The Wise and Foolish Virgins

Text: Matthew 25:1-13

Jesus often used parables to teach spiritual lessons using illustrations the people were familiar with. Many of these parables were about the kingdom – the parable of the wise and foolish virgins is one of them. This parable contains a warning for those of us in the church not to be like the foolish virgins.

What Does This Parable Represent?

  • The kingdom of heaven – the church; repeatedly used this way in Matthew’s gospel (Matthew 3:2; 4:17; et al.); many times in Jesus’ parables
  • The ten virgins – those who are in the church, not those who could potentially be in the church (Matthew 25:1); those who are in the church could potentially be in heaven; however, some in the church will be lost
  • The bridegroom – Jesus; the marriage relationship explains the relationship between Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:22-33)
  • The wedding feast – heaven; not the establishment of the church; the wedding feast in the parable marked the end, not the beginning, of the hope of salvation

What Does the Parable Teach?

  • We are waiting for the Lord to return – He is coming back (Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16); the Lord could return at any time (Matthew 25:13; cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10)
  • Those who are not prepared will be shut out – “away from the presence of the Lord” (2 Thessalonians 1:9); this includes those who had previously been waiting, which shows that a Christian can be lost (Hebrews 4:1; 2 Corinthians 6:1); once the door is shut, there will be no second chances; now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2); those who die without Christ have no hope (Ephesians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:13)

What Applications Can We Make From This?

  • We must watch for the Lord’s return – always be on the alert (Matthew 24:42-44); again, He could return at any time (Matthew 25:13; 24:36)
  • We must be prepared to wait indefinitely – not as immediate as we might hope (1 Thessalonians 5:1-6; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3); we must not let His “delay” (Matthew 25:5) cause us to stop watching (2 Peter 3:3-4); we need endurance so that we will continue to wait for Him (Hebrews 10:35-39)
  • We must prepare for ourselves – we cannot be saved based upon what others do; we can certainly be helped by others (Romans 1:11-12; Hebrews 10:24-25); but in the end, our salvation/condemnation will depend on our actions (Ezekiel 18:20; 2 Corinthians 5:10)
  • We cannot help everybody – we cannot save others by our actions; certainly we can encourage others and teach the truth (Hebrews 3:13; Acts 8:4); but if someone will not help themselves, there is nothing more we can do for them (Hebrews 6:4-6; Matthew 10:14)


  • The Lord will return one day – we need to be sure we are ready; do not be like the foolish virgins who were not ready
  • If you are not prepared, make preparations now
  • If you are prepared, remain watchful and do not become complacent
  • After the Lord returns, there will be no second chances – be ready for His coming

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