The Ten Virgins

15 August 2021 AM – Matthew 25:1-13 – Parables21 – Scott Childs
Introduction: While patrolling the streets of his small town, Joe, a new police officer, gave a citation for every infraction he could find. When a car came rushing by, he immediately turned on his siren and lights and pulled over the driver. The young man jumped from his car and tried to explain his emergency, but the officer perceived the verbal initiative as a threat, so he handcuffed the man and hauled him off to jail. Every time the young man tried to speak, Officer Joe exercised his authority and insisted on silence.  After making the arrest and feeling confident he had demonstrated the complete power of his badge, Officer Joe started an autocratic monologue with his prisoner. He smugly said, “Lucky for you, ‘fly boy,’ the chief is at his daughter’s wedding and will be in a good mood when he finally gets here to see you.” The prisoner replied, “I wouldn’t count on it. I’m the groom!”
Weddings are exciting events. In our parable today, Jesus spoke of the guests awaiting the arrival of the Bridegroom and His bride for their wedding banquet.
Transition: I want us to investigate four settings that ought to help us to understand the parable and to learn from it.
  1. The Contextual Setting
a.         First, note the preceding context (Mt 24)
1)         Matthew wrote his entire Gospel to a Jewish audience. The Jews as a whole rejected Christ. Thus, Matthew wrote chapter 24 to Jews who would miss the Rapture and live through the Tribulation. The Book of Revelation tells us that multitudes of Jews (and others) will trust Christ during the Tribulation.
2)         I believe that the parable of the Ten Virgins follows the seven-year Tribulation described in Matthew 24.
a)         The Tribulation will be a time of great trouble. (Matthew 24:21) “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
b)         The Tribulation will end with Christ coming to earth at His Revelation (Mt 24:29-30).
c)         Jesus assured us that these events assuredly will take place (Mt 24:35).
d)         Many believe that Mat 24:36-51 is a parenthetical section urging preparation for the Rapture and all that follows. As Christians today are to be watching for the Lord’s return at the Rapture, so Jews converted during the Tribulation are to be watching for the Lord’s return at His Revelation to begin His Kingdom (Mt 24:44).
b.         Note the context after the parable (Mt 25:14-46)
1)         Lord willing, next week we will dig into this section.
2)         The parable of the Talents deals with Tribulation saints being faithful until the Lord returns to begin His Kingdom.
3)         This is followed by the judgment of the living nations just prior to the earthly Kingdom.
c.          The Ten Virgin parable is in this context
1)         This appears to be at the end of the Tribulation when the Tribulation believers await for the Lord to come with His bride to set up His Kingdom on earth.
2)         Though some good Bible teachers believe the virgins are awaiting the Lord’s coming for His bride at the Rapture. However, the virgins are guests not the bride. The context argues for His Revelation return.
2.        The Historical Setting Described by Thomas Constable and Dwight Pentecost
a.         A Jewish engagement
1)         The parents arranged the marriage with the consent of the bride and groom.
2)         The couple passed an engagement period of many months in which it would become clear, hopefully, that the bride was a virgin.
3)         The groom would prepare a place for his bride.
4)         Invitations to the wedding banquet were sent to guests (represented by the ten virgins).
b.         A Jewish wedding
1)         On the day of the wedding, the groom would go to the bride’s house to claim his bride from her parents. Friends of his would accompany him. The marriage ceremony would take place at the bride’s home.
2)         After the wedding, the groom would take his bride home for the marriage feast or banquet (which usually lasted for seven days). This involved a nighttime procession through the streets.
3)         The scene in this parable is at night as the bride’s friends wait to welcome the couple and to enter the groom’s house where the banquet would begin shortly.
4)         In the light of the historical setting, this parable best describes the Lord’s Revelation rather than His Rapture.
3.        The Prophetical Setting
a.         The parable is definitely speaks of a future event
1)         Jesus Christ is the groom. The Church (believers in this present age) is His bride. The virgins are not the bride.
2)         Jesus has gone to heaven to prepare a place for His bride. (John 14:2-3) “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
3)         Jesus will come again to get His bride for the wedding in heaven. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (Cf., Revelation 19:8-9).
4)         After the Tribulation, the Lord will return with His bride to begin his earthly Kingdom (Mt 24:29-30).
b.         Christ will come at the Rapture and Revelation
1)         Some good Bible teachers believe the parable describes Christ’s coming for Christians at the Rapture. They have some good arguments.
2)         However, I believe that it best fits with His Revelation.
a)         The ten virgins represent Jews who profess to trust Christ during the Tribulation. They are guests waiting for the Lord to return with His bride.
b)         When He suddenly arrives, some of the virgins are unprepared. Their lack of oil represents their lack of genuine faith.
c)         While they went for oil, the Bridegroom and His bride came, and they were too late to enter the banquet, which may represent the Millennial Kingdom.
4.        The Practical Setting
a.         The interpretation is not clear
1)         Not all the events in the parable fit perfectly with either the Rapture or Revelation interpretation. That is why good Bible teachers differ on their interpretations.
2)         Either interpretation may be correct, but I believe that it best fits the Revelation scenario.
b.         Some principles in the parable apply to us.
1)         The Lord has hidden the timing of future events from us. He wants us to be ready and watching all the time. That is true for either interpretation. (Matthew 25:13) “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
2)         Faith in Christ’s atonement is the only thing that will ever gain a person entrance into God’s Kingdom and eternal life. (John 3:36) “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
3)         Failure to prepare for the Lord’s return will result in loss of entrance in to eternal life. Jesus said in John 3:3, “…  Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Conclusion: Questions for us are, (1) Are you truly ready and actively watching for the Lord’s return? (2) Have you placed your faith in Christ to save your soul? My friend, the Lord IS coming back, first, to take Christians to heaven and then after the Tribulation with His bride. He may come today. If Christ has not saved your soul, you are not ready. If you have unconfessed sin in your life, you are not ready. If you are not living every day for God’s glory, you are not ready. Prepare now!
Song: Jesus is Coming Again, 151