Is the church today the 10 virgins in the parable?
The parable of the 10 virgins is one that generated so much confusion as many have tried to fit it to our timeline and used it for today’s church and related it to a future coming rapture.
As I have previously written in a former post, read here, 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 an undeniable impact on their state of affairs. The route to these 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 commonly 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 endless 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.”
Notice the word “Then”?
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 warning of the parable is not to be muddled by drawing too many spiritual deductions of symbolism of the oil, the sleep, the vessels, and the lamps. The essence of the parable is that of readiness for the bridegroom’s coming. The parable is not addressed to those who have made no preparation for the Lord’s coming but to those who have not made sufficient preparation.
Why were some virgins regarded as foolish? What was it that made them foolish? They were foolish because they were not prepared. The coming of the bridegroom was not to be in a separate generation from those virgins who expected his coming. This clearly refers to those of the first century were unprepared for the Lord’s coming because they were turning back to the Jewish law system.
The persecution and trials in the first century was leading some to fall away from holding to the Apostles teaching. As they turned back to the Jewish system and were in danger of being destroyed in the Jewish war that was looming on them.
If the door was shut, it would look exactly like the story of Noah when the Ark’s door was closed. If they did not flee Jerusalem at the approach of the Roman army, they would all opportunity to escape.
The word used in Matthew 25 for foolish is the Greek word moros. It means dull or stupid. This same word is used in Titus 3.
But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. 10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned. Titus 3:9-11 NKJV
What is referred to as foolish here is the teachings of those who still upheld that circumcision was still relevant in the new covenant. These Judaizers were constantly demanding that the believers keep the Jewish law. Paul dealt much with this subject in the letter to the church Galatia. The Galatians were acting foolish in turning back to the law.
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Yeshua the Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Galatians 3:1-3 ESV
Jesus had told his disciples that he would come in their lifetime, but they did not know the day or hour, so they were to always be watching (Matthew 24 covers that). Those who were wise would be prepared for His coming and would escape the destruction of the city, thus avoid the judgment on that Old Covenant world. If they were foolish and not watching, they would not discern his presence as it be manifest unexpectedly and they would suffer great pain as the city was destroyed. Being foolish would cost them their lives.
You are not the foolish virgin in the direct application of that parable. This is the 21st century and this event has been fulfilled in the first century. The lesson to learn is to be watchful on the promises of God by being occupied with whatever he gives into your hands and not be entangled with anything that will cause you to walk with the former elements of the old covenant.