The context of the parable of the Ten Virgins (Matt 25:1-13) is that the wise virgins are saved and are welcomed into the Millennial Kingdom, but the foolish virgins are lost, and are sent to Hell.
It is a parallel account to the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), the wise stewards being saved (like the wise virgins) and the foolish steward who “buried” what he had been given, doing nothing to prepare for the master’s return (like the foolish virgins) and is sent to Hell.
Likewise, the Ten Virgins parable is parallel to the Sheep and the Goats judgment (Matthew 25:31-46), with the sheep being saved (like the wise virgins), and the goats being lost (like the foolish virgins) and sent to Hell.
The Rapture is not in view in any of these three parallel accounts. It is addressing the nations at the end of the 70th Week (aka the Tribulation). People will have to give an account of themselves, and either enter their master’s joy in the kingdom, or be sent to Hell.
In each case, they were not prepared to give an account of themselves. The one and only preparation a person needs is faith in Jesus, that He died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried, and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.
The oil in the lamps is representative of preparedness. The foolish virgins were depending on their religious works. They thought that the amount of “oil” they had was enough. But, it was not. No amount of religious works is ever enough, for works cannot save us. Notice the parallel between the words of the master to the foolish virgins, and the words of Jesus to the condemned from the Sermon on the Mount:
“Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not” (Matthew 25:11-12).
Sermon on the Mount:
“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Matthew 7:20-23).
Both were crying, Lord, Lord, but both were rejected. In both cases, the Lord said to them, I don’t know you.
In contrast, Jesus KNOWS His believers:
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one (John 10:27-30).
As for the “works” in the Sheep and Goats, this is a case of what James wrote:
“What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works (James 2:14-18).
The Sheep had faith, and that was shown by the works they had done, whereas the goats had no faith and hence had no works. Look at the parallel between James and the Sheep and Goats:
‘What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone (James 2:14-17).
Sheep and Goats
“For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me (Matt 25:35-36).
A final point to make is that all three accounts, the Ten Virgins, the Talents, and the Sheep and Goats judgment, happen right after the Second Coming, and represent the people who survived the Tribulation and are gathered to face Jesus. Whether they enter the Millennial kingdom or are sent to Hell, is evaluated.
Regarding the Parable of the Talents, that too shows the two industrious men trusted in their master, and their works evidenced that faith, whereas the foolish man who buried his talent had no trust, but was afraid to even try. No faith, no works, like James said.
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