The Ten Virgins in Matthew 25

“In the parable,” we are told, “all the ten virgins went out to meet the bridegroom. All had lamps and vessels for oil. For a time there was seen no difference between them. So with the church that lives just before Christ’s second coming. All have a knowledge of the Scriptures. All have heard the message of Christ’s near approach, and confidently expect His appearing. But as in the parable, so it is now. A time of waiting intervenes, faith is tried; and when the cry is heard, ‘Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him,’ many are unready. They have no oil in their vessels with their lamps. They are destitute of the Holy Spirit.”



Notice that Jesus didn’t say that five of the bridesmaids were “knowledgeable.” He said that they were “wise.” There’s a great difference between these two words. We have been told that in the time of the end, “ ‘many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase’ ” (Dan. 12:4, NKJV). If knowledge is increasing, shouldn’t the world be getting better? Shouldn’t there be less and less confusion and chaos? Shouldn’t the world be moving ever more inevitably toward perfection? We are not living in the age of information. We are living in the age of informational obesity. So it’s become an inescapable conclusion that much of the information gathering that we indulge has been motivated by our hunger for more data—not for more truth. Might we be “ ‘poor, blind, and naked’ ” (Rev. 3:17, NKJV) when we think we’re rich in information as well as in material goods? KNOWING VS. BEING PREPARED All ten bridesmaids in Jesus’ parable apparently knew exactly what they needed to know to be prepared. Mere knowledge wasn’t enough.


Even those described as foolish knew all they had to know, but they hadn’t been transformed by what they knew. As we wait for Jesus’ return, we don’t know the deadline! We are in this “position of suspense at this moment in time. KNOWING AND BEING PREPARED Here’s a crucial question: Are we truly looking forward to Jesus’ return? “Many profess to be wise but have they the Holy Spirit? As a people, we profess to know the truth, but of what avail will this be if we do not carry out its principles in our life?”


 Jesus went on with His parable: “ ‘While they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked’ ” (Matt. 25:10, NLT).


How could this have been? How could there have been such a large portion of the wedding party who were unprepared, even when they knew how to be prepared? There is more. “Without the Spirit of God,” Ellen White reminds us, “a knowledge of His word is of no avail. The theory of truth, unaccompanied by the Holy Spirit, cannot quicken the soul or sanctify the heart. One may be familiar with the commands and promises of the Bible; but unless the Spirit of God sets the truth home, the character will not be transformed. Without the enlightenment of the Spirit, men will not be able to distinguish truth from error, and they will fall under the masterful temptations of Satan.”


 We must also know Jesus personally. Preparation for His return cannot be bought or borrowed at the last minute. It is not a commodity. We must each have a personal, living relationship with our Savior. Our readiness is relational—based not on what we know, but on who we know. Notice what the bridegroom says when those who were unprepared returned after the door was shut: “ ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you’ ” (v. 12, NIV). There was no relationship. When Jesus does return, our lamps must be well filled with the oil of the Spirit. Then we will be prepared to go home with Him—forever!