"The Lord said to Moses, 'Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light, so that the lamps may be kept burning continually. Outside the curtain that shields the ark of the covenant law in the tent of meeting, Aaron is to tend the lamps before the Lord from evening till morning, continually. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. The lamps on the pure gold lampstand before the Lord must be tended continually.'" (Lev 24:1-4, NIV).
The lamps were fueled with clear olive oil, which the Israelites were commanded to bring. Aaron their high priest was then required to tend the lamps on the pure gold lampstand before the Lord continually night and day. This is a lasting ordinance for all generations.
In the gospels, Jesus told the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. He said:
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’
“But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour." (Mt 25:1-13, NIV).
The difference between the five wise virgins and the five foolish virgins was that the wise ones brought extra flasks full of oil, so that if the bridegroom was a long time in coming, their lamps would not go out. The foolish ones, however, did not prepare ahead so that they could be ready in case the bridegroom was a long time in coming. This one thing made a crucial difference in their lives. When the midnight cry rang out to notify the virgins that the bridegroom was coming, the foolish ones did not have enough oil to keep their lamps burning bright for him. When they asked the wise virgins for some of their oil, the wise ones told them that if they did so, there would not be enough oil for all of them, and they instructed the foolish ones to go to the merchants as they had done and buy some oil for themselves.
The wise ones were able to trim their lamps and keep them lit when the bridegroom came to meet them, and they were welcomed into the wedding with him. But then the door was shut, and when the foolish ones returned with their oil, they cried out to the Lord to open the door and let them in, but they were shut out of his presence, and he declared that he never knew them.
In this parable, the bridegroom represents our Lord Jesus and the virgins represent those who are waiting for His return. In other words, all the virgins are believers. The light of the lamps represents the light of Christ in the lives of every disciple, which is fueled by the Holy Spirit, Who is represented by the oil. The extra flasks full of oil represent being filled with the Holy Spirit. The act of buying that extra oil in advance represents readiness for Christ's return. This advance preparation requires a continual watching and waiting on the Lord, asking the Holy Spirit to fill you from head to toe and keep your lamp burning for Jesus, no matter what the cost. This is the anointing that each disciple must have, and we cannot give our anointing to someone else. Each one must seek the Lord for himself or herself to receive directly from the Holy Spirit.
What He taught us in this passage is that we must always keep watch and be ready for His soon return, because it could happen at any moment (1 Thes 5:2-4; 2 Pe 3:1-12; Rev 16:15; 22:12-20). We must be like the five wise virgins, and seek the Lord now before the Lord returns (Is 55:6-7), asking for the Holy Spirit to completely fill us and engulf us (Lk 11:13). Offer the Lord your extra flask and continually ask Him to fill it up (Eph 5:18), so that you may always keep your lamp burning bright for Him until He comes (Lk 12:35). For it is the Lord who keeps our lamps burning (Ps 18:28). Just as the Israelites had to bring the olive oil, we all must participate in obtaining the oil of the Spirit from the Lord. Just as Aaron as a priest had to tend the lamps on the pure gold lampstand before the Lord continually night and day, so too must we as priests of God tend to our own lamps continually to ensure they remain burning bright for Jesus (Lk 12:35). The many signs of the times point to the fact that Jesus is coming back right away, and no man knows the day or the hour (Mt 24:36; 25:13), so time is of the essence to act upon this word and to be sure you are ready.
Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB copyright the Lockman Foundation, used by permission. Other Scriptures where noted as NIV, taken from the Holy Bible New International Version, copyright Zondervan, used by permission. Image may be subject to copyright, used per Fair Use Act for commentary and educational purposes only.
Author's note: You are invited to read The Holy Fire Series, Baptized with the Spirit, Holy Fire Baptism, The Refiner's Fire, Songs of the Holy Fire, Living Sacrifices in Consuming Fire, Holy Living in a Perverted World, Separation from the World, Aim for Perfection, The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness, and Called to be Blameless. You may access the Main Directory for this Seeking the Lord blog for more articles like this, as well as my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."
Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus. Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?
“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15). He preached that we must repent and believe.
Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International. He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.