Parable of Disobedient Believers

Matt 25:1 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like ten virgins who took their lamps to meet the bridegroom.


The Parable of the Ten Virgins by Phoebe Traquair, Mansfield Traquair Church, Edinburgh

Believers in Christ who are eagerly waiting for His second coming are the virgins.

Foolish & Wise

Matt 25:2-4 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolishThose who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

  • Foolish: took their lamps with no oil
  • Wise: took their lamps with oil

Matt 7:24-27 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

We need to understand who is foolish and wise from Christ’s viewpoint using His own words. All who hears His sayings and does them are wise. But those who hears His sayings and does not do them are fools. This is exactly like the wise and foolish virgins.

Both the wise and the foolish man in the other parable built their houses and dwelt on them, just like the wise and foolish virgins were burning their lamp and was ready to meet the bridegroom. However, the wise man who did what Christ told, just like the wise virgins had oil in their lamps. The foolish man did not do what Christ said, just like the foolish virgins did not carry oil in their lamps.

Luke 12:35-40 Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

The burning lamps are again used in an another parable as ‘keeping watch for Him’ and ‘be ready at all times’, just like the virgins prepared to meet the bridegroom with their lamps burning.

Matt 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Hence, the oil are His Words and the burning lamp are the good works that we do by obeying His words, waiting for His second coming.

The Great Delay

Matt 25:5 “But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

Jesus Christ repeatedly mentioned several times that His coming will be delayed (Matt 24:48). When Christ’s second coming is delayed, His people will all slumber and sleep. What does slumber and sleep mean?

John 11:11-14 These things He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.” Then His disciples said, “Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.” However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead.

Matt 9:18-19 While He spoke these things to them, behold, a ruler came and worshiped Him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live.” He said to them, “Make room, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping.” And they ridiculed Him.

Jesus repeatedly mentions death as sleeping. When the Christ’s second coming gets delayed, all those who expect His coming, both the wise and the foolish virgins will eventually die. The foolish didn’t take oil or didn’t obey His words, but the wise not only heard His Words but also obeyed them, able to make their lamp burn even until His coming

Always Have Oil

Matt 25:10 “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.

It is important to note that the foolish virgins did shine for a while before their lamps went off without oil.

Mark 4:14-20 “The sower sows the word. And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble. Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

Similar to the parable of unsaved believers (Mark 4:14-20), where seed represents the word of God, oil in this parable represents His words. There are three groups of believers who will fall away and will not shine righteousness.

  • Allowing devil to take His teachings from the heart leaving without oil for lamp
  • Believe in His teachings for a while but when trouble comes, ignoring to follow His teachings because they don’t know what to follow having no roots, leaving without oil for lamp
  • Believe His teachings but choked with care, riches and pleasures of life, ignoring to follow His teachings having no righteousness shining from the lamp.

These are the foolish virgins who don’t have His words in their heart which is the oil for their lamps. Do not be deceived. You need to have your lamps lit to shine righteousness by obeying His Words when the Bridegroom comes  to go in with Him.

Matt 25:11-12 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.

The foolish virgins came a little later but they were denied entry.

Matt 7:21-23 Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!

The foolish virgins had never obeyed His words to have oil and shine when the Bridegroom comes. They can call Lord, Lord but Christ will declare that He never knew them because they practice iniquity.

Watch therefore …

Matt 25:13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

Once Christ had appeared in the clouds,  you must be ready to meet Him.

Heb 12:14-17 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.

Therefore, keep watch and let your lamp shine righteousness through obedience to His words continually eagerly waiting and always be ready for the Bridegroom.


Without oil in our lamps or without obedience to Christ’s words, we cannot burn our lamps to shine before Him when He comes. All those who reject Christ’s teachings on holiness and the righteous requirements to enter into His kingdom are like the foolish virgins who had no oil on their lamps to burn and shine continually when He comes a second time.

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