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The Ten Virgins

by Shawn Daniels 

Jesus gives this parable of the kingdom of heaven; “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.  And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.  They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.  While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.  And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.  Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.  And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.  But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.  Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.  But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.  Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 25:1-13) Let us understand this parable and benefit from what it can teach us.

First we need to understand what this parable is made to represent.  Who is it that Jesus is speaking of?  Jesus said, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto…”  Here the phrase kingdom of heaven is a descriptive title for the church.  It is speaking of this kingdom that’s rule is in heaven.  Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (John 19:10).  His rule is in heaven.  Jesus also says, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21). Here he’s saying that his kingdom can not be surveyed with physical instruments.  It is a spiritual kingdom, one that is within us, and ruled by Jesus from heaven.  That is the meaning of the phrase kingdom of heaven.   It was used for the purpose of conveying the idea to the Jews that God’s kingdom is not a physical, earthly kingdom, but a spiritual, heavenly kingdom.  Jesus uses the two descriptive titles church and kingdom of heaven in Matthew 16:18-19, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church… …And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven”  It is speaking of the same institution as that of the church, which incidentally is descriptive of it’s called out feature.  The same idea is in the phrase ‘kingdom of God’ that Christ promised would come with power in the same generation as some that was there with him (Mark 9:1). The same is the case of the phrase ’household of God’.  “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19). That is descriptive of its family feature.  We which were gentiles now have this ability to be children of God.  We are part of this family.  Therefore, Jesus, in saying that the kingdom of heaven is like ten virgins, is also saying the church is like ten virgins. 

Why ten virgins?  Ten in the scripture represent whole or ‘all parts’.  So Jesus is speaking of the aggregate of the saved.  He uses virgins, for the simple reason that virgins represent one that is pure, and we that are in this kingdom are pure.  Peter tells us, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (I Peter 1:22-23).  When we have obeyed the truth we have become as virgins waiting for the bridegroom to come.  Paul tells us, “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (II Corinthians 11:2) .

Jesus tells us that there are two groups, five virgins that were wise and five that were foolish.  Notice he doesn’t say that one is good or the other is evil.  He doesn’t say one sinned and the other never did.  As a matter of fact, the scriptures teach us that all have sinned (Romans 3:23). However, both groups are virgins, pure, and children of God.  One was wise and the other was foolish.  Why?  One group was prepared, and the other was not.  This parable is a warning to show us that even if we are children of God, we can live in such a way that we will be lost.  We also learn that we can’t be prepared on someone else's efforts.  We must be watchful for our own selves.  We must keep ourselves prepared, and do the tasks that God wants us to do. Verse 8 and 9 says, “And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.  But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves” (Matthew 25:8-9). That is to say complete the tasks that will make you prepared.  

How about you?  Are you one of the wise virgins or one of the foolish?  Are you going to be found unprepared and here Jesus say, “Verily I say unto you, I know you not” (Matthew 25:12), or will you be ready to enter in?  "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man will come!" (Matthew 25:13).