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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

KEEP AWAKE AND WATCH

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It will be very important to be ready when the end of the world comes. To show His disciples this, Jesus told them a story. “There once were ten bridesmaids. They were supposed to be ready to welcome the bridegroom. They were part of a wedding party. “Five of these girls were careless and five were wise. All ten girls were supposed to wait along the roadside for the bridegroom to come home. When the bridegroom passed by, they would light his way with the lamps they held.
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“The five foolish girls should have known they would need extra oil. They had brought only enough/oil to fill their lamps once. Each of the wise girls, however, had brought plenty of extra oil.
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“They waited and waited all evening, but the bridegroom did not come. They all fell asleep because it was so late. Suddenly there was a shout, ‘The bridegroom is coming! Light, your lamps!’
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“The wise bridesmaids lit their lamps. But the foolish girls had used/up all their oil a long time ago.
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“Can we borrow some of your oil?” they asked the wise girls.
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“They just shook their heads. ‘No. There would not be enough for all of us. Go and see if you can buy some from the shop.’ The other girls ran as fast as they could to buy some more oil. But while they were gone, the bridegroom arrived.
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“Those who were ready, went in with him to the wedding feast. The door was locked. When the other girls came back from the shop, they were too late.
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“Open the door,’ they called out. `Bridegroom, let us in, please.’”
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“But the bridegroom said, ‘I don’t know you. Go away.’ Let this be a lesson then,” Jesus said to His disciples.
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He was teaching them that someday time would run out. No one could afford to say, “I’ll change tomorrow.” Time is not the sort of thing you can borrow from other people. If you wait too long to do something, then it is too late.
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Luke 21:20-33 (King James Version)
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 "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
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 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon,
 and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
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 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away."
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If we could destroy custom at a blow and see the stars as a child sees them, we should need no other apocalypse.
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G.K. CHESTERTON
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THE SECOND COMING
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Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
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Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
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William Butler Yeats, 1919
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From Paper 176 of THE URANTIA BOOK
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“You behold me now in weakness and in the flesh, but when I return, it shall be with power and in the spirit. The eye of flesh beholds the Son of Man in the flesh, but only the eye of the spirit will behold the Son of Man glorified by the Father and appearing on earth in his own name.
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 “But the times of the reappearing of the Son of Man are known only in the councils of Paradise; not even the angels of heaven know when this will occur. However, you should understand that, when this gospel of the kingdom shall have been proclaimed to all the world for the salvation of all peoples, and when the fullness of the age has come to pass, the Father will send you another dispensational bestowal, or else the Son of Man will return to adjudge the age.
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 “And now concerning the travail of Jerusalem, about which I have spoken to you, even this generation will not pass away until my words are fulfilled; but concerning the times of the coming again of the Son of Man, no one in heaven or on earth may presume to speak. But you should be wise regarding the ripening of an age; you should be alert to discern the signs of the times. You know when the fig tree shows its tender branches and puts forth its leaves that summer is near. Likewise, when the world has passed through the long winter of material-mindedness and you discern the coming of the spiritual springtime of a new dispensation, should you know that the summertime of a new visitation draws near.
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 “But what is the significance of this teaching having to do with the coming of the Sons of God? Do you not perceive that, when each of you is called to lay down his life struggle and pass through the portal of death, you stand in the immediate presence of judgment, and that you are face to face with the facts of a new dispensation of service in the eternal plan of the infinite Father? What the whole world must face as a literal fact at the end of an age, you, as individuals, must each most certainly face as a personal experience when you reach the end of your natural life and thereby pass on to be confronted with the conditions and demands inherent in the next revelation of the eternal progression of the Father’s kingdom.”
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 Of all the discourses which the Master gave his apostles, none ever became so confused in their minds as this one, given this Tuesday evening on the Mount of Olives, regarding the twofold subject of the destruction of Jerusalem and his own second coming. There was, therefore, little agreement between the subsequent written accounts based on the memories of what the Master said on this extraordinary occasion. Consequently, when the records were left blank concerning much that was said that Tuesday evening, there grew up many traditions; and very early in the second century a Jewish apocalyptic about the Messiah written by one Selta, who was attached to the court of the Emperor Caligula, was bodily copied into the Matthew Gospel and subsequently added (in part) to the Mark and Luke records. It was in these writings of Selta that the parable of the ten virgins appeared. No part of the gospel record ever suffered such confusing misconstruction as this evening’s teaching. But the Apostle John never became thus confused.
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 As these thirteen men resumed their journey toward the camp, they were speechless and under great emotional tension. Judas had finally confirmed his decision to abandon his associates. It was a late hour when David Zebedee, John Mark, and a number of the leading disciples welcomed Jesus and the twelve to the new camp, but the apostles did not want to sleep; they wanted to know more about the destruction of Jerusalem, the Master’s departure, and the end of the world.
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