Saturday, November 12, 2011


I came to faith in Christ forty years ago due to the beauty of the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matt. 25:1-13), and yet, I cannot tell you what it means. Yes, I know it is illustrating something about the Lord's Second Coming, but what, I can only guess. I know the "Bridegroom" is Jesus (Matt. 9:15; Jn. 3:29; Rev. 21:9). I know the ten virgins cannot represent the Church, because the Church will be with the "Bridegroom" when He returns (Jn. 14:3; 2 Cor. 5:8: 1 Thes. 3:13). I know that the ten virgins represent those on earth who believe they are saved, because even those who are left standing outside call Him Lord (Matt. 25:11). I know that they will have waited a long time for Him (Matt. 25:5). And finally, I know that those awaiting His coming will not know when He will appear (Matt. 25:13).

What I don't know is the identity of the virgins; the meaning of the oil and the lamps; why five who apparently could have shared their oil, did not; how five could "buy" oil; and why those who believed He was coming and called Him "Lord," were rejected. I have read interpretations by many noted Bible teachers, but I have found that they not only disagree as to the meaning of some of the details in the parable, they often do not have scriptural support for their "guesses."

Some have speculated that the ten virgins must be Jews who have survived the Tribulation, but if Christ going in and closing the door illustrates half were saved, and half were lost, it seems unlikely that they are Jews because the Word says "...all Israel shall be saved...." (Rom. 11:26).

Some believe the "oil" represents the Holy Spirit, but is it really possible to "buy" the Holy Spirit? And even if it were possible, the doctrinal implications of five who had once had "oil," "using it up and having none," is inconsistent with the words "everlasting life," and "eternal life" used to describe the result of faith in Jesus. Even the meaning of the lamps is debatable. If they are picturing the Word of God (Ps. 119:105), how does one "trim" God's Word?

The phrase, "Lord, Lord" appears elsewhere in Matthew's Gospel. Jesus said, "Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity." (7:21-23). In this passage, those calling Jesus Lord were attempting to "qualify for heaven" by doing good works. However, the only "work" man can do to "qualify" is to "...believe on Him whom He hath sent" (Jn. 6:29). It is possible that the five virgins who were allowed to enter had simply trusted in Him, while those remaining outside were trusting in their good works. Again, that is simply my guess. I really don't know for sure.

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