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As we take a good look at the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13), we must acknowledge up front that there has been much debate as to the meaning of these words of our Savior. At least one...
The Bible does indeed script the parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-13). However, we also ought to understand that just as it is termed as a parable, so it is that the language used is only figurative. For Jesus tried all to make us understand the dynamics of His coming, death, and resurrection and the dynamics of the Kingdom of Heaven. The prime cutouts of this parable though are; The bridegroom The ten virgins The lamps The oil The waiting time The bridegroom The bridegroom (husband) is used to refer to Jesus Christ, and the groom (wife) is used to refer to the Church. The Bible more than one time figures the relationship between Jesus and the Church to that of the bridegroom and the bride (John 3:29), (Ephesians 5:22-33), (Revelation 21:2), (Revelation 22:17). For it is best suited because for a man and a woman to reach the level of having agreed to be husband and wife best explains the level of intimacy there is. Additionally, the excitement, the expectation that there is makes each to prepare maximally and to endeavor to avoid any shortcomings. For it is a special occasion and a special day. Who can tell the eagerness? The ten virgins. What is most remarkable here is that all the ten girls were virgins. This is a true representation of everybody who is Christian. To be Christian is to have confessed Christ and subsequently submit to His authority. Yet many of us have the appearance of a Christian people but in substance are lacking in what makes us so. Many people falsely believe that by simply attending Church and identifying with the Believers so are they counted Christians. This is not so. Jesus said not whoever says Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom (Matthew 7:21-23). He further goes on to stress the fact that to follow Him makes sense in substance and not in appearance or talk. We are counted His followers if we obey His commands (John 15:14), (Luke 6:46). For the five wise virgins had been so for obeying the Lord while the five foolish ones had been only self seekers. The lamps. A Christian must shine. A Christian must let observed. For if as Christians walk in the light, we will not stumble (Matthew 5:15), (John 11:9-10), (John 12:35). We ought to make a living testimony and remain Christians everywhere regardless of when it comforts us or not. The five wise virgins walked in the light by holding onto their lamps till the bridegroom showed up. The five foolish virgins though lacked purpose of keeping in the light. For darkness comes with suspicion, but light reveals if we are to be justified or not. The Oil The oil is a representation of a Christian's sacrifices for the love of God. The denial of self of the pleasures of this world. The sacrifices of prayer time and the fasting. The preaching of the gospel despite the harsh conditions and the lack of the requirements, but go on to persist on. To never be swayed by the conditions that be is the oil which should keeps us alight (Matthew 24:13), (Revelation 14:4). The five wise virgins kept their oil because they knew it is what would keep them going. The five foolish ones though seemed to only gamble around. They were only caught in their craftiness. The waiting time This is where it is all summed up. No one knows the year the month, the day nor the hour. For any time can be that time (Luke 17:26-27), (Matthew 24:36), (Matthew 24:39), (1Thessalonians 5:2-4), (Revelation 16:15). If to say, even that time itself is not aware it is. Because the five wise virgins considered that they never knew the time, they had prepared themselves pretty enough to fend off any eventualities, and it worked. Like the five wise virgins, we must remain upbeat because we are assured that He will surely show up (Matthew 24:42), (Luke 21:36), (Mark 13:33). Thus conclusively, what is of us most to learn here is the fact that we should not only be Christians, but we must be Christians of purpose. The five wise virgins had purpose and vision, the foolish ones lacked in all.
One of the amazing things about scripture is the consistency of meaning of words such as 'virgin' or 'bridegroom'. What then does virgin, oil, lamp each denote? Compare Isaac and Jesus who leave us after death to return at the wedding. These 10 women (why groups of 5?) are temple dedicated followers (church going christians). They all have a lamp. Is that the bible, a light to their path? But if the oil is the Holy Spirit, what does it mean to go buy the Spirit? Yes we can read this like the parable of the wheat and tares which are separated on judgement day. But I think there is a second message for all followers of Jesus who are washed in the blood of Christ. Many of us who are saved do not live by faith, putting our faith to the test daily.... maybe we do once in a while when we are desperate or want something, but most of the time we live in the " real world" of a capitalist democracy, not subjects of the King where all is freely given. The oil of blessing is not for sale but freely given by Father to child. Some Christians who met Jesus at the cross may be saved and know their sins forgiven but are clearly not living in the Kingdom putting faith into practice and getting to know God intimately. When we meet Him at the wedding, all believers will get their promised seat at the feast but only the few who fill and use their lamps daily, who are already intimate with the bridegroom by the Spirit will be invited into the wedding with Christ
In this parable I don't believe the oil is depicting the Holy Spirit as I've heard some suppose. You can't borrow the Holy Spirit, neither can you go and return with Him at will. I think we're simply being told to keep our lamps burning, that Jesus can't use a worker whose light has gone out, and that your light could be out when He returns because He's coming at a time you don't regard as likely to happen. We're being told to get prepared and stay that way. The parable doesn't say that the virgins were destroyed, but that they were left out of the celebration, not allowed to serve. We seem to think every teaching is referring to being saved or being lost. Of course our eternal life is the end result, but we need a light for the meantime. The virgins were not the bride (the church). In fact, the bride is conspicuously missing in the story. These are they who are hoping to meet the bridegroom, possibly for the first time since the bridegroom doesn't know them. This is a picture of God's kingdom (the initial verse). The feast in God's kingdom is for people who the bridegroom ALREADY knows before His arrival. He recognized the five wise by their lighted lamps. An unlit lamp is evidence that the bridegroom doesn't know you. You're identified by your light. They presumably went out and got oil and lit their lamp, although the bible doesn't exactly say that, but that they returned expecting to be let into the wedding. But, the bridegroom can only use you if you're prepared to meet Him on His unexpected arrival. I think Jesus is saying "if you want to be used be prepared when I call on you." I expected to read where someone posted that the lamp going out spells losing salvation from failing to properly maintain it, which is totally wrong. Another thing I think is not so is that they were pretending to be VIRGINS (christians). No, Jesus said they WERE virgins. They were unprepared friends of the bride and groom who wanted to celebrate the bride and groom by serving them. They knew they needed a lit lamp, but they didn't prepare for the unexpected delay and late arrival of the groom. I think the parable that accompanied this one, the parable of the three servants given talents to invest is somewhat about final judgment, but not this one. I say "somewhat." He told it with His next breath (Matt 25:14-30). If it is picturing salvation it is showing it to be by working for it and not by grace, and we know it is attained only by the grace of God. The two men who did the work while the master is away are praised and told to enter into the joy of their master, while the "lazy" servant is scolded and cast into outer darkness. So, is Jesus teaching on salvation or loyalty to your assignment? You can work from sun to sun and ignore the Savior and your work will be in vain. Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man's envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind (Eccl 4:4). I think the parable of the wise and foolish of Matt 25:1-13 could be about the "OIL" of wisdom. Five had wisdom to bring extra oil and are called "wise." The other five lacked wisdom (and oil) and are called foolish. This parable shows the contrast of wisdom and folly. The wise are prepared for the inevitable, the foolish are not. Who today, if told the master will hit you on your cell when He's on the way, will leave home without a phone charger? Is that foolish or what? If I told that story about a charger left at home the story would be about the folly of not bringing it, not about the charger. The protection of wisdom is like the protection of money, and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it (Eccl 7:12).
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