Everything about the parable of the Ten Virgins points to a future time where God will again be dealing with His people, the Jews. They are waiting for a King who will bring in a Kingdom.
The standard lazy Laodicean wrongly divided interpretation of the Ten Virgins is that it represents Christians who are prepared by their good works to meet Jesus at the Second Coming and those who have “no oil”, lacking in good works, and are thus unprepared.
“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)
This is the position of the a majority of Church pastors in our day. And it misses the mark by a mile and a half. So let’s take a look and see if we can figure out who these Ten Virgins might be, and what event they are waiting for.
Understanding the kingdoms
“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.” Matthew 25:1 (KJV)
Everything you need to know about who these virgins are is contained in the first six words of the very first verse. Here the Holy Spirit is directing your attention to people who are looking for a kingdom on Earth, and not a spiritual kingdom in Heaven. Where else have we seen people waiting for a kingdom? Oh, that’s right, here..
“When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” Acts 1:6 (KJV)
The non-Christian apostles were looking for a kingdom on Earth as well, and they almost got it, too. Had the Jewish people not rejected the preaching of Stephen in Acts 7, Jesus would have returned then and brought in the Kingdom Age. But after they stoned Stephen, the “window in Heaven” closed back up, Jesus sat back down, and it was “hello, Church Age!” just two chapters later when Saul was knocked for a loop.
“And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.” Acts 7:56-58 (KJV)
So we know that the Ten Virgins will have their “moment in the sun” during the time of Jacob’s trouble, after the Rapture of the Church. These Ten Virgins are not Christians and they are not in the Church Age.
One chaste Virgin is not ‘many virgins’
Secondly, the Ten Virgins are not Christians because Christians nowhere are represented as “virgins”. The Bride of Christ, the Church, is ONE chaste virgin who will be presented on “that day” to the Lord by the apostle Paul. Right now I can hear people screaming, “it’s not true! how can he say that?!?” But guess what? It’s true.
“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:2 (KJV)
‘Nuff said…moving on.
Some of the lamps lose their oil
Thankfully, and amazingly, Christians in the Church Age are “sealed unto the day of redemption”, and can never, ever lose their salvation. They can lose rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ, but their salvation and entrance into Heaven is never in doubt once they become born again. But these Ten Virgins in Matthew 25 are not as fortunate. They all started out with full lamps of oil, but a full 50% fell by the wayside and were denied entrance into the marriage when the Bridegroom arrived.
“Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.” Matthew 25:11,12 (KJV)
How can this be? It’s because in the time of Jacob’s trouble, an element of works is connected with their salvation. All Ten Virgins have faith, but half of them “lost their oil”. In plain words, their works failed and then they failed. In Revelation we are told that the people in the time of Jacob’s trouble must keep the commandments for salvation. A Christian does not have to do this.
“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12 (KJV)
Why do you think Jesus tells the people in the Tribulation to “endure to the end”? Because if they don’t endure to the end, they die unsaved. This is never the fate of a born again Christian in the Church Age.
The son of man and the son of God
Another really huge clue is contained in verse 13, where it talks about the “Son of man”.
“Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” Matthew 25:13 (KJV)
Nearly every place in the Bible where the term “Son of man” is used, it is either a reference to the nation of Israel or Jesus dealing with the Jews in the Kingdom Age. Never is the term “Son of man” used to refer to Jesus dealing with Christians in the Church Age. To put it another way, the Son of man goes with the kingdom of Heaven, and Son of God goes with the kingdom of God. And not to confuse you, but you will notice the term “Son of God” also used early on in the gospels because until Acts 7, the Jews stood in line to receive both kingdoms. After the stoning of Stephen, the kingdoms were split with the kingdom of Heaven going to the Jews way into the future after the Church Age, and the kingdom of God to the Church.
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 (KJV)
The Son of man is He who returns at the Second Coming for the Jews. The Son of God is He who calls His Bride out at the Rapture of the Church! It’s the same Jesus, but represents two different dispensations.
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” Titus 2:13 (KJV)
Some final thoughts on the Ten Virgins
Everything about the parable of the Ten Virgins points to a future time where God will again be dealing with His people, the Jews. They are waiting for a King who will bring in a Kingdom. It will have its fulfillment in the time of Jacob’s trouble, where faith + works will be the doctrine of the day. The Two Witnesses and the 144,000 will be preaching from books like Hebrews and James, as well as the “constitution of the kingdom” found in Matthew 5-7 (KJV).
These virgins are going to a marriage, but the wedding ceremony has already taken place. They are not the Bride, they are guests and servants. How do we know that? The good Dr. Luke has the answer.
“Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.” Luke 12:35-37 (KJV)
You will take careful note that the people here in Luke 12 have their “lights burning”, as do the virgins in Matthew 25. Not only that, but Luke says when “their lord arrives”, it is after having been at the wedding. Did you catch that? By the time the Ten Virgins meet the Bridegroom, the wedding is all done and they did not attend nor were they even invited.
The parable of the Ten Virgins, rightly divided, is an excellent lesson in dispensations and Bible doctrine. It clearly shows the difference and division between the Kingdom Age and the Church Age. And it clearly shows a Pretribulation Rapture that removes Christians from off the Earth before the time of Jacob’s trouble begins.
Hope it’s a blessing to you.