Let us read today from Matthew 25 the first 13 verses.
It is a very well known parable that you probably already have known from when you were very young. I read this because I think that Jesus was saying more in this parable than you ever knew. So let us read first and then try to understand.
¹Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. ²Five of them were foolish, and five were pruden. ³For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, ⁴but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. ⁵Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. ⁶But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ ⁷Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. ⁸The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ ⁹But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ ¹⁰And 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. ¹¹Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ ¹²But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ ¹³Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.
¹Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to TEN VIRGINS, who took their LAMPS and WENT OUT TO MEET the bridegroom.
This first line already tells us a lot. Jesus speaks about 10 virgins but why 10 and why virgins and not just people?
Before I already pointed out that 10 is one of the perfect numbers.
It signifies the perfection of the Divine order.
It is a type of the whole completeness of order.
The number 10 implies that nothing is wanting, that the number and the order are perfect, and that the whole cycle is complete.
In the Bible we see that:
Noah completed the antediluvian age in the 10th generation.
The Ten Commandments contain all that is necessary, and no more than is necessary, both as to the number, and their order
While the Lords prayer is completed in 10 clauses.
And so there are many more examples in the Bible.
The virgins point us to a certain cleanness, and to the fact that it concerns a certain group, not just anybody.
The bridegroom in this parable is Jesus on His way to the wedding feast.
Now Jesus continues to tell us that ²FIVE of them were FOOLISH, and FIVE were PRUDENT.
So here we have two groups of 5. And five is 4 plus 1.
The number 4 points to the THREE PERSONS OF THE GODHEAD plus 1; their MANIFESTATION IN THE CREATION of this earth and all on it.
Now in the number 5 we have further revelation of a people who are called out from mankind (the ekklesia), REDEEMED, and SAVED, to WALK WITH GOD from Earth to Heaven.
The consequence of the Fall of Man is that creation came under the curse and was made subject to vanity. Therefore man and creation must be redeemed. And 5 is therefore the number of GRACE and REDEMPTION.
Still half of those who came out to meet their Lord and planned to go with Him to the wedding feast were not ready.
Having received grace does not mean that we also use that grace in a proper way. And if we don’t start using that grace like we should it could cause us problems.
This brings us to the spiritual significance of the number 2.
We have earlier seen that 1 excludes all difference and denotes, that which is sovereign.
But 2 affirms that there IS a DIFFERENCE. There IS another.
While 1 affirms that there is NONE OTHER.
This DIFFERENCE may be for GOOD or for EVIL.
A thing may differ from evil, and be good;
Or it may differ from good, and be evil; all according to the context.
It is the first number by which we can DIVIDE another, and therefore in all its uses we may trace this fundamental idea of DIVISION or DIFFERENCE. Like we have here two groups. Wise and foolish.
³For when the foolish took their lamps, they took NO OIL with them, ⁴but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps.
Like all of us, they all had a lamp, and like all of us, they were only able to let its light shine if the spirit was in it, without oil it would not work, and it could not give light.
All of them were called out of their house, and went on their way to meet the bridegroom. In the same way there are today also many who will tell you that they are waiting for the Lord to return, and many of them DO NOT REALIZE that they are NOT YET READY to meet Him. (I see they are missing a flask)
Note that many say that the foolish virgins had not enough oil, but the Bible clearly says that had NO OIL. There are preachers who will tell you, that you have a little bit of the Holy Spirit, but you must ask for more. And by saying this, they make the people in their church insecure.
Oil stands for the Holy Spirit, and you CANNOT have just a little bit of Him. You have Him, or you don’t. Just like you cannot be a little bit pregnant. You are pregnant, or your aren’t.
⁵Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep.
These days we see also many churches falling asleep. Jesus return is delaying, and some even start to say that He will not return.
Some change the Gospel to some empty and hollow phrases, or see its value for only these days, and start telling people that the blessings which clearly are for after we moved to heaven, are in fact material blessings for now.
The effect of this is that people are not satisfied with what they have anymore, and like spoiled children, always want more.
In fact these preachers are not letting their “churches” grow in Christ, but they are feeding greed to them. Greed, of which they too know that God hates it.
⁶But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’
The Christ will return!
On God’s perfect time, and when we least expect Him.
In this parable Jesus says that the bridegroom came at midnight.
This is significant too. Midnight is as you know at 12 o’clock. It is no coincidence that 12 is a perfect number too. It signifies the “perfection of government”.
We don’t know when Jesus will return, but it will be at God’s perfect time; fitting perfectly in His government.
⁷Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. ⁸The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’
The lamp contained no oil, and they brought no oil either. Only when they wanted to prepare their lamps they realized that they were lacking oil.
The wick of the oil lamp may have been still a bit moist, from a previous time it was used, but that could not make the lamp burn. And so they asked oil from the other girls.
⁹But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’
Asking oil from the other girls showed their lack of understanding. Like the person who once asked me: Can you give me some of your spirit?
Even if I would, I could not. It is not up to me to give God’s spirit to anyone. All I can do is what they themselves can do as well. Ask God to give it.
These girls should have been prepared, but they were not. Are you?
¹⁰And 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. ¹¹Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ ¹²But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’
When you keep delaying, it may one day be too late for you. When the door is closed and you are still outside, you are lost, and from that moment you will begin to be in the outer darkness.
Don’t let it come that far!
You can now make sure that you will never hear those dreadful words: ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’
Jesus too warned us to ¹³be on the alert, for you do not know the day nor the hour.