A simple reading of the Parable of the Ten Virgins implies that there will be some virgins with lamps who are not taken by the Bridegroom. This is something that has haunted me for a very long time. Who exactly are these virgins? Who precisely do they represent? One thing I know without a doubt, is that God is calling His church to repentance….all of us. Another thing I know without a doubt is that there will be some virgins with lamps who are expecting the Bridegroom who will be spiritually unprepared for the call to the wedding feast: “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom… But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.'” (Matt 25:1,10-12).
Another statement by Jesus that haunts me is His rebuke to the Church of Laodicea at Revelation Chapter 3, verse 16, “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (For a more thorough examination of the Church of Laodicea, read THIS).
We need to keep in mind that all of Jesus’ admonishments to the seven churches in Revelation Chapters 2 and 3 are to those IN THE CHURCH. Of all seven churches, only the church of Philadelphia is promised to be kept from “the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.” (Rev 3:10). All of the other churches were rebuked. At Matthew Chapter 25, only the five wise virgins go with the Bridegroom. Of the seven churches in Revelation, only the Church of Philadelphia is kept from the hour of trial. Whatever Jesus is telling us in these two passages, one thing is clear, He is speaking of an exclusive group of people.
I have read many a heated debate between those who believe in a pre-tribulation rapture versus those who believe the church will go through the Great Tribulation (post-tribulation rapture). One side uses scripture to prove their rock-solid case, the other side uses scripture to prove their rock-solid case and the stand-off continues. Who is right? Perhaps they both are. Why the heated debate? Perhaps because they are not looking at the picture on the cover of the puzzle box to see the overall design. Five virgins go, five virgins stay. We’ll talk about what happens to the five that stay in my next post.