The Parable of the 10 Virgins Does NOT Prove That You Can Lose Your Salvation – Matthew 25:1-13 – Once Saved.org
 

The Parable of the 10 Virgins Does NOT Prove That You Can Lose Your Salvation – Matthew 25:1-13

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In this video, we’re going to look at the parable of the 10 virgins in Matthew 25. This parable has been all over the map in terms of different interpretations, mostly because people are not taking the parable in context, looking at who the subjects are, the time period and people group to which it’s speaking, and how it fits into end-time prophecy. More importantly, though, and this is the reason I’m addressing it, is that many have tried to use this parable to say that it teaches that you can lose your salvation if you are not living obediently to Christ, like the wise virgins in the parable. We’ll also look at two related topics which also have been all over the map with varied answers, namely: Who is the bride of Christ and when does the marriage of the Lamb take place? We have a lot to go through here, so let’s get into it.

Here is the parable of the 10 virgins in Matthew 25:1-13. In the first part of this video, I want to show you why some claim that it proves that you can lose your salvation and show you why those claims are completely false. Flat out, this parable does not prove that you can lose your salvation.

Then we’ll look at the true meaning of the parable in context and what it actually does say. We’ll look at where and when this parable takes place on a timeline, and we’ll look who the bride of Christ is according to Scripture and when and where the marriage of the Lamb takes place.

So, let’s start by reading through the parable and showing why this does not prove you can lose your salvation, beginning in Matthew 25, verse 1.

“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 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. 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. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 25:1-13 KJV)

So, let’s first look at the reasons why some claim that this proves that you can lose your salvation. If you ever get into a debate with someone who thinks you can lose your salvation, it is almost always predictable. They will typically start off in Hebrews, chapters 6 and 10, then move on to 2 Peter chapter 2 or Galatians 5 or Revelation 3. I’ve done videos on all of those passages, proving that none of them teach that you can lose your salvation. But invariably, they will make their way back to this parable of the 10 virgins as firm proof, so they say, that you can lose salvation. 

 Their argument typically comes down to verse 8, which says:

“And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.” (Matthew 25:8 KJV)

Oil represents the Holy Spirit, and I’ll show why that is from Scripture a little bit later. So, they say the fact that the foolish virgins let their lamps run out of oil shows that they were not cultivating the Spirit of God within themselves; they were not living for God in obedience to Christ. So the Holy Spirit left them (they ran out of oil) and they lost their salvation (their lamps went out).

By them saying their lamps went out proves that they once had oil, the Holy Spirit, so they were saved, but the Spirit left them and they lost salvation. They were foolish in that they were saved believers who were not living in obedience to Christ.

This argument is of course false, and it is based on two lies:

Lie #1
A saved believer must live OBEDIENTLY, like the wise virgins,
obeying Christ’s commandments, or you will lose your salvation, like the unwise virgins.

We don’t even need to look at other Scriptures to disprove this, and there are many. We can just look at this parable to disprove it. Look at verse 5, which says:

“While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.” (Matthew 25:5 KJV)

The Wise Virgins Were Not Any More Obedient Than the Unwise Virgins,
For It Says That
They ALL Slumbered And Slept While The Bridegroom Tarried. In terms of lifestyle and what they were living for, there was no difference between the wise and unwise virgins. The wise virgins weren’t watching, doing good works and obeying. Their obedience didn’t make them ready. They were all sleeping. No difference.

Your Obedience Does Not Save You or Keep You Saved. Let’s look at a few verses that prove this:

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV)

Salvation is a free gift by God’s grace, not something we earn.

“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (Romans 3:28 KJV)

We don’t have to prove ourselves worthy to be saved, because we’re not worthy. None of us are. God justifies us, which means He declares us just or right in His sight, based solely on faith in Christ and what Christ did for us. He was the One Who was obedient, not us. He was the One Who is worthy, not us. We are saved by grace, which means unmerited favor. We don’t earn it by doing good, and we don’t keep it by doing good, by walking in obedience. 

Paul spoke against that very notion in Philippians 3, where he said his goal was:

“…that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:” (Philippians 3:8-9 KJV)

Paul specifically said he was not trying to live in obedience to establish his own righteousness and worthiness before God. Our righteousness before God comes only through faith in Christ. We stand in His righteousness, not our own.

In Romans chapter 10, Paul specifically spoke against people who believe you have to walk in obedience to prove yourselves worthy before God. He said:

“For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” (Romans 10:3-4 KJV)

We stand in the righteousness of Christ. We don’t try to establish our own righteous standing before God. We are called to obey God, but our obedience does not have anything to do with our salvation. We obey out of reverence for God for what He has already done through Christ. We don’t obey to prove ourselves worthy, to establish our own righteousness. Paul condemned this way of thinking, saying that such people have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God, which is obtained solely by faith.

Then there’s

Lie #2:
The Holy Spirit can leave a saved believer if they do not live in faithful obedience.

The argument is that the foolish virgins’ lamps went out because they ran out of oil. If oil means the Holy Spirit, then that shows that they once had the Holy Spirit but the Spirit left them. Their lamps were lit but they went out. 

Again, we can prove this is a lie right from the parable, before looking at other Scriptures. In verse 3 of the parable, Jesus Himself plainly says:

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

Jesus said that they HAD NO OIL. Period! They didn’t run out of oil. They NEVER HAD IT.

Can you light a lamp without any oil? Yes, you can light the wick, but it will burn out quickly. Jesus clearly said the foolish virgins had absolutely no oil whatsoever.

Now, part of this confusion can also be brought about because of bad translations of the Bible. I’m using the King James version which is a word-for-work translation from the original Greek. But if you look at some other translations, which are not word-for word, you can get an entirely different interpretation. For example, here are two incorrect Bible translations, beginning with the New American Standard Bible:

NASB  “For when the foolish took their lamps, they did not take extra oil with them;” (Matthew 25:3 NASB20)

Notice the word “extra” is in italics. Whenever you see a word in italics in the Bible, it means it is as added word that is not found in the Greek manuscripts. The translators added the word “extra” to match their own incorrect interpretation of the parable. The foolish virgins’ problem was not that they didn’t take EXTRA oil. Jesus said they had no oil at all. That’s the way the Greek text reads and the King James version is correct.

Similarly, the New Living translation says:

NLT – “didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps…”

The word “enough” is not in the original Greek. If you start with a bad translation, you will always end up with a bad interpretation. These are both bad translations that change the entire meaning of the parable. This is why I use the King James. 

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

They didn’t run out of oil. They had none. They didn’t have the Holy Spirit and so He never left them. They never had oil, never had the Holy Spirit, according to Jesus’ own Words.

So, what was their problem?

The Unwise Virgins

Thought they were saved

    • Waiting for the bridegroom
    • Carried lamps
    • Thought their oil had run out

But Jesus said they never had oil, were never saved.

How can that be? It’s pretty common, really.

There are people in churches today who THINK they are saved, but have never committed their lives to Christ, have never been born again, and are not saved. They think they are Christians. They go to church all the time. They know the Bible. They think they have the oil of the Holy Spirit. But in reality, they aren’t saved. They are practicing religion without any real relationship with Christ.

The unwise virgins thought they had just run out of oil. But according to Jesus, they never had any oil and so they were never saved.

If we look across Scripture, there are many verses that clearly state that the Holy Spirit will never leave a saved believer. For example, Jesus said in John 14:

“And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever;” (John 14:16 KJV)

He didn’t say, ‘as long as you walk in obedience.” And this phrase, “may abide,” does not introduce a condition, as in He “may” or “may not.” It’s even stronger in the Greek, which literally reads, “He abide with you forever.” 

Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:

“…the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14 KJV)

This verse says we are sealed with the Holy Spirit until the redemption, and God promises not to break that seal until we are in His presence in our redeemed eternal bodies – “until the redemption of the purchased possession.” How did He purchase us? By dying on the cross for us. He paid for our redemption, for our forgiveness and He gives us eternal life.

Similarly, in Ephesians 4, Paul wrote:

“And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30 KJV)

Someone who believes you can lose salvation once argued with me about this verse, saying that it does not say that we are sealed “UNTIL” the day of redemption but “UNTO” the day of redemption, meaning that we are merely sealed “FOR” the day of redemption, but it’s not a guarantee that we are sealed “UNTIL” the day of redemption. That argument is total garbage because the Greek word translated into English as the word “UNTO” in chapter 4 is the exact same Greek word in chapter 1 that is translated as the word “UNIL,” where it says “Until the day or our redemption.” Same Greek word in both chapters. It means we are sealed with the Holy Spirit UNTIL the redemption of our bodies. In other words, the Holy Spirit will never leave a saved believer.

Or, to put it even more clearly, here’s Hebrews 13:

“I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”  
(Hebrews 13:5 KJV)

The Holy Spirit will NEVER leave a saved believer. That’s ONCE SAVED, ALWAYS SAVED.

For those who believe you can lose your salvation, the real core problem is that you don’t believe the Gospel.

You don’t believe that Christ actually saved you. Instead, you think He did His part, but now you have to do your part, or you will lose it. You’re not believing that He saved you. You’re not believing the Gospel. You’re believing a false gospel that is based on you and your good works, your faithful obedience. Paul spoke against this false gospel in Galatians, where people were saying it’s not enough to just believe in Christ, you also have to obey commandments, including in their case, special feast days.

To that, Paul said:

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:” (Galatians 1:6 KJV)

“Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3 KJV)

You were saved by faith, but now you think you have to make yourself perfect through obedience? Are you so foolish, he asks?

It comes down to this: Who Keeps You Saved? Is it you in your obedience or does God keep you saved? What does Scripture teach?

“For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not Thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?” (Psalm 56:13 KJV)

“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” (Jude 1:24-25 KJV)

“…waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1:7-8 KJV)

God saved you. Will He not also keep you saved so that you don’t fall away? God Keeps You Saved (Not You And Your Obedience) So That None Are Lost

“And this is the Father’s will which hath sent Me, that of ALL which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that EVERY ONE which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:39-40 KJV)

Believe the Gospel: We are Saved By FAITH IN CHRIST ALONE! And once we’re saved, we can never lose it.

God loves His children so much that He died on a cross for us. He knows how to keep His children saved so that none are lost. And He knows how to do it without violating our free will. Not even one saved believer will lose salvation, because it is God alone Who saved us and it is God alone Who keeps us saved.

So, the parable of the ten virgins does not in any way prove that you can lose your salvation. Then, what does the parable mean?

Let’s now look at the true meaning of the parable. We’re going to start by looking at two things: symbols and context. 

First, let’s look at the symbols. There are two key symbols that are critical to understanding the meaning of the parable: the oil and the lamp. I’ll tell you what they mean and them we’ll prove it.

Oil = Indwelling Holy Spirit that comes through faith in Christ

Lamp = Word of God (Jesus) carried by the saved believer

Verse 4 says,

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

Let’s look at oil first. Now, some say oil could not possibly mean the Holy Spirit because the parable speaks of them buying oil and you cannot buy the Holy Spirit.

“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.” (Matthew 25:9 KJV)

In Acts chapter 8, Peter condemned this man Simon who thought he could buy the Holy Spirit and use the Spirit to make money:

“But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God (Salvation) may be purchased with money.” (Acts 8:20 KJV)

Clearly, we cannot buy salvation or the Holy Spirit with money. But we can’t just dismiss this term “buying,” because God Himself uses it in reference to salvation.

The Term “Buying” was Used in Both the Old Testament and New Testament for Placing Your Faith in God (or in the New Testament, Jesus).

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. … Incline your ear, and come unto Me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you…” (Isaiah 55:1, 3 KJV)

Jesus said: “I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” (Revelation 3:18 KJV)

To “Buy” Means to Make a Purchase Decision

To “Buy” Salvation Means to make a Decision to Commit Your Faith to Christ.

So, we can’t just dismiss the interpretation that oil is the Holy Spirit just because the parable uses the term “buy.” So, why do we say that oil refers to the Holy Spirt? 

First, there are Similarities of Oil To The Holy Spirit:

It is to be Pure (clean, righteous) and Everlasting

“And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always.” (Exodus 27:20 KJV)

It is Given by the Lord

“For Thou wilt light my candle (lamp): the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.” (Psalm 18:28 KJV)

Like the Holy Spirit, Oil Had Multiple Uses

For Light, Anointing, and Offerings

“And spice, and oil for the light, and for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense.” (Exodus 35:28 KJV)

To Sanctify

“And Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was therein, and sanctified them. … And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron’s head, and anointed him, to sanctify him.” (Leviticus 8:10, 12 KJV)

Kings Were Anointed with Oil At Which the Holy Spirit Came Upon Them

“And he (Jesse, David’s father) sent, and brought him (David) in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he. Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward…” (1 Samuel 16:12-13 KJV)

And then Jesus Specifically Linked His Anointing (Which in the OT Required Oil) To the Holy Spirit

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,” (Luke 4:18 KJV)

So, oil means the indwelling Holy Spirit that, for Christians, comes through faith in Christ. How about the lamp? 

We see clearly in Scripture that The Lamp is the Word of God, which = Jesus

Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105 KJV)    

“For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:” (Proverbs 6:23 KJV)

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory…” (John 1:1, 14 KJV)

“…I am the light of the world.” (John 9:5 KJV)

We also see that saved believers have been given this ministry of light.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 KJV)

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light:” (1 Peter 2:9 KJV)

This Image of a Lit Lamp Filled With Oil Is a Picture of a Saved BelieverIndwelt and Filled By the Holy Spirit, Carrying Forth the Eternal Word of God, the Message of the Gospel, the Good News About Jesus, Who is the Light of the World

It’s also important to look at what this lit lamp is NOT a picture of.

A Lit Lamp is NOT a Picture of Our Good Works
(our obedience), but
REVEALS Our Good Works

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 KJV)

The light is NOT our good works, our obedience. The light enables others to see our good works. The light reveals good works and obedience. It is not obedience itself.

The lit lamp is an amazing picture of a saved believer, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and carrying forth the Gospel. That is who we are as Christians. That is our mission.

Another symbol includes this term, “virgins.” Paul Calls a Saved Christian
 a Virgin to Christ:

“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one Husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:2 KJV)

In other words, it is the cleansing blood of Christ that purifies us, like a virgin is pure.

And then there’s the term, “bridegroom.” Jesus Commonly Referred to Himself as the Bridegroom. For example, in Luke 5:

“And He (Jesus) said unto them, Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.” (Luke 5:34-35 KJV)

So, now that we’ve looked at symbolism, let’s look at context, how this parable fits into what is said before and after it in Scripture. The parable starts with this word, “Then” – “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins…”

This word, “then,” connects the parable to what was said before, in chapter 24. If we look back at chapter 24, we see that: 

In CONTEXT: Chapters 24-25 are Jesus’ answer to the disciples’ question:

“And as He sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?“ (Matthew 24:3 KJV)

The disciples were expecting Jesus to set up His Kingdom on Earth in Jerusalem right then and there, but He kept telling them that it would be a while, that He is first going away. So they asked Him, “what shall be the sign of Thy coming?” The rest of chapter 24 and all of chapter 25 is Jesus’ answer to this question. It all fits together and it’s about the end times before the return of Christ. That’s where this parable of the 10 virgins fits in. It’s not any part of the Church Age. It fits into the end times.

So, let’s look at His answer.

Jesus Answered By Teaching About His Return

First, He Spoke of Conditions Before His Return

Signs of His Coming (Mt. 24:4-14)

  • Many shall come in My Name…and shall deceive many
  • Wars and rumors of wars
  • Nation shall rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom
  • Famines, pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places
  • All these are the beginning of sorrows.
  • Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, killed
  • Many false prophets shall rise
  • Iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold
  • Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world
  • Then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:4-14 KJV)

Tribulation Coming: Perilous Times (Mt. 24:15-28)

  • Abomination of desolation standing in the holy place
  • Then let them in Judaea flee into the mountains
  • For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be
  • There shall arise false christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders
  • Warning: Believe it not

Then, He Spoke of His Return

  The Second Coming (Mt. 24:29-31)

  • “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven…” (Mt. 24:29-30 KJV)
  • All the tribes of the earth shall mourn
  • Son of man comes in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
  • “And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Mt. 24:31 KJV)

Who is His elect? Many have incorrectly interpreted this as the church, but this not the rapture or gathering of the church. To understand this, put it in context. Jesus was speaking to Israel, to His disciples. They understood from Old Testament Scripture exactly what Jesus meant when He used the term “elect.”

The “Elect” in Matthew 24 is Israel, Not the Church. From Isaiah 45:

“For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel Mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known Me.” (Isaiah 45:4 KJV)

But wait, Matthew 24:31 says the elect are gathered at the blowing of a great trumpet. Isn’t this the trumpet of the rapture? No! It is not. The rapture is not seen anywhere in Matthew 24. To understand the blowing of the trumpet, let’s look back at OT prophecy Isaiah 27:

Prophecy in Isaiah 27:12-13

Israel to be Regathered at the Blowing of a Great Trumpet

“On that day the LORD will thresh from the flowing stream of the Euphrates River to the brook of Egypt, and you will be gathered up one by one, you sons of Israel. It will come about also on that day that a great trumpet will be blown, and those who were perishing in the land of Assyria and who were scattered in the land of Egypt will come and worship the LORD on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 27:12-13 NASB20)

The elect who are gathered at the second coming of Christ refers to Israel. When Christ returns, He will gather His elect, Israel, from one end of the planet to the other and bring them all to back to Israel. He will gather His elect, Israel. This is not a reference to the church.

But wait, you may say. It then says two will be in a field, one will be taken the other left. Isn’t that the rapture? No! It’s not. Let’s look at that verse.

After speaking in Matthew 24 about His return, Jesus then speaks of

After His Return

Judgment of the Nations (Mt. 24:36-41, 25:31-46)

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” (Matthew 24:36-41 KJV)

Notice that it says, “as the days of Noah were, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.”  The days of Noah refers to the time when God judged the world. Through a great flood of water, He removed every wicked person from the planet. Who were the ones that were taken away in the time of Noah? It wasn’t the righteous. It says, “before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” 

It is the wicked who were taken away. Then we read, Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”

Do you see it? This is not the righteous being taken away in the rapture. This is the wicked, those who do not believe in Christ, being removed from the planet before Christ sets up His Kingdom. The wicked who survive the tribulation will not be allowed to enter Christ’s Millennial Kingdom on Earth. They will be removed for judgment. This is one time were you really don’t want to be the one who is taken.

This judgment of the nations then continues in Matthew 25, where we see again how

The Righteous Who Survive the Tribulation Enter Alive Into the Millennial Kingdom, While the Wicked are Sent to Eternal Judgment (Matthew 25:31-46)

  • All nations gathered before Christ
  • He shall separate them one from another: sheep on His right, goats on His left
  • Sheep (the righteous) enter into the Millennial Kingdom
  • Goats (the wicked) are sent “into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels”
  • “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.“

 

We can picture this on our prophetic timeline:

t1

We are currently in the Church Age, also called the “Age of Grace.” We are right before the rapture of the church, where the church will be taken to be with Christ, prior to the start of the 7-year tribulation. The Judgment Seat of Christ happens first, where the saved believers are rewarded for faithful service. No one loses salvation at the Judgment Seat of Christ. It’s not about salvation, but about being rewarded by Christ for faithful service, being clothed in preparation for the marriage of the Lamb. And then comes the Marriage of the Lamb. All this happens in heaven prior to the return of Christ. We’ll look at verses proving this in a few minutes. But the point is, the church is not on earth during the 7-year tribulation.

Then Christ returns with the church and the nations are judged. The righteous, those who survived the tribulation believing in Christ, will enter Christ’s Millennial Kingdom alive in their mortal bodies, while the wicked, those who survived the tribulation but did not believe in Christ, will be removed from the planet.

What follows then is Christ’s 1,000 year Kingdom reign on Earth, populated initially by only saved believers in their mortal bodies. This is not the church, which has already been raptured and given their eternal bodies. The church will reign and rule with Christ in immortal bodies.

So, Jesus answers the disciples’ question in Matthew 24, where they asked what the sign will be of His coming, by teaching them about His return:

First, What will Happen Before His Return

  Signs of His Coming (Mt. 24:4-14)

  Tribulation Coming: Perilous Times (Mt. 24:15-28)

Then His Return

  The Second Coming (Mt. 24:29-31)

Followed by What Will Happen After His Return

  Judgment of the Nations (Mt. 24:36-41, 25:31-46)

In the middle of this answer, He also tells them 5 parables to warn and encourage them and us. The 5 parables are:
 

The Fig Tree (Mt. 24:32-35) – When you see the fig tree putting forth leaves, you know that summer is neigh. Likewise, when you see these things that He described happening, you know that the return of Christ is very near.

The Watchman (Mt. 24:43-44) – If the good man of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have kept watch. 

The Wicked Servant (Mt. 24:45-51) – Who was not watching for his Master’s return.

The warning in all three of these parables is to BE WATCHFUL.

Then, there’s the Parable of the 10 Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13), where the warning is to BE READY.

And finally, there’s the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), where the warning is to BE FAITHFUL in serving God while here on Earth, using the talents that God has given you, while you are waiting for Christ’s return. 

What We Learn From This Context

  • Setting: The Parable of the Virgins takes place during the tribulation, immediately before the return of Christ. For it starts off by saying, “THEN shall the Kingdom of heaven be likened unto 10 virgins.” When is THEN? At the time of the tribulation and return of Christ, when you see these things that Jesus described in Matthew 24 happening.
  • Who are the Wise Virgins? Tribulation Saints, primarily Jews + any others who are saved by faith in Christ during the 7-year tribulation and are ready for Christ’s return. I say primarily Jews because, in context, Jesus was speaking to His disciples about His second coming for Israel, when He will return and set up His Kingdom in Jerusalem. They were asking Him about Israel and His answer, along with this parable, was directed to that question. While we can extend the meaning of the parable to also include gentiles saved during the tribulation, the primary meaning was directed at Israel, the Jews. This parable takes place at the end of the tribulation, at the second coming of Christ. The church is already gone in the rapture. The church is nowhere on Earth when this parable takes place. The virgins, therefore, are not a reference to the church. The church is nowhere in this parable, and we’ll look at exactly where the church is coming up. While there are lessons we, the church, can learn from this parable, such as about being ready for Christ, it’s not about the church. The church isn’t on Earth at that point.
  • Who are the Unwise Virgins? Those who are not saved, who have NEVER placed their faith in Christ.

They thought they were saved and that their oil had simply run out
(“Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.” v.8).

But Jesus told us they never had oil, meaning that they were never saved (“They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them” v.3).

The Unwise Virgins Are a Picture of the End-times, UNSAVED Laodicean Church Foretold in Revelation Chapter 3:

“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the Faithful and True witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:14-20 KJV)

The letters to the churches in Revelation chapters 2 and 3 present a prophetic history of the church from the time of Christ up to Christ’s return. The Laodicean church is the last church that is described. It is the last church that will exist prior to the return of Christ, and it is an amazing picture of an UNSAVED church. They think they are all saved. They are meeting together as a church, and they are inside holding worship services just like real believers. Yet, Jesus is locked out of the church. He’s standing on the outside, knocking on the door to see if anyone will let Him in. This is an unsaved, unbelieving church and it is a picture of what the religious church system will look like just before His return.

That’s what the 5 foolish virgins are: Unsaved people who think they are actually saved. They know who the bridegroom is, and they have their lamps, the Word of God. But they are foolish. They have no oil, no indwelling Holy Spirit. They were never saved. And the Bridegroom responds by locking them out, saying “…Verily I say unto you, I know you not.” (Matthew 25:12 KJV)

 

How about The Wise Virgins: Are They The Bride of Christ?

“And while they (the unwise virgins) went to buy, the Bridegroom came; and they that were ready (the wise virgins) went in with Him to the marriage: and the door was shut.” (Matthew 25:10 KJV)

To answer that, let’s first look at word, “marriage.” “Marriage” in v.10 is the Greek word “gamos.”  It means, “a wedding or marriage festival, a wedding banquet, a wedding feast.” While that could include the actual marriage ceremony, it more properly referred to the festival or supper that happened after the marriage ceremony. In our modern-day terminology, it would be the wedding reception that happens after the actual marriage. That’s what these virgins were heading toward: the Marriage Supper.

To picture this, it is helpful to understand how an ancient Jewish wedding worked. 

 
An Ancient Jewish Marriage Had 3 Parts
 

The Betrothal

  • A Contract – was signed by the parents.
  • Dowry Payment – Paid by the bridegroom or His parents for the bride.
  • Betrothal Period – Began after the payment was made and accepted and lasted for an extended period of time.
  • Friend of the Bridegroom – Prepared the bride for the wedding.

The Procession and Marriage Ceremony

  • Taking of the Bride – Groom would take the bride from her house to his father’s house. Usually done at night under a torch-lit procession with the blowing of trumpets.
  • The Procession – The groom, bride and guests would proceed to the father’s house. Virgins (bridesmaids) would be waiting, lining the way with lamps lit, until they heard, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh!”
  • Marriage Ceremony – Occurred at the father’s house on the night the bride was taken.

The Marriage Supper

  • A Great Feast – Took place at the father’s house
  • The Doors were Shut – Only invited guests and the wedding party were allowed inside.
  • Special Garments – Given to all guests
  • A Week-long Celebration – Started the night of the marriage and would typically last 7 days.

These three parts of a marriage are a prophetic picture of:

Christ’s 1st Coming – The betrothal, where Christ paid the dowry for His bride by sacrificing His blood on the cross.

The Rapture of the Church – Then fulfills the procession and marriage ceremony, including the taking of the bride, where the groom suddenly appears in the middle of the night and takes the bride away to His Father’s house. The marriage ceremony then takes place that evening.

The Celebration in Heaven, The Marriage Supper – We see this in Revelation 19:7-9, where the marriage supper takes place right before the 2nd coming of Christ to Earth.  The marriage supper would last 7 days. The tribulation on Earth will last 7 years. Coincidence? I think not.

We can picture this on our prophetic timeline: Immediately after the Rapture, the taking of the church, we see in Scripture the Marriage of the Lamb happening in heaven, beginning with the bride getting ready and being clothed in white linen at the Judgment Seat of Christ, followed by the marriage ceremony, followed by the marriage supper that lasts 7 years.

 

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The Marriage of the Lamb is described in Revelation 19, where it says:

“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb…“
(Revelation 19:7-9 KJV)

In this description, we see 3 Characters:

The Bridegroom (Christ),

the Bride (Church), and

“They which are called unto the marriage supper” (Bridesmaids & Guests).

It is also interesting that this occurs in verses 7-9, while the second coming of Christ to Earth doesn’t happen until later in chapter 19, verses 11-21. Thus, we see the church in heaven prior to the second coming of Christ to Earth. This proves the rapture happens before the second coming. The church is not on earth during the tribulation. They are here in heaven at the Marriage of the Lamb.

The Marriage Takes Place in Heaven, PRIOR to the Return of Christ to Earth

Jesus even said this in Luke 12, where He said His second would be Him returning from the wedding. He actually used that term. In other words, the Marriage of the Lamb had already happened. Jesus said concerning His second coming:

“Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord, when He will return from the wedding; that when He cometh and knocketh, they may open unto Him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when He cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that He shall gird Himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if He shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.” (Luke 12:35-40 KJV)

Isn’t that amazing? I never noticed this before, but Jesus described His own second coming as the time He will return from the wedding. The wedding has already happened in heaven, which means the church isn’t on Earth during the tribulation. It’s been raptured.

This brings us to the question: Who is the Bride of Christ? I’ve been saying up to now that it’s the church, that the Bride of Christ is the New Testament Church from Pentecost to the Rapture.

Do we see proof of this in Scripture? Absolutely. Here are three examples.

Paul told the Corinthian church:

“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one Husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:2 KJV)

Then he told the Ephesian church:

“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery:
but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:31-32 KJV)

And in Romans, he said:

“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” (Romans 7:4 KJV)

Scripture definitely teaches that the church is the bride of Christ. However, if you look across the internet, you will find many commentators in wide disagreement on who the bride is. Not everyone agrees that the church is the bride of Christ. Of those who don’t say that it’s the church, they tend to fall into three camps. Here are the three camps and I’m going to show you why these are not the bride of Christ:

Not the Bride of Christ

1. Old Testament Saints (Israel) Only

2. OT Saints + Church

 3. All Who Are Saved (Past, Present, Future)

Let’s look at each of these.

First, why is Old Testament Israel not the bride of Christ? After all, there are a number of verses in the Old Testament where God calls Israel His bride and refers to Himself as the Husband. But there are two reasons Israel is eliminated from being the bride of Christ.

First, it was God the Father, not the Son, Who referred to Israel as His bride. He was never looking for a bride for His Son. In the Old Testament, we do not even see the Son mentioned directly. We only see Him as the pre-incarnate Christ, appearing as the “Angel of the Lord” such as in Genesis 16. But we never see Christ appearing directly as Christ in the Old Testament and never searching for a bride. It was the Father, not the Son, Who referred to Israel as a bride.

But there’s a second reason that shows Israel is not the bride of Christ and it’s a direct statement in Scripture. It’s this statement from John the Baptist. Jesus said of all men in the history of Israel, there was none greater than John the Baptist. If Israel was the bride of Christ, certainly John would be part of that bride, if he’s the greatest. But John specifically said that he was not the bride, in John 3, where he said:

“He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth Him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.” (John 3:29 KJV)

By John’s own words, he said he was not the bride but the friend of the bridegroom. If John, the greatest of all Jews up to that point, is not the bride of Christ, then Israel cannot be the bride of Christ, and they are not.

John said this right before the crucifixion and Pentecost, which eliminates Old Testament Israel and anyone before Pentecost from being the bride. It eliminates our first two other choices and really all three. 

Not the Bride of Christ

X     1. Old Testament Saints (Israel) Only

   2. OT Saints + Church

        3. All Who Are Saved (Past, Present, Future)

But let’s look at this third option a little closer, because there are many who say the bride of Christ is everyone who is ever saved. That would include those saved after the return of Christ during His Millennial Kingdom. But we can prove that this is incorrect by looking at Revelation chapter 21, where it describes the bride of Christ.

In Revelation 21, John is shown a vision of New Jerusalem, a great city descending from heaven after Christ’s 1,000-year reign on Earth, after the Great White Throne Judgment of unbelievers. This great city, New Jerusalem, is specifically referred to using the term, “the bride of Christ.” But the bride of Christ is not a building. It’s not a city. The term “bride of Christ” is used in reference to New Jerusalem because that’s where the bride lives for eternity. That’s where the bride is. Let’s look at:

The Bride
New Jerusalem (Revelation 21)

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.” (Revelation 21:1-3 KJV)

“And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” (Revelation 21:9-14 KJV)

First, notice that nowhere does it specifically say the bride is a city. The city is where the bride lives. It’s like God saying, “Let me show you my servant,” and He points to your house. The house isn’t the servant, but that’s where the servant lives. 

Also, notice that the city has 12 gates, upon which are written the names of the 12 tribes of Israel, and the city has 12 foundations, upon which are written the names of the 12 apostles. This has led many commentators to incorrectly state that it means that all believers of all time are the bride of Christ, across Old Testament and New Testament, even through the Millennial Kingdom. But that’s not what it means. The gates and foundations are just a remembrance, stating the bride is there because of all that God did through Israel and the Apostles. That’s our foundation. That’s what enabled us to get to a point where we could understand Who Christ is so as to believe in Him. It doesn’t mean everyone who is ever saved is the bride of Christ. 

How can we further prove this? By reading the rest of the chapter.

“And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21:22-27 KJV)

First, notice that it says, “the nations of them which are saved” shall walk in the light of it and enter into it. In other words, there are many saved people, referred to as “nations,” who will not live in the New Jerusalem, where the bride lives. Only the bride lives there.

Entire Nations of Saved Believers Will NOT Be Living in New Jerusalem,
Because They Are NOT the Bride

Only the Bride (The NT Church) Will Live in New Jerusalem

But these commentators object to that, saying:

Wouldn’t That Mean There Are Different Classes or Types of Saved People in Heaven?

The answer is a resounding, YES!

Not everyone in heaven will be the same, just as not everyone on Earth is the same. We see this being described in Danial and 1 Corinthians.

“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,
some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament;
and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” (Daniel 12:2-3 KJV)

In our resurrected bodies, we will all shine forth the light of God. Some will shine “as the brightness of the firmament” (or heaven), while those who lived their lives more faithfully on Earth, leading many to righteousness, will shine brighter, “as the stars.”

The Apostle Paul said about the resurrection:

“There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead…” (1 Corinthians 15:41-42 KJV)

Just as God Made Everyone Different in the Church, So Will Be the Resurrection. We will not all be the same.

There will be many people saved, but not all of them are the bride of Christ. That is a special designation of those saved between the first Pentecost after the crucifixion to the rapture, those who placed their faith in Christ between His first and second coming. There are different roles, responsibilities and authorities in heaven. The bride will reign and rule with Christ during the Millennial Kingdom. Not every believer across all time will do that. That doesn’t lessen the value of any saved person before God. It just means they have a different role, a different calling. Just like in the church today, we’re not all pastors of mega-churches, leading massive congregations. We all have been given different gifts, different roles. But we’re all valued by God. So it is in the eternal state. The bride is highly valued by God. But so are the saved nations. There are no second-class citizens of heaven, just different roles, all highly valued.

Also, on our timeline, we’ve already shown in Scripture how the Marriage of the Lamb happens before the return of Christ and before the Millennial Kingdom. During Christ’s 1,000 year Kingdom reign, people will populate the Earth still in mortal bodies and those people need to be saved by faith in Christ just as all believers are saved by faith in Christ. Those people who are saved during the Millennium are clearly not the bride of Christ because the Marriage of the Lamb has already happened. So, all of these three other possibilities for the bride of Christ are eliminated.

On our timeline, the bride of Christ consists of all believers in Christ who are saved in the Church Age, from the first Pentecost to the Rapture, where the Church is removed to be with Christ and will appear before Him at the Judgment Seat of Christ and then the Marriage of the Lamb.

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From the context of Matthew 25 which we just reviewed, we see that the timing of the Parable of the 10 Virgins takes place at the end of the tribulation, just prior to the return of Christ. This means:

The wise virgins are NOT the Church. They are tribulation saints saved by faith, but NOT the Church. They are the bridesmaids, invited to join the Marriage Supper. The Church, the Bride, has already been raptured.

The unwise virgins are also not the Church. They are people during the tribulation who are part of the unbelieving church at that time, who think they are saved, but have no real relationship with Christ and are not saved.

When we think of the marriage of the Lamb and what’s about to take place, we’ve been through a lot of detail here. But it really comes down to a simple question: Are you in this picture at all? Will you be there at the marriage? 

Jesus doesn’t want to catch us by surprise. He wants us to expect His return and He gave us 3 warnings:

BE WATCHFUL

BE READY

BE FAITHFUL

As far as being watchful, we can see history unfolding in the daily news exactly like the Bible describes the events that will take place just prior to the return of Christ. His return is very near and could happen at any time.

The real question is: 

How Do We Make Ourselves Ready?

“Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 24:44 KJV)

My closing wish for you is to make sure you are ready. You do that by making sure you are saved.

Make Sure You Are Saved Right Now!

Jesus said:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me
hath everlasting life.” (John 6:47 KJV)

If you ARE NOT a Christian or if you are UNSURE of your salvation:

CHOOSE TODAY to believe in Christ to save you, believing that He died on the cross to pay for all your sins and rose from the dead to give you eternal life, and that He will not only save you but will keep you saved forever. 

Make sure you are ready to stand before Him.

If you have been practicing sin, put that sin away so that you are not ashamed, finding yourself suddenly standing in His presence.

Whatever you do, and no matter how badly you may have blown it in the past, don’t think for a second that God has given up on you.  

The Lord’s Desire is to Save You!
He is For You, Not Against You.

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9 KJV)

Did you get that? It is not the Lord’s desire that even one person should perish. It is not too late. If you think that, that’s just the enemy talking, trying to get you to give up on God. Don’t give in to that negative thought. God is for you, not against you, and He desires you with an everlasting love. He longs to pour out blessings upon you. Let Him.

So, if you are not 100% sure of your salvation, my closing wish for you is this:

Make Sure You Are Saved Right Now! Don’t put it off.

Salvation = God’s Grace Alone Through Faith Alone In Christ Alone

Believing the Gospel means placing your entire trust in Christ for your salvation, believing that He:

  1. Died for your sins

  2. Was buried 

  3. Rose from the dead

As it says in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.

Nothing more. Nothing less. There are no other requirements to be saved than to believe in Jesus. Once you place your faith in Christ for your salvation, you are born again, and you are forever a child of God. Our Father is a good Father Who will never abandon you but will preserve you in the faith and never let you go. 

If you are not certain about your salvation, time is getting very late. Don’t take the chance of missing out on God. 

Making Sure You Are Saved Is As Easy As ABC

Admit to God that you have sinned.

Believe that Jesus, God’s Son, died to pay for
your sins 100%, was buried and rose from the dead.

Call upon Jesus and ask Him to forgive you and save you.

If you make that decision to call upon Him, God gives you this assurance:

“For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13 KJV)

Thank you for watching.


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