After condemning the Jewish leaders who had rejected Him, forsaking the temple mount and predicting its destruction, Jesus is on the Mount of Olives answering His disciples’ request for when that destruction would take place, and what would be the sign of His coming that would bring such a cataclysmic end to that age of the Jews (Mat 24:3) who as a people had rejected Him as their Messiah. The purpose of the disciples in asking was that they too would not be swept away in that forthcoming destruction, the day of which happening “no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (Mat 24:36). Therefore in summary of all the signs He gave, Jesus has warned that they must “be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming” (Mat 24:42). How many parables does Scripture record that Jesus then gave to emphasize the importance of this conclusion and what it means to be on the alert and keep watch? See Mat 24:43-44, Mar 13:34, Mat 24:45-51, 25:1-13, 14-30, 31-46. Since God only needs to say something once in order for it to be important, what does the repeated emphasis through six parables tell us about how important it is that we be on the alert in order to not be deceived by the spirit of our own evil age and swept away in a similar flood of destruction—just like in the days of Noah, and just like in 70 A.D. when God did not spare even the Jewish nation He had set apart for Himself?
What parable does Jesus now give that continues to emphasize how important it is for those who would come to the wedding feast to keep on the alert? See Mat 25:1-13, esp. Mat 25:13, and cf. Mat 24:42,44. Notice that Jesus begins the parable by saying that the kingdom of heaven will be comparable or likened to ten virgins, half of whom end up being shut out from the wedding feast. Are we then to understand that the kingdom of heaven, which was the central theme of Jesus’ teaching (cf. Mat 3:2, 4:17,23, 5;3,10,19-20, 6:10,33, 7:21, 8;11-12, 9:35, etc…), is only about the gospel message, receiving Him into our hearts, and going to heaven when we die? Or is what Jesus would have us understand much broader than that, and includes the many aspects of the administration of God’s kingdom as it enters into and overcomes the kingdoms of this world, and especially how it sifts the hearts of men like a winnowing fork, either as choice fruit to be gathered into His barn, or as chaff to be burned up (Mat 3:12)? Cf. Mat 13:3-11,24-30,31-32,33,44,45-46,47-50, 18:23-35, 20:1-15, 22:2-14.
In the parable, who does the bridegroom represent? Cf. Mat 9:15, Joh 3:29. Who do the ten virgins represent, and what is their relationship to the bride? Are they the bride? Notice that as in the parable of the wedding feast (Mat 22:1-14) the bride is not mentioned. See also Rev 19:7-9 and notice that after saying, “the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready” it goes on to say, “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb”. So again, what is the relationship to the bride of the virgins or those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb? Think: Who does Scripture clearly identify as the bride? See Eph 5:22-33. Is the bride of Christ then any particular individual or group of people at a single point in time, or an entity composed of individuals that transcends time? Consider the similar analogy given in Scripture of the Church as a temple being built of individual stones and pillars; cf. Eph 2:19-22, Rev 3:12. In what way is the Church as the bride of Christ the counterpart and greater fulfillment of Israel in its covenant relationship to God? See Isa 54:5, 62:1-5, Jer 2:32, Rev 21:1-2,9-14. Think too: whereas Israel was only a single nation, the bride of Christ is composed of all nations, whom Israel in the marriage analogy was to put on as ornaments (Isa 49:18), being a light to them in order that they too might know the Lord. Consider too the significance of the wedding feast in the marriage analogy: it was at the wedding feast that a marriage was consummated as the bride in an act of physical intimacy received the seed of her husband in order that she might bear the fruit of his seed. In the same way those individuals who are invited and come to the marriage supper of the Lamb to partake of the feast God has prepared for them in the truth of His word also at the same time in an act of spiritual intimacy receive the imperishable seed of Christ’s word in order that they too might bear the fruit of His seed (1Pe 1:22-23). Hence those who are invited and come to the wedding feast as individuals are also joined to Christ as part of His corporate bride. Thus the ten virgins, like all who would come to the wedding feast, represent those who would become a part of the Bride of Christ, but are not the Bride herself. But do they represent more than that?