In Matthew 25 Jesus is still answering the questions that His disciples asked Him in chapter 24:3. “…Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” We know this by the Words “Then” – Vs. 1, and the word “When” – V. 31. Jesus spoke parables to illustrate the separation of saint and saint, Vs. 1-13; the separation of servant and servant, Vs. 14-30; the separation of nations, Vs. 31-46. These parables are prophecy of that future judgment.
THE TEN VIRGINS
Vs. 1-13 - “Then (at that time) 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 (or going 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 ( or recognize you not). Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”
I added the Greek meaning of some words. The Lord appears as the Bridegroom gathering the guests for the marriage supper. Rev. 19:9, “Blessed are they which are called (or invited) unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Some have an invitation to grace the wedding, they are not the Bride, but the guests. It is plainly evident that the 10 virgins are believers. A virgin signifies their separation from the world, especially the defiling religious condition of the end. God never likens the ungodly to a virgin, which speaks of chastity and purity. All the virgins have lamps speaking of the Word of God, illuminated by the Spirit of God.
There is a fundamental contrast between the ten, five were wise and five were foolish. The wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps, the foolish took their lamps with out any extra supply of oil. They were not prepared to go out to meet the Bridegroom, their lambs were going out. They all slumbered and slept as the dark night advanced and while the Bridegroom tarried. They were passive as to the truth and witnessing for Christ in those dark days, hiding their light, in fear.
There is a change, a cry is heard. “Behold the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet Him.” It could be the result of the catching away of the overcomers. All the virgins are aroused and all trimmed their lamps, they are now stirred with the fact of the coming of the Lord. Their witness for Christ is revived. But the foolish have no oil to replenish their lamps, their light is dim, compared to those who have oil in their vessels. This is a lesson even for us today. We may have a good enough light, but no active faith in the Bridegroom’s coming.
The foolish now want the oil, the full measure of the Holy Spirit. They appeal to the wise for oil, but it is too late. The wise instruct them to go and buy for themselves. Isa. 55:1, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” Buying tell us that one must thirst, no longer indifferent and slothful. 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 to the banqueting chamber, not the door of salvation for sinners. For that gateway will never close until the end of time.
This parable and all other parables, illustrate some principles of divine truths by natural events or natural things. As here there is the figure of the wedding with invited and uninvited guests, to point out an important fact connected with God’s Kingdom. The foolish having gone to get oil that they might shine assures us they are saints. The wise who have oil, having received the Holy Spirit are ready for translation. The door for translation of the Church is over, the door is shut.
There is a due time, but the foolish did not qualify to attend the wedding. They will remain on the earth, as God’s witnesses, for God must have a witness for Himself upon the earth. They are the last rank of the Church. They will constitute the feet of the body of Christ that will stand on Mt. Olivet (Zach. 14:4).
The wise virgins figure no doubt the 144,000 that we read of in Revelation of the tribes of the children of Israel. They are mentioned being sealed while on the earth with the Holy Spirit – Chapter 7:3,4. They are seen in heaven – Ch.14:1-5. “They are virgins,” (V. 4) and follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.
There is positive proof in God’s Word that the end of the Church, and her translation will be gradual. There will be a time of transition of God’s dealings with the heavenly to the earthly people, just as there was in the beginning of this Church Age (the first 9 chapters of the book of Acts). Israel was the connecting link at the first and they will be at the end. They (the Church) are translated at different times, the first rank overcomers are seen in heaven Revelation chapters 4 and 5 before tribulation. The great multitude of the Church are translated, coming out of tribulation days, chapter 7:13-17. The I44,000 are seen in heaven, chapter 14.
May we learn from this portion to be ready, watching expectantly for our Lord’s return. discerning the signs of the times. We are children of light, of the day, let us not sleep as do others, but let us watch and be ready. For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ - I Thess. 5:5-9. His appearance to call up the First rank could be any moment now. “The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout…the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive… shall be caught up together with them… to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord - I Thess. 4:16-17.