The Parable of the Ten Virgins
1 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.
- “Then” this is a connector to Matt 24
- The Kingdom of Heaven will be like – not that the KoH ‘is’… 10 virgins.
- Whenever we recite the Apostle’s Creed we say “he will come again and judge.”
- Ch 24 is Jesus showing us the signs of his coming and Ch 25 is that final judgment – the separation – the wise from the foolish virgins – the faithful servants from the unfaithful servants and the sheep and the goats.
2Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.
- I don’t think we need to try to figure out who the virgins are. They are placed in the story and divided by 5 foolish and 5 wise.
- It will be more important to distinguish wise and foolish.
3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them,
- What is the oil? There have been several suggestions – (1) the Holy Spirit; (2) faith; (3) a life of good works
- With parables, you end up with problematic descriptions – but you just need to go with it.
- Can faith or the Holy Spirit be bought and sold? Can it be traded?
4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.
- Now we seem to be getting somewhere – the difference mentioned is that the wise took flasks of oil and the foolish took no extra flask.
- An odd point here is that those who took no extra oil would be those who would expect the soon return of Jesus.
- Those who brought extra oil are thinking that the return could be off in the distant future.
- Now note, from the outside, so far they seem to be the same – they both are virgins which I would assume has some definition as being faithful and both are expecting the arrival of the bridegroom.
5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept.
- The similarity continues – ALL became drowsy and ALL fell asleep.
- We all are in that situation – our faith gets strained and put to the test, so when you need to call up and count on your faith, do you have anything in reserve?
- But we do have indications that the return of Jesus may be delayed. One of the hearers of this parable was Peter and he turned around and taught his disciples;
- 2 Peter 3-4 – “3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”
- We are all capable of becoming drowsy in our faith and be like the rest of the world.
- Some people become very comfortable in their faith, they don’t need to go to church, they don’t need to discuss the faith with anyone and they can go ahead and live their life however they see fit.
- Why? Because they already have that seal and assurance — and that includes those of us who would say “Well I have been baptized – so I’m in.”
6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’
- At midnight – we spoke in Matthew 20:6 about the parable of the workers in the vineyard who came at the 11th hour – saying that it was like the last call before judgment day.
- Well here it is Midnight!! Here it is Judgment Day!!
- This “come out to meet him” is as close as we can get to a rapture – that as the town goes out to meet the bridegroom – so we the bride will be called out to meet the returning Jesus.
- There is no 7 years of tribulation or setting up earthly kingdoms as we have seen and will see here in ch 23 – 25.
7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.
- At the call, all 10 virgins rose and all 10 trimmed their lamps. (getting ready to get ready)
8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’
- This shows that they had oil – just no reserves.
- Did they not have continuing faith? Did they not concern themselves with feeding a continuing faith?
- Are they asking for those with faith to give some to them?
- Are they counting on a shared faith? “Well I don’t need to because my grandmother prays for me.”
- But to their credit – all 10 virgins were eager to go in.
- Both sets of virgins had faith and believed. One set let their faith burn out.
9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’
- The wise are wise to know that you can’t divide it away.
10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut.
- Even for this short time they have left their faith
- I don’t know, would they have been better off to sit in the dark with no lamp burning when the bridegroom returns than to be out of his presence?
- Here again is a point to note – whether you are a lifelong impenitent sinner, or a believer who falls away, you don’t need to look for Judgment Day in itself – your judgment day comes at your death.
- When you die the door is shut.
11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’
- Here is the main point. If you do fall away, there is a point of no return – the door is shut.
- But these virgins do plead for entrance. Oh yes, when we find ourselves on the outside looking in we want entrance. Wouldn’t a fair loving God let them in? NO!
12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
- Pay attention – people have stopped believing there is a judgment day.
- Here again Jesus tells another parable that says you will go to hell. (“I do not know you”)
- We are told by the ‘seeker’ type churches that we need to meet people where they are at – well I will tell you where they are at – on the broad road to hell.
13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
- It is like he looks at the people real closely and warns – “Watch out!”