THE PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS
This section continues with Matthew 25:1. The word "then" indicates that chapter twenty-five is a continuation of chapter twenty-four. The phrase, "Then shall the kingdom of the heavens," indicates that the previous discourse is also related to the kingdom of the heavens. In chapter twenty-five, the kingdom of the heavens is likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom. Each of the ten had a lamp, indicating that each was regenerated. But five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps but took no oil with them in their vessel. Their lamps were lit, but they did not have an extra portion of oil. The wise, however, took oil in their vessels with their lamps. They had oil in their lamps and also another portion of oil in their vessel. Oil, of course, is a type of the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God is in our regenerated spirit. But besides this portion of the Spirit, we need to have another portion, that is, the filling of the Spirit in our soul, our vessel. We need to have a portion of the Spirit in addition to what we received in our spirit at regeneration.
Verse 5 says that while the bridegroom delayed, they became drowsy and slept. Not only did the five foolish ones become drowsy and sleep, but the wise ones also became drowsy and slept. Sleep here indicates death (1 Thes. 4:15). This means that all ten of the virgins died. Because the Lord has tarried these many years, saint after saint has died, including those who are overcomers. This indicates that the ten virgins do not represent the living saints, but the dead saints. Since the number signifying the church is twelve and not ten, where are the other two saints? They were included in the previous chapter. In 24:40-41 the Lord indicated that two men may be in the field or that two women may be grinding at the mill. These two represent the living ones at the time of the Lord Jesus’ return. When the Lord returns the majority of the Christians will have died. Ten is the majority of twelve. This is the principle in the Scriptures. In the Old Testament time ten tribes rebelled against the House of David. Only two were left—Judah and Benjamin. This means that the majority of the tribes rebelled. When the Lord Jesus returns the majority of the Christians will have died, and only a minority will still be living. The ten virgins represent the dead saints. Due to the Lord’s tarrying all these will have slumbered and slept. In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15 Paul used the word "asleep" to indicate those who have died. We must see that the ten virgins represent the majority of the Christians who will have died by the time the Lord comes back. Not only the foolish ones will have died, but also the wise ones will have died.
At midnight the cry came, "Behold, the bridegroom!" (Matt. 25:6). Then all the virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. This means they rose up in resurrection. The dead saints rose up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish then asked for oil from the wise virgins. Their own lamps were going out, and they had no oil in their vessels. Since their lamps were going out, it means they were lit, indicating that they are saved. Even the foolish ones had their lamps lit, but they did not have an extra portion of the oil for further use. The foolish virgins were told that they needed to go and buy the oil for themselves. While they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward, the foolish virgins came desiring to enter into the marriage feast, but the Lord’s reply was that He did not know them. The foolish virgins suffered a great loss; they were unable to enter into the marriage feast.
(The Kingdom, Chapter 48, by Witness Lee)