The Ten Virgins
THE TEN VIRGINS
By James L. Thornton
Matthew 25:1. Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
2. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
4. But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
6. And at midnight there was a cry made, behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
7. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
8. And the foolish said unto the wise, give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
9. But the wise answered, saying, not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
10. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
11. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, lord, lord, open to us.
12. But he answered and said, verily I say unto you, I know you not.
13. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the son of man cometh. (KJV)
The Setting For This Parable Is Given In.
Matthew 24:3. And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? (KJV)
Jesus is still seated on the Mount of Olives overlooking the temple and the city of Jerusalem. Surrounded by the chosen few, to which he is unfolding the deeper mysteries of the Kingdom of God.
The Evening Shadows Had Fallen Over Jerusalem,
The gates were shut,
The streets are darkened,
Almost all lights are out.
One home is still lighted by oil lamps for a festive occasion. An expectant crowd is gathered, indicating that a marriage procession is expected.
Jewish weddings, as well as in most eastern countries, were celebrated at night.
In Accordance With Hebrew Customs, The Bridegroom, along with the children of the bride-chamber (his own special friends), has gone to bring home his betrothed bride. By torch light, Amid joyous celebrations of his friends.
He (the Bridegroom) would conduct her along these streets from her father's house to his own house, where a banquet is prepared for invited guests.
Near the house, lingering near the doorway, are seen Ten Young Women in white festive attire. Each Of These Bridal Attendants Has A Lamp In Her Hand, And a small vessel of oil is slung at her side.
Their Lamps Are Lit.
They have been waiting, moment, after moment,
Hour after hour, for the coming of the Bridegroom.
Their eyes are wistfully turned towards the house where he had gone. They were eager to catch the glow of the torches which signal his return.
Some unforeseen reason has delayed his coming.
Weared with the excitement, and the fatigue of the long unexpected watch, these watchers for the Bridegroom, have one after the other, dropped off to sleep.
Their lamps are left to burn as long as they will. Several hours have passed since the Bridegroom left.
At last, midnight arrives:
The sleepers are startled with the cry of some herald or messenger.
"Behold the Bridegroom cometh!" (Matthew 25:6)
All At Once The Eyes Of The Sleepers Are Opened, Drowsiness and slumber are exchanged for life and activity. The Ten Virgins spring to their feet.
The Procession Which They Had Been Waiting To Join Is Close At Hand, Approaching with waving torches and loud joyous music.
Jeremiah 7:34.. "The voice of the Bridegroom, and the voice of the Bride,"
The Bridegroom is walking by the Pal-an-quin (a type of covered litter borne by poles on the shoulders of two to four men). Under a silken canopy, is seated the Bride, veiled in white.
Ezeliel 16:10-13. Gives Us A Description Of God's Bride,
10.. I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers' skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk.
11.. I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck.
12.. And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head.
13.. Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom. (KJV)
The Ten Virgins Grab Their Lamps,
They begin to trim their wicks.
Five Of The Watchers Had Been Wise. They had prepared for the delay of the Bridegroom, They replenish the oil from the vessel, Their lamps again burn brightly,
The Other Five Had Not Been So Prepared. They had made no provisions for any delay.
They Looked At Their Lamps, And They Were Gone Out. They looked at their vessels and they were empty.
This Was An Emergency. What was now to be done? They Turned To Their Companions.
Matthew 25:8.. And the foolish said unto the wise, give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
9.. But the wise answered, saying, not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. (KJV)
From his vantage point on the Mount of Olives the Lord must have looked down many times on just a scene as He describes here.
He Saw Those Who Were Turned Away,
While inside the house came the sounds of festive joy,
And the house brightly lit on the inside.
He Saw Those Who were Turned Away, Bitter And Sad.
They can see the lights gleaming, And hear the sounds of festive joy, While they themselves are left standing in the vacant street, Amid the blackness of night.
Jesus Is The Divine Bridegroom:
He is coming the second time to conduct His espoused Bride to His home.
That Bride Constituting The Church,
In Every Age Of The World,
Composed of wise and foolish,
Symbolized by the Ten Virgins,
Some prepared, others not prepared,
others unready to follow the glorious procession into the banqueting hall.
The Eternal Lesson:
"Watch therefore, for ye know not the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh." (Matthew 25:13)
Watch.. "While The Bridegroom Tarried…"
"At midnight.." (the time He is least looked for)
"Behold the Bridegroom cometh."
Mark 13:35.. "Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock crowing or in the morning:
16.. lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
17.. and what I say unto you I say unto all, watch.
"And The Door Was Shut."
Not to the unholy, and profane,
But to improvident and unwatchful professors,
Those who had a show of religion.
They Were Dressed In The Same Festive Dress As The Wise Virgins,
Who had the same lamps in their hands,
Who had gone forth professedly to meet Christ,
Who called him "Lord, Lord,.."
And Yet With All The Apparent Resemblance And Identify.
They were disowned at last by the Divine Bridegroom.
1 Peter 4:18. "And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the sinner and the ungodly appear?"
Now To All Who Are Apathetic And Unconcerned,
The day is coming when you to shall be startled from your dreaming.
Fearfulness shall surprise the hypocrites.
"They all arose and trimmed their lamps."
Blessed Be The Lord, The Bridegroom Tarries,
Tarries to give all the opportunity to be saved.
The wickedness Of This World Shall Quicken The Bridegroom's Steps.
Another hour, eternity may be at the door.
Some May Mock At Prayer Now.
But the cry will come forth.. "Lord, Lord, open…"
The Old Man Grown Grey In Sin.
The lamp of Salvation left untrimmed for a lifetime,
He will be in earnest then.
The Selfish Person Whose Life Was A Scramble For Riches.
Will be in earnest then for true riches.
Those Who Have Bartered For Pleasure, Will Cry.
"Give us of your oil."
This Is The Cry Of Many A Man On His Death Bed.
Be sober, be vigilant,
Watch the first dimming of your lamps,
The first shortcomings in prayer,
The first symptoms of spiritual slumber,
And defection and loss of your first love.
Beware of resting contented in religion.
Jesus Says. Matthew 10:22b. "…but he that endureth to the end shall be saved."
The Oil Is The Holy Ghost.
Let us not have to go to try to buy oil in the blackness of the midnight hour.
Let Us All Be Ready.
"For ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh." (Matthew 25:13b.)
We hope you enjoyed this study on the Ten Virgins And will read the other studies on this Web site
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James L Thornton