The Ten Virgins and Jesus’ Return

Scripture: Matthew 25:1-13, Psalm 19:7
Date: 01/14/2023 
The parable of the ten virgins and Jesus' return is about people who are alive just before His second coming. Part 1 of 2

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Doug Batchelor : Jesus said in Matthew 28:19, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations." Here are Amazing Facts, we take the Great Commission seriously. That's why we're an international ministry. I've personally had the privilege of sharing the gospel in many countries. From China to New Guinea, from Russia to Africa, to India. And it's evident that people everywhere have a hunger for the Word of God.

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Doug: You have your Bibles, you may want to join me turning to Matthew chapter 25, verse 1; now, some of you have probably heard of sleepwalking before. It has a technical term, somnambulism, somnambulism. It's not so prevalent among adults, it's more common in children where they might wake up during the night, get up, walk around, do some odd things, perform tasks and in the morning they have no idea what they did or any memory of it.

I heard one story that was very interesting. We did an Amazing Fact about this on the Bible answer radio program, Rebecca Armstrong woke up two in the morning, 2005, and heard a commotion outside, and looked out the window, and saw her husband Ian was mowing the lawn two o'clock in the morning, electric lawnmower plugged in, no clothes on. And I guess maybe he had had a couple of episodes, but nothing quite like that. And she heard that it could be dangerous to wake him up abruptly, so she went downstairs and she unplugged the lawn mower. He continued to mow with the depowered lawn mower, and she went back upstairs, and pretty soon he came wandering, stumbling back upstairs, got into bed.

Next morning, she talked to him about it, he said I did no such thing. And the neighbors confirmed that they heard the commotion, opened their windows and saw the whole thing. So, yeah, a guy out there in his birthday tuxedo mowing the grass, sleepwalking. Sometimes the church does a little bit of sleepwalking, going through the motions, we don't know what we're doing, and oblivious.

Well, let's turn, let's read this parable again. Matthew 25. Of course, it comes on the heels of the, all of it discourse where Jesus is giving signs of His return. And, this is part of that. If you've got a Red Letter Edition Bible such as I have, you'll notice it all continues red letter. This is part of the teaching. Jesus begins chapter 25 with the word, "Then." He's commenting on what He had just said before, so it all goes together. "Then the kingdom of Heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil with them in their vessels. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. 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.' And the wise answered and said, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and for you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.' And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' But He answered and said, 'Assuredly, I do not know you.' Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming." Watch, Parable of the Ten Virgins.

Now quickly let's review what some of these symbols in the parable represent. And first of all, the whole parable is dealing with those who will especially be living before the time of Christ's return. And He's talking about living in a state of expectancy and being prepared. Outwardly, the virgins seem to be doing the same thing. They're all dressed for the wedding, they all have lamps, they all seem to have an interest in the bridegroom. And these represent the virgins that they're prepared or at least making a profession of preparation for this great wedding feast.

One thing you learn right away from the story is right up till the time of the end, you have the true and the false, the sincere and the counterfeit, dwelling together. The Bible talks about the wheat and the tares, and sometimes we try to separate the wheat and the tares a little too soon, and we end up pulling up the good wheat. And Jesus said, "They're going to abide together till the end." And so you're going to see genuine and counterfeit hypocrites and authentic Christians all commingled up until just before the end. There is a brief time of separation when they go to buy oil for themselves, and the five faithful will go into the wedding feast. But other than that, they're together till the end.

It's like Jesus said, two women grinding at the mill, one is taken, one is left, but true and the false outwardly doing the same thing. So we want to make sure we've got the inward difference. The virgins, they represent those who are professing to believe in Christ. That would be folks at the church, they've got lamps, they've got the right lamp, they might even have the right theology, but there's something wrong. And who would the bridegroom be? That would be Christ. Let me give you a couple of verses here. 2 Corinthians 11:2, "For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I might present you a chaste virgin to Christ." Revelation 21:9, "One of the seven angels talk with me, saying, 'Come, and I'll show you the bride, the Lamb's wife.'" Ephesians chapter 5, "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loves the church."

So you've got the bridegroom, the bride and the virgins. We know who that represents. The lamp is the Word of God. You know how you say lamp in Greek? Lumpus. How many of you can say lumpus? You can tell people now that I can read the Bible in Greek. He's part of it. The word lump or lamp is, lumpus, it simply means the Word of God. Psalm 119, verse 105, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Psalm 119, verse 130, "The entrance of your words give light." So they got Bibles, these virgins, they've got some oil. You all know that oil can be given in different measure.

What is the oil? I'm getting ahead of myself. That's the Holy Spirit. 1 Samuel 16:13, "Samuel took the horn of oil and he anointed him, David, in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward." Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit at his baptism. They would anoint the priest, and it was a symbol of consecration and being given the Spirit for a work. In Zachariah, tells how the olive trees had pipes that went, and kept the candle burning in the temple, and the olive trees provided the olive oil. And so there was a pure olive oil that was used in the sanctuary. This symbolizes the Holy Spirit. Now they're waiting for the bridegroom to come. This typically happens at night and in the process of waiting, it takes longer than they expected. So there is an apparent delay.

I did a Bible study last night online. I got to tell you about this with China. And so I was Zooming and it was streaming on the internet as well as Zoom, and they said there was 270,000 people tuned in for the Bible study. It was incredible. And he took a picture of the screen capture of the people that they just all share with each other, it was wonderful. But in the study, I was also talking about signs of Christ soon coming. One of the signs in my mind that Jesus is coming soon, is I see that Christ is saying in Matthew 24 and in Matthew 25 there's going to be a time of delay, apparent delay, because God is never late, which is really a time of testing. Those that are faithful will endure to the end. When they saw Moses delayed coming down the mountain, they were tested. When Saul saw that Samuel was delayed coming, he was tested.

The Bible tells us that there's going to be a time of testing, right before, when we're going to say, well, He should have come now. What does it say in 2 Peter chapter 3--"In the last days, mockers will arise, walking after their own lust saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming? Forever since the fathers went to sleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning." He's not coming. Heaven forbid. Christians should cease to believe in the imminent return of the Lord, and the certain return of the Lord. There is a sanctifying influence in every believer from the days of the apostles to our present day.

We should never lose that excitement about the Lord coming soon. And you're thinking Pastor Doug, it's been 2000 years. How can you talk about soon? My grandfather said He's coming soon. He's dead and then my father and he's dead. World War I. They said this is it. He's coming soon. And here we are a whole different century. Well, Peter said, "A day with the Lord is like a thousand years."

By the way, we're right now at about 6000 years from Christ. And then we're going to spend 1000 years with the Lord living and reigning in heaven like a Sabbath. We're right now at the sundown of the world. Don't lose faith now, friends. The bridegroom is coming. Titus 2, verse 13, "Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ." What a good verse. It not only says that Jesus is a Savior, it says our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Looking for it. We're to be looking for His coming. 2 Peter 3:14, "Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found of Him, without spot, and in peace, and blameless." 1 John 2, I'm sorry. 1 John 3, verse 2 and 3, "We know that when He is revealed, we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He is."

Notice this, "Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies Himself, as He is pure." What hope? The hope in the return of the Lord. There is a sanctifying, purifying, influence in our believing in the near coming of the Lord. If you thought you were going to die next week, would that have an impact on you spiritually? Are there some things that you might be doing differently? Would it be a little easier for you to resist and overcome temptation? Well, you know what friends, we don't have long. What is our life? The Bible says it's like a breath that comes and goes. Look at the grass that springs up in the morning and the heat scorches it by the end of the day. Compared to eternity, what is 70, 80, 90 years? What is that? It's nothing. And so when the Bible says, be ready, in such an hour as you think not, we don't know when we're going to die. Not everybody get's a doctor's notice, and it says you've got six months. And sometimes they're wrong, you got two months. Sometimes you're wrong and you live longer. We don't know when we have our last heart beat or our last breath. We're always supposed to be living in the expectancy because if you die, your next conscious thought is a resurrection, seeing the Lord.

So, and when the Lord does come, I can promise most of the world will say it was too soon. They won't say it was too late. So don't lose that sense of his expectancy. You know, a Christian needs to have that appropriate balance of planning for 1000 years and living as though each day could be your last. So we need to plan ahead. You need to think ahead, but you need to live with a holiness as though this could be your last day. And then it says, during this time of apparent delay, what happens to all ten, wise and foolish. They go to sleep.

Now, I've heard some pastors dissect this parable and they said, well, there's nothing wrong with sleep. Sleep is good. Sleep is healthy and we're not talking about the health message. We're talking about sleeping spiritually, sleep is bad in this story. Jesus said, watch. What does he mean as opposed to sleeping? It's hard to watch while you're sleeping. I used to be a security guard and it was so hard because you know, you go on duty at 12 and you work until like eight in the morning. And boy, I'll tell you just before the sun came up trying to stay awake, because I knew as soon as I fell asleep, I wasn't watching anymore. Trying to stay awake at that time of day. And I would slap myself. I do all these crazy things to try to stay awake.

They all slept. Jesus says, Matthew 25, "Watch, therefore." Matthew 26:41, "Watch and pray," this is the next chapter when he's in the Garden of Gethsemane. What does he tell the disciples? They went to sleep. He said, pray with me. What did they do instead of praying? They went to sleep. And Jesus said, watch and pray that you enter not into temptation. What's the risk if we fall asleep at the critical hour? We fall into temptation. "Watch and pray, but you brethren are not in darkness that, that day should overtake you as a thief. You are sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. Therefore, let us not sleep as others do, but let us watch and be sober." Yes, even the faithful virgins went to sleep.

There are some saved people out there that are unaware of the time in which we're living, and you know, they're not doing much about sharing their faith right now. They're sleeping, as our final opportunities are escaping to share the good news. Mark 13, just read this during scripture reading, "Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming--in the evening, at midnight, or the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning--So it doesn't matter what hour of the day. Day or night, watch, "lest, coming suddenly, he finds you," doing what? "Sleeping."

Now one way I could sum up the sermon, wake up. That would be real simple. If we had to wake up. I hear people say all the time. Boy, look at all that's happening in the world. I mean, certainly the Lord is coming soon. It's like they wake up and they go back to sleep. I wake up for a moment to say sure near the end. [snoring sounds] Then at midnight, at the darkest hour, what does that mean at the darkest hour? Well, a couple of things. Notice in Exodus 12, verse 29, "It came to pass at midnight that the Lord struck all the first born in the land of Egypt." When did the plague hit the Egyptians that signaled the Israelites going to freedom? At midnight. What does it mean when we hear that cry, the bridegroom is coming? We are about to be rescued from Egypt. Amen? The Lord's going to take us out of this land of bondage.

Look in Judges 16, verse 3, "And Samson lay low until midnight; and he arose at midnight, he took hold of the doors of the gate of the city and the two gate posts, and pulled them up, bar and all, and put them on his shoulders." He overcame the gates of the enemy, when? At midnight. Act 16:25, But at midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns." Here they were in jail, they were praying and singing to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. People notice if you're witnessing through trials. "Suddenly there was a great earthquake, and the foundations of the prison--" will there be a great earthquake when Jesus comes? "And the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all of the doors were opened and everyone's chains were loosed."

There's going to be a great liberation and salvation of God's people during that time, they'll be saved from their prisons and their bondage at midnight since the prison doors were open. Now midnight not only represents this great deliverance, midnight represents what is the condition of the world spiritually, when Jesus comes? Darkness covers the land. Isaiah 60, verse 2, "Gross darkness covers the earth. Deep darkness covers the people."

What did Jesus say the conditions will be before he comes? "As it was in the days of Noah," when the thoughts of men's hearts were only evil continually and where violence filled the world. Jesus said as it was in the days of Lot? I don't know how much more like Lot’s days it could get. I hope not much more. But I think we're seeing these things fulfilled friends.

Spiritual and moral darkness at midnight. It's also midnight in many respects spiritually with the church, with the beast telling people that they must worship the image of the beast. Paul says in 2 Timothy 3, "Evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." So it's a time of great spiritual darkness at midnight and then what happens? Suddenly the Lord comes, Suddenly there's a cry. At midnight the cry was heard, 'Behold, the Bridegroom is coming, go out to meet Him.'"

Now this is where you notice that there's a big difference. Some have made a preparation. You notice that it's not that complicated to say, what's the difference between the wise and the foolish? They're the same in almost every respect except the wise take their lamps with a reserve of oil. The foolish do not. What does it mean when it says that the wise took extra oil in their lamps? They all had some oil. You know, the Holy Spirit can be given in different degrees. The apostles had the Holy Spirit when they served with Jesus and they were out teaching, but did something different happen at Pentecost? It's called the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

People in the last days need the latter rain of the Holy Spirit. That means we need to have vessels that are available for filling. And if your vessels are full of other things, you can't have any room to store the Holy Spirit. It also means these people are sealed with the Holy Spirit when Jesus comes. Joseph gathered very much grain as the sand of the sea, until he stopped counting it. It was immeasurable. He hoarded the grain. Why? Because there was a famine coming. On the Ark Noah stored extra, more than you'd need for a day. Psalm 119, "Your Word I have hidden in my heart."

Friends, have you got the Word of God stored away? Ecclesiastes, Solomon said, "There's a time to gain and the time to lose. A time to keep, there's a time to gather, and a time to cast away." Foolish virgins, they come to the wise and they say, hey, sister, can you help me out? It looks like while we were waiting, my oil was running out, I went to trim the wick and as I pulled it up, it just kept burning the wick because there's no oil left. We're not going to make it to the wedding. You've got a little reserve. Can you share? And what's the answer? Are these selfish? The five saved virgins, are they selfish?

You know that oil is something that each person must pursue and obtain on their own. There are some people come to church, and somehow, they figure they're going to get in on the shirt tails of their associations with others. Everybody needs to know Jesus as a personal savior. You need to have your own quiet devotions with God. You need to have your own personal relationship with God. Nobody's going to be saved based on the salvation of another. The Bible says, "A Father cannot deliver his son by his righteousness, and a son cannot deliver his father by his righteousness. The righteousness of the righteous will be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon him." That's Ezekiel 18, I believe.

We all need to have our own relationship. Though Noah, Daniel and Job were in the land, they will deliver neither son nor daughter. They will each be delivered by their own righteousness, that righteousness that we individually obtain by a saving relationship with Jesus. We need to have our own relationship, friends, with the Lord. Matthew 25, verse 10, "While they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in." Notice that friends? Those who were ready went in. Jesus also says, "Be therefore ready." Are you ready? Those who went in went to buy. There's time coming. Matthew, I'm sorry. Revelation 22:11, "Jesus will declare he that is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still."

Now is when we need to learn how to have lives and characters of holiness and righteousness, before the door is shut. Before it's too late. Jeremiah shares that frightening verse in Jeremiah 8, verse 20, "Many of the lost will declare, 'The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved!'" I can't imagine the feeling of having the door shut, and the Lord then saying, I'm sorry, I don't know you. You know why He says He doesn't know them? Because their lights are out, He doesn't see their faces.

There are no wedding crashers at that great wedding friends. That's why we've got to be ready now. We need to have a relationship with him now. We need to have a reserve of not only the Holy Spirit of the Word, hiding the Word of God in our heart, that we might not sin against him. Spending time on our knees, learning how to walk in the spirit, so when that time comes, we are filled with the spirit and sealed with the Holy Spirit. It's not enough that we're baptized in water. Praise God for those baptisms today, but the Bible says, unless you are born of the water and the spirit, you cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven. And the Lord will say, I don't know you. And they're so sincere Lord, Lord. That's what they say in Matthew 7: Lord, Lord. He says, I don't know you. Not everyone that says Lord, Lord, but he that does the will of my Father in heaven. So those five wise virgins have the Holy Spirit and they've got the fruits of the Spirit in their lives, amen.

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