The Chanukah lights are miraculously burning reminding us of the presence and strength and miracles of our G-d. Pastor Mark has reminded us that Matthew 24 is a picture of Chanukah that will again occur at the end of days. Throughout Matthew 24, Yeshua told the disciples what to expect in these days. Then comes Matthew 25, and we are told that of the ten virgins, five had no oil in their lamps! With no oil, their lamps could not produce light, and this is occurring in the days of Chanukah! They had no oil; what could this mean?
Why is the oil important? Without oil, there can be no light. In Leviticus we are told that the light is to be kept burning with the pure oil of beaten olives. Leviticus 24:1,2: “Then the LORD said to Moses, Command the Israelites to bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to keep the lamps burning continually.” Did you also note that the light is never to go out? It is to burn continually!
The foolish virgins ran out of oil. The foolish virgins wanted some of the wise virgins’ oil, because their lamps were going out. Why were their lamps going out? In Proverbs 6:23, we are told that “The Law of the Lord is a lamp, and its teachings shine brightly. Correction and self-control will lead you through life.” Another version of this verse says, “For the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light; reproofs on instruction are the way of life.”
Proverbs 6:23 confirms that the Law of the Lord is a lamp and a light. What would make the light of the Law of the Lord go out? The second part of the verse tells us that we need the Law of the Lord to correct us, to give reproof and instruct us in the way we are to live. This is what is missing in so many churches today. The Law of the Lord is not there to make us miserable: it is there to help us have life and keep us on the right track. Wecannot say the “sinner’s prayer”, and then expect to live any old way we please because we have grace. No! When we accept the forgiveness of the Lord, and decide to follow Him, we are saying, we are going to live the way He lives. He said that not one jot or tittle of the Law would ever disappear until all had been accomplished. These foolish virgins had gone away from the Law, thinking it did not apply to them. They did not want to be corrected. They were not following the Law in the way they lived, so their light was going out! Does this really matter?
As Rabbi Shaul (Paul) said, “So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous, and good.” Romans 7:12
And in Romans 7:16: “And if I do what I do not want to do, I admit that the Law is good.”
Why would the Law be good if you are doing what you don’t want to do? Because it is a correcting force if we will let it be. Correction is absolute love – because it puts you back on the path to life. In Matthew 25: 10-12, the foolish virgins seem to have been turning their backs on correction, and therefore turning their backs on life! Two verses later in their story we are told that while they went out to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with Him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Later, they are calling, “Lord, Lord, open the door for us! But He replied, Truly I tell you, I do not know you.”
This really punctuates the idea that the Lord intends for us to pursue righteousness as described in His Law. He summed up His Law one day when He was asked what the most important commandment was. Yeshua replied:“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38). And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” The Commandments are all about love. How is our lamp burning today? Are we running out of oil, or do we have oil that is keeping our lamps burning? The beautiful Chanukah season is a great time to see how much oil we really have!