In Matthew 25:1-13, we read the story of 10 virgins. From this story we assess that all were virgins, all had lamps that were burning, all were waiting for the Bridegroom, and all fell asleep. But there is one very important thing that they did not have in common: extra oil. Here is there story:
“1 Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,
4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
6 And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’
7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.
8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’
9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’
10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’
12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”
It appears from what Jesus says at the conclusion of this story is the importance of watching. Jesus says in more than one other place to be alert, to be watchful, to be vigilant, to never let down one’s guard (Matthew 24:42-44; 26:41; Mark 13:33, 35; Luke 12:35-38; 21:36). Why? Because we are called lights of the world. Even as God is light within light, and there is no shadow of turning with Him, and Jesus declared that He is the light of the world, we too are to be perpetually shining out into the ever growing darkness.
“14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
“13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
14 Do all things without complaining and disputing,
15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.”
Now, in order for our lights to continue shining out, we need oil. In the days of Jesus, lamps were lit with oil. That was the fuel of the time period, much like now we utilize electricity. Thus, if they ran out of oil, the light would go out. And when the light would go out, there would be pitch darkness, because they did not have street lights or yard lights on just in case.
Even so, if we run out of oil, our lights will go out. And if our lights go out, who will shine? If our lights are under a bushel, then everything becomes darkness. Again, there is no back up. We are the lights of the world, shining out in this perverse and crooked generation.
Thus, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-5, 8 says,
“1 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.
2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.
3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.
4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.
5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.
8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.”
So, what is this oil that we MUST NOT RUN OUT OF? Is it the Holy Spirit as some teach? After all, throughout scripture oil has been referred to as the Holy Spirit. That might work, except that one cannot buy the Holy Spirit. After all, in this story of the 10 virgins, the 5 are told to go and buy oil. Acts makes it clear via the Apostle Peter that one cannot buy the Holy Spirit. In Acts 8, Peter rebukes Simon the sorcerer for wanting to purchase with money the empowerment of the Holy Spirit which produced an open demonstration. According to verse 19 Simon had said, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” Peter responded in verse 20, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money!”
The oil must go back to Jesus’ emphasis in Matthew 25:13: watchfulness. We must be watchful. We see the importance of watching with our lamps continually lit in Luke 12:35-40:
“35 Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; 36and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. 37Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. 38And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. 39But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 40Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
Does this mean that we literally, physically have to stay awake? No. But, it does mean that we must be spiritually vigilant, never letting down our guard, never becoming lethargic nor apathetic, never allowing the world to seep in, never allowing the entrancing music of the world to lull us to sleep, never allowing for a false sense of security. To be watchful is to be in the word of God that it might purify and transform us (Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 5), to be praying without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5), and to be aware of the signs of the times so that the day of the Lord does not take us unaware (1 Thessalonians 5).
The oil therefore, could be likened to our watchfulness, our vigilance in reading and applying God’s word, our prayer life, and our discernment of the spiritual seasons. We need this oil in order to keep our lamps burning, and our lamps must keep on burning and never be extinguished because if our lights go out, all will be darkness. Remember, in Jesus’ day there were no street lights, no yard lights, no front porch lights to back people up if their lamp went out. So, if their lamp went out, all would be completely black. Spiritually speaking, that applies to all Christians throughout the centuries, for our lights must continually shine out into the spiritual darkness of this world. And for those lights to shine without ceasing, we as Christians must be in the word, must be praying, and must be paying attention to the signs of the times. If we do not, then our lamps will go out, and we will be unprepared for the Lord’s soon and sudden return. So, let’s trim our lamps, refill our oil, and shine on. Let’s “1 Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.” (Isaiah 60:1).
Let’s be ready!
Other Messages with Further Insight:
“The Mystery of the 10 Virgins,” https://perrystone.tv/programs/mfps_0981_hd_2019_07_26mpg-488a73
“Arise Shine! For Your Light Has Come,” by Pastor Zev Porat,