Parable of Losing Salvation

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

2Cor 11:2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

We are the virgins who must present ourselves to the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.

Prov 20:27 The spirit of a man is the lamp of the LORD, Searching all the inner depths of his heart.

Rev 4:5 And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

Lamps in the Bible represents the spirit. Here, the lamps held by the virgins is our spirit.

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

Isa 62:1 For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace, And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, Until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, And her salvation as a lamp that burns.

The burning lamp represents our salvation and the brightness of the light is our righteousness.

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?

1Thess 5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.

Sleeping is not being watchful and not expecting Christ’s second coming. Due to the delay in Jesus Christ’s second coming, all will eventually sleep and will be not expect Christ to appear anytime soon.

Christ’s Second Coming

Matt 25:6-9 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’

Suddenly, when no one expected, Jesus Christ appears in Heaven and all prepared to meet Him by trimming their lamps. The lamps of the foolish virgins were going out and they had no oil, but the wise had oil and were able to burn their lamps continually without going out.

What is the oil?

The burning lamp representing salvation shines righteousness. When no light comes from the lamp, there is no righteousness to shine resulting in losing salvation (i.e, lamp getting off). If lamp represents our spirit, what must be in our spirit for us to shine righteousness?

Matt 7:24,26 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 … Everyone who hears these words of mine, and doesn’t do them will be like a foolish man, who built his house on the sand.

Christ Himself gives a clue that those who hears His sayings and does them are wise. All those who consider themselves to be saved by His grace through faith, yet rejecting Christ’s teachings on righteousness as works are like the foolish virgins. Hence, the oil in the parable of Jesus Christ is His words that guides us to walk in the path of righteousness and shine brightly.

John 16:8 “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment

To help us with oil to keep us burning and shine righteousness, the Holy Spirit is given to us. He convicts the world of sin so that we shine righteousness and escape the coming judgment. By listening to Christ who speaks through the Holy Spirit in our hearts, if we depart from sin and evil, we shine righteousness continually and be prepared when the Bridegroom comes.

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 impotant to note that the foolish virgins did shine righteousness for a while before their lamps going 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 teachings or His word in their heart which is the oil for their lamps. Do not be deceived. You need to have your lamps lit to shine righteousness when the Bridegroom comes for you to go in with Him. To shine righteousness, you need to have His teachings in your heart.

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 no righteousness to shine when the Bridegroom came. 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 continually eagerly waiting and always be ready for the Bridegroom.


The burning lamp represents salvation shining righteousness. When no light comes from the lamp, there is no righteousness to shine resulting in losing salvation. All those who consider themselves to be saved by His grace through faith, yet rejecting Christ’s teachings on holiness and righteousness as works are like the foolish virgins who had no oil in their lamps to burn and shine righteousness.