Ten Virgins


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The Parable of the Ten Virgins

    At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

    At midnight the cry rang out: "Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!"

    Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, "Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out."

    "No," they replied, "there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves."

    But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

    Later the others also came. "Sir! Sir!" they said. "Open the door for us!"

    But he replied, "I tell you the truth, I don't know you."

    Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. -- Matthew 25:1-13

In this parable, we see the character of Christ as a bridegroom, a representation that has its origins in the Old Testament, such as Psalm 45. Paul adopts the same similitude in 2 Corinthians 11:2, and John refers to the Church as the bride of Christ.

In this parable, however, while the character of Christ as bridegroom and the consummation of the marriage are clearly the leading events, we are especially led to examine the character of those who were to grace the wedding with their presence. These are the ten virgins that the parable begins with.

The representation of the virgins

  • The visible kingdom of Christ
  • The professed followers of Christ
  • All were sincere

Essential points in which the ten virgins differed

  • Wise
    • Earnest and sincere
    • Knew what was involved
    • Desired to be found ready
    • Prepared and acted for the future
  • Foolish
    • Earnest, sincere
    • Had lamps, but no provision for the future

Intervening period between the coming of the bridegroom

  • Did not come as early as expected
    • 2nd coming of Christ anticipated by apostolic Christians
  • During this period, they all became drowsy and fell asleep
    • May refer to the sleep of death
      • There is no condemnation of either the wise or the foolish for having slept
      • Importance of making preparations while still alive

It is announced that the bridegroom has arrived

  • Midnight, before the day of eternity dawns
  • "Here's the bridegroom!"
    • Emphatic
  • "Come out and meet him!"
    • For this you have waited
    • For this you have prepared
    • The dead in Christ shall rise first
    • The day of destiny and doom
  • "Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps."
    • Anxiety, care
    • The foolish virgins
      • Not hypocrites, but formalists
      • Not deceivers, but deceived
      • Earnestly attempt to make ready

The solemn difference fully realized

  • The foolish have no oil
    • Mere profession of faith died with them
    • Have no real grace
  • The wise go forth
    • Prepared
    • Desired
    • Expected
  • The foolish are excluded
    • The door was shut
    • Appeals in vain

Application of the parable

  • Prepare now, while you still can. Live for that.
  • At some point, which cannot be predicted, it will be too late

Suggested reading

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