JESUS PREDICTED DENOMINATIONS
The Church is referred to symbolically as the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:22, 2 Corinthians 11:2, Revelation 19:7). Although these references are referring to one bride for Christ, Jesus told a parable in Matthew 25 about the ten virgins and one bridegroom. The virgins were waiting the bridegroom, just as we are waiting for Jesus’ second coming. I believe this to be a parable not so much about individuals in the Church as about groups (or denominations) in the Church. Here is a re-telling of the parable:
Ten churches each had their own theology, which they were reasonably sure was correct. Although they disagreed on certain points, which they thought were important, they all agreed that Jesus was Lord, had died for our sins, was the head of the Church, and would return at some future time. Now it appeared that the time of Jesus’ return would soon take place because of the spiritual darkness that filled the earth. The expectation of the imminent return came suddenly upon the leaders of these churches. They quickly tried to prepare their members–for many of them were worldly. Five of the churches were not sure how to proceed and asked the second five if they could provide teachers to help. But the second five said, “No, we need all the teachers we have to prepare our people. Seek God and He will help you.” But while the first five churches were scrambling to develop teachers, Christ returned. For the most part the members of the first five were not ready, but the member of the second five were. The members of the first five churches, prayed earnestly and tried to send messages to Christ to be allowed into His kingdom. Christ’s response was, “I’m sorry. You never knew me, and I never knew you.”
We are approaching the last times, but it is not the last hour yet. In the parable, the brides were waiting at night, but the first five did not have enough oil in their lamps to last until the arrival of the bridegroom. Oil is symbolic of the anointing of God—of His favor and choice. We are the ten brides, but we do not know who will be the five with enough oil and who will be the five without enough oil. Each lamp, each church structure, is capable of holding oil and burning brightly.
We have time to seek God to provide a solution for the oil that we may be needed. Let us pursue Him that He will do the work of providing oil in each lamp. In John 17: 20-23, Jesus prayed for a unity in the Church that would be like the unity that He shared with the Father—a supernatural unity—so that the world would believe. That is why God called me to this ministry—to call on our leaders to plan a day in which the leaders together would follow Jesus’ prayer example, to ask the Father for a solution to our disunity. Is there a better way to restore the oil?
You could be part of this legacy that begins anew the unity that God has called us to, which will empower the Church, which will refill our lamps with the oil of God’s anointing. Is there a good reason to refuse to seek this God’s unity for the Church, form God, in the way that Christ did?