This Christian Journey:


The Ten Virgins

Dr. Walter D. Huyck Jr. D,Min.

Matthew 25.1-13 

The following discourse was completed in partial fulfillment of a Doctoral level course.  It is posted here to help those interested in studying the parables to gain a better understanding of the contemporary scholarship surrounding the Parables.  Your comments and questions are always welcome.

Initial Impressions

This parable is a curious story expressing the need to watch and be ready for “the Son of man cometh” (Matt. 25.13).[1]  Our Lord in His Olivet discourse presents the story as he is instructing His disciples about what the nature of the kingdom of heaven will be like during His separation from it. The parable provides a word picture that expresses what the Church of Jesus Christ will look like while its founder and head is not present to maintain its integrity, unity and purity.  Clearly, not everyone that is waiting and watching for the bridegroom will have the privilege of entering the marriage chamber.

We notice that there are ten virgins that have a number of unifying traits marking them; they all have lamps, they all went purposefully to meet the bridegroom, they all tarried in the same place together, they all became weary and slumbered, they all heard the cry announcing the approach of the bridegroom, they all arose and trimmed their lamps.  All of which indicates that all ten were of the same purpose and intent.  In outward appearances there would be nothing to distinctively set one virgin apart from another.

Yet in the story there is a very distinctive difference between the virgins comprising the group.  Curiously, only five of the virgins, 50% of those present, are fully prepared to meet the bridegroom.  It stands out that in the Church today it has been estimated by some Church leaders that only about 40% of those who sit in Church pews on any given Sunday morning are really saved.  What is the difference between those our Lord identifies as wise, watching, and ready and those He identifies as foolish and unprepared?  It is the hidden but essential element of the oil within the lamp.  That one all-important element was the key to finding an entrance into the marriage chamber.

Just what is the importance of the oil?  The oil is the all-important element within the lamp.  Without the oil the lamp cannot function.  It would be like having a car and having no fuel.  It just won’t work.  Therefore, what good is it to have a lamp and have no oil?  In the culture within which this parable is given, the importance of having oil within a lamp seems all too obvious.  These people used lamps daily.  It was their main source of light, albeit little light, but light at night.  It alone could dispel the darkness around them and manifest the way before them.  To think of five virgins without this all-important element seems nearly unthinkable, this is more than a mere oversight.

A lamp in scripture is often referred to as a symbol of the Word of God.  “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psm 119.105, cf. Prov 6.23).  The effect of the word of God in a person’s life is to enlighten them.  The Bible records, “O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles” (Psm 43.3; cf. Prov 6.23, 2 Pet 1.19).  Oil is often referred to as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, the New Unger’s Bible Dictionary records,

“Oil was a fitting symbol of the Spirit or spiritual principle of life, by virtue of its power to sustain and fortify the vital energy; and the anointing oil, which was prepared according to divine instructions, was therefore a symbol of the Spirit of God, as the principle of spiritual life that proceeds from God and fills the natural being of the creature with the powers of divine life. Anointing with oil, therefore, was a symbol of endowment with the Spirit of God for the duties of the office to which a person was consecrated (Leviticus 8:12; 1 Samuel 10:1, 6; 1 Samuel 16:13-14; Isaiah 61:1).”[2]

In the context of this parable, the oil is that element that causes the lamp to function, in the case of Scripture, the Holy Spirit is that which causes the word of God to function.  The Bible reveals that without the Spirit of God the natural man cannot receive the things of God for they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2.9-16).  Therefore, without oil in the lamp, there will be no natural illumination, and without the Holy Spirit there will be no spiritual illumination.

It is clear then, that all of the virgins possessed a lamp, just as many would be Christians carry the Word of God.  Yet only five of the virgins had oil in their lamps and could actually produce light.  Likewise, only half of those that call themselves Christian have the Holy Spirit and are capable of spiritual enlightenment.  It must be noted that these ten virgins picture the state of the earthly church when Christ returns.  It is a church evenly divided between those who are a part of the spiritual body of Christ and those who think they are a part of the spiritual body of Christ.  It is the manifestation of the parable of the wheat and the tares.  Only those virgins that possessed the essential element of oil in their lamps were allowed to enter the wedding chamber when the bridegroom arrived.  Likewise, only those who have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit as received at the time of ones new-birth, will be allowed to enter the marriage feast prepared by Jesus Christ when he arrives.

With this in view, it  seems clear that the virgins represent the earthly Church and the body of Christ, permeated with the secular religions of mankind.  The chamber where the virgins are waiting might be pictured as our church buildings, temples, and other religious places.  The lamps are likely symbols of the Word of God.  The oil is the enabling agent within the lamps, quite possibly a symbol of the Holy Spirit.  The bridegroom is Jesus Christ, and His arrival must be viewed as the rapture.  As this study progresses it will become evident whether these initial impressions are substantiated or refuted.


English Translations

In reading the various English translations there is nothing that immediately stands out and needs further investigation in the study of this parable.


Interpretive Frames and Clues

The only interpretive clue of any importance within the context of this parable is its first word in the King James Bible.  The word “Then” connects this parable with the literary context of the chapter immediately preceding it.  This parable must be interpreted in the light of the passage preceding it.



The characters that are found within this parable are the bridegroom who is likely representative of Jesus Christ and His coming for His bride.  Blomberg identifies the bridegroom as God.  He writes, “The bridegroom as a natural symbol for God, stemming from the Old Testament concept of God as the husband of his people (e.g., Is 54:4-6; Exek 16:7-34; Hos 2:19).”[3]  The wise and unwise virgins are probably representative of the Church of Jesus Christ.  Blomberg notes of these virgins, “The wise and foolish virgins as those who, spiritually, are either prepared or unprepared for Judgment Day.”[4] 

Ogilvie identifies the bridegroom as God himself.  In one of Ogilvie’s interpretation, the bride is Israel, in another the bridesmaids represent the Church of Jesus Christ.  He clearly identifies the oil as the Holy Spirit, and writes, “The oil of the Holy Spirit, the indwelling Christ, prepares us with expectancy and anticipation for the breakthrough of the Lord in each day’s experiences.”[5]



In Morgan’s treatment of the parable, he emphasizes the first word in the discourse.  Our Lord starts by saying, “Then” (Matt 25.1) which connects this discourse with the one immediately preceding it.  Morgan writes,

“’Then shall the Kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins.’  He was referring to that time, already referred to in the previous chapter, and the parabolic illustrations of the householder and the servants when the Lord comes. . . . In that little word ‘then’ is the key to the interpretation . . . our Lord was not referring to this period, but to the consummation of the period, the time when the Lord shall come.”[6]

Hence, Morgan expresses the importance of maintaining the literary context of this parable.  The natural reading and interpretation of this discourse is bound to the context wherein it resides.  Morgan then goes on to illustrate the church as pictured in these ten virgins.

Others note that this parable is connected to the preceding chapter contextually.  However, they interpret this parable as having to do with the tribulation saints rather than the Church of Jesus Christ.  Scholars such as Walvoord and Bigalke hold this view which will be discussed and studied later in this paper.  Suffice it to note that the context of this parable, when connected to the preceding chapter, does not require a post tribulation application.


Synoptic Comparison

There is no synoptic comparison for this parable.



Of the culture that informs the parable Morgan notes, “This eastern scene was commonplace.  Every one who heard him would understand it. . . . The Bridegroom is away, and whether He is coming for His people, or with His bride at the moment is not important.  There are those who were expected to be waiting for Him, for His coming.  These are represented by these virgins.”[7]

Kistemaker considers the customs that surrounded that events covered in this parable.  He mentions the young age with which couples married in the culture wherein this parable was given.  There is the custom of the bride being surrounded by ten young friends who would come and help her prepare for her impending wedding.  While these girls were helping the bride prepare the Bridegroom would meet with the father of the bride to negotiate and settle the dowry.  The process of settling the dowry could take some time as the negotiations were often argumentative.  Once the dowry was settled, then the Bridegroom could go and get his bride and the wedding party.

Kistemaker notes the lamps used in the parable.  These lamps were not the small house type pottery lamps as they would be unsuitable for use on such an occasion.  Instead, these were torches on the end of a long stick filled with olive oil with rags sticking out for a wick.  Kistemaker writes,

“When lit, these torches would burn brightly, illuminating the festive procession on the way to the bridegroom’s house.  However, because of the brightly burning flame, the oil content was soon depleted.  Within fifteen minutes, additional olive oil had to be poured on the rags to keep the torch burning.  Torchbearers, therefore, had to have a ready supply of oil available to keep the torches burning.”[8]

Kistemaker seems to imply that the neglect here was the failure to bring additional oil for the lamps; however, the text states clearly that they brought “no” oil for their lamps.  Of these lamps Wenham writes, “One scholar has suggested that it was torches, and not lamps, that they were carrying, and that their role was to do a colorful torch dance, Perhaps more likely their job was to provide light for the feast.  They would accompany the bridal party in procession into the feast and provide much-needed illumination for the festivities.”[9]  While the debate surrounding the lamps is interesting, perhaps it is more important to focus on the oil and the lack thereof.

Walvoord discusses the traditions that surround an oriental wedding and writes,

“The oriental wedding had three stages: (1) the parents of the bridegroom and the bride would agree on the marriage of their children and the dowry would be paid. This was the legal marriage; (2) sometime later, according to their customs, the bridegroom accompanied by his friends would proceed from his home to the home of the bride to claim her as his own. Traditionally, this procession often took place in the middle of the night. The bride, prepared for his coming, would join the procession which would then return to the home of the bridegroom. And  (3) friends would join the procession in order to participate in the marriage feast which was held at the home of the bridegroom. Such a feast would often continue for days depending upon the wealth of those involved.”[10]

Our Lord is using a common scene in the lives of his listeners to convey spiritual truths.  It is not surprising that the virgins might wane in the night and drift off to sleep.  It is not unusual for the bridegroom to be delayed in his arrival.  It is expected that when the herald announces the arrival of the bridegroom that the virgins will fill and trim their lights.  It is unexpected and even shameful for five of the virgins not to be prepared and not have the essential element of the oil needed to fulfill their obligation for this wedding march and feast.  Since they came unprepared it is not unexpected that they would not be allowed to enter the wedding chamber once the door was closed.  The emphasis here is on the preparedness of the virgins.


Related OT and NT Passages

Passages that might be connected to this parable may include 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15, in that both of these passages inform us about the coming rapture of the Church.  In studying these passages along with this parable of the Ten Virgins, the common elements in each will provide a necessary connection between the literary works.  The shout of the archangel can be identified with the call at midnight.  The unexpected delay and arrival of the bridegroom can be observed in the unexpected arrival of Jesus Christ to take up His bride out of this world.  This is an essential connection for the proper interpretation of this parable.



Blomberg in his commentary of this parable, notes that the two groups of women are described in strikingly similar terms.  There is no noticeable difference in their descriptions except in the area of their preparations.  He stresses that the parable does not teach that there will be an equal number of lost people in comparison to saved people, the ratio of lost to saved is not in view here. 

In discussing the oil as the central difference between the women, Bloomberg writes, “The oil should probably not be allegorized despite frequent and conflicting suggestions that take it to refer to such things as good works, faith, grace, or the Holy Spirit, because none of these can be bought.”[11]  Which for those who argue for the representation of the Holy Spirit in the oil, is the exact reason why the oil may not be transferred and is probably expressed in that the parable never indicates that the foolish virgins ever found any oil at all.  Revelation 3.17-18 proposes the same impossible purchase for those who think they are prepared, but are not, when it records, “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”

Bloomberg goes on to identify three major points in this passage:

“(1) like the bridegroom, God may delay his coming longer than people expect. (2) Like the wise bridesmaids, his followers must be prepared for such a delay—Discipleship may be more arduous than the novice suspects. (3) Like the foolish bridesmaids, those who do not prepare adequately may discover a point beyond which there is no return—when the end comes it will be too late to undo the damage of neglect.”[12]

Hendricksen connects this parable with the one preceding it in its literary context.  He notes the similarities between the foolish and the wise girls.  He allows for the possibility of a symbolical reference for the oil and points it to the Holy Spirit.  In identifying the meaning of the parable, Hendricksen writes, “Preparedness is essential, for the time is coming when getting ready will no longer be possible; the door will be shut.”[13]  Hendricksen identifies the required preparation as a surrendered life to Jesus Christ, but stops short of singling out the new-birth as the pivot point for conversion.

In Keener’s study of this parable, he discusses in detail the customary practices and celebration surrounding a wedding in Jesus day.  He notes that wedding processions were viewed as critically important.   Keener writes, “Bridal processions were so important that later rabbis even suspended their lectures so they could hail the passing bride . . . In short, Palestinian Jewish people regarded weddings as critical events.”[14][15]  Keener then goes on to express that the breach in etiquette by the foolish virgins was no small matter; it was considered a serious offence.  Therefore, their exclusion from the wedding feast was a means of expressing to them the great shame that they had brought upon the bridegroom, bride and their families by not being prepared.  They had spoiled the wedding and would not be allowed to forget their disgrace.  In the end, Keener makes a very loose and brief statement regarding the possible eternal implication of the parable.

In interpreting the parable and its intended meaning, there are those who suggest that this parable points to the need to persevere in good works and in the word.  They suggest that this was the implied neglect of the five foolish virgins.  Wenham writes, “The wise ones are ready in that they are actively bearing fruit.  In the story, the foolish girls are caught out by the master’s lateness, and the intended meaning is probably that they have not persevered in the good deeds to which they are called.”[16]  The problem with this view is that it presents a works-based salvation.  One is only allowed to enter the marriage supper if one perseveres in an appropriate lifestyle. 

Ogilvie adds a positive light to the interpretation of this parable.  He writes, “The parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids is the parable of preparedness for joy.  It focuses the quality of unreserved, willing, hopeful anticipation Jesus wanted in His disciples, and now in us. . . . There is joy in judgment for those who spend each day in preparation for the midnight hour.”[17]  Thus, Ogilvie stresses that being prepared and entering the marriage chamber with the bridegroom will result in sheer joy. 

Ogilvie then goes on to interpret the parable in the same light as many other scholars.  The virgins all had oil, this oil represents the Holy Spirit, but only those who were diligent and responsible continued to be filled with the oil and to let their lights shine.  In the end the foolish ran out of oil, as though a Christian can run out of the Holy Spirit, and were not ready for the bridegrooms arrival.  Ogilvie writes, “Jesus was saying much more about human nature than about God’s graciousness.  There is a time when it’s too late.  Not for God, but for us.  The abundant life is offered to us.  We can miss the overtures of God each day.  But the issue is that repeated resistance results in a life which cannot appropriate the invitation to live forever with God after death.”[18]  The problem here is that this interpretation implies the presence and filling of the Holy Spirit and then the complete lack of the Holy Spirit.  Clearly, this interpretation cold only be held if one believed that they could lose their salvation.

Spurgeon in his interpretation of this parable also likens the oil to the Holy Spirit.  He notes the comparisons between the foolish and wise virgins, and writes,

“Then the true adherents of the bridegroom, the wise virgins, penitent for their guilty sleep, poured the oil into their lamps, which were burning low, and soon they were blazing up clear and bright.  As the bridegroom’s procession came near, ‘they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.’  But the foolish virgins—those who had despised the secret stores of oil, those who had never gone to the Divine Spirit for his matchless grace—were separated from their wiser companions; not, indeed, by any special act of the bridegroom, but as the natural result of their own unprepared condition.”[19]

Spurgeon indicates that these foolish virgins were not reprobates; they were members of the church.  The comparisons between the foolish and the wise indicate that they were so much alike that only the bridegroom could tell the difference between them.  Spurgeon even goes so far as to state that their lamps may have even burned at one time.  Yet, Spurgeon notes, “yet they were not of it, nor in it, for they had no oil in their vessels with their lamps, no grace, no indwelling of the Holy Ghost.”[20]  Spurgeon clearly indicates that these virgins were not born-again.

Walvoord in his interpretation of this parable also indicates that the oil is representative of the Holy Spirit and stresses that the foolish virgins had no oil at all.  He writes,

When the maidens heard the procession coming, they quickly arose, trimmed their lamps, and lit them. It was only then that the foolish maidens realized that they had brought no oil. In verse 8 , literally translated, “The foolish said unto the wise maidens, Give us of your oil, for our lamps are going out.” Apparently their lamps had no oil at all, and when they lit the wicks they immediately burned out.[21]

Walvoord adds to his interpretation of this parable by applying it to the second advent of Christ rather than to the rapture of the Church.  He argues in detail for his positions and notes that there is scholarly support for both the rapture and second advent positions.  In his debate he stresses that these virgins are friends of the marriage party rather than a part of the marriage party, questions whether Jesus would teach his disciples about a rapture that He has yet to reveal to them, and holds that the parables preceding and following this parable all revolve around the second advent as well.

Bigalke agrees with the Second Advent position of Walvoord and writes,

“The ten virgins represent Gentiles in the Tribulation. Some believe that the virgins represent true Christians and professing Christians in the current age. It is true that the Apostle Paul calls the church a pure virgin (2 Corinthians 11:2), but the usage of a similar term does not prove that the church is in view here. Both the content and context argue that the entire discourse regards the tribulational period solely (cf. Matthew 24:3, 8, 14–15, 27, 30–31, 33, 42, 44, 47, 51).”[22]

The problem with both Walvoord’s and Bigalke’s position is that their position is not really supported by the context of the parables.  The fact that the Holy Spirit is pictured by the oil in this parable argues against a second advent application, since the New Testament indicates that the Holy Spirit is taken out of the world at the rapture of the Church, when Peter writes, “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way” (2 Thes 2.7).  Thus it is probable that the Holy Spirit will not indwell people as he does in our current dispensation, but will function in some other way with mankind following the rapture of the Church.  Not to mention that in Matthew 24 it is likely that our Lord after describing the terrible context of the tribulation period, when He comes to Matthew 24.42 and says, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come,” could easily have shifted his focus from a second advent focus to a pre-rapture focus, in that mankind needs to be ready so that they might escape the horrors of the tribulation period.

The language used in Matthew 25.6, “And at midnight there was a cry made, behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him,” is clearly the same language that is used to speak of the coming rapture of the Church.  For instance the bible records, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night” (1 Thes 5.2).  And, “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober” (1 Thes. 5.6).  Both of these scriptures follow 1 Thessalonians 4 which records the rapture with a graphic description that includes a reference to the voice of the archangel (1 Thes. 4.16) that sounds, similar to the cry announcing the arrival of the bridegroom.  Clearly, there is a lot of scriptural support for a pre-rapture setting for the parable of the Ten Virgins.


Summary of Meaning

It is clear that this parable teaches the importance and need for those watching and waiting for the coming bridegroom, Jesus Christ, to be prepared.  The major emphasis of the parable is what is indicative of being prepared.  How does one know when they have met the requirements that will allow them to join the wedding party and enter the marriage feast?

First, there is the striking similarity of all or the virgins.  They had all gathered at the same place, perhaps a reference to the Church and its religious practices.  They had all made some initial preparations, they all had lamps, perhaps a picture of the Word of God.  They were all anticipating the arrival of the bridegroom, they were all watching.  As the bridegroom tarried, for whatever reason, they all slumbered and slept.  When the proclamation came, they all awoke and began to trim and light their lamps. 

Second, there is the disheartening difference between the foolish and the wise virgins.  The wise virgins brought oil for their lamps, and the foolish had no oil, a probable symbol of the Holy Spirit.  Clearly the lamps of the foolish would not stay lit without oil, so they ask the wise to give them some of their oil.  The wise could not give them of their oil, not only out of respect for their duty in the wedding, but because they could not give them what only God could provide.  They tell them to go and buy oil for their lamps, an impossible task, as the oil in this story could only be received from God; this is reminiscent of Revelation 3.17-18.  Those who are ready enter into the marriage feast, while those who are not are turned away from the closed door.

The primary principle of this parable is preparation, as many scholars have agreed.  It is the manner of preparation that is often debated in this parable.  Clearly there is only one preparation that provides the oil of the Holy Spirit and brings illumination to the lamp of God’s Word, and that is the new-birth.  One must accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior (Rom 10.9-10,13), in order to receive the Holy Spirit (Eph 1.13-14), and to bring spiritual understanding to God’s Word (1 Cor 2.9-16).  The wise virgins are those who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, rather than those who are merely religious and self-righteous.

Therefore, the primary meaning of this parable is that one be ready when the Lord returns.  One must possess the oil that fuels the lamp allowing it to provide illumination; this oil is the Holy Spirit.  Hence, one must be born-again in order to be ready when the bridegroom arrives.


Relevance for Ministry

In ministry, this parable provides an illustration of the difference between religious profession and a renewing confession.  It is the difference between traditional rituals and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  On the religious side, mankind possesses all of the marks and outward evidences of God’s people, yet without the one undeniable evidence of redemption, the Holy Spirit.  On the righteous side, Christians are marked by the Holy Spirit who is their seal; the ernest of their inheritance (Ephesians 1.13-14), the only one that can assure them of their salvation as He confirms to them that they are the sons of God (Romans 8.17).

This parable highlights the fact of the wheat and tares within the body of Christ and provides an opportunity for the minister to preach this distinction with conviction.  It allows the pastor to challenge those to whom he ministers to evaluate, with heart felt conviction, where they reside in God’s kingdom.  For often the differences between the foolish and the wise in God’s kingdom is difficult to discern.  Only God and the individual can know the true standing of any given individual in God’s kingdom; for the only discernable difference is the presence of the Holy Spirit (oil) within ones heart and life.  Outward works, the works of religion, cannot truly delineate a child of God’s kingdom, only the presence of the Holy Spirit can seal one for all of eternity.

In teaching and preaching this parable a pastor should present the story in its simplicity.  Illuminate it with the illustrative aspect of the story; the wise and foolish virgins, the lamps, the oil, and what they probably represent.  Highlight the story with the kingdom principles of the New Testament, the fact of the permeation of the Church with religious yet unredeemed individuals.  Then allow the Holy Spirit to provide the necessary conviction for each individuals confrontation with the living Word of God.


Communication Barriers

In preaching and teaching this parable there are not a lot of communication barriers present.  The parable is incredibly simple to understand and direct in its meaning.  The greatest barrier present in this parable is the vast and differing interpretations that have arose through the historical teaching of this parable.  Scholars have wrestled with the symbolism contained within the story; some have wrestled with the literary context of the story, and others have wrestled with the simple and obvious meaning of the story.  It seems that the greatest barrier to understanding this is the scholarship that is trying to interpret it.


Preaching and Teaching Outline

The Parable of the Virgins - Matthew 25.1-13


A.     The Consummation of the Age; THEN. 

1.      After all is said and done, this is what shall appear. 

2.      This passage speaks to the deformity of the Church in the end.  As does: 

a.       The Parable of the wheat and tares (Matt. 13.24-30)

b.      The parable of the Mustard Seed (Matt. 13.31-32)

c.       The parable of the leaven (Matt. 13.33)

d.      The seven Churches of the Revelation (Rev. 2-3) 

B.     The Constitution of the Church - Ten Virgins (cf Matt 25.31-46). 

1.      The Troop. 

a.       They took lamps (vs 1; Ps. 119.105) - The Word of God, Jesus Christ (John 1.1-14). 

1)      May indicate obedience, good works, or morality. 

2)      Probably indicates a knowledge of God. 

b.      They Traveled (vs 1) - Went forth to meet the Bridegroom. 

1)      Indicates sincerity and desire. 

c.       They tired (vs 5) - They all slumbered and slept. 

1)      Slumbered - nustazo {noos-tad'-zo}, 1) to nod in sleep, to sleep; to be overcome or oppressed with sleep; to fall asleep, drop off to sleep. 2) to be negligent, careless: of a thing i.e. to linger, delay. 

2)      Slept - katheudo {kath-yoo'-do}, 1) to fall asleep, drop off to sleep. 2) to sleep; 2a) to sleep normally. 2b) euphemistically, to be dead 2c) metaph. to yield to sloth and sin, to be indifferent to one's salvation. 

3)      Apathy and lethargy. 

d.      They trimmed (vs 7) - they all arose, and trimmed their lamps 

2.      The Test - The necessity of the oil. 

a.       Not based upon: 

1)      Their religious principle - Lamp - Knowledge or doctrine. 

a)      To know is not to receive (James 2.19).

b)      Many shall say (Matt. 7.21-23) 

2)      Their religious preoccupation - went - Sincerity. 

3)      Their religious practices - slumbered and slept - tradition. 

b.      Based upon: 

1)      An unseen element (vs 8) - Oil - Holy Spirit. 

a)      The earnest of the Spirit (Eph. 1.13-14) 

2)      An unprecedented gift (vs 9-10) - not bought. 

a)      The gift of God (Rom. 6.23; Eph. 2.8-9) 

3)      An unwavering  presence (vs 10) - The bridegroom. 

a)      The witness (Rom. 8.14-16) 

C.     The Ticket (vs 10) - Entering the wedding hall. 

1.      The litmus test of Christianity (1 John 5.11-13) - The indwelling presence. 

D.    The Timing  (vs 10-11)- The Bridegroom came. 

1.      When the door closes. When grace removes. 

a.       "Taken out of the way" (2 Thess. 2.7). 

E.     The Converted Christian - make provision for your soul. 

1.      Is there oil in your lamp? 

a.       A lamp without oil is useless. 

b.      An impractical, unusable Word is useless. 

"It's one thing to know the word, it's quite another thing to know the Word (Savior)." 

2.      An untested lamp is untrustworthy - will the wick burn? 

a.       A burning wick provides light - An evidence of usefulness. 

3.      A properly lit lamp produces a change. 

a.       From darkness to light. 

b.      It will reveal your heart and nature.


Bigalke Jr., Ron J. "The Olivet Discourse: A Resolution Of Time." Chafer Theological Seminary Journal 9, no. 1 (Spring 2003): 133.

Blomberg, Craig L. Interpreting the Parables. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1990.

________. The New Amercian Commentary. Vol. 22, Matthew. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1992.

Hendricksen, William. New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1973.

Keener, Craig S. A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdman's Publishing Company, 1999.

Kistemaker, Simon. The Parables of Jesus. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1980.

Morgan, G. Campbell. The Parables and Metaphors of Our Lord. Old Tappan: Fleming H. Revell Company, ????.

Ogilvie, Lloyd John. Autobiography of God. Glendale: Regal Books, 1979.

Spurgeon, C.H. C.H. Spurgeon's Sermons On The Parables. Edited by Dr. Chas. T. Cook. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1958.

Walvoord, John F. "Christ's Olivet Discourse On The End Of The Age: Part V: The Parable Of The Ten Virgins." Bibliotheca Sacra 129 (Apr 1972): 99.

Wenham, David. The Parables of Jesus. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1989.

Wordsearch 5.M.3. iexalt Electronic Publishing, Austin, TX, 1997-2000.

[1] All scripture quotes are from the King James Bible, unless otherwise noted.

[2] Reference found under topical index for the “New Unger's Bible Dictionary” under the entry of “Oil”. Wordsearch 5.M.3, iexalt Electronic Publishing, Austin, TX, 1997-2000.

[3] Craig L. Blomberg, Interpreting the Parables (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1990), 195.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Lloyd John Ogilvie, Autobiography of God (Glendale: Regal Books, 1979), 287.

[6] G. Campbell Morgan, The Parables and Metaphors of Our Lord (Old Tappan: Fleming H. Revell Company, ????), 147.

[7] Morgan, 148-149.

[8] Simon Kistemaker, The Parables of Jesus (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1980), 130.

[9] David Wenham, The Parables of Jesus (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1989), 80.

[10] John F. Walvoord, "Christ's Olivet Discourse On The End Of The Age: Part V: The Parable Of The Ten Virgins," Bibliotheca Sacra 129 (Apr 1972): .

[11] Craig L. Blomberg, The New Amercian Commentary, vol. 22, Matthew (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1992), 370.

[12] Blomberg, 371.

[13] William Hendricksen, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1973), 875.

[14] Craig S. Keener, A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdman's Publishing Company, 1999), 598.

[15] Keener, 598.

[16] Wenham, 82.

[17] Lloyd John Ogilvie, Autobiography of God (Glendale: Regal Books, 1979), 283-284.

[18] Ogilvie, 291.

[19] C.H. Spurgeon, C.H. Spurgeon's Sermons On The Parables, ed. Dr. Chas. T. Cook (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1958), 82.

[20] Spurgeon, 89.

[21] John F. Walvoord, "Christ's Olivet Discourse On The End Of The Age: Part V: The Parable Of The Ten Virgins," Bibliotheca Sacra 129 (Apr 1972): 100.

[22] Ron J. Bigalke Jr, "The Olivet Discourse: A Resolution Of Time," Chafer Theological Seminary Journal 9, no. 1 (Spring 2003): 133.



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