Q. I am confused. Most bible commentaries I have read suggest that the foolish virgins represent Christians who have become ‘backslidden’ and do not seek a true relationship with Our Lord or those who have been ‘given over to their sin’ (1 Cor 5:5), but haven’t yet cried out to God for the mercy of His Grace. I would be grateful for your comments.
A. Many commentaries are wrong about this parable on four counts. First, a careful reading shows it takes place after the 2nd Coming. The phrase “At that time” which opens Matt. 25:1-13 refers back to Matt 24:36, the day of the Lord’s return to earth. Not for the rapture, but the 2nd Coming.
Second, the Church is never called a bridesmaid in scripture, yet the 10 virgins are often called bridesmaids. The Church is called the bride and the word is always singular. There’s never more than one bride, and a bride could never be excluded from her own wedding banquet.
Third, every member of the church, “back slidden” or not, has sufficient oil, which represents the Holy Spirit, who was sealed within us at the first moment of belief (Ephes. 1:13-14) before there was any chance to “back slide.” There’s nothing in the New testament to indicate that we could become “unsealed”.
Fourth, the wedding banquet follows the wedding. In the parable there’s no mention of the wedding ceremony or the bride, so all ten virgins missed it, oil or not.
To see this parable as a teaching about the Church, one would have to believe that the Rapture follows the 2nd Coming, and that some believers are not the Bride of Christ but are only bridesmaids who can lose their salvation. There’s no Biblical support for these beliefs.
Every logical fact about the parable points to the 10 virgins being Tribulation survivors alive at the Lord’s return. Taken together Rev. 14:12 and Rev. 16:15 suggest that Tribulation believers will be responsible for maintaining their own salvation. The five who will be denied entrance will have failed to do so.