THE PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS
David M. Green

“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 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. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 25:1-13).

The parables of our Lord are many times misunderstood and misused. Interpretations and opinions abound among the commentators. Even among Baptist churches we see a difference in the preaching of the parables. However, there can be only one correct understanding and all the others must be set aside as merely human opinions.

Allow me to make some observations:

First they are all virgins, and they are all ten called virgins by our Lord. To be a virgin means one who is morally pure and chaste (See Matt 1:23, Rev 14:4). There are no varying degrees of virginity. Either a person is a virgin or they aren't. We must, then, declare the foolish virgins to be just as virgin as the wise.

Second, from the fact that they are all called virgins, we must also recognize that all ten of them were saved, not one of them was lost. A lost person would not be called virgin by our Lord! Even though they were shut out, it was not forever.

“ While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.” (verse 5). The third observation is that all ten of them slept (even the wise virgins). Sleeping is not always wrong. Even a good soldier on the battlefield must at times sleep. Our Lord did not fault any of them for their sleep, after all the bridegroom had tarried for longer than they had expected.

The fourth thing we notice is that they all had oil, and they all trimmed their wicks (yes, both the wise and the foolish)...read verse 7 again! “Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.”

Fifth, we notice that they were all waiting for the Bridegoom. Notice verses 6 and 7: “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.” They all went out to meet Him. A lost person will not go to meet the bridegoom willingly. It goes against the very nature of a lost person to run out to meet the Lord. (See Romans 3:11).

Lastly, let us notice that the only difference was the wise ones had extra oil. “They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.” (verses 3 and 4). The decision for them not to bring the extra oil with their lamps caused them a lot of trouble later, when the bridegroom was coming “And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.” (verse 8). The problem of not bringing enough oil resulted in their lamps going out.

Our Lord is teaching us a valuable lesson, if we will only listen! What we learn in this parable is that not everyone will be in bride of Christ. Not all Christians. Not even all virgins (Baptists) will find themselves to be in the bride. I believe this passage shows us just how surprised we will be when we learn the few who will be in the Bride of Christ. All these virgins who had remained true and unspotted from the world, and yet only a part of them will be in the bride.

Catholics, Protestants, and those who are not members of any kind of a church will not be part of the Bride. Baptists who are not faithful to the Word of God, who are not separate from the world, who teach heresies, and cause divisions will lose out on this honor. Folks, our Lord is more particular about who will be in his bride than many suspect that he will be.

The central teaching of this passage is “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” Even though they were still virgins, they were not part of the bride because they had not been prepared to watch for the Lord's return. Sure, they were ready for a while. Yet, because these virgins had been foolish not to prepare for the length of time it could be before the Lord's return, they were not a part of the bride.

Are you watching for the Lord's return? Are you ready to go and meet Him when He comes? Or do you live your life from day to day as if He is not coming back?

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