Here is a very interesting parable spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ, the creator of all things. (John 1:1-3, Isaiah 44:24, Genesis 1:1)
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. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 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. 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. 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. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. (Matthew 25:1-13)
This parable speaks about the Kingdom of Heaven (where most people hope to go) and it also speaks about the Bridegroom, which is Jesus Christ, and when He comes again for His faithful followers. The Lord Jesus Christ would constantly emphasize the truth about being ready, and watchful, in our walk through this dark, and deceitful world, and this parable is no different. The truth of the matter is that we do not know when the Lord is going to return, but that we should live our own lives, as if it were imminent. It is true that it has been nearly two thousand years since the Lord was killed, resurrected from the dead, and risen into Heaven but that should not matter at all to us. There have been countless millions who were faithful followers of the Lord, who never saw His second coming to this earth, but they lived as if it would happen in their own lifetime. It is very possible that we may not see the second coming in our own lives either, but we should live this life, as if it will!
My wife and I were dining in a Cracker Barrel restaurant some months ago (great family restaurant), and they have oil lamps attached to certain tables. I took a look at the lamp on our table and I noticed that the oil was extremely low, almost kissing the bottom of the glass enclosure. I cannot tell you how many times I looked at that oil lamp during the course of our meal, waiting for that lamp to go out. I told my wife Cathy to look at the lamp and we both gasped and we conversed about the parable of the ten virgins (five wise and five foolish). We were both amazed that the lamp did not go out while we we were there, because the oil was so low. For those of you who are not familiar with oil lamps, it is a lamp that includes a glass bottle enclosure (some simple, some fancy) which holds the oil, along with a cloth wick which is soaked in the oil on one end, with the other end extending to the open part of the lamp. The oil is the fuel which keeps the lamp burning after the wick is lit with a flame on the other end. It is that simple.
This parable of the Ten Virgins was the last one that the Lord had given to His followers before he would be slain on the cross for our sins. This parable came from the heart of our loving Saviour as he was about to suffer in our place. We need to take the Lord at His word, and we are not to twist the meaning here to make it say something that the Lord never intended to say. We all know that the bride prepares for her marriage to the groom. We the church (both Jewish and Gentile believers) are those who the Lord was speaking about in this parable. The oil in the lamps is reprsentative of the Holy Spirit, and the very presence of the Lord in our lives.
The Lord compared our waiting on this earth for Him to come, as virgins who are waiting for their bridegroom to come. This life with all of it’s trials and tribulations can weary the best of us, and with the help of Satan (the devil), our faith in Jesus Christ is constantly being tested. There are many enticements that come along the way, which call out our name, and try to take us away from following the Lord, and that is the very reason for parables such as this one. The bottom line here folks is that the Bridegroom came at midnight, and only half of the ten virgins were ready for that moment! The five wise were prepared and ready to enter into that wedding but the five foolish virgins were taken by surprise, and realized that their lamps had been extinguished. Panic began to set in to their hearts as they realized what was happening! But it was too late! To say that these five foolish virgins never knew the Lord, is to destroy the very meaning, and purpose, of the Lord’s instruction to His people! Their lights were most definitely lit and burning prior to their going out! I have owned oil lamps in the past, and I have watched them go out, when the oil ran dry! The parable makes it very clear that the five foolish virgins had oil in their lamps at one time. The Greek word SBENNUMI is used there for “gone out” and it literally means to extinguish, to go out, or to quench. There have been countless millions who have turned back from following the Lord over the centuries, and while they did not literally witness the second coming, the truth of being prepared for eternity, was as true for them , as it is for us.
This parable is going to be fulfilled exactly as the Lord has told it here. Keep in mind that this great advice came from the heart of one who would willingly go to the cross, and be butchered for our sins. You can surely trust Him, if nobody else! There will be a second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and many will be caught off guard and realize that they had allowed their hearts to harden against the Lord, and they had allowed the “ways of the world” capture their hearts once again. This walk with the Lord is a day by day walk, and as we call upon Him for strength, He always proves faithful. The Lord has an endless supply of grace, mercy and strength for each and every one of us if we truly desire it.
I can remember looking at that oil lamp in the Cracker Barrel restaurant, and praying inwardly to the Lord to help me in my walk with Him. I know that the Lord can use little things like that, to get our attention sometimes.
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3)
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. (2 Peter 3:9-13)