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Further Study 1
The Meaning of the Symbols use in this Parable—
      The parable of the ten virgins teaches many spiritual lessons. The popular* interpretation of the event in this parable, the Bridegroom’s Coming, is the Second Coming; and that the main lesson is preparation for His Second Coming. (
FS)  (*Sometimes the popular interpretation is not the correct or complete interpretation.)
 
      They are virgins because they profess a pure faith. Isa 62:5, 6.
      The five foolish relied on others to give them what they needed.
      The five wise carried an extra flask of oil. They lived by “what if . . .” and were prepared.
 
      The lamps represented the Word of God, shinning in the darkness. Psalm 119:105.
      The oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Zech 4:1-14; verse 6.
      The vessels which the bridesmaids had are receptacles for a reserve supply of oil.
 
      The Bridegroom tarried. He did not come when they expected.
      All ten bridesmaids became spiritually weary and they slumbered and slept.
      The Bride is not mentioned in this parable, but symbolizes the Holy City, the New Jerusalem. Rev 21:2, 9, 10.
      The Bridegroom is Christ. Isaiah 62:5; Rev 21:9, 10.
      The Bridegroom’s coming is commonly taught as Christ’s Second Coming.  [FS: 5BC 508.] (Therefore the ten bridesmaids don’t represent the church during a specific age in the past, but rather the last-day church; for it is the living last generation of saints which witness the marriage and see His coming.)
      At midnight was the time of the deepest spiritual darkness, and great spiritual darkness will cover the earth in the last days.  Isa 60:2.
      The midnight cry is “Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.” The cry came at a much later hour than expected, when the maidens were the most weary and drowsy. The cry was not given by the bridegroom, the bride, or the bridesmaids!
 
Other phrases to consider:
      Give us of your oil. —Is this presumption?
      . . . Lest there be not enough for us and you.
      And they that were ready went in with him to the marriage. —Is the marriage and the second coming the same thing, —or two different events?
      . . . And the door was shut. —Is this the close of salvations’ probation? If that is so, then what does the marriage have to do with the end of sin? with the last Great Atonement?
      Afterward came also the [foolish] virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
      But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. —These are very sad words, for the foolish bridesmaids kept their lamps burning during the dark hours of the night along side the wise (keep in mind that they were all asleep). But their character (extra oil) did not stand up to the test of extended time.


Further Study 2
Emphasis on preparation for the Coming of Christ
      “This parable places emphasis on the importance of preparation for the coming of Christ, and stresses the importance of being ready.”  {5BC 508.1.3*}
      “They [the virgins] believe in the soon coming of Jesus.”  {5BC 508.1.2*}
      “The parable was a warning to those who “thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear” (
Luke 19:11; cf. Matt. 24:3; Acts 1:6). Jesus would not return as soon as they had anticipated.”  {5BC 508.2.6*}
      Christians today would do well to remember that the heavenly Bridegroom’s delay is not due to any lack of preparedness on His part. He could have come long ago had His people been ready to welcome Him, and had they been faithful in completing their appointed task of preparing the world for His coming.  {5BC 508.2.7*} (Emphasis supplied.)
———————
*** 5BC = The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, volume 5, page 508. Review and Herald Publishing Association.


Further Study 3
    “To Meet the Bridegroom,” —Christ’s Object Lessons, pgs 405-421, by Ellen White.
      “Christ with His disciples is seated upon the Mount of Olives. The sun has set behind the mountains, and the heavens are curtained with the shades of evening. In full view is a dwelling house lighted up brilliantly as if for some festive scene. The light streams from the openings, and an expectant company wait around, indicating that a marriage procession is soon to appear. In many parts of the East, wedding festivities are held in the evening. The bridegroom goes forth to meet his bride and bring her to his home. By torchlight the bridal party proceed from her father’s house to his own, where a feast is provided for the invited guests. In the scene upon which Christ looks, a company are awaiting the appearance of the bridal party, intending to join the procession.  {COL 405.1}
      Lingering near the bride’s house are ten young women robed in white. Each carries a lighted lamp and a small flagon for oil. All are anxiously watching for the appearance of the bridegroom. But there is a delay. Hour after hour passes; the watchers become weary and fall asleep. At midnight the cry is heard, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.” The sleepers, suddenly awaking, spring to their feet. They see the procession moving on, bright with torches and glad with music. They hear the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride. The ten maidens seize their lamps and begin to trim them, in haste to go forth. But five have neglected to fill their flasks with oil. They did not anticipate so long a delay, and they have not prepared for the emergency. In distress they appeal to their wiser companions saying, “Give us of your oil; for our lamps are going out.” (Margin.) But the waiting five, with their freshly trimmed lamps, have emptied their flagons. They have no oil to spare, and they answer, “Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.”  {COL 405.2}
      While they went to buy, the procession moved on, and left them behind. The five with lighted lamps joined the throng and entered the house with the bridal train, and the door was shut. When the foolish virgins reached the banqueting hall, they received an unexpected denial. The master of the feast declared, “I know you not.” They were left standing without, in the empty street, in the blackness of the night.  {COL 406.1}
      As Christ sat looking upon the party that waited for the bridegroom, He told His disciples the story of the ten virgins, by their experience illustrating the experience of the church that shall live just before His second coming.  {COL 406.2}
      The two classes of watchers represent the two classes who profess to be waiting for their Lord. They are called virgins because they profess a pure faith. By the lamps is represented the word of God. The psalmist says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto may path.”
Psalm 119:105. The oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Thus the Spirit is represented in the prophecy of Zechariah. “The angel that talked with me came again,” he says, “and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep, and said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof; and two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? . . . Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. . . . And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? . . . Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” Zechariah 4:1-14.  {COL 406.3}
      From the two olive trees the golden oil was emptied through the golden pipes into the bowl of the candlestick, and thence into the golden lamps that gave light to the sanctuary. So from the holy ones that stand in God’s presence His Spirit is imparted to the human instrumentalities who are consecrated to His service. The mission of the two anointed ones is to communicate to God’s people that heavenly grace which alone can make His word a lamp to the feet and a light to the path. “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6.  {COL 408.1}
      In the parable, all the ten virgins went out to meet the bridegroom. All had lamps and vessels for oil. For a time there was seen no difference between them. So with the church that lives just before Christ’s second coming. All have a knowledge of the Scriptures. All have heard the message of Christ’s near approach, and confidently expect His appearing. But as in the parable, so it is now. A time of waiting intervenes, faith is tried; and when the cry is heard, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him,” many are unready. They have no oil in their vessels with their lamps. They are destitute of the Holy Spirit.  {COL 408.2}
      Without the Spirit of God a knowledge of His word is of no avail. The theory of truth, unaccompanied by the Holy Spirit, cannot quicken the soul or sanctify the heart. One may be familiar with the commands and promises of the Bible; but unless the Spirit of God sets the truth home, the character will not be transformed. Without the enlightenment of the Spirit, men will not be able to distinguish truth from error, and they will fall under the masterful temptations of Satan.  {COL 408.3}
      The class represented by the foolish virgins are not hypocrites. They have a regard for the truth, they have advocated the truth, they are attracted to those who believe the truth; but they have not yielded themselves to the Holy Spirit’s working. They have not fallen upon the Rock, Christ Jesus, and permitted their old nature to be broken up. This class are represented also by the stony-ground hearers. They receive the word with readiness, but they fail of assimilating its principles. Its influence is not abiding. The Spirit works upon man’s heart, according to his desire and consent implanting in him a new nature; but the class represented by the foolish virgins have been content with a superficial work. They do not know God. They have not studied His character; they have not held communion with Him; therefore they do not know how to trust, how to look and live. Their service to God degenerates into a form. “They come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as My people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.” Ezekiel 33:31. The apostle Paul points out that this will be the special characteristic of those who live just before Christ’s second coming. He says, “In the last days perilous times shall come: for men shall be lovers of their own selves; . . . lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” 2Timothy 3:1-5.  {COL 411.1}
      This is the class that in time of peril are found crying, Peace and safety. They lull their hearts into security, and dream not of danger. When startled from their lethargy, they discern their destitution, and entreat others to supply their lack; but in spiritual things no man can make up another’s deficiency. The grace of God has been freely offered to every soul. The message of the gospel has been heralded, “Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17. But character is not transferable. No man can believe for another. No man can receive the Spirit for another. No man can impart to another the character which is the fruit of the Spirit’s working. “Though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it [the land], as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.” Ezekiel 14:20.  {COL 411.2}
      It is in a crisis that character is revealed. When the earnest voice proclaimed at midnight, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him,” and the sleeping virgins were roused from their slumbers, it was seen who had made preparation for the event. Both parties were taken unawares; but one was prepared for the emergency, and the other was found without preparation. So now, a sudden and unlooked-for calamity, something that brings the soul face to face with death, will show whether there is any real faith in the promises of God. It will show whether the soul is sustained by grace. The great final test comes at the close of human probation, when it will be too late for the soul’s need to be supplied.  {COL 412.1}
      The ten virgins are watching in the evening of this earth’s history. All claim to be Christians. All have a call, a name, a lamp, and all profess to be doing God’s service. All apparently wait for Christ’s appearing. But five are unready. Five will be found surprised, dismayed, outside the banquet hall.  {COL 412.2}
      At the final day, many will claim admission to Christ’s kingdom, saying, “We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets.” “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?” But the answer is, “I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me.” Luke 13:26; Matthew 7:22; Luke 13:27. In this life they have not entered into fellowship with Christ; therefore they know not the language of heaven, they are strangers to its joy. “What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” 1Corinthians 2:11.  {COL 412.3}
      Saddest of all words that ever fell on mortal ear are those words of doom, “I know you not.” The fellowship of the Spirit, which you have slighted, could alone make you one with the joyous throng at the marriage feast. In that scene you cannot participate. Its light would fall on blinded eyes, its melody upon deaf ears. Its love and joy could awake no chord of gladness in the world-benumbed heart. You are shut out from heaven by your own unfitness for its companionship.  {COL 413.1}
      We cannot be ready to meet the Lord by waking when the cry is heard, “Behold, the Bridegroom!” and then gathering up our empty lamps to have them replenished. We cannot keep Christ apart from our lives here, and yet be fitted for His companionship in heaven.  {COL 413.2}
      In the parable the wise virgins had oil in their vessels with their lamps. Their light burned with undimmed flame through the night of watching. It helped to swell the illumination for the bridegroom’s honor. Shining out in the darkness, it helped to illuminate the way to the home of the bridegroom, to the marriage feast.  {COL 414.1}
      So the followers of Christ are to shed light into the darkness of the world. Through the Holy Spirit, God’s word is a light as it becomes a transforming power in the life of the receiver. By implanting in their hearts the principles of His word, the Holy Spirit develops in men the attributes of God. The light of His glory —His character— is to shine forth in His followers. Thus they are to glorify God, to lighten the path to the Bridegroom’s home, to the city of God, to the marriage supper of the Lamb.  {COL 414.2}
      The coming of the bridegroom was at midnight —the darkest hour. So the coming of Christ will take place in the darkest period of this earth’s history. The days of Noah and Lot pictured the condition of the world just before the coming of the Son of man. The Scriptures pointing forward to this time declare that Satan will work with all power and “with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.” 2Thessalonians 2:9, 10. His working is plainly revealed by the rapidly increasing darkness, the multitudinous errors, heresies, and delusions of these last days. Not only is Satan leading the world captive, but his deceptions are leavening the professed churches of our Lord Jesus Christ. The great apostasy will develop into darkness deep as midnight, impenetrable as sackcloth of hair. To God’s people it will be a night of trial, a night of weeping, a night of persecution for the truth’s sake. But out of that night of darkness God’s light will shine.  {COL 414.3}
      He causes “the light to shine out of darkness.” 2Corinthians 4:6. When “the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep,” “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light; and there was light.” Genesis 1:2, 3. So in the night of spiritual darkness, God’s word goes forth, “Let there be light.” To His people He says, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” Isaiah 60:1.  {COL 415.1}
      “Behold,” says the Scripture, “the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee.” Isaiah 60:2.  {COL 415.2}
      It is the darkness of misapprehension of God that is enshrouding the world. Men are losing their knowledge of His character. It has been misunderstood and misinterpreted. At this time a message from God is to be proclaimed, a message illuminating in its influence and saving in its power. His character is to be made known. Into the darkness of the world is to be shed the light of His glory, the light of His goodness, mercy, and truth.  {COL 415.3}
      This is the work outlined by the prophet Isaiah in the words, “O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.” Isaiah 40:9,10.  {COL 415.4}
      Those who wait for the Bridegroom’s coming are to say to the people, “Behold your God.” The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love. The children of God are to manifest His glory. In their own life and character they are to reveal what the grace of God has done for them.  {COL 415.5}
      The light of the Sun of Righteousness is to shine forth in good works —in words of truth and deeds of holiness.  {COL 416.1}
      Christ, the outshining of the Father’s glory, came to the world as its light. He came to represent God to men, and of Him it is written that He was anointed “with the Holy Ghost and with power,” and “went about doing good.” Acts 10:38. In the synagogue at Nazareth He said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” Luke 4:18, 19. This was the work He commissioned His disciples to do. “Ye are the light of the world,” He said. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14, 16.  {COL 416.2}
      This is the work which the prophet Isaiah describes when he says, “Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward.” Isaiah 58:7, 8.  {COL 417.1}
      Thus in the night of spiritual darkness God’s glory is to shine forth through His church in lifting up the bowed down and comforting those that mourn.  {COL 417.2}
      All around us are heard the wails of a world’s sorrow. On every hand are the needy and distressed. It is ours to aid in relieving and softening life’s hardships and misery.  {COL 417.3}
      Practical work will have far more effect than mere sermonizing. We are to give food to the hungry, clothing to the naked, and shelter to the homeless. And we are called to do more than this. The wants of the soul, only the love of Christ can satisfy. If Christ is abiding in us, our hearts will be full of divine sympathy. The sealed fountains of earnest, Christlike love will be unsealed. {COL 417.4}
      God calls not only for our gifts for the needy, but for our cheerful countenance, our hopeful words, our kindly handclasp. When Christ healed the sick, He laid His hands upon them. So should we come in close touch with those whom we seek to benefit.  {COL 418.1}
      There are many from whom hope has departed. Bring back the sunshine to them. Many have lost their courage. Speak to them words of cheer. Pray for them. There are those who need the bread of life. Read to them from the word of God. Upon many is a soul sickness which no earthly balm can reach nor physician heal. Pray for these souls, bring them to Jesus. Tell them that there is a balm in Gilead and a Physician there.  {COL 418.2}
      Light is a blessing, a universal blessing, pouring forth its treasures on a world unthankful, unholy, demoralized. So it is with the light of the Sun of Righteousness. The whole earth, wrapped as it is in the darkness of sin, and sorrow, and pain, is to be lighted with the knowledge of God’s love. From no sect, rank, or class of people is the light shining from heaven’s throne to be excluded.  {COL 418.3}
      The message of hope and mercy is to be carried to the ends of the earth. Whosoever will, may reach forth and take hold of God’s strength and make peace with Him, and he shall make peace. No longer are the heathen to be wrapped in midnight darkness. The gloom is to disappear before the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. The power of hell has been overcome.  {COL 418.4}
      But no man can impart that which he himself has not received. In the work of God, humanity can originate nothing. No man can by his own effort make himself a light bearer for God. It was the golden oil emptied by the heavenly messengers into the golden tubes, to be conducted from the golden bowl into the lamps of the sanctuary, that produced a continuous bright and shining light. It is the love of God continually transferred to man that enables him to impart light. Into the hearts of all who are united to God by faith the golden oil of love flows freely, to shine out again in good works, in real, heartfelt service for God.  {COL 418.5}
      In the great and measureless gift of the Holy Spirit are contained all of heaven’s resources. It is not because of any restriction on the part of God that the riches of His grace do not flow earthward to men. If all were willing to receive, all would become filled with His Spirit.  {COL 419.1}
      It is the privilege of every soul to be a living channel through which God can communicate to the world the treasures of His grace, the unsearchable riches of Christ. There is nothing that Christ desires so much as agents who will represent to the world His Spirit and character. There is nothing that the world needs so much as the manifestation through humanity of the Saviour’s love. All heaven is waiting for channels through which can be poured the holy oil to be a joy and blessing to human hearts.  {COL 419.2}
      Christ has made every provision that His church shall be a transformed body, illumined with the Light of the world, possessing the glory of Emmanuel. It is His purpose that every Christian shall be surrounded with a spiritual atmosphere of light and peace. He desires that we shall reveal His own joy in our lives.  {COL 419.3}
      The indwelling of the Spirit will be shown by the outflowing of heavenly love. The divine fullness will flow through the consecrated human agent, to be given forth to others.  {COL 419.4}
      The Sun of Righteousness has “healing in His wings.” Malachi 4:2. So from every true disciple is to be diffused an influence for life, courage, helpfulness, and true healing.  {COL 419.5}
      The religion of Christ means more than the forgiveness of sin; it means taking away our sins, and filling the vacuum with the graces of the Holy Spirit. It means divine illumination, rejoicing in God. It means a heart emptied of self, and blessed with the abiding presence of Christ. When Christ reigns in the soul, there is purity, freedom from sin. The glory, the fullness, the completeness of the gospel plan is fulfilled in the life. The acceptance of the Saviour brings a glow of perfect peace, perfect love, perfect assurance. The beauty and fragrance of the character of Christ revealed in the life testifies that God has indeed sent His Son into the world to be its Saviour.  {COL 419.6}
      Christ does not bid His followers strive to shine. He says, Let your light shine. If you have received the grace of God, the light is in you. Remove the obstructions, and the Lord’s glory will be revealed. The light will shine forth to penetrate and dispel the darkness. You cannot help shining within the range of your influence.  {COL 420.1}
      The revelation of His own glory in the form of humanity will bring heaven so near to men that the beauty adorning the inner temple will be seen in every soul in whom the Saviour dwells. Men will be captivated by the glory of an abiding Christ. And in currents of praise and thanksgiving from the many souls thus won to God, glory will flow back to the great Giver.  {COL 420.2}
      “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” Isaiah 60:1. To those who go out to meet the Bridegroom is this message given. Christ is coming with power and great glory. He is coming with His own glory and with the glory of the Father. He is coming with all the holy angels with Him. While all the world is plunged in darkness, there will be light in every dwelling of the saints. They will catch the first light of His second appearing. The unsullied light will shine from His splendor, and Christ the Redeemer will be admired by all who have served Him. While the wicked flee from His presence, Christ’s followers will rejoice. The patriarch Job, looking down to the time of Christ’s second advent, said, “Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not a stranger.” Job 19:27, margin. To His faithful followers Christ has been a daily companion and familiar friend. They have lived in close contact, in constant communion with God. Upon them the glory of the Lord has risen. In them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ has been reflected. Now they rejoice in the undimmed rays of the brightness and glory of the King in His majesty. They are prepared for the communion of heaven; for they have heaven in their hearts.  {COL 420.3}
      With uplifted heads, with the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness shining upon them, with rejoicing that their redemption draweth nigh, they go forth to meet the Bridegroom, saying, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us.” Isaiah 25:9.  {COL 421.1}
      “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia; for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. . . . And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” “He is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” Revelation 19:6-9; 17:14.  {COL 421.2} (Emphasis supplied.)


Further Study 4
    Without the Spirit of God a knowledge of His Word is of no avail.
      The two classes of watchers [in the parable of the ten virgins] represent the two classes who profess to be waiting for their Lord. They are called virgins because they profess a pure faith. By the lamps is represented the Word of God. . . . The oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. . . . {AG 214.2}
      In the parable, all the ten virgins went out to meet the bridegroom. All had lamps and vessels for oil. For a time there was seen no difference between them. So with the church that lives just before Christ’s second coming. All have a knowledge of the Scriptures. All have heard the message of Christ’s near approach, and confidently expect His appearing. But as in the parable, so it is now. A time of waiting intervenes, faith is tried; and when the cry is heard, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him,” many are unready. . . . They are destitute of the Holy Spirit. Without the Spirit of God a knowledge of His Word is of no avail. The theory of truth, unaccompanied by the Holy Spirit, cannot quicken the soul or sanctify the heart. . . . Without the enlightenment of the Spirit, men will not be able to distinguish truth from error, and they will fall under the masterful temptations of Satan. . . .  {AG 214.3}
      The grace of God has been freely offered to every soul. . . . But character is not transferable. No man can believe for another. . . . No man can impart to another the character which is the fruit of the Spirit’s working. . . .  {AG 214.4}
      We cannot be ready to meet the Lord by waking when the cry is heard, “Behold, the Bridegroom!” and then gathering up our empty lamps to have them replenished. . . . In the parable the wise virgins had oil in their vessels with their lamps. Their light burned with undimmed flame through the night of watching. . . . So the followers of Christ are to shed light into the darkness of the world. Through the Holy Spirit, God’s word is a light as it becomes a transforming power in the life of the receiver. By implanting in their hearts the principles of His word, the Holy Spirit develops in men the attributes of God. The light of His glory —His character— is to shine forth in His followers.  {AG 214.5}
      Ask God to give you much of the oil of His grace.  {AG 214.6} (Emphasis supplied.)


Further Study 5
    If we do not practise the truth, we have not received the holy oil.
      We all need to study as never before the parable of the ten virgins. Five of them were wise, and five were foolish. The wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. This is the holy oil represented in Zechariah [
Zechariah 4:11-14 quoted]. This representation is of the highest consequence to those who claim to know the truth. But if we do not practise the truth, we have not received the holy oil, which the two golden pipes empty out of themselves. The oil is received into vessels prepared for the oil. It is the Holy Spirit in the heart which works by love and purifies the soul. . . .  {4BC 1179.6} (Emphasis supplied.)


Further Study 6
    The ten virgins also illustrates the experience of the Adventist people.
      The parable of the ten virgins of Matthew 25 also illustrates the experience of the Adventist people. In Matthew 24, in answer to the question of His disciples concerning the sign of His coming and of the end of the world, Christ had pointed out some of the most important events in the history of the world and of the church from His first to His second advent; namely, the destruction of Jerusalem, the great tribulation of the church under the pagan and papal persecutions, the darkening of the sun and moon, and the falling of the stars. After this He spoke of His coming in His kingdom, and related the parable describing the two classes of servants who look for His appearing. Chapter 25 opens with the words: “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins.” Here is brought to view the church living in the last days, the same that is pointed out in the close of chapter 24. In this parable their experience is illustrated by the incidents of an Eastern marriage.  {GC 393.2}
      “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.”  {GC 393.3}
      The coming of Christ, as announced by the first angel’s message, was understood to be represented by the coming of the bridegroom. The widespread reformation under the proclamation of His soon coming, answered to the going forth of the virgins. In this parable, as in that of Matthew 24, two classes are represented. All had taken their lamps, the Bible, and by its light had gone forth to meet the Bridegroom. But while “they that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them,” “the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.” The latter class had received the grace of God, the regenerating, enlightening power of the Holy Spirit, which renders His word a lamp to the feet and a light to the path. In the fear of God they had studied the Scriptures to learn the truth, and had earnestly sought for purity of heart and life. These had a personal experience, a faith in God and in His word, which could not be overthrown by disappointment and delay. Others “took their lamps, and took no oil with them.” They had moved from impulse. Their fears had been excited by the solemn message, but they had depended upon the faith of their brethren, satisfied with the flickering light of good emotions, without a thorough understanding of the truth or a genuine work of grace in the heart. These had gone forth to meet the Lord, full of hope in the prospect of immediate reward; but they were not prepared for delay and disappointment. When trials came, their faith failed, and their lights burned dim.  {GC 393.4}
      “While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.” By the tarrying of the bridegroom is represented the passing of the time when the Lord was expected, the disappointment, and the seeming delay. In this time of uncertainty, the interest of the superficial and halfhearted soon began to waver, and their efforts to relax; but those whose faith was based on a personal knowledge of the Bible had a rock beneath their feet, which the waves of disappointment could not wash away. “They all slumbered and slept;” one class in unconcern and abandonment of their faith, the other class patiently waiting till clearer light should be given. Yet in the night of trial the latter seemed to lose, to some extent, their zeal and devotion. The halfhearted and superficial could no longer lean upon the faith of their brethren. Each must stand or fall for himself.  {GC 394.1} (Emphasis supplied.)


Further Study 7
    The coming of Christ as our high priest to the most holy place. . .
      Says the prophet: “Who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.”
Malachi 3:2, 3. Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling. Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort they must be conquerors in the battle with evil. While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth. This work is more clearly presented in the messages of Revelation 14.  {GC 425.1}
      When this work shall have been accomplished, the followers of Christ will be ready for His appearing. “Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.” Malachi 3:4. Then the church which our Lord at His coming is to receive to Himself will be a “glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.” Ephesians 5:27. Then she will look “forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.” Song of Solomon 6:10.  {GC 425.2}
      Besides the coming of the Lord to His temple, Malachi also foretells His second advent, His coming for the execution of the judgment, in these words: “And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not Me, saith the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 3:5. Jude refers to the same scene [second advent] when he says, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds.” Jude 14, 15. This coming [the second advent], and the coming of the Lord to His temple, are distinct and separate events.  {GC 425.3}

      [1] The coming of Christ as our high priest to the most holy place, for the cleansing of the sanctuary, brought to view in
Daniel 8:14;  [2] the coming of the Son of man to the Ancient of Days, as presented in Daniel 7:13;  [3] and the coming of the Lord to His temple, foretold by Malachi, are descriptions of the same event; and this is also represented by the [4] coming of the bridegroom to the marriage, described by Christ in the parable of the ten virgins, of Matthew 25.  {GC 426.1}

      In the summer and autumn of 1844 the proclamation, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh,” was given. The two classes represented by the wise and foolish virgins were then developed —one class who looked with joy to the Lord’s appearing, and who had been diligently preparing to meet Him; another class that, influenced by fear and acting from impulse, had been satisfied with a theory of the truth, but were destitute of the grace of God. In the parable, when the bridegroom came, “they that were ready went in with him to the marriage.” The coming of the bridegroom, here brought to view, takes place before the marriage. The marriage represents the reception by Christ of His kingdom. The Holy City, the New Jerusalem, which is the capital and representative of the kingdom, is called “the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” Said the angel to John: “Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” “He carried me away in the spirit,” says the prophet, “and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.” Revelation 21:9, 10. Clearly, then, the bride represents the Holy City, and the virgins that go out to meet the bridegroom are a symbol of the church. In the Revelation the people of God are said to be the guests at the marriage supper. Revelation 19:9. If guests, they cannot be represented also as the bride. Christ, as stated by the prophet Daniel, will receive from the Ancient of Days in heaven, “dominion, and glory, and a kingdom;” He will receive the New Jerusalem, the capital of His kingdom, “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Daniel 7:14; Revelation 21:2. Having received the kingdom, He will come in His glory, as King of kings and Lord of lords, for the redemption of His people, who are to “sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob,” at His table in His kingdom (Matthew 8:11; Luke 22:30), to partake of the marriage supper of the Lamb.  {GC 426.2}
      The proclamation, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh,” in the summer of 1844, led thousands to expect the immediate advent of the Lord. At the appointed time the Bridegroom came, not to the earth, as the people expected, but to the Ancient of Days in heaven, to the marriage, the reception of His kingdom. “They that were ready went in with Him to the marriage: and the door was shut.” They were not to be present in person at the marriage; for it takes place in heaven, while they are upon the earth. The followers of Christ are to “wait for their Lord, when He will return from the wedding.” Luke 12:36. But they are to understand His work, and to follow Him by faith as He goes in before God. It is in this sense that they are said to go in to the marriage.  {GC 427.1}
      In the parable it was those that had oil in their vessels with their lamps that went in to the marriage. Those who, with a knowledge of the truth from the Scriptures, had also the Spirit and grace of God, and who, in the night of their bitter trial, had patiently waited, searching the Bible for clearer light —these saw the truth concerning the sanctuary in heaven and the Saviour’s change in ministration, and by faith they followed Him in His work in the sanctuary above. And all who through the testimony of the Scriptures accept the same truths, following Christ by faith as He enters in before God to perform the last work of mediation, and at its close to receive His kingdomall these are represented as going in to the marriage.  {GC 427.2}
      In the parable of Matthew 22 the same figure of the marriage is introduced, and the investigative judgment is clearly represented as taking place before the marriage. Previous to the wedding the king comes in to see the guests, to see if all are attired in the wedding garment, the spotless robe of character washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb. Matthew 22:11; Revelation 7:14. He who is found wanting is cast out, but all who upon examination are seen to have the wedding garment on are accepted of God and accounted worthy of a share in His kingdom and a seat upon His throne. This work of examination of character, of determining who are prepared for the kingdom of God, is that of the investigative judgment, the closing of work in the sanctuary above.  {GC 428.1}
      When the work of investigation shall be ended, when the cases of those who in all ages have professed to be followers of Christ have been examined and decided, then, and not till then, probation will close, and the door of mercy will be shut. Thus in the one short sentence, “They that were ready went in with Him to the marriage: and the door was shut,” we are carried down through the Saviour’s final ministration, to the time when the great work for man’s salvation shall be completed.  {GC 428.2}       In the service of the earthly sanctuary, which, as we have seen, is a figure of the service in the heavenly, when the high priest on the Day of Atonement entered the most holy place, the ministration in the first apartment ceased. God commanded: “There shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he comes out.” Leviticus 16:17. So when Christ entered the holy of holies to perform the closing work of the atonement, He ceased His ministration in the first apartment. But when the ministration in the first apartment ended, the ministration in the second apartment began. When in the typical service the high priest left the holy on the Day of Atonement, he went in before God to present the blood of the sin offering in behalf of all Israel who truly repented of their sins. So Christ had only completed one part of His work as our intercessor, to enter upon another portion of the work, and He still pleaded His blood before the Father in behalf of sinners.  {GC 428.3}
      This subject was not understood by Adventists in 1844. After the passing of the time when the Saviour was expected, they still believed His coming to be near; they held that they had reached an important crisis and that the work of Christ as man’s intercessor before God had ceased. It appeared to them to be taught in the Bible that man’s probation would close a short time before the actual coming of the Lord in the clouds of heaven. This seemed evident from those scriptures which point to a time when men will seek, knock, and cry at the door of mercy, and it will not be opened. And it was a question with them whether the date to which they had looked for the coming of Christ might not rather mark the beginning of this period which was immediately to precede His coming. Having given the warning of the judgment near, they felt that their work for the world was done, and they lost their burden of soul for the salvation of sinners, while the bold and blasphemous scoffing of the ungodly seemed to them another evidence that the Spirit of God had been withdrawn from the rejecters of His mercy. All this confirmed them in the belief that probation had ended, or, as they then expressed it, “the door of mercy was shut.”  {GC 429.1}
      But clearer light came with the investigation of the sanctuary question. They now saw that they were correct in believing that the end of the 2300 days in 1844 marked an important crisis. But while it was true that that door of hope and mercy by which men had for eighteen hundred years found access to God, was closed, another door was opened, and forgiveness of sins was offered to men through the intercession of Christ in the most holy. One part of His ministration had closed, only to give place to another. There was still an “open door” to the heavenly sanctuary, where Christ was ministering in the sinner’s behalf.  {GC 429.2}
      Now was seen the application of those words of Christ in the Revelation, addressed to the church at this very time: “These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.” Revelation 3:7, 8.  {GC 430.1} (Emphasis supplied.)


Further Study 8
    All had lamps, that is, an outward semblance of religion. . .
      Let every youth consider the parable of the ten virgins. All had lamps, that is, an outward semblance of religion; but only five of them had the inward piety. Five of them were wanting in the oil of grace. The Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit, was not abiding in their hearts. Without the oil of grace, of what use was it to bear about a lamp of profession? However high may be the profession, however high may be the position held by a professor of religion, if the oil of grace is wanting, he has nothing with which to feed his lamp, and it cannot send forth clear, shining rays of light. . . .  {SD 118.2}
      The reason why the Bridegroom delays is because He is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. O the precious longsuffering of our merciful Saviour! O that each of the dear youth would appreciate the value of the soul that has been purchased at infinite cost on Calvary! O that each one would place a proper estimate upon the capabilities that have been given him of God! Through Christ you may climb the ladder of progress, and bring every power under the control of Jesus. . . . In spirit, in thought, in word, and in action, you may make manifest that you are moved by the Spirit of Christ, and your life may wield a power of influence over others.  {SD 118.3} (Emphasis supplied.)


Further Study 9
    The foolish have a theory of truth, but no vital connection with God.
      The sad fate of the five foolish virgins, presented in the parable of the ten virgins, is recorded to warn those who, while professing the faith of Christ, have become cold and backslidden.  {BEcho, November 5, 1894 par. 1}
      The five foolish virgins represent the careless, indolent, self-satisfied professor of religion. They have a calm expectation of entering heaven sometime, yet they have not purified their souls by obeying the truth. They understand the theory of truth, but have no vital connection with God. They trust to feeling, and neglect to search the Scriptures. They are satisfied to walk in sparks of their own kindling. We are all exhorted to be diligent, that we make our calling and election sure. But I am greatly troubled, fearing, yes, knowing, that there are many who profess the truth who are not testing their lives and characters by God’s great moral standard of righteousness. They are careless; they have not the oil of grace in their vessels with their lamps. They are cherishing hidden sins, which no human eye can see. They know that they are not pure and without spot, and should diligently seek God, that they may cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the sight of God.  {BEcho, November 5, 1894 par. 2} (Emphasis supplied.)


Further Study 10
    This parable has been and will be fulfilled to the very letter. . .
      When the third angel’s message is preached as it should be, power attends its proclamation, and it becomes an abiding influence. It must be attended with divine power, or it will accomplish nothing. I am often referred to the parable of the ten virgins, five of whom were wise, and five foolish. This parable has been and will be fulfilled to the very letter, for it has a special application to this time, and, like the third angel’s message, has been fulfilled and will continue to be present truth till the close of time. In the parable, the ten virgins had lamps, but only five of them had the saving oil with which to keep their lamps burning. This represents the condition of the Church. The wise and the foolish have their Bibles, and are provided with all the means of grace; but many do not appreciate the fact that they must have the heavenly unction. They do not heed the invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  {RH, August 19, 1890 par. 3} (Emphasis supplied.)


Further Study 11
    Those who have true piety esteem and revere the law of God.
      All the ten virgins appeared to be ready for the coming of the bridegroom, and yet the test brought out the fact that five were unready. Those who have true piety esteem and revere the law of God. Through the grace of Christ they exemplify the principles of the law in their lives, and will not willfully break any of the commandments of God. They realize that “to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” They yield to Christ, who leads men to repentance of sin, who pardons the penitent soul, and clothes him with his own righteousness. The converted soul has a hatred of sin; he does not indulge in self-complacency, self-love, self-sufficiency, nor pass on day after day, claiming to be a Christian, and yet bringing dishonor upon Christ by misrepresenting him in character. Those who make this mistake, and pass on filled with self-righteousness, have not in reality made the first step heavenward. The first step toward heaven is conviction of sin, the second is repentance and obedience. True piety never exalts self.  {RH, September 17, 1895 par. 4}
      The foolish virgins do not represent those who are hypocritical. They had a regard for truth, they advocated the truth, they were intending to go forth to meet the bridegroom. They are attached to those who believe the truth, and go with them, having lamps, which represent a knowledge of the truth. When there was a revival in the church, their feelings were stirred; but they failed to have oil in their vessels, because they did not bring the principles of godliness into their daily life and character. They did not fall upon the rock Christ Jesus, and permit their old nature to be broken up. This class is represented also by the stony-ground hearers. Christ said: “Behold, a sower went forth to sow; and when he sowed, some seeds fell by the wayside; and the fowls came and devoured them up; some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth; and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth.” Jesus explains these stony-ground hearers, and says, “But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for awhile; for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.”  {RH, September 17, 1895 par. 5} (Emphasis supplied.)


Further Study 12
    A time will come when the door will be shut.
      The parable of the ten virgins was given by Christ Himself, and every specification should be carefully studied. A time will come when the door will be shut. We are represented either by the wise or the foolish virgins. We cannot now distinguish, nor have we authority to say, who are wise and who foolish. There are those who hold the truth in unrighteousness, and these appear outwardly like the wise. {16MR 270.3} (Emphasis supplied.)


Further Study 13
Title of this section in
Early Writings, pgs 54-56, is;  End of the 2300 Days
      I saw a throne, and on it sat the Father and the Son. I gazed on Jesus’ countenance and admired His lovely person. The Father’s person I could not behold, for a cloud of glorious light covered Him. I asked Jesus if His Father had a form like Himself. He said He had, but I could not behold it, for said He, “If you should once behold the glory of His person, you would cease to exist.” Before the throne I saw the Advent people —the church and the world. I saw two companies, one bowed down before the throne, deeply interested, while the other stood uninterested and careless. Those who were bowed before the throne would offer up their prayers and look to Jesus; then He would look to His Father, and appear to be pleading with Him. A light would come from the Father to the Son and from the Son to the praying company. Then I saw an exceeding bright light come from the Father to the Son, and from the Son it waved over the people before the throne. But few would receive this great light. Many came out from under it and immediately resisted it; others were careless and did not cherish the light, and it moved off from them. Some cherished it, and went and bowed down with the little praying company. This company all received the light and rejoiced in it, and their countenances shone with its glory.  {EW 54.2}
      I saw the Father rise from the throne, [SEE PAGE 92, below also *] and in a flaming chariot go into the holy of holies within the veil, and sit down. Then Jesus rose up from the throne, and the most of those who were bowed down arose with Him. I did not see one ray of light pass from Jesus to the careless multitude after He arose, and they were left in perfect darkness. Those who arose when Jesus did, kept their eyes fixed on Him as He left the throne and led them out a little way. Then He raised His right arm, and we heard His lovely voice saying, “Wait here; I am going to My Father to receive the kingdom; keep your garments spotless, and in a little while I will return from the wedding and receive you to Myself.” Then a cloudy chariot, with wheels like flaming fire, surrounded by angels, came to where Jesus was. He stepped into the chariot and was borne to the holiest, where the Father sat. There I beheld Jesus, a great High Priest, standing before the Father. On the hem of His garment was a bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate. Those who rose up with Jesus would send up their faith to Him in the holiest, and pray, My Father, give us Thy Spirit.” Then Jesus would breathe upon them the Holy Ghost. In that breath was light, power, and much love, joy, and peace.  {EW 55.1}
      I turned to look at the company who were still bowed before the throne; they did not know that Jesus had left it. Satan appeared to be by the throne, trying to carry on the work of God. I saw them look up to the throne, and pray, “Father, give us Thy Spirit.” Satan would then breathe upon them an unholy influence; in it there was light and much power, but no sweet love, joy, and peace. Satan’s object was to keep them deceived and to draw back and deceive God’s children.  {EW 56.1} (Emphasis supplied.)
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      * 5. On page 55 [from above], I stated that a cloud of glorious light covered the Father and that His person could not be seen. I also stated that I saw the Father rise from the throne. The Father was enshrouded with a body of light and glory, so that His person could not be seen; yet I knew that it was the Father and that from His person emanated this light and glory. When I saw this body of light and glory rise from the throne, I knew it was because the Father moved, therefore said, I saw the Father rise. The glory, or excellency, of His form I never saw; no one could behold it and live; yet the body of light and glory that enshrouded His person could be seen.  {EW 92.1}
      I also stated that “Satan appeared to be by the throne, trying to carry on the work of God.” I will give another sentence from the same page: “I turned to look at the company who were still bowed before the throne.” Now this praying company was in this mortal state, on the earth, yet represented to me as bowed before the throne. I never had the idea that these individuals were actually in the New Jerusalem. Neither did I ever think that any mortal could suppose that I believed that Satan was actually in the New Jerusalem. But did not John see the great red dragon in heaven? Certainly. “And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns.” Revelation 12:3. What a monster to be in heaven! Here seems to be as good a chance for ridicule as in the interpretation which some have placed upon my statements.  {EW 92.2} (Emphasis supplied.)



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