Preparing for His Coming

MEMORY VERSE: “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” —Matthew 24:42

MATTHEW 25:1-13

THE Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins is part of Jesus’ reply to the disciples’ question, “What shall be the sign of thy coming [Greek, presence] and the end of the world [Greek, age]?” (Matt. 24:3) One of the main lessons of the parable is the one given in our memory verse; namely, that the Lord’s people, represented by the virgins, would not be informed in advance of the day and hour of the Lord’s return, hence that it would be necessary for them to be alert and watching that they might enjoy the blessings provided when he did return and was present with them.

The last verse of the lesson conveys the same thought; that is, the importance of faithfully watching in order to be aware that the “Bridegroom” had arrived and that it was due time for the great feast of truth which was to take place at that time to begin. In the parable the Bridegroom tarries. This evidently expresses the viewpoint of those who were waiting for his return, for actually none of the great features of the divine plan ever tarry. God is an exact timekeeper, and his plans and purposes move forward exactly according to the “due time” which he designed. His people, in their limited understanding of the divine plan, may err in their endeavor to establish dates for important events in the Creator’s grand design, and this often is a great test upon their faith if they fail to realize that it is their timetable that has failed, not the Lord’s.

There are time prophecies in the Bible, but these are given by the Lord, not always to inform his people in advance when the events to which they apply are to take place, but to strengthen their faith in the Word of God when they can look back and see how accurately the time features of the divine plan are being fulfilled. Apparently no one knew in advance of the return of the Lord, but the signs of the times today indicate clearly that he is already present.

The parable is in harmony with this thought. When the Bridegroom finally arrives, the cry of the “virgins” was, according to the Revised Standard Version “Behold the Bridegroom.” (vs. 6) They did not see him coming in advance, but recognized his presence after he arrived. This is in keeping with all the prophecies, both of the Old and New Testaments concerning our Lord’s return and second presence.

Commenting on an ancient wedding in Israel, Edward W. Bauman says, “The climax of the celebration comes when the bridegroom takes his bride from her home to his. A great festal procession occurs, usually at night, amid a swirl of joyful laughter and burning torches. In the parable ten maidens, were waiting to welcome the procession and participate in the ceremonies in the house.”

In the parable only five of the ten virgins were ready to enter the house where the marriage took place. These had been prepared for the long wait for the bridegroom in the sense that they not only had oil in their lamps, but an extra supply in their “vessels.”

The foolish virgins did not have an extra supply of oil, and when their lamps went out they hastened to the market place to obtain a supply. But by the time they returned it was too late. They cried, “Lord, Lord, open to us.” The answer was, “Verily I say unto you, I know you not.” According to the teachings of the denominational churches, this was indeed a harsh reply, for it would imply that for these “foolish virgins” there was no hope of salvation; that the door of divine grace and opportunity had been forever closed to them.

But, thank God, this is not the lesson of the parable! The closed door merely implies the end of the opportunity of becoming associated with Jesus in the work of his thousand-year kingdom, that happy work of blessing all the families of the earth. It will be then that the heavenly Bridegroom, Christ Jesus, and his faithful church, who will then be the “bride,” will “lavish blessings all around”—blessings of happiness, peace, and life—everlasting life to humans on the restored earth.


What is one of the main lessons in the Parable of the Virgins?

Does the “closed door” of this parable denote the end of all opportunity for salvation?

When will mankind in general be given an opportunity to gain life?

Dawn Bible Students Association
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