The above art “The Ten Bridesmaids,” is by artist Ain Vares. See his website for more Bible-themed artwork for purchase (www.ainvaresart.com).
The parable of the ten bridesmaids is found in Matthew 25:
1 “Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, 4 but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil.
5 When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6 “At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’
7 “All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. 8 Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’
9 “But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’
10 “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. 11 Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’
12 “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’
13 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return. (Matthew 25:1-13 NLT)
What each part of the parable symbolizes
The parable consists of nighttime, ten bridesmaids (five wise the others foolish), lamps, oil, a marriage ceremony place, and a bridegroom. Here’s what each represents:
- Night = dark days preceeding Christ’s return
- Bridesmaids = children of God
- The number 10 = completed course of time
- Lamps = bodies of the children of God
- Oil = Holy Spirit
- Marriage feast = kingdom of God
- Bridegroom = Jesus Christ
What it all means
Keep watch over your lifestyle and the signs of Christ’s return (as mentioned in Matthew 24). Make sure you stay in obedience to God by being led by the Spirit. There’s coming a time when repentance and transformation will be over. So, if you’re found in sin during that time, you’ll be lost.
Some saints are deceived into believing they can live in and out of their flesh; and they only get refilled once their life is in shambles. People like this may be caught off guard when Christ returns seeing the signs but not knowing what to do. The Holy Spirit leads us—without him—we can’t see.
Walking in the Holy Spirit empowers us to obey God. Being powered by the Holy Spirit on a consistent basis will lead to being “filled with the Spirit” as outlined in Ephesians chapters 5 and 6. Being filled is what’s necessary to navigate through the end times and win.
How often we live in obedience to God will determine if we inherit the kingdom or be left behind. This means that if we fall into sin, it’s important to get back up again, learn from our mistakes, and get refilled. There’s coming a time when we won’t be able to be refilled and we don’t want to end up like the foolish bridesmaids.