Parable of the Ten Virgins: Matthew 25:1-13

Christ gave several parables about the kingdom of heaven during His first coming nearly 2,000 years ago. The parable of the ten virgins always caught my attention because it came after Matthew 24, which is one of the most important end time Bible prophecy chapters. A reader asked me a while back to give my thoughts on the parable of the ten virgins so I will provide my view about the parable of the ten virgins in this article.

The Ten Virgins

Christ began the parable by mentioning that there were ten virgins that each possessed a lamp. Christ labeled five of the virgins as “wise” and five of the virgins as “foolish”. The foolish virgins were the ones who were unprepared since they failed to take oil for their lamp with them:

(1) Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. (2) And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. (3) They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: (4) But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. (5) While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. (6) And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. (7) Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. (8) And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. (9) But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.” (Matthew 25:1-9)

The five foolish virgins’ unpreparedness cost them dearly. The Lord rejected them and told them He did not “know” them:

(10) And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. (11) Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. (12) But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.” (Matt 25:10-12)

Christ concluded the parable of the ten virgins with a call to watch events because the time of His coming is unknown:

Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 25:13)

Parable of the Ten Virgins Meaning

I believe the main message of the parable of the ten virgins is to always watch events so that you are not caught off-guard as the time of Christ’s coming approaches. This is perhaps why Christ ended the parable with a reminder to keep “watch”.

I do not believe the fact that there were an equal number of wise and foolish virgins has a lot of significance. I do not believe we are going to see a situation where 50% of Christians are rejected from entering the kingdom of heaven.

I believe it is significant that Christ characterized the five virgins who did not bring oil with them as “foolish”. This seems to be an indirect way of Christ stating that it is foolish to not prepare for the future. This attitude towards people who fail to prepare is consistent with Proverbs 22:3. Proverbs 22:3 labels those who take action after foreseeing trouble as wise/prudent and those who fail to take action as simple/foolish:

“A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.” (Proverbs 22:3)

You are at risk spiritually if you are unprepared for future events. Christ illustrated this when describing the fate of the five foolish virgins. For these virgins’ inability to prepare they were prevented from entering the kingdom of heaven. Similarly, the spiritual cost could be high if you fail to prepare yourself for the future, as you may be vulnerable to succumbing to Satan’s lying signs and wonders.

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Wayne Croley
Wayne Croley

Hi! I’ve studied and written about Bible prophecy since I was a teenager. My goal is to make Bible prophecy easy for you to understand while avoiding the sensationalism seen elsewhere. I am the author of several end time books, including Prophecy Proof Insights on the End Times, a comprehensive book about the end times. I hold an M.B.A. and degrees in Managerial Economics and Political Science.


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  1. Oil signifies the Spirit of God (Jesus).
    Man is a vessel for God and man´s personality is in his soul.
    Having oil in their lamps signifies that they have
    the Spirit of God dwelling in their Spirit (they´re true christians and saved). Having oil in their vessels signifies that they have the fullness of the Spirit of God saturating their souls. (This is a long process, by living through Jesus)
    The Door is not the door of salvation, but the door to enjoyment with the Lords marriage feast.
    (Rev 19:9)

  2. I agree wholeheartedly. Also, the 5 wise virgins took oil, not bread or meat or something else. They were spiritually prepared. Those of us who recognize the times we live in, should remind the 5 foolish virgins to buy oil now. (if you get my meaning!)