Five Foolish Virgins

10 virgins 4

Q. Did the 5 foolish virgins lose their salvation? How does it square with “once saved, always saved”?

A. The key is “are the 5 foolish virgins Christians?”. Some believe they are, based on:
• They are virgins, and virgins are figurative of the body of Christ 2 Co 11:2 I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to Him.
• They had oil, and oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit’s anointing 2 Co 1:21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us.

However, if they were genuine Christians, the bridegroom, representing Christ, would never have replied ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ (Mt 25:12). More likely, virgins simply mean chaste persons Rev 14:4 These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins.

Furthermore, Mt 25:3 says “The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them.” The text is clear that they did not have oil. There is no “extra” in the original. Then how come v 8 says The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ To understand this, we need to know the kind of lamps they were carrying. The Greek word is lampas, which means a torch. They are for outdoor use, able to stand the wind without the flame going out, not the oil lamps for indoor use. They can be lit, but go out quickly unless supplied with oil, which the foolish virgins did not have.

Now Rom 8:9 says, “You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. So, the foolish virgins were in the company of the wise ones, took their lamps like they did, except that they did not have any oil i.e. the Holy Spirit. They looked like Christians, but they did not belong to Christ. They even called Him “Lord, Lord” (v 11), just as in Mt 7:22-23, “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

Why were the wise virgins so selfish in not sharing the oil? They were not mean, just being realistic, because you cannot be saved riding on the coattails of others, be they your parents, spouse or friend. Everyone must come to a relationship with God for him/herself. There is no second-hand saving faith.

So this is not a case of true Christians losing their salvation. They may be moral persons in church, but they were never saved to begin with. I believe in perseverance of the saints, but these were not saints, just nominal Christians at best.

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