In my last post, we finished the first half of the Olivet Discourse contained in Matthew 24. In this post, we will begin to unpack Matthew 25 as we wrap-up Yeshua’s teachings in the Christian Torah.
Yeshua told three more parables to clarify further what it means to be spiritually vigilant ~ ready for His return and how to live until He comes. The ten bridesmaids (Matthew 25:1-13) teach that every person is responsible for his or her own spiritual condition. The story of the talents (25:14-30) shows the necessity of using well what God has entrusted to us. The parable of the sheep and goats (25:31-46) stresses the importance of serving others in need. No parable by itself completely describes our preparation. Instead, each presents one part of the whole picture.
The Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids
“The Kingdom of Heaven at that time will be like ten bridesmaids [or virgins] who took their lamps and went out to meet the groom. Five of them were foolish and five were sensible. The foolish ones took lamps with them but no oil, whereas the others took flasks of oil with their lamps. Now the bridegroom was late, so they all went to sleep. It was the middle of the night when the cry rang out, ‘The bridegroom is here! Go out to meet him!’ The girls all woke up and prepared their lamps for lighting. The foolish ones said to the sensible ones, ‘Give us some of your oil, because our lamps are going out.’ ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both you and us. Go to the oil dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ But as they were going off to buy, the bridegroom came. Those who were ready went with him to the wedding feast, and the door was shut. Later, the other bridesmaids came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they cried, ‘Let us in!’ But he answered, ‘Indeed! I tell you, I don’t know you!’ So stay alert, because you know neither the day nor the hour.” ~ Matthew 25:1-13
This parable about a wedding describes the need for readiness for the Kingdom and explains that some will be included while others will not. Wedding customs differed from village to village in ancient Israel, but all weddings included the processional of the bridegroom to the bride’s family home. A common Jewish marriage custom was for the groom and his friends to leave his home and proceed to the home of the bride, where the marriage ceremony was conducted, often at night. After this, the entire wedding party returned to the groom’s home for a celebratory banquet. The wedding day would be spent in dancing and celebrating, concluding with the wedding feast at dusk. The bride would be accompanied with torches to the bridegroom’s house for this feast. These ten bridesmaids (also called virgins because they were unmarried) were going out to meet the bridegroom, who was coming to the bride’s home to join the procession back to his house for the wedding banquet. This happened after dark, and in villages and towns without streetlights, these torches wrapped in cloth soaked in oil, lit the way (the Greek word translated lamps means torches, not lanterns). Everyone was required to carry his or her own lamp; those who didn’t have one were considered party crashers – those who had not been invited. Continue reading “What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 9”