And the foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’
(Mat 25:8 NASB)
The parable of the Ten Virgins is probably the most quoted in relation to the Second Appearance of Messiah. First and foremost, it will profit us to recognize that the parables on The Bond-Servants (Mat 24:42-51; Luke 12:35-48), The Ten Virgins (Mat 25:1-13), and The Talents (Mat 25:14-30), are warnings, calling to the Body of Christ to stay awake, and stressing the urgent need to be ALERT and fully prepared for the return of their Bridegroom and Lord (Master).
We gain insight into the need for these warnings if we consider the latter-day prophetic foreshadows related by Messiah and the Apostles. First of all, we do not know the exact day and hour of The Day of the Lord, for distress and a time of persecution will come suddenly, like birth pangs upon a woman, (Mat 24:42-43; Luke 12:38-40; 1 Thes 5:1-8). Secondly, Scripture clearly states that judgment starts with the household of God, as explained by the apostle Peter, ‘For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?’ (1 Peter 4:17). [See also Matt 24:9-13 & Acts 14:22.] Finally, we are also prophetically warned that many false prophets will arise in the latter-days, introducing refined deception which would deceive, if possible, even the very elect, (Mat 24:4-5; 24:10-12; 24:24; 2 Thes 2:7-12).
Virgins are without doubt believing saints. The apostle Paul defines the virgin state of every Believer as follows, ‘For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin,’ (2 Cor 11:2). In this passage, Paul encourages the Believers in Corinth to remain true to Messiah, and not to ‘be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.’ This devotion is clearly linked to the mind of the Believer, for Paul warns that just as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, the virgin (pure) in Christ will be tempted to go astray. Each one should practice discernment in three major areas as false teachers present, ‘another Jesus, a different spirit, and a different gospel,’ (2 Cor 11:3-4). This passage, in essence, calls the virgin (pure) to cling to Christ in simplicity and purity, staying alert in discerning false doctrines and teachings, (1 Tim 4:1; 1 John 4:1).
The lamps filled with oil are provided as equipment for discernment to keep the virgins (the pure) alert and ready to meet their Bridegroom. The lamp and the oil cannot be separated, for together they provide the light needed to find their way through the darkness ahead, for a lamp without oil cannot provide light! The lamp in this parable is the Word of God, as explained by the Psalmist, ‘Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path’ (Ps 119:105), and clarified by Solomon, ‘For the commandment is a lamp, and the teaching is light; and reproofs for discipline are the way of life,’ (Prov 6:23).
The oil, on the other hand, is the anointing of the Spirit of God, giving life to His written Word, as explained by the apostle John, ‘And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him,’ (1 John 2:27). Truly, the Spirit and the Word of God seems to be inseparable, hence the terms ‘sword of the Spirit’ (Heb 4:12; Eph 6:17), and ‘Spirit of truth’ (John 14:17; John 15:26), more clearly stated by Messiah, ‘It is the Spirit who gives life, the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you is spirit and are life’ (John 6:63), and affirmed by the apostle John, ‘And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth,’ (1 John 5:7).
Knowing the Word of God will not be sufficient for the difficult times approaching. What distinguishes the five wise virgins from the five foolish virgins in this parable is not the lamps, but the oil! They all kept their lamps ready, yet half of the virgins were ready to enter the time of distress with ‘extra oil,’ while the other half had no oil to trim their lamps. This parable calls all virgins, or believing saints, to know the Word; yet also, to a deeper and more dependent ‘walk with the Spirit,’ (Rom 8:1-8; Gal 5:1-18). It seems clear that these foolish virgins will not be able to aptly discern, and will want the wise virgins to equip them during this time of distress (night); YET, there will be no time to do so, and they will be sent away to purchase their own oil!
And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God.
For the eyes of the Lord moves to and fro throughout the earth that He might strongly support those whose heart is completely His.
(2 Chron 16:9)