The Kingdom of Heaven Likened Unto Ten Virgins

Matt 25:1-13  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.





Lamps (salvation)

Lamps (salvation)

Oil (The Holy Spirit at salvation)

Oil (The Holy Spirit at salvation)

No extra oil (not faithful in local church)

Extra oil (faithful in local church)

Slumbered and slept

Slumbered and slept

Trimmed lamps

Trimmed lamps

Discovered too late they had no oil because they weren’t faithful in local church

Had plenty of oil because of proper preparation (faithful in local church)

Requested the wise virgins to give of their oil

Impossible to give lifetime of preparation and service in seconds

Went to purchase

Went into the marriage

Request to be present at marriage

Enjoying the marriage relationship


I.        This parable is teaching about the return of Christ and who is to be the bride, or at the very least who God considers faithful.  This parable is directly related to Matthew 24, especially the latter part of the chapter where Christ urges his followers to be faithful.

A.     This parable is a continuation of the previous chapter, especially verses 42-51, where Christ is explaining there is such a thing as a wicked servant and a wise servant.

B.     This parable makes it very clear that there are at least two divisions of saved people in the Kingdom of God.

1.       Five foolish virgins.

a.      Those that are saved, yet aren't invited to the marriage of the Lamb.

b.      Those that are saved, scripturally baptized, and a member of a true local church, yet aren't a part of the bride of Christ because they haven’t been faithful to Christ through that local church.

2.       Five wise virgins:  Those that are saved, scripturally baptized, and a member of a true local church and have been faithful to Christ through his head ship in that local church.


II.     Virgins.

A.     All are pure; saved, scripturally baptized and members of local churches.

1.       The parable is concerning the bride of Christ, and who will be in the bride.

2.       There will be no lost in this part of the kingdom of God, therefore, I believe all these virgins are saved.

a.      I should note at this point that the parable on the wheat and tares, Matthew 13:24-30, speaks of the tares (lost people) being in the kingdom of God.

b.      The kingdom of God spoken of in Matthew 13 is not the bride of Christ, but the physical world we now live in.

c.      God will allow lost people to live in this present physical world, but He will not allow them into heaven, or the new heaven and the new earth, or in the bride.

3.       At the coming of Christ (the end of the world) the angels will gather out of the kingdom of God all things that offend and destroy.

4.       The lost will be taken out of the physical kingdom of God at that time, and placed in the Lake of Fire.

B.     Who the foolish virgins were not.

1.       Saved people who have lost their salvation.  Arminians will use this passage and similar passages to try to prove that there are people who once tasted the free gift of salvation, yet because they lacked something or other, finally were lost and were not able to enter into heaven.  The truth is that these virgins are already in heaven when this parable takes place.  The other truth is that once a person is saved by the grace of Almighty God, they can never be lost again.

2.       Those that believe in universal salvation state that the foolish virgins are those that are hypocrites, “Christians” only in profession, who never were saved.  They believe the oil represents salvation, and the foolish virgins never had any oil in their lamps (even though the Bible says they did).  It should also be noted that the foolish virgins went voluntarily to meet the Bridegroom, and wanted to be acceptable to Him.  They did ask the wise virgins for some of their oil.  Herein lies another problem for this theory.  If someone asked a saved person for salvation, would they not give them salvation if they could?  The wise virgins reply they didn't have enough oil for themselves, much less to give some away.  Isn't there enough salvation to go around?  Another difficulty in believing the foolish virgins ask the wise virgins for salvation is that people, even very faithful people do not give salvation.  Salvation is a free gift from God, through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, his only begotten son.

3.       Some believe the foolish virgins are unbelieving Jews, while the wise virgins are believing Jews.  I personally do not believe Christ intended this parable to be restricted to the Jewish people, but to represent all peoples, whether Jew or Gentile.  It is possible for Jews to be foolish, but it is equally possible for Gentiles to be foolish.  Likewise, both Jews and Gentiles can be wise.

4.       Some believe the foolish virgins represent five foolish and apostate Baptist churches, while the wise virgins represent five wise and faithful Baptist churches.  I do not believe this is the case because an unfaithful church is never called a virgin, but a whore.  The churches of Galatia received a warning from Paul that he had intended them to be a chaste virgin to Christ, yet they were going away from that position.  If they continued their downward spiral, they would not be a chaste virgin any longer, but an apostate church.  Christ likewise warned the church at Ephesus they were about to leave their first love (the love for God), and when they did, He would remove their candlestick.  So there are circumstances where a virgin church is warned about their unfaithfulness, but when they go "to far", they commit spiritual adultery, and are “divorced” from God.

5.       Some (most, in fact) believe that the five foolish virgins are lost people and the five wise virgins are saved people.  I reject this view because:  (1) the kingdom of heaven doesn't have lost people in it.  (2) The foolish virgins had oil (a symbol of the Holy Spirit), they just didn't have enough.  They had salvation, they just hadn't grown in grace.  (3) The term virgin is never applied to lost people.

C.     Foolish Virgins are saved.

1.       There are many times another Greek word is used to describe fools (godless people).

2.       That word is often "moros", which means fool, godless, and impious.

3.       The following instances are times when saved people were called fools, but that didn't mean they were godless, or that they were lost.

4.       It means they were thoughtless, or not thinking correctly.

a.      Luke 24:25-26 - Jesus called the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, fools.  Probably because they didn't understand the simple facts about the resurrection.  This word does not mean they were godless, but that they were unintelligent, or not understanding.

b.      I Cor. 15:36 - When the question about what kind of resurrection body we will have comes up, Paul calls that person a fool.  Again, Paul is not saying that person is godless, but that they are not thinking about what they are asking, they are not reflecting or acting rashly about the issue at hand.

c.      Gal. 3:1 and 3 - "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you..."  Paul is not calling the Galatians churches godless.  He is saying they aren't thinking about what they are doing when they leave those spiritual principles they were saved under and follow false teachers.

d.      I Tim. 6:9 - Paul says that people that try to get rich quick often fall into foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.  Paul is not saying they are godliness, but they certainly aren't thinking about the long term consequences of their actions.

e.      Titus 3:3 - Paul says that when he was lost, he was foolish.  He was being ungodly, but the word indicates more than just a sinful way of life.  It shows a non-thinking, unintelligent way of living for only today, never thinking about the consequences which will be reaped tomorrow.

f.       Other uses of the word "fool" when it doesn't mean ungodly.  Sometimes it means unintelligent or unlearned, ignorant.

1)      Rom. 1:14 - Paul says he is a debtor to the Greeks and the Barbarians, to the wise and the unwise.  The unwise are those that haven’t heard, that haven’t learned who Jesus Christ is.  Paul is their debtor to tell them about him so they can also believe.

2)      I Cor. 1:27 - But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;  It is very clear in this verse that the foolish things are the saved people.  Therefore, what is foolish is from the eye of the beholder.

3)      I Cor. 3:18 - Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.  Paul is not saying that a person should be a fool in the world, but become a fool through the eyes of the world.  This world will pass away and all the glory of it.  The only things left are those things that are done for God.  True treasures are those treasures that are laid up in heaven.

4)      I Cor. 4:10 - We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.  This word “fool” means dull or stupid, heedless, or a blockhead.


III.   The lamp represents salvation.  (a lamp and a candle are essentially the same thing.)

A.     When a person is saved, God lights the candle of his soul, giving light to that individual’s entire world.

1.       Psalms 18:28 - For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.

2.       Proverbs 20:27 - The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.

3.       Every person receives all of the Holy Spirit when they are saved.  Arminians believe that some of the Holy Spirit comes at salvation, and we get more of the Holy Spirit as we mature.  Calvinists believe we get all of the Holy Spirit at salvation, there is nothing more to get.  Both are wrong.  We do get all of the Holy Spirit at salvation, but he is manifested more and more as we mature.  It is possible to quench the Holy Spirit of God, and it is possible to listen to his gentle leadings.

a.      Rom. 8:9 - …Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

b.      Acts 19:1-5 - These disciples said they were saved, yet didn’t know anything about the Holy Spirit.  The truth is that they were lost, and had to be saved before they could be scripturally baptized.

4.       Matt. 5:14 - Saved people are the light of the world, and we ought to let our light shine. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

5.       Matt. 5:15 - Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

6.       Rev. 1:20 declares that the candlestick is the local churches of the Lord Jesus Christ. The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

7.       Therefore to let our light shine like Christ commands us to, we must exercise our light in the local church of Jesus Christ.

8.       It is from the faithful of His church that Christ will chose his bride.

B.     The oil represents additional Holy Spirit power that keeps the lamp burning brightly.  This oil comes as a result of being faithful to Christ through His head ship in one of His local churches.

1.       All of the virgins had lamps, and evidently kept them burning.  It is just that five of the virgins didn't have any extra oil, and probably not even a can to put it in!  (Be sure and bring your bucket to church!)

2.       Went forth to meet the bridegroom.  Anxiously awaiting the bridegroom, not the rapture of the saints.

3.       Oil - shows presence of the Lord (Holy Spirit).

a.      Oil is of crucial understanding in this parable.

b.      The oil, no doubt, represents the Holy Spirit.

c.      It is true that all receive the Holy Spirit at the time of salvation.

d.      But, there is also a "gaining" of the Holy Spirit.

e.      John 4:24 says we ought to worship in Spirit and in truth.

f.       The more truth we know, the more we can worship.

g.      The more we understand the more our spirits will be able to glorify God in those things we know.

h.      We can have more joy in the truth if we first know what that truth is.

C.     Receiving the Holy Spirit.

1.       Acts 1:8 - The church of the Lord Jesus Christ was commanded to wait at Jerusalem until they received the special anointing of the Holy Spirit.

a.      This they did, as is reflected in Acts 2.

b.      When the church received the special anointing of the Holy Spirit, they were powerful witnesses of the grace of God.

2.       This makes it very clear that the foolish virgins had salvation (the Holy Spirit), yet they didn’t have the special anointing of the Holy Spirit which comes with church membership (especially faithfulness to Christ in church membership).

3.       These foolish virgins are those saved people who truly love God, yet are afraid to stand against their family, friends, or others and stand for the truth in the Lord’s church.  They are afraid to align themselves with God’s people completely, letting their lost or unfaithful family members and friends go their own way.

a.      The world is full of people who say they love God, yet don't stand for God, his ministers, or His church.

b.      They are content to continue with those who reject the Bible, the truth, God's ministers, and God.

c.      They have lost their witness, and like Lot, are saved, but their lives are a rebuke to Christianity.

d.      I think Matt. 24:45-51 is very typical of this type of person.

e.      I believe that passage is speaking specifically about ministers, but I believe the principle also applies to saved people who are not ministers.

4.       Examples of saved people who are not members of a local church.

a.      Acts 5:12-14 - When Ananias and Sapphira were killed, many people were saved, but didn’t join the church because they were afraid their unfaithfulness would cause God to kill them also.

b.      Rev. 18:4 - Christ commanded his people to come out of pagan Babylon, lest they be partakers of her destruction.

5.       II Cor. 11:2 - A church is to be pure because she is engaged to Christ, that she may be presented as a chaste virgin to Christ.

D.     There is no doubt that all these virgins are saved, they all have enough oil to let the light burn for a while.

1.       But there is not enough oil to burn brightly in a time of crisis, or in a time of celebration.

2.       The point here is that five of these virgins have been saved, yet they haven't partaken of the additional parts of the Holy Spirit that is available to them.

3.       They haven't grown in grace and knowledge of God.

4.       They are still babes in Christ, even though they ought to be able to teach others.

5.       If they had taken the time to concentrate on the things of God, to really learn them, they would have taken of the "extra" grace or faith that is necessary for true Christian growth.

6.       They would have already purchased the oil that is necessary for the time of crisis or celebration.

E.      The five foolish virgins and the five wise virgins are all slumbering and sleeping.

1.       This is not said to be wrong.

2.       But they have already purchased enough oil (by being faithful to the head ship of Christ in his local church) so that when the time of crisis or celebration comes, they will be able to "reload" their lamps and continue being a blessing to God.


IV.  Bridegroom tarried.

A.     II Peter 3:9 - Not slack or "tarrying" but longsuffering.

1.       People of all generations have looked for return of Lord.

2.       He is coming!

B.     Midnight - When man doesn't expect Christ.

1.       Matt. 24:42 - Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

2.       I Thess. 5:1-3 - But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2  For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3  For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

3.       II Peter 3:10 - But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

C.     The reason the five foolish virgins didn't get to go into the marriage of the Lamb is because they were not in their place, even though they were in their place shortly before, and shortly after.

1.       They came to the closed door, and was not allowed entrance.

2.       Christ didn't say He never knew them, but I know you not.

3.       This is referring to not knowing them in a husband - wife relationship.

4.       It has nothing to do with salvation.