20 Nov 2015

Matthew 25:1-13

Posted by joncooper

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.”

This is another parable that has been widely misinterpreted. What people forget is that Jesus is still answering the question the disciples asked back in Matthew 24:3. The end-times discussion has not finished. What this means is that the parable Jesus is telling still concerns Israel, not the Church. Matthew 24 focused on Israel, and Matthew 25 continues that focus. The Church is not in view in any of this. After all, these events do not concern them because they will not be around to see them!

This can also be seen from the parable itself. The Church is the bride, not 10 bridesmaids! The bride cannot be excluded from her own wedding. No one in the Church is in danger of losing their salvation, but that is a genuine danger in the Tribulation period. (After all, if you take the Mark of the Beast then you will be damned. There is no forgiveness for that sin.) In this parable Jesus is telling people the urgency of holding onto their faith during the Tribulation. None of that applies to the Church.

These 10 virgins are actually believers who are still alive at the end of the Tribulation and who are waiting for the Lord to come back. However, not all of them have persevered:

Matthew 25:2: “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.”

In the Bible, oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. This is more evidence that this parable has nothing to do with the Church. All of those in the Church today have the Holy Spirit sealed within them, and they cannot lose it. It is impossible. In fact, Paul goes so far as to say that if you don’t have the Spirit then you are not saved. (Romans 8:9.) Having the Spirit and being saved go together; in fact, they’re inseparable.

However, in the Tribulation that will not be the case. In this age we cannot lose the Spirit, but in the Old Testament it could be lost (as God took it from Samson, for instance) – and in the Tribulation it can be lost as well. In this case we see that some people were wise and held onto the Spirit, while others were foolish and lost it. This created a problem:

Matthew 25:7: “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.”

When the Lord returned, the foolish ones were caught without the Spirit. They quickly tried to do something about it, but it was already too late:

Matthew 25:10: “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.”

Once the Lord returned, it was much too late. They were lost. That is why Jesus urges the to always be watching:

Matthew 25:13: “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”

As you can see, verse 5 speaks of the bridegroom tarrying – perhaps to see which “bridesmaids” were wise and which ones were foolish. Note that Jesus warns them in advance that this will happen. He plainly tells them that He is going to tarry, and He will come at an unexpected time. He seems to hint that His return will be delayed, and some will take advantage of this to abuse others – but then He will return and their souls will be lost.

Those who endure to the end will be saved; those who falter before the end will be lost. It is a very different situation from what the Church is going through now, but that is because this is a different dispensation.


Comments are closed.