A Three-Count and the Ten Virgins
In the good old days, children were informed, “I’ll Count to Three, and Then…” Once you were given the Three-Count, your warning was sufficient, before suffering the penalty. The parable of the ten virgins echoes a similar warning. Five of them were wise, and five were foolish; which are you?
Three-Count: A Three-Count was what we all needed to get our attention, knowing very well what comes after the Three-Count would not be good. We knew that being raised in Hawaii, this was a universal concept, because at family gatherings we all compared who got the worst “lickens.” Our last family reunion in 2013, I shot a video specifically called “Lickens,” where each of you told the camera who gave you the most “lickens” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnn2n2t5UxQ). However, if anyone would argue that our parents were negative, none of us would agree. We’d all say that, it was the concern of a loving parent.
Likewise, when Christ introduces the necessity for baptism, he uses a 1 to 3 ratio of (1) positive to (3) negative warnings. One good reason to be baptized, …and a Three-Count to describe the penalty for not complying. The 1:3 ratio regarding baptism can be summed up in 3 Nephi, chapter 11, as follows:
- Positive: Be baptized, and you’ll be saved and inherit the Kingdom of God (v33)
- Negative #1: Not baptized, and you’ll be damned: meaning stopping your forward progression (v34)
- Negative#2: Not baptized, and you’ll NOT be visited with fire and the Holy Ghost, and will NOT be made one with the Father and the Son (v35-37)
- Negative#3: Not baptized, and you’ll never inherit the Kingdom of God (v38)
In Christ’s appearance to the Nephites, He used a Three-Count. If anyone would argue that Christ was negative, anyone who KNEW Christ would NOT agree. We’d all say that, it was the concern of a loving parent.
The difference between our parenting and God’s parenting is, …our penalties offer nothing but PUNISHMENT. Whereas God’s penalty offers a hidden message of knowledge, inviting all who repent to obtain a great blessing. Consider the hidden message in the negative consequences, and you might see the Lord still trying to bless you, even in His condemnation, as all parent’s warnings ought to do. It tells you:
- How baptism continues your progression
- How baptism prepares you to receive fire and the Holy Ghost, to be made one with the Father and the Son
- How baptism provides you the ability to inherit the Kingdom of God
While our parents did their best, this example is how a Father in Heaven would properly implement a Three-Count, so that even His condemnation still offers a blessing.
Ten Virgins: The parable of the Ten Virgins offers another Three-Count lesson that we can all learn from, similar to the one above. I have recently learned that there are three major parts to a Jewish wedding: The Proposal/ The Preparation/ and The Wedding. Here’s a brief explanation, so that you can see how it relates to the big picture we call the plan of salvation:
- The Proposal: This was a negotiation, just like Johnny Lingo’s eight cows for Mahana. The terms of the agreement were established, and accepted by both parties. The groom paid the full-price “up front,” and then left to prepare their home, and for the bride to make her own preparations.
- The Preparation: The groom went away to build their home. The bride was made pure (a virgin) by washing and anointing, and accumulating a reservoir of oil, or light, as her dowry. When both were prepared, they awaited the Father’s signal for the return of the groom. While they waited, the bride was to maintain her purity as a virgin.
- The Wedding: It wasn’t until the wedding day that both parties proved that they kept their end of the bargain. The groom had already paid the price, and had the choice to receive the bride, simply by returning. The bride, however, still had something to prove. She had to prove her purity and cleanliness by the oil in her lamp. Only the virgins with oil in their lamps, at the return of the groom attended the wedding. At the wedding, those without sufficient oil failed to perform what was negotiated, and were locked out of the wedding. All who were inside were washed, anointed, and clothed in a wedding garment …by the groom. They all partook in the wedding feast.
Five Foolish: The five foolish virgins were washed and pronounced clean, but failed to maintain their purity by accumulating oil. They procrastinated “paying the price” to get more oil, while they had the chance. The wise virgins advised them to quickly go and purchase more oil. But because of their late effort, their window of opportunity closed. While they were paying the price in exchange for oil, the groom came, and the foolish virgins were locked out in the darkness.
The oil is symbolic of light. It is light that dispels the darkness. Without light, the darkness overcomes even those who are pure and clean, or in other words: a virgin.
“36. The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.
37. Light and truth forsake that evil one.
38. Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God.
39. And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.
40. But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth.
The wise had used their probationary state, their preparation, to “pay the price” for their oil, …prior to the wedding feast. When the groom locked the door, the wise were locked in (sealed), while the foolish were locked out (cut-off). Which are you?
Conclusion: Years ago (in a High Priest Group meeting, surprisingly) , a man I consider a close friend had the gall enough to tell me that giving my kids “lickens” was unacceptable to God. It wasn’t the way he presented the proposal, but the Spirit that accompanied it, that pierced me to the center. I KNEW that it was true. I told him, “The Spirit has testified that what you’ve said is true. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to obey. You’ve only told me what NOT to do. You haven’t told me what I SHOULD DO INSTEAD.” He wasn’t able to offer me any oil. He too was struggling to know what to do instead. Since that day, I have sought out the missing light, to fill the vacant lot I call my head.
The search went on for years. I listened to other people’s opinions, but all of them focused only on WHY NOT. None of them offered me a good replacement. Mom has told us that her dad NEVER hit them, although I wonder if some of them could’ve benefited from a good “lickens.” Others have expressed a time of physically disciplining their child, and feeling immensely hurt, within themselves, when their child pierced them with hurt eyes. I can honestly say that I have never experienced that, as I felt justified, knowing what I did was for their benefit. Yet, others have advised walking away, and letting the natural consequences teach the lesson. But that seemed like a parent who didn’t care at all, …until I was given more light.
I discovered light as I examined how God uses the Three-Count. It directly relates to the Jewish wedding. As parents we must counsel our children in Light and Truth. Although the blessings are significant, they must know the consequences that accompany poor choices. But within those consequences, a parent also invites their children to receive blessings, that are hinted at within the penalty. Giving children knowledge of Light and Truth is how children begin to Grow.
Growth is only a beginning phase. A huge part of development is that we parents must leave for a time, to allow them to work things out, …just as Adam and Eve were left alone in the garden to choose for themselves. Being left to their own choices, to the parents, means that when you get back, your house could be burned-down. That’s a risk you must take, because mistakes are a part of the developmental process. This was the tough lesson I had to learn: “Mistakes don’t authorize compulsion.” Beating-out mistakes actually stops forward action, it stops the increase in learning by experience, and stifles all future development, until the parent dies, forcing the child to travel alone. Children increase through mistakes, to gain Further Light and Truth.
This work cannot be hastened, but requires the constant investment of time, talents, and all that you have for their progress. Time was intended as a probation, a proving period. God commands and waits, through our probation, for us to obey. If a child has accumulated light, they have kept the negotiation. Parents are required to give them their inheritance. That is how children are Added Upon.
Our parents did best with what they knew. We chose right in the pre-existence to come to them and to us. We all have accepted the terms of the negotiation before coming to this earth. Christ has paid the ultimate price in advance. Our parents have offered us growth by introducing us all to the gospel of Christ. In my preparation phase, or in other words my probation, I have increased by making a lot of mistakes, fixing them, being washed and anointed, and accumulating oil. Since being cast out of church I have been further added upon, as my accumulation of oil extends beyond the compulsion of the church, and I am left standing upon the rock of my salvation, Christ! The midnight hour (the judgement hour) is upon us, and a voice is crying out, that the groom is returning. Go, quickly, and fill your vessels with oil, so that you will be sealed into the wedding, washed, anointed, and clothed by Christ, instead of locked out of His presence.