Uncovering the age-lasting meaning of The Wise and Foolish Virgins
Jesus did a lot of teaching in parables. He chose this method primarily for the purpose of hiding his real meaning from the public in fulfillment of a prophecy in Isaiah. Occasionally, he spoke a parable meant for his disciples. The story of the Wise and Foolish Virgins is such a case. We know the story is about some of the virgins being prepared and the other virgins who were not, so is that the point? Turns out this just scratches the surface! This parable was a story to prepare them for the coming centuries. More than that, it was a story that Jesus used to outline what those who would be faithful to him would be like. This parable not only describes the character of the faithful, it is a major prophecy that has reached its fulfillment in our day!
Christians have a wide variety of interpretations relating to the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins because of some specific details. First and foremost is the symbolism regarding the virgins themselves. In wedding traditions of ancient times in Israel, these ten individuals were associated with the bride-to-be. One task was to await the arrival of the bridegroom. Because the bridegroom obviously pictures Jesus himself, one would think the bride to be would picture his faithful followers. Many Christians adhere to this assumption and interpret the parable accordingly. With the symbolism of the virgins, however, we see it very differently.
We believe this parable to be a lesson for all of Jesus’ true followers throughout the last 2,000 years of the gospel being preached. We see this as a story given to illustrate the experience of the true gospel church, not the experiences of individuals. With this in mind, looking at the symbolism of the lamps, the oil and the vessels is a whole different story. Why such an interpretation? It is an obvious conclusion once we back up and view the larger context of the parable.
Jesus spoke this on the heels of his prophecy about his return. At the beginning of Matthew 24, his disciples asked him three pointed questions. One of those was when he would return. Jesus knew there would be long and difficult years before this event. He warned his followers to be accepting and alert. This was not just a message for them, it was a message for every Christian down through the age who would be begotten of God’s spirit.
Check out our September 14, 2020 podcast, “What Does Jesus Expect From Us?” for more. We put the details in place as we absorb the prophetic nature of this parable. We drill down into the details and see what Jesus is saying he expects from his followers. The lessons are plenteous and practical. Gain a sense of some of the quiet history of the true church. Hear what Jesus has always expected from his followers - both then and now - and walk away refreshed!
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