Today’s Scripture: “Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps, but did not take any oil with them.” (Matt. 25:2-3)
In describing a first century Jewish wedding, the bridegroom and some of his close friends would leave his house and go to the bride’s home. There would be various ceremonies taking place, 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, they may have been bridesmaids who were assisting the bride. They expected to meet the groom as he came to the bride’s house. Everyone in the procession was expected to carry his or her 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 not carrying a torch would be assumed to be party crashers or even brigands.
In this parable we have five virgins who ran out of oil asking to borrow oil from the five virgins who brought extra oil for themselves. The five unprepared virgins represents false believers who enjoy the benefits of the Christian community without having true love and affection for Christ, the Bridegroom. These five virgins are more concerned about the party than they are about being prepared to receive Christ. Their hope is in the association with true believers (“give us some oil” v.8). These five virgins are hoping that that by association they will enter the kingdom at the end. Of course, this is never the case. Salvation does not come through or by any other way. Salvation comes by way of Christ. He is the only Way!
Jesus said, “Many will cry Lord, Lord, but will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” They will hear those famous last words, “I never knew you, depart from me ye that work iniquity” ; (Matt. 7:21-23).
This parable teaches us to hear and do the sayings of the Lord Jesus, which to some may be perceived as being rather difficult. However, we must follow through. Let us take heed of resting in outward privileges, lest we deceive ourselves. Everyone who who calls on the name of Jesus must depart from sin. Christ has laid a foundation, and everything that we try to build without Him is being built on sinking sand. We know that Christ will return at an unknown hour and that in knowing that we must prepare. Keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus at all times, with eager expectations, having patience as we wait for his arrival. This does not mean that we are to sit and do nothing, but we are to live godly lives, void of the world’s ways. Whatever we’re doing at the time of His return, we must be prepared, not having to make things right just before his arrival, as thus signified by the five virgins who were in need oil. We must not be found guilty of having to go away to make a purchase (v.10), when Christ returns. We should be ready, which means we are prepared upon His arrival.
Of interpretive significance, when Christ returns which return will it be? Is He returning for the rapture of the Church? Or is He returning to set up the Millennial Kingdom at the end of the tribulation? Regardless of which return it is, the lessons to be learned are relevant to both. Take the time to fill your lamp with oil and keep your lamp lit. Get your house in order, and wait with anticipated joy. He’s coming back, so be ready!
Scriptures Ref.: John 3:16; Rom. 10:9; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Eph. 2:1-10.
Source: Gotquestions.com; Photo Credit: Unknown