“Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour” – this is the concluding verse of the parable described in Matthew 25. This parable tells the story of ten virgins who were waiting for the arrival of their Bridegroom.
In this parable, the ten virgins represent the church or the children of God and the bridegroom represents Lord Jesus Christ.
Through this parable, Lord Jesus clearly illustrates His second coming and the subsequent rejection of one group of believers because of their failure to prepare themselves for His advent.
Anyway, before we dive into a detailed analysis, let us go through the parable first, so that, we will have a clear picture in our mind.
1“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
7“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
9“ ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
10“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
11“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’
12“But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
13“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. (Matthew 25, 1-13)
As you read above, in this parable, we find ten virgins waiting for the arrival of their Bridegroom and they were waiting through the night. However, the bridegroom took a lot longer time to come than they expected and all of them became drowsy and fell asleep.
Later, in the middle of the night the Bridegroom arrives but five of the virgins who had not taken enough oil for their lamps could not meet Him as they had to go looking for oil sellers to buy oil. Meanwhile, the bridegroom goes into the wedding banquet with the other five who were well prepared to meet Him.
Well, as I mentioned earlier, the ten virgins represent the church or the bride of Christ and among the ten – five were wise and five were foolish.
The wise ones prepared very well for meeting the bridegroom and the other five, though they expected his arrival and wanted to be with him at the wedding banquet, were completely unprepared.
Although this is just a parable, Lord Jesus uses it to illustrate a real event that will take place at His second coming. Even though many have been invited for the marriage supper or the wedding banquet of the LAMB, only a few will be chosen, the ones who have been watchfully waiting for His arrival, rest of them will be left behind.
14“For many are invited, but few are chosen.”(Matthew 22, 14)
This is the reality that we see in this parable. So, now the big question is: Where do you belong to?
In other words, you belong to which category of the ten virgins mentioned in this parable?
The ones who prepared the oil in advance or the ones who went looking for the oil sellers while the bridegroom arrived?
Throughout both Old and New Testaments, there are hundreds of scriptures that talk about the second coming of Christ. Lord Jesus himself, while he walked up on the face of the earth, reminded us of His second coming.
But unfortunately, the Church has not taken His words seriously. When the church looks around, it finds no convincing signs whatsoever, about the second coming of Christ.
For majority of the believers, the second coming of Christ is like a fairy-tale. Though they have heard about it and read about it hundreds of times, they think it is an event that might take place far in the distant future.
The church, like the virgins, have become drowsy and fallen asleep. Majority of the believers are so occupied with the affairs of this world that they don’t even have time to pray. The hope of eternal life is slowly fading away from their hearts and the vacuum is filled with the worries and cares of this world.
Lord Jesus had already foreseen the state of the end-time church and he warns us in the following verses and reminds us to be always on the watch.
34“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. 35For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth.
36Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21, 34-36)
But, despite so many warnings in the Bible, majority of the so-called born-again believers think and act like the antediluvians (pre-flood society). Lord Jesus had already envisioned this state of the church and the following verses prove this.
37As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. (Matthew 24, 37-41).
Saints, our calling or invitation for inheriting the Kingdom of God is exclusively personal, it is not as a church, community, group or nation. The election is personal and it is just between you and The LORD. If you are not prepared, you alone will be rejected and not anybody else.
It is your personal responsibility to prepare yourself and always keep watch for the advent of your Master Lord Jesus (your bridegroom). If you fail to prepare like the foolish virgins, the loss is going to be yours alone and not of your pastor or church.
Please do not follow your fellow-believers or your Pastor regarding the issue of eternal life. Do not imitate their way of life if they are not imitating Christ.
Like the Bereans, study the scriptures diligently and do what it says. Love the LORD and keep His Commandments – as a child of God, this is your primary responsibility. As the Word of God says:
Do not love the world or anything in this world, because, your love for God diminishes as your love for the things of this world increases.
15Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father d is not in them. 16For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2, 15-17)
In the above verse Lord Jesus is commanding us to “keep watch” the reason why He asks to keep watch is – because, “we do not know the day or the hour.” Unfortunately, this is not what is happening in the church. Believers, since they do not know the day or the hour, have become complacent.
It seems like they have concluded that, their bridegroom is not returning in the near future and hence there is no need to keep watch anymore.
The church is getting more and more integrated into the world and it has adopted the ways of the world in order to conduct its business on earth.
We live in very perilous times, yet believers, are not able to discern the signs of the times. We, as believers, need to study the Word of God more than ever before in order to cope with difficult times that we are in.
The church needs to focus more on the things of the Kingdom of God rather than focusing on the affairs of this world.
So, let us pray that The LORD Almighty will strengthen His children to be more fruitful for the Kingdom of God. Amen.