Wise and Foolish Virgins (Mat. 25:1-13)

© 2012 Tony Garlanda

Working our way through Matthew 24, now into Matthew 25.

  1. The context: Jesus is responding to questions posed by the disciples in verse 3 concerning events yet future to their day.

    1. The destruction of the Jewish temple.
    2. The sign of his coming.
    3. And of the end of the age.
  2. Remarks are associated with His Second Coming in Judgment at the end of this age.

  3. These passages do not concern Jesus' coming for the Church at the rapture.

  4. Failure to make this distinction = confusion.

Today's passage (Mathew 25:1-13)

Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him! ’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out. ’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘ No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves. ’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us! ’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you. ’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.1

The shift from information to application.

Series of warnings to those who profess to follow Christ.

  1. As in the days of Noah (Mat. 24:37-44).

    Not watching, house broken into by the thief, taken in judgment.

  2. Faithful and evil servant (Mat. 24:45-51).

    Master delayed, stops watching, parties with the culture, opposes faithful servants: cut in two and lumped with hypocrites, weeping and gnashing of teeth.

  3. Wise and foolish virgins (Mat. 25:1-13) — today's passage.

    Unprepared, shut out from the wedding feast, "I do not know you."

  4. Parable of Talents (Mat. 25:14-30).

    Unprofitable servant cast into outer darkness, weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Describing conditions associated with the previous context.

Separate destinies.

Separation based on two categories: the saved and the unsaved.

Who are the virgins?

  1. Marriage roles - 5 important participants.

  2. Early Jewish wedding practices.

    1. Scriptural correspondence.

      1. Paying the bride price.
        • “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Ac 20:28).
      2. Preparing the place.
        • “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn 14:2–3).
      3. Wedding ceremony.
        • “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready” (Re 19:7).
        • Notice this occurs prior to the return of Jesus later in the same chapter.
      4. Wedding feast: “And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son...” (Mt 22:1–2).
        • Many are invited - it is not just a wedding, but the festival or banquet celebrating the marriage which came before.
        • Faith of a gentile centurion who believed Jesus could heal at a distance in comparison with the lack of faith in Israel.
          • “When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”” (Mt 8:10–12).
        • Also mentioned here: γαμους [gamous], plural form of γαμος [gamos] denoting “a wedding or marriage festival, a wedding banquet, a wedding feast.”
          • Notice after the marriage of the bride in Rev. 19:7 the text refers to others invited to the marriage supper or feast.
            • “Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God”” (Re 19:9).
        • Possibly a celebration of communion.
          • “When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes”” (Lk 22:14–18).



1.NKJV, Mat. 25:1-13
2.A typological hint as to the bride of the Lamb can also be found in a study of the book of Ruth. The story involves Naomi (a Jew), Ruth (a Gentile), and Boaz (the kinsman-redeemer, see commentary on Revelation 5:1). Through the sequence of events recorded in the book, Boaz (who represents the Messiah) takes Ruth as his Gentile bride (representing the Church) and Naomi (representing Israel) is restored to her land.
3.Ref-0202, p. 407
4.There is considerable variation among commentators concerning the actual steps in Jewish wedding ceremonies in Biblical times. Some hold that these virgins are waiting to accompany the groom prior to the marriage to fetch the bride from her house and return to the groom's (father's) house. Others hold that the marriage has already been performed and these are waiting to be invited to the subsequent marriage feast. “The presentation of the bride to the bridegroom would be made in a private inner chamber. At the conclusion of the presentation ceremony, the assembled guests would eagerly await the appearance of the bridegroom with his bride. In the Lord's parable ten virgins had been invited as guests and were awaiting the appearance of the bridegroom with his bride.”3
5.Ref-0220, pp. 162-163
6.Compare with Rev. 7 and 14.


NKJVUnless indicated otherwise, all Scripture references are from the New King James Version, copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Ref-0202Dwight J. Pentecost, The Words and Works of Jesus Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981).
Ref-0220Renald E. Showers, Maranatha: Our Lord, Come! (Bellmawr, NJ: The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, 1995). [www.foigm.org].

Links Mentioned Above
a - See http://www.spiritandtruth.org/id/tg.htm.