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:
1 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose 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, ‘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.