A few days ago, the Lord placed on my heart the parable about the 10 virgins. The Lord made it clear to me that this is something He wanted me to investigate and write about. Why? Because the time draws near.
What is the Parable of the 10 virgins and where is it found in the Bible?
The Parable of the 10 virgins is only found in Matthew 25, and is part of Jesus’ teaching on the End-Times known as the “Olivet discourse”. In this teaching, Jesus describes the conditions that would be present on the earth at the time of His second coming. After giving very detailed warnings in Matthew 24 about persecution, deception, wars and rumors of war, earthquakes, plagues, famines, etc, Jesus ends his discourse on the end-times in Matthew 25 with 4 parables. One of these parables is the Parable of the 10 virgins. A parable is a simple story used to illustrate a spiritual lesson. Jesus gave the parable of the 10 Virgins to encourage readiness and watchfulness. This is the one that we’ll examine here today.
Parable of the 10 Virgins
Matthew 25 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps.
5 Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. 6 But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. 11 Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.
If you are a Christian, you’ve probably heard the quote “nobody knows the day nor the hour”….referring to the Rapture. We see this quote at least 3 times in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24/25). Although many Christians will tell you that they don’t want to focus on Jesus’ return because “nobody knows the day nor the hour”, Jesus goes to GREAT LENGTHS to preach READINESS and PREPAREDNESS. Jesus isn’t telling us…”Go back to what you were doing, nothing to see here”...JESUS is telling us to be CONSTANTLY ready because He could RETURN at any time, ESPECIALLY when we SEE all the MYRIAD of END-TIMES SIGNS that He taught us to WATCH FOR…SIGNS that we’re seeing NOW!
Readiness does NOT mean to “work harder” to keep or maintain righteousness and holiness. Readiness DOES mean to walk by the Spirit and not by the flesh, submitting to God’s authority while fully trusting in Christ’s finished work on the Cross.
Let us break down this parable and see if there is hidden manna here as God directs us to “dig deeper”. Jesus first says that the Kingdom of Heaven is like 10 virgins. My first question is who are these 10 virgins? Is this referring to the Church (Spirit filled believers) or Israel (Jews), or both? What can we find out?
The Bible tells us that the Bridegroom represents Jesus Christ, and the Parable of the 10 virgins describes His sudden and unexpected return for HIS PEOPLE PRIOR to the WEDDING SUPPER of the LAMB.
John 3:27: John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
Matthew 9:15: And Jesus said to them, “The attendants of the bridegroom cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.
If Jesus is the Bridegroom, then the Church (Spirit filled believer) is the Bride.
Ephesians 5:25: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
The relationship between Christ and the Church is the picture of a perfect Biblical marriage. This is why marriage is so IMPORTANT to GOD and why man’s attempt to REDEFINE marriage is another example of mankind taking a bite from the nasty fruit of the TREE of the KNOWLEDGE of GOOD AND EVIL! Do we REALLY think we know more than our Creator?
Just thinking about this a little. Adam and Eve were the first married couple. God took a rib out of Adam’s body and used it to create Eve. In the Bible, husbands are told to love their wives like they love their own body.
Ephesians 5:28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;
Let’s face it. Eve LITERALLY came from Adam’s body (flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone Gen 2:23). So it is with Christ and the Church (Ekklesia/ Spirit filled believers). Christ is the Bridegroom and the Church (Spirit filled believers) is His bride. Christ loves His bride with a sacrificial love, so much that He gave His life for her. Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. The word “Gethsemane” means Olive Press. In the Bible, Olives are symbolic for the heart, and Pressed olives produce Olive Oil, which is symbolic for the HOLY SPIRIT. Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane was the beginning of His being pressed and crushed, ultimately resulting in His giving up His Holy Spirit at the Cross.…FOR ALL who would RECEIVE HIS SACRIFICE!
Luke 24:36: And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ ” Having said this, He breathed His last.
Jesus is God, and His Spirit is the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit that now dwells inside of His Bride (all spirit filled believers). Jesus had to be crushed and pierced for our sins before He could send the Holy Spirit to His Bride to dwell inside of her.
John 16:7: But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.
Mankind had to be forgiven of ALL SIN BEFORE God’s Holy Spirit could dwell within our hearts. In the Bible, the Church is not only called “the Bride”, but she is also called the BODY of CHRIST because Christ literally dwells within each believer’s heart via His Holy Spirit. God created Adam’s WIFE EVE by REMOVING a RIB from his body! God created Jesus’ BRIDE (Church/body of Christ) by REMOVING the HOLY SPIRIT from CHRIST’S body. God has told us that each husband is to love his wife as his own body the way that Christ loves the Church!
Back to the parable of the 10 virgins. We now know that the Church (Spirit filled believers/body of Christ) IS the Bride. But the Bride is not directly mentioned in this parable..only the bridegroom and the 10 virgins. Are the 10 virgins the bride? Some Pastors and Bible teachers teach that the 10 virgins are the bride, but that is probably because they don’t understand ancient Galilean wedding customs. All of Jesus’ Disciples (except for Judas) were Galileans. In the ancient Galilean wedding, the 10 virgins represent what we would think of today as BRIDESMAIDS. The 10 virgins are the brides ATTENDANTS, not the Bride. If the Bride is the Church (Called out, Spirit filled believers..not a building or denomination), then who are the 10 virgins??
First, in Scripture, what might the number 10 represent? Why are there 10 virgins, and not 6 or 8?
In Scripture, the 12 Tribes of Israel became a single nation under King David, but divided into two nations after the days of David’s son, Solomon. This split resulted in two tribes living in the South (Jerusalem). These two tribes were Judah and Benjamin, and they are what we now think of as THE JEWS, or JEWISH PEOPLE. The remaining 10 TRIBES (the number 10)..were living in the north (Samaria). Hmmm…Interesting. What happened to the 10 tribes remaining in the north? They were swallowed up by the Gentiles as a “cake not turned” (Hosea 8:8), meaning that they became synomous with the Gentile nations (non-JEWS).
There were 12 Tribes of Israel, two southern tribes (Judah) and 10 northern tribes (Ephraim).
There is another place in Scripture that shows us this division of 10 and 2….In the book of Numbers, God had Moses send out 12 spies (1 from each tribe) to check out the Promised Land that He was going to GIVE to the 12 tribes of Israel. When the 12 spies returned, they had quite a story to tell. Ten of the spies came back with what is described as a “bad report“. Basically, they saw GIANTS (Nephilim) in the land and were terrified. They described themselves as “grasshoppers” in comparison, and that there was NO WAY Israel would be able to take the land that God had promised them away from these monsters. However, there were two spies (Joshua and Caleb) who came back with a different view. Yes, there were giant monsters living in the land; however, these monsters could NOT defeat God. Basically, the two “good spies” recognized that if God is for them, who can stand against them.
Israel BELIEVED the BAD REPORT of the 10 spies, and cowered. There was no way that they wanted to go into that land. So…they didn’t. God was angry with them and told them that they would then have to wander in the wilderness (desert) for 40 YEARS. God told them that pretty much ALL of that generation was to die in the wilderness and would NEVER see the Promised Land. Of the 12 spies, ONLY Joshua and Caleb came into the Promised Land 40 years later. Like the FIVE FOOLISH virgins, the DOOR was SHUT on ALL TEN of the spies with the bad report. They were NOT allowed to enter into the PROMISED LAND. Thankfully, God’s mercy allows the FIVE WISE virgins (five is the number of GRACE) to WAKE UP so they can TRIM their lamps and refresh their oil….BEFORE the Rapture…BEFORE the Wedding supper of the Lamb, the TRUE PROMISED LAND (KINGDOM OF HEAVEN)!
The ten spies, like the northern 10 tribes of Israel, lacked Faith in God. The TEN COWARDLY spies did not trust that God could deliver them from the giants and the northern TEN tribes worshiped idols and other “gods”. In the parable of the TEN virgins (bridesmaids), ALL TEN VIRGINS FELL ASLEEP. To fall asleep spiritually means to not stay close to God. It means to NOT put God first in life, to NOT spend time in His Word, to NOT have a close relationship with Jesus Christ. It also means to NOT place our Trust in Christ’s finished work on the Cross for Righeousness and Holiness, and instead place our trust back in our own works. At the very beginning of this Parable, Jesus warned us that the Bridegroom would DELAY. Jesus was letting us know that it was going to be a pretty long time before HE returned.
Mankind has a really hard time handling what we perceive to be delays.
About 3 months after Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, they arrived at Mt. Sinai in the wilderness (desert). (This was YEARS BEFORE our previous example of the 10 spies). When Moses went up the mountain to receive the 10 commandments, the Israelites had just experienced the 10 plagues of Egypt, they had seen the water of the Red sea being supernaturally parted, and they had trembled at the booming voice of God. They said “Yes” to God’s Mosaic Covenant (“the LAW”)…and waited eagerly for Moses to return. But as the days grew longer and longer, and still no Moses, they became tired of waiting. It wasn’t long at all that their boredom and impatience caused them to flock back to the Egyptian “gods”. They had Aaron, Moses’ brother, melt down the silver and gold that they had plundered from the Egyptians, and make for themselves a “golden calf” to worship. They could not wait 40 days before going back to the idolatrous worship of the Egyptian gods, the same gods that had just been judged by YHWH, the TRUE GOD.
So it is at the end of the age. Jesus told His Disciples that the bridegroom would delay. It was going to be awhile before Jesus’ return. ALL TEN virgins “fell asleep”. At first they were excited about the wedding. They looked so forward to Jesus returning and establishing His kingdom..but as the years turned to decades and the decades to centuries and the centuries to Millennia (2000 years), the TEN VIRGINS fell fast asleep. They are now wondering if they even heard right. Is Jesus really returning? Perhaps we did not hear right. Perhaps what He REALLY meant was...(fill in the blank). And so it has been with many Churches who do NOT ever, ever speak about the return of Christ. I’ve heard so many people say something like “Yea, People thought that WWII was the “end of the world”..and Jesus didn’t return then”, as a REASON for why they think it will be another 1000 years! Well, just because Jesus didn’t return yesterday, or today, doesn’t mean He can’t return TOMORROW!
2 Peter 3:3 Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”
Even though ALL TEN of the virgins fell asleep, five of them were wise enough to bring some extra oil for their lamps. They made some preparations because they heeded the warning that it was going to take a long time for the Bridegroom to return. In this Parable, the oil represents the Holy Spirit and the lamps represent the Christian or person through whom God’s light shines.
All ten virgins had their lamps go out as they fell asleep. Like the Israelites at the bottom of Mt. Sinai, these Christians forgot their first love. They began to mingle with the world, enjoying the sins of the flesh and finding “other gods” to “worship” while they waited. They grew tired of waiting for a bridegroom that never seemed to come. Let’s face it…it’s been 2000 years! The 5 WISE virgins had the Holy Spirit in them, but they were not yielding themselves to Him. Instead, they were playing around, even “playing Church”, they were double minded. They still believed in Jesus, but they also had a foot in the world. Like the Israelites who created their own golden calf, the sleeping virgins also began to trust in their own works for righteousness and holiness, rather than trusting in Christ’s finished work on the Cross (Hebrews 4:3-7). However, Jesus will not accept the double minded. Our God is a jealous God, and will not accept idolatry in His people. The 5 WISE virgins WAKE UP at the sound of the Midnight Cry, repent, and yield themselves to the Holy Spirit. The 5 FOOLISH virgins had completely given up on any idea that Jesus was returning, and even stopped believing that Jesus sacrifice on the Cross is the only propitiation for sin! Basically, they fell into unbelief.
In the days of the ancient GALILEAN weddings, it is customary for the Bride to NOT KNOW when her bridegroom would come. As a matter of fact, only the bridegroom’s father knew “the day or the hour” that the bridegroom would return to claim his bride. The bride would be required to wait between one to two years while the bridegroom built a room onto his father’s house for them to live. But when the Father said “Go get your bride”, there would be a LOUD SHOUT..and EXCITEMENT..and ALOT OF NOISE! In this Parable, the SHOUT goes out at MIDNIGHT….”GO get your BRIDE!!!”...The Midnight Cry sounds and wakes up the 10 virgins.
Are the five wise virgins “the bride” (Spirit filled Believers)? No, because a Spirit filled believer isn’t sleeping. The Bride isn’t sleeping. She keeps the wick on her lamp trimmed (staying in repentance), while never letting it run out of oil, as she constantly prays and seeks to be FILLED with the Holy Spirit. The bride is obedient and works hard to keep her garments pure because she wants to PLEASE her bridegroom, but she does NOT do it to obtain righteousness or holiness. She knows she is already HOLY and PURE and JUSTIFIED before GOD.. ONLY BECAUSE HER BRIDEGROOM paid a VERY HEAVY PRICE for on the CROSS! She GREATLY APPRECIATES the HEAVY PRICE that her Bridegroom PAID on her BEHALF! The Bride is anxiously awaiting her groom. She hasn’t fallen asleep. But her bridesmaids are not quite as excited as she is. They don’t really focus on what Christ did for them, as their attention is placed primarily on this world. Are they Saved? Half of them are, but it seems the foolish half did not have any oil at all, they had fallen into unbelief.
When the MIDNIGHT CRY sounds… the 5 Wise virgins will WAKE UP, repent (trim their lamps), and fill them with the extra oil that they had kept with them (Holy Spirit infilling). This is the part of the Church of Laodicea (LUKEWARM CHURCH) who REPENTS and is permitted to come to the marriage supper of the Lamb! You see, most people think that as soon as the Trump sounds, the Rapture or Harpazo takes place (instantly). We believe that there is a “gap” in-between when the dead in Christ RISE (Resurrection) and the Harpazo (Rapture/catching away). The gap that is alluded to in Scripture, remains a MYSTERY until the LAST TRUMP sounds. We believe this is the MERCY of God! God is allowing for the 5 wise virgins to WAKE UP at the sounding of the MIDNIGHT CRY so that they can make the Rapture and attend the wedding supper of the Lamb!
Rev. 3:14: “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:
15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, 18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will DINE with him, and he with Me.
Like the 5 wise virgins, the 5 foolish virgins trimmed their lamps (repented) when they heard the MIDNIGHT CRY…. but it was too late. The 5 foolish virgins had NO OIL. They begged the 5 wise virgins for some of THEIR oil, but that’s not how it works. We much each work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12-13). Nobody can ride into Heaven on the coat-tails of a saved family members. While they were running around trying to “purchase the oil”, the bridegroom came. They MISSED HIS COMING! The DOOR WAS SHUT! Oil (Holy Spirit) is only purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ and cannot be purchased with “good works” or money. The 5 foolish virgins had stopped believing in the Gospel message, that the blood of Jesus Christ shed for us on the Cross is the “ONLY TICKET” into the Kingdom of God. They had believed the lies of this world, that God embraces sin, or that their own good works could get them into Heaven. Good works cannot get us into the Kingdom of God, and God does NOT embrace sin! We must be born again with the Holy Spirit of God (represented by the OIL) to be invited to the Wedding Feast.
When the 5 foolish virgins finally showed up to the already closed door, they begged the Lord to open the door for them. They pointed out all the good things they had done in Jesus’ Name. However, unable to buy oil at midnight, and standing in the dark before the closed door with no light shining, the Lord peered out into the darkness and told them “Truly, truly, I do not know you“. The word “know” means to have an intimate relationship. The 5 foolish virgins had never really trusted in Christ’s finished work on the Cross. Jesus did NOT have an intimate relationship with the 5 foolish virgins so Jesus did NOT open the door for them. They were LEFT BEHIND. They did not go to the Wedding Feast, but were forced to remain and endure the Tribulation with the wicked unbelievers. They had been warned. By the time the Trumpet sounded, they were too late. They were completely out of oil and standing in the dark expecting to be allowed into the Kingdom of God. Can a person still be saved DURING the Tribulation? Yes..but it’s not going to be easy or pretty.
Jesus told us that the time of HIS RETURN would be like the DAYS OF NOAH. In the days of Noah, sin had reached its pinnacle. God told Noah to build an ARK so that he and his family and all those who valued God and His ways, would have a Divine Rescue. Sadly, only Noah and his family got on the Ark. The rest simply laughed at him until the door was closed and the rains came. So it will be in the days of the coming of the Son of man. People will continue to “eat and drink”, party down and live for the world, right up to the day that the ARK DOORS CLOSE. And then, there will be WEEPING and GNASHING of teeth, as many, many people, Christians even who did not truly believe and so had ABSOLUTELY NO OIL in their lamps, will be pounding their fists on the “ark door”, begging to be let in….because the time of TRIBULATION is going to be REALLY, REALLY BAD!
WANNA BE THE BRIDE? (Yes..men are part of the Bride as it is a METAPHOR!)
If we want to KNOW that we will be ready for the Wedding Feast, even to be a part of the BRIDE OF CHRIST, we NEED to INVITE Jesus Christ into our hearts NOW. We NEED to Let the blood of Christ shed at Calvary’s Cross wash our sin completely away, REPENT (TURN AWAY) from ALL sin, ASK the HOLY SPIRIT to COME INTO OUR HEARTS and FILL US to OVERFLOWING! We need to FULLY TRUST in Christ’s FINISHED WORK on the CROSS…and NOT in our own “good works” for either salvation OR righteousness! To do so only makes us SELF-RIGHTOUS! We need to FOLLOW the GUIDANCE of the HOLY SPIRIT as He leads us AWAY from sin and into ALL TRUTH. We NEED to COMPLETELY SUBMIT ourselves to the Will of God.
We ALSO need to PRAY, spend time devloping our RELATIONSHIP with our BrideGroom and look forward to His Return. He’s coming again soon!
Below is a short clip of the movie “Evan Almighty”. Although it was a humerous account of a much smaller “flood”…we can watch this movie clip, witnessing the panic as all of the terrible things that are coming upon the earth escalate to a fever pitch, and get a “glimpse” of what it would be like to have that ark door close..and be left on the OUTSIDE as the TRIBULATION BEGINS. Let’s choose Jesus NOW, let’s PREPARE by submitting our lives to Christ and asking to be FILLED with HIS HOLY SPIRIT (OIL)…before the ARK DOOR CLOSES! God Bless!
Below is the Trailer from a movie that my husband and I just watched tonight. It’s really amazing as we see the ancient patterns of the Galilean wedding playing out in everything Jesus did… from the cup of the New Covenant, to the Midnight Cry, to the fact that “no man knows the day or the hour”, to the Rapture and Wedding supper. Everything Jesus did 2000 years ago has GREAT MEANING for us TODAY! God Bless!