will be caught up in the Rapture, and that Christians in general who have not had that experience will be left here to go through the Tribulation. Still others say that a person is not saved unless they have the baptism in the Spirit.

Many preach these errors as an incentive for seeking the experience of baptism in the Spirit, but regardless of the ultimate aim of such message, it may be stated here that in the light of other plain Scriptures the doctrines are erroneous. This type of teaching illustrates the errors men get into by basing doctrines upon the details of parables without having plain Bible passages to support them in such teaching. This teaching arbitrarily condemns many earnest-hearted and devout Christians who have not yet received light on the baptism in the Holy Spirit as taught by this school. It also suggests that others who have had the light on the subject are not living clean lives because they have not received the baptism in the Spirit. It automatically sets up a standard of cleansing other than the established blood-washed way, and ultimately advances qualifications for the Rapture of the Church and entrance into the body of Christ which are not taught in plain passages of Scripture.

These interpretations break down at every point when they are considered in the light of the details of the parable, as well as in the light of other plain Scriptures. The lamps cannot symbolize salvation, profession, or anything of that nature, as is clear by the usage of the word throughout the Bible. The word “lamp” is used as a symbol of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, but never of salvation or of the body of man. Exod. 27:20; 1 Sam. 3:3; Ps. 119:105; Rev. 4:5; 8:10 The word “oil” has no more reference to the Spirit here than it does in other scriptures.

How could people who are both saved and baptized in the Spirit, be in such lethargy as were these ten virgins, both wise and foolish? The Lord says to such, “I will spue thee out of my mouth” Rev. 3:16; Rom. 13:11; 1 Cor. 15:34; Eph. 5:14 Let it be noticed further, that at the time of the Rapture people will have no time to rise and trim their lamps (so-called “salvation”) as did all these virgins, for the Rapture is to take place “in the twinkling of an eye”. 1 Cor. 15:51-58 If anyone after the Rapture became sufficiently worthy to receive the oil (so-called “Spirit”) would Christ be likely to say to him, “I know you not,” as was said to the foolish virgins by this particular bridegroom? Thus, it is evident that an attempt at a detailed meaning of this simple illustration of watchfulness to the people in the kingdom of Heaven at the “end of the age” when Christ comes to set up His kingdom is out of harmony with the purpose of the parable and sound doctrines of the Bible.

Summary of Twelve False Doctrines:

  1. Two kinds of Christians.
  2. The oil is the Spirit baptism.
  3. Wise are those with this baptism.
  4. Foolish are those without it.
  5. Born again people do not have the Holy Spirit.
  6. Rapture will take place at midnight or middle of the tribulation.
  7. One has to have the Spirit baptism to go in the rapture.
  8. Only those baptized in the Spirit will be at the marriage of the Lamb.
  9. Only those baptized in the Spirit will be in the bride of Christ.
  10. One is not saved until he receives the Spirit baptism.
  11. The door of mercy will be shut to the Gentiles after the rapture.
  12. The bride is the church.

From the Word the Truth Is:

  1. There is only one kind of Christian, the born-again Mt. 13:38-49; 18:3; Jn. 3:3-5; 2Cor. 5:17-18; Rom. 6:7,18,22; 8:1-13; Gal. 5:19-24; Eph. 4:24; 1Jn. 2:29; 3:8-10; 5:1-4,18; Heb. 12:14
  2. The oil here is not the Holy Spirit for He cannot be bought and sold or divided between people at their request. This no more refers to the Holy Spirit than oil in Genesis 28:18; 2Kings 4:1-6; Luke 7:46; 16:6; etc.
  3. Born-again people do receive the Holy Spirit, 3:5; Rom. 8:9-16 but not always the Spirit baptism which is another experience. Lk. 11:13; Jn. 7:37-39; 14:16-17; Acts 1:4-8; 2:38-39; 5:32; 8:15-16; 19:1-6
  4. The rapture will not take place in the middle of the tribulation, but before it for the church is the hinderer of lawlessness of 2Thessalonians 2:7 refer to the church being taken out of the world … And then shall that wicked be revealed who will be destroyed seven years later by Christ at His second coming. 2:7-8
  5. The Spirit baptism is for the endowment of power from on high to do the works of Jesus, 24:49; Jn. 7:37-39; 14:12; Acts 1:4-8 not to save the soul or to qualify one for the rapture.
  6. All Christians will be at the marriage supper of the Lamb, for all will go in the rapture.
  7. All Christians will be in the bride of Christ, which is the New Jerusalem and not the church. 21:2,9-10 Even Old Testament saints will be a part of the city. Heb. 11:10-16; cp. Heb. 13:14; Jn. 14:1-3
  8. The door of mercy will never be closed to Jews or Gentiles during the tribulation or any other time. Multitudes will be saved during the tribulation. Acts 2:16-21; Rev. 7:1-17; 12:17; 15:2-4; 20:4-6

LOOKING AT AN ORIENTAL WEDDING

In almost any book on Bible lands, their manners and customs might be found just such a description of an oriental wedding ceremony as given in this parable by Jesus. The bride was always accompanied by a certain number of virgins (in this case there were ten) to meet the bridegroom. The bridegroom and his friends went, usually by night, to bring the bride and her attendants to the home of the bridegroom. All along the route that the bridegroom and his friends took to get the bride, there would be crowds on the housetops or balconies who would take up the peculiar cry of wedding joy that told those further along that the pageant had started. The cry would give warning to those who were waiting with the bride that it was time to arise and light up the way of approach, and welcome the bridegroom with honor. Before the bridegroom started he received his friends who sometimes were late, and after that speeches of congratulations were made, and other honors were bestowed upon him and his family. Therefore, it was often near midnight before the bridegroom started for the bride.

Meanwhile, as the night wore on, and the duties of robing the bride and completing the house decorations, a period of relaxing and drowsy waiting set in and many would be overcome with sleep, as in the story Jesus gave. This period of drowsiness would be broken by the cries of the wedding procession of the bridegroom, and those in the home of the bride would rise and light candles or trim their lamps which had been burning all this time. In the case that Jesus mentions the lamps had been burning and five of them were getting so low that the virgins could not carry out their part of the wedding procession back to the home of the bridegroom, because they had to go first and get more oil. While they were gone to purchase more oil, the procession went on to the marriage place and the door was shut and locked for fear of robbers who might cause an interruption, rob and carry off jewelry, costly garments, or even the bride herself and hold her for ransom. The tardy virgins, who were anxious to join the concluding festivities of the wedding, finally came crying, “Lord, Lord, open to us,” could not, of course, be admitted, nor was their cry recognized by the bridegroom.

Jesus uses this story to illustrate watchfulness by those living in the kingdom of Heaven at His coming to the Earth to set up His kingdom. He warns people at the end of the age to be more watchful than these ten virgins, lest some of them should fail to be ready when He comes.

Thus, we see that this parable is just as understandable as any other one in the Bible if we consider the details of the illustration as necessary only to make the story complete enough to illustrate the point that is being illustrated.

The Parable of the Faithful and Evil Servants

Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.  Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Mat 24:45-51 KJV (Luke 12:42-48)

This parable begins by the words “Who then,” that is, in view of the suddenness of Christ’s coming at a time unexpected, who will not be faithful in the things that have been committed to him during the absence of the Lord? This parable illustrates faithfulness in view of the coming of Christ to the Earth to judge everyone according to the deeds done in the body. This judgment is the same as the judgment of the nations of Matthew 25:31-46. It is not the same as the judgment of the saints before the return of Christ:

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 1Cor. 3:11-15 KJV