This is my attempt at interpreting the Parable of the Ten Virgins. I may not check back in the next few days but feel free to discuss this among yourselves in the comments section:
THE PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS: WHAT IT TAKES TO BE READY
In Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus continues His end time teachings on the kingdom of heaven with a story (parable) about ten virgins.
As the parable goes, ten virgins await the arrival of the bridegroom (Jesus). In Judaism, ten is the minimum number of people required in a synagogue before public prayers can be said, a symbolism of the Church. Virgins represent those betrothed to the Lord ie born-again Christians (2 Cor 11:2). So Jesus is clearly talking about end-time saints who are looking forward to His return in this parable.
The virgins all expect the bridegroom; they all have *lamps and oil (the Holy Spirit); they all fall asleep; they all wake up and trim their lamps. The only difference is the wise take extra oil with them whereas the foolish ones do not (Matt 25:4). We know this because the foolish virgins declare “our lamps are going out” towards the end of their journey (Matt 25:8). Hence, there are no five born-again Christians and five false (non-believing) Christians in the Parable of the Ten Virgins as some have said; they are but five wise and five foolish Christians.
Mankind will experience unprecedented distress and anguish during the Great Tribulation which is the last three and a half years of this age (Matt 24:21). Only two groups of people exist during the rule of the Antichrist–those who take his mark and those who refuse it (Rev 13:15-17). The wise virgins represent Christians who are willing to undergo trials, persecution and/or martyrdom, and will thus be purified and made ready to meet the bridegroom (Dan 11:35, 12:10; Mal 3:2-3; 1 Pet 1:7; Rev 13:10, 19:7-8). The foolish virgins typify lukewarm Christians (Rev 3:14-22). They have the initial oil of salvation but lack the continual infilling of the Spirit (Eph 5:18).
Under the heat of persecution, the lukewarm, foolish virgins fail to pay the price to buy “gold refined in the fire” ie be tried by tribulation (Rev 3:16-20). They take the mark, deny the Lord and betray fellow believers to the Antichrist regime (Matt 24:10).
Jesus is coming back for a bride without spot or blemish (Eph 5:27; 2 Pet 3:14; Rev 3:4-6,18; 6:11; 7:9-14; 16:15). He says, “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will also disown him before my Father in heaven” (Matt 10:32-33). That is why Jesus says to the foolish virgins, “I don’t know you” (Matt 25:12).
We must never forget the words of Jesus:
“He who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt 24:13).
* The word for lamp (lampas) is different from the lamp (lychnos; 5:15) in the Sermon on the Mount that is set on a lampstand to light a typical Palestinian home. It was a larger dome-shaped container with rags soaked in the oil to light the way while a person was walking outside. These outdoor torches could last for several hours when extra containers of oil were brought for replenishing the lamp, as the wise virgins have done. They are prepared for what may be a long wait. (Source: The NIV Application Commentary: Matthew)
Lamps “lampas” (2985), denotes “a torch” (akin to “lampo”, “to shine”), frequently fed, like a lamp, with oil from a little vessel used for the purpose (the angeion of Matt 25:4); they held little oil and would frequently need replenishing.
(Source: W E Vine’s New Testament Word Pictures – Romans to Revelation)