the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps,
and went out to meet the bridegroom.
And five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps,
they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their
lamps. Now while the bridegroom
was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, ' Behold, the
bridegroom! Come out to meet
him.' Then all those virgins rose,
and trimmed their lamps. And the
foolish said to the prudent, ' Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going
out.' But the prudent answered,
saying, ' No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the
dealers and buy some for yourselves.'
And 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. And later the other
virgins also came, saying, ' Lord,
lord, open up for us.' But he
answered and said, ' Truly I say to you, I do not know you.' Be on the alert then, for you do not
know the day nor the hour."
Alas, we wave
good-bye to chapter 24 and say hell-o to chapter 25. There are a number of items that need to be addressed as we
move into Matthew 25, which impact how we should understand Christ' s intent in
this passage. If we are wrong on
these issues it will guarantee that we will misinterpret the passage (unless we
are illogical in the process).
One of the first
issues that should be recognized is that the parables and teachings in Matthew
25 are a continuation of the flow of the previous chapter. Jesus has not totally shifted gears and
started speaking about something totally new when He enters this section. This means that these parables are
related to Israel, (not the church), her first century rejection of His
Messiahship, and the coming spoken of here relates to the second coming and
judgment that will take place upon Christ' s arrival. Stanley Toussaint explains as follows:
This parable as well as the next one
deals with the Jews in the tribulation period. This is seen from various facts. The context favors this view (Matthew 24:3, 8, 14, 15, 30, 31, 33, 42, 44, 47, 51). The subject being discussed is the end
time, the final years before the kingdom is established. At the time the church will be absent
from the earth. Therefore this
section deals with a Jewish period of time.
highlights that since the Jewish people missed Messiah' s first coming because
of unbelief and were judged temporally in a.d.
70, they need to be prepared for His return so that they will escape judgment
and enter into blessing (the millennial kingdom). " He taught that following His return (Matt. 24:30) and the
regathering of the nation Israel to their land (v. 31), the nation would be
brought under judgment (25:1- 30)," says Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost. " Christ used two parables to teach that
the regathered nation will be judged to determine who is saved and who is
unsaved. The purpose of this
judgment will be to exclude the unsaved from, and to received the saved into,
the kingdom that He will establish following His Second Advent."  Jesus accomplishes His goal as He
continues presenting parabolic lessons and teachings about judgment upon His
return. Matthew 25 can be broken
down into the following three sections: First, the parable of the ten virgins
(25:1- 13), second, the parables of the talents (25:14- 30), and third, the
judgment of the Gentiles (25:31- 46).
The Parable of The Ten
In a sense,
Matthew 24:50- 51 raises the following question: " On what basis will Israel be
judged?" The answer in 25:1-13 is
preparedness. The parable of the
ten virgins provides a picture of living Israel brought back to the land at the
end of days for a judgment to see who is prepared and who is unprepared the
second time for the coming of Messiah.
The focus is on Israel in the last days (i.e., the tribulation period
just described in Matthew 24:4- 2.
The prepared enter the millennial kingdom while the unprepared are
The ten virgins
represent the nation of Israel as a whole. The nation is divided into two groups of five each. One group, the wise, is depicted as prepared
and waiting since they have obtained extra oil in case a delay occurs in the
coming of the bridegroom. This
first group represents believing and prepared Israel. The second group, the foolish, did not prepare and they
represent unbelieving Israel. They
were not ready for the coming of Messiah.
Dr. Pentecost tells us the following:
Although a strong testimony will be
given to the nation of Israel during the Tribulation (Matt. 24:14), some people
will be unprepared when the King comes to institute His millennial
kingdom. The prepared will be
received into the kingdom to enjoy its bounty but the unprepared will be
excluded. Thus this parable
teaches that there will be a judgment of living Israelites to determine who is
and is not prepared. This is an
expression of Christ' s previous statement that " you also must be ready" (Matt.
parable deals with the future nation of Israel (likely the current nation of
Israel that exists today), this is not a passage that comes into play
concerning the rapture. This means
that the parable of the ten virgins does not support the notion of a partial
rapture position, which has been argued from this, as well as other passages
(Matt. 24:40- 51; Mk. 13:33- 37; Lk. 20:34- 36; 21:36; Phil. 3:10- 12; 1 Thess.
5:6; 2 Tim. 4:8; Tit. 2:13; Heb. 9:24- 28; Rev. 3:3, 10; 12:1- 6). This view teaches that the rapture
occurs before the tribulation, but only " spiritual" Christians will be taken,
while other Christians will remain through the tribulation. They also believe that multiple
raptures will occur throughout the seven-year tribulation period. This view is thought to have been
developed by Robert Govett in the mid-nineteenth century in England, and held
mainly by British advocates such as J. A. Seiss, G. H. Lang and G. H. Pember.
passage, by and large, is not thought to relate to the rapture by
pretribulationists because it contextual refers to Israel, it is even harder to
make a case for a partial rapture.
" We shrink from the partial rapture idea because other passages seem
plainly to suggest that every member of the body of Christ will be caught up (2
Thess. 4:16- 17; 1 Cor. 15:51- 58, etc.)," notes Randolph Yeager. " Partial rapture would seem to imply
rupture in the Body of Christ."  Quite frankly, the same grace that
saves each believer is the grace that will take one out at the rapture. One does not have qualify through their
own words or reach a certain level of sanctification to be taken at the
rapture. Qualification for being
taken in the rapture is not a reward for faithfulness, but like salvation
itself is a free gift. One' s name
is added to " the rapture manifest" when their name is added to the roll the
moment one trusts Christ as his Savior.
Even if a believer does not believe in the pretribulational rapture,
they will be taken anyway if they are indeed a believer. I am sure some will be taken by
surprise, and perhaps some kicking and screaming but they will be taken
rapturists say that this parable pictures the part of the church that is
watching and waiting for the Lord' s return as the five wise virgins who had oil
and the carnal church who is left behind as the five foolish virgins. This they believe supports the notion
of the partial rapture theory.
There are major
problems with anyone' s attempt to apply this parable to the church to begin
with, since Israel is in view.
Further, the imagery does not match up with what should be if this were
actually teaching a partial rapture doctrine. The imagery used in the parable of the ten virgins does not
comport with that used of the church in other New Testament passages. " The passage itself uses none of the
characteristic terms relating to the church, such as bride, body, or the expression in Christ,"  notes John
Walvoord. Instead we see that the
ten virgins are merely bridesmaids who would be attending at a wedding and not
brides themselves. Where this
portraying in some way the church, then these virgins would need to be
portrayed as brides who were waiting upon their bridegroom, which would be
Christ. This is not what is found
in the passage. Dr. Walvoord
further explains in the following:
If watchfulness is
necessary for worthiness, as partial rapturists characteristically argue, then
none of the ten virgins qualify for " they all became drowsy and fell
asleep." The command to " watch" in
verse 13 has, then, the specific meaning of being prepared with oil- being
genuinely regenerated and indwelt by the Spirit rather than having unusual
spirituality. The clear teaching
is that " watching" is not enough.
This passage will serve to refute the partial rapturists instead of
sustaining their viewpoint. Only
by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit can one be qualified for entrance
into the wedding feast, but all
the wise virgins enter the feast.
Be Continued . . .)