The wise and foolish virgins.

The-Wise-and-Foolish-Virgins

The parable of the wise and foolish virgins or the 10 virgins when wrongly interpreted suggests that Christians will be left behind in the rapture. The traditional interpretation of this parable centers around what the oil represents. It is pertinent to note traditionally it is interpreted that the oil represents the Holy Spirit. As such believers were taught that if there is no oil in your lamp, that is, if you are not filled with the Holy Spirit, you will not be allowed to enter the marriage of the Lamb. So there you go. That’s the interpretation of the parable. Hence you can lose your salvation.

Problems with the traditional interpretation

How do you have oil in your lamp? Let me rephrase that. That is a wrong question. Both set of virgins actually had oil in their lamps. Just that one set of virgins had oil to spare, while the other does’t. Hmm, is Jesus try to teach out not to fully utilize the Spirit so that there would be more of Him left? Is Jesus trying to say that the Holy Spirit can be saved up for further use? What say you?

I think you can see the silliness of that interpretation. The Holy Spirit is a person. You cannot have more or less of him. You either have Him or not. By the way John 14:16 tells you the Holy Spirit is given to you forever and Paul tells you in Ephesians 4:30 that the Holy Spirit is sealed until the day you meet Jesus face to face. Then what in the world is Jesus talking about? 50% saved and 50% not saved. Is he saying half of the church will be saved and half not?

If so how do have more oil? By doing more for Jesus? By accumulating works? Hmm that cannot be. Cause if that is true, how much works does one person has to do before its considered enough? I had always struggle with this.


The need to realize that the parable of the virgins were directed to the Jews.

Let me give you an idea of what happens at a Jewish wedding. Yup I said it, that’s the 1st clue. It is a Jewish wedding and not a Gentile wedding. Here’s the roll call. The Jewish marriage took place in three stages over a long period of time. When the couple was still very young, an Engagement was arranged by the parents, sometimes with the help of a “matchmaker”. Second, there was a Betrothal ceremony held at the bride’s house. The couple exchanged vows and the groom gave the bride presents. This period lasted for a year or two, but the bride continued to live with her parents.

During this time the bride was said to be “betrothed” or “espoused” to the young man. The Marriage Supper came next. It usually happened at night. The groom and his friends came to the bride’s house. She would be wearing a thick veil. She and her friends would accompany the groom and his friends to his father’s house or maybe a larger hall where the festivities would take place. A contract was signed.

The bride and groom would spend time together, and then the bride would remain by herself for seven days. At the end of the week, the bride would return to the group, remove her veil so that everyone could see her. If the young woman had never been married, the feast would last for seven days. If she were a widow remarrying, it would last for three days.

The five foolish girls had no extra oil. They wanted to borrow some from the wise girls, but they refused. They said there might not be enough for all of them. They urged the girls to go and buy some oil from someone who had it for sale. The girls left to go find a merchant who would sell them oil. While they were gone, the bridegroom arrived and the five wise girls and the rest of the wedding party went inside. The door was shut. The five foolish girls came back. They shouted for someone to open the door for them, but sadly there was no way for them to enter.

The bridegroom replied, “I tell you the truth. I don’t know you.”

If the “oil” is the Holy Spirit then pray tell me, can you buy Him? If it is your works can you go outside and buy
more credits to works?

I guess not.

Hence what is this parable about?

It is about being prepared. Be prepared because the Lord could have come anytime.

But the nagging issue is this? Does it mean of 50% of believers will make it to the wedding supper?

Matthew 24 is not about the Gentile Church. It is about the Jewish nation and what will happen to them within the generation Jesus visited.

This concept is fundamental to understanding this parable. These portions of Scriptures actually refer to Jews and
what was going to happen to them as nation. They do not refer to the church.

Which generation did this parable referred to?

Let’s visit Matthew 24.

You would note Jesus actually said that it will come within his generation.

“34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”

It is important for us to realize this was about his generation and not ours. Just have a look at what he said about his generation:

Matthew 11:15-17
15 Whoever has ears, let them hear.
16 ‘To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the market-places and calling out to others:
17 ‘“We played the pipe for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not mourn.”

Matthew 12:39
He answered, ‘A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.

Matthew 12:42
The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here.

Matthew 12:45
Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.’

Lastly look at this verse:

Matthew 23:35-37
35 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I tell you, all this will come upon this generation.
37 ‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.

Note the very thing Jesus said “‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”

Jesus was speaking about the impending judgment that would come on the people of that generation.

Also see Revelation 6: 9
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, ‘How long, Sovereign told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters,[c] were killed just as they had been.

Notice these group of people who cried out for vengeance? They were about to be avenged. Who are these people?

Matthew 23:35-37
35 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.

Note how Jesus warned the people to leave Jerusalem and how Jesus said the angels would gather the elect.

Matthew 24: 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now – and never to be equalled again.

This is a warning about the impending wrath that would come in the destruction of Jerusalem within that generation.
A generation is 40 years, Jesus died in AD 33, 40 years would mean around AD70.

I also would want to see who the elect were.

First in Matthew 24: 31

And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

Now in Revelation 7: 1
After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. 2 Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: 3 ‘Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.’ 4 Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.

See the elect were Jews. This is a passage asking the Jews to leave Jerusalem before its destruction.

In case you are wondering the term “heaven and earth” refers to the temple.

Here’s a video to explain it:

The temple together with Jerusalem were destroyed in AD70.

So the parable of the virgins is really a warning to escape Jerusalem. Many people relate this to rapture and how a trumpet shall sound.

If you read Joel 2, you will read about an account of what eventually took place in AD70 when Jerusalem was surrounded and destroyed by the Romans. Do you what is the 1st verse of Joel 2?

Joel 2:1
Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming. It is close at hand—“
Matthew 24 is not about the rapture. It is about the end of the old covenant. Let me show you from wikipidea what happen in AD70.

The siege of Jerusalem

“Despite early successes in repelling the Roman sieges, the Zealots fought amongst themselves, and they lacked proper leadership, resulting in poor discipline, training, and preparation for the battles that were to follow.
Titus surrounded the city, with three legions (V Macedonica, XII Fulminata, XV Apollinaris) on the western side and a fourth (X Fretensis) on the Mount of Olives to the east.

He put pressure on the food and water supplies of the inhabitants by allowing pilgrims to enter the city to celebrate Passover, and then refusing to allow them back out. After Jewish allies killed a number of Roman soldiers, Titus sent Josephus, the Jewish historian, to negotiate with the defenders; this ended with Jews wounding the negotiator with an arrow, and another sally was launched shortly after. Titus was almost captured during this sudden attack, but escaped.

In mid-May Titus set to destroying the newly built Third Wall with a ram, breaching it as well as the Second Wall, and turning his attention to the Fortress of Antonia just north of the Temple Mount. The Romans were then drawn into street fighting with the Zealots, who were then ordered to retreat to the temple to avoid heavy losses.

Josephus failed in another attempt at negotiations, and Jewish attacks prevented the construction of siege towers at the Fortress of Antonia. Food, water, and other provisions were dwindling inside the city, but small foraging parties managed to sneak supplies into the city, harrying Roman forces in the process.

To put an end to the foragers, orders were issued to build a new wall, and siege tower construction was restarted as well.”

Titus built a new wall. No one could get out. If these people had not listen to Jesus, they would now not be able to escape. They were trapped in the siege.

Now I will quote the parable to you.

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins

25 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming;[a] go out to meet him!’ 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.

The door being shut here means the building of that wall by Titus which effectively started the siege.
It is important to realize that the coming of the Son of Man took place in AD70 as testified by historians. Here are some of the quotes.

Historical accounts of Jesus’ coming in the clouds in AD 70.

Josephus (A.D. 75) – Jewish Historian

“Besides these [signs], a few days after that feast, on the one- and-twentieth day of the month Artemisius, [Jyar,] a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared; I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armour were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities. Moreover, at that feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner [court of the] temple, as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said that, in the first place, they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, and after that they heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, “Let us remove hence” (Jewish Wars, VI-V-3).

“A supernatural apparition was seen, too amazing to be believed. What I am now to relate would, I imagine, be dismissed as imaginary, had this not been vouched for by eyewitnesses, then followed by subsequent disasters that deserved to be thus signalized. For before sunset chariots were seen in the air over the whole country, and armed battalions speeding through the clouds and encircling the cities.” (rendered in Chilton)

Tacitus (A.D. 11- Roman historian)

“13. Prodigies had occured, but their expiation by the offering of victims or solemn vows is held to be unlawful by a nation which is the slave of superstition and the enemy of true beliefs. In the sky appeared a vision of armies in conflict, of glittering armour. A sudden lightning flash from the clouds lit up the Temple. The doors of the holy place abruptly opened, a superhuman voice was heard to declare that the gods were leaving it, and in the same instant came the rushing tumult of their departure. Few people placed a sinister interpretation upon this. The majority were convinced that the ancient scriptures of their priests alluded to the present as the very time when the Orient would triumph and from Judaea would go forth men destined to rule the world.” (Histories, Book 5, v. 13).”

What happened to those who did not escape?
Josephus claims that 1.1 million people were killed during the siege, of which a majority were Jewish, and that 97,000 were captured and enslaved, including Simon bar Giora and John of Giscala.

“The slaughter within was even more dreadful than the spectacle from without. Men and women, old and young, insurgents and priests, those who fought and those who entreated mercy, were hewn down in indiscriminate carnage. The number of the slain exceeded that of the slayers. The legionaries had to clamber over heaps of dead to carry on the work of extermination.”

Many fled to areas around the Mediterranean. Titus reportedly refused to accept a wreath of victory, saying that the victory did not come through his own efforts but that he had merely served as an instrument of God’s wrath.


Matthew 25: 11-13
‘Later the others also came. “Lord, Lord,” they said, “open the door for us!”
‘But he replied, “Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.”
‘Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

Those people who did not believe Jesus and did not leave Jerusalem and kept to the Old Covenant to continue to worship under the Law by offering sacrifices in the Temple all perished. These were virgins who did not prepare themselves.

It’s not about you. You are not the virgins.

Church. You are the bride.

I pray that gives you peace.

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. jonpaulmiles says:

    Excellent article. This is perhaps the best explanation I’ve heard of this passage ever. I like how you tied the history into the explanation.

    1. Simon Yap says:

      thanks, please share it out.

    2. Simon Yap says:

      thanks

  2. jonpaulmiles says:

    Reblogged this on Revelations in Grace and commented:
    This may be new territory in interpreting the scripture for a lot of you. I grew up primarily in a futurist interpretation of Revelations which is the view most often presented in charismatic churches. However though a lot of study and research I found that a partial preterist view makes much more biblical sense. Here is a well written article in that direction. I would encourage you to read it with an open mind.

  3. The Totton Linnet says:

    The bride is absent, she is just as conspicuous by her absence as she would be if she were present. Very early [pre St Jerome] had her there in the cry “Behold the Bridegroom cometh…and His bride”

    Of course the bride is the church….

    Now St. Jerome was in a quandary for he had already espied the church in the persons of the wise virgins, how can there be 2 brides? so he simply dropped the bride. All translators have followed him.

    If you now re-add her to the mix the question arises at once …who ARE the maidens? the number is 10 a world number in scripture. As has been stated the oil for the lamps is a poor analogy for the Holy Ghost.

    I find the answer in a much wider mercy than is commonly supposed among evangelicals.

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