This is something that was originally shared 10-12 years ago, but which I feel led to post again at this time, for “the wedding procession” is now at hand for some of us. May you each be given an ear to hear the Spirit in this. Thanks is given here to Br. Eby for his shared insights on this subject. — D
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 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.” (Matthew 25:1-4)
Traditional teaching in the church usually relates most parables such as this one to “the second coming” of Christ and misses out very often on the deeper meaning conveyed by the Holy Spirit. In order that we understand parables like this one, we need to understand that the Lord comes in many ways, He always has, He is doing so now, and He will continue to do so. His name, “YHWH,” according to many Hebrew scholars means, “THE COMING ONE.”
We know by the scriptures that Jesus is “The One who WAS, and IS, and IS TO COME.” Since the beginning of creation, He has been coming to His creation with a continual unveiling of His very nature. He did so then, He is doing so now, and He will continue to do so. This is the progressive and continual Revelation of Jesus Christ.
In the light of this we should be able to see that there are many facets to the Lord’s coming; His coming as the Bridegroom differs from His coming as a thief in the night, as that differs from His coming at the last trump… etc. A thief coming in the secretness and stealth of the night is much different from the fanfare and revelry of an event signaled by the blowing of trumpets. It would be a mighty foolish thief who blows a trumpet to announce his coming, would it not be?
I’m going to try to keep this article as brief as possible, but at the same time point out some things in the parable of the ten virgins that might be somewhat different from your traditional teachings of the parable. Tradition teaches us that this parable is about believers and unbelievers, but I don’t believe that to be so.
How many unbelievers do you know, beloved, who can be referred to as spiritual virgins waiting for their Bridegroom? If we can get free from some of the doctrinal presuppositions that have clouded our vision into this parable, then we should be able to see that this is more than likely not a parable about salvation (not as the traditional church views salvation) but is about the difference between those who are called to the Marriage Supper, and those who shall actually attend it.
Please be aware, brothers and sisters, that the traditional Hebrew marriage supper was held prior to and in preparation for the actual wedding ceremony and was not afterward like the modern “wedding reception.” In this we should be able to see and understand that the Marriage Supper of the Lamb has to do with our preparation for our Marriage to the Lamb.
In this parable, the invitation to all of the virgins was, “Come out to meet with the bridegroom!” The call was given to all ten, but only a remnant was actually prepared to “come out” to meet with him. Many times in scripture, a call to “come out” or “come up” to meet with the Lord is an invitation to greater revelation. So it seems to me that the foolish virgins could quite possibly be those who are not prepared to receive of that revelation. The call to “come out” can also be indicative of the call to come out of man’s systems of religion to come to the Lord Himself to be taught by Him. Again, this has to do with an invitation to greater revelation and insight into the ways, plans, and purposes of the Lord. This is what the invitation into the Feast of Tabernacles is really all about … is it not?
Taking a further look at the parable…
It should be known that there was great pomp in the weddings in Israel at the time when this story was told, and the ceremonies and feasts were usually done at night and were usually prepared by young unmarried women. When the preparations for the wedding feast were complete, the young women would wait for the bridegroom to escort him with lighted torches or lamps to the house where the celebration was to take place. Frankly, this sounds like the ministry of John the Baptist to me; he who was not “the bride” but rather a “friend of the Bridegroom” who was called to light the way, or in other words; “prepare the way of the Lord.”
Beloved, is it perhaps that these wise virgins are being called to receive more light or understanding in the ways of the Bridegroom because (even as John) they are the chosen light-bearers in the bridal procession? And could it possibly be that the foolish virgins in this parable are Christians who have somehow left their first love; their relationship is more with a church, or a ministry, or a book than it is with the Lord Himself, and thus they have not the anointing oil to light the lamp of revelation and insight into spiritual things?
In Revelation 2:5; the Lord gives a stern warning to the church of Ephesus that unless they repent and remember from where they have fallen, and return to their first love and do the first works, their lampstand will be removed; their light, through swift and effective judgment of God will be allowed to go out. This is certainly not speaking of the loss of their salvation, but that they will no longer be the light-bearing children for the Lord. Isn’t this essentially the same judgment that comes to the foolish and unprepared virgins of Matthew 25?
As the foolish virgins went off to find oil for their lamps (perhaps to ask “their pastor” for his revelation and insight), the bridegroom came and they who were ready went with Him to the marriage supper. The door to the marriage feast was then shut. The foolish ones had missed the time of their visitation, the “kairos” moment had passed and the door of opportunity to greater revelation and insight had been closed to them.
Beloved, this seems to be an example of servants who were called to be “light-bearers” at the Lord’s wedding procession but could not shine because of their religious indoctrination and unrepentant hearts. At the entrance to the wedding banquet, these are met with an, “I don‘t know you” and are refused entry, not because they were unknown to the Bridegroom, but because they were not “known” in the most intimate sense of that word (like a husband “knows” his wife). I believe that this is saying that they never entered into the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings in a way that they could know Him though the power of His resurrection life. They had held onto their self-life, so they were unable to know Him in true resurrection life and power. They had not the anointing.
Are any of you hearing what is being said here today? Are we going to be those who are prepared and ready to meet with the Bridegroom, where we no longer rely and depend upon what we are taught by men about the Lord, but have the anointing oil that fuels that lamp of an inner spirit witness whereby we can be taught by Him experientially? Beloved, we will never come to “know Him” because our pastor, friend, teacher, or mother is a godly man or woman who communes with God and can share insightful revelation and teaching with us. No, we all must come to know Him individually, personally, and very, very intimately in order that we might see Him and know Him as He truly IS and not only as we’ve been told that He is. The wise virgins of Matthew 25 see Him and know Him as He reveals Himself to them experientially. The foolish virgins only know Him from afar through the eyes of religion and its traditional doctrines.
Matthew 25:6 from the KJV reads;
“And at midnight there was a cry made, ‘Behold the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.’”
I think that the NASB translates this verse more accurately…
“But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’”
It is not so much that the Bridegroom “cometh” but that He has already made Himself available for us to “behold“… NOW! There just might be some things that we need to “come out of” in order for us to truly “behold Him.” Beloved, ask Him just what that might be in your case.
The Lord is preparing His wise virgins in this day to be His spirit filled vessels of righteousness that will burn hotter and brighter than anything this world has seen since the Lord Himself walked the earth 2000 years ago. These, beloved, will light the procession path of truth and holiness and righteousness in preparation for the coming of our Lord at Tabernacles, even as John the Baptist lit the way for Him at His coming at Passover.
May God bless you all with hearing ears and child-like hearts.