Parable of the Ten Virgins and the Banquet: Is God giving you one last chance to make a u-turn, repent, or be lost forever?
The Parable of the Virgins and the Banquet warns Christians and non-Christians who claim to go to heaven. But in their horror, they were thrown to hell because they were not faithful followers of Jesus. Jesus’ frequent use of parabolics speaks to those who humbly seek Him. Listen and be ready.
Matthew 25:1-13 (Parable of the 10 Virgins)
Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the Bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, 4 but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil.
5 When the Bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.6 “At midnight, they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the Bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’
7 “All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. 8 Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’ 9 “But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’
10 “But while they were gone to buy oil, the Bridegroom came. Then those ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. 11 Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’
12 “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’ 13 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.
Matthew 22:11 (Parable of the Banquet)
11But when the king came in to see the guests, he spotted a man who was not dressed in wedding clothes. 12‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ But the man was speechless.
13Then the king told the servants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14For many are called, but few are chosen.”
The parables illustrates five important lessons:
1. God’s invitation is for everyone but not everyone can enter the banquet
The Parable of the Banquet draws similarities with the wedding feast. They both remind us that not everyone who claims to be Christian will enter God’s kingdom.
- Just because the (foolish) women were invited to the wedding does not mean they could enter the banquet.
- God calls everyone to be saved, but many will refuse Christ. They call themselves Christians in anticipation of the blessings they could get.
- God’s desire is for everyone to be saved. But it does not mean everyone will choose Jesus, nor will the door always stay open.
- The man inside the banquet (judgment day) was not wearing proper wedding robes (clothe in Christ’s righteousness) and was sent to hell by the King.
2. Wrong priorities may lead you to hell
Losing your salvation is a hot debate. Just like the foolish women, they thought they could enter the banquet unprepared. We should work out our salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12)
The five wise virgins knew their priority
- The wise women represent genuine followers of Christ who are diligent. They had extra oil, which mean they made sure the light of Christ, their testimony always shines bright.
- They look forward to Christ’s return with great expectation, much like a Jewish bride, excited to be taken to her new home with her groom, after waiting for a year.
3. You must be ready for the Bridegroom
In a Shepardic Jewish marriage, the Bridegroom leaves for a while to prepare a place for His bride. Jesus, who is our Bridegroom, is returning soon to embrace us, His bride.
The (foolish) women illustrate those who heard about Jesus but waited unprepared. Instead of seeking God’s will, they held on to the things of this world as their priority in this life.
The five foolish virgins took for granted their invitation
- The rest of the foolish five virgins, who were not prepared, ran out of oil. Much like Christians who do nothing to strengthen their faith.
- They trimmed their lamp’s wick but without the power of the Holy Spirit, well never see the right path or shine for the Lord.
- Without the true light, darkness engulfed them as the bridegroom returned.
- These are lukewarm Christians who confidently think they are children of God. But their lifestyle and spiritual discipline do not reflect their faith.
4. The door is closing soon
The “Parable of the Banquet” draws similarities with the “Parable of the Virgins.” The locked door represents the day of judgment. Life on earth as we know it is over. Some will go to everlasting joy but to the horror of others—expelled in hell.
The point of both parables is that many are called, but not everyone is chosen (Matthew 22:11-14).
- In the banquet, God first invited the “chosen people.” The Jews ignored the invitation—they rejected Christ.
- The man who was not wearing the proper wedding robe represents those who claim to love, know, and even preach about God—but they were thrown to hell. They were not true Christians.
5. The light of Christ in you must be bright
Some scholars believe that the lamps were torches, thus emitting abundant light for everyone to see. Therefore it may represent the following:
- The lamp represents the knowledge and readiness to face God, and carrying it means our confession of faith. In short, a faithful genuine Christian bears fruit and should not be lukewarm.
- The torch represents Christians bearing the light of Christ and doing everything to make sure it is lit until He returns.
Questions for discussion:
- What priorities in life do you have that make you unprepared for Jesus’ return?
- Why will Jesus spit out lukewarm Christians? He said, “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16)
- Why do you think the parable is talking about lukewarm Christians and would you consider yourself as one?