Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 29: "To Meet the Bridegroom"
Based on Matt. 25:1-13
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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.
|The Parable of the Ten Virgins.—Davis Collection.|
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 [p. 406] 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."
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.
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.
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." [p. 407] Ps. 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 [p. 408] 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."
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."
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
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 [p. 411] distinguish truth from error, and they will fall under the
masterful temptations of Satan.
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