December 20, 2015
Advent, Part 4
Time to Light the Lamps!
"Wake up! For our salvation is nearer now than we first believed" (Romans 13:11).
We have seen that Advent began as a time of fasting and preparation not for Yeshua's (Jesus's) first coming, but for His second coming. So how do we prepare? Matthew 24:42-43 tells us, "Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming." If we do not know when He is coming then how do we know when to be ready? Matthew goes on to say that if the head of the house knew what night the thief would have come, he would have been on the alert. So you should be ready too.
Matthew 25 gives us a clue in the Parable of the Ten Virgins. The five wise virgins had enough oil to light their lamps while the five foolish did not; and when the time came at midnight, the shout came, "Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet Him!" When the five foolish ones returned from buying oil, it was too late; the door was shut. So be on the alert, for you do not know the day or the hour.
Luke 12:35-36 tells us this way: "Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps alight. And be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks." This imagery of the wedding runs throughout many of Yeshua's parables. For example, in Matthew 22 Yeshua gives this parable of the wedding feast: The king gave a wedding feast. He sent out his slaves to tell the people that all the preparations have been made and it's time to come to the feast. But they paid no attention to the invitation. In fact, they mistreated and even killed the king's servants. The king said, "The wedding is ready, go out to the highways and byways and bring people in so that my table may be filled." But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw there was a man who was not dressed in wedding clothes. The king was outraged and said, "How did you come in here without wedding clothes?"
Oil and lights and wedding clothes: what does this all mean?
Oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was given to us as a pledge or a down payment on our salvation. Paul tells us in Galatians 5:17, "For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit and the spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please." Verses 24-25 say, "Now those who belong to Messiah have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit." Yeshua sent the Holy Spirit to be a helper, a counselor to us so that we can walk according to the Word of God.
The Menorah lamp in the temple, which represents the Messiah, used olive oil. To get this oil, the olives had to be pressed and crushed, and so we too must be pressed and crushed so we may be presented to the Father as holy. Paul tells us in Philippians 3:8-14 that he considered all that he had obtained in life to be rubbish just to know Messiah in the power of His resurrection, to fellowship in His sufferings, and in being conformed to His death; but he says that he has not yet obtained or become perfect, but pressed on to lay hold of it. We cannot obtain this in our own righteousness, but only through the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
God is light and His kingdom is the kingdom of Light, so we too must be light. Yeshua is the Light of the World and He tells us that we too must be that light in the world (Matthew 5:14). Yeshua is the Word of God made flesh and so too the Word of God is light. We must be light and we must live by the word of God in keeping His commandments; to do this, we must be led by the Holy Spirit of God and to be led by the Spirit of God, we must be born again.
Revelation 19:7-10 speaks of the Marriage supper of the Lamb. It begins, "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. And it was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints." Hebrews 6:1 tells us, "Therefore, leaving the elementary teachings about Messiah, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works . . . ." First we must start with repentance; then we must read and live by God's word with prayer and by the leading of the Holy Spirit, we will begin to understand God's will for us in our lives and by this we will begin to obey and do what God is calling each one of us to do for Him and His kingdom. Then we will be prepared and we will be ready for Him if He chooses to come as a thief in the night. Our lamps will be lit and shining bright to welcome Him.
O come, O come Immanuel!