The parable of the Ten Virgins holds a profound teaching about preparedness for the coming of the Lord. Jesus, in this parable, emphasizes the importance of readiness for the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 25:1-13).
Jesus had previously discussed various aspects of the end times in Matthew 24, addressing the destruction of the temple, signs of the end of the age, and the uncertainty surrounding the coming of the Son of Man. Now, He wanted to drive home this crucial point about preparedness, through this parable.
To fully grasp the parable’s meaning, it is essential to understand a bit about the Jewish wedding tradition. Jewish weddings took place at night, following an engagement period. During this time, the groom went away to prepare a place for the bride, while she focused on personal preparations, including obtaining wedding garments, jewels, and lamps. The bride expected her groom’s arrival but did not know the exact day or hour, as only the father knew. (Remember Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only”– Matthew 24:36).
The parable begins with ten virgins who take their lamps and go out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were wise and planed ahead of time, carrying extra oil, while the other five were foolish, neglected to bring additional oil. As they all waited for the bridegroom, they fell asleep.
At midnight, a cry was heard announcing the arrival of the bridegroom. The virgins awoke and prepared their lamps. The foolish ones, realizing their oil was running out, asked the wise virgins for oil. However, the wise virgins advised them to go and buy oil for themselves. As the foolish virgins left to purchase oil, the bridegroom arrived, and those who were ready went with him to the wedding and the door was shut (Matthew 25:10).
The foolish virgins returned, pleading with the bridegroom to open the door for them. However, the bridegroom responded, “Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.” This echoes Jesus’ warning in Matthew 7:21-23, where He says that not everyone who claims to have faith in Him will enter the kingdom of heaven. Those who practice lawlessness or iniquity will hear the devastating words, “I never knew you.” Only those who do the will of the Father will be known by Him.
The distinction between the wise and foolish virgins lies in their preparedness. The parable symbolizes the readiness of those who profess faith in Christ for His return. The lamps represent God’s Word, providing guidance in life and the oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit. The wise virgins had a genuine experience with the Holy Spirit, bearing the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. In contrast, the foolish virgins lacked this vital relationship and sought to buy the anointing, akin to Simon the sorcerer’s misguided attempt to buy the power of God, and was denounced by Peter for it. (Acts 8:18-23)
Plan for Midnight
As we observe the signs of the times, it becomes evident that the Bridegroom’s return is imminent. Two groups will be waiting: those who are ready and those who only have a superficial form of godliness. The former, marked by the genuine anointing of the Holy Spirit, will be awakened at the Midnight Cry, trim their lamps, and meet the Bridegroom. The latter lack a genuine born-again experience and the evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. These are the ones who will hear the heartbreaking words, “I do not know you.”
As we find ourselves in this pre-midnight season, we must ask ourselves if we are truly ready, have you planned for it? Are your garments spotless? Have you been washed in the blood of the Lamb? Are your lamps burning brightly with the oil of the Holy Spirit flowing in your life? The Midnight Cry is approaching, and those who are prepared will be welcomed into the marriage supper of the Lamb. Let’s strive to be among the wise virgins eagerly anticipating this glorious event.
“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming”– Matthew 25:13
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