Understanding the Parable of the Wise Virgins and Welcoming the Lord
By Qingxin, United States
Wondering Whether I Was a Wise Virgin
Long ago, I saw many pastors say online, “We are in Lord the last days, and many biblical prophecies have been fulfilled, such as the blood moons, earthquakes, tsunamis, plagues, famines, and the restoration of Israel — the Lord is coming very soon. Only by being like the wise virgins and preparing oil can we welcome the Lord’s return. This requires us to fast and pray more, frequently attend Holy Communion, read the Bible more, diligently do the Lord’s work, and wait watchfully.” Then I started practicing according to what the pastors said. But after a few years of this, no matter how I read the Bible, prayed, and attended meetings, there was no steadiness in my heart; and I kept wondering, “Can carrying on like this really make me a wise virgin and welcome the Lord’s return?”
The True Manifestation of Being a Wise Virgin
In October 2018, I met Brother Liu by chance. During our conversation, I learned that he had believed in the Lord for many years, and I found that he knew a lot about the Bible, had unique understanding and insight into it, and fellowshiped better than my church’s pastor. We had a good talk. Just before our conversation ended, Brother Liu invited me to join his Bible study group, and thinking that I would benefit more from it, I happily agreed.
When the day of the meeting arrived, I went to Brother Liu’s Bible study group for a Bible study session, and after everyone made a self-introduction, Sister Li Yue began leading us to study the Bible. Thinking of my puzzlement, I couldn’t help but ask, “Sister Li, I’ve listened to many sermons online, and know that now is the last days. The pastors tell us to wait watchfully, read the Bible more, and persist in making offerings so that we can become wise virgins and welcome the Lord’s return. But after practicing like this for so many years, I haven’t received the Lord’s coming though the prophecies of His return have basically been fulfilled. This makes me more and more insecure. Will I really be able to become a wise virgin and welcome the Lord by acting this way?”
Sister Li responded, “Sister, you’ve brought up a key issue. All of us want to be wise virgins who can welcome the Lord’s return and attend the banquet of the kingdom of heaven with Him — no one wants to be a foolish virgin and be cast aside by the Lord, but what kind of practice is actually being a wise virgin? Let’s fellowship on this question now. A lot of believers in the Lord think that, as long as we keenly pursue our faith, often read the Bible, pray and listen to the pastors’ expounding on the Bible, and work and expend for the Lord, we are being wise virgins preparing oil. But are wise virgins really like this? Let’s look back on the scribes and Pharisees in the Age of Law — they longed for the arrival of the Messiah, and they not only were familiar with the Scripture and proficient in the law but also traveled to the far corners of the earth to preach the gospel, and suffered so much. If we say these actions count as preparing oil, then they should have been able to welcome the arrival of the Messiah. But in actual fact, the opposite happened. When the Lord Jesus came to work, they not only failed to recognize that He was the Messiah, but also frantically suppressed and condemned His work. In the end, they crucified the Lord, thus offending God’s disposition. From their example, we can see that often reading the Bible and praying and working hard for the Lord doesn’t mean that one is a wise virgin. So what can we do to become wise virgins? Let’s think back to how the Jews and those disciples who followed the Lord Jesus recognized Him when He did His work. We probably all know the story of the Samaritan woman. When she was talking with the Lord Jesus, the Lord Jesus said, ‘For you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband: in that said you truly’ (John 4:18). She was amazed to hear the Lord reveal her secrets buried in her heart. She realized that only God could observe people’s hearts and give voice to their inner secrets, thus recognized the Lord Jesus as the appearance of the Messiah. Let’s take a look at Peter, John, and Nathanael. After hearing the Lord’s sermons, they recognized the Lord as the prophesied Messiah, and then forsook everything to follow Him. Only such people are wise virgins. It’s clear that, if we wish to become wise virgins and store up oil to welcome the Lord’s return, then it is crucial to be able to recognize the Lord’s voice. Just as the Lord Jesus prophesied, ‘And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him’ (Matthew 25:6). ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me’ (Revelation 3:20). We can see from this that the Lord is speaking to search for His sheep upon His return in the last days. All those who listen closely to God’s voice and thereby seek and investigate whether the Lord has returned are wise virgins, and will have the chance to welcome the Lord’s return and attend the banquet with Him. Contrarily, those who pay no attention to listening to God’s voice and don’t seek and investigate God’s words are foolish virgins, and will be abandoned by the Lord when He returns.”
After listening to this fellowship, I suddenly realized, “It turns out that often reading the Bible and praying, persisting in making offerings and working for the Lord aren’t wise virgins preparing oil. Wise virgins preparing oil actually refers to focusing on hearing God’s voice. Just like Peter and the other disciples at that time, they followed the Lord and gained His salvation only after recognizing the voice of God in what He was teaching. The sister’s fellowship is well-founded and completely in accordance with the Lord’s words. How could I not have understood these things when I read the Bible before? It seems that I indeed lack too much. I truly didn’t come in vain today.”
How to Ascertain the Voice of God
Sister Li Yue said, “Now that wise virgins preparing oil refers to being able to recognize God’s voice, how can we ascertain it? Let’s have fellowship together.” Hearing this made me very happy. If I was able to recognize God’s voice, this meant that I would be able to welcome the Lord. Therefore, I listened even more intently to her fellowship.
Sister Li shared the following fellowship, “As we all know, God is the Creator and His utterances are different from any person’s words. Back then, when the Lord Jesus came to work, He said many words and revealed many mysteries. For example, before the Lord Jesus began His work, John the Baptist said, ‘Repent you: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’ (Matthew 3:2). But since he was just a prophet, he could only spread the gospel of the heavenly kingdom and didn’t know the conditions for entry into it. It was not until after the Lord worked that these conditions were explained clearly. The Lord Jesus said, ‘Not every one that said to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven’ (Matthew 7:21). ‘Truly I say to you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 18:3). Since God guards the gate to the heavenly kingdom, only God knows what kind of people it wants. This shows us that only God can reveal these mysteries. On the other hand, when the Lord Jesus did His work, He expressed new words that could provide people with the truth, give life to them, and point out the path of practice. For example, the Lord Jesus said, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ (Matthew 22:37–39). At that time, the Lord Jesus taught people to confess and repent, pursue truly loving Him, have love, tolerance, and patience for others, and so on. These are all ways to which people should adhere in the Age of Grace. Apart from these two aspects, God’s words carry God’s disposition. For instance, the Lord Jesus said, ‘Why I say to you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven to men. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come’ (Matthew 12:31–32). This shows us that God’s attitude toward those who slander and blaspheme Him is condemnation and curse, and that they shall not be forgiven in this life or in the afterlife. These words of the Lord have God’s authority and carry God’s majestic, wrathful, and unoffendable disposition; moreover, only God controls the fate of mankind and can decide man’s end. From the Lord Jesus’ words we’ve just read, we can see that God’s words possess God’s authority and power and carry God’s disposition, and they can reveal the mysteries unknown to people, express God’s will and requirements, and point out the path of practice for the new age. Such are the characteristics of God’s words and completely represent the unique identity and status of God. So, it won’t be wrong to discern whether something is the utterances of the returned God based on these few aspects.”
In the past when I read the Lord’s words, I only felt that they were right, and I simply paid no attention to their characteristics. Through the sister’s fellowship and taking another look at these words, I found that God’s words indeed had authority and power, represented God’s disposition and could bring to our hearts a shock. Then I said, “Only today have I realized that we can ascertain whether something is God’s voice from these aspects. I feel a lot more enlightened now. Thank God!”
Recognizing God’s Voice From These Utterances
Sister Li continued, saying, “Thanks be to God! Let’s now take turns to read a few passages of words and see whose utterances they are.” She then read out: “As now a new approach is used, all that from the past need not be said again. However, I have said these words: What I have said must be counted, what is counted must be completed, and this cannot be changed by anyone; this is absolute. Whether it be what I have said in the past or what I say in the future, all will come to be, and all of mankind will see this. This is the principle behind the work of My words. … Of everything that occurs in the universe, there is nothing that I do not have the final say in. What exists that is not in My hands? All that I say goes, and among men, who is there who can change My mind? Could it be the covenant I made on the earth? Nothing can hinder My plan; I am ever-present in My work as well as in the plan of My management. What man can interfere? Is it not I who has personally made these arrangements? Entering into this situation today, it still does not stray from My plan or what I foresaw; it was all determined by Me long ago. Who among you can fathom My plan for this step? My people will listen to My voice, and each and every one of those who truly love Me shall return before My throne” (“Chapter 1” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe).
Hearing this, I felt shocked in my heart, thinking, “Oh my! Who spoke these words? They use the first person ‘I’ and say ‘What I have said must be counted, what is counted must be completed, and this cannot be changed by anyone; this is absolute.’ No one dares speak from such perspective and with such a tone. No human being could have said these words.”
I then read the following: “You must know what kind of people I desire; those who are impure are not permitted to enter into the kingdom, those who are impure are not permitted to besmirch the holy ground. Though you may have done much work, and have worked for many years, in the end if you are still deplorably filthy — it is intolerable to the law of Heaven that you wish to enter My kingdom! From the foundation of the world until today, never have I offered easy access to My kingdom to those who curry favor with Me. This is a heavenly rule, and no one can break it!” (“Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks”). “My kingdom requires those who are honest, not hypocritical, and not deceitful. Aren’t the sincere and honest people unpopular in the world? I am just the opposite. It is acceptable for the honest people to come to Me; I delight in this kind of person, I also need this kind of person. This is precisely My righteousness” (“Chapter 33” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning).
I thought: “Ah, these words also explain the standard for entry into the kingdom of heaven: Those who are filthy are not permitted to enter into it; even if one has worked for many years, if his sinful nature isn’t cleansed, then he still won’t be able to enter into God’s kingdom. The words ‘This is a heavenly rule, and no one can break it!’ seem like God’s words, and the tone is the same as that of the Lord Jesus’ words, which are full of authority and power.” At that moment, a sense of excitement welled up within me.
Sister Li then went on reading: “Now is the time when I determine the ending for each person, not the stage in which I began to work man. I write down in My record book, one by one, the words and actions of each person, the path by which they have followed Me, their inherent characteristics, and how they have ultimately comported themselves. In this way, no matter what kind of person they are, no one shall escape My hand, and all shall be with their own kind as I assign. I decide the destination of each person not on the basis of age, seniority, amount of suffering, and least of all, the degree to which they invite pity, but according to whether they possess the truth. There is no other choice but this. You must realize that all those who do not follow the will of God shall also be punished. This is an immutable fact. Therefore, all those who are punished are so punished for the righteousness of God and as retribution for their numerous evil acts” (“Prepare Sufficient Good Deeds for Your Destination”).
Hearing this I immediately trembled with fear, and I felt as if God was speaking with majesty and wrath. I had never heard anything like this. These words were so authoritative and powerful. They were not things that people could express, because only God could decide man’s end. The sister then asked me, “Do you have an idea who spoke the words that have just been read?”
I replied excitedly, “No human being could have said these words. Who could decide man’s end? Only God could do this! Besides, the words say, ‘[T]hose who are impure are not permitted to enter into the kingdom.’ These words sound like that of the Lord Jesus. The Lord said, “Truly I say to you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). All these words tell us that we can’t enter into God’s kingdom if we’re still sinful. These words seem to originate from the same source as the Lord Jesus’ words. Sister, has the Lord returned? Otherwise, where did you get these words? And why are you able to discuss so much new understanding?”
Joyously Receiving the Lord’s Return
Sister Li said happily, “That’s right! Sister, the Lord Jesus we’ve longed for has returned.” She then opened the official website of The Church of Almighty God and continued saying, “Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus. Since 1991, Almighty God has been working in China and has now expressed millions of words. He is performing the work of judgment beginning in God’s house on the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ work. This completely fulfills the biblical prophecies, ‘[J]udgment must begin at the house of God’ (1 Peter 4:17). ‘He that rejects Me, and receives not My words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day’ (John 12:48). The words in The Word Appears in the Flesh and Records of Christ’s Talks on this website are the words that God has expressed in the last days to thoroughly save mankind. The words that we’ve just read are Almighty God’s words, and I came to an understanding of what I just talked about only from reading them. After hearing Almighty God’s words, we’ve seen that Almighty God and the Lord Jesus are the same God, that Almighty God’s words contain authority and power, carry God’s disposition and represent God’s authority and identity. The words of Almighty God we’ve just read mention that anything God says will certainly be fulfilled, and that no power can stop the expansion of God’s work. For example, although Almighty God’s work has suffered fanatical resistance and condemnation from the Chinese government and religious leaders, God’s gospel has still spread to all nations of the world. Nowadays, branches of The Church of Almighty God have been established in many foreign countries and regions, and people from all religions and denominations who truly believe in God, after hearing God’s utterances, have returned before His throne in droves. Moreover, Almighty God’s words tell us only honest people can enter into God’s kingdom; isn’t this the same as the standard set by the Lord Jesus? And from Almighty God’s words that determine the ends of all kinds of people, we can see God’s righteous and holy disposition. God has expressed many truths in this stage of work. Let’s read some more, then we’ll be able to better feel the authority of God’s words.”
When Sister Li finished, she took out many books, and I immediately caught sight of a book entitled The Scroll Opened by the Lamb. I remembered the Revelation prophesied that no one could open the little scroll, only the Lamb, God Himself, could do this. It seemed that the Lord really had returned and that Almighty God was the second coming of the Lord.
After that, Sister Li turned to the table of contents in The Scroll Opened by the Lamb, and passed it to me, saying, “Sister, this book is the little scroll prophesied in Revelation. The prophesy says only the Lamb can reveal the mysteries of the little scroll. Now the returned Lord Jesus, Almighty God, has accomplished this prophecy — the words uttered by Him reveal mysteries never before known by generations past, such as “Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God,” “The Work in the Age of Law,” “The True Story Behind the Work of the Age of Redemption,” “Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth,” “The Mystery of the Incarnation (1)” to “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4),” “Restoring the Normal Life of Man and Taking Him to a Wonderful Destination,” “God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together.” These words explain clearly the mystery of God’s management plan, the aim of God’s three stages of work to save mankind, how each stage goes higher and deeper than the last, God’s disposition, God’s wisdom, and God’s will and requirements for man in every stage of work. Only God understands His past work, and so only He can reveal these mysteries. Not only this, but there are also God’s admonitions and exhortations to man as well as prophecies on the beauty of the kingdom and mankind’s destination in Almighty God’s words. They are abundant and are really a feast for our eyes. This precisely fulfills the Lord Jesus’ prophecy, ‘I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come’ (John 16:12–13).”
Looking at the table of contents showed by the sister was astonishing to me. These words were all truths that I wanted to understand. Now that I knew wise virgins focused on listening to God’s words, I needed to carefully read Almighty God’s words and study them with heart. Then I said excitedly to the sister, “Can I have this book to read?” She happily nodded in response.
Sister Li said with a smile, “Thank God! Our ability to recognize God’s voice means we’ve welcomed the Lord and attended the wedding feast of the Lamb. We are so blessed!”
Yes! The Lord has finally returned! I’ve attended the feast. I never imagined, even in my wildest dreams, that I would ever be able to welcome the Lord Jesus, whom I have longed for day and night — God hasn’t abandoned me. Thinking this, I felt both happy and excited.
After I got home, I couldn’t wait to open up the book of Almighty God’s words to read, and every time I finished reading a passage, I felt like I benefited a lot. Later, through meetings and fellowship, I came to understand many aspects of the truth, such as the significance of God’s two incarnations, the mystery of God’s name, God’s six-thousand-year management plan, and God’s three stages of work. And I gained more and more knowledge of God’s work and perceived that my belief in God was no longer vague. In the past, I just believed vaguely and didn’t know where the Lord was, but now God incarnate lives amongst us practically and directly utters words to supply us, so we can find a path to resolve all sorts of problems in God’s words. When I look back on how I returned before God, I see that everything God did to me contains God’s painstaking effort. Thank God for His great love that allowed me to become a wise virgin and attend the wedding feast of the Lamb.