Skip to content
PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS: THE MARRIAGE MOTIF
To understand the parable of the ten virgins given in Matthew 25 one must appreciate the fact that the parable does not stand out on its own. The eschatological discourse would be seen when you read in context from Matthew 22.
Jesus gives his audience important information that they needed to embrace as it would to events that were to happen in their time and age. These events would totally reshape their entire Jewish world and scope of life. These events when it occurred would make undeniable impact on their state of affairs. The route to things being fulfilled would involve the judgment of the Jewish religious leadership, Roman-Jewish conflict, persecution of Christ followers and subsequent destruction of the temple and land.
Matthew 24 is recognized as the Olivet discourse that unveils the greatest prophecy given by Jesus that signaled the end of that (Jewish) age though it is wrongly translated as “world” in the KJV. This has caused many to make predictions of forever coming Antichrists, raptures, global tribulations etc. As I would like to call it, Matthew 24 is the obituary of the Old covenant world.
As Matthew 24 transitions in 25 it is very important to take note of the first verse;
“THEN the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them,4 but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps.”
This suggests that the events given in the parable would follow that of the previous chapter.
After the destruction of the city in judgment comes the wedding feast.
The motif is not only common the place in Matthew’s gospel.
I will also share 2 other instance where the judgment/Marriage motif can be seen in eschatological perspective.
The first one comes in Matthew 21:1-10
Jesus spoke1 to them again in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven can be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his slaves1 to summon those who had been invited to the banquet, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Look! The feast I have prepared for you is ready. My oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.”’ 5 But they were indifferent and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. 6 The rest seized his slaves, insolently mistreated them, and killed them. 7 The king was furious! He sent his soldiers, and they put those murderers to death and set their city on fire. 8 Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but the ones who had been invited were not worthy. 9 So go into the main streets and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ 10 And those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all they found, both bad and good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
From the parable above we can see this wedding prepared by God for Jesus his son, the bride. Those first invited were the Jews as Paul would confirm that the gospel was preached to the Jews before the gentiles were invited in.
Many of those Jews were invited but they turned down this invitation to keep to their preoccupation. They didn’t stop there was they also pursued the disciple beat, scourged and killed them.
This parable was fulfilled post-cross in AD30. It was a parable with prophetic elements telling them the course of events that would lead to the destruction of the city in AD70. Notice in the parable that after the city was burnt down the marriage ceremony took place.
Another scripture that supports this judgment/marriage trend can be seen in Revelation 19:1-3, 6-8
1 After these things I heard what sounded like the loud voice of a vast throng in heaven, saying,
“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
2 because his judgments are true and just.
For he has judged the great prostitute
who corrupted the earth with her sexual immorality,
and has avenged the blood of his servants poured out by her own hands!”
6 Then I heard what sounded like the voice of a vast throng, like the roar of many waters and like loud crashes of thunder. They were shouting:
For the Lord our God, the All-Powerful, reigns!
7 Let us rejoice and exult
and give him glory,
because the wedding celebration of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.
8 She was permitted to be dressed in bright, clean, fine linen” (for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints).
The judgment of God over Babylon was actually the destruction of the city of Jerusalem AD70.
This first confirms what Jesus said in Matthew 23:34-38
34 “For this reason I am sending you prophets and wise men and experts in the law, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town, 35 so that on you will come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 I tell you the truth, this generation will be held responsible for all these things!
37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would have none of it! 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate!
Jerusalem was the one drunk with the blood of the saints sent to her.
6 I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints and the blood of those who testified to Jesus. I was greatly astounded when I saw her. (Revelation 17:6)
24 The blood of the saints and prophets was found in her, along with the blood of all those who had been killed on the earth.” (Revelation 18:24)
John confirms the identity of the great harlot, that great city as Jerusalem
8 Their corpses will lie in the street of the great city that is symbolically called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was also crucified.(Revelation 11:8)
After that judgment in Revelation what follows immediately is the marriage supper of the Lord. I grew up believing that the marriage of the Lord would take place at the end of time. We even sang songs of those future promises. What we didn’t realize is that we are stating that the church and Christ have been in courtship for the past 2,000 years. Many of us would even frown at the idea of a 15 years courtship.
The marriage supper was eager expectation of the church in that 1stcentury. Paul knew his role in ministry to keep the bride prepared for the soon to come marriage.
“For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.” (II Corinthians 11:2)
“Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.” (Romans 7:4)
Interpreting that parable of the ten virgins as a rapture theory will only seek to pull part scripture to establish a man-made philosophy and disregard the consistency of God’s word. The virgins simply represent those Jews who expecting the Messiah.
The door was shut against the foolish just like the days of Noah when they refused to heed his message and those people perished in that old world. Noah and his family transited into the new world where he received the dominion mandate from God.
Those whose oil finished represented those who knowledge and insight based on the Old covenant could not carry them over into the kingdom. While those wise virgins were those who embraced the revelation of Jesus and that insight and revelation was enough to see them transit into the established kingdom of God on earth. Now we are in that new covenant age where Jesus is our husband and he does a good job taking care of his body the church. The church just needs to learn to live as the bride. This is the very essence of the grace message.
Saints today don’t need to be afraid of half of the church being raptured and the other half left behind. It has always been by grace. No one can buy his salvation by good works and no one called a “tribulation saint” would pay for his salvation through his own blood.
We have been redeemed by his own precious blood to live in the Father’s family. The bride is now past the marriage ceremony and its time to enjoy the beautiful home.