The Wise and Foolish Virgins

“…and they that were ready (the wise) went in with him to the marriage…” (Matt 25:10b)

“Afterward came also the other virgins (the foolish), saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us.’ But he answered and said, ‘Verily I say unto you, I know you not.'” (Matt 25:11,12)

The ones who were “ready” – the wise virgins – went in with him to the marriage. The reason they went in, we are told, is that they were ‘Ready.’ But what does it mean to be ‘Ready?’ The answer may be found by looking at those that were NOT ready. These were the other (foolish) virgins.

The first thing we notice is that these “other” virgins uttered the phrase, “Lord, Lord.” This phrase is spoken five times in the New Testament, with regard to distinguishing good from evil, or not being allowed to enter in to the Kingdom. So we have another clue – that this must be a serious “Eternal Covenant” (Owlam Beryth) issue.

This phrase, “Lord, Lord” is seen in Matthew 7:21 and again in verse 22. The response, in verse 23, is very similar to what was said to the foolish virgins, but with an additional clue: “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity<458>”

The Greek word for ‘iniquity’ is ‘anomia,’ Strong’s number <458>, meaning “transgression of the law; contempt or violation of law; condition of being without law; wickedness.” Iniquity is sin, which John tells us is “transgression of the Law” (1John 3:4). It is this additional clue that shows us a possible point of separation between the wise, and the foolish. But let’s look further.

We next look at the Bridegroom’s response in Mat 25:12. The Bridegroom answered, “I know you not.”

What does this tell us?

The word ‘know’ in the Greek is eido – Strong’s # <1492>, meaning “to perceive with the eyes, pay attention, observe, inspect, examine, experience any state or condition, see i.e. have an interview with, visit, have regard for one, cherish, pay attention to, see with the mind’s eye; signifies a clear and purely mental perception.”

The wise virgins must have been “known” by the Bridegroom. He had regard for them. But not so with the other group. They were not known. They were said to be “without Law.” And they were considered “foolish.”

What about the Oil? Most discussions of this parable seem to center around the oil for the lamps. Lets see if this is a valid concern. We are told in (Prov 21:20) that “There is Oil in the dwelling of the wise.” Having oil appears to be simply a result of being wise, and not the cause of being wise.

Bottom Line: We must look for any Eternal Covenant (Owlam Beryth) issues that are related to “knowing” (“I know you not” or “I never knew you”), and also related to “lawlessness”(“you that work iniquity”).

These two are in turn related to the “wise.” The Proverbs tell us that the ‘wise’ is a man of ‘knowledge’ — that is, knowledge of the Father (Prov 24:5).

The Psalms and Proverbs both have much to say about the wise, and also about the foolish. Let’s look at a few verses:

Psalms:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever. (Psalms 111:10)
Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. (Psalms 119:98 )

Proverbs:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)
My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: (Proverbs 1:8 )
For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6)
The wise shall inherit glory (Prov 3:35)
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom (Prov 4:7)
My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: (Proverbs 6:20)
Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not (Prov 8:33)
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)
The wise in heart will receive commandments (Proverbs 10:8)
A wise son heareth his father’s instruction (Proverbs 13:1)
The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death. (Proverbs 13:14)
A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil (Proverbs 14:16)
There is Oil in the dwelling of the wise (Prov 21:20)
Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son (Proverbs 28:7)
Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father (Prov 29:3)

All these verses hold the promise of being wise in your “latter end” (Prov. 19:20). The “latter end” is that most-waited-for time, that glorious time when we shall hear the “midnight cry” saying: “Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.” Matt 25:6

Gaining wisdom is the key, the secret, to having that precious oil that the five wise virgins had. Having the oil is the consequence of being wise, and of being known by the Bridegroom. This is the real issue. This is an Eternal Covenant issue.

Let us increase in our knowledge of Father, and let us decrease in our ‘anomia’ — our sin — the same transgression of the law that prevented Israel from entering in.

Let us ‘Remember.’ We have been given Grace, for the purpose of obedience to ‘The Faith’ (Romans 1:5). Let us not squander this precious gift of Grace. The Bridegroom will be here soon!

For those that are inclined to do so, let us make ourselves “Ready.”

For a detailed look at the identity of the Wise and Foolish Virgins, see Related Articles below.

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