Matthew 25:1-13 The Ten Virgins Parable: teaching the pretribulation rapture

Matthew 25
1   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.

This passage, like Revelation 2-3, teaches that there will be a division among those who consider themselves to be a part of the Church.  Some people are foolish and deceived, and will not be caught up in the rapture to be with the bridegroom, as I will show.  The foolish virgins are like the lukewarm Laodicians of Rev 3, who are spewed from Christ's mouth.  There are several comparisons to be made.
Revelation 3:
14   And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15   I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16   So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17   Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18   I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19   As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20   Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21   To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
22   He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.  
In each case, the foolish virgins and the lukewarm Laodicians appear to be members of the Church.  Each group is associating with or posing as God's people, but they are not.  In each case, each group is described with a denigrating word, "foolish" and "lukewarm".

The foolish virgins are shut behind the door, they did not enter through as the wise virgins did, see Matt 25:10-11.  Likewise, the lukewarm Laocicians are given the opportunity to go through a door, but only if they repent, see Rev 3:20.  This theme of the "open door" through which the worthy enter, but the foolish and lukewarm do not enter and are shut behind, is also mentioned in the following passages that teach about the rapture. The first two passages below are in the immidiate context of the passage about the Laocicians.
Revelation 3:
8   I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
9   Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
10   Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

Revelation 4:
1   After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
2   And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.

Luke 13:
   Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them,
   Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
25   When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:
26   Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.
27   But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
28   There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
29   And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.
The passage from Luke 13 also has numerous similarities to Matt 25:13.  As we have seen, both mention the door that is shut upon the unsaved, Luke 13:25 and Matt 25:10

In each passage, after the door is shut, both groups of unsaved make an appeal to Jesus after the event, saying "Lord, Lord", see Matt 25:11 and Luke 13:25.

Then, the Lord answers both similarly, saying "I do not know you", see Matt 25:12, "...Verily I say unto you, I know you not..." and Luke 13:27, "...I tell you, I know you not whence ye are..."

Other passages about the "open door" (or gate(s)) to heaven are the following:  Ezek 46:1, Pss 118:19-20, Isa 26:2, Isa 26:20, John 10:7-9, Rev 21:2, Rev 21:9-10, 21

Although the foolish virgins are neither described as wailing, nor described as being cast into outer darkness, several parallel passages do.  Other passages, in addition to Luke 13:28 that describe the unworthy as wailing and gnashing teeth and cast into outer darkness are the following:  Matt 8:11-12, Matt 13:24-43, 50, Matthew 22:13, Matthew 24:51, Matthew 25:30, Mark 9:18.

So, what is "outer darkness"?  I don't believe it is hell.  I believe the "outer darkness" aptly describes the tribulation period, which I believe the Bible teaches will be the first seven years of the 1000 year long, "Day of the Lord".  See (2 Peter 3:8-10) and other essays to back up that entire argument.  For now, I will describe "outer darkness" and how it relates to the "Day of the Lord".

The Day of the Lord (and great tribulation & time of trouble) is repeatedly described in the Bible as "darkness".
Amos 5:18 Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.

Zeph 1:14  The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly.
Zeph 1:15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness,

1 Thess 5:2  For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
1 Thess 5:3  For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
1 Thess 5:4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
1 Thess 5:5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

Note that those who are cast into outer darkness (in Luke 13 and Matt 25) have both the time to make a plea to the Lord, and receive a response, after the wise virgins (and faithful Philadelphians of Rev 3:8-10) are taken to heaven through the open door, and after the door is shut.  This means the rapture happens first, and that the unsaved are left behind, cast into the outer darkness of the tribulation period.  (This point proves the wicked are not destroyed first, before the rapture, which disproves many who argue for that particular style of a "post tribulation" view.)

Apparantly, the lukewarm Laodicians to whom Christ says, "I will spue thee out of my mouth" in Rev 3:16 are cast into "the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth" as mentioned in Rev 3:10.  This is clearly the tribulation period.

Another very interesting comparison between the foolish of Matt 25, and the lukewarm Rev 3, is that both groups are both told to "buy" something:
Matt 25:9   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.

Rev 3:18   I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
This can be a difficult doctrine to understand, since we know that the gift of the Holy Spirit cannot be "bought with money" as taught in Acts by the example of Paul.
Acts 8:
17   Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
18   And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
19   Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
20   But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
21   Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
22   Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
23   For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.
24   Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the LORD for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.
Some teach that Acts 8:20 conclusively proves that the oil that the five foolish virgins need in Matt 25 cannot be the Holy Spirit, since the Holy Spirit cannot be bought with money.  

To my point of view, Acts 8 actually supports the view that the oil in Matt 25 is the Holy Spirit.  In Acts 8, we see Paul saying something similar to Simon that the wise virgins say to the foolish virgins.  In each case, the Holy Spirit cannot be given away to the unworthy and unready and unrepentant.  Simon needs to repent first.  Apparantly, it would have been wrong for Paul to give the Holy Spirit to Simon, just as the wise virgins cannot give the oil (Holy Spirit) to the foolish virgins.  
Matt 25:9   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.
Apparantly, the wise virgins are afraid of losing their salvation (as if they would not be ready for the rapture either) if they share the Holy Spirit with the foolish virgins. Do any other Bible passages tell Christians to forsake giving the Holy Spirit to the unworthy or unrepentant?  Yes, there are quite a few, in fact.
Matthew 7:6  Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
Titus 3:10  A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;

1 Cor 5:5  To deliver such an one [the fornicator from verse 1] unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Mark 6:11  And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

1 Timothy 5:20  Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

Matthew 18:17  And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
This explains why the wise virgins are unable to share their oil, or Holy Spirit, with the foolish virgins.  It would be contrary to the advice and commandments elsewhere in the Bible for them to do so.  This shows that the inability of the wise to share their oil with the foolish, does not, in any way, prove that the oil is not the Holy Spirit.  

Any why are the foolish told "to buy" the oil?

Remember, in the parallel passage about the lukewarm Laodicians in Rev 3:18, Christ says to "buy" gold, and white raiment, and eyesalve, which is commonly interpreted as advice to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

And also, we know that the Holy Spirit is the spirit of truth (John 14:17, John 15:26, John 16:13, 1 John 4:6, 1 John 5:6), and, Proverbs says:
Proverbs 23:23 Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.
Additionally, a passage from Luke 14:28-33 says to "count the cost" and to "foresake all we have" to follow Jesus.

These passages show that it is not wrong to seek to "buy" the Holy Ghost.  But we buy it not with physical money, but by persuing truth with our whole heart, mind, body, strength, and soul, ready to give up everything for it.

So, why are the foolish virgins told to go to those who buy and sell to get the oil?  Why are they not told to go to the Lord Jesus Christ to get the oil or Holy Spirit?  How can those doing buying and selling, or unbelievers, be a source of the oil, or Holy Spirit?  

There is a key phrase in Matt 25 that Jesus says to the foolish virgins:  
Matt 25:12  But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
The Lord denys knowing them.   Earlier, Matthew records the words of Jesus that teach us who Jesus will deny knowing.  

Matthew 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 10:33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

And this brings us directly to Bible passages on salvation.  The foolish virgins, apparantly, never confessed Jesus before men, or unbelievers.  Or, the foolish virgins may have denied Jesus before men.  The foolish virgins may never have given a testimony of their belief among men--those who "buy and sell" the physical lamp oil in the parable of Matt 25.  Here are some of the most commonly quoted verses on salvation.
Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Please note it says, "with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."  This explains why the foolish virgins need to go to the unsaved to be saved.  They need to have a testimony before men so that there will be a record in heaven, of Jesus confessing that he knows them also.  Unfortunately, Jesus tells them, "I know you not", and ends up denying them.

So, to review up to this point.  Ask yourself, "Does the pretribulation rapture lead one astray to false gods as does false prophecy, or does the doctrine lead right to Christ?"  

The foolish virgins of Matt 25 are like the lukewarm Laodicians of Rev 3.  There will be a separation among those who think they are believers.  Those who are ready will go through the open door into heaven at the rapture, as in Rev 3:8-10 and Rev 4:1, and Luke 13.  Those who are unworthy will be left behind and cast into the tribulation, or outer darkness -- the darkness of the "Day of the Lord."  The wise and ready are filled with the Holy Ghost, and know that they can do nothing to save (but can only admonish and reject) those who are the unrepentant, unworthy, and foolish, but who act, and think (being self-deceived) as if they are Christians.  The wise know that they have bought the truth by seeking it, buying it, by giving up everything they have, being ready to give up their entire world, perhaps already having done so, merely in the process of becoming a disciple of Jesus.  Some wise ones, in the process of making sure they have a testimony before men, have died after having done so, living in nations that kill people just for expressing a belief in Christianity and in the Lord Jesus Christ, becoming martyrs in the here and now, having no need for further trials or tribulations to test and prove their faith.  Such actions by such martyrs are certainly not lukewarm, and certainly not foolish.

Speaking of martyrs for the faith... right before the story in Acts 8, where we see we cannot "buy" the Holy Spirit with money, we see Stephen the very first martyr for the faith, getting stoned to death in Acts 7 after he preaches to the Pharisees.  In the process, Stephen is given a measure of the Holy Spirit that allows him to see straight to heaven.
Acts 7:54   When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.
55   But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
56   And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
57   Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,
58   And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul.
59   And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
60   And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

The vast majority of viewpoints (and websites that you can find) go to great lengths straining to try and teach that the parable of the ten virgins has nothing to do with the rapture.  But as we have seen, this passage very clearly teaches about the rapture, and I will now refute the reasons given by other views that this passage is not about the rapture.

Post tribulationists typically teach that this parable is about the necessity of gathering supplies (oil) for the tribulation, and that the foolish virgins represent those unprepared Christians who end up taking the mark of the beast of Revelation 13, because they were not ready.  

So, does the oil represent physical preparations (and thus support the post trib view), or does it represent the Holy Spirit?  I've already shown many Bible passages that teach it represents the Holy Spirit.  But does this parable teach we need to rely on physical food preparations (oil) to survive the tribulation?  It surely cannot, for if so, that would contradict several key Bible passages.

First of all, we are not to store up treasures in this world, nor take thought for what we will eat.  Amazingly, these passages also come from Matthew.

Matthew 6
19   Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20   But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21   For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
25   Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26   Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27   Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28   And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29   And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30   Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31   Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

Matthew 19:21  Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
Secondly, for those left behind after the rapture, for those who survive the tribulation, God provides the place:
Rev 12:5   And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
6   And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

14   And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
The post tribulationists absolutely must deny that this parable of the ten virgins of Matt 25:1-13 is about the rapture, because if it is, then it clearly lines up with Rev 3:8-10 and Rev 4:1, both of which also mention the "open door" though which the faithful are raptured into heaven, and the two passages in Revelation clearly indicate that the rapture would be before the tribulation.  

Unfortunately, most Pre tribulationists (who also teach the heresy, "once saved always saved") typically also teach that this parable is not about the rapture, but rather, that this passage (and all of Matthew 24) is a message for the Jews during the tribulation or at the end of the tribulation.  This group must also deny that this passage is about the rapture, because the entire passage so clearly refutes the "once saved always saved" viewpoint, since the foolish virgins clearly are not unbelievers, since they are clearly waiting for the return of the Bridegroom, as only knowledgable Christians would.