Updated: Jan 28
Jesus said, “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
I addressed this reading that is scheduled as the Proper 27, Year A, Gospel reading in my 2017 interpretation. I stand behind my words then and recommend any who are seekers to read them.
This reading will next be read aloud in church by an Episcopal priest on Sunday, November 8, 2020. That will constitute the twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost, the same ordinal number when read in 2017; but in 2014 it represented the twenty-second Sunday numbered after Pentecost.
In my analysis now, I want to focus on just a few aspects presented in this parable; but first I again must point out that Jesus spoke in parable about the proposal of marriage. That is why this reading if sometimes called the Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids. The picture I have attached to the heading of this article depicts ten young girls, or virgins, each holding a lamp. When one reads “bridesmaid” or “virgin,” the first impression is of females. Because it is parable, that notion should be dismissed.
Knowing the focus is not set fully upon females, but all human beings, another mistake is commonly made. The “bridegroom” is not Jesus, as the assumption generally is made. The “bridegroom” should simply be seen as the complement of “bridesmaid,” such that a “bridegroom” is masculine essence [Spirit], while the “bridesmaid” is feminine essence [a soul in flesh]. Seeing that makes it easier to grasp the Greek word “nymphiou” as representative of the wife-to-be, whose husband-to-be is proposing to take the soul away from the flesh, like a daughter is given away in marriage. A husband then gives the wife a new name to go by, which is symbolic of a soul having been named mortal but after marriage to God takes on the eternal name of Christ.
Human marriage, as an institution of Holy Matrimony, is all about having children [sorry homosexuals]. The physical act of sex after marriage is meant to bring about a child. To royalty, a male heir is all important in marriages. A child is the result of sperm and egg uniting, in a bond that can never be separated. A new human body of flesh is given a soul by God’s grace. God is therefore the true officiant of that marriage, as God is the Creator of all life on earth. Spiritual marriage is all about being reborn as Jesus Christ, where soul and Holy Spirit unite and create an eternal bond that can never be parted.
Getting to that point of the most Holy Matrimony is why Jesus told this parable to his disciples.
In Matthew’s twenty-fourth chapter, the final day of inspection of the Paschal Lamb was completed. The Sadducees and Pharisees had looked Jesus over closely and found no blemishes. They made no encounters on the fourth day; so Jesus walked to the Mount of Olives with his followers, where he explained the Temple of Jerusalem would be destroyed. In Matthew’s twenty-sixth chapter, we read of the plan made by “the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest,” as to the butchering of that sacrificial Lamb of God. Thus, in between, in Matthew’s twenty-fifth chapter, Jesus was speaking to those who expressed faith in him, with love and devotion.
The disciples were not those who were clearly opposed to Jesus or completely unknowing of who Jesus was. Thus, the disciples (who were all males) were like bridesmaids, promised the kingdom of heaven. A question must have arose about that promise, which is what led Jesus to make a comparison between the two, in a series of parables then told.
In the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus spoke in metaphor. Here, it was of “bridesmaids” [also known as “virgins”], some “wise” and some “foolish.” Then, he would speak of a master with slaves that would be given “talents” in differing amounts, with all expected to be used to promote the master’s business [presumably a vineyard?]. Two of those slaves would be deemed “good and trustworthy,” while the third would be called a “wicked and lazy slave.” Finally, Jesus spoke of the coming of the “son of man” (not capitalized – “huios tou anthrōpou“), when like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats [which is done in the evening, before dark], so too would be the souls of the faithful be culled by Christ the king. Then will be set those who “are blessed by my Father” (“the righteous”) at the “right hand” and the rest to the “left hand,” those who would end up being sent “away into eternal punishment.”
All of what Jesus said to his disciples is read aloud in churches for all who claim to be Christians to hear today. It is as meaningless to non-Christians today, as it would have been to the Temple leaders back then. Bridesmaids (or virgins), slaves, and farm animals must be seen as possessions of an owner, where an owner has a special relationship with those he possesses. One who is not a believer in God will not understand the metaphor in the correct manner. Thus, Jesus spoke privately to those in relationship to him, to whom he was the master, but a master who loved his followers [like a husband to a wife and vice versa]; conversations he would not have had with anyone else.
All of this means that Christians, who are Jesus’ disciples today, supposedly in a close relationship of mutual love and affection, fall into one of two categories that will become evident when Judgment Day comes. A Christian is either a wise or foolish bridesmaid, a good and trustworthy or wicked and lazy servant, or one blessed by the Father (a sheep) and promised heaven or one not blessed and destined for eternal damnation (a goat).
Know that, when you ponder the meaning of these words.
Realize that as Jesus spoke, Judas Iscariot was listening to them. Understand that there was a good possibility that Judas did not have a clue that God was speaking through His Son about him, when the metaphor of foolish bridesmaids, wicked and lazy slaves, and selfish goats was spoken. Judas would then be just like many so-called “Christians” who I know, those thinking their failures to fully commit to God are not failures at all. They think that because they wear priestly garments or give regularly to a church organization.
The soapbox of righteousness upon which many so-called Christians stand can just as easily be toppled, as Judas would find; his noose of sins wrapped tight around his neck when his realization that Jesus was talking about him metaphorically dawned on him. “What have I done?” snapped him to a dark place.
Jesus did not tell the parables remembered in Matthew 25 to his disciples because he was too naïve to think all his followers were faithful marriage partners. God knows all and Jesus spoke for the Father, realizing not everyone calling themselves a follower of his was as promised. “I do” to some means once the fun stops, then its time for ‘talking the talk and not walking the walk’. God spoke through Jesus knowing that Judas was a lamp without extra oil, a wicked and lazy user of God-given talent that was intended to be used to lead others to God, and therefore a goat destined to be separated into the “Go to Hell” pile. God knows the world is full of Judases.
If a cold shiver just went down your spine realizing that, then now is the time to hear the call to totally submit to marriage to God [meaning confessions of unfaithfulness cease forevermore].
With that sermon preached, see yourself as a bridesmaid, no matter what sex you are. If you think because you have a penis you are exempt from that designation, then you just designated your sexless soul to condemnation. Expect that soul to remain where it is – cast into the outer darkness that can never be a lamp that shines the light of truth into the world of death – destined to be reincarnated over and over, born to grow new teeth that will forever gnash when death comes a calling again.
A “bridesmaid” is a “virgin,” based on the meaning of the Greek word “parthenois.” According to HELPS Word-studies, the intent of the word is “(figuratively) believers when they are pure (chaste).” This is the distinction of one’s soul and not relative to anything of human flesh. Chaste is as chaste does. Chaste is then the wedding robes worn, which is metaphor for righteousness.
It is vital to realize that one being a “bridesmaid” has nothing to do with how often one has had sexual relations (or lusts thereof), which flow like the waters over Niagara Falls after boys and girls reach the human state of puberty. Rather than think of a virgin in terms of whether or not one has had sexual relations with another human being, one should think in terms of souls entering flesh [the repetition of reincarnation]. In that sense, one should realize the eternity of a soul means it has ‘had sex’ with one body of flesh after another, ever since first separated from God Almighty to experience the illusion of the material plane. Reincarnation should make one feel like a prostitute (regardless of human gender), because sexless souls give life to both genders of human beings (over epochs of time).
The ones who think they have been born into the wrong body in this life [who make foolish demands for third-party bathrooms] are simply still attached to their past life gender. Therefore, being a “bridesmaid” or “virgin” means one has to accept the invitation of the king to attend the wedding banquet, for the first time. If it is easier to commit under the guise of marrying the king’s son, that will still be a first experience. In reality, it means marrying God and becoming His Son reborn, which is a Spiritual form of union. It is a commitment to be chaste, for the purpose of getting off the reincarnation merry-go-round and returning to be one with God again.
When you understand that your soul is the “virgin” state of willingness to sacrifice self for a higher cause, one is then committed to God as a “slave” waiting for the master’s instruction, like a sheep brought into the fold of new shepherd, whose voice one must learn to heed. One’s body of flesh (regardless of human gender) then becomes marked as “taken.” That is the metaphor of putting on the wedding robes or carrying a lamp.
The light produced by a lamp (“lampadas” means “lamp, torch, lantern”) is then akin to taking a talent of wealth and multiplying it (not burying it in the ground, or hiding a lamp under a bushel basket). When Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life,” (John 8:12) he is the light that shines from the lamp of one’s being [a rebirth essential]. Therefore, a true Christian is one who is a lamp of God, which give the light of His Son to the world as an identifying mark of one’s commitment to God through monogamous marriage.
That commitment to marriage then leads one to wash one’s flesh free of sin [a ritual cleansing or baptism by water]. In Jewish laws, ritual cleansing was often done by women after sloughing off a wasted egg. A mature woman was deemed a sinner that needed to be washed clean because she lost an egg, one given to her by God for the purpose of His making it a body for a returning soul. As such, a “virgin” becomes representative of a new egg that is in place and ready to be impregnated by God’s Holy Spirit. That is what makes a body of flesh be metaphor for an egg that needs to be transformed. It also reflects how a lost opportunity for a soul in a body of flesh, which does not be an offering to God, is sloughed off through death, washed clean through reincarnation. Therefore, men and women who fail to marry God during a lifetime both have ‘periods’ that represent failures that needs to be ritually cleansed.
Because there are many who accept the messenger-delivered invitation to marriage, the parable of the wedding banquet told of one [a man] who arrived without putting on the robes of righteousness, the symbol of commitment to marriage. Jesus had Judas sitting in his ‘banquet room’ on the hillside of the Mount of Olives who he knew was not dressed appropriately. Likewise, Christianity has those who pretend to be lamps, but are really not. Those can be described as false shepherds, hired hands, and those who are filthy with sin but love the idea of having to do nothing more than say “I believe” and get a free ticket to heaven. They enter the banquet hall with expectations, but it soon becomes obvious they are not truly committed. When God the king called that one man out, he called him “Friend,” which meant “Pretender.”
This is where the lamp oil comes into play.
According to HELPS Word-studies, the Greek word “elaion,” which typically means “olive oil” (Strong’s definition and usage), means “(figuratively) the indwelling (empowering) of the Holy Spirit.” The same word literally means a physical oil and metaphorically means a spiritual essence. It is the dual meaning of one word that makes the foolish bridesmaids be lamps with physical oil, whereas the wise bridesmaids are lamps filled with the Holy Spirit. It is the duality that separates the wise from the foolish.
This separation (as with the good and trustworthy slaves, versus the wicked and lazy slaves; as well as the helpful sheep and the selfish goats) says the lamps with olive oil were only yielding the light of written words that were memorized: laws, songs, and soundbites of Scripture. The lamps filled with the Holy Spirit were shining the light of truth: living according to the laws, constantly singing praises to the Lord, and teaching others the deeper meaning of Scripture every chance they had. One was Big Brain foolish, while the other had the heartfelt wisdom of the love of God. One group’s light was the flashiness of a con man and pretender (reflected light), while the others’ had the inner glow of Saints (a halo or Moses’ face of God).
Could it be that brides wear a veil to hide the face of God, like Moses did?
In the article I posted in 2017, I placed focus on the coming of the bridegroom in the middle of the night as being metaphor for one’s death and the transition of a soul from a body of flesh. I will not repeat that here; but know that those lamps filled with God’s Holy Spirit are more than bridesmaids or virgins awaiting marriage, but they are bodies of flesh animated by souls that have already been merged with God, reborn as Jesus Christ – the true meaning of being Christian. Those who are not so filled at the time of death, thus not already married to God [cue the soundbite of an Evangelical minister telling listeners to wait for the second return of Jesus], well their souls are told, “Honey, you got the wrong god. I don’t know who you are. I thought you married the world you live in. See ya.” [door slam soundbite]
That means the ones who light their lamps with the olive oil of flimsy sermons, prepared by those who kneel at the altar of COVID19 fears and worship in the temple of plotting the demise of hated politicians, they never took the time to get filled with God’s Holy Spirit. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is not an elective course offered in seminaries. Being filled with God’s Holy Spirit can seem like the swoon of first love, but that feeling is fleeting, like when an injection of heroin dissipates. Life has its ups and downs, but being filled with the Holy Spirit, reborn as Jesus Christ, is that something extra that always keeps God’s light of truth shining so others can see.
The Holy Spirit is then the difference of oil used by the lamps of the religious. Anointing oils are physical (olive oil) and used symbolically, in place of the real thing. A lamp, lantern, or torch produces physical light that is fueled by physical oil, but a spiritual lamp shines the light of truth that cannot be measured in photons, waves and rays. The Holy Spirit is the extra fuel, carried in another “vessel” – the soul. Carrying around a vessel filled with extra olive oil is difficult. It is like trying to memorize the whole Bible, when it is much easier to just light the lamp on Sunday mornings at 7:00 and then snuff out the flame at noon (game time!). That saves the physical oil for longer usage on one ‘tank.’
The foolish bridesmaid did not have their spiritual “vessel” (the Greek word “aggeion,” meaning “receptacle, flask” i.e.: body of flesh) with them when it got late into the night. They did not know that meant their a need to sacrifice their self-egos so God could fill their soul vessels with the high octane Holy Spirit oil. They oil cans used to store extra oil was left behind or empty [the fools!]. But then they were stuck seeing only the physical solutions to spiritual matters, which is the curse of fools, lazy souls, and those only trying to get more of the world for themselves.
The physical oil American Christians use for light today is petroleum based, as fuel. American Christians often use their fuel to set ablaze the fire of Scripture. They enjoy igniting that light as a weapon for sport. Instead of rays of insight emitted from their human lamps, American Christians shoot flaming arrows of righteous condemnation wickedly at others [like the Pharisees did in Jesus’ time on earth]. It is one thing to run around shooting Biblical arrows at all you hate (friend or foe), proving “I know my Scripture!” (from a library of opinions in your study at home), but to be so free and easy with darts and stingers means you better have the real stuff in you [insight from the Holy Spirit], to back it all up. Otherwise, when the arrows run out and the enemy [death] is at the doorstep, you best have smeared the blood of Christ over your doorpost or [to use a Lenny Bruce line], “You’re gonna die, kemosabe.” [See what I said earlier about reincarnation.]
When Jesus told his disciples that the wise virgins told the foolish ones, “You had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves,” AND “they went to buy it,” think about that for a moment. The fools actually went out in the middle of night, looking for someone to sell them spirituality. They were foolish to the end, never once realizing that “you cannot buy your way into heaven!”
Of course, the place one goes to buy the written law, the songs that make the toes tap to a melodic beat, and favorite Scriptural quotes is to a church building or to the person who runs one. That is where some priest, minister, or preacher [rabbis too] will be found whittling down Holy Bible selected readings to a bitesize portions – about as big as a small, thin wafer, easily washed down by a sip of wine. That sold [usually only available on Sundays] is the message that always says, “Don’t bother yourself with studying Scripture, just place an offering in the tray and go home knowing you are saved.” Buying more of the watered down version of Christianity [baptisms with water sprinkled onto human babies] still will not get a soul to shine the light of truth. Marrying a church building-organization-proprietor is not the same as marrying God Almighty. You get what you pay for. A vessel that is still empty of truly Holy Oil!
Again, I want to say that I wrote about this reading in 2017. The same meaning then is the same meaning now. I have tried to add to that here and feel that I have. However, at this time  I feel a strong need to share this “extra oil” now with any and all who have personally known me, either from having been in the same school, church, or town, able to recognize me on sight, regardless of whether or not you having ever spoken a kind word to me.
If you know me, then you knew my wife.
My wife was alive in 2017, but she knew she was going to die from terminal cancer. As I write this, the first anniversary of her death is approaching. If you know me, then you know that my wife was an Episcopal priest, who was forced into disability retirement, due to her diagnosis. My wife and I were married, not only as man and woman, but as souls that were fully and completely devoted to God. Therefore, my wife and I were … and are still … married to God; our vessels always kept full and nearby.
This reading from Matthew 25:1-13 now sparks my “indwelling (empowering) of the Holy Spirit,” such that I am strongly feeling a need to share that my wife was a wise bridesmaid whose lamp was filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit. She had an extra vessel that she always kept near her: when she went through discernment, when she went through seminary, when she went through ministry, and when she went through the darkness of impending death – meaning the known coming loss of family and friends [most who had already stayed far away].
Her lamp never stopped shining brightly. When she heard the call, “Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him,” I held her hand. I gave her away to the bridegroom. Her body has left this world, but her Holy Spirit has remained with me.
My wife’s most divine soul wants me to ask all you who know me, “Why do you think you are gods?”
She wants to know how much the marketplace sells a “thank you Robert” for these days, because the price must be so high that casual “friends” cannot afford to give those away. Why would anyone calling himself or herself Christian ever bury the talent of kindness, love, and caring? Does the Parable of the Talents make you hear the voice of God (the master) calling you wicked and lazy slaves?
Everyone my wife knew loved her. They loved her to death, because she so freely gave of her Holy Spirit to ease the pains of others. The “weak in spirit” flocked to her, to be touched by her light of truth; and she gave to them all as they needed.
What did you give her in return? The cancer of rejecting her husband, after her death?
You are blind to how the cancer she got was because of you. My wife died so you could have more time to commit to God, just as did Jesus. “Lord, forgive them for they know not what they do.” She would have it no other way. It is what Saints do!
Over the past year, there have been a few who have ventured onto the thin ice of acknowledging that I exist in this world. I appreciate those gestures of kindness. It saddens my heart, however, to see these writings that I post here on WordPress, which I share with my wife’s MANY friends [I have only a few] on her Facebook account, rejected.
I share the insight of the Holy Spirit in her name (with her approval spiritually) and in return we both see an absence of friendly response. It signifies a silence that loudly screams “We loved your wife, not you! We can’t stand you! Kill her Facebook page and let us keep empty vessels, with only physical olive oil in our lamps.”
Kill the messenger is a most human response to a message unwanted. And Jesus said, “A prophet is not a prophet in his hometown” because no mortal with a vessel empty of God’s Holy Spirit wants to hear anyone speaking as if he or she does have the Holy Spirit.
Kill the messenger!
Just as my wife did not enter the priesthood to get accolades or to be showered with praises, I do not write interpretations of Scripture to be told how much my words are loved. My wife and I both always spoke what the Father told us to speak, just as did Jesus. The Father has us speak the words of truth because Christianity is filled with foolish bridesmaids, wicked and lazy slaves, and goats that do nothing that isn’t self-serving. God never speaks through humans to make humans be recognized as gods on earth, because most will be crucified with persecution.
My wife presented herself to you as Mary the mother of Jesus; and you called her Mother out of respect for that presence. Do you reject me because I speak here like an no-nonsense Father, one who knows it is best not to spoil the child?
I use the rod of truth. David told God “thy rod comforts me.” The rod is not made to smash a clay pot that is flawed; but it can do that it need be. The rod and the staff are tools of shepherding, to save those lost and keep evil wolves away.
Does the truth of the Gospels hurt your feeling so much it turns your hearts to stone and your brains to hate?
Are you Judas, planning to sell out anyone who no longer tells you what you want to hear for some pieces of silver? How much do you sell your favoritism for? What is the going rate for self-worth?
My wife and I were two sides of the same God. She wore the smile, as I wear the frown.
God wears many faces. Be careful which faces you slap, which faces you pity, and which faces you scorn. Most certainly, lift up the veils that cover the faces of those you love and adore, so you can see the truth that hides underneath. You never know whose face is hiding God and Jesus Christ beneath, just as you never know who wears the face of Satan.
The most important face to be determined is yours. You should wear the face of God, because to wear your own face means you are the god you worship. That is an empty vessel with no truth of Christ within.
To wear the face of God is to be truly Christian. Then, if you reject a fellow Christian, there are protocols that must be taken: one to one; a small group to one; the whole assembly to one. None of those steps call for silence and backstabbing rejection, first or last.
May the peace of the Lord always be with you, especially when your time of slumber comes; and it will come to all mortals.
R. T. Tippett