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Basic Bible Prophecy

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Matthew 25 speaks of wise and foolish virgins. They are all virgins, yet those whose oil runs out and they don’t have extra miss going with the bridegroom. What does the oil represent and does this support the idea that not all believers will be raptured?

The question deals with a parable of the “Ten Virgins” which is recorded as the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:1-13. However, that title is not accurate. The parable is not about the virgins, but about the soon coming wedding. Jesus declares that this wedding is like the waiting for the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew and the Kingdom of God in the other Gospels to take place.

Matthew is the only Gospel writer that uses both the “Kingdom of Heaven” (32 times) and the “Kingdom of God” (5 times).

· Gospel of Mark – Kingdom of Heaven – 0 times. Kingdom of God 15 times.

· Gospel of Luke – Kingdom of Heaven – 0 times, Kingdom of God 33 times.

· Gospel of John – Kingdom of Heaven – 0 times, Kingdom of God – 2 times.

· Acts - Kingdom of Heaven – 0 times, Kingdom of God – 7 times

· Romans - Kingdom of Heaven – 0 times, Kingdom of God – 1 time.

· 1 Corinthians – Kingdom of Heaven – 0 times, Kingdom of God – 4 times.

What is the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of Heaven/God is a favorite topic when Jesus preached:

Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

However, understanding the “What, when, where, how, and why” of the topic of the kingdom of Heaven/God is not as clear. Simplistically speaking, the kingdom is where the king resides. Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven/God is where our King resides. The Church represents the Kingdom of Heaven/God by the presence of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

When looking at the eschatological implications of the Kingdom of Heaven/God it may be inferred within the boundaries of the Church as well as the physical Kingdom of Jesus Christ on the earth during the 1,000-year reign of Christ.

Where the Kingdom of Heaven/God is, our King resides.

The Kingdom of Heaven/God is the overall sovereign rule of the King over His creation. Evidence is found within the pages of the Bible.

Psalm 103:19 The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.

Daniel 4:3 How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.

Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

The work of God that began on the earth will find its completion in heaven for believers (Phil 1:6).

Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

For this parable, Jesus is referring to His coming and the day of judgment.

Who or What are the “virgins?”

The five “wise” virgins are representative of the Church who is waiting for the return of Jesus Christ (2Cor 11:2).

The five “foolish” virgins are representative of those waiting on the return of the Lord, but not believers.

Who or What is the “oil?”

The oil is the preparation for the return of the Groom. Some commentators agree that the oil may represent the Holy Spirit.

What We Know

· The previous parable of Jesus forewarned against delaying the preparation and planning of Christ’s return.

· Christ will return at an unknown hour and His people must be ready and prepared.

· The Kingdom of Heaven/God is “likened” to the case of the ten virgins and the return of the Groom.

· The Kingdom of Heaven/God is worldwide and without boundaries (1Tim 6:15).

· Do not assume the foolish virgins are believers waiting on the return of Christ.

· Entrance into the Kingdom involves repentance resulting in the new birth (2Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15; Eph 2:15; 4:24; Col 3:10).

· There is much debate as to the meaning of this parable from our Savior.

· Despite the debates, there is no argument against the bridegroom is Jesus Christ.

· In the Old Testament, God pictures Himself as the “Husband of Israel” (Isa 54:4–6; 62:4-5; Hos 2:19)

· In the New Testament, Jesus is pictured as being the Bridegroom of the Church (Mt 9:15; Mk 2:19-20; Jn 3:27-30).

· In the New Testament the Church is described as the bride of Christ (Eph 5:25–32).

· This parable is referring to the wedding ceremony which all of Jesus’ hearers would understand the wedding process. There are three stages to a Jewish wedding: The engagement, the betrothal, and the consummation of the marriage. This parable concerns the third stage: Arrival of the Groom.

· While the Bride is waiting for the return of the bridegroom, she is prepared to meet him.

· However not all the brides attendants were ready to receive the groom.

· Jesus warned, “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day or the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” (Mt 25:13).

· The ten virgins are described as being either foolish or wise concerning preparation of having their torches ready to receive the groom and light the way for the wedding party to her new home.

· Five of the virgins were prepared to complete the task laid before them by having enough oil to light their torches for the journey.

· Five of the virgins were not prepared by not having oil to light their torches. They could not complete the task.

· Since the call came at midnight, no stores or neighbors would be able to fill their vessels with oil and they missed out on the ceremony as the doors were locked. “Verily I say unto you, I know you not.” (Mt 25:12)

· To the crowd of Jesus’s listeners, Christ encouraged them with these words, “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” (Mt 25:13)


When the Son of man returns it will be like the occasion of the bride and her attendants being prepared for the bridegroom to return.

The terms “wise” and “foolish” pertain to their preparation or lack of preparation to meet the bridegroom. Some are prepared as they have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, while others have a knowledge of Jesus Christ, but have not given their life in service of the Savior.

When the bride and bridegroom arrive at the father’s house the marriage feast was given for the wedding party, friends, and family for seven days.

The Christian community asks itself, “What does it mean to wait for our Lord’s coming?” And our Lord gives the answer— faithfulness. (See also 2 Thess. 2:2; 3:11–12.)

In the celebration of marriages in the East at the present day, many of the peculiar customs of ancient times are observed. At a Hindoo marriage, says a modern missionary, "the procession of which I saw some years ago, the bridegroom came from a distance, and the bride lived at Serampore, to which place the bridegroom was to come by water. After waiting two or three hours, at length, near midnight, it was announced, in the very words of Scripture, 'Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.' All the persons employed now lighted their lamps, and ran with them in their hands to fill up their stations in the procession; some of them had lost their lights, and were unprepared, but it was then too late to seek them, and the cavalcade moved forward to the house of the bride; at which place the company entered a large and splendidly illuminated area, before the house, covered with an awning, where a great multitude of friends, dressed in their best apparel, were seated upon mats. The bridegroom was carried in the arms of a friend, and placed in a superb seat in the midst of the company, where he sat a short time, and then went into the house, the door of which was immediately shut, and guarded by sepoys. I and others expostulated with the door-keepers, but in vain. Never was I so struck with our Lord's beautiful parable as at this moment--'And the door was shut.'"[1]

The five foolish virgins represent non- believers who are engaged in the Christian community. They build a relationships with members of the church without committing to a relationship with the Bridegroom. They place their hope in their association with Christians. However, salvation is personal.

Matthew 25:11-12 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.

To enforce this idea, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount included this same condemnation on unbelievers.

Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

[1] Albert Barnes, Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, digital, Swordsearcher software.



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