Matthew 25:1-13

Talks for Growing Christians

The Parable of the Ten Virgins – a Parable of the Kingdom of Heaven

Matthew 25:1-13

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Lesson Number 68

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The Return of the Lord was forgotten by the foolish and the wise.
  2. The Return of the Lord will separate the foolish from the wise.

Practical Application

  1. No person can give you salvation.


  1. What is the purpose of our Lord’s parables?
  2. Draw a diagram of this present age, including the Rapture, the Tribulation Period, and the Return of the Lord.
  3. What is the time period of the parable of ten virgins? How does this affect our interpretation of the virgins?
  4. Did the wise virgins remain alert during the bridegroom’s delay?
  5. What does the oil represent in this parable? What is the wedding feast?
  6. Why cannot the foolish virgins be interpreted an unfaithful believers?


  1. The parables reveal truth about the kingdom of heaven that was concealed in the Old Testament. See Matthew 13:10-11. The present form of the kingdom, between the two advents of Christ, was not known in the Old Testament.
  2. The events in your diagram should be in this order: The Rapture first, next the Tribulation, then the Millennium and finally the Return of Christ.
  3. Commentators differ on this issue. Some say it covers the Tribulation Period, thus the wise virgins are the Tribulation saints. More likely, like the other kingdom parables, it covers the whole period of time between the two advents of Christ. In this view the wise virgins are true Christians and the foolish virgins are professing Christians.
  4. No, like the foolish virgins, they fell asleep waiting for the bridegroom’s return.
  5. The oil represents the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit we can have no light of testimony. The wedding feast represents the blessing of Christ’s kingdom here on earth.
  6. In Matthew 25:12, the Lord says to the foolish virgins, “I do not know you.” He would never say this to a believer, no matter how unfaithful they have been.


  1. There has surely seemed to be a long delay between the Lord’s first and second comings. Like the virgins, believers and unbelievers in the past had “fallen asleep” during the delay. Discuss Church history when the expectation of the Lord’s return was forgotten. In recent centuries the doctrine of the Return of the Lord has made a revival. The virgins have woken up. Unbelievers, the foolish virgins, have realized they are not part of the evangelical camp. How are you, as a wise virgin, showing your alertness and readiness for the Lord’s return?
  2. As true believers in the Church, we are wise virgins. All true believers will be included in the millennial kingdom. Discuss what you know of believers’ roles in the kingdom.


  1. In this parable, the wise virgins could not give the foolish virgins more oil. Likewise, no person can give salvation to another. Each person must believe on Christ for himself to receive salvation from God. Are you depending on someone else for salvation? Is someone else depending on you for salvation?

Key Verses

  • “But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.” Matthew 25:5
  • “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” Matthew 25:13

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