A Parable about Ten Virgins
1“When my coming draws near, heaven’s kingdom realm can be compared to ten maidens who took their oil lamps and went outside to meet the bridegroom and his bride. # 25:1 As translated from the Hebrew Matthew and a few Greek manuscripts. Most Greek manuscripts have only “bridegroom.” This would mean the ten virgins were going to marry one man, a doubtful teaching from Jesus. The ten virgins were bridesmaids, ladies-in-waiting. This was not Jesus condoning polygamy. It is possible that the parable hints of Zech. 8:23. Jesus will be seen as the Bridegroom in the last days. Not only our King and our Lord but also our Bridegroom. When Jesus was asked what the sign of his coming would be (24:3), he gives his disciples two parables to describe the two types of believers in the last days. One would relate to Jesus as servants to a Master (24:45–51), and the other would relate to him as a bride to a Bridegroom (25:1–13). 2-4Five of them were foolish and ill-prepared, for they took no extra oil # 25:2–4 See v. 8. Oil in the Scriptures is a metaphor of the Holy Spirit, who brings us revelation of the Word of God and power for ministry. for their lamps. Five of them were wise, for they took flasks of olive oil with their lamps. 5When the bridegroom didn’t come when they expected, they all grew drowsy and fell asleep. 6Then suddenly, in the middle of the night, they were awakened by the shout ‘Get up! The bridegroom is here! Come out and have an encounter with him!’ # 25:6 This is not simply “meet him,” for it is a rare Greek noun that means to “have a meeting” or “an encounter.” See also 1 Thess. 4:17. 7So all the girls got up and trimmed their lamps. 8But the foolish ones were running out of oil, so they said to the five wise ones, ‘Share your oil with us, because our lamps are going out!’
9“ ‘We can’t,’ they replied. ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. You’ll have to go and buy some for yourselves!’
10“While the five girls were out buying oil, the bridegroom appeared. Those who were ready and waiting were escorted inside with him and the wedding party to enjoy the feast. And then the door was locked. 11Later, the five foolish girls came running up to the door and pleaded, ‘Lord, Lord, let us come in!’
12“But he called back, ‘Go away! Do I know you? I can assure you, I don’t even know you!’
13“That is the reason you should always stay awake and be alert, because you don’t know the day or the hour when the Bridegroom will appear.” # 25:13 As translated from the Hebrew Matthew.
A Parable about Financial Stewardship
14“Again, heaven’s kingdom is like a wealthy man who went on a long journey and summoned all his trusted servants and assigned his financial management over to them. 15Before he left on his journey, he entrusted a bag of five thousand gold coins to one of his servants, to another a bag of two thousand gold coins, and to the third a bag of one thousand gold coins, each according to his ability to manage. # 25:15 Or “five talents . . . two talents . . . one talent.” A talent, although hard to determine exactly how much it represents, is a measure of weight. King Solomon received 666 talents of gold as his yearly tribute. A talent is clearly a large sum of money. See 2 Chron. 9:13 and 1 Kings 10:14.
16“The one entrusted with five thousand gold coins immediately went out and traded with the money, and he doubled his investment. 17In the same way, the one who was entrusted with two thousand gold coins traded with the sum and likewise doubled his investment. 18But the one who had been entrusted with one thousand gold coins dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money.
19“After much time had passed, the master returned to settle accounts with his servants. 20The one who was entrusted with five thousand gold coins came and brought ten thousand, saying, ‘See, I have doubled your money.’
21“Commending his servant, the master replied, ‘You have done well, and proven yourself to be my loyal and trustworthy servant. Because you have been a faithful steward to manage a small sum, now I will put you in charge of much, much more. You will experience the delight of your master, who will say to you, “Enter into the joy of your Lord!” ’
22“Then the one who had been entrusted with two thousand gold coins came in and said, ‘See, my master, I have doubled what you have entrusted to me.’
23“Commending his servant, the master replied, ‘You have done well, and proven yourself to be my loyal and trustworthy servant. Because you were faithful to manage a small sum, now I will put you in charge of much, much more. You will experience the delight of your master, who will say to you, “Enter into the joy of your Lord!” ’
24“Then the one who had been entrusted with one thousand gold coins came to his master and said, ‘Look, sir. I know that you are a hard man to please and you’re a shrewd and ruthless businessman who grows rich on the backs of others. # 25:24 Or “that you harvest where you didn’t sow and gather where you didn’t plant.” This is most likely a proverb, a figure of speech that reinforces the thought of the servant that his master was strict, harsh, and ruthless. The attitude of the servant was “You are so ruthless; you’re like a man who expects a harvest from a field he didn’t plant!” 25I was afraid of you, so I went and hid your money and buried it in the ground. But here it is—take it, it’s yours.’
26“But his master said to him, ‘You’re an untrustworthy # 25:26 Or “evil.” and lazy servant! If you knew I was a shrewd and ruthless business man who always makes a profit, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? 27Then I would have received it all back with interest when I returned. # 25:27 The Aramaic can be translated “Why didn’t you throw my money into the offering? Then I would have returned to ask for what was mine together with its bounty.” The implication is that money given in sacred offering to God will be returned with even more, by God’s generosity. See Luke 6:38. 28But because you were unfaithful, I will take the one thousand gold coins and give them to the one who has ten thousand. 29For the one who has will be given more, until he overflows with abundance. And the one with hardly anything, even what little he has will be taken from him.’ # 25:29 By implication the parable is stating, “The one who has [a heart of faithful stewardship] will be given more [to manage]. And the one who has very little [faithfulness, wisdom, integrity] will lose the little he has [failed to manage well].”
30“Then the master said to his other servants, ‘Now, throw that good-for-nothing servant far away from me into the outer darkness, where there will be great misery and anguish!’ ”
The Judgment of the Multitudes
31“When the Son of Man appears in his majestic glory, with all his angels by his side, he will take his seat on his throne of splendor, 32and all the nations will be gathered together before him. # 25:32 See Dan. 7:13–14. And like a shepherd who separates the sheep from the goats, he will separate all the people. 33The ‘sheep’ he will put on his right side and the ‘goats’ on his left. 34Then the King will turn to those on his right and say, ‘You have a special place in my Father’s heart. Come and experience the full inheritance of the kingdom realm that has been destined for you from before the foundation # 25:34 Or “from before the fall” of the world. of the world! 35For when you saw me hungry, you fed me. When you found me thirsty, you gave me drink. When I had no place to stay, you invited me in, 36and when I was poorly clothed, you covered me. When I was sick, you tenderly cared for me, and when I was in prison you visited me.’
37“Then the godly will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty and give you food and something to drink? 38When did we see you with no place to stay and invite you in? When did we see you poorly clothed and cover you? 39When did we see you sick and tenderly care for you, or in prison and visit you?’
40“And the King will answer them, ‘Don’t you know? When you cared for one of the least of these, my little ones, my true brothers and sisters, you demonstrated love for me.’
41“Then to those on his left the King will say, ‘Leave me! For you are under the curse of eternal fire that has been destined for the devil and all his demons. 42For when you saw me hungry, you gave me no food, and when you saw me thirsty, you gave me no drink. 43I had no place to stay, and you refused to take me in as your guest. When you saw me poorly clothed, you closed your hearts and did not clothe me. When you saw that I was sick, you didn’t lift a finger to help me, and when I was imprisoned, you never came to visit me.’
44“And then those on his left will say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty and not give you food and something to drink? When did we see you homeless, or poorly clothed? When did we see you sick and not help you, or in prison and not visit you?’
45“Then he will answer them, ‘Don’t you know? When you refused to help one of the least important among these my little ones, my true brothers and sisters, you refused to help and honor me.’ 46And they will depart from his presence into eternal punishment. But the godly and beloved ‘sheep’ will enter into eternal bliss.”