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The Real Outpouring of the Holy Spirit

The Real Outpouring of God’s Spirit (Acts 1:8)

            Especially in recent years, a deliberate emphasis on “Receiving the Holy Spirit” and “Praying for the Latter Rain” has become almost the “catch-exhortation” in SDA circles, and all so that the supposed ‘still impossible mission of the Church can be accomplished.’ It is then believed that the Church will be able to accomplish what it just could not before. Indeed in the Apostolic outpouring of the Holy Spirit, there is a basis for that understanding, however can God’s Spirit accomplish what the Church can do, but does not even try to do? Also whatever God’s Spirit  does, it will still defaulty do it directly, and solely, through Church efforts, and more specifically, in complement of faith-based attempts and endeavors. The real issue at hand here is what must be done today to receive this promised gift of the Latter Rain and what will be its results.

Conditions for Receiving the Promised Rainfall
            Today, the Church, with its many “seasons of prayer” meetings and vigils is seeking to usher in a Pentecost-like event that will impel/compel members into unprecedented end time works.  However in these typically applied methodological ways of trying to obtain the promise of the Holy Spirit, there very well may be several assumptions that are relied upon that actually lead to a wrong approach and theology today. Indeed the following assumptions cannot be said to be based upon the Biblical text:

            (1) The disciples were not gathered in the upper room in order to receive the Holy Spirt. The Bible is clear that ‘this is where, the, now, 11 disciples lived’ (Acts 1:12-14). This was indeed more than likely the same Upper Room where they had been hiding/staying over the past 40 days since the resurrection of Jesus (Luke 22:12; John 20:19).

            (2) Jesus also did not instruct his disciples to gather in the Upper Room to pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. He simply had told them that the Promised Holy Spirit (John 15:26-16:15) would come. All they then did was continue living in this, their home, all the while, continuing to ‘be of one mind,’ and normatively, ‘continuing to devote themselves to prayer.’ (Acts 1:14). They were then joined by + Mary, the mother of Jesus and his brothers (maybe only James (Acts 12:17; 15:13; James 1:1) and Jude (Jude 1:1) (Mar 6:3)), and “the women” (cf. Luke 8:1-3; 23:55-24:10).

            (3) In the Biblical background for this prophetic understanding, as seen in Joel 2:23, the emphasis is on “rain for the harvest (i.e., God’s providential gifts for the Gospel Work)”. This “rain” is then divided into two major events, namely the “early rain” which helps to properly start/establish the work, and the “latter rain” which helps to complete that earlier started work. (Cf. Deu 11:14) It is important to view these rain events as types and thus they can have a fulfillment wherever they substantively apply. As such, the occurrence of these events is also not to be limited, as many rigidly assume, to only two occurrences, but to wherever they indeed do find/fit an applicable: ‘specific “started work” pointedly ‘later completed’” development, as noted in the next point and also later in this post.

            (4) While the disciples were told that when they would receive the Holy Spirit, they then would embarked on a course of witnessing (see John 15:26, 27; Acts 1:8), it seems that this would be for more pragmatic reasons, than anything else. First of all, in John 15:27 Jesus told them that ‘they would testify also,” not because they would then have received the Holy Spirit, but because ‘they had been with Him from the beginning.’ Also, the disciples and others had previously engaged in, even powerful/miraculous, “Early Rain”, works of outreach ministry in the area of Israel (see Luke 9:1-2ff; 10:1ff, 17). It seems that the Holy Spirit here would be given to empower the disciples to do the, even ‘greater works than Jesus’ (John 14:12), which they had been promised, and that ‘so that non-believers would marvel and believe’ (John 5:19-21; 14:11; cf. 10:37-38), and ‘the Father would be glorified, through the Son’ (John 14:12-14). The, even more powerful, Latter Rain outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts was actually a necessity in the light of the fact that the disciples would now have to preach against an immediate backdrop of their Leader Jesus having been crucified, and that by the civil power, and the preaching that He was now resurrected could be easily be denounced as a lie, and even reported as a civil offense. However, in the light of these powerful and miraculous works that the disciples would be able to do, it would correspondingly help them to overcome any opposition that they may suffer. Even an opposing mob would be reluctant, if not deterred to do them harm.

            These Biblically clarified and more accurate understandings of the event of, and purpose for, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit can help us today have a more Biblical approach towards it. First of all, an almost manipulative approach was not used by the disciples. Namely they did not say, let us now gather together, become perfect and holy and then God will surely grant us this promise. It seems from the text that they were already ‘of one mind/accord’, probably since they first met the resurrected Christ. Their “devoted praying” was also their normal pattern of action. Sure today, organizing a season of repentance, prayer and revival is a good thing to do, but to seek to try to then make God pour out the Holy Spirit through such temporal attempts is not Biblical. It seems that these conditions must normatively, truly and genuinely be in existence in the Church. Indeed once these set days of ‘season of prayer’ are over, the gathered “requesters” then mostly return to their previous ways. The Church should seek to have these traits as did the Apostles irrespective of what they think God should then do in response. Such an actually, base, self-serving attitude cannot be blessed by God. Furthermore, unlike the disciples who were constrained by circumstances and indeed needed the power of the Holy Spirit to help them overcome this hostile field, there is nothing today that is preventing their work to go forward, as it will be discussed later.
            Indeed in the SOP’s elaboration of this account in Luke 24:53; Acts 1:14, thus AA 35-37, the emphasize is shown to be on the disciples eagerness, in the face of the great and joyous mission that was set before, to practically be capable of accomplishing this task. Their prayers were therefore most importantly aimed towards being pragmatically fit for that special work. As the SOP says: “They did not ask for a blessing for themselves merely. They were weighted with the burden of the salvation of souls.” (AA 37.2) Unlike the overarching “sinless perfection navel-gazing” common in SDA (manipulative) “attempts” to ‘pray down the Latter Rain’ today, the main known sin that the disciples were insistent on confessing and have forgiven was for their previous unbelief of Jesus Christ. That rightly was to be the effect of their preparatory, sin-sinfulness-discerning (for their sins of omission and pride-based obliviousness) ‘Early Rain showering” of John 20:19-23l fulfilling Christ’s offering statement to all Israel then in John 7:37-39. So, correspondingly, the Church today should be pray for its individual and corporate neglect in not truly believing in the Advent promises that God has given her through additionally, and pointedly the SOP, and not engaging in the more significant and thorough Gospel Works that it can actually do. In 9T 126.1-2 EGW was shown in the “visions of the night” a representation (i.e. ‘a delineation of what ought to be’) of what will bring about the True/Biblical Latter Rain. That vision entirely focused on the pre-outpouring work that is to first be done within the SDA Church itself in that “great reformatory movement among God's people”. Indeed many in the Church itself will then learn what God’s (Full) Gospel and Sabbatical Sealing Truth is, and then ‘“genuine conversion” in the Church’ will occur. Though the ‘1844 Movement-like light’ unveiled then will spill out into the world, as it is being cast throughout the Global Church, like the disciples prior to their post-Pentecostal outpouring preaching work, this outpouring, and its accompanying ‘healings and miracles’, will first transpire within the Church. And during this decisive time, the ‘still “covetous ones” in the Church will become separated from the company of believers’, -producing the separation of the wheat from the tares (cf. this post) as the Church is indeed then thoroughly Shaken/Sifted.’
            It can also be seen that the disciples did not receive the Holy Spirit because they gathered and ask for it, but simply because, they had remained united together in faithful preparation for the work of witnessing that Jesus had promised they would do. So it was that devoted dedication to God’s work that was blessed by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and not a ‘specially crafted, insistent season of pointed petitions.’ There is definite work to do, and that should be the predominant prayerful focus and work of the church.

The Purpose of the Rainfall
            First and foremost in understanding the purpose of the gift of the Holy Spirit, much can be learned from the symbolism in which the giving of this gift that is often used, namely “Rain” as seen in the theological terms of “Early” and “Latter” Rain. (cf. John 7:37-39). Indeed, it is not surprising that the Creator God’s use of nature terminology to convey spiritual would be quite beneficial to grasping the full and proper meaning of the actions being mentioned. (Cf. this blog post for more on the use of nature’s symbols in Bible Prophecy.) Thus far, in especially SDA circles, it is the functional imagery found the effects that rain has in regards to vitally helping to bringing forth the full fruit of the harvest are commonly, and indeed rightly, understood. However there is more involved in nature in “rain-fall” that is also contributive to the proper understanding of the Spiritual Early/Latter Rain understanding, namely in its hydrology.

            In the hydrological cycle of rain, it summarily is seen that all rain ultimately comes from bodies of water, after the top most layers of these bodies having been evaporated into the atmosphere by the useful heating energy provided by the sun. This evaporated water is then collected into a cloud, which is then transported (by being pushed) by the wind to areas of inherent need, namely the earth. A lot can be said here in regards to all of the natural elements that are involved here in the producing of rain, statements on these elements which are also consistent with their symbolic use in, especially signified prophecy. However it can simply be seen and pointed out here that the hydrological cycle serves as a way to facilitate the needed watering of the earth. Case in point, this a cycle that came into existence, apparently by the initiating action of God, following the Flood, when apparently the pre-Flood irrigating foundations were irreparably burst wide open by their use in bringing about the flood (see Gen 7:11; cf. 2:5b; see also this post). Clearly the vital importance of water for the growth of crops is readily seen however, it is because of the even more wider need of water for thriving, even vital, everyday life, that many ancient civilizations and communities were established along the sides of, e.g., rivers (e.g., Egypt = Nile; Babylon = Euphrates; and arguably even the Garden of Eden = 4 Rivers (Gen 2:10-14)). It is really not until the rise of the Roman Empire, with is expansive aqueduct system that this no longer was a formidable obstacle to the free development of civilization, and as it allowed even water-remote settlements to do more than what, mainly, normal local rainfalls permitted. In today’s, especially developed world, this is no longer a feasible obstacle in itself, as water can be drawn from, and taken, in sufficient amount, to virtually any part of the world, however it is the accompanying economical factors that come to limit this feasibility. So with this overall scientific background, it can be seen that the process of rainfall itself is a most valuable facilitative process resource to humans, for when it occurs in sufficient amounts in an area of need, it accounts for the alternative need of using more labor intensive and costly means for solely obtaining this water resource from remote bodies of water.
            Now in the application of this natural process to the ‘raining’ gift of the Holy Spirit, it can correspondingly be seen that without such “rainfall”, more laborious and costly man-made means would have to be pursued and implemented in order to provide the watered results from this rainfall. So it can spiritually be seen that without the "showering" of believers with the various gifts of the Spirit, which all help to produce practical tangible results, the believer would alternatively have to expend much more personal effort and energy in order to accomplish the demanding spiritual task at hand. So in providing this rainfall, God is mainly facilitating the procurance of the needed vital resource, which in this case is useful, fresh/potable water, i.e., water that has been purified by the sun in the hydrological process from any collected detrimental dissolved elements. With this background in mind, the promised Early/Latter Rain gift, often simultaneously mentioned with the “outpouring of the Holy Spirit”, can be more deeply, and indeed, even Biblically/Theologically, understood, because, as mentioned above, the God who inspired the Bible, is also the God of all Creation. So it is indeed not surprising that he makes pertinent use of elements in His observable “Creation toolbox” in trying to understandably convey Spiritual concepts.

            Indeed, in Apostolic times, in the sudden ability to speak in unlearned languages, brought about, interestingly enough, by ‘a sudden, house-filling sound of a violent, rushing wind’ (Acts 2:2) - with wind indeed being the actual symbol of the Holy Spirit (at work) (cf. John 3:8; 20:22), the gathered praying disciples were facilitatively given a quite timely, pragmatic and attention gaining gift, and they were indeed able to gather and hold the attention of a crowd then gathered for the feast of Pentecost, and proclaim to them the Gospel message in their own language. This sudden ability to speak in an unlearned language was indeed one of the abilities that Jesus had said his followers would be able to do (Mark 16:17-18). Also to highlight the timeliness of this gift, it seems to be no coincidence that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was visibly seen as “tongues, as of fire, and distributing themselves.” In other words, although this sign was pointedly ‘tongues looking like fire (brands)’, and which were being ‘distributed to each one of them just like scattering brands from a fire.’ (See AA 39.1; =Matt 3:11|Luke 3:16). So the emphasis of this outpoured gift was for the ability to be able to speak in a unlearned language, and with ‘devout Jews from every “nation under heaven” (Act 2:5) gathered at that very time in Jerusalem it was indeed a pertinently needed gift. With three thousand people being baptized, including many of these visiting Jews, the Gospel message was thus able to be widely distributed when these visitors returned to their countries of residence. Later the disciples accomplished the other miracles that Jesus had said that they would be able to do (e.g, Acts 2:43), however no visible/special sign, as that of the ‘distribution of tongues’ was similarly said to be given first. It therefore can be seen that in the giving of this gift of tongues, and the resulting sudden (existing) foreign language utterances (Acts 2:4), God had literally taken upon himself to help the disciples overcome this otherwise significant obstacle, and powerfully launched them upon their Spirit-driven works and Christlike all-encompassing ministries. Still, it was not that this language obstacle was absolutely impossible for the disciples to do. Some of the people present in that crowd could have translated what the disciples were saying if they only spoke one of those foreign languages. It also very well may be that these visitors, being “devout Jews”, also spoke the common Jewish languages of Hebrew and/or Aramaic, or even Greek (or else they would have trouble understanding anything during these religious events, let alone communicate with others, while in Jerusalem. (e.g. John 12:20-23ff)). At the most extreme, they could have sought to learn different languages of themselves, but this may have taken them a considerable amount of time given the educational structures of the times, and they surely would have missed this, and many other such, great, quasi-global, mass-evangelism opportunities. So God here did not leave this proclamation matter into the hands of non-believers, risk that things would get lost in translation, or be delayed by almost insurmountable educational barriers of the times. Through this pertinent gift, He therefore personally, supernaturally equipped the disciples themselves with a most urgently needed and impressive spiritual tool/resource. (=AA 39.2; cf. 1 Cor 14:22a). And as Stephen Bohr points out in this good, (first of 2), GYC 2012 seminar presentation, [see other here], (see also a 2014 Pentecost Series presentation of his), on the deeper origins of, and, pertinently here, pragmatic reasons for, the gift of tongues in the key NT mentions [see at 33:07ff], Paul himself ‘spoke more in tongues than anyone else’ (1 Cor 14:18) pragmatically because of the realities in his foreign Missionary travellings where he would be meeting many foreign peoples, who speak foreign languages [and would not always have a translator]; and he also needed to “impress” these Gentiles, who were variously steeped in, moreover Satanically-influenced, paganism.[1]

The Needed Rainfall Today
            Today it can readily be seen that a still not fully utilized outpouring of the Holy Spirit has already been given to the Remnant Church, and that a long time ago, in the many tangible and aiding signs that accompanied the establishment of the end time movement around 1844 and afterwards, and especially in the prophetic ministry of Ellen White. If there was a single gift that could have best started this work it was indeed the timely “gift of light” manifested in the prophetic gift. The main function of that gift was to Help and Guide the receivers into “Truth” (cf. John 14:15-17). Like the “gift of tongues,” it was pertinent, timely, practical and attention gaining. And also like the disciples of old, it was poured out, not because these believers had gathered together to ask specifically for it, but because, they, following their great disappointment, remained faithful and renewed their studies of the Bible in order to discover the Truth. In the light of the obstacles of their youth, general lack of education, including Biblical education, God therefore rewarded this genuine, full and all-out effort and devotion against all odds, with this most precious, miraculous, pragmatic gift of the Spirit. (ChS 228|LDE 196). Through this gift, many other spiritual and physical “miracles” were able to be accomplished.
            Indeed for the scattered “flock” of faithful former Millerites, it helped them to regain their faith in the leading of God, ascertain their Biblical studies, and led them to establish and organize the global Remnant Church with various supporting institution. Also, even though, like the gift of tongues, it was denounced by some (Acts 2:13), to those who believed in it, and, as with the disciples’ miraculous utterance, more importantly focused on the message that was being proclaimed, it was understood as being a Biblical message from God. (cf. Acts 2:14-42). Indeed through this gift of prophecy were given clear directives as to how to “finish the work,” and also the roadmap of how their course would develop, the opposition that they would encounter, and the final assurance that their work will be successful.
            So it is in response to this gift, and its many life and world changing messages that the present Church is to fully act upon, and not seeking for another miraculous manifestation from God, especially with no present insurmountable obstacle to the work under this gift. If Church members today endeavored to live according to all that this gift has Biblically set out, both individually and corportately, they would then see the realization of various great works that are promised with the outpouring of God’s Spirit, even if now solely through practical acts as opposed to supernatural one. Indeed ‘if this “Early Rain” is not appreciated, then how could the Latter Rain be even seen or understood’ (TM 399.1-2, 507.1; cf. Hos 10:12-15; 6:1-3.  See this post for the “True Righteousness” outworkings of this True Spirit Outpouring.).
            As it was previously seen it the life of Jesus who received a full Baptism of the Holy Spirit, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit will lead the recipient to enter into a threefold aspect of ministry, namely Biblical teaching, the preaching the Good News of the Kingdom of God, and the healing of disease and sickness. (Matt 4:23). This is indeed what the disciples set out to do once they understood that they had been baptized with the Holy Spirit with their first seen ability to speak in an unknown language. In this sign, they therefore had the indication that God’s enabling and complementing power would accompany their efforts.
            This work that the Holy Spirit was to do was quite simply to miraculously accomplish what the disciples could not do of their own power or in a timely manner. The same principle holds today. Indeed with the Gift of Prophecy, the pioneers of the SDA Church were able to accomplish many things that were conceivably beyond their own power. Today the full effects of that gift are now more concretely seen, however that earlier outpouring has also resulted in removing many obstacles for us today in continuing to accomplish this work. We today cannot be hindered by a lack of education, for we have inherited a world wide, complete system of professional educational. We cannot be hindered by a lack of capabilities to help the sick because we have inherited and directed to both the Biblical and Scientific knowledge and medical facilities to do so. In terms of Biblical preaching and teaching, the Church also has the advanced education to make proper Biblical studies, and the various resources to proclaim these teachings throughout the world, in, quite feasibly, any language of the world. So we do have all of the tools necessary to tangibly, fully carry out these threefold Spirit-filled work as Christ, as the disciples did. The question is then, are we further investing and developing the inherited “talents” and resources to achieve the work that God intends for us to do in this world through them, or have these gifts become an individually egoistical idol in themselves as any misused gift of the Spirit can become. Is the Church today wrongly looking for another supernatural outpouring from God while it is neglecting to put to proper and full the gift of supernatural origin that it already has been given in great, if not full measure, to indeed finish the work? For it is only when ‘ continue to let our light shine, as did those who were baptized with the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, that we will receive more and still more of the Spirit’s power.’ (AA 54).[2]

Results of the Outpouring Today
            As stated before, the outpouring of God’s Spirit will always supernaturally do what the recipients cannot do of themselves, but it surely is not the greater work that can be done if the Church today, like the disciples of old, were truly “of one mind,” and also properly used their present, abundant resources.[3] Perhaps once these resources are properly and wholly invested in God’s work, then God will be able to add other, even, supernatural gifts. Most of these additional gifts however will only manifest themselves when the present gifts are used towards their intended end. I.e., educational facilities that train professional, missionary workers, who engage in meeting the world’s vital needs rather than aim to have a good paying career for oneself. Medical facilities that are not established to make money, but to treat the needy who otherwise would go untreated. A Biblical teaching and preaching ministry that focuses on seeking to do all that needs to be done to properly, and effectively meet the spiritual needs of all. A global Church family that come together like the disciples of old, to support each other economically so that the full work of God be done and advanced. (Acts 2:44-47; 4:32-35).
            Furthermore, a study of the topic of the “Latter Rain outpouring” in the SOP (see e.g., LDE 183-196) shows that it is directly connected with the rise of opposition to the Third Angel’s message, for the empowering of its “Loud Voice” in the 4th Angel. So perhaps the Church should focus on giving the proper warning of the Third Angel’s message first, utilizing their Early Rain gifts to their full effect, which when Biblically, fully understood involve much more than just the preaching of the sacredness of the Seventh Day Sabbath, but a practical application of God’s Sabbatical principles in everyday, socio-economic life. Indeed when such feasible works will be done, then: sufficient food and water will be supplied to meet the current world’s lack; all people with treatable disease will be treated; life damaging and threatening living conditions will be fixed; people in need will have decent housing and living condition; the many casualties and destruction that occurs from natural disasters would be considerably lessened by the widespread implementation of the many known technological/engineering preventive and countermeasures; the gospel message will be readily available to all who want to hear it; proper and full education will be obtainable by all; even many military conflicts and threats of war will be reduced and subsided by the resolution of many of the underlying problems that fuel them (= Isa 2:3-4|Mic 4:3-4); abortion will be unequivocally seen as the murderous resort that it is in the light of a then readily available adoption-giving alternative; among many other probable possibilities. Again, all these tasks are achievable under the effects of solely the present “Early Rain.” Indeed, ultimately, the only supernatural intervention that will be needed to be done then in regards to various vital world needs, will, and can only be, accomplished by Christ at his Return, (cf. Ezek 39:29) and that namely will be the ‘defeat of the last enemy, death.’ (cf. 1 Cor 15:26; Gen 2:17b; Rom 6:23a). So when the Church today becomes busy in accomplishing all of these quite feasible, all-encompassing “Sabbatical” tasks, perhaps it is then that God will begin to do whatever needed task that Church still cannot do, especially in the light of an overreaching, lawless opposition that more than likely will come, especially as the current god in capitalistic economies will affected by such a Biblical stance.
            Such a global testimony will undoubtedly have the same effect that the Apostolic outpouring had. Indeed it will, as a whole, be in sharp contrast to the current ways of this selfish, indifferent and individualistic world. As such, this will indeed be a prominent, attention gaining gift. It will also be a pertinent and timely in that, these vital conditions in the world are becoming increasingly worst as the global population increases and current wasteful use of various vital resources cause more and more insufficiencies. The Church today wrongly, and quite basely, sees all of these man-made/sustained troubles as signs that the end is soon to come, and this would explain why no remedying concern is given, nor effort made, to actually end and fix these problems. Instead the presence of these signs are seen as the perfect props to corroborate messages of impeding doom. However it is actually the Gospel message that is rendered as powerless by not being able to overturn these man-made/sustained issues. Also Jesus did not instruct his followers to preach the signs of the times, but instead to seek to provide the best and most convicting testimony of God’s Kingdom (Matt 24:14 & 28: 19-20) in the light of them, a testimony that will be more powerful if it is demonstrated, rather than merely spoken of. (1 Tim 6:16-17; James 2:14-26; Heb 13:16; 1 John 3:17 - interestingly enough, the example that James gives for his Faith vs. Works teaching is that of meeting the needs of the poor.) Indeed if the Church actually has an all-encompassing, practical Gospel Work to do in regards to the proper proclamation of Kingdom of God, but such a testimony is not being made mainly because the Church is itself also defeated by these man-caused problems, then really, what contrasting Biblical testimony does it possess to give to ‘all of the world’s nations.’

            So in summary, let the Church today “simply” put in full Biblical use the Spirit-led resources that it has already received, and that at ‘an infinite cost’, and it will then see the “Latter Rain” outpouring that it is praying, and looking, for. The other posts in this blog provide various indicators of how this can be done, and also what internal corporate, even reformatory, work needs to be done to in order to be in a spiritual position to be able to practically, and effectively do so.
            As it is said in the Spirit of Prophecy, when the Holy Spirit will be poured out on the Church then will:

‘Every Christian will see in his brother a revelation of divine love and benevolence. One interest prevailed; one subject of emulation swallowed up all others. The ambition of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ’s character [cf. COL 62-69] and to labor for the enlargement of His kingdom.’ AA 48 [paraphrased with emphasis supplied]

...Consequence of Not Having the Outpouring (=Matt 25:11-13)
            When speaking the (pivotal prophetic) parable of the Ten Virgins in Matt 25:1-13, Jesus of course knew exactly what he was veiledly/cryptically saying (cf. Matt 13:10-17) especially by the quite non-sequitur way in which he ended that end time parable (as likewise done in Luke 19:17, 19 =Matt 25:14-30). Indeed Jesus ends this parable by having the Bridegroom (=Himself) telling the ‘foolish/moronic’ Virgins who had returned from purchasing the ‘oil for their lamps’ (=Holy Spirit for understanding the Word of God;  -Psa 119:105; Zech 4:2-6), not, as commonly presumed, that: ‘they were too late’...but rather,  that “Truly, I  do not know you” (Matt 25:12). Manifestly He did not even open the door since the voice of these 5 virgins was not known by him. Relatably, in John 10, Jesus had gone through a whole expounding on how ‘He knows His sheep, and that by name, because they had first heard His voice and followed Him and His leading’ (John 10:3, 4, 16, 27). So if here Jesus does not know the 5 virgins, it evidently is because, unlike the wise virgins, they had failed to be prepared to receive Him. To Jesus, and this is where the symbolism of this parable veers into drawing from Christ’s actual teaching, that was the determining demonstration that they had priorly heeded His voice about being ready, circularly enough, as this parable had warned...
            So in straightforward application: when there was a delay in His Second Coming, they did not have the further Holy Spirit unction and guidance to be able to keep making the light of the Word of God, and themselves, shining “in good works” (Matt 5:14-16) in a dark world as they were awaiting the Bridegroom’s marriage celebration (Rev 19:6-9 = Matt 22:1-14)
            Moreover Christ saying to them that ‘He did not know them’ echoes what Jesus says to, likewise “Lord, Lord” professing Believers in Matt 7:21-23, and who actually been seemingly doing miraculous works in His name. But Jesus tells them that ‘they had been practicising lawlessness.’ This clearly is the spurious Christianity Mark of the Beast camp who had been coalesced by miracles as the Beast, False Prophet and Dragon group (Rev 16:13-14) in opposition to God’s righteous ones (Rev 16:16; 17:12-14). And these had failed to be, or remain, true Christians by having failed to wear Christ’s white robe (Rev 16:15 = Rev 3:3-5) manifested in righteous acts. (Rev 19:8). -See prophetic exposition on this MOB camp in this post on “Gog and Magog” at Ezek 39:24.
            So, in interpreting summary, the group of foolish virgins that Jesus bans from entering his Wedding Feat Hall are ‘professing, but false, Mark of the Beast Camp, “Believers”, thus namely “Papists, Protestant [thus also SDAs] and Worldings” (GC 588.3a; Mar 190.2), who have not received this Real/Actual “Latter Rain” Outpouring/Anointing of God’s Spirit, -but the false/Satanic one, which had led them to embark on a spurious movement for establishing of a claimed Godly millennium, based on Babylonian religious beliefs, Capitalistic socio-economics and Humanistic “good works” which Jesus readily sees right through as still violators of all of God’s Law. They had actually neither “Love God” nor “Loved their Fellow Man” (Matt 22:36-40) as Jesus had also commanded them to do if they really loved Him, and in order to receive the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-17ff; Acts 5:32). So this is a collective group of people who, unlike God’s True People (Rev 14:12), as depicted in this parable, as Christ delayed His Coming, -due to their unreadiness and being unsealed continued to remain unready by never having been guided by God’s Spirit into seeing the Fuller, Spiritual Meaning of God’s Law (cf. 2 Cor 4:-18)...until it was too late because when they finally realized their error, it was when it was actually when Jesus had already begun to (Spiritually/Typologically) accomplished His Second Coming Jubilee Millennium (Final) Kingdom purposes and they, including SDAs (EW 36.2), had candidly proven themselves to be unfit, and even warring enemies of Christ. (Rev 17:14; 19:11-16)
            As the SOP definingly stated in TM 233.2: ‘the “oil” in Matt 25:13ff actually represents the righteousness = character of Christ’. And that is indeed Spiritually true because God’s “Holy Spirit” and its Latter Rain Outpouring is supposed to lead the receiver to have the Heavenly Character of Christ (=COL 384.1-2; 67.3-69.2) and thus lead them to super-“naturally” do the “right-doing” (=righteousness) works of Christ (cf. Eph 2:10; Gal 5:13-16ff), thus also no longer committing the ‘sins of omission’ of Matt 25:42-43!!

Additional Comment
            It may be knee-jerkedly assumed after reading this post that what is being expounded upon here is a belief that the “Latter Rain Outpouring” will solely be a pragmatic affair and not involve any spiritual, “inner-person” work, however that is not, and indeed, cannot be, the Biblical case. One cannot truly emulate Christ’s character and do such works of His without also having “spiritually and innerly” been fully baptized by the Holy Spirit. (cf. Acts 10:38; Matt 4:23). What is being emphasized in this blog post is that this Baptism will only come, both on a personal and corporate level, when individuals and the Church step out to truly/actually do what Jesus fully expects in these times. Nevertheless, as the outpouring in the time of the Disciples was quite pragmatic (i.e., the gift of speaking in unlearned languages), as was the outpouring at the time of the founding of the Remnant Work (i.e., the divine confirmation of Biblical Studies for a group who had very little theological education/training), an outpouring in our time will similarly be meeting a pragmatic need of the Church today, and that is the need to recognize and admits its entrenched and revered faults, and confess and “divorce” them.
            Indeed, the message to Laodicea is unequivocal that this Church needs to fully and truly recognize its greatly impeding “Lukewarm” state and “zealously repent” so that God can then abundantly bless her, and thus elevate her to the position that He wishes to place her in. (Rev 3:19-21). Therefore the most urgent need of the Church today is, as it is pertinently/applicably prophetically stated in Zech 12:10a(-13:9): a need for a ‘spirit of [concrete earnestness to obtain (i.e., attain the position for)] “favor” (Pro 13:15; 3:3-4; 28:23; 3:34; Psa 45:2; Zec 4:7; Eccl 9:11; Pro 22:1, 11) andsupplication” (Jer 3:21-22; 31:6-9; Dan 9:17-18, 23; 2 Chr 6:21; Psa 28:2; cf. Amos 8:10).’ [=Matt 22:33-44|COL 284.1-306.4] Then, and only then, will the begin to understand how vilely sinful their present blessings-squandering (cf. Gen 12:2; LDE 59.3-60.2) and insufficiently benevolent, works are to Jesus Christ Himself and thus how they are contributing to His sufferings. (Zech 12:10b)[4] Indeed these are the two key elements that were manifested in Jacob during his (prophetic) time of trouble (Jer 30:7) that resulted in him being enduringly blessed by God. Such a petition will therefore not result in a facade, or lip service, of ‘“claiming” to want this gift,’ nor a quasi-taunting: “there-I've-done-my-(due)-part-in-“earnestly asking”’ stance, but like Jacob it will be an unrelenting striving, active “wrestling”, and potentially even ‘God-surprising determination’ to do all that is necessary to see that God’s desires and will be done, and if at all possible -through God’s grace and favor, through us. There will then be a ‘not letting go’ of God and His Promises, Blessings and Ultimate Will (cf. Isa 55:7-13), nor a disregard for the major paradigm changes that this will require in one’s personal life. And, typologically, all in a context of ‘needed assurance of victory over an enraged, and menacingly/threateningly advancing (unfaithful and indolent) “brother” who had previously given up this ‘birthright and its promises’ for immediate and expedient temporal gain.[5] (Gen 25:27-34; 32:23-32; cf. PP (Ch. 18) 195-203).
            As stated above, what will be fundamentally involved in all of this will be: not doing, nor being contended to only do, ‘what the current “deified” and worshipped Capitalistic economy “allows” to be done, but uncompromisingly what God desires for and through His Chosen People, the true inheritors of Israel.

[1] Interestingly enough, in Paul’s consistent emphasis throughout 1 Cor 14 that ‘those who speak in tongues should always have a translator present so that they could be understood, or else they should keep silence.’ [Cf. this satirically comical take on the infamous Kenneth Copeland gibberish], it thus seems like God’s gift of tongues was a momentarily, completely overmastering one, in the sense that, as in the Babel episode, the speaker of that newly endowed new language ability neither could themselves speak their prior language and thus translate what they had said, nor, when they later were able to (only) speak their original language, were they then able to translate what they had priorly said. Indeed taking the time to alternatingly-simultaneously translate that communication would have taken just as much time to have the speaker him/her-self subsequently do this translating. So the issue clearly was not one of time, nor even about remembering, per se what had been said in that foreign language, but, and manifestly only thereafter as they would be ‘(alone) edified while speaking’ (1 Cor 14:4a), in the speaker understanding what they had just said. Hence: ‘in his spirit he does speak mysteries/hidden things’. (1 Cor 14:2). So it can thus be seen how a person speaking in tongues without a translator would be of benefit to no one, manifestly, lastingly including him/her-self after they were done, as they then would not be able to recall or understand those spoken “hidden things”...and clearly which remained “hidden” if they were not immediately or simultaneously translated.

[2] It seems like the “in-thing” in the Church today, especially from GC leaders, apparently in response to the urging of some church members that the Church should do more to “Finish the Work” is that ‘the Church will not/cannot “Finish the Work”’ because it is only God [through angels] who will do this. Often Rom 9:28 is cited in support of this view, followed by a non-sequitur, double-talking, semantics-based, attempt to rationalize that view. (See e.g. Mark Finley - GYC 2009 - Pentecost Repeated Part 2 [11:56-15:57ff]Ed Reid - Unmistakable Signs of the End [1:41:59-1:42:54]). However here, there is a typical panoply of errors with this view, which is the typical fruit from the endemic dysfunction of the Church, and surely is no excuse.
            First of all in the light of all of what the Bible and SOP has to say in regards of the commission and duty of the Christian in the work that is to be done in preparation for the Return of Christ, it can readily, surfacely be seen that this view, based solely on one text, is nothing more than a proof-texted, subjective and reactionary view. This was certainly not the position of the Church : Global Satellite Evangelism Seminars were being done annually, or recent initiatives such as the ca. 2004's: "Year of Evangelism" [now downed site], “Sow 1 Billion”, “Go 1 Million”, and “Tell The World”, see also GC President’s Jan Paulsen’s pertinent comments). It only seems that in the light of these large scale, Church initiatives not having brought forth the anticipated results, that the Church has now recoiled and adopted a reactionary view that effectively says, that ‘since our dedicated efforts didn’t “Finish the Work” as planned, then, as, we surely and unquestionably have done, and are doing, everything right, it must be that we will not be able to ‘accomplish the great commission.’ So it must be ‘God who do this work for us’(?!?).’ [All of this is the product of a Church that has an unbiblical theological understanding, and view of “God and the Future”, where prophecy is wrongly viewed as being telic rather than ecbatic/fientive, and even if tangible efforts are made to bring about an prophesied end, (as according to the Biblical ecbatic/fientive view) under the still understood telic view of the Church, when such efforts fail, then it is the anticipated end that must involve some sort of failure, including a misunderstanding of the timing or event that was expected, ‘but definitely not the Church’s “blameless” expended efforts... in any way!’ Interestingly enough, under the Biblical ecbatic/fientive view, the fault for the non-fulfillement of a prophesied event can, and only is, with the professed Believers, and never with God, in any way, for whenever it is that stipulated conditions for the fulfillment of the prophecy are rightly, and fully, met, then God will surely do His part. Therefore this Biblical view leads to the right introspective soul-searching of Believers to pinpoint exactly what they did wrong. So rather than rushing ahead to “Cross the Jordan” and conquer Canaan, the Church should first seek to find out what various sins, even sanctioned, “privatized”, individual ones (3T 269-270, cf. 260), as, respectively, would-have-been, and was, Achan’s (Jos 7~PP 493-504), are within the camp, e.g., starting with this one!]
            In fact every proclamation of this view has a pervasively odd, patronizing, self-righteous and prideful tinge to it, which is effectively saying to the Church membership: ‘don’t even bother, or worry about, this ‘finishing of the work’ thing, because we ourselves, even at the GC level, cannot even do it.’ Well, to put it succinctly, if you have tried to buy a snack in a vending machine that costs $1.50, by putting in only $0.20, then you cannot discourage others from seeking to buy that snack by claiming that ‘it must “out of order” for now and/or will probably only work later, when I again put in my 20 cents for that same snack.’ With the falsely rationalized meaning that: ‘the machine is refusing to do its part.’
            Even the also expressed pastoral intent of ‘trying to prevent church members from being disappointed when they do not “Finish the work” with their efforts’ is definitely not an acceptable reason to adopt this new view. You do not redefine theological understandings according to what will make you feel better. Again here, simply get the missing $1.30 and put it in the machine instead!
            Indeed the incongruent, self-contradicting and flawed, sanctimonious rational that ‘we’re not going to finish the work; God will... but we are going to help him’, is actually, inherently putting the blame on God for not having “enjoined” past large scale efforts of the Church and/or not now doing this work. So in short, the directive here is to sit back, keep things steady as they are, and wait until God begins to “finish the work,” because otherwise, any “premature” endeavor and effort to do so is all futile. Case in point, Ed Reid [at 1:42:22ff] quotes the SOP at 1SM 118 to provide an example how ‘God will finish the work’. That passage says in its fuller context of RH 15 Dec 1885:

“When divine power is combined with human effort, the work will spread like fire in the stubble. God will employ agencies whose origin man will be unable to discern; angels will do a work which men might have had the blessing of accomplishing, had they not neglected to answer the claims of God.” The work is now presented to man. Will he take it? There are at the present time many doors unbolted and thrown open to the workers. Will they enter these doors? Who is ready at the bidding of the Master to say, "Here am I, Lord, send me"? The Macedonian cry comes to us in pitiful appeals from all parts of the world, "Come over and help us."

            To say that this texts, from a message entitled: “A Missionary Appeal”, supports a ‘wait-for-God’ view is completely wrong. The text is saying that it is only when Divine power is combined with earthly efforts that the work will be done, but it is not saying that this is only to take place in the future -whenever it is that God wants it to. Instead the passage itself is a rebuke to professed believers today who have ‘“neglected to answer the claims of God” to do this work.’ It is then and only then that “foreign” (possibly not necessarily “divine”) agencies will be ‘substitutively brought in’ to do this work. It is then obvious that this work could have been done long before that, and that this “divine intervention”, which is distinct from the promised “divine assistance”, is solely implemented in the light of the failure of these capable professed believers. As it is said elsewhere in the SOP: “What human power can do divine power is not summoned to do.” (DA 535).
            The actual reason why the Church’s present efforts are not “blessed” with such Divine power is simply because it is not an offering that God can so blessed.  All things taken into consideration, it indeed is a 20 cents offering!
            Indeed the absence of a Divine power combined with human effort is entirely blamed upon the Church and not on God as Ellen White says:

“We must have the holy unction from God; we must have the baptism of the Holy Spirit; for this is the only efficient agent in the promulgation of sacred truth. Yet this is what we most lack. The divine power combined with human effort, connection first and last and ever with God, the source of our strength, is absolutely necessary in our work. We must hang our whole weight on the world’s Redeemer; he must be our dependence for strength. Without this, all our efforts will be unavailing. Even now the time has come when we must recognize this fully, or we shall be outgeneraled by a powerful, cunning foe. We must connect more closely with God; and all our plans and arrangements must be in harmony with his plans, or they will not prove effectual.” (par. 2)

            Also interestingly enough, this SOP message begins by telling the Church that: ‘in the four winds being held back by the angels of God,’ (Rev 7:1-3), which they still are: ‘there is nothing standing in the way of the Church doing a great work in warning the world.’ (par. 1). Exhortations are then made for the Church to unite, be of single-minded, “arouse, and not sit down at ease”, and set out to engage in all missions work that need to be done.
            The exact same understanding can be made for Reid’s other quoted passage of Ev. 188 which again, reproachedly says also in its full context (see TM 299, 300):

“Oh, that the Lord might guide you! You should never in a single instance allow hearsay to move you to action, and yet you have sometimes done this. Never take action to narrow and circumscribe the work unless you know that you are moved to do so by the Spirit of the Lord. Our people are doing work for foreign missions, but there are home missions that need their help just as much as these foreign missions. We should make efforts to show our people the wants of the cause of God, and to open before them the need of using means that God has entrusted to them to advance the work of the Master both at home and abroad. Unless those who can help in ----- are aroused to a sense of their duty, they will not recognize the work of God when the loud cry of the third angel shall be heard. When light goes forth to lighten the earth, instead of coming up to the help of the Lord, they will want to bind about His work to meet their narrow ideas. Let me tell you that the Lord will work in this last work in a manner very much out of the common order of things, and in a way that will be contrary to any human planning. There will be those among us who will always want to control the work of God, to dictate even what movements shall be made when the work goes forward under the direction of the angel who joins the third angel in the message to be given to the world. God will use ways and means by which it will be seen that He is taking the reins in His own hands. The workers will be surprised by the simple means that He will use to bring about and perfect His work of righteousness. Those who are accounted good workers will need to draw nigh to God, they will need the divine touch. They will need to drink more deeply and continuously at the fountain of living water, in order that they may discern God’s work at every point.

            This passage is quite pointedly speaking against those who would discourage workers from seeking to “Finish the Work,” especially with a theory that ‘all such efforts prior to God’s supposed time are futile.’ Talk about wanting to “bind about His work to meet their narrow ideas,” especially by derisively condemning such lay ‘Finishing the Work” ambitions and efforts as being ‘too simple for the actual “impossible” task at hand.’ As the saying goes, in the light of these simple efforts which God will actually enjoin and bless to Finish the Work, these leaders are just “shooting themselves in the foot.”

            Ed Reid also cites Matt 24:22 which speaks of ‘the Great Tribulation being cut short,’ in support of his view that ‘the end time work will be cut short in righteousness’, however that text specifically refers to the “Great Time of Trouble” (vs. 21), and, as seen a study of Bible Prophecies and the SOP, this event occurs after the: ‘sealing of the 144,000 and the Great Multitude; close of probation, and death decree (cf. GC 616-622), so it would have nothing to do with the preceding, “Work Finishing” evangelism efforts as this now will be too late. Ed Reid should know by now that even collating two “proof-texts” is not a substitute for sound Biblical exegesis, and thus does not produce a Biblical understanding.

            So, now going back to the often cited Rom 9:28, not restating here the many exegetical details to properly understand this passage, as seen in its rightly transmitted and translated in the NASB, this text is referring to the ‘thorough and quick accomplishment of the “word” (and not “work”) of God in the OT, in Isa 10:22, 23, of, actually, ‘great judgement and destruction stated that, ‘though Israel be numerous as the sand of the sea, only a remnant would be saved from it.’ And all of that because those seeking to attain that saving righteousness, went about it in an ungodly way (Rom 9:30-33). So there is not even in this text any mention of a ‘finishing of the work’ as in ‘doing the work that needs to be done in order to properly prepare the world for the Final Events and Second Coming.’ This is all something that a functional Church would have properly resolved and understood and not now build a false theology and methodology upon. As they say, as also with the often quoted SOP passages, ‘a text without its context, is only a pretext.’

[3] In this June 2011presentation on “Spiritual Gifts and Ministries” during 3ABN’s “Pillars of Our Faith” series, the current Speaker/Director of It Is Written, John Bradshaw, makes at [34:35-35:29] the manifestly/likely knowing, balking retort to such a statement here in this post in regards to: ‘God really not needing to supernaturally act in regards to this present, quite blessed and resource-rich, SDA Church in order for it to finish its work,’ by positing as an example ‘the 800+ indigenous language groups in Papua New Guinea who do not even know the Gospel, by not having access to Gospel material/media, including the Bible, in their languages.’ He therefore claims, after circularly ascertaining that ‘the end must be very soon,’ that ‘there will not be enough time to do such a translating work to communicate the Gospel to these, (and such other) people groups.’ Well as: (1) one of the required Gospel reach extent is indeed “every tongue” (Rev 14:6ff), and (2) the Church currently has the various resources, including human resources, to accomplish, even speedily, such a task, (a task that would most likely have its costs covered by the benefiting National Government, and could even legally and rightly impose copyright fees for the for-profit commercial use of this now written languages by corporations, e.g., Google Translate), then God will here surely not do for the Church what it is thus most effectively, rebelliously refusing to do, indeed preferring to expend such “valuable” time, effort and, controllingly, money, towards reaching its own worldly goals and ambitions.
            Case in point, there are two SDA Colleges/Universities in Papua New Guinea, namely Sonoma Adventist College and Pacific Adventist University, not to mention the other two nearby institutions of Fulton College in Fiji, and Avondale College in Australia. So if the “mission” of the Church for its Tertiary Educational Institutions had remained ‘to produced trained, even professional missionary to various assist in accomplishing the Church’s Gospel and Evangelism work’, then any of these four, indeed all four of these, institutions would, and that long ago, have tackled this language barrier issue, indeed even producing world firsts in, now, computer software to help speedily resolve such ‘unwritten languages problems.’
            And it is tellingly most hypocritical of the Church, in conjunction with those SDA College and Universities to be claiming on one hand that: ‘there (surely) is not enough time left to accomplish such (missions) work’, but on the other hand, annually gladly recruit and accept ca. 30,000 freshman students for their colleges and universities [data from tertiary enrollment stats here], who will mostly be embarking on a 4-6+ year pursuit of, either a purely secular vocation/degree, and/or simply have plans to use this education to work in non-Church mission-aiding, secular careers/jobs. And even in the case of pursuing nominatively “missions-friendly” careers, the resulting obtained jobs, even in SDA Institutions, merely, only “serve” those who are wealthy enough to pay for the provided services, and not people who are poor and destitute; -the “least of these”. So how again then does the Church not have ‘either the time or resources’ to, even speedily, produce material and media for all unreached people groups??? Simple, it is instead busy reverently obeying the dogmatic dictates of its Capitalistic god.
            And, also as a case in point, shouldn’t the, falsely so-called, English Language “Missionary” Institutes (e.g, this one) be, at least also, established in such countries and unreached regions as Papua New Guinea’s in order to most readily help facilitate the communication of the Gospel there, (not to mention help lift people in such inherently marginalized regions out of poverty by thus giving them ready access to educational resources), instead of being only located in already entered/“reached”, and also educated and economically advanced/wealthy, places such as Seoul, South Korea??! But of course, also here, ‘earning a revenue’ is the paramount objective, and so the poor are neglected and ‘left for God Himself to deal with’, which indeed is Freudianly, correspondingly establishing “Capitalism” as a matching, most formidable and powerful, opposing god! The depth of this by now fully-entrenched, ‘specially-crafted Satanic snare and delusion in the Church’ [=EW 266-269] is ever mind-bogglingly unfathomable! (=Ezek 9:8; 11:13)
            And pertinently, completely showing up of all of these wastes/neglected various resources, accessibility and capabilities by SDAs, see the example here[30:16ff] of the fully contrasting, expended and dedicated, sacrificing, preparation and service commitment to these People of Papua New Guinea by Missionary Mike Cratch, -(then, in 2005, only a Christian for 6 years), and his family (from Francis Chan’s (now former) Church.)

[4] In his March 30, 2013 sermon [31:21-33:17] restates from his pulpit a claim he received from a (“masterfully written”) private letter as to how the Latter Rain will be poured out on the Church. Well getting passed all of the, manifestly enthralling ‘artistical’ fluff to get right to the still unaddressed “critical” issue at hand here: actual love of/for God will be demonstrated by tangible actions towards people in either physical and/or Spiritual need. (Cf. 1 John 3:7-10ff; James 2:15-17). And then, as discussed in this post, in the light of the grand resolving task that people with such genuine God-like ambitions (=COL 69.1) will seek to undertake God will honor such faith by duly/necessarily providing enabling Supernatural guidance and assistance. (1 John 3:16-22). And that is indeed the only way that Love for God and Christ is demonstrated. (Matt 25:41-46; DA 637.1-2; 825.4; LDE 218.3; cf. this post). The very last thing that God needs is more mere vacuous words, (even if in prayers), from His professed people (Isa 29:13) because, as done with even the great man of faith that was Abraham (Gen 22:12; -actually after God came to doubt Abraham actual faith in him given his several past sins of faithlessness (i.e., in Gen 12:10ff; 16; 20)), God will always still wait to first see if people actually do love Him by how they then act. heart/treasure. And, interestingly enough, that is actually why He has not directly intervened to Himself rescue people in need. They are the means for the concrete test for those who profess to know, and believe in Him. And the kicker is that these poor and suffering ones will be granted much more salvific grace (cf. Matt 5:3), while those who indifferently allowed their sufferings to go on will be condemned for this.
            -Come to even more clear-mindedly/cerebrally think of it, that restated claim in Nelson’s sermon is as irrational as an abusive husband supplicating his wife to make him love her more so that he could stop being abusive to her....So really...SDA’s now [want to] believe that: “It’s all, and has all along been, God’s fault”!!! (How telling...Ev 696.3)!

[5] It is thus that it can be seen (see also Gen 26:34) how and why God justly came to ‘hate Esau’ (Mal 1:2, 3) [indeed in the same way as ‘God “hates” (Isa 61:8; Amos 5:15; Zec 8:17; Mal 2:16), or ‘comes to hate’ (Jer 12:8; Hos 9:15) many other unrighteous things,’ and not “love less” as some have needlessly and spuriously sought to defensively rationalize]. Given the great, and divinely ratified, blessings that were promised to the descendants of Abraham, and the then living miracle child Isaac, his father, Esau’s outright indifference toward God and His Redemptive Work was “high-handed” enough to justify this quite appropriate reaction from God. Still God justly let Esau live his life, though deliberately, ‘in misery.’ (Mal 1:3).

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