Are Those Who Work Hard for the Lord Wise Virgins?

Brothers and sisters,

Good day! I believe that all the true believers in the Lord have been preparing for His return in their own way, and hope to be the wise virgins, who can feast with the bridegroom. As for me, I chose to pray watchfully, work hard, and serve and sacrifice for the Lord. All along, I have been preparing and waiting in this way, and holding that I am a wise virgin and that waiting for the Lord like this must lead to me welcoming His return. However, lately I heard a church member say that those who work hard, and serve and sacrifice for the Lord are not the wise virgins, who prepare oil. Therefore, I am puzzled: Is my preparing oil in this way not in accordance with the Lord’s will? What actually are the wise virgins? And how should the wise virgins prepare oil? I know to be clear about these questions is of paramount importance to my being able to welcome the return of the Lord and feast with Him, but I really cannot figure them out. So I would like to discuss what the wise virgins are, and hope to get your help.

Poster: Li Yingguang

a girl holding oil lamp in wheat field



I’m just passing by. Let me say something first. Sister Li, it is clearly stated in the Bible, “They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps” (Matthew 25:3–4). Based on these verses, I’m of the opinion that preparing oil refers to working hard, and serving and sacrificing for the Lord. This is also the understanding of the whole religious community, so this viewpoint cannot be wrong. Our preparing oil like this is completely in line with the Lord’s will and people like us are the wise virgins. Sister Li, don’t be doubtful.

Zhang Zhihun:

I’m agreeable to Yubo’s view. Sister Li, regarding this aspect, don’t the pastors and elders often say that working hard, and serving and sacrificing for the Lord is exactly preparing oil? And since we always do so, aren’t we the wise virgins? How could the pastors and elders possibly be wrong? Sister Li, there is no need to worry.

Zheng Guangming:

In regard to the viewpoint that those who work hard, and serve and sacrifice for the Lord are the wise virgins and they are preparing oil, I have a different understanding. As we all know, the Pharisees, who served Jehovah God during the Age of Law, compassed land and sea spreading the gospel. They had run and run, had suffered much, and had done a lot of work. If the viewpoint was right, wouldn’t they have prepared a lot of oil? Then, when the Lord Jesus came, they should have been the most qualified to welcome the Lord and gain His salvation. But the fact is precisely the opposite: They did not gain the salvation of the Lord; instead, they incurred the curse of the Lord Jesus, and were condemned as hypocrites by Him. Today, if we still place importance on making significant expenditures and working tirelessly for the Lord like them, how can we be called the wise virgins?

Li Yingguang:

Thank you for joining in helping me resolve my questions. With regard to what the wise virgins are, we have our own ideas, which all sound reasonable. And Brother Zheng’s idea is somewhat similar to that of my church member. I wonder whether there is any other brother or sister who has a further insight into this question and can fellowship with us.

Song Jiayin:

Hi, I happen to pass by and see that you are discussing this question. I think it is very important to understand it, for it directly relates to whether we can welcome the return of the Lord and also to the major thing that affects whether or not we can be successful in our belief in God. Recently, I have listened to the fellowship by some insightful brothers and sisters, and have understood some of the truth of this aspect. So, I would like to communicate my own gain with you.

Li Yingguang:

Great! Sister Song, welcome! Your joining us in the discussion really is predestined by God. Please share your gain with us.

Song Jiayin:

With reference to what preparing oil is and what the wise virgins are, I saw a book about belief in God say like this, “During the Age of Grace, Jesus talked about the wise virgins. What is this mystery all about? What does the term wise virgin mean? The main point is that she recognizes God’s voice. When she hears it, she thinks, ‘Why do I think that the things this Son of man is saying are God’s words? Why does it seem like He has God’s voice? These are things that man cannot say. This is God’s voice. So I must believe in Him. He is Christ. This is God incarnate.’ Look, this is why she is wise” (Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (IX)). “The so-called ‘wise virgins’ represent those that can recognize God’s voice and hear the voice of the ‘Bridegroom’ and who can therefore accept and submit to Christ, thereby taking home the practical God” (Witnesses for Christ of the Last Days). These two passages of fellowship have very clearly explained what preparing oil is and what wise virgins are, making us understand that preparing oil refers to paying attention to listening to God’s voice, to being able to understand God’s words and to being capable of accepting the truth and submitting to God. Only people acting this way are the wise virgins.

Think back to the end of the Age of the Law. The Israelites often committed sins and had already been unable to hold to God’s Laws. According to God’s righteous disposition, they would all be convicted by law and sentenced to death. Under this circumstance, God was incarnated to do the work of redeeming humanity according to man’s needs, made man confess and repent and gave people abundant grace and truths. Those who thirsted for God’s appearance and truly recognized God’s voice, like Peter, Nathanael and the Samaritan woman, they followed the Lord Jesus because they recognized through His words and work that He was the coming Messiah. These people are actually the wise virgins.

the jewish pharisees blasphemed the Lord Jesus

As for the Jewish Pharisees, although they worked very hard, served and sacrificed for the Lord, compassed land and sea spreading the gospel, and watchfully awaited the arrival of the Messiah, when the Lord Jesus came to do His work, they did not recognize from His words and work the voice of God, neither did they seek and study. Instead, they condemned based on their own conceptions and imaginations that the Lord Jesus’ words and work went beyond the Old Testament, treated the incarnate Lord Jesus as an ordinary man, and moreover, described words spoken by God as man’s words; they even judged and blasphemed the Lord Jesus and in the end, nailed Him to the cross. They became people who believed in God but actually resisted Him and thus were punished by God.

This allows us to see: The cleverness of the wise virgins lies in paying attention to listening to God’s voice and in being capable of recognizing His voice. It is thus that they welcome God’s appearance. Contrarily, the foolish virgins do not listen to God’s voice. Even after hearing the utterance of the truth, they do not seek and cannot discern God’s voice; rather, they only stubbornly adhere to their conceptions and imaginations, thinking that they could welcome the Lord’s appearance by working hard, and serving and sacrificing for the Lord. As a result, they reject God’s appearance and work, and thus lose His salvation. It can be seen that the viewpoint that those who work hard, and expand for God and dedicate themselves to Him are the wise virgins is really our conceptions and imaginations. This is not a valid viewpoint at all.

Yu Bo:

You talked sensibly. It sounds convincing.

Li Yingguang:

Sister Song, your fellowship allows me to realize that if people only work hard, serve and sacrifice for the Lord but do not seek the truth and are unable to recognize God’s voice, they are not preparing oil. They won’t recognize the Bridegroom even if He comes. Now I understand that only people who can seek the truth and discern the voice of God are the wise virgins. However, I still have a problem I don’t understand. Although I have realized that to welcome the return of the Lord, we must focus on listening to His voice, I am still unclear about how to discern the Lord’s voice. Would you mind communicating with us a bit more?

Zheng Guangming:

Yes, Sister Song. The prophecies of the Lord’s return have basically been fulfilled, and now is the day when the Lord appears and performs His work, thus knowing how to discern God’s voice is extremely important to our welcoming the Lord’s appearance. Please communicate with us a little more on this.

wise virgin prepares oil
Good News Productions International and College Press Publishing/ BY-NC-ND 4.0

Song Jiayin:

Thanks be to the Lord! Then I’ll talk about my understanding of this problem. The Lord Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). From the verse we can see that God Himself is the truth, the way and the life. Thus, the words expressed by God are the truth and He can provide to man according to man’s actual need so that man can have the path to walk. For example, when mankind had no idea of how to live after being corrupted by Satan, God issued His commandments and 613 commandments telling them how to live and worship God. These words are all the truth and people’s needs, and they can make man live a normal life on earth. Later, since mankind was unable to abide by the laws by reason of being too deeply corrupted, according to mankind’s needs, God was incarnated as the Lord Jesus to redeem mankind. During the period, the Lord Jesus expressed many truths, which tell man how to confess and repent, how to be tolerant and forgive others, how to pray and fast and so on. These truths are higher than the laws and commandments of the Age of Law, and brought man the new way to practice. These new words are truths and the voice of God. Distinguishing God’s voice based on this is the most accurate way.

Zheng Guangming:

Indeed. Now it seems that where there are God’s new words and work, there must be the truth, as well as God’s appearance. Back then, when the Lord Jesus expressed new words according to human needs, without knowing what the truth is and being unable to discern God’s voice, the Jews condemned Him, saying that the words and work of the Lord Jesus exceeded the law of the Old Testament, and thus refused to accept Him, thereby losing His salvation. We should learn something from this.

Li Yingguang:

Yes, we have always maintained that all the words that exceed the Bible’s scope are not God’s words. Have we not made the same mistake as the Jewish people of those days? Sister Song, we lack much knowledge of how to recognize God’s voice. Please talk to us about this more.

Song Jiayin:

All right! To know the voice of God, we must understand that only God’s words have authority, and can fully articulate man’s corrupt substance. This is beyond human reach. Take the story of the Samaritan woman for example. The Lord Jesus, despite not having contacted with her, knew that she had had five husbands, and said, “But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14). The Samaritan woman saw that the Lord Jesus’s words were full of authority and power and could not be spoken by anyone, thereby recognized that the Lord Jesus was the coming Messiah and followed Him. For another example, let’s take the story of Nathanael. At first Nathanael did not believe that the Lord Jesus was the coming Messiah, but when the Lord said that He had known him when he was under the fig tree, he recognized from this that the Lord Jesus was the coming Messiah and thus followed Him and gained His salvation in the end.

But sadly, most of the Jewish people, including the priests, scribes and elders, who served God in the temple every day, were unable to recognize God’s voice when they heard the Lord Jesus’ words which were full of authority. For example, the Lord Jesus said to the Jews, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad” (John 8:56). “Truly, truly, I say to you, Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). When the Lord Jesus said these words to the Jews, which were full of authority and power, He was speaking in God’s identity, telling them that He is Jehovah, and that He is God Himself. Nevertheless, because of being unable to recognize the voice of God and not seeking the truth, they did not treat the Lord Jesus as God, and even ridiculed and slandered and blasphemed Him, and convinced Him of blasphemy. It can be seen from this that human beings were so deeply corrupted, were extremely arrogant, and simply did not know how to discern God’s voice at all. If today we still do not know how to distinguish God’s voice and do not have a seeking heart, then we are on the path of the Jews of those days, and will not see the Lord’s appearance.

Zheng Guangming:

Yes, knowing how to distinguish God’s voice is indeed of great importance to our welcoming the return of the Lord. The Lord Jesus said, “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:12–13). The book of Revelation says, “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:7). From these verses, we can see that after the Lord’s return, He will express truth and speak to the churches. If we only attach importance to working hard instead of seeking the truth and are incapable of discerning God’s voice, then like the foolish virgins, we won’t be able to know the Lord even if He returns, and in the end, we could only be discarded by the Lord and gnash our teeth.

Li Yingguang:

Thanks be to the Lord. Brothers and sisters, your fellowship causes my heart to feel illuminated and I have a way to practice. So, when the Lord Jesus required us to be the wise virgins, who prepare oil to welcome His return, He is actually asking us to seek the truth, so that we can discern God’s voice, see His appearance and welcome His return. When we hear there are testimonies of God’s appearance and words, we ought to seek and investigate as opposed to rejecting and condemning them. Only such are the wise virgins, the ones who welcome the return of the Lord after hearing the voice of the Bridegroom.

Song Jiayin:

Thank the Lord! All the glory be to God!

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