“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.”
King James Version (KJV)
25:1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven - That is, the candidates for it, be like ten virgins - The bridemaids on the wedding night were wont to go to the house where the bride was, with burning lamps or torches in their hands, to wait for the bride groom's coming. When he drew near, they went to meet him with their lamps, and to conduct him to the bride.
Mt 25:1 The End of the World SUMMARY OF MATTHEW 25: The Ten Virgins. The Foolish Who Took No Oil. The Bridegroom Comes. The Doors Shut on the Foolish Virgins. Watch Therefore. The Parable of the Talents. The Manner of Using. The Reckoning When the Lord Comes. The Day of Judgment Portrayed. The Gathering of the Nations. The Great Separation. The Blessedness of Those on the Right Hand. The Awful Fate of Those on the Left. The Ground of the Separation. The Everlasting Punishment and Life Eternal. Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened. The third question asked by the disciples, (Mt 24:3), was about the end of the world. This whole chapter is an answer. The future tense is used. In most of the parables of the kingdom the present is used, because they describe its earthly features. This, however, portrays the closing events, the judgment, the closing of the heavenly gates. To ten virgins. No significance attaches to the number, nor to the fact that they are virgins. The bridesmaids of a maiden at marriage are maidens. Who took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom. The whole imagery of the parable is drawn from Eastern marriage customs. The betrothal, which took place some time before the marriage, was a kind of solemn marriage contract, but preliminary to its final consummation. When the time for the celebration of the marriage came, the bridegroom came to the house of the bride and brought her by night to his own house. The virgin bridesmaids awaited his coming and attended the bride to the marriage feast.