TABLE OF CONTENTS
Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids
In the parable of the ten bridesmaids, according to the gospel of Matthew chapter 25, ten virgins are awaiting the arrival of the bridegroom. Among them, the five virgins who were prepared for his arrival are rewarded, while the five who were not prepared are disowned and left outside.
The 10 bridesmaids parable is not the only parable in Matthew 25 which contains also the parable of the talents and the parable of the sheep and goats. Although some people argue about the application of the parable of the ten virgins, most Christians from different beliefs and denominations agree it is about the day of judgment and about salvation.
Let’s look at this parable of the ten bridesmaids in its context in chapter 25 and study it with an open mind without any bias of preconceived doctrine:
Matthew 25:1-13 (KJV)
1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. (all ten virgins had lamps and all of them went forth to meet the bridegroom)
2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: (why were the five foolish? because they took their lamps with them but did not take extra oil with them)
4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. (why were the other five wise? because they took extra oil in their vessels with their lamps. This means the difference between the foolish and the wise is only the extra oil)
5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. (all virgins slumbered and slept, so even the wise virgins were not awake all the time)
6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. (the word “midnight” shows His coming will be unexpected by all 10 virgins)
7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. (notice the foolish said their lamps are gone out. What does that mean? it means their lamps had already been lit and had oil. The foolish virgins did not have any more oil in their lamps and didn’t have extra oil)
9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. (each virgin is responsible for paying the price of their oil)
10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. (the bridegroom came when the five foolish virgins were out to buy oil because they were caught unprepared. The door is shut)
11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. (Jesus disowns them and keeps them outside)
13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
What does the Oil Represent in Matthew 25
This is a question many Christians ask: “What does the oil represent in Matthew 25?”
Some have proposed that the oil represents faith while others say it is the presence of God in our lives. Also, some Christians say it is the Holy Spirit. One thing is for sure, whatever the oil represents in the parable of the ten bridesmaids, it is something these bridesmaids absolutetly needed to have when the bridegroom returned. It was the absence of oil when the bridegroom came that was the difference between the wise and foolish virgins. It was the lack of oil that was the difference between being saved and being left outside.
Another simple and interesting fact is that, whatever the oil represents, it is needed to keep the fire burning in the lamps. The five foolish virgins could not go out to meet the bridegroom because the lamps were not burning. And the lamps were not lit because they had no more oil.
It is clear to me that the oil represents the Holy Spirit.
All through the Bible, we see the word “anointed” being used and this word is used to mean “smear or rub with oil, typically as part of a religious ceremony”.
How the 10 Bridesmaids Parable contradicts “Once Save Always Saved”
The parable of the ten bridesmaids in its simple straight-forward explanation contradicts the doctrine of “Once Saved Always Saved”. I have yet to hear a satisfying answer from brethren who believe in the doctrine. This parable not only shows that we have to be ready always and endure until the end, it also shows that one can indeed be saved and lose their salvation.
How do we know this? To answer this, it is important to answer these other two questions.
What was the difference between the five and foolish virgins?
It was not because they lost their state of virginity. It was not because they stopped waiting for His return. It was not because they had no lamps. It was only because five had EXTRA oil and the others DID NOT. It is the extra oil that made the difference.
Were all lamps burning?
This second question is the key to understanding how this parable of the ten bridesmaids contradicts the false doctrine of “Once Saved Always Saved”.
In verse 8, Jesus says the foolish virgins asked the wise for oil because their lamps were going out. This is very important. This is preserved in all other “literal” versions like the ESV, NASB and YLT where the verse says lamps “are going out”. This, of course, has to be ignored by “Once Saved Always Saved” believers. Why? Because it shows that whatever the virgins had that could have allowed them entry with the bridegroom, they lost it. It was not that they didn’t have burning lamps, they did, but it is because they did not have extra oil on the side and their lamps RAN OUT.
Every time I mention this to a OSAS believer, they always try to evade this obvious fact by telling me that I am taking things “too literally”, that it is “only a parable”.
Since when the parables of Christ get void of depth? Each word in the bible counts especially coming out of the mouth of the Lord Jesus. If the words “lamps are running out” are there, they are there for a reason. We will not start ignoring scriptures because it does not suit our preconceived taught doctrines.
The parable of the ten bridesmaids leaves the doctrine of “Once Saved Always Saved” in deep trouble. This parable clearly shows that one can indeed be in the state of being “saved” and then lose their standing with God. This is very clear because the only difference between the foolish and wise virgins is the fact that the foolish did not have extra oil.
This was what caused their burning lamps to run out. This was what made them go to purchase some more. This was what caused them to be unprepared for the bridegroom’s unexpected return. This was what caused them to be left outside of the marriage. This was what caused them to lose their salvation.
My friend, are you still not convinced? Are you still going to trust other men with your salvation? Or are you going to trust only God’s Word and the Holy Spirit within you?
If you are a believer in the doctrine of “Once Saved Always Saved”, reconsider your position my friend. Don’t risk it. We have to stay the course, we have to keep the faith, we have to stay holy and endure with the Holy Spirit in us until the end. Keep your lamps burning dear brothers, we don’t know when He will come back but if we have extra oil, if we are always in connection with Christ through the Spirit, we will not be surprised and unprepared.
May the Lord open ears to hear what Jesus meant by this parable of the ten bridesmaids! May He help you keep your lamp burning all the time and forever until He comes back!