Parable of the Ten Virgins

Foolish or Wise?  Which Virgin Are You?


Matthew 25:1-13  1 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.  6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.  11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’  

13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.


I understand that most teach this parable as a picture of the last day, or the rapture.  I believe it is also a parable for the church today, in everyday life.

In order to fully understand this study we must first begin at verse one and the first five words “Then the kingdom of heaven”.  Jesus told us in Matthew 3:2, Matthew 4:17, Matthew 10:7, and Mark 1:15 that the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  Those words ‘at hand’ mean it is here, right now, within our grasp.  So, if it is here, right now, then this parable is for right now.

Verse 1:  Right now we have ten virgins who have taken their lamps and gone to meet the bridegroom.  The number ten is significant — it means the perfection of divine order and completeness.  These virgins, then, are already part of the kingdom of God — they are believers.  This point is emphasized by using the term ‘virgins’ rather than women or men.  The Bride of Christ is holy and pure — a virgin.

What are the virgins carrying?  Their lamps.  The lamps, of course, represent the light of Christ that dwells within each believer.

“Lamp” is used in the sense of a guide in Psalm 119:105 Proverbs 6:23, and for the spirit, which is called the lamp of Yahweh in man (Proverbs 20:27), and it of course often signifies the light itself. It is used also for the son who is to succeed and represent his father (1 Kings 15:4).


Verse 2:  Believers go forth to meet the Bridegroom, filled with His light.  Five of them are wise and five are foolish.  Again, the number is significant as ‘five’ represents divine grace, further pressing home to us the fact that all of them are saved!


Verse 3:  The difference between the wise and the foolish is that the wise had extra oil with them.  The oil represents the Holy Spirit, His gifts, and His fruit.  All of them had oil because they had their lamps.


Verse 4:  But half of them had extra oil.  How did they get extra oil?  Acts 5:32 tells us that God gives the Holy Spirit to those who are obedient.  So half of these virgins purchased extra oil by their obedience to the Holy Spirit.


Verse 5:  All of these believers are together and are waiting for the Bridegroom, but He has been delayed.  So they all slumber.  That means they all were in a state of negligence, sloth, and inactivity in their approach to the King of Kings.  They all had eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear. BUT, remember that five of them were obedient to the Holy Spirit and in using their gifts and talents as directed by Him they had gained extra oil.


Verse 6:  The cry has gone up saying the King of Kings is coming!  Our right now interpretation of this is when there is a move of God in any congregation of believers.  Some respond, some do not.


Verse 7:  All of the believers have trimmed their lamps.  Our right now interpretation is that all of them have repented of their sins, taken communion, and stand ready to serve the King of Kings.


Verse 8:  However, the foolish virgins see clearly that the wise virgins are operating in power and authority through the gifts that have been imparted to them.  Their prayers are answered, their worship is supernatural, they lay hands on people who are healed, they are casting out demons, they are teaching with authority.  So the foolish virgins ask the wise virgins to give them some of their oil.  I liken this to children crying out “feed me, feed me”! ” Give me what you have.  I want what you have.  I don’t want to work for it.  I don’t want to sacrifice for it.  I just want it.  Give it to me”.  So many of us are lazy and do not feed ourselves.  We eat from the plate that others have prepared.  We are babies and Lord wants us to grow up and be the Bride!


Verse 9:  And the rubber meets the road right in this verse.  The wise virgins refuse.  Their refusal isn’t selfish even though the wording appears so, because the wise virgins know that the gifts of God cannot be purchased in the natural but must be purchased with spiritual tender.  They have labored hard for their oil and the foolish virgins should have done the same.


Verse 10:  So the foolish virgins set about trying to use their gifts.  But they are out of practice or perhaps have never practiced using their gifts and so do not have much success.  While they are focused on trying to get more oil in their lamps, the move of God has already come and the wise virgins have been caught up in it and are locked in an intimate embrace  with the Bridegroom.


Verse 11:  AFTERWARDS.  After the move of God has finished, the foolish virgins show up wanting to partake of the Bridegroom.  It is too late.


Verse 12:  The Bridegroom is finished in this place and the move of God is over.  The foolish virgins receive a ‘no’ from the Bridegroom and they have missed out on a magnificent intimacy with their King.


Verse 13:  WATCH.  We don’t know when the next move of God will occur.  We must not be foolish.  We must take every opportunity to practice using our gifts and to increase in our knowledge of the LORD.  We want our lamps to be lit and our oil carafes to be full so that we are ready when He calls us into service or simply calls us to an embrace.


A wise virgin — one who does not let her lamp go out and is continually filling her ‘spare’ oil carafe.  We are charged to always be ready to use the gifts the Holy Spirit has imparted and available when the Lord calls.