Biblical Audio Commentary – A Taboo Consideration of the Ten Virgins

Biblical Audio Commentary – A Taboo Consideration of the Ten Virgins




First, let me say that I’m not dogmatic about what I’m about to discuss.  I think it’s a possible interpretation of the Parable of the Ten Virgins, but then again, like other things Jesus said, there could be numerous ways to understand its moral.  Here is Jesus in Matthew 25:1-13:

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

One popular way to see this is that the five virgins who had oil were saved because they had the oil of the Holy Spirit; whereas the other five virgins – not having that oil – were not saved.  Maybe so – or not.

This scenario models the traditional Galilean wedding.  After the betrothal, the bridegroom returns to his father’s house to build the wedding quarters for their future life.  Only when he’s completed his task to the father’s approval, does dad say to his son to go get his bride.  No one other than the father knows when that day will be.  While all this is going on, the bride waits for that surprise day.  It’s said that she would even sleep in her wedding gown so as to be ready day or night for the coming of her beloved.  When that call comes – boom! – she’s up and out joyfully reunited with her new husband – I guess wrinkled dress and all.

But look what happens in this parable.  To the virgin brides, it’s seemingly a long time while they wait.  They grow weary and sleepy, perhaps not taking as much care in their preparations for that unknown day.  In fact, five of the virgins are so lax that when the coming of the bridegroom is announced, they simply don’t have it all together.  In this case, they haven’t replenished their lamps with oil for that nighttime journey.  Maybe they got so apathetic that they didn’t care to be prepared.  The other five, however, have remained alert.  They’re so eager for their wedding day that they take special care to see that everything is in order.  They have oil in their lamps and whatever else they require.

Sadly, because the bridegroom comes at an awkward hour in the middle of the night while it’s dark, only the virgins who have heeded the word to remain alert and watchful actually go into the father’s house to consummate the marriage.  The others are left at the doorstep lamenting their bad luck.

Some folks don’t want to see that this is a picture of the pre-Tribulation Rapture, but it certainly is.  Are there any other Biblical events said to happen at an unexpected time?  What else in Scripture in these end times is considered imminent?  Only the coming of Jesus in the clouds for His beloved Bride just as John 14:1-3 tells us:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

But now, let’s think a little more about a possible deeper meaning in the parable.  Sure, the oil could represent the Holy Spirit and the telling could relate to those in the church who are saved and are indwelt by Him, while the others noted without oil don’t have the Spirit within and are thus unsaved.  Effectively, they’re church goers, but that’s it.  They aren’t covered by the blood of the Lamb and so are not welcome in the Father’s House on that Day.

Here’s where we get into the taboo discussion I mention in the title of this commentary.  In fact, for my presumption in even bringing up this topic, I was told at a prominent pre-Trib Rapture website a couple years ago that they don’t want articles like this because they’re controversial.  And you know, that’s fine, because every website moderator has to set his own rules for posting.

However, be that as it may, and since this will only be posted on my website and Rumble pages, here we go. . .

Again, please remember I’m not dogmatic about this interpretation.  I raise this issue as a potential warning.  What if the five virgins without oil represent those in the church who are not watching and waiting for the return of Christ as He commanded?

I find it rather disturbing that so many in the church – no doubt born again – are so lackadaisical about the imminent return of Jesus.  For a variety of reasons, they’ve taken the position that He’ll come when He comes, and in the meantime, they’ve decided to dig into this world, whether through family or work obligations; as preparation for difficult times ahead that the church must endure; or to prepare the world and make it righteous for Jesus’ return sometime in the future.  Many of these describe themselves as pan-Trib, meaning it’ll all pan out in the end.


Is this not completely contrary to what Jesus commands at the end of this parable and elsewhere?  Are we not to stay awake, eagerly anticipating that trumpet and Christ’s Words: “Come up here”?

The question then becomes: What of these saved folks living their lives in disobedience to what the Lord said?  Doesn’t disobedience to God have consequences?  He commanded us to forgive others as He first forgave us, and if we don’t, He actually won’t forgive us (Matthew 6:14-15).  What does that mean?  It certainly can’t be good.  In the same manner, disobeying the command to remain alert and watching cannot result in blessing.

Is there the possibility that those who aren’t watching and waiting for that Blessed Hope might not be Raptured?  See – I told you.  Who wants to talk about this?  But, suppose – just suppose – this is what happens, i.e. that it mirrors the situation with the virgins.  Five are shut out.  Ouch.

This would mean those saved individuals would have to go through part or all of the Tribulation.  If that’s the case, it’s a good thing they did their prepping getting ready for it.

If this is an indeed a possibility – that a number of believers will be left behind, what if a discussion of that potential was enough to get some of them to reconsider their ways, change the way they view life and the world, and actually look forward to the Rapture?  Wouldn’t this taboo discussion be worth it to them?

In many religions, certain things cannot be questioned.  This happens in Islam where it’s forbidden to ask various questions, like: Why did Mohammad think drinking camel’s urine was a healthy practice?  (Seriously.). The answer is: “Shut up. Mohammad is Allah’s prophet.  If you ask such questions your faith is weak.”  Some things should be questioned.

Part of my job is to make people think.  I don’t have all the answers by a long shot, but I see things in Scripture that make me ponder, and I try to explore them, both for myself and anyone else who’d like to come along down the rabbit trail.

Never be afraid to question the Bible.  God’s a big boy.  He can handle it.  His Word stands up to scrutiny.  We don’t need to protect the Bible from itself or from others who would try to disparage it.

In ending, my warning is this: We should obey God above all else.  Remember: obedience is better than sacrifice.

13 Responses to “Biblical Audio Commentary – A Taboo Consideration of the Ten Virgins”

  1. Reply Layne Dewlen

    Gary, thank you for illuminating the elephant in the room. It’s appreciated. How do you watch and say it will all pan out at the same time

  2. Reply JudeC

    Gary, thanks for your boldness to discuss these so called taboo opinions of the Word. Consider me a fellow traveler down this trail to discover the truth . Iron sharpens iron and we should always be able to reason together openly, sadly those who say they love the truth will call us heretics just for dare mention a different take on scripture. But as you stated God is not afraid to have his Word examined in fact he encourages it. Truth will only reveal more truth.

    • Reply Gary Ritter

      As I think I mentioned in a prior comment, watch for next Wednesday’s Prophecy Update for a full-bore discussion of this. There go half of my massive 200-people audience! LOL

  3. Reply Robin McCann

    I’m so glad you cleared this up because I was somewhat confused with so many saying that the 10 virgin parable represents Tribulation saints when I was so certain that the oil represented the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Tribulation saints will not have this available to them which is why they have to hold on to their faith during a time when it’s going to be extremely difficult to do so, is the way I understand it. The only thing I don’t understand is that the Holy Spirit is basically going to be taking a backseat so the antichrist can do his thing while still being available to help the saints in some capacity. Can you shed any light on this?

    • Reply Gary Ritter

      I think the Holy Spirit will be present during the Tribulation – I think He has to be. Otherwise, I don’t think people could come to saving faith without Him. However, if we’re reading the text properly, He does step aside to allow lawlessness to increase. What we’re seeing now is nothing compared to when the Holy Spirit doesn’t restrain any longer! In order for sin and wickedness to rise to the point of final judgment, God has to allow this to happen. Just as He didn’t bring any correction to Pharaoh, but let the evil in his heart rule him completely, this is what appears to me will happen almost universally in the world.

      In a sense, I think it’s really the presence of the Holy Spirit in the context of Christ’s church that restrains today. That’s why when the ***true*** church is Raptured – even though the Holy Spirit is still here – there’s no united power of many believers gathering that’s so effective. I think during the Tribulation, faith will more or less be a singular pursuit rather than one of a Body gathering. Too dangerous otherwise. That may be part of what contributes to the Holy Spirit stepping aside.

      As with so much that we think we know, as we delve into these issues, it becomes apparent that we have to speculate quite a bit. I seem to be pretty good at that, although whether I’m right or wrong is another matter! One of the things I do, as you can see, is put out there the “hidden” questions that some folks may entertain but never voice. Of course, when we raise concerns of this nature, they don’t always go over with with some segment of our brothers and sisters in Christ. One thing I can tell you: I don’t bring forth these issues without significant prayer and seeking of the Lord’s counsel.

      • Reply Robin McCann

        Amen to that. I really don’t sweat very much what I don’t understand because I’m gonna find out sooner or later as per 1Cor. 13:12.

  4. Reply John Malas

    Hey brother,
    Thanks for this posting! I am baffled why so many of my brothers and sisters are denying the clear call of the Lord to be “watching” and ready for His return, and simply believe that all believers will automatically be taken. Even if this was true, shouldn’t we have a deep concern for all the people in our churches who may be deceived into believing that they are saved and have nothing to worry about, regardless of their lifestyle or its fruit?
    Besides the clear warning to “be not deceived” by false teachers echoed repeatedly throughout the New Testament and warnings about the “wolves”, “tares”, and “goats” among us in the church, we also see in Revelation some clear indicators of what’s to come for those deceived or not ready. First, we have the “lukewarm” church at Laodicea in Revelation 3, who Jesus will “vomit” out. However, they aren’t condemned to hell, but are called to repent by buying from Him “gold refined by fire” and “white robes” and eye salve to heal their blindness. He further warns the church that “those He loves He chastens and disciplines” and to “be zealous and repent”. I believe this will happen during the Great Tribulation. Second, looking at Revelation 6-7 we see “innumerable” saints before the Lord who have “purified their robes and made them white” by not denying the Lord or the Word of His Testimony specifically during the Great Tribulation. The Holy Spirit has to still be here during the tribulation or it would be impossible for conviction, repentance, and salvation to happen.
    Thanks again brother for your faithfulness in putting out the truth.
    God bless!

  5. Reply GaryW.

    I’m looking up and waiting, but not for UFO’s or balloons. A balloon won’t say, “Come up here”. I’ll wear non-wrinkle clothing so I’ll look half-way decent.
    And……keep the camels.

  6. Reply RobinL

    I don’t understand why this parable is controversial. The Bible makes clear that the only way to be saved in Jesus Christ is to be born again. This means we are reborn through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; if you don’t have the Spirit, living inside you, you are not truly a Christian. Just like the 5 virgins who had no oil, they LOOKED like they belonged, everyone thought they belonged, they had reputations (virgins) like they belonged, but they had no OIL. The 5 foolish virgins describe well over half the “Christians” claiming faith in this world. They do not have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. That’s the sole determining factor of being Raptured, period.

    How can people be “Believers” and be left behind?! They can’t be! The Holy Spirit is going to be removed at the Rapture, so is anyone remaining who does not have the Spirit indwelling them. We can’t tell by their words or their works, only God knows. Ours is not a works based faith no matter what the circumstances. We are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone.

    The reason there will be Crowns of Righteousness given to all who are watching for, and longing for, the Lord’s return is due to the fact that there ARE Believers who are not paying attention, or they are caught up in the cares of this world. They will not be given those crowns. But that doesn’t mean they won’t be raptured because if they are indwelled by the Holy Spirit they will be. The Restrainer, and all who are His, will go with Jesus when He calls us to Him in the air.

  7. Reply Pamela P.

    Interesting article, for sure. Raises similar questions I have had, and struggled with, regarding this parable. The words of Jesus to the 5 foolish virgins standing outside knocking for entrance seem to echo what He said in Mathew 7:23 to those He refused admittance to into His kingdom. According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of NT Words, the word used for KNOW is different in each case.
    The Greek word (ginosko) suggests “inception or progress in knowledge, and implies an active relation between the one who knows and the person or thing known, while the other Greek word (oida) suggests fullness of knowledge and expresses the fact that the object has simply come within the scope of the knower’s perception.”
    Thus, in Mat 7:23 “I never knew you” (ginosko) suggests, ‘I have never been in approving connection with you,’ whereas in Mat 25:12 “I know you not” (oida) suggests ‘you stand in no relation to Me.’ (Quoted from Vine’s)
    I think it is obvious from the above that those refused entry in Mat 7:23 never personally knew Jesus and did their supernatural works through the power of Satan, thereby deceiving many.
    Whereas those in Mat 25:12 may have personally acknowledged Jesus but did nothing further. Whether this means they were never born again or not, only God can be the judge of. Personally, I think there are far, far too many scriptures that couple knowing Him with obeying Him. Jesus refers to this again and again during His last directions to His disciples in the upper room before His crucifixion, as do many of the other NT writers. As well, there are numerous scriptures that admonish us to be eagerly waiting and looking for His return to take us home. I for one want to be in this group!

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