When Jesus taught the Parable of the Ten Virgins, He chose His words carefully when He prophesied that His people would be waiting a long time before His Second Coming. He said, “The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep" (Matthew 25:5). The darkness has descended on us and, for the most part, the Church is asleep:
1“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ 7“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps (Matthew 25:1-7).
Some say that the church needn’t prepare for the night because the Lord will come for them before the darkness sets in. In the parable, Jesus said that the Bridegroom would not come until midnight (v. 6). Would you say that the Church worldwide is ready for the darkness of nighttime? How should believers of today prepare for the onset of darkness?
All ten virgins represent those who profess to be believers, but some have the light of life while others do not. Some people are empty lampstands that do not bear the light of Christ’s life. In any local church, there are good actors and hypocrites. Judas acted the part of a disciple but never truly repented—he was a hypocrite, an actor on the stage of life (John 12:4-6, John 6:70-71). Only those who have genuinely repented (turned around from sin) and received Christ and the provision of His Spirit are lights in the world (Matthew 5:14). “The human spirit is the lamp of the LORD that sheds light on one’s inmost being” (Proverbs 20:27). Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12). The five wise virgins represent true believers. The oil in their lamps represents the Holy Spirit in them, and the Scriptures teach that no one can be a true believer without having the Holy Spirit:
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13).
All ten virgins fell asleep when the darkness descended. We might not know everything our enemy is planning as he increases the darkness over men’s souls, but our part is to be ready, awake, watchful, and concentrate on being lights in the world to those around us. The spiritual darkness in our day has incrementally descended to the point that many in our day are saying that those holding forth the light of God's truth are foolish. They say that those who call themselves Christians are out of step with today’s reality, and we should give up the idea that Christ will come and set things right. The world admonishes those who are spiritually awake to "go back to sleep:"
3Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation" (2 Peter 3:3-4).
But there will come a day that will catch unbelievers asleep, and, to their horror, the Lord will shut the door. Let's look some more at that topic tomorrow. Keith Thomas