In our previous study, we saw that all of the virgins were roused by an outcry or clamor that alerted them that the Bridegroom had arrived. Upon awakening from their slumber, what else does Mat 25:7 say the virgins did when they realized it was time to go out and meet Him? What is the significance that the NAS “trimmed their lamps” translates the Greek word kosmeo that means to put in order or arrange in the sense of adorning or making beautiful, so that we get our word cosmetics from it? See Tit 2:10, 1Pe 3:3-5, Rev 21:2. What does this teach us about what it means spiritually for a virgin who is going out to meet the Bridegroom to trim her lamp? Cf. Rev 19:7-8. As it became apparent to the foolish virgins that their lamps were going out when they were awakened from their slumber and sought to put them in order, in what similar way does it become apparent to people that they are lacking the oil of God’s Holy Spirit when they are awakened to the demands of the gospel by the uproar of unrighteousness in the world, and seek to fulfill those demands? See Luk 21:25-26, Rom 8:4 and think: is one able to fulfill the righteous requirements of the law apart from the Holy Spirit of God? Cf. Mat 5:17-20, Luk 16:16-17. From the experience of God’s people throughout the ages, is the true Spirit of holiness something that can typically be acquired on a moment’s notice at our own bidding, or is it more like a seed that is sown that must be nurtured and that takes time to mature and produce its fruit? As the skills necessary for many jobs cannot be immediately obtained by those who neglected the education of their youth, and a harvest doesn’t happen overnight for those who are late in their sowing, might those who have been too busy pursuing their own desires in the world discover that in the same way it takes time to acquire the Spirit of holiness who makes our lamps shine brightly so we can go out and meet the bridegroom? If our physical birth and life teach us about spiritual birth and life, how long might it take one who is born again to grow up to spiritual maturity to possess a vessel full of the Spirit of God? Cf. Luk 1:80. As with those who lack a nourishing physical diet, if people are spiritually weak and sickly from a lack of spiritual food rich in the life of God’s Holy Spirit, is it likely in times of distress—like the times Jesus said would precede His coming—that they will have spiritual strength to go out and meet the Bridegroom? See Job 23:12, Psa 1:1-2, Jer 15:16. If people have not taken time to put on the fine linen, bright and clean, that has been given to Christ’s Bride (Rev 19:8), will they be prepared as the Bride for whom the Bridegroom is coming to go out and meet Him? See Eph 5:26-27.
What did the foolish virgins notice about their lamps when they arose to set them in order that made them realize their lack of oil? See Mat 25:8. Who does Scripture identify repeatedly as those whose lamps go out? See Job 18:5-6, Pro 13:9, 20:20, 24:20. What is the significance that the Greek word used for their lamps going out is the same word Paul used in 1Th 5:19 to not quench (NAS, KJV), put out (NIV), or extinguish (NET) the Spirit? How does this help us to understand the means by which one may quench the Spirit? Is it by an order and discipline imposed upon worship that restricts ecstatic utterances and avoids the spirit of the world that seeks to be entertained? Cf. 1Co 14:26-33. Or is it by being misled by the spirit of the world so as to no longer walk in righteousness and holiness as those who are led by the Spirit of God? How does this also help us to understand the spiritual truth God was teaching His people when He commanded that “fire shall be kept burning continually on the altar; it is not to go out” (Lev 6:13)? Cf. Rom 12:1-2, 2Ch 29:5-8.
Was it just a coincidence that the lamps of the foolish virgins were going out at the very time that the Bridegroom had arrived and it was time to go out and meet Him? Or is it for this reason that Jesus has been warning His disciples about the need to be on the alert (Mat 24:42,44, 25:13) because His coming will be with a winnowing fork in His hand to sift from the chaff a holy Bride for Himself? Do we understand that it is precisely at those times when we grow lax in spiritual preparedness and fall asleep in regard to the needs of our soul and allow ourselves to be overcome by the spirit of the world that Jesus said He would come? See Luk 12:16-21; cf. Deut 8:11-14,19-20. Even as the foolish virgins saw that their lamps were going out, is there any indication that their hopes were dimmed that they would still be admitted to the wedding feast? Cf. Mat 7:22, 25:11. How is that like so many whose profession of faith is not entirely sincere and who serve the Lord only in pretense? What does this remind us about how a hope and security not anchored in the sincerity of truth is only a false hope and a false security?
1. Even counterfeit graces will serve a man to make a show of when he comes to die, as well as they have done all his life long; the hypocrite’s hopes blaze when they are just expiring, like a lightening before death. Matthew Henry.↩