Comments/Questions from Readers

Question #29: The ten virgins were not ever going to be joined to the bridegroom; they were attendants of the bride sent to welcome the groom..

Some welcome! They entered into marriage (gamos) with Him! Actually, I've seen this suggestion before and it holds absolutely no water when examined. Let's read the exact passage in Matthew 25 to see what this parable says:

Matthew 25:1-13: "Then the reign of the heavens shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five foolish. Those who were foolish, having taken their lamps, took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their containers with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom took time, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard, 'See, the bridegroom is coming, go out to meet him!' Then all those maidens rose up and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us of your oil, because our lamps are going out.' But the wise answered, saying, 'No, indeed, there would not be enough for us and you. Instead, go to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.' And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast (gamos), and the door was shut. And later the other maidens also came, saying, 'Master, Master, open up for us!' But he answering, said, 'Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Watch therefore, because you do not know the day nor the hour in which the Son of Adam is coming"

Now, what are some of the obvious things we can see in this parable?

1. This parable is related to the reign (kingdom) of heaven.
2. The only characters mentioned in this parable are ten maidens (virgins) and one bridegroom.
3. Five of the maidens were wise and five were foolish.
4. The maidens were waiting for the bridegroom to arrive, but only the ones with oil were prepared.
5. When He arrived, only the wise maidens went in with him to the wedding feast (marriage).
6. The foolish maidens wanted admittance later, but the bridegroom told them He didn't know them.
7. Finally, Jesus' audience is told to watch because they do not know the day or hour he will come.

It is clear that the maidens are representative of fellow believers. Five were prepared for His coming and five were not. Are believers called the "bride of Messiah" or the "attendants of the bride of Messiah"? Who exactly is supposed to be waiting for Messiah and for what purpose? Are we to understand that we are only attendants to the bride, merely escorting the bridegroom? The original Greek word here for "maidens" is "parthenos" (Strong's #3933) which means "a maiden; by impl. an unmarried daughter:- virgin". Jesus is clearly speaking of unmarried virgins, not merely guests or bridemaids. Isn't it obvious what "unmarried virgins" have to do with a parable that is talking specifically about marriage? Do you believe His point was that attendants to the bride would be unmarried virgins, or would virginity be something better depicting the bride? How would Jesus' original Hebrew audience, who were quite familiar with the lawful marriage of multiple wives, have understood this parable of marriage and virgins?

For that matter, where exactly is the bride in this parable, if not the virgins? If they were merely some kind of attendants to the true bride as you suggest, the focus of the parable would be on their relationship to the BRIDE, not their relationship to the BRIDEGROOM. Nothing in this passage makes any historical sense if there is no bride mentioned. After all, what would bridesmaids be waiting for? Why isn't the bride herself waiting for the bridegroom? Why would the bridesmaids enter into the wedding chamber with the bridegroom? Why isn't the bride mentioned anywhere in the description? Does she not even enter into the wedding chamber herself? Why do the other five virgins want in so desperately? If the bridegroom does not "know" the foolish virgins, does that imply that He "knows" the wise ones? What is the significance of the wedding chamber door remaining closed?

Verse 10 speaks of "the wedding feast" but the original Greek says no such thing. The only word there is "gamos" (Strong's #1062) which means "nuptials:- marriage, wedding". This same word "gamos" is used in another familiar passage in Scripture:

Hebrews 13:4: "Let marriage (gamos) be respected by all, and the bed be undefiled. But Elohim shall judge those who whore, and adulterers."

Is Hebrews 13 saying that a wedding party or feast is to be respected, or is it saying that a marriage is to be respected? Do the virgins just accompany the bride to the marriage and wait outside, or do we, the bride, enter into the marriage with the bridegroom? If we look at Matthew 25 honestly, even a child should be able to understand the clear point of the parable. Is the bride so unimportant in the discussion of marriage that Jesus simply forgot to mention her at all, choosing instead to focus on whether or not the bridesmaids were ready or not? Is this really the argument you are trying to make?

The whole parable is a comparison to the Kingdom. Ten maidens go out to meet the bridegroom, yet only half are ready and enter into the marriage. They knew He would be returning and they should have been ready to go when He arrived. The five wise virgins were the only ones who entered into marriage with the bridegroom as clearly stated in verse 10.




"...In essentials we maintain unity, in opinions liberty, and in all things love..."

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