In Yahshua’s time the wedding ceremony was the third and final stage in ‘negotiations’, and the marriage feast was usually held in the evening. The bridesmaids would prepare the bride to meet her groom and then, having readied themselves, would wait with her at her home for the bridegroom to arrive to escort the entire bridal party to his home. By then it would have been dark – with no streetlights! So lamps for the journey were of paramount importance.
When the noise of the bridal procession reached the waiting guests they would flock out of the bridegroom’s home to greet him and his bride, and with much rejoicing re-enter the house and close the door. No-one was allowed to enter the feast after this. In Yahshua’s story the foolish bridesmaids ran out of oil and had to rush off to buy more, returning only after the door was closed. The bridegroom hadn’t seen them in the procession so he refused them entry, saying he didn’t know them! [Why didn’t he ask the bride?]
In scripture Yahshua Himself is often referred to as ‘the Bridegroom’ and His Body as ‘the Bride’, so who are the bridesmaids? The apostle Paul teaches that it is the work of the ministry to prepare the Body of Yahshua for service and spiritual maturity, (See Ephesians 4:11-16) and, ultimately, for His Son’s wedding supper. (Revelation 19:9)
The foolish bridesmaids in Yahshua’s story had helped to prepare the bride, but had failed to stay alert and adequately provide for themselves. If the oil speaks to us of the Holy Spirit, then we must assume that Yahshua expects His ministers to diligently keep in touch with the Holy Spirit as our source of anointing. We cannot ‘borrow’ [or ‘scrounge’] oil from others. We must provide oil for our own lamps from our own source-connection, always; clearly it’s not enough only to prepare the Bride.
For just as each of us has one body with many members...