You are no doubt referring to the “Parable of the Ten Virgins” in Matthew 25:1-13. Verse 1 sets the stage for the main theme of this parable: “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.” The Lord Jesus is teaching the importance of looking for His coming when He, the bridegroom of the church, will take His bride home to glory. He is also teaching us that there are those who are “true believers” and those who are “mere professors.” The key to distinguishing between the two are found in verses 2-4: “And five of them were WISE, and five were FOOLISH. They that were FOOLISH took their lamps, and took NO OIL IN THEM: but the WISE took OIL IN THEIR VESSELS with their lamps.” Notice, both groups of virgins had lamps but only the 5 wise virgins had “OIL in them.” I believe the “lamp” speak of “testimony.” Those who profess to believe in their Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior will have a clear testimony before the world that they are saved. In contrast, the mere professor will NOT have a testimony of saving faith in Christ. The “oil” speaks of the “Holy Spirit” who empowers the believer to be a good testimony for Christ. Jesus told believers in Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the LIGHT of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they LIGHT A LAMP and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it GIVES LIGHT to all who are in the house. LET YOUR LIGHT SO SHINE before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” The Holy Spirit lives inside the believer for this very purpose. Oil in a lamp produces natural light; the Holy Spirit in the believer produces spiritual light.

Do we have scriptures to prove that “oil” is a type of the “Holy Spirit?” We surely do! Before Jesus went to the cross, He told His disciples, “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him, but you know Him, for He dwells WITH you and WILL BE IN YOU” (John 14:16-17). Just before Jesus ascended to heaven He told His disciples, “But you shall receive POWER when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me” (Acts 1:8). We learn in these two passages that the Holy Spirit would be IN BELIEVERS and be the POWER for them to witness (just as oil in a lamp is the power for giving light). The Apostle John said this about the Holy Spirit in the believer: “You have an ANOINTING from the Holy One, and you know all things…But the ANOINTING which you have received from Him ABIDES IN YOU” (1st John 2:20 & 27). The Apostle Paul taught this same truth: “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has ANOINTED US is God, who also SEALED us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee” (2nd Corinthians 1:21-22). When did God seal the believer with the Holy Spirit? Ephesians 1:13 gives us the answer, “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT of promise.” Praise be to God for giving us the Holy Spirit so we have power to be a witness for Christ and thus we can be a “light to this world in spiritual darkness.” We are told in Philippians 2:15 that we can be a testimony “in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you SHINE AS LIGHTS in the world.”

The 5 foolish virgins HAD NO OIL and thus they clearly represent those who have NOT believed the gospel of Christ and thus have NOT been anointed and sealed by the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:27 declares, “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone DOES NOT HAVE THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST, he is not His.” The Spirit in the believer is the SEAL that proves he/she belongs to Christ. The absence of the Spirit in the unbeliever proves he/she does NOT belong to Christ. And because they do not belong to Christ, they have no power (or desire) to be a light for Christ in this world. In our portion (in Matthew 25) we are told that when “the bridegroom came, those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut” (verse 10). The presence of the Holy Spirit is what “makes the believer ready for Christ’s return,” for as we saw He is the “SEAL of belonging to Christ.” The absence of the Holy Spirit is what “keeps the unbeliever shut out of heaven” when Christ raptures true believers to eternal glory. Let’s close by reading verses 11-12, “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us.’ But He answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I DO NOT KNOW YOU.” How solemn! They did not know the Lord Jesus as their Savior and they will have to hear those solemn words from Christ, “I do not know you.” Does my reader know the Lord Jesus as his/her Savior? If so, the Lord knows you! “My sheep hear My voice, and I KNOW THEM, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 27-28).  (DO)  (556.3)