Prophecy on Mount Olivet
By Arlen L. Chitwood
The Midnight Cry
But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
And at midnight a cry was heard [KJV: made]: “Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!” (Matthew 25:5, 6)
The parable of the ten virgins begins with all of the virgins possessing lamps, five burning and five going out, as they go forth to meet the Bridegroom (Matthew 25:1ff); and, in verse six, this meeting is seen to occur at midnight. The complete parable has to do with one central, continuous thought — preparation for meeting the Bridegroom, along with that which occurs once the meeting with the Bridegroom takes place.
The progression of events, beginning with verse one and continuing to the end of the parable in verse thirteen, is interrupted by that which is seen in verses five through nine. These five verses drop back and provide details concerning the activity of the ten virgins during the time of the Bridegroom’s absence, preceding His return.
That which is seen in verses five through nine, the activity of the ten virgins (the household servants) during the time of the Bridegroom’s absence (the Householder’s absence), is the same thing which is seen through the course of several verses in the other three parables in the Christian section of the Olivet Discourse (24:40, 41, 45b, 46, 48, 49; 25:14-18).
The activity of household servants is expressed in different ways in each of the four parables, as is their inevitable meeting with the Householder to render an account, along with that which occurs following the accounting. The matter of the activity of household servants during the present dispensation in the parable that immediately precedes the parable of the ten virgins and the one that immediately follows has to do with the proper or improper use of that which had been entrusted to them by the Householder.
And, if that which is entrusted to them was used in a proper manner, it would have to be done in complete keeping with the instructions that the Householder had given to them prior to His departure.
But in the parable of the ten virgins, the matter is introduced in a different manner —
. . . they all [all ten virgins, both the wise and the foolish] slumbered and slept.
Then, immediately following and inseparably connected is a statement concerning the midnight cry (v. 6), which pertains to the Bridegroom’s return and the inevitable meeting of all household servants with the Bridegroom at the time of His return.
Time, Purpose of the Midnight Cry
The parable of the ten virgins begins at a time after the dispensation has run its course, with all ten virgins (both “the wise” and “the foolish”) going forth to meet the Bridegroom, to give an account of their activities in the house during His time of absence (vv. 1-4). Then five verses in the parable present a backdrop (vv. 5-9), describing the previous activity of all ten virgins (both “the wise” and “the foolish”) during the dispensation that will, at this point in time, be over. Then verse ten picks up where verse four had left off and relates that which occurs when all ten virgins appear before the Bridegroom.
The statement in verse five, all ten virgins slumbering and sleeping (introducing the backdrop), has puzzled more than one Bible student. The thing that bothers people is how the five wise virgins could have slept during the dispensation and still be seen as faithful at the time of the midnight cry (actually, as will be seen, the five wise virgins are the ones echoing this cry during the dispensation).
A statement of this nature (sleeping) would normally be Scripture’s way of saying that all ten virgins (both the wise and the foolish) ceased to look for the Bridegroom’s return. And the five wise virgins falling asleep with the five foolish virgins would, of course, have shown unfaithfulness on the part of all ten (e.g., 1 Thessalonians 5:4-9).
But, according to Scripture, both preceding and following, this is seen to not be the case at all. In the light of the context — faithfulness rather than unfaithfulness of the five wise virgins is seen throughout the parable. Thus, this can’t possibly be the correct way to view and understand this part of the parable.
(Verse five covers the activity of all ten virgins during the time “while the bridegroom was delayed.” The words “was delayed” is a translation of the Greek word chronizo, the verb form of the Greek noun, chronos [having to do with “time”], which is used as a prefix to form numerous English words. The reference in verse five, by the use of this word, is to the time while the Bridegroom is absent, a time covering the entire dispensation.)
In the first parable in the Christian section of the Olivet Discourse there is a reference to normal activity of household servants during the dispensation — two men in the field, two women grinding at the mill — with some later judged as having been faithful, others unfaithful. The reference in Matthew 25:5, “they all [all ten virgins] slumbered and slept,” is evidently a similar statement; and since nighttime is involved, there would be a particular emphasis on the time of this world’s darkness that all ten virgins were passing through.
Then, when verses five through nine are viewed together, within context, the whole of the parable can be seen to be perfectly in line with all three of the other parables, where the activity of household servants in the house is described. Attention in verse five is called to servants in the house passing through the time of this world’s darkness. And, it is during the time of this world’s darkness that the midnight cry rings out in the next verse, with the subsequent three verses (vv. 7-9) describing the attitude and actions of all ten virgins relative to the midnight cry.
The “midnight cry” sounds before that time which is portended by the midnight hour itself. This is not a cry at midnight, as indicated by the translation in most versions, but a cry pertaining to midnight. This cry is an exhortation, a warning, calling upon individuals to make the necessary preparations for an impending meeting with the Bridegroom, on His threshing floor, at midnight.
Matthew 25:6 could be better translated,
But a midnight cry [subject of the cry rather than time] was raised, Lo, the Bridegroom is coming! Go ye out [i.e., from the action of the verb in the Greek text, ‘Continuously be going out,’ ‘Continuously be making preparations,’ ‘Continuously be getting ready’] to meet Him.
The “midnight cry” is thus given. This is the same cry that Enoch referred to in his prophecy over 5,000 years ago: “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints [‘holy ones’ (angels)], to execute judgment . . . .” (Jude 14, 15). And Christians are exhorted to prepare for a midnight meeting with the Bridegroom.
The “midnight cry” being separate from and preceding midnight is also shown by the verb tense in the Greek text. The words “was . . . made” [KJV] relative to the midnight cry (v. 6) are the translation of a perfect tense, pointing to a cry made in past time with the results of this cry extending into the present and, so to speak, ringing in the ears of the ones who are to be preparing for a meeting with the Bridegroom. The cry rings out, a time of opportunity for preparation accompanies the cry, and the conclusion of the matter is seen when the Bridegroom returns.
The “midnight cry” is food [KJV: meat] in due season, as given in the parable of the Householder and His servant (Matthew 24:45-51; cf. Matthew 25:6-9). “Food/meat,” as opposed to “milk,” has to do particularly with those things surrounding the Lord’s return and the coming kingdom. In one parable there is a servant who remains faithful or becomes unfaithful, resulting in his either occupying a position as co-heir with Christ or being appointed his portion with the hypocrites; in the other parable there are wise and foolish virgins who are either allowed or denied entrance into the marriage festivities.
These parables deal with different facets of the same thing. And, as previously seen, each succeeding parable was given to shed light upon and to help explain the preceding parable/parables. Once Christ had given all four parables, all four could be compared, one with the other, to help explain and better understand details in each, allowing the person to better understand and grasp the complete, overall picture.
Thus, viewing verses five and six together, the midnight cry in verse six (a call for household servants to make necessary preparations for a meeting with the returning Bridegroom, at midnight) is seen to occur during the time of this world’s darkness in verse five — a time that would cover the entire dispensation while the Householder was absent.
The first appearance of the word “midnight” in Scripture is in Exodus 11:4, forming a first-mention principle, establishing an unchangeable pattern. It was at “midnight” that the Lord passed through the land of Egypt and “struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:29).
Thus, “midnight” is used for the first time in Scripture in connection with God’s judgment. And the manner in which this word is first used in Scripture will govern any subsequent usage of the word in Scripture. The word will always be found connected, after some fashion, with God’s judgment, exactly as it is seen when it is first used in Scripture in Exodus chapters eleven and twelve.
The book of Ruth contains a subsequent usage of “midnight” in this respect. In the third chapter of this book, Ruth lay at the feet of and was dealt with by Boaz, the kinsman redeemer, at midnight (vv. 8-14). Ruth had prepared herself, and the meeting occurred at midnight on Boaz’s threshing floor.
The account of Ruth appearing before Boaz on his threshing floor points to a future time, associated with judgment (Matthew 3:11, 12), when Christians will appear in the presence of and be dealt with by Christ on His threshing floor. And this is what is seen in the parable of the ten virgins. The entire parable, as the preceding two parables and the parable about to follow, centers on this future time of Judgment.
Thus, the midnight cry in Matthew 25:6, in line with the way “midnight” is first introduced in Scripture — along with the parable itself and the context of the parable (the other three parables) — is associated with judgment (vv. 10-13; cf. Matthew 24:40ff, 45ff; 25:14ff).
The midnight cry relates to judgment awaiting the Lord’s people at the conclusion of the present dispensation. Preparation is made prior to midnight, as in the books of Exodus and Ruth; and at midnight, the allotted time will have ended, with only one thing awaiting Christians — judgment.
The accounts in both the books of Exodus and Ruth, forming types, illustrate two kinds of preparation relating to midnight; and these two types provide the necessary background material from the Old Testament to properly understand present preparation in view of a future meeting with the Bridegroom, at midnight, as given in the parable of the ten virgins.
1) In Egypt
When the Lord passed through the land of Egypt on the night of the Passover, He looked for one thing and one thing only. He looked for the blood. Nothing else was in view:
For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.
Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. (Exodus 12:12, 13)
The sentence of death had been pronounced upon the firstborn throughout all the land of Egypt, both among the Israelites and among the Egyptians. None was excluded. God made no distinction between those in the camp of Israel and those in the world relative to the death of the firstborn. Both were descendants of Adam, members of a fallen human race.
Even the animal creation, brought under the bondage of sin at the time Adam fell, was included in the Lord’s decree. Consequently, there could be no distinction between those either within or without the camp of Israel relative to the death of the firstborn. Both fell under the same sentence of death.
The Lord though “does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.” by providing Israel with the paschal lamb. Each Israelite family could take a lamb from the flock, slay the lamb, and apply the lamb’s blood to the “two doorposts and on the lintel” of the house in which the family dwelled. There was to be “a lamb for a household,” and the applied blood showed that the firstborn inside that house had already died. The lamb had died vicariously, in the stead of the firstborn in the family (Exodus 11:7; 12:1-7).
This is the reason that the Lord looked for one thing only when He passed through the land of Egypt. He looked for the blood, properly applied.
The presence of blood on the doorposts and lintel showed that the firstborn in the family had already died. He had experienced death in a substitute, a lamb from the flock (cf. Genesis. 22:13; Hebrews 11:17). The Lord then passed over that house, for the sentence of death had already occurred; it had already been carried out.
The absence of blood though showed exactly the opposite. Death had not occurred inside that home. The firstborn had not yet died. The sentence of death had not been carried out. The Lord then executed His previously pronounced sentence, with the firstborn in the family paying the penalty himself. He died apart from a substitute.
Once the sentence had been carried out, God’s perfect justice and righteousness were satisfied. No further reckoning with the firstborn on the basis of the pronounced death-decree could occur. The firstborn in the family had died (whether vicariously or not was immaterial, for an irreversible death, in either instance, had occurred), and that was the end of the matter.
God’s purpose for His people following the death of the firstborn though was an entirely different matter. They were then to be removed from Egypt and placed in another land as “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 12:40, 41; 19:4-6).
Beyond the death of the firstborn, the Israelites were dealt with on an entirely different plane. They were dealt with relative to that which lay ahead, which had to do with the purpose for their removal from Egypt; and such dealings occurred on the basis of (never relative to) the previous death of the firstborn in Egypt.
The death of the firstborn, allowing the Israelites to be removed from Egypt and begin their pilgrim journey toward the land, did not guarantee success on the pilgrim journey. Many Israelites were overthrown before even reaching Kadesh-Barnea; and, following their refusal to enter the land at Kadesh-Barnea, an entire accountable generation was overthrown. They though were overthrown in the wilderness, not in Egypt.
Their overthrow in the wilderness could have had no possible affect whatsoever on that which had previously occurred in Egypt. God had already dealt with them on the basis of the death of the firstborn. That was a finished matter, never again to enter into His dealings with those who had left Egypt under Moses. Israelites overthrown in the wilderness were overthrown on the right side of the blood but on the wrong side of the goal of their calling.
The entire matter surrounding the death of the firstborn presents a facet of God’s judgment that was past for the Israelites appropriating the blood of the paschal lambs in the type and is past for individuals appropriating the blood of the Paschal Lamb in the antitype. God was satisfied with the vicarious death of the firstborn from the flock in Egypt; and He is presently satisfied with the vicarious death of His Son at Golgotha, occurring fifteen hundred years later. In either instance — type or antitype — for those appropriating the blood, the death of the firstborn was/is past, and any issue surrounding this death can never be raised again.
Once an Israelite had appropriated the blood there could never be a rendering of judgment against him relative to the death of the firstborn. Full judgment had already occurred. This fact is aptly illustrated by the Lord passing through the land of Egypt and passing over the houses where the blood had been properly applied.
It is exactly the same in the antitype. Once an individual has appropriated the blood there can never be a rendering of judgment against him relative to the death of the firstborn. Full judgment has already occurred. God has already judged sin in the person of His Son. And the matter as it exists between God and man today is exactly the same as it existed between God and man in Egypt almost thirty-five hundred years ago: “when I see the blood . . . .”
Thus, it is absurd to even think (as many erroneously do) that a saved person can ever be lost, for the whole of the issue surrounding the vicarious death of the firstborn would have to be done away with. In short, that which God has established and decreed relative to man’s eternal salvation would have to be nullified, including God’s satisfaction — an impossibility.
And not only is the preceding true, but the promulgation of the thought that man can lose his salvation obscures the true issue at hand. The issue following salvation is no longer — it can never again be — the death of the firstborn. That is a past, finished, irreversible event. The issue at hand following salvation is realizing the goal of one’s calling; and God deals with those whom He has redeemed relative to this matter, never relative to that which occurred in Egypt.
The death of the firstborn is one facet of preparation relating to midnight and the appearance of the Bridegroom. Judgment is past; and at the time of the Bridegroom’s appearance, individuals having appropriated the blood will be dealt with after this fashion. That is to say, they can never again be judged on the basis of that for which they have already been judged. Judgment is past (John 3:18), and God’s perfect justice and righteousness have been satisfied.
However, as in the type so in the antitype. This past judgment has nothing to do with realizing the goal of one’s calling. The death of the firstborn is preparation for meeting the Bridegroom relative to eternal life, not relative to entrance into the land. Preparation for the latter is subsequent to and completely separate from the former.
The former places the person in the house as a household servant; the latter has to do with the person rendering an account as a household servant, which is what the future meeting with the Bridegroom is all about.
2) On the Threshing Floor
All Christians will one day go forth to meet Christ at His judgment seat, typified in the book of Ruth by Ruth going forth to meet Boaz on his threshing floor. The threshing floor was the place where that of value (the grain) was separated from that of no value (the chaff), which is exactly what will occur at Christ’s judgment seat. The Christians’ works will be tried “in fire,” and a separation will occur. Works comparable to “gold, silver, precious stones” will endure the fire; but works comparable to “wood, hay, straw” will be burned by the fire (1 Corinthians 3:11-15).
A future judgment of this nature is what John the Baptist called attention to in Matthew 3:7-12 when dealing with Israel’s religious leaders, calling for the nation’s repentance and referring to fruit bearing. Using the symbolism of the threshing floor, John concluded that which he proclaimed to these religious leaders by saying,
His winnowing fan is in His hand [Christ’s hand], and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (v. 12)
The whole of the matter — preparation, events on the threshing floor, and that which follows — is seen outlined in a typical manner in the book of Ruth. Ruth, in the final analysis, is seen preparing herself in a threefold manner for meeting Boaz on his threshing floor at the end of the harvest. Ruth washed herself, anointed herself, and clothed herself with proper garments before going forth to meet Boaz.
Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor . . . .” (Ruth 3:3a)
And meeting Boaz in this manner, on his threshing floor, was with a view to two things:
1) The redemption of an inheritance.
2) Ruth becoming Boaz’s wife (vv. 9ff).
This meeting also occurred at “midnight” (v. 8), typically foreshadowing a time of judgment, in complete keeping with both the first mention of “midnight” in Scripture (used in connection with judgment [Exodus 11:4]) and with that which John the Baptist told Israel’s religious leaders in Matthew 3:12.
Ruth’s preparation in the type is the same preparation that Christian’s must make in the antitype. Ruth prepared herself, after a certain fashion, to meet Boaz on his threshing floor, at midnight, with a view to a redeemed inheritance and becoming his wife; and Christians must likewise prepare themselves, after the same fashion, to meet Christ on His threshing floor, at midnight, with a view to a redeemed inheritance and becoming His wife.
a) “Wash Yourself”
“Washing” has to do with a cleansing from present defilement. Within the scope of the ministry of priests in the Old Testament, a complete washing of the body occurred at the time one entered into the priesthood, never to be repeated (Exodus 29:4; 40:12-15).
Subsequent washings of parts of the body then occurred at the brazen laver in the courtyard of the tabernacle as the priests ministered between the brazen altar and the Holy Place (Exodus 30:19-21). Their hands and feet became soiled as they carried out their ministry, and the brazen laver had upper and lower basins for washing these soiled parts of the body.
Washings in the Old Testament were thus looked upon in two senses — a washing of the complete body (a one-time initial cleansing), followed by washings of parts of the body (numerous subsequent cleansings). It was these two types of cleansings that Jesus referred to when speaking to Peter in John 13:8, 10:
If I do not wash [Greek: nipto, referring to a part of the body (the Septuagint uses this same word in Exodus 30:19, 21)] you, you have no part with Me [note: ‘with me,’ not ‘in me’]…
He who is bathed [Greek: louo, referring to the entire body (the Septuagint uses this word in Exodus 29:4; 40:12)] needs only to wash [nipto] his feet . . . . (vv. 8b, 10a)
Peter had been washed once (described by the word louo [his complete body]); now he needed continued washings (described by the word nipto [parts of the body]). And, apart from these continued washings, he could have no part “with” Christ (contextually, the kingdom and positions with Christ therein were in view).
Bringing the typological teachings of the Old Testament and Christ’s statement to Peter over into the lives of Christians today, the matter would be the same.
Christians, part of a New Testament priesthood (1 Peter 2:5), received a complete washing (louo, the entire body) at the time they entered into the priesthood, at the time they were saved. Now, as priests ministering for their Lord, because of defilement through contact with the world, they need continued partial washings (nipto, parts of the body). And, apart from these continued washings, Christians can have no part with Christ in His future kingdom.
All cleansing is accomplished on the basis of Christ’s past and present work in relation to His shed blood.
Christ died at Calvary, shedding His blood, to effect our redemption. Those appropriating the blood have been washed (louo) and have entered into the priesthood (corresponding in the parallel type to the death of the paschal lambs and the application of the blood in Exodus 12:1ff).
And Christ’s blood is today on the mercy seat of the heavenly tabernacle, with Christ ministering, on the basis of His shed blood, on our behalf, in the Holy of Holies, to effect a continued cleansing (nipto) for the “kings and priests” (Revelations 1:6; 5:10) that He is about to bring forth.
Thus, the Lord has set apart a cleansed (louo) people through whom He is accomplishing His plans and purposes. And He has provided a means whereby He can keep those whom He has set apart clean (nipto).
Cleansing by and through the work of Christ as High Priest though is not something that occurs automatically. Ruth had to act herself. She had to prepare herself for the impending meeting with Boaz, on his threshing floor. And Christians must likewise prepare themselves for an impending meeting with Christ, on His threshing floor.
In Ruth’s case, she washed herself. Today, Christ does the washing, but Christians, as Ruth, must act. It is only as we “confess our sins,” judging ourselves (1 Corinthians 11:31, 32), that Christ effects cleansing on our behalf.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
b) “Anoint Yourself”
“Oil” was used in the Old Testament Scriptures to anoint prophets, priests, and kings; and there was a connection between the use of oil after this fashion and the Holy Spirit coming upon an individual to empower him for duties in the office to which he was being consecrated.
For example, Saul was anointed the first king over Israel (1 Samuel 10:1, 6); and, following Saul’s refusal to do that which God had commanded concerning Amalek, David was anointed king in Saul’s stead (1 Samuel 16:13). And, as clearly shown, “oil” is used in both of these passages to symbolize God’s Spirit. The Spirit came upon both Saul and David following their anointing, and the Spirit empowered both for the tasks that they were to perform.
The parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13 deals centrally with this same overall issue, with “oil” used symbolically in the parable in exactly the same manner as it is used in the Old Testament.
All of the virgins possessed oil, but only the five wise virgins possessed an extra supply of oil. And when they were called to an accounting — at “midnight” — only the five wise virgins were allowed to enter into the marriage festivities with the Bridegroom (vv. 6ff).
As the parable would relate to Christians, all Christians possess the Holy Spirit. He indwells every Christian. But not every Christian has the extra supply of Oil. Not every Christian is filled with the Holy Spirit. And when Christians are called to an accounting — at “midnight” — only those filled with the Spirit will be allowed to enter into the marriage festivities with the Bridegroom.
This same thing is seen in the symbolism of the second part of Ruth’s preparation for meeting Boaz on his threshing floor at midnight. Ruth could not have been properly prepared for meeting Boaz apart from anointing herself; the ten virgins, in like fashion, could not have been properly prepared for meeting the Bridegroom at midnight apart from each possessing an extra supply of oil; and Christians today cannot be properly prepared for meeting their Lord at midnight apart from being filled with the Spirit.
And this will all become evident when the third and last part of Ruth’s preparation is viewed, for an inseparable connection exists between all three parts.
c) “Put On Your Best Garment”
Not only was Ruth to be clean and to be anointed with oil but she was also to be properly arrayed. Ruth was going forth to meet the bridegroom. Naomi’s words, “put on your best garment,” in the light of that which was involved (events expected to culminate in Ruth’s marriage to Boaz), can only refer to special apparel for the occasion. Ruth’s apparel, in which she was to clothe herself, would reflect the occasion at hand.
This facet of Ruth’s preparation, pointing to present preparation that Christians are to make, is seen in the parable of the marriage feast in Matthew 22:1-14. In this parable, an improperly clothed man appeared at the festivities surrounding the marriage of “a certain” king’s son. This man appeared without a wedding garment, and he was not only denied entrance into the festivities but he was cast into the darkness outside.
(A reference to the darkness outside [the outer darkness] also appears in the parable of the talents [Matthew 25:30]. And this parable deals with exactly the same thing as the previous parable [the ten virgins (vv. 1-13)], though from a different perspective.)
The “certain king” and “his son” in Matthew 22:2 can refer to none other than God the Father and His Son, with the festivities surrounding the “marriage of the Lamb” in Revelation chapter nineteen in view. In Revelations 19:7, 8, the bride is said to have made herself ready by having arrayed herself in “fine linen” (“array herself” rather than “be arrayed” is the correct rendering in v. 8); and this “fine linen” in which the bride will array herself is specifically said to be “the righteous acts of the saints.”
Christians preparing themselves, as Ruth prepared herself, must array themselves in the proper apparel for their future meeting with Christ — a meeting which begins on His threshing floor (at His judgment seat) and carries over into the festivities that follow.
Righteous acts, forming the wedding garment, emanate out of faithfulness to one’s calling. Works emanate out of faithfulness; and works, in turn, bring faith to its proper goal, while the wedding garment is being formed (cf. Hebrews 11:17-19, 31; James 2:14-26; 1 Peter 1:9).
And it is evident that a Christian not filled with the Spirit — typified by the second part of Ruth’s preparation, anointing herself — is in no position to perform righteous acts (works) that make up the wedding garment.
Scripture clearly reveals that Christians will appear in Christ’s presence in that coming day in one of two ways. Some will possess wedding garments, and others will not. The words “clothed” and “naked” are used in Scripture to distinguish between the appearance of individuals in these two different manners (Revelations 3:17, 18; cf. Romans 8:35); and Christians within both groups will be dealt with in accordance with Matthew 22:10-13.
Those Christians properly clothed (possessing wedding garments) will be dealt with after one fashion, and those improperly clothed (lacking wedding garments, naked) will be dealt with after an entirely different fashion.
Those in the former group will be allowed to enter into the marriage festivities, with a view to their subsequently becoming the Lamb’s wife and occupying positions as co-heirs with Christ in His kingdom, forming His consort queen.
Those in the latter group though will be denied entrance into the marriage festivities and will consequently not be among those subsequently forming the wife of the Lamb, His consort queen, and all that appertains therein. Accordingly, they will have no part with Christ in His reign over the earth.
Scripture, rather than repeatedly distinguishing between the saved and the unsaved or with issues pertaining to both, within their respective spheres, concerns itself mainly with the saved. And, concerning itself mainly with the saved, two classes of individuals are seen — faithful and unfaithful — which are often erroneously seen and dealt with as saved and unsaved individuals.
True, the beginning point is the issue surrounding one’s eternal destiny, distinguishing between the saved and the unsaved:
He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18)
But Scripture does not continue to belabor this point. The distinction is made, and Scripture then deals centrally with the saved, not with the unsaved.
Scripture simply presents the unsaved as condemned and refers to their destructive end insofar as present life on this earth is concerned and their future judgment, which will be according to “works” (cf. Psalm 2:1ff; Revelations 20:11-15). It is not because of works that the unsaved are condemned but because they have not believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thus, the unsaved ultimately being judged according to works can have nothing to do with their eternal destiny, only with the place that each will occupy in the lake of fire throughout the eternal ages (also part of God’s perfect justice and righteousness).
“Works” must enter in, for there could be no other basis for their judgment.
As previously stated, teachings in Scripture are directed mainly to the saved; and Scripture presents the saved as not condemned, referring to their coming deliverance from this world and their following judgment, which will be according to “works” (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 15:51-57).
Scripture goes into considerable detail regarding matters as they pertain to the saved. It is not because of works that saved individuals are not condemned; rather, it is because they have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, the future judgment of the saved, on the basis of works, can have nothing to do with their eternal destiny, only with their place in the coming kingdom (necessary to satisfy God’s perfect justice and righteousness).
Consequently, “works,” which emanate out of and are inseparably related to faithfulness, must enter into this judgment. As in the judgment of the unsaved (which will occur after the judgment of the saved, 1,000 years later), no other basis for judgment exists.
Scripture is replete with information concerning both sides of the issue as it relates to the saved and their calling. There are faithful servants and there are unfaithful servants; there are wise servants and there are foolish servants. All possess the same calling; but only the faithful, the wise, will ultimately realize their calling. Only rejection and chastisement await the unfaithful, the foolish.