Scripture: 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. Matthew 25:1-4 KJV.
In describing a first-century Jewish wedding, the bridegroom and some close friends would leave his house and go to the bride’s home. There would be various ceremonies, followed by a procession through the streets after midnight, and the festivities could last for several days.
Ten virgins took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Everyone in the procession was expected to carry their own torch. The torch was either a lamp with a small oil tank or a stick with a rag soaked in oil on the top end of it. The rag would require occasional re-soaking to maintain the flame. Those who joined in the procession without a torch are assumed to be party crashers or brigands.
The bridegroom was delayed, the virgins fell asleep, but at midnight the bridegroom came. The wise virgins arose, trimmed their wicks, and added oil to their lamps. But the foolish virgins asked to borrow oil from them, but their request was denied. That was equivalent to Christians who didn’t study to increase their knowledge of God. The five foolish virgins were religious following traditions. They weren’t interested in having a relationship with the Bridegroom. They were there for the festivities.
The difference between the lamps of wise virgins and the lamps of the foolish virgins was evident; the lamps of the wise burned brightly, but the lamps of the foolish were dim. They were about to go out.
While the foolish virgins were away buying oil, the bridegroom arrived. The wise virgins accompanied the bridegroom to his father’s home. After the wedding procession arrived, the doors were closed. No more guests were welcome to come in. This was a terrible loss of opportunity only because of the lack of preparation.
The five foolish virgins represent false believers who enjoy the benefits of the Christian community without having true love and affection for Christ, the Bridegroom. They are more concerned about the festivities than being prepared to receive the Bridegroom. They neglected to buy oil, and they waited until it was too late to do anything about it. Their hope was to enter the kingdom by association with true believers. But, unfortunately, that is never the case. Salvation does not come by way of association but by Jesus Christ alone. He is the only way!
Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, “I never knew you, depart from me ye that work iniquity”; (Matt. 7:21-23).
This parable teaches us that now is the time to prepare, even though we don’t know the day or hour that Jesus will return. Anyone who calls on the name of Jesus must depart from sin. Otherwise, they will stand before the Judge Seat without recognition. Only to hear him say, “I never knew you, depart from me ye that works iniquity.”
No one knows the day or time that Christ will return. Therefore we must be prepared at the time of his coming. Until then, with eager expectations, keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. He’s coming back for a church unblemished, so be ready!
Scriptures Ref.: John 3:16; Rom. 10:9; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Eph. 2:1-10.
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