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The Rev Andries Combrink is a Presbyterian Minister of the Gospel. He lives in Centurion, South Africa. 
To teach the Word of God is his calling,  based on the Reformed tradition. 

 

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It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’ Mt 4:4.

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Aug 22

Written by: Andries
Monday, August 22, 2016 2:35:39 AM  RssIcon

In the well known parable in Matthew 25: 1 – 13 about the ten maidens, five wise and five foolish, Jesus taught first of all that he will return when least expected, for no one knows the day or the hour of his return.
Secondly, he teaches that we must be ready for his return at any time of our days and lives.    

 

The bridegroom in this parable is Jesus Christ, the heavenly bridegroom. The ten maidens are the expectant and waiting Christian church looking for the return of Christ. The lateness of the bridegroom is the seeming delay of the second coming. The sudden appearance of the bridegroom is the coming of Christ at a time when least expected. And the stern rejection of the foolish maidens is the Final Judgment.

 

No One Knows the Day or the Hour: At the end of Matthew 24 and at the start of Matthew 25,  Jesus tells us the same thing five times: that he will return when least expected for no one knows when he returns:
(Mt 24:36) "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."
The coming of Jesus is so unexpected that neither the angels nor Jesus, in his human nature, knows the day or the hour. It is God's intention to keep the time of the second the best kept secret in the universe.
 
Remember the time the disciples tried to find out from Jesus the time of his return on the day of his ascension?
Jesus said to them, (Acts 1:7) It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses.  

 

Do not be concerned and do not speculate about the day or hour of my return, says Jesus. Rather, concentrate on doing your work, on spreading the Good News of the Gospel, on being my witnesses, across the world  

 

Scripture tells us that because the day and hour is unknown, it will be totally unexpected and will be a shocking experience to many members of the Church.
 
In Matthew 24 & 25 Jesus gave four examples to show us how unexpected the time of his coming will be.
Firstly, he compares the time of his coming to the days of Noah (Mt 24:36-41). Noah had told his neighbours about the coming flood. But they didn't believe him. Instead, they mocked him, and ignored his warning. The unexpected and sudden downpour of the flood caught them all by surprise. "That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man," says Jesus (Mt 24:39).
 
Then Jesus compares the time of His coming to a thief in the night (Mt 24:42-44). This is a comparison that appears eight other times in Scripture. The point is that one does not know when a thief will strike.
 
Thirdly, Jesus compares the time of his coming to the unexpected return of an employer. (Mt 24:45-51). He puts an overseer in charge of his household before he goes away. The overseer, thinking the master will not return for some time, begins to drink and party and starts beating the other servants. The arrival of the master on a day and hour he was not expected catches the overseer abusing his position and neglecting his duties. It leads to his dismissal.
 
Lastly Jesus compares the time of his coming to the sudden appearance of the bridegroom. The ten maidens in the parable (Mt 25: 1 – 13) were not sure when the bridegroom would come. And the Church does not know when Christ will return.
 
Nobody knows when Jesus will return!  God has not revealed to us the day or hour of his return. Instead, he reminds us again and again that the time of Christ's return will be unexpected. That's the first important lesson Jesus wants to teach us.
 
The reason for this cosmic secret is also revealed.
Because we do not know the day or hour, our Lord wants to teach us that we must always be ready, every day and every hour,  to meet him and come before him.
We need to be always prepared - in every circumstance, whatever we are doing and prioritising in our lives. 
 
Christian living in the Kingdom of God is simply defined as being ready to meet the Saviour at any time.
In summing up the parable of the Ten Maidens, Christ Jesus says,
"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour."  

 

Keep watch, all the time!
  

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