Training and Equipping Saints for Service
By Adam Bartlett
The Ten Virgins
Matthew 25: 1-13
1: Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins (2 Corinthians 11:2), which took their lamps (Matthew 5: 14-16), and went forth to meet the bridegroom. (Ephesians 5: 29-30, Revelation 19: 7-9; 21: 2 & 9)
Who are these virgins? What do the lamps represent? Who is the bridegroom?
The virgins represent the body of Christ or the 'church.' The lamps represent our witness as Christians, which is the spirit dwelling in us and causing the fruit to be evident. The bridegroom is Jesus who will be returning for his church. It is important to notice that this parable is given after chapter 24 in which He had just finished describing the events leading up to and including the end of time. This parable therefore represents what the condition of the church will be at that time.
2: And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
Does this mean half? (Luke 18: 8)
Whether or not this is to be taken as a literal figure it is clear that there will be a large number that are not ready or prepared when that time comes. Another important point is that they are all considered "virgins" and the five foolish virgins are not said to be only pretending or professing virgins.
3: They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
What does the "oil" represent? (8081 in Hebrew Dictionary) Oil was a symbol of the Spirit's work - in the N.T. the anointing is no more symbolized but actual through the Spirit.
The oil represents what is fueling the lamps which is the spirit. If a person is not spending time in the Word or prayer then the oil is not replenished and therefore the lamp goes dry. This shows the importance of our daily relationship with the Lord.
4: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
Oil was "in" their vessels ( 1 Corinthians 6: 16, Romans 6: 13)
5: While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
What period of time would this be? Now! We are in the sleeping age of the church. (Matthew 26: 36 - 46)
6: And at midnight, there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
What is this event likely to be? (1 Corinthians 15: 52, 1 Thessalonians 4: 16-18)
7: Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
What does it mean that they "trimmed" their lamps?
I believe it means self-examination. To trim the lamp was to cut off the burnt and unnecessary part of the wick. Representing the things that were not needed either of the world or personally. We are told to judge ourselves and to examine ourselves to see whether or not we are in the faith. Unfortunately the foolish had nothing left when they trimmed away the unnecessary things.
8: And the foolish said unto the wise, give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
Why would their lamps have gone out? (Matthew 13: 18-22)
9: 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.
Can someone get to heaven on someone else's faith or works? (Romans 14:12)
10: 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.
What distinguishes those that were ready? (Luke 12: 35-40)
11: Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
What other scripture identifies these people? Mt. 7: 15-23
12: But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
13: Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
How can we keep ourselves ready for the return of Jesus?
Discipleship Lesson #6