WHEN Jesus told the disciples that the time would come when the beautiful buildings of the temple would be entirely destroyed, they asked him at least two distinct questions. Instead of answering either question immediately our Lord first warned his disciples against being deceived by the false christs that should come in his name. 

He then went on to give a brief outline of the history of the church and the world down to the end, speaking of the wars and the tumults that should arise, the famines and earthquakes, the sorrows and persecutions of his people, the unfaithfulness and apostasy of many, and winding up with the promise that all who would endure to the end should be saved, and with the assurance that the end would not come until the gospel of his approaching kingdom should be published to all nations. 

Then, as recorded in verses 15-20, he speaks in answer to the first question. His mind seems to have immediately passed from the destruction of Jerusalem to the terrible sufferings which his people would have to endure before his second coming; for in verse 21 he takes up the subject of the great Papal Persecution, and runs rapidly down through the trials and dangers they would have to encounter, giving them suitable warnings and instructions. He then enumerates the signs that should begin to appear just before the close of the 1260 years, and gives in order the several events that pertain to his second coming,-the sign of the Son of man in heaven, the mourning of the tribes of the earth, the coming of Christ upon the cloud, the sounding of the trumpet, and the gathering together of his elect from all quarters of the earth. 

After he had thus described the signs of his coming, he said, "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." And then, to make a still deeper impression, he gave the following parable:- 

"Now learn a parable of the fig-tree; when his branch is yet tender and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, this generation [the generation which shall see these things] shall not pass away, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." 

Then follows the solemn admonition: "Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be over-charged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass; and to stand before the Son of man." 

"For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning. 

Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch." 

"Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 

And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." 

  What two questions did the disciples ask Jesus, when he foretold the destruction of the temple? 


THE parable of the ten virgins illustrates the experience of the church in the closing movement relative to the second coming of Christ, commencing with the work about 1840. 

The tarrying time was between the first passing of the time in the spring of 1844 and the true ending of the days in the autumn of that year. Midway between these two points, the midnight cry of the parable was given, when men in different parts of the land, simultaneously, and without a knowledge of each other's views or movements, started out as by a common impulse, and raised the cry, Behold, the Bridegroom cometh! Light on the true ending of the days and the sanctuary question came forth at the same time, and gave the movement its power. Then was fulfilled verse 8. The foolish said to the wise, Give us of your oil. They were told to go to the Lord for themselves. 

The coming of the Bridegroom represents the coming of Christ, not to this earth, but to the marriage, which takes place at the close of Christ's work as priest, and before he comes to this earth. He came to the marriage when he entered the most holy apartment of the heavenly sanctuary at the close of the 2300 days in 1844. See Dan. 7:13, 14. 

They that were ready went in with him to 'the marriage. The investigative judgment decides who are ready, and this going in consequently does not take place till the close of that work. Then the door is shut; that is, probation ends. Then the foolish virgins come saying, "Open to us," but are rejected.  

U. S.