24th and 25th chapters of Matthew are divided into sections.
The first fourteen verses of chapter 24 take us to the end of the
Gentile Age. Verse 15 goes back
to the Abomination of Desolation, while the next eleven verses following
this verse describe things that transpire during the reign of Antichrist.
Verses 27 to 35 take us from the catching away of the Bride to the
Renewed Earth. Verse 36 goes back
to the catching away of the Bride. The
remaining verses of chapter 24 and the whole of chapter 25 give us a number of
events in their consecutive order from the catching away of the Bride to the
end of the judgment day, that is, up to the Renewed Earth.
The verses chosen for the lesson are Matt. 25: 1‑13.
May the Lord inspire us in our study of these verses.
of all, we must know that this lesson is a parable. This is indicated by the
word “likened.” A parable is
a spiritual truth drawn from a fact in the natural.
The best way to understand the parables of our Lord, is to first note
the facts from which He drew them.
details given in this parable of the ten virgins are in full accord with the
customs in the East to the present day, and form as important a part of the
wedding ceremonies as they did in ancient times.
The Jewish custom was for the bridegroom, accompanied by his friends,
to go to the house of the bride and carry her with pomp and ceremony to his
own home. She was accompanied
from her father’s house by her young friends and companions; while others,
like the virgins of the parable, at some convenient place met and joined the
procession and entered with the rest of the bridal company into the festal
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
in the East always take place at night, and, according to rabbinical
authority, when the bride was conducted to her future home ten lamps were
carried on the top of staves before the procession.
Jewish lamp consisted of a shallow vessel filled with oil, the wick floating
on the oil. . . . In the marriage procession these lamps were placed on
sticks, and thus converted into torches.
In separate vessels oil was carried with which to replenish the
lamps.”—M. B. Chapman, D. D.
is no doubt that Jesus drew this parable from the common Jewish custom given
in above quotation. I have found
this sketch a great help to an understanding of the parable.
Let us study it in this light.
the virgins of the parable may represent, they all go to meet the Bridegroom;
yet, it is clear that not a one of them is the Bride.
She is in her chamber dressing for the marriage, when these virgins are
leaving their homes and going forth to await, at some point on the road, the
coming of the Bridegroom. When
the Bridegroom comes, they that are ready go in with Him to the marriage, but
they are not married to Him.
the parable is a tribulation scene, I am sure.
The last verses of chapter 24 speak of the catching away of the Bride.
Verses 14 to 30 of chapter 25 apply to the Millennium.
This parable lies between the catching away of the Bride and the
Millennial Reign. It is,
therefore, a picture of the saints that are appointed their portion in The
the Bride is gone to her chamber in the air (Isa. 26: 20)—“shall the
kingdom of heaven”—not the kingdom of Satan nor of the world nor of
darkness—“be likened unto ten virgins.”
They were all virgins; virginity means purity.
They were all sanctified. If
they had had carnality, they would not have been virgins, because sin would
have made them unclean. These
virgins were pure, free from sin,
T EN VIRGINS.
they were sanctified, for purity and sanctification are synonymous.
the virgins have lamps, vessels, oil, and lights.
They are alike in every respect except one, viz., the supply of oil.
The lamp is the heart; the wick is the mind; the vessel is the body;
the oil is the Holy Spirit; the light is the love of God.
Every lamp is clean; every light is perfect.
The purpose of the light at this particular time is not so much to give
light to other souls, but to lighten their own way through the darkness of The
Tribulations. We can be a light
to the world only as our intellectual powers are buried in the Holy Ghost and
the love of God burns in our hearts, and causes to shine forth the Holy Spirit
through us. As the oil must
impart itself to the fire through the wick, so the Holy Spirit must use our
intellectual powers to shine through us.
The Holy Spirit dwells in the heart of every sanctified soul; He uses
their mental powers; but He dwells in the body of those only who have received
the Baptism of the Spirit. Then
the difference between the wise and the foolish virgins is, the former have
received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, the latter have not.
The ten virgins are virgins—sanctified before the Bride is called
into her chamber; but they fail to obtain the Baptism of the Spirit, or they
at least fail to live up to their privileges, hence are among the “left
ones.” Finding to their
surprise they are left out of the Bridehood, and being greatly aroused and
alarmed by the fact, immediately they take their lamps and go forth to live
for Jesus, determined to be true, and entertain hopes of going in with Him to
the Marriage. Five of them are
wise, from the fact that, seeing on account of their negligence to receive
the Baptism of the Spirit they have missed the Bridehood, they now tarry until
their vessels are filled with the Holy Spirit, and then go forth to meet the
Bridegroom. Five of them are
foolish, from the fact that, although they see that it is on account of their
negligence to receive the Baptism of the Spirit they have missed the
Bridehood, yet they believe
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
they can go in with Him to the marriage without the Baptism, and so they take
their lamps, but take no oil in their vessels with their lamps.
Bridegroom tarries; the Tribulations darken; they all slumber and sleep.
This refers not to a literal sleep, but to a cessation from work.
Why do they sleep? It is
all they can do. God’s
judgments are in the world. No
need to work now. “The night
cometh when no man can work.” (John 9:4.)
If the judgments of God will not touch the hearts of men, nothing can.
“And at midnight—when the Tribulations have reached their
climax—there was a cry made, Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to
you will study the different companies in the Book of Revelation, you will
find that our teaching is in exact accord with that Book.
In the fourth chapter we see the Bride and a company of attendants
perhaps taken into her chamber, and the saints taking their places as
“beasts”—living ones—and “elders.”
Both of these companies remain distinctly separate throughout the Book.
The Great Tribulation sets in, during which several companies go up to
join the band around the throne. (Rev. 6: 9; 7: 9‑17; 14: 1‑5,
13‑15.) When the last vial
of wrath is poured out into the air, “There comes a great voice out of the
temple of heaven, saying, It is done.”—Rev. 16: 17.
Just before this Jesus says, “Behold, I come as a thief.” (Verse
15.) In what sense does He come
just here as a thief? It is
midnight; The Great Tribulation is reaching its climax; the virgins are
slumbering. It is a call to them
to awake, watch, and pray. “Blessed
is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they
see his shame.” “Then all
those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.”
Jewish hand lamps were quite small, and the supply of oil would not last many
hours. Even the lamps used at a
festival, which would be larger, needed to be replenished if kept burning long
into the night. Hence the
not only the removal of whatever had gathered around and was clogging the
wick, but also the pouring in of fresh oil.
For the purpose of removing whatever debris had gathered around the
wick, a small pointed instrument often hung by a slender chain from the lamp
perfectly all this custom fits in this explanation of this parable; and how
perfectly this explanation fits in the other Scriptures!
This small pointed instrument, not a part of the lamp, but chained to
the lamp, and with which debris was removed from the wick, corresponds to the
Scriptures, which every virgin should have bound to the heart, and this each
virgin should use daily; yea, hourly, to remove the unscriptural debris that
may clog in the mind while in “slumber and sleep,” or otherwise engaged.
When these virgins start out to meet the Bridegroom, they each make
sure to take with them a copy of the Word.
No doubt, at intervals they stop and study the Scriptures, and then
their lights burn brighter, and they are encouraged to wait on till He comes;
but towards midnight they all slumber and sleep.
Suddenly they hear the cry, “Behold, I come as a thief.”
They all arise and seize their Bibles; and then they pray.
The wise virgins have oil in their lamps and in their vessels—they
are filled with the Holy Ghost, spirit, soul, and body.
Immediately their lights burn brightly, and as they hear the
“hallelujahs” of the coming Bridal party (Rev. 19: 1‑6), they begin
to sing and shout. The foolish
virgins at this crisis see from the Bible that they are unprepared to go in
with the Bridegroom to the marriage. As
they hear the songs of the coming Bridal party, and realize that the time is
short, they rush to the wise virgins and say, “Do lay your hands on us and
pray that we may receive the Baptism of the Spirit right now.”
“For our lamps are burning low.”
The wise answer, “Not so.” “While
we are praying with you we may get left ourselves.
We must watch and be ready. We
can not afford to be left now. Go
tarry for yourselves, until ye be endued with the Holy Ghost from on high.”
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
are gone to tarry for the Holy Ghost, the Bridegroom comes; and they that are
ready go in with Him to the Marriage; and the door is shut.
the foolish sanctified get their Pentecost, they return and say, “Lord,
Lord, open to us.” That is,
they will beg God to take them up into the air to the Marriage; but the Bridegroom
answers, “Verily, I say unto you, I know you not.”
He does not say, “I never knew you, depart from me, ye workers of
iniquity,” as He would do if they were sinners, but simply, “I know you
not.” That is, I do not
“know” you as members of My Bride.
the Marriage is over, there will be a call to Supper to those who did not get
to the Marriage. (Rev. 19: 9.) The
foolish virgins may get in to the Supper, or they may be among the elect ones
gathered by the angels at the opening of the Millennium.