“Inherit the Kingdom Prepared for You”
Jesus presents the parable of the ten virgins.
Jesus presents the parable of the talents.
Jesus presents the parable of the sheep and the goats.
A study of this lesson will help us prepare ourselves for the Second Coming
through living righteously, developing our talents, and serving others.
Scripture references for study:
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 22 Handout (PDF
Parable Of The Ten Virgins
The parables in this lesson continue the Olivet Discourse which
began in Matthew 24.
MATTHEW 25:1-13. Parable of the Ten Virgins.
This story calls to mind preparations we made to update our emergency
preparedness and food storage. Among the items in our emergency storage are
two oil lamps. In
our inventory I found a half a bottle of oil. Lamp oil seems to go a long
way, but we might be stretching it with a half bottle. On one of my trips
to Fred Meyer, I scouted around the store and found a few bottles of lamp oil. I purchased half of
the entire inventory, which amounted to eight one quart bottles. I thought
to myself, "What will people do if there is an emergency and they have
not prepared?" The stores carry enough inventory of this type to
supply only a few homes. While living in the Pacific Northwest we sometimes had wind and ice storms that
were strong enough to knock out power. In some areas the outage could last up to a week, validating the necessity of such preparations. We have been
counseled to prepare for such emergencies, but the Savior is talking about something more than
stocking up on lamp oil.
Once again, the Master is using a story that the people of his time could
relate to. This parable is based on Jewish wedding customs.
In the time of Jesus, the bridegroom and his friends would escort the bride
from her home to the home of the bridegroom.
Along the way, the friends of the bride waited to join the wedding party.
Upon arriving at the bridegroom's home, the entire party would go inside for
These weddings usually took place in the evening, so those waiting for
the bride and bridegroom carried small lamps fueled by oil.
IN THIS PARABLE, WHOM DOES THE BRIDEGROOM REPRESENT?
WHOM DO THE VIRGINS REPRESENT?
Members of the Church. Marvin J. Ashton, "It can be appropriately concluded
the 10 virgins represent the people of the Church of Jesus Christ." (CR,
WHAT DOES THE WEDDING REPRESENT?
WHAT DOES THE OIL REPRESENT?
Our preparation for the Second Coming.
WHAT DOES THE PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS TEACH ABOUT PREPARING FOR THE
We must be preparing at all times. Procrastination is not the order of
the day. If everybody rushes out to buy lamp oil when they
see the storm coming Fred Meyer
will be overwhelmed and run out of stock within minutes. If people had
been preparing all along, Fred Meyer would have incrementally increased
their stock to meet the increased demand.
No person knows the exact time of the Savior's Second Coming. We might liken it
to an old friend who calls and says he will drop by sometime in
the evening. You don't wait until 9:00 PM to get the house in order. You immediately
set to the task so that you will be ready whether he comes over at 7:00
or 9:00 or whatever time he arrives. Why should it be any different as we prepare for the Second Coming?
The Master is our friend who has called to say he will drop by in the evening. It is now
evening, a fact we have learned from the prophecies in Matthew 24. Now
is the time to prepare.
Consider this familiar ancient fable, The Ant and the Grasshopper:
"In a field one summer's day a Grasshopper
was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart's content. An Ant
passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to
"'Why not come and chat with me,' said
the Grasshopper, 'instead of toiling and moiling in that way?'
"'I am helping to lay up food for the winter,'
said the Ant, 'and recommend you to do the same.'
"'Why bother about winter?' said the Grasshopper;
'we have got plenty of food at present.' But the Ant went on its way and
continued its toil. When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food and
found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing every
day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then
the Grasshopper knew: It is best to prepare for the days of necessity."
Heeding this ancient wisdom would be a wise move
on our part. The Second Coming is approaching as surely as winter.
Now is the day to prepare.
Spencer W. Kimball: "The day of the marriage feast approaches. The coming
of the Lord is nigh. And there are many among us who are not ready for
the great and glorious event." (Faith Precedes the Miracle, p257)
"Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the
hour wherein the Son of man cometh" (v13).
WHAT DOES THE COMMAND "WATCH" MEAN TO YOU?
One who is watching for an event is actively preparing for it. One who
is not watching is occupied with other things and is not taking the time
to prepare. Children love to "watch" for Christmas. They eagerly anticipate
opening the windows on an advent calendar. They make decorations, help
mom make cookies, and sing Christmas songs. They are watching for Christmas.
We should heed their example and be actively "watching" and preparing for the
WHY WERE THE FIVE WISE VIRGINS NOT DECEIVED?
"And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall
the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins. For they that are wise and have received
the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not
been deceived--verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast
into the fire, but shall abide the day." (D&C 45:56-57)
According to this verse, those that are wise receive the truth and take
the Holy Spirit as their guide.
If I am to be prepared for a future power outage, I need to have my oil
lamp filled in advance though I know not the time of such an event. It
is difficult and dangerous to perform this task once the event has arrived.
HOW CAN WE ADD "OIL" TO OUR SPIRITUAL "LAMPS"?
Spencer W. Kimball: "One type of oil is the oil of family prayer. It
illuminates us and makes us bright and cheery but is difficult to obtain
at midnight. One drop or two will not keep the lamp burning long....
"Another type of oil is the oil of fasting.
The last midnight is late to start discipling our lives in preparation
for the great day of the Lord...
"Another oil is the Word of Wisdom. This
too is hard to find at midnight. One cannot hope that the drops of oil
accumulated in a moment can make up for years of neglect....
"Another oil that is not available at midnight
is the indispensable oil of home service. This rare oil of service is accumulated
through visits to the sick, through lending a helping hand.
"There is another rare, indispensable oil without
which no one can be fully prepared. We must have the proper amount of this never
exhausting oil, the oil of temple ordinance." (from
an address delivered in Kansas City, Missouri, Sep 1978 - see Church News,
WHY COULDN'T THE FOOLISH VIRGINS BORROW THE OIL THEY NEEDED?
As we see from President Kimball's teachings, this oil consists of that
which has taken years, maybe a lifetime, to accumulate.
Joseph Fielding Smith: "In that day the members of the Church who have
not kept the commandments and thus have no oil in their lamps are in danger
of being shut out of the kingdom when the door is shut." (Answers to
Gospel Questions, 2:23)
Bruce R. McConkie: "Salvation is a personal matter. It comes only to
those who keep the commandments and whose souls are filled with the Holy
Spirit of God. No man can keep the commandments for and on behalf of another;
no one can gain the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit in his life and
give or sell that holy oil to another. Every man must light his own lamp
with the oil of righteousness which he buys at the market of obedience.
Few doctrines are more evil and wicked than the false doctrine of supererogation,
which is, that the saints, by doing more than is necessary for their own
salvation, build up an immense treasure of merit in heaven, which can be
dispensed and assigned to others so they too can be saved." (Mortal
Parable Of The Talents
MATTHEW 25:14-30. The parable of the Talents.
WHOM DOES THE MAN TRAVELING TO A FAR COUNTRY REPRESENT?
WHOM DO THE SERVANTS REPRESENT?
WHAT DO THE TALENTS REPRESENT?
In New Testament times, a talent was a sum of money.
It represents the gifts of God to each of us.
WHAT DID THE FIRST TWO SERVANTS DO WITH THEIR TALENTS? WHAT WAS THEIR REWARD?
Jesus teaches in this sermon that they "traded with the same" to increase
The Greek word for trade is "ergazomai" which has these possible meanings
(from Lexicon of New Testament Greek):
To work, labor, do work.
To trade, to make gains by trading, "do business".
To do, work out, exercise, perform, commit, to cause to exist, produce.
To work for, earn by working, to acquire.
The reward: They were made ruler over many things and invited to "enter thou
into the joy of thy lord."
WHAT DID THE THIRD SERVANT DO WITH HIS TALENT? WHAT WAS HIS REWARD?
Unlike the two previous servants who used their money to increase their
wealth, the third servant buried his talent to preserve it.
Reward: His talent was taken from him and he was cast into "outer darkness."
WHAT IS THE MASTER TEACHING US?
Many teach that all we need to obtain salvation is to believe. The Lord
has sent us to this earth for a purpose and has given us gifts. What we
do with our time on earth and with these gifts determines the reward we
receive in the hereafter. That is clearly demonstrated in this parable
when the man rewarded each of his servants by what they had done with the
Jesus is also teaching that those who seem to have fewer gifts from
God will receive every blessing if they use their gifts to the fullest.
James E. Faust spoke of those who seem to have received fewer talents or
gifts: "If their talents are used to build the kingdom of god and serve
others, they will enjoy the promises of the Savior. The great promise of
the Savior is that they 'shall receive [their] reward, even peace in this
world, and eternal life in the world to come' (D&C 59:23)." (Ensign,
May 1994, p6)
Marvin J. Ashton: "It is our right and responsibility to accept gifts
and share them." (Ensign, Nov 1987, p20)
Bruce R. McConkie: "There is an eternal principle that states: Service
is essential to salvation. In the parable of the ten virgins, Jesus dramatized
the truth that to gain salvation men must keep the commandments and be
guided by the Holy Spirit. Thus, Obedience is essential to salvation. By
now giving the parable of the talents, he completes the picture. Not only
must mortals keep the commandments to gain an inheritance in the Father's
kingdom, but they must also get outside themselves in service to their
fellowmen. It is one thing to be virtuous and pay tithing; it is another
to persuade others to walk in paths of purity and to make their means available
for the building up of the Lord's earthly kingdom. The Lord will not be
satisfied with the salvation of Moses alone; he expects that great lawgiver
to guide all Israel to the summit of Sinai. Both obedience and service
are essential to salvation." (Mortal Messiah, 3:468-469)
"But with some I am not well pleased, for they will not
open their mouths, but they hide the talent which I have given unto them,
because of the fear of man. Wo unto such, for mine anger is kindled against
them." (D&C 60:2)
HOW CAN WE DETERMINE WHAT GIFTS THE LORD HAS GIVEN US?
"For all have not every gift given unto them; for
there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of
God. To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be
profited thereby." (D&C 46:11-12)
According to the above verse we have all been given gifts. Elder Marvin
J. Ashton said: "Let me mention a few gifts that are not always evident
or noteworthy but that are very important. Among these may be your gifts--gifts
not so evident but nevertheless real and valuable.
"Let us review some of these less conspicuous
gifts: the gift of asking; the gift of listening; the gift of hearing and
using a still, small voice; the gift of being able to weep; the gift of
avoiding contention; the gift of being agreeable; the gift of avoiding
vain repetition; the gift of seeking that which is righteous; the gift
of not passing judgment; the gift of looking to God for guidance; the gift
of being a disciple; the gift of caring for others; the gift of being able
to ponder; the gift of offering prayer; the gift of bearing a mighty testimony;
and the gift of receiving the Holy Ghost." (Ensign, Nov 1987, p20)
WHY DO MANY OF US HIDE THE GIFTS WE RECEIVE FROM THE LORD?
Parable Of The Sheep And The Goats
MATTHEW 25:31-46. Parable of the sheep and goats.
At his Second Coming, the Lord will separate us as a shepherd separates
the sheep from the goats.
WHOM DO THE SHEEP REPRESENT?
Those who give their lives in service to others. These are they who inherit
the kingdom of God.
WHOM DO THE GOATS REPRESENT?
Those who ignore others in pursuit of their own goals.
WHAT MUST WE DO TO PREPARE FOR THE SECOND COMING AND THE DAY OF JUDGMENT?
Marion D. Hanks: "Jesus taught his followers the parable of the sheep
and the goats, representing the judgment to come, in which he clearly identified
those who will inherit 'life eternal' and those who will 'go away into
everlasting punishment' (Matthew 25:46). The key difference was that those
who should inherit the kingdom with him had developed the habit of helping,
had experienced the joy of giving and the satisfaction of serving. They
had responded to the needs of the hungry, thirsty, homeless, the naked,
the sick, and those in prison....
"Nothing would seem more clear than the
high premium the Savior put upon selfless service to others as an indispensable
element of Christian conduct and of salvation. Helping, giving, sacrificing
are, or should be, as natural as growing and breathing." (Ensign, May
We add oil to our lamps by the service we give.
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
The Savior's Second Coming is near at hand. Though we do not know the
day or the time, it is imperative that we do not procrastinate our preparation.
We must be diligent in keeping our lamps filled by keeping the commandments,
developing our talents, and giving service to others.
Record your thoughts on the parables of Jesus as discussed in this lesson.
What did you do this week to add oil to your lamp? What are some of the things
you will do in the coming week to add oil? What gifts and talents have you
received from the Lord? What can you do in the next few weeks to more fully
utilize those gifts and give service to others?
Resources Used In This Lesson
Answers to Gospel Questions, Volume 2, by Joseph Fielding Smith.
Conference Reports (CR).
Faith Precedes the Miracle by Spencer W. Kimball.
The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, Volume
3, by Bruce R. McConkie.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
21 April 2015