Parable of the Ten Virgins
One dominant theme in our Lord Jesus’ Olivet Discourse (Mt 24–25) is the unknown time of His second coming. The Lord’s people should watch and pray at all times, for they do not know the time of His glorious appearing.
In the Parable of the Ten Virgins, our Lord reiterates this theme yet again (Mt 25:1–13). The parable serves to illustrate the importance of Christ’s people being ready. The imagery of a first century Jewish betrothal is in view. The bridegroom is coming, and the bride must ready herself.
In the same way, the parable of the faithful and the evil servants sets two people groups in contrast (Mt 24:45–51), so the ten virgins are set apart into two groups: wise and foolish. Interestingly, both groups are said to be like the kingdom of heaven (Mt 25:1).
The kingdom of heaven is Matthew’s way of saying, “kingdom of God.” This is where Christ Jesus is recognized to reign. He is the Ruler of all. On earth, the kingdom is where the Lord, the Spirit dwells supreme. The kingdom of God on earth is the church of Jesus Christ, the Israel of God (Rom 14:17; Gal 6:16).
The church is both local and universal. It is also visible and invisible. The invisible church is the Spirit-filled people of God. The visible church also includes those who are in Christ’s sheepfold, but they do not belong to Him (Jn 10:26; Rom 8:9). Jesus Himself claimed that He does not know those who do not have His Spirit and yet call Him “Lord (Mt 7:21–23).”
Who are these evil servants, these foolish virgins? They are those who are identified as belonging to Christ. They claim to be Christians in His service. They call Jesus, “Lord.” They profess to believe in Him, and they say they are looking forward to His second advent.
In truth, these are fake Christians. They are hypocrites. They are pretenders. They put on a show of being Christian. They are man pleasers (Eph 6:6; 1 Thess 2:4). They fall asleep waiting for the return of the Master. When He comes, they will be exposed as being unprepared. They have no oil in their lamps (Mt 25:3). They are shut out of the wedding feast (Mt 25:10).
The marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:9) is the wedding feast, to celebrate Christ saving His church (Mt 22). He loves His bride (Eph 5:25), the sheep of His pasture (Ps 95:7; 100:3). He demonstrated His love for His holy nation of saints (Rom 5:8; 1 Pet 2:9), by dying for them on the cross (1 Pet 2:24) and saving them from their sins (Mt 1:21). Just as Mary was betrothed to Joseph, so the church is espoused to Christ (Mt 1:18). Betrothal is legal and binding, but it is the period before the wedding and the consummation.
The coming Day of the Lord is the Bridegroom, Christ Jesus, coming for His resurrected elect (Jn 5:25–29). In the resurrection from the dead, the judgment of separation will occur at the unexpected hour — midnight in the parable of the virgins (Mt 25:6, 32). The unprepared are left behind and suffer exclusion from the wedding procession (Mt 25:11–12). The foolish virgins confessed Christ was their life, but they were exposed as sinful, wicked frauds.
Lamps without power have no light. In their powerless form of godliness (2 Tim 3:5), they deny Christ. As the Light of the world, Jesus gives the prudent His light to shine before men (Mt 5:16). He has shone His light in them by giving them His Spirit (Rom 5:5; 2 Cor 4:6).
Christ the Lord gives His people the grace for preparation (oil for their lamps). Despite being lax and lazy at times, the prudent have oil (spiritual life). Each person must examine himself to be sure He belongs to Christ (Rom 8:9; 1 Cor 3:23), and to test to see if He has this anointing from God. Many profess to be preparing for the unknown day and hour, but many will be denied on that day. Empty lamps have no power, hence, no light.
The allotted measure of oil is personal and non-communicable. It is granted to each one by God’s grace. All that the Father has given to the Son will come to Him (Jn 6:37). They will hear the trumpet and the voice heralding the arrival of the bridegroom, the King of glory (1 Thess 4:16). In the power of the Spirit, they will join Him with white robes and glorified bodies (Rev 7:9, 13, 14). They will be caught up together with Him (1 Thess 4:17). They will enter the joy of the Lord and see Him as He is (Mt 25:21, 23). They will be like Him (1 Jn 3:2). They will be with Him forever.
In summary, we have two groups: wise and foolish. They appear organically as one group, but there is a difference. For some, Christ is truly their first love. For others, they only say He is first. The Day of Judgment will separate the prepared and the unprepared. The delay in His coming is a test. Examine yourself.
God the Father chose a people for Himself. He predestined them for salvation (Eph 1:4–5). God the Son redeemed these people on the cross, where He died (Gal 3:13). The Father and the Son have sent the Holy Spirit to prepare the church (Jn 14:26), Christ’s bride, for His heralded return. Union with Christ in the Spirit is the believer’s comfort and rest that she will be ready for her groom on her wedding day (Gal 2:20).
Our Lord Jesus Christ is coming again. He tarries in wait for each elect soul to be added to His body, the church (2 Pet 3:9). At the appointed hour, He will come. His bride has made herself ready (Rev 19:7). You will know her because she prays in earnest, “Come!”
Spokane Valley, Washington
May 3, 2022