The Ten Virgins
The Parable of the Ten Virgins – Matthew 25:1-13
1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
9 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.
10 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.
11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
"Then" is the first word of this parable. It is the only parable beginning with such a word. This word evidently shows that certain activities and events must have already taken place before the events in this parable can come to pass. The "then" points back to the prophecies given by our Lord Jesus Christ in answer to the three questions raised by His disciples in Matthew 24 – "Tell us, when shall these things be?" (that is, the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem) "and what shall be the sign of thy coming" (that is, the parousia of Christ), "and of the end of the world?"
The answers that Jesus gave were not in direct answer to each question. They were answered in a general way, starting from the immediate future then to the future and to the distant future, back and forth. Amongst these activities were the appearances of false christs and false prophets; the destruction of the Temple and the City of Jerusalem; the Great Tribulation; the parousia of Christ; wars and rumours of wars; nations and kingdoms rising up against one another; famines, pestilences and earthquakes; Christians being hated, afflicted and killed, even betraying and hating one another; the epiphaneia of Christ; and the fulfillment of the parable of the Fig Tree (which is the birth of Israel as a nation causing the Jews to return to her own homeland in 1948). Note that it is the fulfillment of the parable of the Fig Tree which would "then" bring in the parable of the Ten Virgins into its end time prophetic fulfillment. It provides the perspective as to the time when those prophecies Christ spoke about in His answers would be fulfilled. Christ would return to give Israel her kingdom. This is the reference point that marks the beginning of the end.
Having established the time, we should now realize the parable of the Ten Virgins had begun its fulfillment right from the beginning of the 20th Century, went through the First and Second World Wars, and up to the present time. The parable is about to come to the end of its fulfillment. And the end of its fulfillment is not the Rapture, per se. Many Christians have been taught that the parable is about the Rapture. It is not. Like the other seven parables this one is still dealing with the condition and period of change in the Kingdom of Heaven. But this time Christ used the virgins or bridesmaids in the setting of an oriental wedding to portray the condition of the believers in the endtime Church. (The parable itself also portrays a universal picture of the conditions in the whole Church World till the Bride of Christ is sealed in for the Rapture.)
The Kingdom of Heaven is now "likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the Bridegroom." Why did Christ use "ten virgins"? Why did He not use "ten grains of wheat" since we already know that wheat represents those who believe the Word?
Correct usage of things or objects in the narration of a parable is important. Specific things or objects are used to depict certain fixed concepts of Biblical truths. An object from one parable cannot simply substitute another object used in a different parable. For example, there are Christians who believe and teach that the "foolish virgins" in the parable are the unbelievers. In saying that, they then project that the "foolish virgins" are "tares". That’s a very serious error. Such substitution would have Jesus Christ saying, "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten grains, five are wheat and five are tares." But He did not. Why? It is obvious because the foolish virgins are not the unbelievers or the seeds of the wicked one.
So, why "virgins"?
Concerning the "kingdom of Heaven", there are three parables depicting the various settings of the last Church Age, which began in the early 20th Century. All three parables overlap each other and somewhat converge together. The first parable is the second parable of Matthew 13 – the tares among the wheat. The tares were being gathered from amongst the wheat and tied up in bundles to be cast and consumed in the fiery wrath of God. The tares represent the unbelievers and the false believers, who were being rounded up under the World Council of Churches. The wheat represent the believers who are gathered at the threshing floor of the Word of God and purged before storage at the granary (cf. Matt.3:12).
All wheat grains are wheat grains. However, there are three different kinds of wheat grains – the pollinated, the unpollinated and the worm-eaten. The worm-eaten wheat grains represent those whose names are removed from the Book of Life (Rev.3:5; 22:19). They are the wheat that went bad after worms (spiritual corruption and carnality) devoured them. The unpollinated wheat grains cannot bear fruit and represent those who are saved through the fire (1 Cor.3:15; 5:5). The pollinated wheat grains are the "good" ones that bring forth much fruit. They are a part of the good that are gathered in the second parable.
The second parable is the seventh parable of Matthew 13 – the casting of the great net. As the tares were separated and the wheat gathered and purged, a great net was cast over the sea of humanity. It covered every race, society and religion. It covered even the wheat that were being purged on the threshing floor. The final great Gospel ministry to the world brought in creatures of all kinds in the net. As only the good were the intention of the catch, they had to be separated from the bad in the great net. The good were gathered into vessels while the bad were thrown away. The good refer to those who met the requirements of the Word of God accordingly while the bad are those who did not (cf. Lev.11:9-12). All these sea creatures might wave about in the water, "shout and dance in the spirit", but only the good would satisfy the Lord and His Word and that is why they were chosen to be gathered into the vessels.
Now, the third parable is the parable of Matthew 25:1-13 – the five wise and five foolish virgins. Note that unlike the other two parables, which had two totally different (opposing) objects, the "tares" and the "wheat", and the "bad" and the "good", this parable has only one object, the "virgins". This parable of the virgins (or bridesmaids) goes beyond the wheat that were gathered onto the threshing floor and purged, and beyond the good that were gathered into vessels. It tells of a group of believers in the endtime who are looking excitedly for the Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. It reveals the preparedness of the true worshippers in their relationship with Christ the Word in the time of His Coming (Parousia), when He will take His Bride in marriage. These virgins comprise both the wheat that were being gathered and purged, and the good that were caught in the net. If there is any believer who is a virgin that is presently in a denominational system, the believer is a virgin even though he has no oil in his lamp as yet. He will surely come to receive the OIL message and come out of the system when the excitement of the midnight cry stirs him up.
At this juncture I need to point out that the parable speaks neither directly of the Rapture of the saints nor of the Bride of Christ being wed though it mentions a wedding taking place. In fact it speaks of a certain category of Christians, who Jesus termed the "virgins" (unmarried maidens or bridesmaids), who "went forth to meet the bridegroom". Only the wise ones went with him into the marriage feast. Many think that the "virgins" are "brides", but they are not. They are not the Bride, per se. The "going forth to meet the bridegroom" is obviously not referring to "going forth into the Rapture" since most Christians, regardless of faith, believe that they are the "wise virgins" and that they would make it to the Rapture. If that is so, then which Christian individuals in the world belong to the "foolish virgins"? Rather, it refers to an event where only the "virgin" Christians know the importance of meeting the Bridegroom and entering into the Marriage Feast. The Bridegroom, of course, is Christ the Word. However, it is not merely the physical Person of Jesus Christ but the glory of Christ the Word. Actually the virgins or bridesmaids (of the Bride) are excited about the marriage and they are eagerly looking forward to receiving and ushering the Bridegroom into the place where the marriage will be held. They want to be a part of this marriage (feast). The virgins are looking forward to seeing and understanding Christ the Word in a very personal and intimate way. Only when a Bible believer has received and understood Christ the Word then can he receive Christ the Person of the Word.
[Note: In the three parables mentioned, there is a connection between certain particular things. The first parable depicts the association between the Sower and His Wheat. The second parable reveals the relation of the Good (fishes) to the Net. The third parable discloses the necessity of the Virgins for the Bridegroom in the Marriage Feast.]
Remember that the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is a spiritual one and that the Marriage of the Lamb and His Bride is also spiritual. The Marriage or Wedding of the Lamb is to take place spiritually on earth as the Word-Groom claims His Bride. It is an invisible union of the Heavenly Bridegroom (or Word-Groom) and the Earthly Bride (or Word-Bride). When the marriage feast and nuptials are complete and the Word-Groom is satisfied that His Bride-Wife has made herself ready (cf. Rev.19:7) then, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, the Lord Jesus will then sweep His Wife home to His Father's House. This going home to the Father's House is what we call the Rapture. It is there in Heaven that the Grand Marriage Supper of the Lamb will take place. Hence the Bridegroom in the parable does not speak of Christ the physical Person, but rather of Christ the spiritual Word that would come to the spiritual Bride for the holy union.
[Note: It is important not to mix the theme of this parable of the Virgins going forth to meet the Bridegroom with that of the study of the Marriage of the Lamb (that is, the Spiritual Wedlock of Christ and His Spiritual Bride). Though both involve a marriage setting they depict different subject matters. The parable deals with a relationship between the Bridegroom and the Virgins (Bridesmaids) whereas the study of the Marriage of the Lamb is on the relationship of Christ and His Bride.]
And in this endtime, we have only three categories of people in the CHURCH. The first is the wise virgins. The second is the foolish virgins. The third is the tares (or the bad) who have no real passion and are not concerned about the return of Christ. They are spiritually unmoved about it though they may open their mouth and confess that Jesus Christ is coming soon.
The Church started off on the Day of Pentecost with true believers; they were the wheat portrayed in the first and second parables of Matthew 13. But some twenty years later, the spirit of Nicolaitans had begun to work in the Church and by the time all the Apostles had gone to sleep in the Lord, the tares (false believers) became plentiful in the field of Christ. The tares were left alone to grow with the wheat throughout the Church Ages until the seventh and the last Church Age – Laodicea, which is the period of the harvest and the time of separation. The Word clearly shows that only in this last Church Age do we see a category of believers being portrayed by the Lord Jesus as the virgins.
Christ is the Author and Finisher of our faith. He is the Alpha and the Omega. The Church He had started began with a FAITH. It will end with the same FAITH. The Early Church had only pure wheat, born on the Day of Pentecost by the Spirit of Christ. It was the day when the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the OIL of the Lord in both Word and Spirit, was upon the believers. The field of wheat, the apostles and the believers, were not contaminated then. The enemy had yet to sow tares. The wheat were as virgins in the FAITH. No false teaching had rubbed upon them yet. Unlike the many churches today with their so-called revelations of GOD and the FAITH, the Church born on the Day of Pentecost had the revelation of Yahweh and His Redemptive Name, Yahshua, which was given to the Messiah. That was the very first doctrine laid down in the Gospel preached by Peter on that Day of Pentecost. That was the revelation given by the Holy Spirit to all who received the baptism of the Spirit. And that is the base criterion, or yardstick, by which all who later received the baptism of the Holy Spirit would be measured against.
Similar to the pure wheat in the Early Church before the tares arrived, the virgins in this last Church Age will have the same revelation as they did. But as the parable shows, some were wise and some were foolish. Because of their attitude, the foolish ones will find themselves in a situation that they least expected that will cause them to miss the marriage (feast). Still, because they are all virgins, they will be saved as unlike the tares, which will be cast away into fire to be consumed for their falsehood.
So then, who are these virgins?
Virgins are those who are 'unmarried, pure, and know no man'. These are Christians who are separated from the Church systems formed by the traditions of men. They are "virgins" to the Word. They form the category of believers in these last days who received a revelation that set them apart from other believers in the Church World. A study of Church History shows that the Laodicean Age started near the beginning of the 20th Century after the decline of Methodism. As traditions and cold formal religions had no place in the hearts of Truth seekers, many left the different denominational backgrounds to seek for more of God. And so it began with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon certain gatherings of these Truth seekers and true worshippers of different races in America, especially around the years 1903 to 1906. The flame of revival was kindled and it would soon engulf the whole of America, Europe and the rest of the world. To many Christians this revival is called the Pentecostal Revival or the Pentecostal Outpouring of the Holy Spirit resulting in what is known as the Pentecostal Movement.
Now, when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon these believers in the first decade of the 20th Century, the believers spoke in tongues and even prophesied like those in the Early Church on the Day of Pentecost. They experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit in a unique way that few Christian people ever experience since the tares overran the Church in the Third Church Age. However, to denominational Christians (especially of today) outside of the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement, the glossolalia phenomenon is not real or Scriptural. Their judgement is based on what is happening today in the Pentecostal-Charismatic Movement. It is true that among the hundreds and thousands who speak in tongues, only a handful are genuine. There is much impersonation, not only in the gift of tongues, but also in the other eight gifts of the Holy Spirit.
As we know, the Oracles of God were first given to His chosen people, Israel (Rom.3:1-2). Although the children of Israel believed in ONE GOD, they could not comprehend the Messiah. On the other hand, the Gentiles having received the Messiah (Christ), now believe in a so-called Holy Trinity – a United Godhead of THREE GODS (whom they prefer to refer to as THREE PERSONS). However, look closely at chapter 2 of the Book of Acts (of the Holy Spirit). Peter preached a simple and yet powerful message to his audience. He revealed the scriptures concerning the prophecies of Joel, amongst others, which were fulfilled in Christ Jesus. He concluded by saying, "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36). The audience of Jews was pricked in their hearts when they realized that the Man Jesus, whom they had crucified, was actually the Son of the Living God, their very Messiah. In response to their sincere cry to do what was right, let us notice what Peter said in contrast to the commandment which was given unto him and the rest of the apostles in Matthew 28:19. "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38). 3000 souls received that revelation and took the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ in water baptism. This very truth that the Lord Jesus Christ was God manifested in flesh, was blazed all over the then known world by the apostles – "God in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself" (2 Cor.5:19). There was nothing about a second Person of the Trinity, or a third of God who became man to save sinners. On the contrary, Paul said that Jesus Christ was the fullness of the Godhead bodily (cf. Col.1:19; 2:9).
Truly these believers in the early 20th Century had received the genuine gift. It was not just the gift of speaking in tongues or any of the other 9 spiritual gifts for they experienced something far greater. It awakened them to a revelation most Christians before them had completely ignored. They had received what the Apostles and the believers had received on the Day of Pentecost, measured by the yardstick given during the first Pentecostal outpouring on the Early Church. When these Trinitarian Christians received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, they had a revelation. They were convinced of the errors in the doctrines of the Trinity and Water Baptism in the triune title of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They then began embracing the doctrine of One God and Water Baptism in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Conforming to the Truth, they were re-baptized in the Redemptive Name of God – the Lord Jesus Christ, as taught in Acts 2:38. Hence, we see the Scripture is true: "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:…" (Jhn.16:13a, cf. Psa.25:5). The Spirit of God is not given to cause believers to speak in tongues or to demonstrate one of His spiritual gifts. He is given as the gift of Christ upon every born again believer to lead and guide them into all truth. And the first thing He does is to reveal Himself and His Name.
When the "leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened" came to be fed to the Church, the OIL was so tamped that the Christians who received it, received not the fullness of what the Early Church had. Most had but a gist of it. Few understood the full value of it. With the Reformers on the scene, God slowly began to restore and show the Church World the Truth about Baptism in the Holy Spirit. It was through Martin Luther that a measure of the meal – JUSTIFICATION, was restored. Then John Wesley restored the second measure with SANCTIFICATION. Because the tares were allowed to mix with the wheat until the Harvest, it did not matter to the Lord which denomination a Christian belonged to during those era. Yes, those who were true believers were born again of the Spirit of God, otherwise they would not have eternal life – "that which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (Jhn.3:6). But when the last of the measure of meal, HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISM, came into sight from the beginning of the 20th Century, God began firming up the whole loaf as the tares were severed from the wheat, and the good were gathered into vessels while the bad were cast away. As is Alpha, so is Omega. The Lord must restore and perfect the Church for His Word demands it. And anyone who considers himself a Bible believer ought to seriously scrutinize what he believes for there are many enticing spirits going about telling people, "Doctrines do not matter much as long as you believe that Jesus Christ is your Saviour." Do not be fooled. Jesus said: "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (Mat.24:35). As such, we should not add or take away from the Word of God (Rev.22:18; Prov.30:6; Deut.4:2).
[Note: If you are still not convinced of the Truth of taking water baptism in the Redemptive Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, try this. Pay for a purchase with a bank cheque. Sign your cheque, "Father, Son and Husband" (if you are a man living with your son, father and wife) and see if the cheque is cashable. Even if you are an Owner, President and Treasurer of a company, signing a cheque in those titles could never make the cheque valid. Certainly, you would not be that foolish but to sign your NAME. Yet, almost all churches have been fooled by the Devil to take a worthless triune title of Father, Son and Holy Ghost in water baptism. Some theologians have even argued away Acts 2:38 by teaching that Peter (and the other apostles) commanded the converts "in the Name of Jesus Christ" to be water baptized in accordance to the triune titles given in Matthew 28:19.]
The disciples of Christ could not have done much if they did not tarry for the promise of the Father for they had little knowledge in the way of the fullness of the Word although they were witnesses of Christ and His ministry (Luk.24:46-49). The disciples had been justified by faith in Christ’s Word, and had been cleansed and sanctified (Jhn.13:11; Eph.5:26; Heb.10:10), and had received the Spirit that Jesus breathed upon them (Jhn.20:22). Like those prophets and saints who were before them, they had salvation. But they had not the experience of the fullness of the Holy Spirit flowing in them (John.7:38-39). Hence, they were told to tarry in Jerusalem until they were invested with power from heaven: "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). It was this outpouring of the Holy Spirit that endued them with the power (Grk: dunamis) to be witnesses. But the Pentecostal and Charismatic circles believe otherwise. To them the power is what believers want to do or can do in the operation of the "spiritual gifts", such as speaking in tongues, prophesying, healing the sick, casting out of demons, etc.. However, the plain truth remains: it is the power of the Holy Spirit upon believers that leads them as witnesses of Christ Jesus in the Truth (as to Who Christ was and is - Matt.16:15-18; Jhn.14:5-7), as He guides them into all His truth. It is the power to see the Word of Truth and to stand for the Truth, beginning with the Truth that there is but One God who manifested Himself in the Man named Yahshua, who is both Lord and Christ, and it is by His Redemptive Name believers are water baptized in reconciliation to His Creator. Simply, the Spirit reveals Himself and His Name. And that is just what Paul prayed for the believers in Ephesus: "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him" (Eph.1:17). Truly, many Christians should take heed to the words that Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well. "Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (Jhn.4:22-24).
Therefore, does Truth matter? If it does, then the Truth of utmost importance is the revelation of the Almighty God Himself in Christ Jesus, whose Name was chosen and given to redeem all who believe. Almost all denominations pay no regard to the Truth of the doctrine of One God and His Redemptive Name in the Lord Jesus Christ. If it mattered to all the apostles and believers of the Early Church, then it should matter to all True worshippers of the Living God in this present age. If you have the true baptism of the Holy Spirit, then you should have the oil to power and light up this Truth in your life. The rest of God’s Truths will then follow. Without the true revelation, you have nothing but a denominational spirit to lead you about a religious system.
The Oil, Not "Tongues"
With the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Truth seekers in the early 20th Century, we can see that it was the same OIL that was poured upon the Early Church. The Spirit began to get them out of their traditions and organized systems to lead them into the first and most important Truth concerning the Godhead and His Redemptive Name just like He did with those first apostles of Christ. These believers did not go shooting off their mouth on how "one must speak in tongues or else one did not have the Holy Spirit". They did not proclaim, "Come and get tongues!" No, instead they proclaimed the message, "Come and get oil! Come and receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit!" This message was never preached in the various denominations. Luther, Zwingli, Knox, Calvin and other Reformers had never preached it. Likewise, Wesley, Whitefield, Edwards, Spurgeon and others who followed after the Reformation had never preached it. What the various denominational Christians had then was just a trickle of the oil that the Lord had issued forth on the Day of Pentecost to His disciples.
Now, when one receives the Holy Spirit baptism, he immediately goes into the water to be baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. True, there were some who found it hard to shake off some of their old traditional doctrines that were contrary to the Word. This was especially difficult for ministers who were held by staunch upbringing in their denominations. It was this lot of Christian leaders who, in their swaying to and fro over the Truth they had received, became a tool of Satan to cause schism among the believers. Also, instead of shaking off their ties with the religious system of Mystery Babylon and moving toward the spiritual Holy City of Jerusalem to build their homes, they stayed and built them just outside the area of that great harlotry city. When the religious spirit of Babylon wanted to enlarge its boundaries, it simply encircled all suburbia of houses within its reach. This suburbia then became a part of Babylon. In less than a decade, man-made organizations were formed and the erroneous teaching that "speaking in tongues is the evidence of having the Holy Spirit Baptism" propagated. And by the middle of the 20th Century another phenomenon of the "Holy Spirit Baptism" came along and was called the "New Pentecost" or "Charismatic Movement". This movement penetrated many denominations, including Roman Catholicism, and further pushed the erroneous teaching concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In turn this erroneous teaching went off further into extremism to so-called manifestations such as "slain by the Spirit" and "holy laughter". Today, Pentecostalism and Charismaticism have taken new forms that are both radical and extreme.
At the beginning of the Pentecostal outpouring the manifestations were genuine but when it got to the place where intellectual men put more and more emphasis on the "Baptism of the Holy Spirit" (a term so commonly misused and misapplied), their ideas of it soon took priority over the Scriptures. One of those ideas was made a doctrine stating that "speaking in tongues" was the evidence of the having the Holy Spirit Baptism, something that the early Apostles never taught. In fact, Paul’s teaching contradicted that, when he asked "Do all speak with tongues?" (1 Cor.12:30). Today, there is poison in the pot. It is a cauldron of religious emotions. We see Christians learning the "art" of speaking in tongues; they are taught "how to receive the Holy Spirit" by being prompted to utter some gibberish "words" and by imitating others. We see the impersonation of the spiritual gifts, such as learning the "art" of casting out demons and healing the sick, as if God’s gifts could be obtained by learning or imitating. We see preachers looking and acting like movie stars, entertaining the congregation to the tune of "look good, feel good; look rich, feel rich" or that "God wants you to be prosperous". There are many other emotionally charged make-beliefs. Let me say this: Charismaticism is a tool in the hand of the Devil to unite all the churches together to bring them back to Rome (Vatican City). That’s the truth.