The Wise Virgins had Oil, but the Foolish Virgins had none — at the crucial time it was needed. What is the ‘prophetic’ meaning of the Oil? The Scriptures tell us, so we must look there to find the answer.
Oil is seen throughout the Scriptures. Oil is seen for purposes of anointing, and for fuel for the Lights. It is used to cook with, and is used for baking. It is a necessary ingredient in many foods, as well as in prescribed sacrifices. Our focus, however, will be only on Oil for anointing, and for providing Light. Let’s start with the following passage:
“Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.” (Matthew 25:7-9)
Here we see Oil used as fuel for the Light. The wise had Oil, and the Foolish had none. This is a parable, meant to convey some Scriptural truth to us, in picture form. So we must ask, what does this Oil represent, and where does it come from? Let’s look.
An Offering from a Willing Heart
Let’s begin our quest by looking at a few passages regarding Oil for the Light:
“And Moses spake unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the LORD commanded, saying, Take ye from among you an offering unto the LORD: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the LORD; gold, and silver, and brass… And oil for the light, and spices for anointing oil, and for the sweet incense…” (Exodus 35:4-5,8)
“And they brought the tabernacle unto Moses… The pure candlestick, with the lamps thereof, even with the lamps to be set in order, and all the vessels thereof, and the oil for light, And the golden altar, and the anointing oil, and the sweet incense…” (Exodus 39:33a,37-38a)
From the above passages, we see a very clear picture of what Yahweh requires. First we note in Exodus 35:4 above, that twice Yahweh mentions that an “offering” is to be taken from the people, but then He reveals it is only to be taken from those of a “willing heart.” The willing heart is one which, although not required to do so, brings the offering anyway.
This offering of Oil for the Lights is one that Yahweh requires, but the fact that it is based on “willingness of heart” tells us this is a “New Covenant” parable or picture, rather than an “Old Covenant” matter. Under the external Old Covenant, obedience was done from the motive of Fear of Death. However, under the internal New Covenant, obedience to the same Commandments is to be done from a motive of Love, which is stronger than death, as a motive for obedience.
The word “heart” in the above passage is the Hebrew word ‘leb,’ Strong’s number <03820>, and has many meanings, two of which are “wisdom” and “understanding.” Remember it was those with a “willing heart,” implying those that have wisdom and understanding, who bring the offering. And this offering includes “Oil for the light.”
Oil for the Light
The phrase “Oil for the Light” occurs five times in Scripture, the number “5” telling us immediately that this phrase is a ‘prophetic’ word-phrase that refers to the “Bride,” as we saw in “Prophetic Numbers in Scripture.” So it appears we are on the right track in looking at these passages.
Notice in the Exodus passages above, that there are two separate offerings of oil — one for the lights, and another for anointing. This detail makes it clear that the “oil for anointing” and “oil for the lights” are two separate offerings. Thus we see that oil for the lights is a separate issue, and is NOT related to the anointing provided by the Holy Spirit.
So our first conclusion is that the Wise Virgins’ Oil is NOT the presence of the Holy Spirit, as many have speculated. However, we must look further in Scripture before we may conclude what this Oil is.
Light from the Lamp
The Oil we are looking for is something that provides Light from the Lamp. So let’s look into the nature of Light in Scripture:
“And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:16-18 )
Here we see in this passage in Genesis that Yahweh is the originator of the light. It is later in Scripture, that we see the following:
I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; (Isaiah 42:6)
Here in Isa 42:6, Yahweh reveals that He will give Messiah “for a light.” Let us now compare the following phrases from Scripture:
“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world…” (John 8:12a)
“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:5)
“I am come a light into the world…” (John 12:46a)
We are told in many ways, that Yahshua Messiah Himself is the Light, that He is actual “source” of the Light. But notice in the following passages, how that believing on, and following Messiah, results in the “Life” and “Light” of Yahweh within man:
“…he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12b)
“…that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” (John 12:46b)
“In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4)
“The LORD is my light…the LORD is the strength of my life…” (Psalms 27:1a)
“For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.” (Psalms 36:9)
Here we see in the above passages, how believing on and following Yahshua, results in the Life of “Messiah-in-us,” who is our Strength, and our Light.
Thus far we have seen how the Life of “Messiah-in-us” provides the Biblical Grace, which is simply the strength, or power He gives us, to live His Resurrection Life while He lives within us. We have seen how His “Life-in-us” becomes our Light. But to get a more detailed picture of just what this Light is, we will home in on a few other passages:
“I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.” (Psalms 71:16)
“Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.” (Psalms 112:4)
“…we have received grace…for obedience to the faith…” (Romans 1:5)
“Ye are the light of the world…Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works,…” (Matthew 5:14a, 16a)
“…by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19)
“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:16)
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1John 1:7)
“He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.” (1John 2:9)
From the above passages, we now get a clear picture of what the “Light” is. It is simply the good “works” produced by Messiah-in-us, works done by His Grace– His strength given to us for the purpose of our obedience. To see what this obedience is, let’s look at the following Lamp/Light passages:
“Thy word is a lamp…and a light…” (Psalms 119:105a)
“…the commandment is a lamp…the law(“Torah”) is light…” (Proverbs 6:23a)
“The light of the righteous rejoiceth: but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.” (Proverbs 13:9)
Here we see that the Word is both the Lamp, and the Light. The “Commandment” — the Word of Yahweh — is the Lamp, but walking in obedience to the Torah, living out the Torah in our daily lives, is the Living Word, or the “Light” produced by the Lamp.
Next, we recall from the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins in Matthew 25:1-10, that both the Wise Virgins and the Foolish Virgins had Lamps (Matthew 25:3-4), but the Lamps of the Foolish Virgins had gone out (Matthew 25:8).
Now notice in the above passage in Proverbs 13:9, that the Righteous have Light [from an implied Lamp], but the Wicked have only the Lamp mentioned, with no mention of any Light. We are then told that the Lamp of the Wicked shall be put out, in which case no Light can be seen.
From the above Proverbs passage, we are given the identity of both the Wise Virgins and the Foolish Virgins, as seen in the Matthew 25:1-10 parable. The Wise Virgins are those who walk in Righteousness [obedience (Romans 6:16)], and the Foolish Virgins are those who walk in disobedience (Romans 6:16; 1John 3:4)].
So the obedience that results in “Light” is simply the obedience of “Messiah-in-us,” by His own strength, as we allow Him to keep the Torah in our daily lives.
We see in these passages that if we walk in His Light, and in His obedience, that His Righteousness in us becomes our “Light.”
This finding of the “Light” gives us an astonishing new definition, of exactly what it means to “Believe on” and to “Follow” Yahshua, as seen in John 8:12 and John 12:46. If we truly “Believe” Yahshua, and truly “Follow” Him, then we are allowing Messiah-in-us to provide our “Light” — allowing Him living-within-us to keep the “Law” or Torah, including Yahweh’s Statutes, Commandments, and Precepts!
This is exactly in agreement with what we found in “Righteousness as the Light,” that the “Light” is the “Fruit” of Righteousness — the “works” produced by “Messiah-in-us” as we allow Him to do so. We also saw that Righteousness and Peace is the result that comes to those that Hearken to “My Commandments.” As we keep this thought in mind, we are now ready to see one last piece of the puzzle. Let us now look at the Oil.
Oil for the Lamp
We begin our look at the Oil for the Lamp with the following passage:
“There is… oil in the dwelling of the wise…” (Proverbs 21:20a)
Logic would tell us that we would find Wisdom in the dwelling of the wise. However, in the above passage we are told that there is Oil in the dwelling of the Wise. This “prophetic hint” gives us a clue to search out other Oil/Wisdom passages. Let’s look at the following pair of passages:
“…that he may bring forth… oil to make his face to shine…” (Psalms 104:14a,15b)
“Who is as the wise man? and who knoweth the interpretation of a thing? a man’s wisdom maketh his face to shine, and the boldness of his face shall be changed.” (Ecclesiastes 8:1)
Here we are told in the first verse above, that Yahweh brings forth the Oil that makes man’s face to shine. But in the next passage, we are told that it is Wisdom that makes man’s face to shine. Is this a Bible contradiction?
This is not a contradiction, but a “Riddle” for the Bride! These two passages together reveal to us that the Oil that makes man’s face to shine is the Wisdom that Yahweh brings forth in man. Our conclusion is that the Oil that makes the Lamps provide Light is WISDOM.
We must then find out what Biblical Wisdom is, but we must first test the above conclusions against Scripture. To establish validity of an idea, there must be two or three confirming witnesses of Scripture. Let’s look at several Scripture passages:
“Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.” (Ecclesiastes 2:13)
Here we see a parallel/contrast, showing Wisdom and Light contrasted against Foolishness and Darkness. We saw in “Righteousness as the Light” that the Light is provided by Yahweh Himself. And in the above passage, we see again that Wisdom is related to the Light, and that Foolishness is related to Darkness, or lack of Light. So let’s look at some more Wisdom passages:
Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. (Deuteronomy 4:5-6)
And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding. (Job 28:28 )
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)
Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. (Psalms 112:1)
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)
Scripture reminds us many times, that Wisdom begins with the Fear of Yahweh. But the Fear of Yahweh is directly related to the keeping of His Commandments. We are also told in the above passages that Understanding is the same as departing from evil; and likewise Understanding is the same as knowledge of the Holy (the One who is Holy).
But Ezekiel (Ezekiel 20:12, 20) reveals to us that the knowledge of Yahweh comes only to those that keep His Sabbaths — again confirming the idea that Wisdom and understanding are shown by those who keep and observe Yahweh’s Torah!
Grace Necessary for Oil
Since we are not able (in our own strength, without His Grace) to keep the Commandments, so that we might have Wisdom, we then see in the following passage, that Yahweh has made provision for that also:
“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:” (1 Corinthians 1:30)
So we see in the above passage that, not only is Messiah Yahshua our Righteousness, our Sanctification, and our Redemption — but He is also our Wisdom.
So how is Yahshua made to be Wisdom unto us?
When we first received Yahshua as Messiah, we obeyed His Commandment to repent, and He then became our Wisdom. At that time, our Lamps had Light.
It is Messiah, living in us, who provides the Grace — the ability to keep the Commandments of Yahweh. And as we grow in our obedience, we continue to acquire Wisdom in accordance with the requirements of Deut 4:5-6, which have not changed. “Messiah-in-us” is the source of the Light. But notice what eventually happens to some:
“And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.” (Matthew 25:8 )
Yes, the lamps of the Foolish Virgins had gone out. At one time their Lamps gave off Light, when they accepted the Seed of Righteousness, Yahshua Himself, to be planted in their hearts. They had been “Born Again.”
But after the Seed of Righteousness sprouted within them, perhaps the Foolish Virgins had heard some bad teaching, which affected their actions. By believing and embracing this false teaching, they actually prevented “Messiah-in-them” from growing — from living in obedience to the same Commandments Messiah kept 2,000 years ago, when He lived in His own body of flesh. And because this false teaching had convinced the Foolish Virgins to forsake the Law, their actions were now considered “wicked” according to Yahweh. In the following passages, notice the identity of the Wicked, and notice their outcome:
“Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law<08451> (‘Torah’).” (Psalms 119:53)
“… the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.” (Proverbs 13:9)
In the above pair of passages, we see a vivid illustration of the result of forsaking obedience to Yahweh’s Law, His Torah. Here we see the result:
The Lamp of those that forsake obedience to Yahweh’s Torah will go out — it will be extinguished!
The Wise Virgins, however, have the “Light of the Righteous.” As we saw in Righteousness as the Light, both the Wise and Foolish Virgins were Born-Again, Blood-redeemed Believers in Messiah. They both had Messiah, who is the Seed of Righteousness, living within them.
But only the Wise Virgins had Light in their Lamps. Only the Wise Virgins were producing the Fruit of Righteousness — which is seen in obedience to the Torah.
Though the Foolish Virgins had the Seed of Righteousness within them, the Fruit they produced after they had been Born-again, was wickedness — the absence of Light — which is disobedience to the Law — the Torah.
Grace Given for Obedience
After they were Born Again, and perhaps filled with the Holy Spirit, the Foolish Virgins’ Lamps flickered a few times, and eventually went out. They were now considered as wicked by their actions, according to Scripture.
The Foolish Virgins were initially given the measure of Grace, but they did not “grow” in Grace, which is given to all men for the purpose of obedience unto righteousness (Romans 1:5; 6:16). Perhaps because of their doctrines, they trusted in the Grace they were once given, but did not cease the behaviour defined in Scripture as “wicked”: that is, they had forsaken the Law — the Torah of Yahweh (See Psalms 119:53; Proverbs 4:2; 28:4; Jeremiah 9:13-15).
This Grace for obedience is given to all, that we might be able to love Messiah, by obeying His Commandments, by obeying the Law — the Torah of Yahweh — including the statutes and ordinances Messiah gave to Moses. Without Messiah’s Grace for obedience, we would be just like the Israelites, who fell in the wilderness because of their disobedience to the Torah.
We are told that the Israelites who fell in the Wilderness are “examples for us,” and are for our warning — so that we too would not fall in the wilderness of this lifetime, through our disobedience (1Corinthians 10:11; Hebrews 3:12; 4:1, 11).
At one time, when the Foolish Virgins first received Messiah, they had Oil, and their Lamps provided Light. This Light was their Wisdom and understanding, and was in plain view of the Nations. But now the Light of the Foolish Virgins had gone out. Their Lamps remained, but there was no Light to be seen.
What do the Foolish Virgins do next? Let’s look.
Go To Those Who Sell Oil
The Foolish Virgins, their Lamps having gone out, had no Oil. Let’s look at the following passage:
“But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.” (Matthew 25:9-10)
Notice that the Wise Virgins told the Foolish to go to “them that sell” and buy some Oil for themselves. For understanding on who it is today that sells “Oil” to these Virgins, see Those Who Sell Oil. It appears the Foolish Virgins were indeed able to go out and buy some Oil, because we see they later returned.
So what other clues do we see in Scripture regarding buying of this “Oil” of Wisdom? Notice the following:
“Wherefore is there a price<04242> in the hand of a fool<03684> to get<07069> wisdom, seeing he hath no heart<03820> to it?” (Proverbs 17:16)
The Hebrew words in the above passage are very revealing. The Hebrew word ‘m@chiyr,’ Strong’s number <04242>, meaning “buying price, worth, gain or hire,” is seen in the above verse as a “purchase price” of wisdom. This word <04242> appears 15 times in Scripture. We saw in Prophetic Numbers in Scripture that the number 15 in Scripture speaks prophetically of “rest” and of “My Sabbaths.”
We notice also the prophetic nature of the Strong’s number <04242>. As we saw in Prophetic Numbers in Scripture, the number 42 in Scripture speaks prophetically of the appearing of Messiah-in-you and of Resurrection Life. Notice also that there is a double appearing of the number 42, giving us a hint of greater significance to the Scripture passages in which this word appears.
The Hebrew word for ‘get’ <07069> used in the passage above can have many meanings, including “buy, get, or purchase.” Likewise, the Hebrew word for ‘heart’ <03820> used in the passage above has additional meanings of “understanding and inclination.” Thus from the root meanings of the Hebrew words in Proverbs 17:16, we see the above passage can be read as:
“Why is there a purchase-price in the hand of a ‘Foolish one’ to buy wisdom, since he has no heart, no understanding nor inclination on his own?” (Proverbs 17:16, Author’s Paraphrase from alternate word meanings)
So we see from the many related Scriptures, that the Oil for the Lamps is speaking of lack of Wisdom among those that are Foolish.
How the Foolish Virgins Became Deceived
Let us presume that the Foolish Virgins had a genuine desire to go with the Bridegroom to the wedding. Yet from the Scripture passages we have seen, we infer that they did not have the heart or inclination to follow Yahshua wherever He went, even into ‘unfamiliar’ [Doctrinal] territory.
Yahshua Himself kept all the Commandments, precepts, and ordinances of Yahweh. But the Foolish Virgins refused to allow Yahshua, and all Yahshua’s Disciples, to be their example, as we are exhorted in Scripture (Luke 4:16; Luke 22:13-15; 1Corinthains 5:7-8; Philippians 3:17; 1John 2:6).
Alas, the Foolish Virgins had been convinced by the popular Theologians — and their man-made Doctrines of Sin, Law, and Grace, twisted in subtle fashion so as to contradict the Scriptures — teaching their followers that they no longer needed to keep the Commandments, Statutes and Judgments of Yahweh.
The apostles Paul and James tell us, however, that only the “DO-ers” of the Law [Torah] will be declared Righteous — but that those who are hearers but not “DO-ers” will become deceived (Romans 2:13; James 1:22).
The Wise Virgins became “DO-ers” of the Law [Torah].
The Foolish Virgins were hearers, and not “DO-ers” of the Law [Torah], but became deceived (Romans 2:13; James 1:22).
So while the Foolish Virgins went out to buy their oil, noticed what happened:
“And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.” (Matthew 25:10)
The bridegroom came, those ready went in, and the door was shut!
I Never Knew You
Now, when the Foolish Virgins returned, they were ultimately told, “I never knew you!” Why were they told this? Let’s look at several companion passages:
“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)
“And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity<458>.” (Matthew 7:23)
In the Matthew 7:23 passage above, we are given the exact reason the Foolish Virgins are told, “I never knew you.” Notice the additional phrase, “ye that work iniquity<458>.” Notice that the word <458> is the Greek word ‘anomia’ meaning “transgression of the Law,” which is the Bible definition of “Sin” (1John 3:4). Thus the Foolish Virgins would eventually hear the words, “I never knew you,” simply because they continued to transgress [disobey] the Law [Torah], and as a result they were not known by The Bridegroom.
We are further told that those who love Messiah [who keep His commandments] are those that are known by Messiah (John 14:15; 1Corinthians 8:3). So we see that those that heard the words, “I know you not,” are those who do not love Him, by obeying His Commandments.
It is in abiding in Yahshua that we “know” Him. But it is only by keeping Yahweh’s Commandments that we can abide in Him (John 15:10). So if we continue to transgress the Law [continue to sin], we can NOT “know” Him. (Romans 2:13; 1John 2:6; 3:6, 14, 24). And unless the requirements for “knowing” Yahweh are met according to Scripture, we can NOT know Messiah Yahshua.
Now notice the following Scripture passages. Take note in these verses what is required to “know” Yahweh. Note also why the Israelites fell in the wilderness:
Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness. And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them. Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them. But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them.” (Ezekiel 20:10-13)
It is well for us to remember the above passage in Ezekiel. Perhaps the Foolish Virgins had not read the above passages in Ezekiel, and had not studied the Book of Hebrews, and other passages that explain, in detail, why the Israelites fell in the Wilderness.
The Foolish Virgins did not realize that the Scriptures warn us that we, too, can fall in the Wilderness, for the SAME reason the Israelites fell in the Wilderness. And so the Foolish Virgins continued to “transgress the Law,” which is Sin (1John 3:4). They lacked the Oil of Wisdom.
The Wise Virgins, on the other hand, had studied the Scriptures for themselves — and knew that the keeping of Yahweh’s Sabbaths are the “sign” of those who “know” Him! (Ex 31:13; Eze 20:12; Eze 20:20). Thus the Wise Virgins also kept the Biblical Passover. They ate of the Bread, and drank of the Cup of the New Covenant Passover, in its Biblically-appointed day and hour.
The Oil for the Lamps — the Wisdom from Yahweh — is available to all who are willing to pay the price for it. But notice the price:
“…the price of wisdom is above rubies.” (Job 28:18 )
Here we see the price of Wisdom is “above Rubies.” But notice what we see next:
“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” (Proverbs 31:10)
In the above passage, we are told that the price of this Woman is far above Rubies. And as we have seen previously in other writings, the Woman of Proverbs 31 speaks of the Bride, who is one and the same with the Wise Virgins. Thus we see in the above passage, that from her merchandise and her worth, the Bride is able and willing to pay the “Ruby” price of Wisdom.
Those that will be among the Bride-Company, are those who have paid the price for the Oil of Wisdom. These are the Wise Virgins. All others, no matter how sincere, are not willing to pay the price for the Oil of Wisdom. These are the Foolish Virgins.
All the Virgins, both Wise and Foolish, picture all those who have been set free by the Blood of the Lamb. The Wise Virgins had Wisdom. They were obedient to Messiah’s commandments, including those He spoke to Moses.
The Foolish Virgins had no Wisdom. They were disobedient to Messiah’s commandments that He spoke to Moses.
All who have been set free by the Blood of the Lamb, now have a choice:
Are we willing to follow the Lamb, wherever He goes —- no matter how unfamiliar the path? We may not know the way, but we must trust Him to lead us on the right path:
“I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.” (Proverbs 4:11)
“And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” (Isaiah 42:16)
The “Oil” of the Wise Virgins — the paths of Wisdom — are ways we have not known, but they are the Right paths, and they lead us to “Messiah-in-you,” and to Resurrection, and into the Marriage of the King!