What is the meaning of the Parable of the Ten Virgins?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
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...

July 01 2013 5 responses Vote Up Share Report

9aa51e4b447252291b959c696fb96539 400x400 Jeremiah Kaaya Pastor at Springs of Power Church, Teacher by professional
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.

January 31 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Belfastfella Casper Mcconnell Casper the Irish
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

November 02 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Data Danny Hickman Supporter Believer in The Gospel Of Jesus 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).

February 22 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
Behold the Bridegroom! Matt.25:1-13

Christ’s Second Advent—

to the True Church, His Bride—‘Behold the Bridegroom cometh’ Matt.25:6; --The church has known for 2,000 years that Jesus is coming again, and yet many believers have become lethargic and drowsy. They are no longer excited about the soon-coming of the Lord. As a result, there is little effective witness given that the Lord is returning. 
6. And at midnight —that is, the time when the Bridegroom will be least expected; for “the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night” (1 Th 5:2).

there was a cry made, Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him —that is, be ready to welcome Him.

Matthew 25:1 --
1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. There were 2 phases to Jewish weddings. 1st the bridegroom went to the bride’s home to get his bride and do certain religious ceremonies. 2nd he took his bride to his own home to resume the festivities. Christ will take His bride, the church, to heaven before The Tribulation begins; then He’ll come back with His bride at His 2nd Coming to the marriage supper on earth. 

Summing up the lesson, Jesus warns, “Watch, therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” (Matthew 25:13) I.e. the important thing is that people must be vigilant/watchful/alert and always ready for Christ’s return because only those who are ready (those who have come to faith in Him) will enter His kingdom.

to the nation of Israel—‘Behold thy King cometh’ Zech.9:9,10;

to the Gentiles and the world—‘Behold He cometh with clouds’ Rev.1:7

"Watch ye, therefore, watch I say,
Watch ye, therefore, watch and pray;
Ye know not the hour, ye know not the day
The Son of Man may come." --hymn, "The Ten Virgins," M. B. C. Slade

"Watch, ye saints, with eyelids waking;
Lo! the pow'rs of heav'n are shaking;
Keep your lamps all trimmed and burning,
Ready for your Lord's returning." -- hymn by Phoebe Palmer

--"Watch Ye Saints With Eyelids Waking"--this hymn's title

November 17 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Appelt
The parable of the ten virgins is part of the Olivet Discourse Jesus gave, Matthew 24-25. Its meaning is understood by where it is within the discourse. 

In Matthew 24:36-44, the Lord began a new topic about the pretribulation rapture. This is determined by the unique phrase, “now concerning.” Jesus was answering another part of the question the disciples asked, “When will these things happen?” The parables of the ten virgins and the talents, Matthew 25:1-30, continue the flow of thought, explaining the need of believers to be ready for His coming. Two verses connect them: Matthew 24:42 and Matthew 25:13, which say the timing of the Lord’s coming is not known, which can only refer to the rapture. 

The setting of the parable of the ten virgins is a typical wedding of that day. The bridegroom and bride were betrothed, and the bridegroom had gone to his father’s house to prepare a place for his bride. In the meantime, the bride, with her ten attendants, waits for the bridegroom to come for her. He will come unannounced, as a thief in the night, and take them to his home. John 14:1-3 describes the same thing, the Lord returning to take His bride home which happens at the rapture.

All ten virgins are believers waiting for the Bridegroom. All of them have lamps to trim – as tasks and gifts of the Spirit. They are light-bearers. The term “virgins,” the waiting for the bridegroom, and the symbolism of bearing lamps do not fit unbelievers.

The difference between the two groups of virgins is their level of preparedness. The wise virgins have a reserved supply of oil, whereas the foolish virgins do not. The idea of the foolish virgins not being saved, denied entrance into heaven, losing their salvation, or missing out on the rapture does not make sense. They all make it. The foolish virgins just missed out of being a part in the wedding festivities, not entrance into heaven.

The word “know,” in Matthew 25:12 is not as strong as in Matthew 7:23 where it says, “I never knew you,” which is outright rejection. The Lord is only saying He does not recognize these virgins as worthy to enter. 

“Watch” means being vigilant, alert and ready. There is no reason for the unbeliever to be commanded to watch, but instead, he needs to watch out for judgment. Every believer is called to watch as Paul reiterated, I Thessalonians 5:4-10. The giving of this command implies that some may fail in this task. The disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane failed to “watch and pray” as they succumbed to slumber, Matthew 26:40-41. 

The meaning of the parable of the virgins is that believers must live as expecting the Lord to come at any moment. As they wait for Him to take them up, I Thessalonians 4:13-17, they must live Spirit-led lives for God, not as the distracted foolish virgins. They shall be rewarded with the privilege of joining in the festivities.

June 06 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini George Fitt Spiritual Gift of Discernment
All the parables Christ told follow the same format as the parable of the sower sowing seed (Matthew 13:1-23).

Replace the nouns used with Christ's intent.

The bridegroom is Jesus.
The ten virgin bridesmaids are Christians who believe in Him.
The light is the truth of salvation in Christ.
The lamps are the means of displaying light.
Oil empowers the lamp to bring forth light.

What is the oil the five virgins lack in order to be taken to the wedding in heaven?

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NKJV

There are ten sins listed above:
1) Fornication
2) Idolatry
3) Adultery
4) Homosexuality
5) Sodomy
6) Thievery
7) Covetousness
8) Drunkenness
9) Revile
10) Extortion

The foolish five virgins lack oil for their lamps, because they have been deceived into thinking their sin will be forgiven without repentance and do not turn from their sin.

Or, they have been deceived by their religious leaders into thinking their sin isn't sin at all; like divorce and remarriage being adultery without exception.

They foolishly believe lies when Scripture clearly states the truth.

New believers must repent their sins before they can be forgiven.

(Jesus) saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:15 NKJV

Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery. Luke 16:18 NKJV

So He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” Mark 10:11-12 NKJV

50% of marriages in America end in divorce and 50% of the virgins in this parable are without oil for their lamps.

For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. Mark 8:38 NKJV

Did you notice Jesus comes to an ADULTEROUS and sinful generation, who are ashamed of His words on what is adultery?

These are not coincidences.

Read the footnotes in the RSV, ASV and NASB and you'll find the original text for Matthew 19:9.

Those translating the KJV used corrupted manuscripts.

Thus, the five virgins lack righteousness because they have not repented their sin and are being deceived into thinking they do not need to repent their sin, because they foolishly follow false doctrine.

November 04 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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