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    PARABLE OF TEN VIRGINS

    Chap. 25:1-4: “Then shall the kingdom of Heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them; but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.”SCOC 68.1

    The twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth chapters of Matthew are one connected discourse. The parable of the ten virgins of chapter 25, is a further illustration of the great subject of the second advent, treated in the previous chapter, especially of the action of the wise and the evil servants, given in the closing part of it. “Then shall the kingdom of Heaven be likened [compared, Campbell’s translation] unto ten virgins.” At the very time when both these classes of servants are manifested, may the kingdom of Heaven be compared to an eastern marriage. The parable, then, does not have a general application; but illustrates the kingdom of Heaven at a particular time. There can be no mistake on this point.SCOC 68.2

    Some have desired to obtain a correct account of an eastern marriage, that they might better understand this parable. But let it be understood that our Saviour has here given the desired history, and testifies that the kingdom of Heaven shall be likened, or compared, unto it.SCOC 69.1

    The kingdom of Heaven is not the future kingdom of glory. The parable can in no wise illustrate that kingdom. The term here, as in many other places in the New Testament, applies to the work of grace; or, more definitely expressed, it refers to the great second-advent movement, caused by the power of the word and Spirit of God upon the minds and hearts of men.SCOC 69.2

    The ten virgins illustrate those who professed faith in the evidences of the soon coming of Christ, based upon fulfilled and fulfilling prophecy, and the signs of the times. Their lamps represent the word of God. Psalm 119:105; 2 Peter 1:19. The oil may illustrate abiding faith, produced by a thorough work of the word and Spirit of God upon the hearts and lives of men. The difference, then, between those illustrated by the foolish, and the wise virgins, is that one class rest in that faith which alone is the result of theory, while the other class have that abiding faith which results not only from theory, but also from the work of grace wrought by the word and Spirit of God. And in the great advent movement, these two classes have been clearly manifested.SCOC 69.3

    Verses 5-7: “While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.” The bridegroom in this parable represents Jesus Christ, and the tarrying of the bridegroom clearly shows a disappointment on the part of those looking for his second coming, and a consequent delay. The first point of expectation, as expressed in the title page of Wm.Miller’s nineteen lectures, was “about the year 1843.” This time passed, and believers, for as time, sank into a position which is well represented by the words, “They all slumbered and slept.”SCOC 69.4

    In the summer of 1844, it was seen that those evidences which had been relied upon as proof that the 2300 prophetic days of Daniel 8, would end in the year 1843, proved that they would terminate in 1844. The entire body of believers had been united, agreeing with Wm.Miller that the 2300 days dated from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, B.C. 457. This point settled, the figures 1843 were readily found:SCOC 70.1

    From 2300
    Take 457
    And there remains 1843

    But it was seen that it would require 457 full years before Christ, and 1843 full years after Christ, to make 2300 full years; so that if the 2300 years commenced with the first day of B.C. 457, they would reach to the first day of A.D. 1844. It was also seen that this prophetic period did not commence with the year 457, in the spring, but in the autumn of that year; consequently, 2300 full years would terminate in the autumn of 1844. In connection with this view of the subject, a most forcible application of the parable of the ten virgins, and other scriptures, was made, and a most solemn, searching cry went forth to Adventists everywhere, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.” This appeal to professed believers went with astonishing rapidity and power, and all were aroused to search the Scriptures with greater care and deeper interest, fitly represented by the words, “Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.SCOC 70.2

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