For the first time in many, many years, Chanukah fell late enough to coincide with both Christmas and New Years.
This year, we decided to celebrate the holiday commemorating the ‘miracle of the oil’ with an oil lamp Chanukiah…
…instead of the candle-style Chanukiah, typically used by Jews in the Diaspora.
This caused us to learn a thing or two about oil-burning lamps.
A comment of a friend on social media regarding the distinct rise in antisemitism seen around the world this past year, brought to mind a Parable that suddenly took on new meaning — the Parable of the Ten Virgins.
Here is a paraphrase of the comment;
“It seems that there is no limit to the abyss of antisemitism, but there WILL be an end to it when the Jewish Messiah rules the world! And we are a year closer!”
…and the reply went something :
“there is no limit to that abyss – but it gets worse, before it gets better [spoiler alert: a read of Zechariah Ch. 12-14]. The question is, where will the Church be this time, compared to WWII? Hopefully, she is trimming her wicks and making sure to have plenty of oil.”
The Parable of the Ten Virgins goes like this;
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the groom. Five of them were foolish and five were sensible. When the foolish took their lamps, they didn’t take olive oil with them. But the sensible ones took oil in their flasks with their lamps. Since the groom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
“In the middle of the night there was a shout: ‘Here’s the groom! Come out to meet him.’
“Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. But the foolish ones said to the sensible ones, ‘Give us some of your oil, because our lamps are going out.’
“The sensible ones answered, ‘No, there won’t be enough for us and for you. Go instead to those who sell, and buy oil for yourselves.’
“When they had gone to buy some, the groom arrived. Then those who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet, and the door was shut.
“Later the rest of the virgins also came and said, ‘Master, master, open up for us!’
“But he replied, ‘I assure you: I do not know you!’
“Therefore be alert, because you don’t know either the day or the hour.”
Where WILL the Church to be when the coming persecution of the Jews comes at the end of the age? How do we know that there will be this persecution? The beginning of Zechariah 12 (from the “spoiler alert” referred to above) says;
The word of the Lord concerning Israel.
A declaration of the Lord,
who stretched out the heavens,
laid the foundation of the earth,
and formed the spirit of man within him.
“Look, I will make Jerusalem a cup that causes staggering for the peoples who surround the city. The siege against Jerusalem will also involve Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who try to lift it will injure themselves severely when all the nations of the earth gather against her.“
We don’t have to look far to see Jerusalem becoming that “cup of staggering“. We don’t have to look far to see the “peoples [synonym for ‘nations’] who surround her. It is certainly not hard to imagine a coming day when Jerusalem will be “a heavy stone for all the nations” — nations who will “gather against her”.
The story begins here, but doesn’t end here.
Read all of Zechariah Chapters 12-14 for the details!
Here is how it ends;
A day of the Lord is coming when your plunder will be divided in your presence. I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem for battle. The city will be captured, the houses looted, and the women raped. Half the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be removed from the city.
Then the Lord will go out to fight against those nations as He fights on a day of battle. On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. The Mount of Olives will be split in half from east to west, forming a huge valley, so that half the mountain will move to the north and half to the south.
You will flee by My mountain valley, for the valley of the mountains will extend to Azal. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come and all the holy ones with Him.
On that day, the Lord Himself will go out to fight against those nations that come against Jerusalem. On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives.
This SHOULD sound very familiar!
Remember Yeshua’s (Jesus’) ascension from the Mount of Olives?
What does the Angel say?
After He had said this, He was taken up as they were watching, and a cloud took Him out of their sight. While He was going, they were gazing into heaven, and suddenly two men in white clothes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen Him going into heaven.” Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called the Mount of Olives, which is near Jerusalem—a Sabbath day’s journey away.
Acts 1: 9-12
He is returning to the Mount of Olives in the same way that He was seen going into heaven!
Do you remember what they asked Yeshua just before He ascended?
“Lord, are You restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?”
He said to them:
“It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority.”
They asked Him if this was the time that He would be restoring the kingdom to Israel. He didn’t reply “ I’m not going to be restoring the kingdom to Israel.” He said that it was not for the disciples to know the times that the Father has set by His own authority.
Zechariah 14:7 says that it will be a day known only to God.
We don’t know the day, but in the Parable of the Ten Virgins, He exhorts us to be ready.
Church, are you prepared? Before the Groom comes for His Bride — both Jew and grafted in Gentile, when the nations come against Jerusalem at the end of the age. . .where will you be?
Will you have your wicks trimmed and enough oil for your lamps, or will you be caught unprepared? Will He invite you in, or say “‘I assure you: I do not know you!”?
We’d like to leave you with this;
A young Christian was in Israel and he visited Jerusalem’s Yad V’Shem Holocaust Museum.
“I viewed the exhibits with a young history major from the Institute [of Holy Land Studies in Jerusalem]. the history student remarked “no people on earth have been persecuted like the Jewish people”. I quickly corrected him saying, “Except for the Christians.” He laughed — a sound not often heard in Yad V’Shem.
The eyes of the victims stared at me across the photographically reproduced barbed-wire fences. I suddenly realized that I stood on the wrong side of the fence. If we Christians were the real people of God, then why did the world still target and hate the Jews? Shouldn’t we be the ones on whom the forces of evil bend their energy? Instead, too often, we were the ones dispensing the evil.”
-D. Thomas Lancaster, Restoration
This brings us full circle to the reply to the comment above on social media;
“there is no limit to that abyss [of antisemitism] – but it gets worse, before it gets better [spoiler alert: a read of Zechariah Ch. 12-14]. The question is, where will the Church be this time, compared to WWII? Hopefully, she is trimming her wicks and making sure to have plenty of oil.“