Dr. Jack L. Arnold Lesson
TRUE AND FALSE
- Since I have been doing this series of messages on
the Olivet Discourse, I have asked myself, “Why do I believe in the coming
of Christ for His Church when most people do not care about it at
all?” I concluded that I
believe because I have been regenerated by God’s Spirit and have been give
the capacity to understand God’s Word. Those who have been born of God really look for the
coming of Christ.
- But then I have said, “How is it that many professing
Christians give assent to the coming of Christ but have no real desire to
live for Jesus Christ now?”
It is to this problem that the parable of the Ten Virgins or Ten
Maidens is addressed. Jesus
Christ Himself will answer the problem of why so many believe that Christ
is coming again but show no real desire in their Christian experience to
crown Christ as Lord of their lives.
- This is a difficult parable and it is not easy to get
every detail to make sense, for parables are designed to teach a general
truth. The parable of the Ten
Maidens is given to teach the necessity of watching for the return of
Christ. The spiritual lesson
in this parable is that men are to know they are saved by Christ, living
in the realm of spiritual reality, rather than lost, living merely on the
strength of human resources.
DESIGNATION OF THE TEN MAIDENS -- Matthew 25:1
- “Then” -- The
“then” tells us that there is no chapter break between chapters 24 and
25. Therefore we conclude
that this parable is designed for those who live in the intervening time
between our Lord’s first coming and the second coming. It is clearly intended to show the
Christian how he should watch until the Lord returns. If we miss the point of this
parable, we shall be unable to watch for Christ’s coming
as He desires us to watch.
- “Shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto..” -- Christ
uses this parable to show that one’s entrance into the future kingdom is
related to his personal faith in Christ and his desire to do the will of
- “Ten virgins (maidens), which took their lamps and
went forth to meet the bridegroom.”
- The Lord chooses to use a wedding scene as a
parable to illustrate what He means by the command to be constantly
watching. He does not
mention the bride, for she is not central to the purpose of this
parable. Christ focuses
attention on the bridegroom and the ten young ladies who were invited to
the marriage. NOTE: By parable, the bridegroom is
Christ and the bride (who is not mentioned but implied) is the
Church. The Ten Maidens
represent the visible Church on earth with its earnest and
careless members. The coming
of the bridegroom illustrates the coming of Christ for the Church at the
Rapture. On the surface all
the maidens are looking for the return of the bridegroom or Christ.
- We must understand the marriage customs of the Jews
in those to appreciate this parable. In oriental marriages the bridegroom rather than the
bride is the center of attention.
Weddings were always held at night and the bridegroom would go to
the home of the bride to take her to the wedding. In the bride’s home would be ten
maidens attending her. When
the bridegroom came, the maidens would be shooed out of the house and the
bridegroom and bride would spend time alone together. These ten maidens would wait for
the bridegroom outside of the bride’s home The bridegroom would then
leave the bride’s home with
his bride and go to hishome or his parent’s home for the marriage
and the marriage feast. The
ten maidens would lead the way with their lamps as the lovers to be wed
walked through the dark streets to the place of the marriage.
DESCRIPTION OF THE TEN MAIDENS
Matthew 25: 2, 4
- “And five of them were wise, and five were
foolish.” -- While all ten of the
maidens have some understanding of the coming of the bridegroom, Christ, they are divided into two
groups. Each group has a
distinct conduct while they are waiting. Obviously the five wise virgins are intended to
represent Spirit-indwelt, consecrated believers. The five foolish ones are just as clearly intended to
represent unbelievers, for the Lord says to them, “I do not know you” (25:12). The foolish are mere professors who have only an
- “They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no
oil with them: But the wise
took oil in their vessels with their lamps.” -- The “lamps” are symbolic of the outward marks of
the Christian life. All ten
maidens have a doctrinal understanding of the coming of Christ but the
foolish maidens have no oil for their lamps and could not be light to the
world. They only have an
external religion with no reality.
They have an outward form of godliness but deny the power thereof
(II Tim. 3:5). POINT: There are many professing
Christians who have a head knowledge of Christian
doctrine but have never really been regenerated by the Spirit of God. With their lips they talk of
Christ, but their hearts are from Him.
DEPARTURE OF THE TEN MAIDENS
Matthew 25:5, 6
- “While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and
- No explanation is given as to why the bridegroom
tarried. This seems,
however, to be another hint from the Lord that His absence would be long
extended, and history bears this out. It has been almost two-thousand
years. But He is
coming! NOTE There are good reasons why
the Lord Jesus has tarried.
He must accomplish His plans and purposes for this earth in this
present age. The gospel must
be declared to the world, the elect must all be called in, God’s purposes
with His people must come to pass, and His general plan for the world
must be accomplished. Then
He will return.
- Notice carefully that all ten of the maidens fell
asleep while the bridegroom tarried. However, the context does not indicate sin or
negligence on the part of the maidens. There is no hint of rebuke or disapproval expressed by
the Lord for their sleeping.
It was a natural thing to do, for it was night and the
bridegroom was delayed.
Perhaps the Lord is teaching us something about how we are to
watch for His return. This
may indicate that the Lord does not mean unceasing, conscious,
anticipation of His return.
This is, we are not always to be watching
as a sentry would stand on duty.
If the Christian is constantly looking into the sky for Christ’s
return, then he will never get anything done in life. Our Lord must mean that watching
involves an inner awareness of His coming, but also allows time for
normal activities. Money to
be made, investments looked into, food cooked, babies washed, school
lessons prepared, weddings held and funerals attended. All the usual activities of life
must go on as we are watching for Christ’s return. NOTE: While we are
waiting and engaged in the normal activities of life, there is no need to
feel guilty because we have not been thinking of the Lord’s return. It is quite possible to be so
heavenly minded that a person is no earthly good.
- “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the
bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.” -- All ten of the maidens are awakened by the
midnight call that the bridegroom was coming. NOTE: This is the call of Christ who will call the Church to
be with Himself (I Thess. 4:16-18).
Perhaps the cry will be, “Church, com home!” or “Behold, the Bridegroom!”
DIFFERENCE IN THE TEN VIRGINS -- Matthew
- “Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their
lamps.” -- Upon the arrival
of the bridegroom the ten maidens began to trim their lamps but the lamps
of the foolish maidens immediately go out. A wick without oil may give off a momentary light but
then there is a puff of smoke and the light is snuffed out. NOTE: The foolish are those who profess
Christ but have no personal relationship with Him and have no real desire
to keep the eternal moral law of God. Did not they go forth to meet the Bridegroom? Yes, but that does not make them
saved persons. Their
profession was empty. NOTE: The temporary light of the foolish
maidens represents the ordinary lives of unsaved church members. There is no reality of salvation,
externalism but no power, religion but no
regeneration, churchianity but not Christianity, human works and not
Spirit-works. This facade,
the external veneer will go up like a puff of smoke when the Lord returns.
- “And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us you 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.”
The foolish maidens panic when they realize their
profession of Christ is phony and empty with no reality. Then they attempt to borrow oil from
the wise maidens.
Oil in the Bible is often used symbolically of the Holy
Spirit. In this context, it refers
to the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit that enables a true Christian to
shine as a light to the world all the days of his life (Romans 8:9). The foolish maidens had no oil, and it
is the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit that distinguishes an unbeliever
from a believer.
When Christ appeared, the foolish maidens realized that
they did not have the Holy Spirit and are unsaved. Immediately they try to borrow oil from the wise maidens,
but the wise maidens refuse to give it. This refusal to give the oil indicates, not want of will but
want of power. Why? Because each person must experience the
new birth for himself. The
indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in the sense of genuine regeneration
must be an individual matter. Each person in this world must be saved personally and individually
by Christ. A person must
accept the gift of salvation and the indwelling of the Sprit for himself.
DIVISION OF THE TEN MAIDENS
- “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 maidens
were attempting to find oil, the bridegroom comes and takes the wise
maidens to the wedding. And
he shuts the door. NOTE: These unbelieving, professing
Christians were left out of the Rapture of the true Church because they
were not ready to meet the Lord.
Christ shut the door on them.
- “Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord,
Lord, open to us.” -- When the
foolish maidens finally arrive, the door is shut to them. They obviously had not found any
oil and were not permitted to go to the marriage. NOTE: The person who does not have the
permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit is shut out from heaven and the
presence of Christ. In terms
of the five foolish maidens, they were fairly well informed in regard to
the Lord’s return, but they were not “born again” people. When the warning came, they turned
away to seek something which would admit them to the privileges
of the redeemed but just as they turned away, the moment of the
Rapture came and they were on the outside. No matter how much they wanted to go to the wedding
they could not for they were not saved.
- “But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I
know you not.” -- When the
foolish maidens want in, The bridegroom claims
that He never really knew them.
They were not really saved. NOTE: Our Lord gives a faithful, honest revelation of the
reality of Christ in their lives.
He simply reveals what has been in their hearts all along. These folks were strangers to
Christ no matter how much doctrine they knew or religion they
professed. NOTE: Christ is speaking about
professing Christians who do not know Him intimately as the living
Lord. They have only a
superficial knowledge of scriptural truth. They have human commitment rather than divine
enablement. They have
religious morality without the new nature from God. They have the Bible but not the
Lord of the Bible. Orthodox
knowledge is worthless unless it leads to the surrender of self to
Christ. It is those who do
the will of the Father who are genuinely saved (Matthew 7:21-23). NOTE: Christ is talking about desire to
do the will of God, not perfection.
No one can be perfect but all Christians must desire to do the will
of God, no matter how many times they stumble in their attempts to do the
will of God. Is your motive
to do the will of God? It is, you have the Holy Spirit in you.
VII. THE DEMAND
OF CHRIST -- Matthew 25:13
- A. “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor
the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” -- Christ commands and demands the true
Christians be constantly watching for His return. We are to watch by knowing we have
received Christ and show a desire to do the will of God.
- Christ is the final judge and He will show men what
they really are. The door
will be shut to the rank rejecter, who never tried to get in, and to the
foolish person who never took Christ seriously.
- What an awful thing! To be raised in a Christian culture, bred in a
Christian home, confirmed, baptized and convinced of certain doctrinal
truths, even the second coming of Christ and still not be saved. How awful it will be for some who
are loyal churchmen to hear the words, “I never knew you!” Examine yourself to see if you be in the Faith.
If not, flee immediately to Christ who alone can save you. If Christ is your Lord and Savior,
someday you shall hear the words, “Behold, the Bridegroom!”