The Ten Virgins
Significantly, the parable of the Ten Virgins immediately follows Matthew 24 in which Jesus spoke about the signs of the end-times. The entire story is told in the first thirteen verses of Matthew 25, as follows:
“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
“Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” (Matthew 25:1:13)
The oil represents the Holy Spirit, but one person can’t give the Holy Spirit to another, you can only get it from God through Jesus:
(John 20:22) He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
(1Corinthians 3:16) Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
(John 3:5) Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
We are all born once of the flesh, but in order to become a Child of God, we must afterward be born again of the Spirit, which happens when we repent and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
There are many pseudo Christians who think they are saved, but have not truly been Born Again because they think that works (like going to church) or just mental acknowledgement of Jesus is enough.
It’s not. Only if we have truly given our mind, heart and soul to Him and received the Holy Spirit are we true, born-again Christians.
Jesus is called the bridegroom in Matthew 25, as well as in several other Scriptures, with all of us being the bride. And when He comes, there will be a celebration called the wedding feast:
(Revelation 18:7-9) Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’”
The foolish virgins bring their lamps, but they don’t bring any oil because they don’t have any.
They too are pseudo Christians in name only who haven’t received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and thus are not ready when Jesus comes.
They beg the wise virgins for some oil, but it doesn’t work that way – only the real oil will burn inside the lamps (us).
This is comparable to Jesus’ parable about the sower of seed (the seed is the Gospel). The seed may produce some results initially, but the thorns (the devil and his demons) as well as the worries of the world take it away.
(Matthew 13:18-22) When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.
If you don’t have oil, (the indwelling Holy Spirit), you need to get it now before it’s too late.
And, if you have received the oil, do not neglect it and allow it to die – nourish it so that you have enough oil to last through the difficult days ahead until the day Jesus returns.
The waiting for Jesus’ return can cause us to become complacent or preoccupied– after all, for two-thousand years, believers have died waiting for Jesus to come again
And that’s not a bad thing, they are with Jesus in Heaven and have received their reward:
(2Corinthians 5:8) We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
But this, I believe, is the generation that will hear the midnight cry:
(Matthew 25:6) And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!
Midnight is the end of our natural day, and in this context, means the end of time itself.
Other Scriptures describe what transpires at this midnight hour:
(1Thessalonians 4:16-17) For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord.
(1Corinthians 15:50-54) Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
This is when we receive our heavenly, glorified body, eternal and incorruptible (i.e. without the sin nature we were all born with into the natural world)
But for those who have not received the oil of God’s indwelling presence, this will be the deepest, darkest hour of history. Those left behind will exist in deep darkness:
(Isaiah 60:2) For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people.
(Joel 2:31, KJV) The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord
But God doesn’t wish that any should miss out on His free gift of salvation:
(2Peter 3:9-10) The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.
So, it’s time for those who are asleep (unbelievers and unprepared believers) to wake up before it’s too late:
(Ephesians 5:14) Awake, you who sleep, rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.
(Isaiah 60:1) Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
(Romans 13:11-12) And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore, let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
This applies to believers as well who are so busy doing ministry, that they neglect their relationship with the Lord Jesus and forget to keep supplied with the oil of the Holy Spirit.
Many nominal or pseudo-Christians are actually spiritually dead as Revelation 3:1 explains:
I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.
Wake up now, before it’s too late, and be born again in the Spirit!
Jesus says we must buy gold, pure gold refined in the fire. This comes from Jesus’ rebuke of the lukewarm Laodicean church (the seventh and last of the churches in Revelation) which many believe (as do I) represents the last age of the church in the end-time:s
(Revelation 3:14-17) These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.
Because the Laodecians were materially rich, the became lukewarm toward God. But Jesus says you are either “with me or against me” (Matthew 12:30).
If we’re not with Him, our ultimate, eternal fate is one of being spiritually poor, blind and naked.
The lukewarm and neglectful are no longer with Him, so He says He will vomit them out of His mouth – a truly frightening prospect.
So, what are the lukewarm to do? Jesus also provides the solution in Revelation 3:18-19:
I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and Therefore, be zealous and repent.
Being rich materially doesn’t matter when Judgment Day arrives. Instead, Jesus wants us to be spiritually rich. Gold, refined in the fire, represents the riches of Heaven which we can receive as joint heirs with Christ:
(Romans 8:16-17) The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
(1Peter 4:12-13) Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
But, we see here a condition attached to being heirs. We are also called upon to suffer with Him before we can be glorified together with Him. Jesus tells us that in this world, we will have trials and tribulations
(John 16:33) In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
If we are Christ’s followers, particularly in the end-times, then we are bound to suffer and be persecuted:
(John 15:20) Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.
It is in the midst of trials and persecution that we become refined in the fire into gold and sliver:
(Malachi 3:2-3) But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord, an offering in righteousness.
Jesus also counsels us to buy white garments from Him – robes of righteousness to cover our spiritual nakedness (i.e. our sinfulness).
(Isaiah 61:10) I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Then we will be properly dressed for the wedding feast with Jesus, so that we won’t be told to leave for being improperly dressed (Matthew 22:1-7).
Instead, we will rejoice at the marriage supper of the Lamb:
(Revelation 19:6-9) Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” 8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
Lastly, Jesus counsels us to buy eye salve so that we might see. The Laodiceans were renowned for the eye salve they produced, but Jesus says they were nonetheless spiritually blind.
Therefore, He says to buy eye salve from Him that would restore our spiritual sight:
(Psalm 19:8) The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
Here’s the best part – the price for these precious spiritual commodities is simply to believe and to have faith in Jesus as the Son of God and Savior of the world.
(Hebrews 11:6) But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
And so, as we await His return, we must learn to live from the inside out.
The world says we are comprised of body, mind and soul, putting the body first.
But the Bible says we are spirit, soul and body:
(1Thessalonians 5:23) Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The world teaches us to see and act physically first and foremost.
But the Bible says to see and act out of the Spirit above all else, because the world is temporary while the Spirit is eternal:
(2Corinthians 4:17-18) For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.