Summary: We NEED to be ready for the return of our Saviour, Lord and King...for HE COMES as a Bridegroom for His bride...SOONER THAN YOU THINK!
Mat 25:1-13 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. 11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
Many times we need to remind ourselves that the Bible was written centuries before modern times in a setting and culture vastly different from what we are exposed to in this day and age. It therefore stands to reason that there will be included in the narrative many terms, idioms and customs that are unfamiliar or unknown to us resulting in a misunderstanding and misinterpreting of the writer's meaning and intentions. While the message of salvation is plain and straightforward, there are many incidents, teachings, illustrations and stories drawn from everyday occurrences and contemporary history and life that may present difficulty in understanding the meaning of passages without and understanding of manners, customs, and history of Biblical times. For instance in Luke 13 the incidents with Pilate and the Galileans and the Tower of Siloam are not recorded in contemporary history but are mentioned here as being recent happenings. When Jesus teaches and speaks He also makes use of things, events, customs and practices peculiar to those days which the people of those days being familiar with will readily grasp.
One such custom and tradition is made use of in Jesus' parable of the ten virgins as well as His discourse to His disciples in John 14:
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14:1-3
Research done by others have thrown a lot of light on the LORD"S teaching
The Jewish betrothal ceremony was very much different from our modern engagement
The Jewish betrothal was much more than a mere modern engagement.
It was a covenant. It was the legal part of the marriage.
A traditional Jewish betrothal is taken very seriously by the parties involved because this is where their vows are made and the wedding contract drawn up.
A betrothal ceremony is a Jewish person's vows, and therefore binding until death do they part.
According to recorded history and research the following took place during a Jewish marriage:
THE BETROTHAL AND DEPARTURE OF THE GROOM
The selection of the bride
The first step in the marriage process - the arrangements preliminary to the legal betrothal. It was common in ancient Israel for the father of the groom to select a bride for his son. By the time Jesus came the bridegroom himself usually took the initiative and traveled to the home of the prospective bride to make the arrangements
The marriage contract
The groom draws up the marriage contract, covenant or contract promise, a document that is used for the purpose of assuring a bride will be provided for. it is usually referred to as the bridal payment. It changed the bride's status and set her free from her parent's household. Once agreed upon it became binding on both parties and they were regarded as husband and wife. The bride was declared sanctified and set apart for her bridegroom.
The ritual immersion
It was common for the bride and groom to separately take a ritual immersion (mikveh) as symbolic of renewal. The Jews considered the mikveh a representation of the womb of the world and the person emerged from the womb as a new person separated from the world.