Will He Return Soon?

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’

12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’

13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. Matthew 25:1-13

This passage doesn’t make a lot of sense to a Western mindset, but it would have back then.

As BibleHub pointed out, “Jewish custom required the bridesmaids to wait at the bridegroom’s house, to receive him and the bride, and as this was commonly after sunset, they were provided with lamps or torches.”


“On the appointed day, the bridegroom, accompanied by his friends, proceeded to the bride’s house, and thence escorted her, with her attendant maidens and friends, to his own or his parents’ home. In the parable, however, the proceedings are somewhat different. Here the bridegroom is not in the town, but somewhere at a distance, so that, though the day is settled, the exact hour of his arrival is uncertain. He will come in the course of the night, and the virgins who are to meet him have assembled in the house where the wedding is to take place. They wait for the summons to go forth and meet the bridegroom and conduct him to the bridal place; and when the signal is given that he is approaching, they set forth on the road, each bearing her lamp.”

Verse 13 is a very clear summary and point to the story: keep watch.

What does that really mean?

Consider the wife of a soldier returning from war. She’s dressed up and waiting at the airport (when you could do that), and she’s looking around people to see her man in uniform. She’s waiting in excited anticipation for the man she hasn’t seen in a year. He’s finally coming home.

Even though we have the day to day grind we’re in here on earth, we realize that maybe today – yes, maybe today – we will see Him return. We cast off all the end times analysis that hinders His return from being imminent (i.e., He couldn’t possibly return now because….), and we, like the military wife, wait eagerly for His return.

Remember, we still don’t know the day or hour.

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