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 Ten Virgins

In the parable of the ten virgins, five of whom took oil in their vessels with their lamps, while the foolish did not (Matt. 25:4), by the virgins are signified affections. That the wise took oil in their vessels, denotes that there was good in truths, and thus charity in faith. That oil denotes good, may be seen above (AC 886); lamps denote love.

from AC 3079


That there is a spiritual sense in each and everyone of these things, and a consequent Divine holiness, can be seen by him only who knows that a spiritual sense exists, and what is its nature. In the spiritual sense, the kingdom of God means heaven and the church; the bridegroom, the Lord; the wedding, the marriage of the Lord with heaven and the church by means of the good of love and of faith. Virgins signify those who are of the church; ten, all; five, some; lamps, the truths of faith; oil, the good of love; to sleep, and to awake, the life of man in this world which is natural life, and his life after death which is spiritual; to buy, to procure for themselves; to go to them that sell and buy oil, to procure for themselves the good of love from others after death; and as this can then be no longer procured, although they came with their lamps and the oil they had bought to the door where the wedding was, yet the bridegroom said to them I know you not. The reason is that after his life in this world a man remains such as he had lived in this world.

S 17


This treats of conjunction with the Lord by love and faith; this the wedding moreover signifies; oil signifies the good of love, and lamps the truth of faith. To make clear that in every particular that the Lord spake there is a spiritual sense, I will lay open the particulars of the spiritual sense of this parable. The kingdom of the heavens, to which the ten virgins are likened, means heaven and the church; the ten virgins signify all who are of the church (ten all, and virgins those who are in the affection of spiritual truth and good, which affection constitutes the church), therefore Zionand Jerusalem, by which the church is signified, are called in the Word virgins, as the virgin Zion, and the virgin Jerusalem, and in the Apocalypse it is said that virgins follow the Lamb. The lamps that they took to go forth to meet the bridegroom signify the truths of faith; the bridegroom means the Lord in respect to conjunction with heaven and the church by love and faith; for a wedding is treated of, which signifies that conjunction. The five prudent virgins and the five foolish signify those of the church who are in faith from love, and those who are in faith apart from love, the same as the prudent and foolish in (Matthew 7:24, 26). Midnight, when the cry arose, signifies the Last Judgment, and in general the end of man's life, when he will be adjudged either to heaven or to hell; the foolish virgins then saying to the prudent, Give us of your oil, and the prudent answering that they should go to them who sell, signifies the state of all after death--that those who have not the good of love in faith, or the truth of faith from the good of love, then wish to acquire it for themselves, but in vain, since such as man's life has been in the world such he remains. From this it is clear what is signified by the prudent virgins going in to the marriage, and that the foolish who said, Lord, Lord, open to us, received for answer, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. I know you not signifies that the Lord was not conjoined to them, since spiritual love conjoins, and not faith without love; for the Lord has His abode with those who are in love, and in faith therefrom, and these He knows because He Himself is there.

AE 252b

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Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info