Parable of the Ten Virgins


No one can be pronounced “ready” till his case has been examined to see whether or not he is ready. After the bridegroom has come to the marriage, the King must come in to see the guests, to see whether all have on the wedding garment or not. Matthew 22:11-13. What is this period of examination?- It is the period of the investigative judgment in the sanctuary above, already referred to. Will any of the guests go in to the marriage before the very last guest is decided to be ready? - By no means. And when will that be? - When the ministration in the most holy place of the sanctuary is finished, and every case is decided. When does the marriage take place, or, in other words, when does Christ receive his kingdom? - When he has finished his work as priest in the heavenly sanctuary. That is, after we pass the ending of the days, and Christ goes to the marriage, and the work of cleansing the sanctuary, or the examination and decision of all cases, begins, then all further events, all further declarations and remaining prophecies, pass over at once to the conclusion of that work, when the last act of ministration in the sanctuary shall be done. This work, having once commenced, absorbs for the time being the whole current of the parable; and when that is done, then those of the guests who are found with the wedding garment on, are pronounced “ready;” and then, but not before, they go in with him to the marriage. Then the door 1 is shut, and the marriage is completed; that is, Christ receives the kingdom. PTV 15.2

Thus it is seen that the events mentioned in the text are not all accomplished at once; but after the first event referred to takes place (namely, “while they went to buy, the bridegroom came”,) the whole period of the ministry in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary is necessarily thrown in before we come to the next event; which is, “And they that were ready went in with him to the marriage; and the door was shut.” Here is where the mistake is generally made in the application of the parable; and from what has been set forth, it can be readily seen why only those who have correct views of the sanctuary subject can give a consistent explanation of the parable of the ten virgins. PTV 16.1

Where, then, are we in the fulfillment? Let us recapitulate: The great Advent movement from 1840-44, was the fulfillment of that part of the parable which represents the virgins as going forth to meet the bridegroom. In the spring of 1844, the time first set passed by, and the bridegroom tarried and the virgins slumbered. In the midsummer of 1844, the midnight cry was made. In the autumn of 1844, the days ended, and the bridegroom came to the marriage. Then that work commenced which must come in before the marriage itself can take place; namely, the cleansing of the sanctuary, or, which is the same thing, the examination of the guests. The door cannot be shut till this work is done, and those who are found ready will then go in to the marriage. The door is still open; and other guests may come till this work in the most holy place of the sanctuary is finished. We are now in this period of the examination of the guests, which is to determine who is ready to go in with him to the marriage. More than forty-four years of this time are already in the past; and the work must soon be brought to a close, and the great question be decided who among the guests is “ready” to go in to the marriage, and who, not being found with the wedding garment on, is to be bound hand and foot, and cast into outer darkness. The time for the marriage is at hand. Those who are ready will then go in; and the door will be shut. PTV 17.1

As the going in with him to the marriage is a future event, it becomes a matter of special interest to inquire what it will be. On this point we have the following facts to guide us:- PTV 17.2

1. The marriage takes place in heaven, not on this earth; for it is in heaven that Christ receives his kingdom before his second coming. PTV 17.3

2. It takes place before any of the saints are translated to heaven; hence they enter in with him to the marriage, not literally, but in some accommodated sense. PTV 17.4

3. No one can go in with him to the marriage till the marriage takes place; and that does not occur till Christ has finished his work as priest in the sanctuary. The going in with him could not therefore have taken place in 1844. PTV 18.1

4. No person can go in to the marriage until he is pronounced “ready;” and that decision cannot be rendered till all cases are decided in the sanctuary above, and probation is ended. The time when those who are ready go in to the marriage, is therefore at that moment of supreme importance when their probation closes, and when all probation closes; for after that the door is shut. PTV 18.2

Let us then look at some scriptures which point out the experience and condition of the church at this time, and mark what they indicate. PTV 18.3

The apostle Peter, in Acts 3:19, speaks of the time when sins shall be blotted out (which we know is at the conclusion of the sanctuary work,) and says that then “times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” The Lord then comes particularly near to his people, just as their sins are blotted out, and they pass the line of their probation. Then the time has come for them to go in with him to the marriage. PTV 18.4

Again, the same apostle, in his second epistle (1:19) speaks as follows: “We have also a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye make heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day-star arise in your hearts.” According to this testimony, a time is coming (looking, we believe, to this same time, when the living righteous successfully pass the investigative judgment) when the day-star will arise in the hearts of God’s people, the day will dawn to them, and they will receive such an unction from on high, and such an illumination of the Holy Spirit, that they will no longer need the word of prophecy, the light of the holy Scriptures, to guide their steps. They will themselves be an embodiment of the spirit of prophecy, and be enlightened with greater light than the prophets have ever been able to impart to them. In regard to what is meant by the day-star which is to arise in their hearts, we read in one of the promises to the overcomer (Revelation 2:28,) “And I will give him the morning star.” This must be the same as the “day-star” of Peter’s epistle. Before the Revelation was finished, Jesus, speaking of himself, said to John, “I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” Revelation 22:16. To the overcomer, then, Christ promises to give himself. How does he do this? Ans. - To the last church, the Laodicean, he says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20. This denotes a state of union with Christ that no church has ever yet enjoyed. PTV 18.5

Consider the bearing of all these scriptures, and the condition of the church at this time. The saints are past probation; their sins are blotted out; they are accepted; a refreshing from the presence of the Lord is upon them; the day has dawned to them; they no longer need the light of the Scriptures to guide them; the day-star, the bright and morning star, has arisen in their hearts; and their union with Christ is so complete that they are represented as supping with him and he with them, as friend holds converse with friend at the festal board; they are enraptured with the presence of the Lord; they know his position, and understand his every movement; they are full of Holy Ghost, as Stephen was; and as that protomartyr looked up into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God (Acts 7:55,) so this remnant church, through the divine illumination that is then upon them, behold Jesus their King when he receives from the Father honor, majesty, and power, glory, and dominion, when, amid all the pomp and splendor of the heavenly world, he is crowned Lord of lords, and King of kings. And when, thus enraptured, they behold this scene in the heavenly world, what is this but their going in with him to the marriage? It must be this. The time, the place, the circumstances, the scriptures quoted, and the condition of the church at that time, all hold us to this conclusion. PTV 19.1

Such is the wonderful period of blessing and exaltation and glory before the faithful. Who will share it? - They who are “ready”. All depends upon this. Are we ready? This is the question we should ever address to our own hearts, as we seek with unceasing endeavor to give sure heed to the counsel of the faithful and true Witness, who now enjoins us (Revelation 3:18) to buy of him the white raiment - the wedding garment - that we may be prepared for that time just at hand when the King shall come in to see if we have that garment on or not, and the investigative judgment of the sanctuary shall test our fitness for the overcomer’s reward. PTV 20.1

“Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.” Who are the foolish virgins? If the virgins as a whole represent all those who become interested in the great Advent movement, and are called out by it, the wise are those who follow the true light in regard to it, and the foolish those who walk in darkness, and adopt unscriptural positions relative to that event. There are, alas! many such in the land. But before we speak particularly of these, mention should be made of still another class, and that is, those represented by the man who, though he had come to the wedding, was found without a wedding garment. Matthew 22:11. This man represents those who receive the truth, have the true light, understand in regard to the sanctuary subject and the marriage, and all the truth of this important time, and yet hold that truth only theoretically, and are not sanctified through it, nor prepared by it for the judgment. Such will finally be rejected, and meet a sadder fate than if they had never had a place among the wise virgins at all. They find themselves among the foolish virgins at last, and the most foolish of all that company. PTV 20.2

After probation ends, the foolish virgins becoming aware, seemingly, that their condition is not right, begin earnestly to seek the Lord for help. This move on their part is represented in the parable by their coming and saying, “Lord, Lord, open to us.” They apparently expect to find admittance; but it is denied them. Probation is past, but they know it not; the door is shut, but they are not aware of it. They have rejected the clearest light and truth, till the day of grace is ended. These are some of those, at least, who are mentioned in Matthew 7:21, 23: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” PTV 21.1

Ah! that is the trouble. While professing to serve God, they have worked “iniquity;” which word means “lawlessness.” - “Depart from me, ye law-breakers.” They have been the enemies of God’s holy law; they have despised his Sabbath; they have refused to reverence his sanctuary; they have rejected the special truths of God sent forth to perfect his church in these last days; they have been willfully blind to the light, and the willing servants of sin; their interpretation of prophecy has been the reckless imaginings of their own hearts, their light, the sparks of their own kindling, and the Lord does not know them. One of the saddest conditions in the whole domain of religious experience is this state of self-deception into which many will fall, and the terrible disappointment to which they are doomed at last. PTV 21.2

Such is the light this parable of the ten virgins throws upon our present position, such the important lesson we belief the Lord designed through it to impress upon us. Will we walk in the light, and profit by the lesson? O to be “ready!” Upon this condition all depends; and we know not when the test will pass upon us. PTV 22.1

“O! where is this mysterious bourn
By which each path is crossed;
Beyond which God himself hath sworn
That he who goes is lost?”
PTV 22.2

The man in the parable of Matthew 22, who was found upon examination without the wedding garment on, when asked why he was in that condition, had nothing to say; he was “speechless.” And if when the decision of our cases takes place, we are found unprepared, what will be our excuse? The case of this man is presented to show us that we will have no excuse. Did we not know that we were near the end? - Yes. Did we not know that in the illustration of the parable we were in the solemn time of the examination of the guests? - Yes. Did we not know that Christ was about to cease to plead as Mediator between God and men in the sanctuary on high? - Yes. Did we not know that our cases must soon come up for examination and decision? - Yes. Did we not have the wedding garment - a robe washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb - offered us without money and without price? - Yes. Did not the faithful and true Witness warn us that we were not ready, and earnestly urge upon us the necessity of buying this robe of him? - Yes. Then why, it may be asked of us, if, despising all this knowledge, we refuse to prepare - why have you come in hither without a wedding garment? Why did you suffer yourself to come to this decisive hour unprepared? What would we have to say? What excuse would we be able to give? Every soul under these circumstances before that tribunal will be struck dumb with an insupportable sense of shame and guilt. PTV 22.3

But we need not be in this condition. Thank God, it is yet possible for us to be found “ready” when the decisive hour shall come. “They that were ready, went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut.” Enough light has been given to lead us to the requisite preparation, if we will walk in it. We may share in the great refreshing which is just before the church, and find our path growing brighter and brighter till it ends in the perfect day. May He who looks upon his struggling children with more than a father’s pity and a mother’s love, enable us thus to do. PTV 23.1

“An answer from the skies is sent -
Yet that from God depart,
While it is called to-day, repent,
And harden not your heart.”
PTV 23.2