The Ten Virgins – A parable; A commentary.

I made this in response to the so called “teaching” that we get every week in our men’s Bible study. We just spent two weeks destroying the parable of the ten virgins, assigning every possible maladjusted idea to each of its components, that our leader could come up with.

I needed to set things straight, to the best of my knowledge.

Matthew 25:1-13 AMP

THEN THE kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. (2) Five of them were foolish (thoughtless, without forethought) and five were wise (sensible, intelligent, and prudent). (3) For when the foolish took their lamps, they did not take any [extra] oil with them; (4) But the wise took flasks of oil along with them [also] with their lamps. (5) While the bridegroom lingered and was slow in coming, they all began nodding their heads, and they fell asleep. (6) But at midnight there was a shout, Behold, the bridegroom! Go out to meet him! (7) Then all those virgins got up and put their own lamps in order. (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, There will not be enough for us and for you; go instead to the dealers and buy for yourselves. (10) But while they were going away to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were prepared went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. (11) Later the other virgins also came and said, Lord, Lord, open [the door] to us! (12) But He replied, I solemnly declare to you, I do not know you [I am not acquainted with you]. (13) Watch therefore [give strict attention and be cautious and active], for you know neither the day nor the hour when the Son of Man will come.

Unless otherwise specified I will be using the NASB translation.

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The astute should immediately pick up on the fact that this parable comes mid-thought. We call that thought process context. Jesus responses come out of this regard.

After riding triumphantly into Jerusalem on the unridden colt (the dignitary vehicle of the day,) Jesus did not do what everyone was now anticipating, that is to take control, overthrow the oppressor government, and reign as the Messiah. What he did do was overturn the tables of the vendors and money changers, and chase everyone out of the gentile court area. This action on Jesus part initiated a two-day barrage of questions and accusations from the elders and chief priests.

Finally, Jesus and the disciples get a chance to get out of there, out of harm’s way, to somewhere peaceful; the Mount of Olives. You see this in Matthew 24.

Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. (2) And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.” (Matthew 24:1-2 NASB)

There are other things that were said as they were never alone, and, they were never alone. Asking embarrassing questions would only subject them to more ridicule.

While He was seated on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately and said, Tell us, when will this take place, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end (the completion, the consummation) of the age? (Matthew 24:3 AMP)

As an aspect of His response, we get Matthew 25 and the parable of the ten virgins.

The first premise for understanding any of the parables is what Jesus said to His own disciples – it is for you to know.

You want proof?

Matthew 13:10-12 NASB And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” (11) Jesus answered them, “To you, it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them, it has not been granted. (12) “For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.

If understanding has been granted and you are not then whose fault is that? We choose to apply so many things to the church that do not belong, will you disregard this passage. We were grafted in and are family. Adopted children are not second-class strangers and actually, have more rights.

The second premise for understanding is context and more specifically, words.

It is time for a breakdown.

25:1a) – CJB “The Kingdom of Heaven at that time will be like ..”

  • Who has Jesus been talking to? The Disciples; Jews; Jews who are asking Him a specific question about, the destruction of Jerusalem, and, what will be the sign of His coming (as the Messiah), and the end of the age.

  • So, when Jesus says, “The kingdom of Heaven at that time, ” He is talking about – the beginning of the Millennial reign when Jesus will sit on the throne as the Messiah.

    You see, the Jews had no concept of a rapture – the snatching away of the church, because there was no church, and any devout Jew is supposed to see Jesus as an unacceptable creation of the Gentiles.)

    Can this be related to the church? Only as a pointed lesson, as is the case with any passage. The verse for this covers the entire Bible:

    2 Timothy 3:16 NASB All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

Therefore, it is safe to say, this has nothing to do with the church.

25:1b) the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins,..”

  • The word kingdom is basileia and means royalty, that is, (abstractly) rule, or (concretely) a realm.

    While it is true that Jesus is now seated on the throne, that it seems is more of a spiritual reality. The physical reality is yet to come and will be seen by many when He touches down on the Mount of Olives.
    In what way does any of this look like ten virgins? The only thing that makes any sense is the Jewish people themselves.
    The Dake’s Bible comments suggest that this indicates faithfulness and it also conveys that these are friends of the Bride. Since we have nothing to pursue scripturally, this is little more than conjecture and a futile pursuit.

    Since we are talking about Jews and their ways the reality is that Jesus is talking about a male dominated society.

  • To be a virgin in a Jewish community is more likely because all eyes are upon you.

    This does not have to be women and would have had implications for the men as well.
    What is a virgin? One who has kept themselves pure. In this case, the ideal condition has to do with their relationship to Jehovah/God.
    Note: All then maintained this status, and yet, as we shall see, there is a 50% difference. Is it possible to be legalistically committed and yet have no heart investment? Absolutely, and this is the case here. I will show you how in this paper.

  • ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.”

    They all got the same invitation, and, they all went. There is nothing, as yet, that gives us any basis for judgment.
    Here is something to take note of. We, as a Christian community, constantly say, no man can know the day or the hour. And yet, these all, in unison it seems knew exactly the day. Now it is important to note that they had little clue about the hour, but the day was known to all. How and why did they know that information? As yet, they have only gone to meet the bridegroom.
    While it is a good thing to be expectant, what is not good is to put your demands and timings upon the bridegroom.
    One last thing before I move on. We have nothing to indicate that they have done anything out of the ordinary. This will change quickly.

25:2a) “Five of them were foolish, ..”

  • Now we have a distinction. The word foolish is the Greek word moros. It carries the implications of being a MORON. Therefore, we can figure out that half of the number are foolish, thoughtless, and morons.

    What makes them a moron? The GK word also conveys a person who is dull, stupid, heedless, and absurd. All of these can be thought to have made the foolish assumption that the bridegroom will operate according to their standards.

25:2b)..and five were prudent.”

  • Prudent, on the other hand, is the Greek word phronimos; thoughtful, that is, sagacious or discreet (implying a cautious character; to think, have a mindset. Prudent, sensible, practically wise in relationships with others

    Sagacious, as defined by Webster’s means: wise, foreseeing, to perceive readily, and prudent.

25:3) For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them,

  • We already understand the dull nature of the five foolish virgins. Now we focus on the word took. The Greek word is lambánō and means to take in whatever manner. The implications are that they grabbed the lamps in whatever state they found them.

    The oil is irrelevant except that it makes the lamps work.

25:4) “but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps.”

  • We already know the characteristics of the prudent: thoughtful, discreet, prudent, sensible, practically wise in relationships with others. Their character motivates them to take extra, not just what is unknown, in the lamp, like the foolish.

25:5) “Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep.”

  • Delaying; the Greek word chronízō; To while away time, linger, delay, defer, tarry.

    I have heard so-called believers say, you are wasting your time waiting for the Lord’s return. We have been waiting for over 2000 years. Evidence that this would happen is found in scripture.

    Matthew 24:48 NASB ”But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time,’

    2 Peter 3:3-4 NASB Know this first of all, that in the last days’ mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, (4) and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”

    But isn’t that what we have been called to do, wait expectantly?

    One might think that sleeping would be exclusive to the foolish, but it is common for any human. There is NO condemnation for sleeping.

25:6) “But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’

  • A shout? This is the Greek word kraugē and means an outcry (in notification, tumult or grief): – clamor, cry (-ing). This is loud and there is no holding back. It is meant to catch attention.

  • Behold means to look.

  • Come out.” The word for come is exerchomai and means to issue (literally or figuratively): – come-(forth, out), depart (out of

  • to meet him.” Meet means to encounter.

25:7) “Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.”

  • Prudent and foolish, all arose and trimmed their lamps.

    It was then that the foolish discovered that they were out of oil and unable to see.

25:8) “The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps, are going out.’

  • The foolish said.” Said is the Greek word legō; an aspect of the word is an extended or random harangue.

    Webster’s dictionary states, this word seems to imply loudness or declamation. Declamation; a noisy, pompous or irregular address.
    This tells me that the foolish began to demand loudly that the others give them of the oil that they had.

25:9a) “But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too;..”

  • Wisdom knows how to say NO.

25:9b) “..go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’

  • Dealers? It’s the middle of the night. Dealers are the Greek word pōleō to be busy, to trade; to barter.

25:10) “And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut.”

  • Ready – hetoimos, adjusted, that is, ready: – prepared, made ready.

  • Door – thura; a portal or entrance.

25:11) “Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’

  • The foolish ones.

  • Came saying – again the Greek word legō, an extended or random harangue.

    They foolish, once again, are demanding.

  • Lord, lord – The word is kurios; supreme in authority, that is, (as noun) controller; by implication Mr.

    The implications are that there was no personal relationship and that is what we saw at the beginning of this commentary.

25:12) “But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’

  • know – oida; to have seen or perceived, hence to know:

    Imagine God telling you, I have never seen or perceived you.

Jesus finishes this phase of His discourse with:

25:13) “Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.

  • And yet they did, the foolish and the prudent.

    What aspect could they not know? The hour and minute. And why is that? Because the groom, working hard, taking care of last minute issues, seemed to be hesitating.

Keep in mind that Jesus was talking to Jews, therefore all of this was meant for their understanding, and, He expected the disciples to understand it.

This entry was posted in End times, false teaching, Hearing God, Hope, Matthew's gospel, parables, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture. Bookmark the permalink.

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