Parable of Ten Virgins

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. “Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. “For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. “Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. “But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ “Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. “The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ “But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ “And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. “Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ “But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ “Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.” (Matthew 25:1-13)

We have seen in previous Parables that Jesus was describing the consummation of the Kingdom of God. This will take place when Jesus returns. We saw in the Parable of the Wheat and Tares that the evil one sowed tares in with the good seed of the wheat. Both the righteous and the unrighteous will grow together until the harvest and then the reaper gathers the harvest. The tares will be burned up and the wheat will be gathered into the barn. (Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43) We also looked at the Parable of the Dragnet. The dragnet was tossed into the sea and gathered both the good fish and the bad. After the dragnet is pulled to the shore the angels will come and take the bad fish from the good and toss them into the furnace. The furnace is a place described where there will be, “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:47-50)

Following the time that Jesus spent with His disciples on the Mount of Olives Jesus told another Parable about the Ten Virgins. Bible Scholars debate between the meanings of this parable as if it is speaking to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. or the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. If both these events are tied together then the first, the destruction of Jerusalem is a shadow of the events of Christ’s Second Coming. Whichever there are other passages in the New Testament that speak to the Second Coming and in this Parable of the Ten Virgins there is a lesson to be learned. The Second Coming of Christ will be as great, if not greater, than His first coming as the Apostle Peter writes. “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless.” (2 Peter 3:10-14)

In this Parable there are ten virgins, five of them are wise and five are foolish. They have gone out with their lamps to await the coming of the bridegroom. The wise virgins have taken extra oil for their lamps while the foolish have taken no extra oil. The wise have gone out to meet the bridegroom with oil in their lamps to give them light. The foolish have no oil and therefore are in the dark. (Matthew 25:1-4) The Bridegroom has been delayed which and the foolish virgins have become complacent in their wait. (Matthew 25:5) At last the announcement is made that the Bridegroom has arrived and the virgins trim their lambs so they will provide more light. (Matthew 25:6-7)

The foolish virgins find that their oil has run out and they plead with the wise virgins to share their oil with them. The wise virgins refuse as there would not be enough for them to keep their lights shining. (Matthew 25:7-9) The foolish virgins must go to find more oil for their lamps and while they are away the Bridegroom comes and takes the prepared virgins with Him to the wedding and the door is shut. (Matthew 25:10) Soon the foolish virgins arrive but they are not allowed in to the wedding. (Matthew 25:11-12) Then Jesus makes His point to this Parable. “Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.” (Matthew 25:13)

The meaning of this Parable of the Ten Virgins become very clear when we look at the words that Jesus spoke to His disciples just prior to this telling of the Parable. “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. “But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. “For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. “Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? “Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.” (Matthew 24:42-46) This ties to the explanation from verse 13.

There is a need for us as Christ saints to be in a state of watchfulness. We are citizens of the Kingdom of God and this world is not our home. We are longing for His arrival to take us to our heavenly home. “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20) Here we have trial and tribulation and in constant battle with the sinful nature that we fleshly creatures have. As we wait for our Savior we are to keep watch and pray. “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)

Many times in the scripture we are told that the Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. No man knows the hour of His return and we are to make ourselves ready for the Bridegroom who is coming for His bride, the Church. As Paul addressed the Church of the Thessalonians. “Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-6) And as Jesus warned the Church in Sardis. “Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. ‘So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.” (Revelation 3:2-3)

Upon accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit. In the Parable of the Ten Virgins the oil in the lambs of the virgins is often depicted as the Holy Spirit. If we are to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit then we must live in obedience to His leading. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16) This is the power that we pray for each day, as we ask for our daily bread. We must not be as the foolish virgins and quench the Spirit. “Do not quench the Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19) When the hour comes we will not be able to receive the Spirit from anyone else as the foolish virgins trued to do. “The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.” (Matthew 25:8)

Some may say they know the Lord. But many know of Jesus but do they have a personal relationship with Him. Do they follow Him in faith by obedience to His Word? The question may not be do you know the Lord but does He know you? How shocking it will be to knock on heaven’s door and hear the Lord’s answer, “Truly I say to you, I do not know you.”

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, January 11, 2017

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