The Awakening and the Restoration

by C. Parker Thomas

“The Awakening and the Restoration” was written by Bro. Thomas and published in the November-December, 1983 issue of the “Midnight Cry Messenger.”

“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.” Matt. 25:6-7.

As we have brought out previously, the ten virgins (wise and foolish) will be slumbering and sleeping at the midnight hour just before the bridegroom comes. Beyond doubt this slumbering and sleeping covers a period of time that we can’t be specific about. Although they had a knowledge of his coming they had more or less grown weary with the seeming delay and went to sleep.

Nothing makes you more weary than unfulfilled anticipation that finally turns to unbelief and boredom. And lifeless sermons whether they are loud and noisy or quiet and dignified in the same religious atmosphere puts more people to sleep than anything else. It’s my conviction that the virgins were asleep because they had become so accustomed to the same traditional sound. It was like a broken record playing the same old tune over and over again.

II Peter 3:3-4 says, “Knowing, this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, Walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming: for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”

After you hear something over and over again long enough, your brain accepts it as part of your normal and proper environment. You actually reach the place where you don’t want to hear anything different because it would disturb your tranquility. Yet, it’s going to take something different to arouse and awaken the sleeping virgins. The awakening itself will also involve a time period.

The scriptures point to the general condition of religious mankind in the last days which is certainly typical of today. Paul said, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” II Tim. 3:5.

This form of godliness has reference to the manifestation or outward show of religion that has no capacity for spiritual reality. In fact, its spiritual structure is such that true spiritual reality is excluded.

The purpose and design of such religious form is to bring man into captivity to a system devoid of the life of God. It either appeals to his intellect or his sensual being and thus his religious quest is satisfied, but he is still in his sins.

Historically, religion, both pagan and Christian, evolves or degenerates into specific forms of worship. Their doctrines and governments are cleverly designed to hold captive within its bounds its adherents. This was the spirit that built the first Babylon and it is still true of Babylon today. Gen. 11:4. However those who are enmeshed in religious Babylon are not aware of it.

In order to perpetuate, preserve and continue their traditional concept of things, “... they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” II Tim. 4:3-4.

This scripture is saying that they will assemble or gather to themselves teachers (preachers, ministers) that will preach what their ears want to hear. This is exactly what every denomination, sect and cult does.

Like manufacturing plants, their churches, schools and seminaries produce preachers that will nourish and perpetuate their particular church systems. All of these together with their divergent doctrines, religious concepts and traditions, constitute “Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth.” Rev. 17:5.

The wise and foolish virgins have drunk from Babylon’s golden cup for many years. Many of the doctrines and religious traditions of the Great Whore have filtered down to her many harlot daughters even before the protestant reformation.

If the virgins are to be awakened to the reality of Christ’s soon return they must listen to something different from what they are used to within the confines of Babylon. Let’s not forget the woman on the back of the beast has many daughters that have excelled her in witchcraft and religious sorcery. Before the slumbering virgins will consider something different from their religious seduction they must be disturbed. They must begin to see the hopelessness of the world system, both religious and political.

As long as they feel comfortable and at ease in Zion they will not be interested in anything else. Babylon must fall. The beginning of the fall of Babylon comes with the realization that there is no hope or future in apostate religion or the world system. World conditions plus the threat of nuclear war will be a big factor.

The present hue and cry for a nuclear arms freeze and a world peace treaty will continue until they think they have accomplished their goal. I Thess. 5:3 says, “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”

Thank God! As Lot was called out of Sodom before the fire and brimstone fell, God’s people will come out of Babylon before she is judged. Rev. 18:4, I Thess. 5:9, Luke 17:28-30.

The greatest shaking the world has ever experienced is coming. It is time for the wise virgins to arise and trim their lamps. The climax of the ages is upon us. It is time for the sounding of the midnight cry.

The end result of all this will be the destruction of the kingdoms of this world and the establishment of a kingdom that cannot be moved. Heb. 12:25-29, Rev. 11:15-18, Isa. 24:16-23.

The midnight cry will be unique and different. It will be light that dispels the darkness that put the virgins to sleep. Have you ever noticed that early morning light arouses and awakens you after a night’s sleep? The only people who can sleep on after light comes are those who are drunk, drugged, dead or in a coma.

This light will be the revelation of God’s word. It will be Holy Ghost revelation in contrast to the darkness of tradition and error. Those who receive the light first will be those who make the midnight cry. Like Noah being warned of God of things to come they will move with fear and cry out, “... Behold, the bridegroom cometh: go ye out to meet him.” Matt. 25:6.

The light, of course, involves much more than a simple cry of warning. It will be the opening of the book that has been sovereignly sealed till the time of the end. I do not mean by this that we haven’t had a measure of truth since the Lord said, “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” Dan. 12:4.

Those things that were hidden in Daniel’s time pertained to the time of the end. And one of the keys to understanding when this time comes is men running to and fro in the earth and knowledge being increased.

I am persuaded that this scripture is in process of being fulfilled. The increase of knowledge from the standpoint of science and technology staggers the imagination. This is the computer age, the splitting of the atom and the exploration of outer space.

Think also of how common it is for men to span oceans and continents in a matter of hours. Jet planes, helicopters, automobiles and trains enable people to go anywhere they want to go. World events and happenings are brought right into our living rooms by television. Satellites are circling the earth spying on our enemies.

I personally think there is a parallel in the increase of human knowledge and the increase of divine knowledge. However, we are not to confuse the two or in any wise think they are the same. In fact, the more man learns naturally or scientifically the less capacity he has for God.

This is simply because he becomes puffed up in his mind and feels self-sufficient. I Cor. 8:1. Speaking specifically of the last days, Paul said that men would be “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” II Tim. 3:7.

The spirit of Babylon still rules in the hearts of men. The increase of human knowledge without God results in more world empires whose design is to glorify man instead of God. Gen. 11:1-9.

Divine knowledge or revelation has the opposite effect on man. It humbles him and makes him more God conscious and dependent upon the Lord. Isaiah’s vision of the Lord high and lifted up is a good example of the transforming effect of the revelation of God to the heart of man. Isa. 6:1-8.

Dead, formal religion or the letter of the word does not stir or move people. If anything, it lulls them to sleep. Divine revelation infuses life and becomes a catalyst that awakens and moves man. Noah is a good example of this. “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” Heb. 11:7.

The midnight cry is the revelation or the light that will awaken the sleeping virgins. This awakening light will also be a restoration of apostolic truth and revelation that was purposely hid until this climactic day.

Much that was understood by the apostles and the early church has been buried under a morass of error and religious tradition. This began shortly after Pentecost as uninspired and apostate leaders took control of the church.

Zechariah spoke of a day known only to the Lord in which the light would be neither clear nor dark. Zech. 14:6-7. Paul confirmed this even in his day. “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” I Cor. 13:9-10.

The church made its entry into the world in a blaze of pristine glory and power and it will go out the same way. Prov. 4:18-19 says, “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.”

As the light grows brighter, the darkness will intensify and increase its grip upon the minds of unbelieving men. The end result will be strong delusion and damnation for the wicked and glorification for the righteous. II Thess. 1:7-10.

Isaiah speaks of this coming light and the gross darkness that will cover the earth. In fact, the darkness and the light is increasing rapidly as this age comes to a close. Rom. 9:28. “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.” Isa. 60:1-2.

Although many Bible expositors think this applies only to the beginning of the church age, I believe its greater fulfillment takes place as the age comes to a close.

The sleeping virgins cannot rise and shine until their light comes. And only the wise virgins with oil (Holy Spirit) will be able to get ready and go in with the bridegroom.

Did it ever occur to you that these great revival crusades bringing tens of thousands of people together in one place to hear such men as Billy Graham may be part of this awakening process? Think of the millions all over the world who have heard Billy Graham alone, by radio, television, movies and in person.

Although I do not agree with much of this, some measure of truth mixed in with tradition, error and easy believism has created religious excitement and served to arouse some. A few have come to faith and, like the foolish virgins, some have gone in search of oil elsewhere. The end result of many of these union revivals is to tell the seekers to join the church of their choice.

There could be more time involved in the awakening than we realize. Although Christ’s coming is recognized and preached in a measure by most ministers, much tradition and error is mixed in with it.

The last phase of the awakening will deal with the specifics of his coming and clear up the tradition and error that exists. However, we must realize that much of the professing Christian world is in an apostate condition of unbelief and they will not be able to see what is taking place nor will they recognize or hear the midnight cry.

Awareness of Christ’s soon coming is predicated upon the ability to see what is actually taking place. Only a few will have ears to hear and eyes to see what is taking place and be able to relate those things to the scriptures. Most of the world will be totally blind to these things, including tradition blinded professors of Christianity.

The last phase of the awakening will not only arouse and awaken the sleeping virgins but it will also separate the foolish from the wise. Not able to obtain oil from the wise virgins, the foolish virgins will go to the churches of their choice seeking oil.

Wherever they go it will be too late to get oil. At this point in time the withdrawal of God’s Spirit because of the hardness of men’s hearts will be universal. Like those who rejected Noah’s warning, the day must come when the Lord will no longer strive with man. Gen. 6:3. This will actually be the condition just before the Lord comes.

When the imagination of men’s hearts reached the place where they were evil continually God was through with them. The next thing in order when this happens is judgment. God first removes the righteous and then judgment is poured out. This was the pattern when God destroyed mankind with the flood. Gen. 6:5-18. This was the pattern when God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Gen. 18 and 19. And this will be the pattern when God destroys the world by fire.

I personally believe we are much nearer the coming of the Lord than we would dare realize. This means the deliverance of God’s people and the destruction of the earth by fire; only this time it will be eternal. When man reaches a place where God no longer deals with him, there is nothing left but judgment. II Thess. 1: 7-10, II Peter 3:10-14, Luke 17:28-29.

I concur with the observation of many that man in general has reached the place where he has no desire or capacity to turn to God. The message and emphasis of the Holy Ghost is to get the wise virgins ready for the coming bridegroom. This also involves coming out of Babylon before she is destroyed by fire.

The messenger who appeared to John on the Isle of Patmos said, “... Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.

“He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

“And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Rev. 22:10-12.

Please note that this was God’s message just before the return of Christ. In contrast to the sealing of the book in Daniel’s time (Dan. 12:4), the book could no longer be sealed. Because the time was at hand, everything hid in God for future generations could no longer be hid. This was the last generation, there would be no more, all things must be fulfilled.

Jesus said, “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 shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” Matt. 24: 32-34.

At this point in time everything was finished and the climax of the ages was at hand. Man’s time had run out. He that was unjust or filthy had to remain in that condition. There would be no more opportunity because the door of salvation was closed. Of course he that was holy or righteous would remain in that blessed state at Christ’s coming.

With destinies sealed, the only thing left was Christ’s coming and the great white throne judgment where the Lord will reward the righteous and the unbelieving according to what is written in the books. Rev. 20:11-15.

I am fully aware of traditional theology which says there will be two judgments, one for the righteous and one for the wicked. The first one is the judgment seat of Christ in which the righteous will receive their rewards. And the second is the great white throne judgment supposedly a thousand years later plus a little season.

And there are some who believe in additional judgments such as the judgment of the nations and the judgment of angels.

Belief in these various judgments is for the most part the result of traditional theology which says the world will continue on for seven years plus a thousand years, plus a little season after Christ comes. This type of thinking is a conspiracy of Satan to cause people to think they will have another opportunity after Christ comes.

As Paul said to the Corinthians, “... I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. II Cor. 6:2.

As Noah, the father, was given God’s message for his family, the midnight cry message will be given to the spiritual fathers who love the children and feel their responsibility toward them. And the children in turn will respond to the love and concern of their spiritual fathers.

This turning of the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers speaks of the love and unity that is so necessary for the church to manifest Christ in the earth. This will also be the answer to Christ’s prayer that we might be made perfect in one. John 17:21, Mal. 4:5-6.

The church started out with such great love and unity that they had all things in common. And God was in the midst in such a way as the church has never experienced since. Matt. 18:15-20, Acts 2:41-47.

The father ministry will not only be a ministry that will awaken the sleeping virgins but the restoration of apostolic truth will restore the glory and power of the early church.

The apostasy is responsible for professionalism in the church. Ministers who are bound by tradition and are more interested in a big church and a fat check cannot help God’s people. Paul says, “For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for

in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.” I Cor. 4:15.

The ministry gifts given by Christ for the work of the ministry and the perfecting of the saints are even now being restored. Eph. 4:10-16. The church Christ is coming for will be a glorious church without spot, wrinkle or blemish. Eph. 5:26-27.

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