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From: Dean and Susan Wheelock
Subject: Preparing the Bride: Oil for Our Lamps (Part 2 of 3)
Dean and Susan Wheelock have a ministry called Hebrew roots. They produce a quarterly magazine called Hebrew roots. If you would like to receive the magazine, please send an e-mail to Dean and Susan at: (firstname.lastname@example.org) or write them at the following address:
P.O. Box 98
Lakewood, WI 54138
Preparing the Bride: Oil for Our Lamps (Part 2 of 3)
From the website: http://www.geocities.com/hebrew_roots/html/hr-2-3-01.html#Lamps
* Detail #3 *
The third detail of this parable is that we must bring to the wedding a receptacle (ourselves) of righteous love for one another.
~ Lamps ~
The next item to be examined is the lamp itself. As previously mentioned, it must be of proper construction for outdoor use. The small lamps that were used inside the home would not provide nearly enough light for use at night, especially if the wedding were to take place on a new moon, when the sky is dark, such as at Rosh HaShanah. Also, a small indoor lamp would be susceptible to being blown out if a gust of wind should come along. The lamp had to be constructed specifically for outdoor use.
The lamps also had to be well constructed so that they would not leak oil. A leak, dripping oil down the supporting pole, could prove dangerous to the person carrying it if it were to ignite. This could result in the carrier being burned and the lamp being dropped, with the added possibility of a larger fire being started. Such an event could have a disastrous effect on a wedding procession.
Lampas is the Greek word for our English word lamp. (Strong's #2985). It is defined as: "lamp, light or torch." It comes from another Greek word lampo (Strong's #2989) which means: "to
beam, i.e. radiate brilliancy: give light, shine." So the lamp is an object which `radiates a brilliant light' when lit.
The Hebrew form for lamp is the word neer (Strong's #5216). It means; "to glisten; a lamp or light.--candle, lamp, light." The most famous lamp in the Hebrew scriptures is the seven branched menorah (meh-nor-rah').
"You shall make a lampstand of pure gold; And six branches shall come out of its sides: .., You shall make seven lamps for it, and they shall arrange its lamps so that they give light in front of it." (Ex. 25:31-32,37)
In addition to the literal lamp, this word also has a figurative meaning.
"Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path." (Psalm 119:105)
"For the commandment is a lamp, And the law is light; Reproofs of instruction are the way of life." (Prov. 6:23)
God's word (the scriptures) and His commandments are to be a lamp or a light to guide our way as we travel through life. Without the proper lamp, the oil would not give light in a way that would be sufficient for that travel, There are many philosophies by which people live their lives, however, only one lamp will give the proper light that is needed in order to travel to the wedding with the Messiah and on into eternal life. That is the lamp of God's own holy word, His instruction book.
But neer (lamp or candle) is also used to identify a personal connection with God. According to scripture, when our lamp is lit, we are connected with Him, and when our light has gone out, that connection has been severed.
"The spirit of a man is the lamp of the LORD, Searching all the inner depths of his heart." (Prov. 20:27)
"For there will be no prospect for the evil man; The lamp of the wicked will be put out." (Prov. 24:20)
While it is our mind and heart that is to be the righteous love vessel which carries the much needed extra oil, it is our spirit that is to be the lamp which is capable of showing forth an adequate amount of light for our journey to the sacred wedding of Messiah. A righteous spirit is the only lamp which will be sufficient to light the way to the wedding. Therefore our spirits must be clean and ready for lighting.
"Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me." (Psalm 51:10)
* Detail #4 *
Detail number four tells us that our own spirit must be clean and right with God so that our lamp can light our way. All of the virgins possessed proper lamps, the problem was, five were not in good working order because they did not have enough oil.
~ Oil ~
Now we come to the commodity which the `wise virgins' had in adequate supply and, of which, the `foolish virgins' had to little. Although in the parable, oil is of a spiritual nature, it is also
something that can be acquired, since the `foolish virgins' were told to go and obtain their own supply from those who sold it. This spiritual essence is pictured by olive oil.
Olive oil was a common, though valuable, commodity in ancient Israel and Judea. The finest and most expensive oil was that which came from the first beating of the olives, prior to their being pressed. Normally it was the final pressing of the olives, which produced the lowest grade of oil, which was used to light ordinary lamps. (Olive oil was also used in the home for cooking, dressing wounds and massage.)
Beaten olive oil (the finest kind) had many religious uses in Temple worship and ritual. It was used to light the seven branched menorah (men-ore-ah), it was part of the meal offerings; and it was used in all of the sacrifices with the exception of the sin offering. (Lev. 5:11).
Oil was also used in the ceremony for the cleansing of the leper (Lev. 14). However, in the Sotah (Soh-tah') ceremony (Ceremony of the Jealous Husband) it was forbidden to use oil (Numbers 5). A part of this ritual includes the bringing of an offering by the offended husband. However, he is to:
"... put no oil on it and put no frankincense on it, because it is a grain offering of jealousy ..." (Num. 5:15)
Since neither the sin offering or the jealousy offering could include oil, it must he concluded that oil is somehow associated with righteousness, as opposed to sin (unrighteousness).
~ Anointing Oil ~
Another primary use of olive oil was for anointing. Aaron and his sons were first anointed with oil, and then sprinkled with a mixture of blood and oil prior to their being allowed to serve as priests in the Tabernacle.
"And you shall take the anointing oil, pour it on his head, and anoint him. ... "And you shall take some of the blood that is on the altar, and some of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron and on his garments, on his sons and on the garments of his sons with him; and he and his garments shall be hallowed, and his sons and his sons' garments with him." (Ex. 29:7,2 1)
~ The Anointing of Kings ~
Another use of oil in the scriptures is for the purpose of anointing kings. Both Saul (I Sam. 10:1) and David (I Sam. 16:1,13) were anointed, by the righteous judge Samuel, to be king over Israel. Even after David himself had been anointed to succeed Saul as king, he still had the utmost respect for Saul as God's anointed. This in spite of the fact that Saul was continually trying to take David's life.
In one instance David was on the run and Saul was in hot pursuit: Saul followed David into the wilderness of En Gedi, which is on the west side of the Dead Sea. Saul had three thousand men with him and his sole purpose in being there was to find David and have him killed. Nature called, so Saul looked for a private place where he could go to relieve himself. This is how he happened to enter the very cave where David and his men were hiding. Saul left off his robe, while attending to his needs, and David sneaked up and cut off a corner (tzit-tzit) of his robe. All Israelites were required to wear tzit-tzit.
"Speak to the children of Israel Tell them to make tassels (tzit-tzit) on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue thread in the tassels of the corners. And you shall have the tassel, that you may look upon it and remember all the commandments of the LORD and do them..." (Num. 15:38-39)
The tzit-tzit are a symbol of righteousness, therefore, in effect, David was symbolically cutting off the righteousness of Saul.
"Now it happened afterward that David's heart troubled him because he had cut Saul's robe. And he said to his men, `The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the LORD's anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD.'" (I Sam. 24:5-6)
It is interesting to note that once a king had been anointed and had ascended to the throne, he was required to do a very specific thing:
"When you come to the land which the LORD your God is giving you, and possess it and dwell in it, and say, `I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me,' you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses;...
"Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel." (Deut. 17:14-15,18-20)
The anointed of God was supposed to copy, study, learn and then apply the instruction book of God, the Torah, into his rule over the people. This action allowed the king to become totally familiar with the instructions of God and thereby become a righteous ruler, one who feared God and ruled with justice and mercy. Obviously, this did nor always happen.
Thus it was, that the oil of anointing never excused an `anointed one' (king) from keeping the `law' (Torah), rather his anointing required him to be the leading teacher and practitioner of the Torah.
~ The Anointed One ~
Even though every king was considered to be the `anointed' of God, there was prophesied to come one whom the Israelites called "The Anointed One." This was the Messiah. In fact, the Hebrew word Mashiach (Mah-shee-ach = Messiah) literally means: "the anointed one." To be anointed in Israel meant having the very finest olive oil poured over one's head.
To be anointed with oil implies that the person being anointed will follow a path of righteousness. This is certainly true of the Messiah.
"Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions." (Psalm 45:7)
~ Oil of Righteousness ~
To live a righteous life means to live according to the instructions found in the Torah, for it is the book that makes one wise:
"There is desirable treasure, And oil in the dwelling of the wise, But a foolish man squanders it.
"He who follows righteousness and mercy Finds life, righteousness and honor." (Prov. 21:20-21)
One of the benefits of living according to the `anointing oil' of Torah is that it permits the brethren to dwell together in peace and unity.
"Behold, how good arid how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the LORD commanded the blessing--Life forevermore." (Psalm 133)
The foolish squander their oil, their precious oil of Torah instruction which tells them how to live their lives in a righteous manner. Meanwhile the wise hang on to their Torah learning, and thereby save their oil for that time when it is needed. And the time when it will be most needed is that time when Messiah arrives to take us to the wedding. Then we will need all of the Torah oil we can muster. That is what the `foolish virgins' were missing. They did not have an adequate supply of understanding of the Torah, they were not living a Torah centered life, they had not prepared themselves adequately to be the wife of the Messiah Yeshua, the one who was called the `living Torah' when He walked the earth some two thousand years ago.
Where does one buy this precious oil? In Jewish thought, oil is a symbol for knowledge. So the primary source for the oil is from persistent study of the Torah itself. Assistance may also be obtained from literature and messages by well grounded Torah teachers. However, the place to start is with regular, weekly Torah study. (See the article in this issue: Annual Torah Readings for 1997-98).
It is only through Messiah (the Anointed One) that we are able to come into the fullness of the oil of Torah living. For olive oil is also used to anoint the sick that they may be made well. (James 5:14). Truly, we are all sick, laden down with sin, but it is through the Anointed One that our spiritual sickness is removed and we are made whole once again, now able to continue on in our life of righteousness (Torah observance).
* Detail #5 *
The fifth detail of The Parable of the Ten Virgins shows us that we must begin right now to purchase the Torah oil we need in order to have our `righteous love vessels' full when Messiah arrives for us.
~ Trimming the Lamps ~
"Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps." (Matt. 25:7)
The Greek word for `trimmed' is kosmeo (Strong's #2885). It means to put something in its proper order, or to decorate or garnish something. So each of the `virgins' put their lamp (spirit) in the best order they could so that it would be ready for lighting. It was at this point that the `foolish virgins' realized they were low on oil. They had not learned how to live a Torah centered lifestyle; they had neglected to gain understanding about the way God wanted them to conduct their lives. Instead, they had chosen to follow the customs of the world. Maybe some had stumbled on the fourth commandment. For others it may have been Leviticus 11. Still others may have ignored the second commandment or Leviticus 23 or the command to love their neighbors as themselves. Whatever the cause, the `foolish virgins' did not have enough Torah oil to take them all the way to the wedding. Yeshua spoke of those who would desire to have a part in the Kingdom of Heaven but would be shut out.
"`Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord," shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. "`Many will say to Me in that day, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?"
"`And then I will declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!"'" (Matt. 7:21-23)
The way to eternal life is strait and narrow. The path is the one that takes us through all of the Holy Scriptures, not just one portion. It requires lifelong study, but it is also definitely a work of faith. For as we study the scriptures and learn our shortcomings, it becomes readily apparent that it is only by faith in the forgiveness of our Torahlessness (iniquity or lawlessness) that we can ever achieve entrance to the wedding and the Kingdom (family) of God.
"Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out." cried the `foolish virgins.' Now they understood that they needed the same Torah righteousness which the `wise virgins' had taken the pains to acquire over the years. The `wise virgins' had worked hard to gain the understanding of Torah which now filled their `righteous love vessels.' They had proven their faith in their Husband (that He would return as promised) by learning how to live an obedient life according to the Instruction Book of God.
"What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? "If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, `Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
"But someone will say, `You have faith and I have works.' Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?" (James 2:14-20)
This is not to say that the `wise virgins' earned their salvation by their Torah works. Rather, as James states, they merely proved their faith by their good works. Meanwhile, the `foolish virgins'
were found wanting, both in faith and in works. They thought they could piggyback into the Kingdom of God using the Torah oil of their friends, teachers, relatives, pastors or ministers.
"But the wise answered, saying, `No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.' And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came..." (Matt. 25:9-10)
So, where could the `foolish virgins' go to but the needed oil in the middle of the night? Since the virgins did not have enough oil to see their way to the wedding, how could they see their way to the homes of those who had oil to sell? Besides, the Torah teachers would undoubtedly be a part of the `wise virgins,' and therefore would be in the Chuppah with the Messiah. It is all a rather bleak and dismal picture for the `foolish virgins.'
For it is prophesied:
"`Behold, the days are coming,' says the Lord God, `That I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread, Nor a thirst for water, But of hearing the words of the LORD, They shall wander from sea to sea, And from north to east; They shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the LORD, But shall not find it.'" (Amos 8:11-12)
But one must give the `foolish virgins' some credit. They did persist. Eventually they ended up at the door of the Chuppah (wedding chamber). Since the obstacles to purchasing Torah oil in the middle of the night were so great, it is this writers opinion that the `foolish virgins' must have waited until morning to head on over to the Chuppah, but they were to late.
"Afterward the other virgins came also saying, `Lord, Lord, open to us!' But he answered and said, `Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.'" (Matt. 25:11-12)
It is apparent that Yeshua HaMashiach cannot know someone who does not share His own lifestyle. The Bride has had all of her life (up to this point) to learn how to live a lifestyle that will be
pleasing to her Husband. The instruction book has been here for all to study for 3500 years. To ignore all of those instructions for all of those years is just plain foolish. No wonder they are called the `foolish virgins.'
* Detail #6 *
Thus, we find the fifth detail of this parable instructs all of us to be much more circumspect concerning the oil of Torah knowledge. We must not only learn it, we must live it.
~ The Igniting Fire ~
It is possible for a person to have the proper vessel to carry the oil, the correct and fully cleaned lamp for outdoor use, and the finest beaten olive oil to be found; but if an igniting fire is not present, all preparations are useless because no light will be produced. This parable does not tell us how the lamps of the `wise virgins' were to be lit, so we must go to other scriptures to find the spiritual source of this igniting fire.
Fire is: "...a rapid, persistent, chemical change that releases heat and light and is accompanied by flame..." It can be either destructive or, if properly contained, put to productive use. The vast majority of passages in Scripture, that pertain to fire, refer to its use in a destructive sense, although many of these have a productive outcome (i.e. destruction of the wicked). But a few verses do show fire in a contained and positive way. One of the most significant of the positive passages dealing with fire is found in the second chapter of the book of Acts:
"Now when the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it tilled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." (Acts. 2:1-4)
Here we see that the very Holy Spirit of God is first introduced to the Believing community through the symbol of fire. Likewise, it was also through fire (the burning bush) that God first revealed Himself to Moshe (Moses).
"And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. ..." (Ex. 3:2)
Also, God's throne is encased in a whirlwind of fire (Ezek. 1:4) and His eyes are like flames or lamps of fire. (Dan. 10:6; Rev. 1:14; 2:18 and 19:12).
"And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God." (Rev. 4:5)
The Holy Spirit of God is the igniting fire. For those who Believe and accept Yeshua HaMashiach as their Lord, Saviour and Husband, an earnest payment of the Holy Spirit has been given so that the Torah oil contained in the lamp can be lit.
"Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a deposit." (II Cor. 1:21-22)
The Greek word for `earnest' is arrhabon (Strong's #728). The Greeks actually took the word from Hebrew (Strong's #6162). It could also be translated as a pledge;' that which is given in advance so that the recipient knows for sure that the promise which has been made will be honored. The Hebrew form is used in only one scripture passage in the Old Testament, the story of Judah and Tamar:
"When Judah saw her, he thought she was a harlot, because she had covered her face. "Then he turned to her by the way, and said, `Please let me come in to you;' for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. So she said, `What will you give me, that you may come in to me?' "And he said, `I will send you a young goat from the flock.' And she said, `Will you give me a pledge (arabon) till you send it?' Then he said, `What pledge shall I give you?' So she said, `Your signet and cord, and your staff that is in your hand.' Then he gave them to her, and went in to her, and she conceived by him." (Gen. 38:15-18)
It is absolutely profound to note that in the modern Greek language this same word, arrhabon, is the very word for the engagement ring. This `earnest' (engagement ring) is the gift by which Yeshua has sealed our betrothal to Him, and it is nothing less than His very own Holy Spirit, which He sent to us so that we might have comfort (The Comforter) during His absence, knowing with full assurance that He will return for us.
But there is one more much needed element which is also symbolized by the Holy Spirit. That element is oxygen. A fire cannot remain lit if there is no oxygen available to feed the flame. The very word `Spirit' in both Hebrew (Ruach = Rue-ach; Strong's #7307) and Greek (Pneuma = new-mah; Strong's #415 1) means `wind' or `breath.' The manifestation of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost included not only fire, but: "... a sound from heaven , as a rushing mighty wind..." (Acts 2:2).
~ Light ~
In order for there to be light there must be fire. In order for fire to exist three things must be present; fuel, heat and oxygen. If any one of these is taken away, the fire will die and the light will go out.
So it is, that the Holy Spirit brings two of the three essential ingredients to produce light.
"The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together." (Rom. 8:16-17)
If we are filled with Torah oil as a source of fuel, then when the air and fire of God's Holy Spirit joins with our human spirit (the lamp which holds the oil) the result is light! All the ingredients are now in place; lamp, oil, fire and oxygen, plus the additional vessel of Torah oil from which our lamps (spirit) can be refilled should they begin to run low. In fact, if we study the weekly Torah portions every Sabbath, our fuel supply will be constantly replenished.
But now we must come back again to the source of all things. That is God Himself. He is the Creator who created in us a new heart and commanded us to renew our minds.
"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Rom. 12:2)
He has created us, in His own image, to be vessels of love and righteousness, for God is love and God is righteous. He is the one who gave each of us life and set our spirit (lamp) within us. He is the one who provides the Holy Spirit which lights our lamp and provides the oxygen to keep it burning. He is also the One who gives us the Torah oil for fuel. In fact, He is the Creator of light, for it did not even exist until He spoke these words:
"Then God Said, `Let there be light;' and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day." (Gen. 1:3-5)
It was God the Father who sent into this world the one who became the source of true light for the world, because the world had fallen into darkness.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. "All things were made through him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the and the life was the light of men, And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did nor comprehend it." (John 1:1-5)
It is only through the true light of Messiah Yeshua, that we can receive this light.
"That was the true Light which gives light to every man who comes into the world." (John 1:9)
"Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, `I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.'" (John 8:12)
Because Yeshua is the Light of the world, and because we are betrothed to Him through the engagement ring of the Holy Spirit, we also become lights, for Yeshuah said:
"`You are the light of the world. ..." (Matt. 5:14)
Since we are also to be lights for the world, it is important that the light which shines forth from us be the same light that originates from Messiah, and not a light that is from some less desirable source. Once the light of Messiah is lit within us as individuals, it is imperative that we allow it to be seen by others:
"`No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light. The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light.'" (Luke 11:33-36)
(End Part 2 of 3)
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