WISE AND FOOLISH VIRGINS
--MATTHEW 25:1-13.--OCTOBER 2.--
Golden Text:--"Be ye therefore ready also; for the Son of
man cometh at an hour when ye think not."--Luke 12:40.
THE Great Teacher in today's Study tells us further about his glorious Messianic Kingdom and concerning those who will be accounted worthy to share it with him--as his Bride. This parable has not been of general application all through this Gospel Age. It applies merely at the close of the Age --at the present time, we believe. It does not take into consideration the world, nor even the nominal Church, but solely, only, the true Church, the Virgin class. The word "virgin" signifies pure and in using this term the Lord implies that he is referring only to those who have been justified, by faith and consecration, because by nature none are pure; none are holy; none are virgins.
FIVE WISE--FIVE FOOLISH
One of the special lessons of the parable is to show that amongst the pure, the wise, the consecrated people of God, there are two classes. For a time these will be all together--unseparated. But in the fulfilling of this parable certain circumstances and conditions and truths will develop and separate these two classes of saints, virgins.
The parable shows all the virgins as sleeping, waiting for the coming of the Bridegroom. Apparently, there is no difference; but really there is a difference--the wise had a larger supply of oil than had the foolish. Then came an announcement of the presence of the Bridegroom and a call to go forth to meet him. This implies that something from the prophetic Word at the appropriate time will call the attention of all the Virgin class to the presence of Messiah. But at the Second Advent it will be as it was at the First Advent, when John said of Jesus, "Behold there standeth one among you whom ye know not." We are not to expect the Second Coming of Christ in the flesh, but as a spirit being.
We are to remember that the Scriptures outline two distinct features connected with the Second Coming. First will come the parousia or "presence" of the Lord, recognizable only by the Wise and Foolish Virgins. In his parousia or "presence" he will test and prove his Church, dividing them into wise and foolish virgin classes --the wise virgins to become the Bride class and the foolish virgins to become the class who will experience [R4693 : page 312] a second grade of salvation--coming up out of great tribulation and becoming the Bridesmaids, so to speak, "the virgins, the Bride's Companions, who follow after her." (Psa. 45:14.) These will attain great blessings in spiritual life, but fail to gain the prize of joint-heirship with the Lord in his Throne, in his Kingdom.
Later on will come the manifestation of Christ with his Church, in power and great glory, in the setting up of his Messianic Kingdom and in the overthrow of everything contrary to it. Concerning this manifestation we [R4693 : page 313] read, "When he shall appear, we, also (the Bride class), will appear with him in glory."--Col. 3:4.
It will be in the time of the presence, the parousia, of the Son of man, for the gathering of the "elect," that all the Virgins will be awakened by the message of the Truth. Some will be able to appreciate, others will not be able to appreciate his presence. The latter will need to "go and buy" the oil, the wisdom, the understanding, of the Divine Word. It will cost some of them considerable of self-sacrifice and humiliation to learn their lessons. Such as obtain the oil in time will join the party that will go in with the Bridegroom to the marriage feast. Then the door to that High Calling will close forever.
Thank God that it is not as we once supposed--that the door of mercy is to close, shutting out the foolish Virgins of the Church, together with the whole world of mankind; and, as we once supposed, shutting them into eternal torment. The parable merely shows that the closed door will exclude any others from coming into the Bride class, to be joint-heirs with Messiah in his Kingdom. The door will close because the full number elected and predestinated to this high honor will have attained the necessary character-likeness of Christ and will have stood the necessary testings.
As no one of the Jewish priests could ever serve as High Priest if he had a superfluous finger or toe, it is thus shown in the type that the antitypical High Priest, the Messiah, will have only a definite, fixed number of members in his Body--neither one too few nor one too many. Later on, the foolish Virgins came to the "door," but found it forever shut. They lost the great prize. They were foolish in that they did not give attention to getting the oil in time; foolish also in that they cared too much for the things of this present life; but they were Virgins, nevertheless. They finally got the oil, which represents the holy Spirit, but too late! The door was shut! They could not be of the Bride class. The Master answered, I know you not. I could not recognize you as my Bride.
In view of this the Lord exhorts that his consecrated followers of the Church or Virgin class be constantly on the alert, because they know neither the day nor the hour of the Master's coming and of the invitation to go in to the wedding. The parable shows, however, that although the time of the Master's coming could not be known in the past, nevertheless, it would be known to all of the Virgin class "in due time." It will be announced, as indicated in the cry. The cry will be so loud that all of the Virgins will hear it, even though the world will have no knowledge of it. The Master merely wished us to understand that the great event would not be foretold in advance.
The parable does not show how the foolish Virgins, excluded from the wedding and from membership in the Bride class, will be treated. Other Scriptures, however, show that this foolish virgin class will share with the world in a great time of trouble, which will then come to every nation. In that time of trouble these foolish virgins will suffer severely and "Wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb," and thereafter be accounted worthy to "serve God in his Temple," though not worthy to be of the Temple. They will be accounted worthy to serve before the Throne, though not worthy to sit in the Throne. They will be accounted worthy to have palms of victory, but not be accounted worthy of crowns of glory. The lesson to God's people is to Awake, to hearken, to have our lamps, the Word of God, trimmed and burning, and to have oil, the holy Spirit, in our vessels --to be living in an attitude of full consecration to God.--Rev. 7:9,14,15.
We see the marriage splendor,
Within the open door;
We know that those who enter
Are blest for evermore;
We see our King, more lovely
Than all the sons of men;
We haste, because that door, once shut,
Will never ope again.