Parable of the Ten Virgins

Matt 25:1-13

In order to understand the parable of the ten virgins it is necessary to go back to Matthew 24:42-51.

(Matthew 24:42-45 KJV)† Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. {43} But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. {44} Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. {45} Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?


Their duty was to watch and be ready. A thief does not come when you are expecting him. He comes when you are not ready. It is the duty of a servant to be ready while the master is absence. Matthew 24 and 25 demonstrate that return of Christ in two different people: Jews and the nations of the world.

(Matthew 24:46-51 KJV)† Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. {47} Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. {48} But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; {49} And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; {50} The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, {51} And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Here we see two servants:

  1. faithful and wise: when the Lord returns He will find the servant doing what he is supposed to do.
  2. evil: who in his heart says that his Lord is not returning.

In his heart - means the manís will, his choice in the matter. This servant does not want to the Lord to return; he wants to do his own thing. This attitude disqualifies one for service.

The parable of the ten virgins continues with the thought of the faithful and wise servant and the evil servant who are continuing their duty.

The parable of the ten virgins has to do with oneís service not salvation. There are not five "lost" and five "saved" but are an illustration of what it means to be a wise or foolish servant.

"Virgins" is a reference to the Tribulation saints.

(Revelation 14:1-4 KJV)† And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. {2} And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: {3} And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. {4} These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

When the scripture defines "virgins" as not defiled with women, it is not referring to marriage or sex. (Hebrews 13:4, during the tribulation marriage is honorable.)

(Revelation 14:8 KJV)† And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
(Revelation 2:14 KJV)† But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
(Revelation 2:20 KJV)† Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

"Defiled with women" means to be defiled with Babylon. The issue is idolatry; drinking the wine of the system that the Antichrist sets up. When the Antichrist comes he will set up Israelís religious system, drawing Israel away from faith in Christ. He will cause Israel to commit spiritual fornication. Also, the Antichristís religion will be Baal worship.

The virgins are tribulation saints who have kept themselves unspotted from Baal worship.

The number 10 is the number of the Gentiles. The virgins will take the word of the kingdom to the Gentiles. During the absence of Christ, they are sown into the world.


(Isaiah 62:1-2 KJV)† For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. {2} And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.

The ten virgins take lamps that are burning as He comes from the wedding to go to the supper. The foolish took† their lamps but no extra oil. The wise virgins took plenty of oil.

While the foolish virgins went to get more oil the bridegroom came and the wise went in to the supper.

And the Door Shut -

(Matthew 24:37 KJV)† But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

What was it like in the days of Noah? Those that were ready went in the ark and God shut the door.

The foolish virgins were not allowed in when they returned from buying their oil. The issue is service. Be ready because you donít know when the Lord is returning. The wise took extra oil; they were prepared for a delay. The foolish has to go out and buy oil and when they returned it was too late.

Now is the time to be prepared! Christ is showing them that this is not the time to be unprepared.

The oil is often explained as being the Holy Spirit. But this cannot be so because the Holy Spirit was not yet given at this time. Can you give the Holy Spirit that you have to someone else (Matthew 25:8)?†The foolish virgins go and get the oil and come to the door and knock but still cannot give in. (Matthew 25:11-12). If the oil was representing the Holy Spirit, why were they not allowed in when they returned?

This parable is not about salvation or getting saved a bit too late. The issue is service not salvation; they had to be ready; Christ is telling them that there will be a delay in Christís return.

(Luke 19:11 KJV)† And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.

They thought the kingdom of God should immediately appear. Jesus Christ is telling them that there will be delay and they will be sent out in His absence.

In the parable of the wise servant, the goodman of the house puts his goods in the hands of his servant while he is away.

In the parable of the ten virgins, half of the virgins slept. In Matthew 13:24-30, Jesus tells them a parable of tares being sown in among the wheat while the man slept. Contrast the sleeping virgins with the evil servant of Matthew 24:48: they sleeping virgins did not choose that the Lord was not coming back, they just forgot.

(2 Peter 1:16-19 KJV)† For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. {17} For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. {18} And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. {19} We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

Peter, James and John were eyewitnesses, they saw and heard it for themselves. But Peter tells them not to rely on the experiences because there is a more sure way of knowing that the Lord will return, the word of prophecy. The Word of God is more sure than what we experience, see, or hear.

We need to pay attention to the† word of God. The Word of God gives light.

The day dawn and the day star arise in your hearts refers to Christís coming.

(Malachi 4:1-2 KJV)† For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. {2} But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

The truth of Christís coming must arise in your hearts. As they spend time in the word of God and pay heed to it, it will be as a light shining in darkness. Those who take heed to the Word of God will be alert to catch the first rays of the dawn. They will see when He is coming and be ready. They will have confidence and assurance that the Lord is returning.

The issue of the parables of the ten virgins is: He is coming, so be prepared! They need to be faithful servants to be doing what the Lord would have them to do in His absence.

Paul tells us also that we need to be waiting for His return:

(Titus 2:13 KJV)† Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
(Philippians 3:20 KJV)† For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

We are to have an earnest expectation of the Lordís coming and should always be doing that which we will be happy to have Him find us doing when He returns.

Reference: my notes from a teaching by Richard Jordan.