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Parable of the Five Wise and Five Foolish Virgins

Lyn Mize

(Mat 25:1 KJV)  Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.  

This verse is a continuation of what Jesus has been talking about in regard to the separation of the faithful and wise servant from the evil servant (Matthew 24).  He provides a parable that further elaborates how it will be at the time of the first stage of His coming.  The kingdom of Heaven is the mystery aspect of the kingdom, which is the current age.  Since He is still talking about the Church, the ten virgins represent the whole Church.  Ten is the number of ordinal completion, so the whole Church is in view.  All are virgins, which means true born-again believers cleansed by the blood of Christ.  They all have lamps that are burning.  The lamp is the outward profession of faith.  They departed from where they were, which is from being spiritually dead to being spiritually alive, to have an encounter with the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.  

(Mat 25:2 KJV)  And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.  

Five of the virgins were wise or thoughtful, and five were foolish or heedless.  This entire parable shows the antithesis or how the wise virgins are in opposition to the foolish virgins in one particular area.  The wise virgins are thoughtful and obedient to the Word of God.  The foolish virgins are heedless, and are not obedient to the Word of God.  This antithesis is very important in helping us to understand the true meaning of verse 5 below.  

(Mat 25:3 KJV)  They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:  

The five heedless virgins had their lamps with oil in them (i.e., they were burning), but they did not have the extra measure of oil in their vessels like the wise had with them.  The extra measure of oil is the filling of the Holy Spirit that comes from a faithful study of the Word of God.  The filling of the Holy Spirit means that the Holy Spirit controlled the five wise virgins.  The vessels represent the Christian's body as the temple of the Holy Spirit.  All Christians are indwelled by the Holy Spirit, but most are not filled with the Holy Spirit.  

(Mat 25:4 KJV)  But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.  

The wise or thoughtful virgins were filled with the Holy Spirit.  They had the extra measure of oil.  

(Mat 25:5 KJV)  While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered (3573) and slept.  

This verse has been grossly mistranslated, and the translation is misleading.  This parable thus far has provided two antithetical groups of people (i.e., wise and foolish virgins).  There is a difference in the reactions between the wise and the foolish virgins.  The antithesis continues in this verse, but the translators failed to see this.  A correct paraphrase of this verse—with the assistance of Spiros Zodhiates in regard to Greek grammar—is as follows:  

(Mat 25:5 LMP) While the Bridegroom tarried in His coming, all of the ten virgins either beckoned for him to return or they fell asleep.

An accurate, literal word-for-word translation of this verse is as follows:  

(Mat 25:5 LMV) While the bridegroom tarried, they all beckoned or slept.  

The Greek word that has been translated slumbered literally means to nod in signaling or beckoning for what one desires to be done.  The Greek word between slumbered and slept is a copulative or coordinating conjunction that can mean and if it is a continuative copulative, or it can mean or if it is an adversative copulative.  It can only be used as an adversative copulative when the thought is sufficiently strong to show from the context that the two words it connects are in opposition with one another.  Jesus describes five of the virgins as wise and five as foolish.  If this is not sufficient to show the copulative to be adversative, then words can not be trusted as to their meaning.  Of course, the copulative is adversative.  The five wise virgins are beckoning for Jesus to return, but the five foolish virgins have fallen asleep.  This is precisely the situation in the Church today.  The Philadelphia church is wide awake signaling, praying, beckoning, pleading for Jesus to return, but the remainder of the Church is fast asleep, and oblivious to the signs of the times. The Aramaric word “maranatha” is a beckon for Jesus to return.  

The following are the Greek words straight out of Strong's and Thayer's lexicons of the Greek language, and the meaning of beckon out of the American Heritage Dictionary:

3573  nustazo (noos-tad'-zo);

from a presumed derivative of 3506; to nod, i.e. (by implication) to fall asleep; figuratively, to delay:

KJV-- slumber.  

Strong 3506  neuo (nyoo'-o);

apparently a primary verb; to "nod", i.e. (by analogy,) signal:

KJV-- beckon.

Thayer 3506  neuo-

1) to give a nod

2) to signify by a nod (of what one wishes to be done)  

beck-on  v. beck-oned, beck-on-ing, beck-ons. --tr. 1. To signal or summon, as by nodding or waving. 2. To attract because of an inviting or enticing appearance:  "a lovely, sunny country that seemed to beckon them on to the Emerald City" (L. Frank Baum). --intr. 1. To make a signaling or summoning gesture. 2. To be inviting or enticing. --beck-on n. A gesture of summons.  

sum-mons  n., pl. sum-mons-es. 1. A call by an authority to appear, come, or do something.  

(Mat 25:6 KJV)  And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

Midnight is the time that the bride will be taken out of the earth.  The cry is a clamor or outcry that Jesus is coming.  This outcry or clamor will almost certainly be initiated by the five wise virgins who are fully awake, alert and beckoning for Jesus to return.  I personally believe that the initiation of the midnight cry has already begun among the five wise virgins.  This clamor is already moving among the Church like wildfire, and very shortly world shaking events are going to occur that will confirm the year for Messiah the Prince.  The foolish virgins are already beginning to arouse from their deep sleep, and the clamor is just starting to be heard by some of the goodmen of the house.  It is when this clamor reaches the entire Church, and some earthshaking events occur that the sleeping virgins will awaken according to the following verse.  

(Mat 25:7 KJV)  Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.  

The outcry will be sufficient to wake up all of the five foolish virgins.  The picture is that the five wise virgins are awake and alert, but when the midnight cry occurs, all of the virgins that are asleep will come awake.  The word "those" refers to the virgins who were asleep.  They woke up and trimmed their lamps.  The trimming of the lamp is the cutting of the dead part of the wick away so the oil can flow through without being impeded.  When the foolish virgins’ lamps were trimmed, they realized that they were about out of oil because their lamps were quenched.  They did not have the extra measure of oil, which is the filling of the Holy Spirit.  

(Mat 25:8 KJV)  And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out (the correct translation is quenched or going out).  

The foolish then speak to the wise virgins and ask for oil, since the newly trimmed wicks are allowing the free flow of oil, and their lamps are going out--not gone out--since they were low on oil.  

(Mat 25:9 KJV)  But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.  

The wise tell the foolish that they need to go and buy oil for themselves.  This shows that the extra measure of oil requires works.  The indwelling Holy Spirit is a free gift, but the filling of the Holy Spirit requires works.  It requires studying the Word of God, dying to the old self, prayer and works through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  

(Mat 25:10 KJV)  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.  

While the foolish virgins are just beginning to get serious about their walk with the Lord, the Separation occurs, and the five wise virgins go through "The Open Door."  

The key to the above passage of Scripture is the Lord as Bridegroom.  Only the wise virgins go in to the marriage, and not all of these are addressed or qualify as the bride.  

(Mat 25:11 KJV)  Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.  

After the five wise virgins had gone to heaven in the Open Door, the others come and ask the Lord to open to them.  The fact that they call Him Lord, Lord shows that they are saved.  

(Mat 25:12 KJV)  But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.  

He denies that he recognizes them.  "I know you not" simply means that He does not recognize them.  They are so caught up in the world that they look like the world.  

(Mat 25:13 KJV)  Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.  

Jesus sums this parable up with a warning for Christians to watch for His Return to determine the day as it approaches.  This verse is used by the evil servant as an excuse to not study prophecy, but the opposite is actually true.  It is an exhortation to study and watch and be alert to the revealed prophecies so we will know as we see the day approaching.  

This ends the first aspect of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.  Jesus now describes the events leading up the the Second Aspect of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.   

The Second Aspect  

Stage Two--The Rapture, Main Harvest Rapture, Midtribulational Rapture, Prewrath Rapture, Christ Comes as Lord, Judgment Seat of Christ, Day of Christ, Day of the Lord, Wrath of the Lamb, Judgments of God, Middle of the Tribulation, Time of Jacob's Trouble, Wrath of God.  

The second aspect of the Second Coming takes place in the middle of the tribulation period.  It is the time of the Main Harvest Rapture of all of those Christians who were left behind at the Firstfruits Rapture or the Separation.  It is the time that Satan is cast out of the first heaven and into the earth.  He takes up his abode in the Antichrist, and he goes and sits in the temple and claims to be God.  Since the entire Church is now gone, Antichrist will begin his persecution of the Jews who are still upon the earth.  This terrible time for the Jews is called the time of Jacob's trouble.  All of these events are described elsewhere in Scripture, but since we are still in the Church section of the Olivet Discourse, the following verses describe the Church during the first half of the tribulation period right up to the Main Harvest Rapture and the Judgment Seat of Christ.  

The three servants typify the three Churches of Thyatira, Sardis, and Laodicea who were left behind at the Separation.  They also represent the five foolish virgins who were rejected from going through the open door.  They were not accounted worthy to enter into the marriage.

(Mat 25:14 KJV)  For the kingdom of heaven is  as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.  

The underlined insert by the translators does not clarify this passage as they intended.  It obscures the true meaning of the verse.  Therefore, it should be removed in order to determine the correct meaning of the verse.  Therefore, the passage literally reads:  

(Mat 25:14 LMV) For as a man traveling into a far country called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.  

The man is Jesus Christ, and traveling into a far country means going abroad or into another realm.  His own servants mean that they belong to him already, or they are already saved.  Delivered means that He completely turned over all of His wealth (earthly) to these servants.  The "For" refers back to an antecedent, which is the parable of the virgins.  Since the parable of the virgins described the Separation, this parable continues the explanation.  A paraphrase would be "For the separation is as a man traveling into another realm, and he called his own servants and delivered all of His wealth into their hands to be used by them on behalf of the Master."  Thus, the aftermath of the Separation is described in the following verses in perfect sequence.  

(Mat 25:15 KJV)  And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.  

The wealth was distributed according to the servantís own ability.  At the separation, the Christians who have been left behind will be subject to Antichrist, and the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit will have been removed.  The Christians left will prosper or fall according to their own abilities without the intervention of the Holy Spirit.   

It is important to note that there are three servants.  This is in accord with the three churches left behind, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego going through the furnace of fire, and the three types of seed that did not bear fruit in the current age.  Other typical passages of Scripture confirm that it will be a time of the famine of the Word of God.  There will be enough to sustain the servants, but it will not be the quality that we have now with the Holy Spirit as our teacher.  

(Mat 25:16 KJV)  Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.

Christians will work according to their own ability, and we will see later that reward will be proportional to what the servant did in relation to his abilities.  This servant doubled the wealth of the master.  Please note that this is in contrast to the parables of the kingdom where the servants bore fruit 100-60-30 fold.  

(Mat 25:17 KJV)  And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.  

This servant also doubled that portion of the Masterís wealth for which he had responsibility.  The word for gain means the profit that comes in escaping from evil.  

(Mat 25:18 KJV)  But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.  

This verse means the individual burrowed into the ground and hid or kept secret that he had any of the Lord's wealth.  This is the Christian in the tribulation period who hides away and keeps it a secret that he is a Christian.  This establishes that those Christians who are left behind should continue or actually embark upon doing the Lord's work, even if it means severe persecution or even death.  

(Mat 25:19 KJV)  After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.  

We know from Daniel 7:25 that the length of this period is about 42 months.  It will seem like an eternity to the Christians who are going through the tribulation under Antichrist.  Also, 42 months is a very long time for an individual to stay on a journey abroad.  It is a very long time from the Christian's perspective, especially while in tribulation.  

This coming is in the Main Harvest Rapture of the Church, and the reckoning is the Judgment Seat of Christ.  The use of the phrase "those servants" shows that these are not all of the Lord's servants, for He has already reckoned with the faithful and wise servants.  

(Mat 25:20 KJV)  And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.  

The servant is giving an account of his life during the time of the Lord's absence.  This time is during the first half of the tribulation period.  It is important to note that the Lord is not absent from us currently, since He is with us via the Holy Spirit.  

(Mat 25:21 KJV)  His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things (i.e., a short time), I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.  

The Lord commends him as a "good and faithful servant" and tells him that he has been faithful over a short time.  The word for "few things" means a short time.  Thus, it says "Thou has been faithful a short time."  This perspective is from God rather than man so it is a short time.  Remember that from the servant's perspective, it was a long time. 

It is important to note that this "good and faithful servant" is in strong contrast to the "faithful and wise servant" who went out in the Separation.  The "faithful and wise" servant was made ruler over "all things."  This servant is made ruler over "many things."

This servant is the most faithful servant during the tribulation period, and he does not attain to the highest level or position in the kingdom, but he does attain to a position in the kingdom.

(Mat 25:22 KJV)  He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.  

The second servant gives his accounting for his work during the tribulation period, and he also doubled His Master's goods.

(Mat 25:23 KJV)  His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.  

This servant is also called "good and faithful" and he also has been faithful over a short period of time.  He is made ruler over "many things" also.  Entering into the joy of the Lord shows entrance into the kingdom, although into a lesser position than the 24 elders and the Four Living Creatures as described in Revelation.  

(Mat 25:24 KJV)  Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strowed:  

This verse confirms very strongly that this servant was in the tribulation period.  He calls the master a harsh man.  He is resentful of being cast into the tribulation period.  He takes no responsibility for being cast there because of his unfaithfulness during the present time.  This shows that he has not repented as the other two servants.  In addition, he states that the Master reaps where He has not sown.  All seed sown during the current age were sown by the Master, but the seed sown (i.e., those saved during the tribulation) will take place in the Master's absence.  The "gathering where thou hast not strowed" refers to the gathered grain that has been separated during the threshing and winnowing process.  This will take place during the tribulation period, and it is Antichrist who will be wielding the tribulum and the winnowing fork.  It is strange that Antichrist will actually be working for the Lord, but he will do it unknowingly.  We need to remember the type of Boaz on the threshing floor.  He was asleep during the night of threshing and winnowing, and Ruth (i.e., the faithful and wise servants) was protected under his cloak during this time.  

(Mat 25:25 KJV)  And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

The servant admits that he was afraid and hid the fact that he was a Christian.  He still has the Master's goods that have been entrusted to him, but he has not gained any profit.  He has still not produced any fruit through the use of his Master's wealth.

(Mat 25:26 KJV)  His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strowed:  

The unfaithful servant is sternly rebuked for his continued unfaithfulness during the tribulation period.  He is called evil and lazy.  

(Mat 25:27 KJV)  Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.

The exchangers are those two servants who did work using the Lord's talents to help the Lord realize a profit.  This wicked and slothful servant could have at least allowed his talent to be used by these two servants, even if he did not use them himself.  If he had merely assisted the other two servants with his talent, then the Lord would have realized a small profit, even though it may not have been doubled as with the first two servants.  

The wicked servant had not repented as the other two servants and he hid the fact that he was a Christian.  Consequently, he did not work for the Lord, and he did not assist the other two servants in their work.  He must suffer the consequences, which is the loss of his inheritance.  He will not enter the kingdom.  

(Mat 25:28 KJV)  Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.  

The evil servant's inheritance is taken from him and given to the one who was faithful.  

(Mat 25:29 KJV)  For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.  

Everyone in the tribulation who has used the talents the Lord has given them will be given even more responsibility, but those who did not use their talents in the Lord's work will lose their inheritance in the Lord's kingdom.  

(Mat 25:30 KJV)  And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The unfaithful servant is cast into outer darkness, which is in a position outside of the kingdom.  Outer darkness is not hell.  Outer darkness is an idiom for a person who receives the displeasure of the Lord and is not honored with a position in the kingdom.