One of the last parables that Jesus taught holds a deep spiritual truth for the Bride of Christ to ponder.¬† It is the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. From this end-time parable, we discover that in the end of time, there will be a clear distinction found within the Bride of Christ: those who are wise, and those who are foolish.¬† As we read the following words of Jesus, we observe that the wise are prepared for the delayed arrival of their Bridegroom, whereas, the foolish are unprepared:
Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.¬† Five of them were foolish ¬Ė thoughtless, without forethought; and five were wise ¬Ė sensible, intelligent and prudent.¬† For when the foolish took their lamps, they did not take any [extra] oil with them; But the wise took flasks of oil along with them [also] with their lamps.¬† While the bridegroom lingered and was slow in coming, they all began nodding their heads and feel asleep.¬† But at midnight there was a shout, Behold, the bridegroom!¬† Go out to meet him!¬† Then all those virgins got up and put their own lamps in order.¬† And the foolish said to the wise, Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out. The wise replied, There will not be enough for us and for you; go instead to the dealers and buy for yourselves.¬† But while they were gone away to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were prepared went in with him to the marriage feast: and the door was shut.¬† Later the other virgins also came, and said, Lord, Lord, open [the door] to us!¬† But He replied, I solemnly declare to you, I do not know you ¬Ė I am not acquainted with you.¬† Watch therefore ¬Ė give strict attention and be cautious and active ¬Ė for you know neither the day nor the hour when the Son of man will come (Matt. 25: 1-13).
This parable instructs us in the importance of the Bride of Christ being prepared for the arrival of her Bridegroom.¬† Jesus refers to those who are prepared as wise virgins, and the unprepared as foolish virgins.¬† Notice, the Master does not call the foolish wicked or false virgins. ¬†Therefore, we can conclude that Jesus is not contrasting the saved and unsaved in this parable.¬† The contrast that Jesus is setting forth consists of one essential element: having sufficient oil or the lack thereof. ¬†
A Delayed Coming
What a terrifying moment for the foolish virgins when the midnight hour approached and they discovered they were lacking the oil that they desperately needed to trim their lamps! ¬†Remember, they had oil when they went to meet the Bridegroom.¬† From their perspective, how could they possibly have known that His coming would be delayed? ¬†¬†As the story develops, we see that the Bridegroom was so long in coming that everyone fell asleep.¬† Then suddenly, at the midnight hour, a triumphant shout was heard, ¬ďBehold, the Bridegroom!¬† Go out to meet him¬Ē!¬† It is at this point in the narrative, the foolish virgins made a startling discovery: their lamps were going out.
The foolish virgins called upon the wise ¬†for additional oil, but were told they needed to go to the dealers and buy more oil for their lamps.¬† You see, the wise couldn¬ít give their ¬ďreadiness/preparation¬Ē to the foolish.¬† The truth of the matter is, the foolish had the same opportunity as the wise to prepare, but they were content with a meager supply of oil (just enough to get by with). ¬†¬†Keep in mind oil is the central issue as to whether or not the virgins are prepared for the coming of their bridegroom.
The Bride of Christ
Throughout the Word of God, we find stunning portraits of the Bride of Christ.¬† For example, in Proverbs, Chapter 31, King Solomon paints for us a beautiful image of a holy, righteous warrior; a woman who is praised as being one who excels all others. ¬†We discover this woman is capable, strong, industrious, benevolent, kind, virtuous, honorable, trustworthy and wise.¬† I believe this passage to be a stunningly, vivid portrayal of the end-time Bride of Christ.
Verse 18 speaks especially to my heart as I contemplate the value of oil for end-time living, ¬ď¬Ö her lamp goes not out; but it burns on continually through the night [of trouble, privation or sorrow, warning away fear, doubt and distrust].¬Ē
Her lamp didn¬ít go out.¬† Why?¬† Although not specifically stated, the answer is obvious: she had oil in her lamp.¬† We instinctively know this scripture is referring, not to natural oil, but rather a substance within the inner being of this woman who was prepared for whatever circumstance that came her way. ¬†Verse 25 tells us that ¬ďShe rejoices over the future ¬Ė the latter day or time to come [knowing that she and her family are in readiness for it]!
The end-time Bride of Christ, as a wise virgin, will be prepared and ready, not only for the delayed arrival of her Bridegroom, but for the incredible role God has ordained for her to play in the out-workings of His great end-time drama. ¬†Her lamp will not go out, but it will burn on brightly with an ample supply of heavenly, supernatural oil.
Oil: A Precious Commodity
Oil was a precious commodity in ancient times.¬† (It still is today!)¬† ¬†Oil served many purposes for God¬ís people, such as being used for:
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†illumination of lamps
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†beauty and purification ¬†
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†offerings and sacrifices
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† anointing of kings.¬†
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† the production of miracles
We find a miracle story in 1 Kings, Chapter 17:¬† God spoke to the prophet, Elijah and said, ¬ďArise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there.¬† Behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.¬† The story continues:¬† So he arose and went to Zarephath.¬† When he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks.¬† He called to her and said, Bring me a little water in a vessel that I may drink.¬† As she was going to get it, he called to her and said, Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.¬† And she said, As the Lord your God lives, I have not a loaf baked but only a handful of meal in the jar and a little oil in the bottle.¬† See, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and bake it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.¬† Elijah said to her, Fear not; go and do as you have said; but make me a little cake of [it] first and bring it to me, and afterward prepare for yourself and your son.¬† For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, The jar of meal shall not waste away, or the bottle of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sends rain on the earth.¬† She did as Elijah said; and she, and he, and her household ate many days.¬† The jar of meal was not spent nor did the bottle of oil fail, according to the word which the Lord spoke by Elijah (Verses 9-16).
This incident took place during a time of great famine.¬† Although we know that the widow¬ís faith and obedience played an important role in her miracle, let us not under-estimate the role of oil.¬† When the widow had little left, she had the precious treasure of oil in her house.¬† Although her supply was meager, she had enough oil to produce the miracle needed. ¬†She was thus able to receive supernatural provision that sustained her and her household all the days of the famine.
Let¬ís examine another ¬ďoil¬Ē story.¬† This story is found in 2 Kings 4.¬† Herein, we read of a widow woman facing a very critical moment: creditors were about to take her two sons from her and make them bondmen.¬† This widow cried to the prophet Elisha, who asked her a simple and yet compelling question:¬† ¬ďTell me, what hast thou in the house?¬Ē¬† She answered, ¬ďThine handmaiden hath not anything in the house, save a pot of oil¬Ē (verse2).¬† This dear mother had nothing in her house except a pot of oil.¬† However, the oil she had was all that was needed to produce a miracle. Her oil was supernaturally multiplied, sold, and then used to bring her out of debt and keep her sons from being made bond slaves.
Oil in the Dwelling of the Wise
We can clearly see from the scriptures I have used in this article that wise women have oil in their dwellings! ¬†¬†In Proverbs 21:20 we read:¬† ¬ďThere are precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise¬Ö¬Ē¬† Understand, King Solomon is stating an astounding fact:¬† Oil is a treasure, and the wise have it.
Let me ask you a penetrating question:¬† What do you have in your spiritual dwelling?¬† You can be assured, if you have the oil of heaven, you have a great and immeasurable treasure residing in you.
To be continued...