1 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens 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 slumbered and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those maidens 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 replied, ‘Perhaps there will not be enough for us and for you; go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went 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 maidens came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he replied, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. Matt. 25: 1-13
The constipated Baptist church I grew up in taught that the oil was salvation. However that just doesn’t match with the rest of Bible symbology.
Salvation is represented symbolically by virgins wearing pure white robes. And that is the problem with our Ten Virgins, THEY ARE ALL WEARING WHITE ROBES, THEY ARE ALL VIRGINS.
9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne; 10 they cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?” 11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been. Rev 6:9-11
4 It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are chaste; it is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes; these have been redeemed from mankind as first fruits for God and the Lamb, 5 and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are spotless. Rev 14:4-5
Oil is what keep the lamp of our testimony burning.
13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. 15 Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matt. 5:13-14
In the Scripture Israel is symbolized by an olive tree. [Jer 11:16; Rom 11:17] It is they that are the source of the olive oil that is burned in the lamps of these virgins. [Zech 4:1-14 and Rev 1:20; Rev 11: 4-13] Israel’s great commission was to keep The Law. [Is 42:6; 49:6] In keeping The Law they manufacture the oil needed to fuel the fires of truth. However, without a light the fuel is only oil and of no useful purpose. Israel missed the spark that would light their lamps and bring light to the whole earth when they missed the Messiah. Instead of becoming a light to the world, they have progressively separated themselves from the world.
The church has often burned brightly, [Matt 5:14-16] but only for a short time. Over time, not wanting to be encumbered with The Law, the Church has had little oil to burn. She easily falls into apostasy without The Law to guide her. Others have simply left The Law behind altogether and no longer have any oil.
There is no Grace without the Law, for it tells us we need Grace.
For Christ is the goal of the law, that every one who has faith may be justified. Rom. 10:4
The lights on the lampstand were a type of Messiah.
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
Only the believer’s path is clear, they are the only ones who see the way.
Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psa. 119:105
For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life. Prov. 6:23
Those in the darkness have no understanding, so great is their darkness. The only cure is to step into the Light.
. . . for once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light. Eph. 5:8
Once in the Light the believers can the reflect that light it into the darkness, attracting others to follow and find their way into the light as well.
. . . that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. Phil. 2:15
Remember then from what you have fallen, repent and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Rev. 2:5
The typological fulfillment is yet to be seen. But a time is coming when we will no longer have need of the sun because the Lamb and the Glory of God is present.
And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. Rev. 21:23
Matthew was originally written in Hebrew then translated into Greek very early, alas all Hebrew copies have been lost. So that being said, this word “virgins” or “maidens” would have been in the Hebrew “Alamot”. A special class of women who served the LORD while looking for His Messiah. These special women are mentioned 7 times in the Old Testament. (See Also: the Almeh or Alamot)
One of the chief jobs of Alamot is to dance at weddings. [Psa. 68:25] This is still true today through out the Middle east. One simply cannot have a wedding without dancing Alamot. Even though the Alamot have degenerated into nothing more than prostitutes. The memory of what they were is still enough that one must have them.
FYI: And they always danced to the same tune at all the weddings, the Al-Zaffah, one of the oldest tunes in the history of music. It is not just centuries old, it is millennia old.
They have been seeking “the seed of woman” for all this time. That is why so many of them attached themselves to Solomon. [Song 6:8] They knew that the redeemer would come through the line of David.
The alamot in this parable are waiting for the bridegroom. These are educated learned women. They are those that have dedicated their lives to look for and assist the Messiah in any way they can. So the teaching that this is about salvation is ludicrous. They are those that are watching for the Bridegroom.
Unlike our modern wedding where the Father of the Bride brings the bride to the bridegroom. This is like the wedding in the Song of Solomon [Song 2]. When the preparations are ready for the wedding, a crier is sent out to call the people. [Matt. 22:3] Then Bridegroom starts out from His home and walks through town and is joined by His friends and the Alamot. The crowd gets larger and larger as they approach the brides home. When they arrive, the shofar is blown to call her forth. [1Th. 4:16]
But some have been foolish in their long wait, they have not expected the delay to be this long. In the intervening years their lamps have dried out, and they do not have extra. There is nothing in their lamps to burn. The text calls them foolish not fools. They have not said in their hearts there is not God. [Psa. 14:1] But they think God will do things the way and in the time they expect. They do not believe that they will need extra oil. Their faith is dependent on others. Someone else will provide the oil they need.
As MACBETH put it, their lives are:
a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Unfortunately many have turn their souls over to the teachings of the empty vessels.
They have no oil to keep the light of their testimony burning. So oil is the knowledge of God’s plans and purposes. How do we get such knowledge, buy studying His Word.
However Five of these virgins have negated their Bridal present, in Hebrew their Mohar, in our culture the engagement ring. They have not studied this Love poem. Some of them think that others can read it for them, and are trusting some spiritual leader to tell them what the Lord requires of them. The problem with that is when your eternal soul is at stake we must not give to much power over our souls to some human.
We need the commandments and the statutes, and ordinances. This are the oil that is the Torah. Without this oil how can we:
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matt. 5:16
The empty vessels have been teaching that the law has passed away for far too long. The Scripture states just the opposite.
“Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fully fill them up.” Matt. 5:17
Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law. Rom. 3:31
Gentile believers cannot just throw away the Law. Yes! all the ceremonial laws of the temple are gone, and if someone didn’t get that message from the book of Hebrews, in 70 A.D., Messiah Himself sent the Roman Army to destroy it. [Matt. 24:2] There is no more need for sacrifices as Messiah has paid that price. But the rest of the Law, the Moral Code, stands. And It will stand for all eternity.
Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Rev. 14:12
And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,
“Great and wonderful are thy deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are thy ways, O King of the ages!” Rev. 15:3
The Gentile believers have been busy singing the song of the Lamb, but many have neglected to keep the faith of Jesus. They no longer even know that Messiah presented Himself as a first century Jewish Rabbi. They have instead fabricated a Christian deity out of whole cloth. Because of this neglect the gospels are now hard to understand because they have been divorced from the Torah, from which Messiah was commenting. Messiah kept the law. He celebrated the feast days. Yet those who claim to be His followers know nothing of them. They don’t know what He knew. They don’t do what He did. They don’t live the way He lived. They continue to call themselves Christians, but they no longer follow the first century Jewish Rabbi, who presented Himself as the Christ or Messiah. They just parrot over and over that, “The Law has passed away.” [Rom 3:31]
We must not neglect to sing the song of Moses, as well as keep the commandments of God. For His ways are just and true. Without this song of Moses, we would just be doing what is right in our own eyes.
We must study for ourselves. However we all need help in that endeavor.
30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless some one guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Acts 8:30-31
This is why there is a list of essential Books every Believer should have in the Bibliography. Most of them free on the internet. Almost all of the explanation to passages that are hard to understand are a lll ready written in old Theology Books. The trick is to find which one.
They are ALL Asleep
The surprising thing about the parable is that even the wise are asleep. We are no longer attentively listening for the criers cry. We are unaware of the approaching bridegroom. Both the wise and the foolish have nodded off to the soothing sounds of three croaking frogs. Try as we might we cannot wake ourselves. But our confidence is that:
Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. Psa. 121:4
We should be about our master’s business.
“Since you are going therefore make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” Matt. 28:19-20
This was not to be the job of professional spiritual leaders. It was supposed to be all our jobs. But long ago we turned out spiritual authority over to professionals. We pay them to get the job done. However this job and this work was left to us all. Not some professional!
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Pet. 2:9