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Recall that lacking oil for their lamps to go out and meet the Bridegroom, the foolish virgins wanted those whom they deemed to have more than they to share from their supply.  But they would not, lest they not have enough for themselves.  For whatever reserve of God’s Spirit that even the most righteous might have is only enough to keep their own lamps shining in the darkness of spiritual night, and cannot be shared, but must be obtained individually.  Rather, they bid them to “go instead to the dealers (lit. to them that sell, as in the KJV) and buy some for yourselves” (Mat 25:9).  In what sense is it a misnomer to suppose that the oil they were lacking could be purchased for a price?  See Act 8:18-20, Isa 55:1-3.  In what opposite sense was the oil they were seeking of such great price that it would cost them dearly, which price they wouldn’t earlier pay, but now they were wishing they had?  See Mat 13:44-45.  What do these two different senses remind us about the difference between temporal, material riches, and eternal, spiritual wealth?  Cf. Luk 12:15-21, Rev 3:17-18[1].

Who should we understand are those to whom the foolish virgins might have gone to buy without money or cost the oil their lamps were lacking?  See Eph 4:11-12.  But being blind themselves and not knowing any better, who should we understand are those to whom they might easily have been attracted to obtain oil for their lamps because of the need of the moment and the persuasive salesmanship of those who sell?  See Mat 7:15, Luk 6:39-40, 2Co 2:17 NET, 2Pe 2:1-3,18-19.  In what way could those who peddle religion today be considered “dealers” in the oil that so many are seeking for their lamps to go out and meet the Bridegroom?  Is it necessarily the case that some measure of truth that to the unwary might pass as the oil of God’s Spirit they are lacking cannot be found among those whose faith is not entirely sincere, whose motives are not entirely pure, or who even peddle the word of God for profit and worldly gain?  See 1Sa 1:12-18, 3:11-13, 4:17-18, Mat 23:1-3, Phil 1:15-18.  But how difficult is it for those who have rejected the solid food of God’s word and not practiced to have their senses trained to discern good and evil (Heb 5:14) to sort out the truth they need from the error that adulterates it, and how long does it take them to do so?  Will they have time to do so when it is already midnight and the shout has gone forth that the Bridegroom has arrived and it is time to go out and meet Him?  See again 2Co 6:1-2 and note[2].  How much more difficult will it be to obtain the oil they seek in the day of the Lord when those from whom they might obtain it are forbidden to sell, and they are forbidden to buy, not having the mark of the beast (Rev 13:17)?  How is that like the predicament in which so many have found themselves where communists, Muslims, or other antichrists have taken over a nation or region?  How is it becoming like that even in our own nation as religious faith is being marginalized more and more away from the public sphere?

What does the parable say happened while the foolish virgins were going away to buy the oil they needed?  See Mat 25:10.  In spite of the uncertainty of the day or hour, what does this remind us about the certainty that Christ will indeed come, and that He will come at an unexpected time when many are not prepared to go out and meet Him, including many who supposed themselves to be His followers and were waiting for Him to come?  See Mat 24:44,50; cf. Mat 7:22-23, Luk 13:22-27.  Who does Mat 25:10 say went in with the Bridegroom to the wedding feast?  Recall that it was necessary for God’s people to be prepared for Christ’s first coming (Luk 1:17); is it any less important they be prepared for His second coming?  In the context of the parable, who were those who were ready or prepared to go in, and who were those who were not?  See Mat 25:2-4.  Who were those who were prepared for the Lord’s first coming, and who were those who were not?  See Mat 21:31-32.  Should we suppose that if one does not have a sincerely repentant heart that he will be any more prepared for Christ’s second coming than the scribes and Pharisees were for His first coming?  Considering that those who were ready had a reserve of the oil of God’s Holy Spirit that allowed their lamps to continue to shine before men in true righteousness even in the darkest part of the night, should we suppose that just because one has a lamp that once shown with light from oil that is now gone, that he is any more ready to go in to the wedding feast than was Eli and his sons, or the Pharisees who sat in the chair of Moses, or those who preached Christ from envy, strife and selfish ambition?  Cf. Mat 23:33, Rom 2:13, Heb 2:1-3.  What do these things remind us about what it means to be ready, and the sort of Bride for whom the Lord is returning?  See Eph 5:25-27, Rev 19:7-8.

[1] He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.  Jim Eliot, martyred missionary.

[2] Getting grace is a work of time, and cannot be done in a hurry.  While the poor awakened soul addresses itself, upon a sick bed, to repentance and prayer, in awful confusion, it scarcely knows which end to begin at, or what to do first; and presently death comes, judgment comes, and the work is undone, and the poor sinner undone forever.  This comes of having oil to buy when we should burn it, and grace to get when we should use it.  Matthew Henry.

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