Apr 11, 2015

Parable of the Ten Virgins - Is Not About the Church - Millennium Bible Study Part 7

Abigail and Dolley readers I have been contemplating the parable of the Ten Virgins as outlined in Matthew 25 1:13 which reads, 1 "The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 The five who were foolish took no oil for their lamps, 4 but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. 5 When the bridegroom was delayed, they all lay down and slept. 6 At midnight they were roused by the shout, 'Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and welcome him!' 7 "All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. 8 Then the five foolish ones asked the others, 'Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.' 9 But the others replied, 'We don't have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.' 10 "But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. 11 Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, 'Sir, open the door for us!' 12 But he called back, 'I don't know you!' 13 "So stay awake and be prepared, because you do not know the day or hour of my return.

For the purpose of this blog, I'd like to examine who the bridesmaids are in the parable.  For many years, I heard that the bridesmaids are the church at the time of the Rapture but it is interesting to note that the church is the Bride, not the Bridesmaid. Also the timing of the parable in the Olivet Discourse refers to the Second Coming, not the Rapture.  "In fact, the Bride is never mentioned anywhere in the parable, and in any case could never be refused admittance to her own wedding banquet.  She was obviously spirited away earlier while the bridesmaids slept. The bridesmaids represent people on Earth during the Great Tribulation after the church has gone." (source)
The Bridesmaids
A good understanding of Jewish weddings in the first century is helpful to interpretation. Also, understanding the symbolism in the Bible is essential to understanding the parable.  The bridegroom in Scripture is always Christ, oil is always the Holy Spirit. Through this parable we have a clear warning and understanding of the nature of salvation during the Tribulation.

Each virgin was given a portion of oil (Holy Spirit) at the time they come to faith. This is evidenced that when the Bridegroom (Christ) returns they all light their lamps but some do not have enough oil (Holy Spirit).  Salvation and the Holy Spirit can not be shared, I can not give you part of my salvation.  The foolish go to "buy" their oil at the market but faithfulness can not be bought and they are shut out.

This parable serves as a warning for those who come to faith during the Tribulation but then afterwards in the Millennium.