What does the Bible say about the future?
The parable of the ten virgins
In the parable of the ten virgins, they all looked like Christians, but only some had the Holy Spirit. These entered the wedding feast while the others were locked out to suffer the destruction of the ungodly.
Matthew 25:1 At that time, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3The foolish took their lamps but took no oil with them. 4But the wise took oil in their containers with their lamps. 5While the bridegroom took time to come, they all dozed off and slept. 6At midnight there was a call: “Look, the bridegroom is coming. Go out to meet him.” 7Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil, because our lamps have gone out.” 9But the wise answered, saying, “We can’t. Because there won’t be enough for us and you. But instead, go to those that sell, and buy your own.” 10While they went to buy, the bridegroom came. Those who were ready went in with him to the marriage. And the door was shut. 11Later, the other virgins returned, saying, “Lord, Lord, open the door for us.” 12But he answered and said, “Honestly, I don’t know you.” 13Therefore stay on guard, because you don’t know the day or the hour when the Son of Man comes.
Before Jesus returns, many will be waiting for him expectantly, appearing to be ready. But in that moment their inadequate preparation will be realized, and they’ll miss being received to his banquet. Instead, they’ll be caught up on a last-minute quest for the oil that they should have had prepared. The oil represents faith and the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Not everyone who calls themselves Christian will be received into Heaven – not even all those who appear clothed in godliness.
The distinction between the wise and the foolish reminds me of
2 Thessalonians 2:10 … they didn’t receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And the parable of the wise and foolish men building their houses on rock, and on sand.
Matthew 7:24 Therefore, whoever hears these sayings of mine and follows them, I would compare them to a wise person who built their house on rock. 25The rains poured down and the floods came. Strong winds blew and beat against the house. But it didn’t fall. Because its foundation was on a rock. 26Everyone who hears these sayings of mine but ignores them, I would compare them to a foolish person, who built their house on sand. 27The rains poured down and the floods came. Strong winds blew and beat upon the house, and it fell, and its fall was catastrophic.
Christ is our foundation.
1 Corinthians 3:11 No one can lay a foundation other than what is already laid. That is, Jesus Christ.
– not the traditions of religious authorities
Mark 7:6 He answered them, “Elijah prophesied well of you hypocrites. As it’s written, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.’” 7How is it that they worship me in vain, teaching human traditions as if they were doctrines from God. 8Just as you lay the commandments of God aside, you treasure human traditions, such as a particular ritual for washing pots and cups, and many other things that you do like that.
Some sects use the parable of the ten virgins to prove that only those with their secret knowledge or who accept their interpretation of scripture will be received unto Jesus. But this contradicts the simplicity of
John 3:16 God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life.
Certainly, for Jesus’ neighbor on the cross next to him, his belief and confession were enough to be granted entry to paradise on that very day.
Luke 23:39 One of the convicts who was crucified next to him gave him a hard time, saying, “If you’re Christ, save yourself and us.” 40But the other replied and told him off, saying, “Don’t you fear God, seeing that you’re subject to the same fate? 41Our fate is just. Because we’re receiving the due punishment for what we’ve done. But this man’s done nothing wrong.” 42He said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when you enter your Kingdom.” 43Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, today, you’ll be with me in Paradise”.
The Rapture really does divide the Church
After considering the Rapture, I was impressed with this thought as I considered this parable. The Church is quite divided over when it will happen and even whether there is a Rapture. This parable, when interpreted in the context of a Rapture, shows that not all who appear to be Christians will be taken in the Rapture. Therefore, the Rapture will literally divide the Church between the worthy and the unworthy.
Matthew 10:38 Whoever doesn’t take up their cross and follow me isn’t worthy of me.
Luke 21:36 Therefore continually be on guard and pray, that you might be found to be worthy to escape all these things that will happen, and to stand before the Son of Man.
Even besides the Rapture, not all who appear to be Christians will spend eternity with God. This thought should instill the fear of God in each of us.
Luke 12:4 I tell you my friends, “Don’t be afraid of those who can kill the body. After that they can’t do anything more to you. 5But be warned about whom you should fear: Fear him, who after your death, has the power to throw you into Hell. Certainly, I tell you, fear him.”
Whatever our theory on the Rapture, we must live in readiness for our earthly life to end at any moment.