A parable takes a non-personal real life situation and uses it as an illustration to teach a specific spiritual truth.
The illustration itself is only a teaching aid and not designed to identify or correlate with any other place a similar illustration or symbol may occur.
Every parable has one major spiritual truth to relate and each detail in the illustration works together to highlight that spiritual truth without drawing significant attention to itself.
The Ten Virgins
The illustration says:
If you are not prepared when the groom comes you don’t get to go into the wedding feast.
The Spiritual truth taught is:
If you are not prepared when Jesus comes back at the Day of the Lord,
you will not go up at the gathering of the elect.
That is all there is to it.
The context which begins back at Matthew 24:1 makes the coming of the Lord the primary subject matter of the discourse, and Mat 25:31 keeps that the subject. The parable is in between and is STILL talking about WHEN the Lord returns.
The only coming that is in view is that of Matthew 24:29-31 when Jesus descends in the clouds of the sky and the elect are raptured from the earth as verses 37-42 indicate. The whole focus in verses 32-42 is being prepared for His coming.
That then is the significance of the parable.
There is no significance to the number 10, or to the virgins,
or to the 5 and 5.
There is no significance to the oil except that it represents the issue of being prepared, as does the word, wise.
There is no significance to the wedding feast; that is simply the backdrop for the “everyday” illustration.
In the illustration, preparation is by having light so you can see your way to the house. Preparation in the spiritual counterpart is simply salvation relationship with God through trust in Jesus as savior.
There is no need to give significance to the details of the illustration, for they only distract from the main issue in view.
What is significant is that those who are unprepared are not relegated to the eternal fire as in many of the other parables (Mat. 24:51; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 25:30), but simply excluded from the blessing illustrated by the wedding feast.
The expression, “I do not know you,” is significant in that it communicates RELATIONSHIP. The foolish virgins are not allowed into the feast because the groom does not know them. I suppose we could speculate as to why they would want to get in if they don’t know him, but maybe it was a “freemeal” type thing. Anyway, their carelessness would indicate their basic indifference and the fact that they have no PERSONAL reason to be diligent. Thus, he does not know them.
So it is that those who are not prepared for the coming of the Lord through a salvation relationship with Him will be not be accepted; they will be left behind on the earth, while those who are prepared will be gathered as at Mat. 24:31 and 1 Thes. 4:13-17.
There are several ideas associated with the word - know.
Since God is omniscience, He certainly knows ABOUT everyone from eternity past.
Since the statement is made, "I do not know you," it is obvious that this does not refer to the fact that God knows ABOUT them.
It refers instead to a specialized relationship knowledge that exists between God and the one who trusts in God's policy for relationship; faith in Christ.
The same thing is taught at Mat. 7:21-23. The phrase, "I never knew you," refers to the same fact and status that there is no relationship knowledge that the Father has toward the lawless ones.
Those who trust in Christ enter into a relationship of mutual "knowing" between that believer and the Godhead.
Galatians 4:8-9 uses the phrase, "when you did not know God" to refer to the status of unbelief. And then, "but now that you have come to know God," indicates the status of belief and therefore a relationship with God.
And then Paul EQUATES this salvation-knowledge of God with the reciprocal or mutual salvation-knowledge that God has with the believer.
The phrase, "or rather to be known by God," indicates what it means to be in a salvation relationship with God; He KNOWS US.
This goes far beyond the idea of knowledge ABOUT them. And it even goes beyond the FOREKNOWLEDGE of God, as this is not talking about what God has FOREKNOWN, but rather it is talking about a PRESENT intimate relationship knowledge that exists based on the volitional response of the the person who trusts in Christ. The phrase, "having come to know" is from the verb, ginosko as an aorist active indicative and it describes the point of time that the person entered into what is called a "saving knowledge" of God. And it at that very same point of time that God reciprocally entered into a knowing relationship with that person. The phrase, "having come to be known by God," is the aorist PASSIVE indicative of the same verb to indicate an action "made" upon the one who believes. The believer not only ACTIVELY comes to know God with regard to a salvation relationship, but also PASSIVELY comes to be known BY GOD, as God now has a relationship knowledge with them. This is what it means to be children of God.
The spiritual truth in the context of the Day of the Lord arrival of Jesus “after the tribulation of those days,” is that when those who are prepared (the elect) are gathered at the rapture, the ones who are unprepared will remain on the earth to undergo the Day of the Lord judgments. Yet they still find grace in that experience by having opportunity to trust in Christ as do the 144,000 Jewish bondservants of Revelation 7:1-8.
©Ron Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com.
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