Rapture Flight to Heaven


Pre - Tribulation Rapture Site - "Dedicated to God"

header photo

Who Are the 10 Virgins?

Who are the 10 virgins?  This is a legitimate question.  Who are the 10 virgins—the Church?  The Tribulation saints?  Or who?  I’ve noticed that so many watchers insist that the Church is a collection of virgins who must keep their lamps lit or else miss out on the Rapture.  But are we, truly?

Before I attempt to answer that question, first, let’s look at the parable itself.  Who was the groom marrying?  Was he marrying 10 women who had to keep themselves ready or they would miss out on their own wedding?  (Ten women sounds more like a harem to me, not a union between one man and one woman—not very appealing to me! =))  Was he telling them, “If you’re not ready to go to the banquet with me when I get there, then tough patouties, you’re out of luck; our engagement is broken”?  That doesn’t sound like any wedding I’ve ever heard of, least of all the Jewish wedding customs in Jesus’ day.  Don’t forget that a betrothal was as binding as a marriage is now; only through divorce could it be broken.  So even if the groom was annoyed enough with his bride, for her lack of preparation, to want to call it off, he had to go through the legal channels to do so, and divorce her.  He couldn’t just say, “Since you weren’t ready in time, I don’t know you, so I’m not letting you in.  I will not marry you.”

Let’s look at the study notes in the NIV Study Bible that pertain to this subject.  First I will post the passage in its entirety, and then I will include among the verses, in parentheses, the notes at the bottom of that page in my study Bible.

1“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  (25:1 ten virgins.  The bridesmaids, who were responsible for preparing the bride to meet the bridegroom.)  2Five of them were foolish and five were wise.  3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. (25:3 oil.  Olive oil.)  4The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.  5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

6“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom!  Come out to meet him!’

7“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps.  (25:7 trimmed.  The charred ends of the rags were cut off and oil was added.)  8The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

9“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you.  Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’  (25:9 there may not be enough.  Torches required large amounts of oil in order to keep burning, and the oil had to be replenished about every 15 minutes.)

10“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived.  The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet.  And the door was shut.

11“Later the others also came.  ‘Sir!  Sir!’ they said.  ‘Open the door for us!’

12“But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’

13“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.  (25:13 keep watch.  The main point of the parable.  Of the paurosia, the coming of Christ.)

OK, let’s look at a few points in this passage and the notes I included.

First, the study notes plainly state that the 10 virgins were bridesmaids.  Their job was to attend the bride, help her to get ready for her wedding.  (BTW, where was the bride?  Jesus didn’t even mention her!)  Now, the big question.  Who are we?  Are we a collection of bridesmaids?  Or are we the Bride?  We’re the Bride of Christ, are we not?  And if we are, is our Groom going to shut us out of our own wedding?  Of course not!  He would have to divorce us to do that; in other words, He would have to revoke our salvation.  And the study notes also plainly state that the parousia is the coming of Christ.  Not the coming of Jesus in the air for His Church, but His Second Coming—His return to this earth, this time to rule it.  There is no hint of the Rapture in this passage, only of the Glorious Appearing.

So if the 10 virgins are not the Church, then they have to be the Tribulation saints.  And that fits much better with the eternal security that we enjoy (and the lack of such security which they will have to endure) than the notion that we must maintain our standing in Jesus in order to qualify to escape His wrath in the Tribulation.  I mean, consider this.  During this dispensation, the Church Age, we are sealed and indwelled by the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation.  He is our deposit, our down payment, so to speak.  It is the Church alone that enjoys eternal security.  The Old Testament saints were not so fortunate.  The Holy Spirit came upon them when He needed them for a particular ministry, but they had to maintain their standing through their works.  The Tribulation saints will have to do the same thing, and it appears that not all of them will be successful in doing so, sad to say.  The ones who fail to maintain their standing, their readiness, up to the moment that Jesus returns will be the ones who will hear those dreaded words, “I tell you the trust, I don’t know you.”  They will go to Hell.

Now, some of you who read this may say that those who are left behind won’t necessarily lose their salvation.  I honestly don’t know how you can think that, when every person who is left behind will be lost and the Restrainer will be removed.  I mean, think about this.  Not only does the Holy Spirit seal and indwell us, guaranteeing our salvation and thus its completion in the Rapture, He also restrains evil.  Acting through the Church, He is the Restrainer.  As long as even part of the Church is still here, so is the Restrainer.  The Tribulation cannot begin until the Restrainer is gone, and He won’t leave without us.  That means, to leave even one born-again Christian behind, God would have to remove His Holy Spirit from that Christian.  In other words, He would have to cancel that Christian’s salvation.  It would be just as if he had never been saved, to begin with.  Every former Christian in that deplorable state would be lost and subject to God’s wrath, both in the Tribulation and in the world to come.  And once that happened, would God be willing to save us a second time?  I don’t know, and I have no desire to find out!  Thank the Lord I don’t have to.

And besides, Paul told the Corinthian church that we all will be changed.  If there was ever a church that didn’t qualify for the Rapture on the basis of personal worthiness, it was the Corinthian church, because it was the most carnal of the lot in Paul’s day.  Yet, he told them that we all will be changed, including them.  He also said that we all have to appear before the judgment seat of Christ.  We couldn’t all appear before Him in the judgment if some of us were left behind, could we?

Nope—God is taking His entire Church to Heaven when that trumpet blows.  The Rapture is not a reward for good works, but the completion of our salvation, because it is at that completion that we will be freed of our sin natures and be granted our glorified resurrection bodies.  Since it is the completion of our salvation, the Rapture is part of the salvation package, not a reward.  For us, sin and death will have been conquered once and for all.  Our rewards will come at the Bema.  Some will lose rewards, sad to say, but they will not be forced, as a form of Protestant purgatory, to endure seven years of God’s wrath, while facing the very real possibility of eternity in the Lake of Fire.  As His Body, we are not appointed to wrath—in this world or the next—but to salvation, every one of us.

Go Back