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The Mistakes of the Five Foolish Virgins

We continue to look at what Jesus taught about the Last Days and His Second Coming. The Lord told a parable about ten virgins (we would call them bridesmaids today) waiting to light up the way for the Bridegroom, a picture of the Lord Jesus in His coming. All ten were asleep before He came, but five had brought extra oil, while the five foolish prepared nothing extra. They were surprised to find out the Bridegroom came so late at night. Here’s the second part of the parable:


7“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ 9“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ 10“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. 11“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ 12“But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ 13“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour” (Matthew 25:1-13).


I began working with my father on his commercial fishing boat at age 17, but it was dangerous because, in my younger years, I had not learned to swim. Then came a time when I fell overboard and nearly drowned. My mistake was putting off learning and not expecting to have to swim. Fishermen don't expect that they would ever fall into the water. This foolish lack of action is the same mistake the five unwise virgins made. They always meant to get their lives right and prepare themselves with more oil. But they never did anything to prepare for the eventuality that their lamp would need to be alight, perhaps thinking that the bridegroom’s coming would be while it was still daytime. This need for action before the coming of Christ is the primary emphasis of the parable—do not put off your preparation for the Bridegroom's arrival. Be ready and always on the watch, because you do not know the day or the hour” (Matthew 25:13).


Hell is populated with people that had good intentions. They may have heard of Christ and even made a goal of getting their lives right with Him, and then suddenly came a time when they needed to know Him, and it was too late. On that day, many will come to the door only to find it shut, and the Master at the door will tell them that He doesn't know them. I can’t imagine their faces when they see the door closed on them. You must decide what you will do with the claims of Christ before that day. Many intend to turn their lives over to Christ but put off the heart-change preparation. I am afraid they will be shut out of eternal joy.


Another mistake they made was thinking they could come later and find the door still open. When the foolish virgins finally arrived, they were surprised to see no entrance for them. Some Bible teachers say there will be a second opportunity after the Church is taken out of the way—do not believe it! Do not contemplate any thought in your mind that there will still be an opportunity to get in after Jesus comes for His Church in the rapture—the door was shut (v. 10). This parable teaches that there will be no time whatsoever between the coming of the bridegroom and the shutting of the door.


Think of the anguish of those who put off getting their lives right with God. You may say, "Why didn’t the wise share their oil? That's not very Christian of them!" A relationship with God cannot be on your terms; God requires you to come and receive forgiveness of sin on His terms through the substitutionary death of Christ. William Barclay said, "A man cannot borrow a relationship with God. He must possess it for himself. A man cannot borrow a character; he must be clothed with it. The time to make sure you are ready is now.” Click the following link if you are not ready for that day: How Do I Become a Christian? Keith Thomas


To study this topic in-depth, go to the All Studies box at, click on the Parables of Jesus, and then click on the Parable of the Ten Virgins.


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