I love the synergy that takes place when several people begin brain-storming and sharing thoughts, and feelings and scriptures with one another.
After reading the comments of Malachi, TruthSeekerToo and Fabledsog and then doing a little key word searching, I have come up with a possible scenario for the ten virgins that is quite different than how it is traditionally characterized in LDS theology.
It frankly causes me some indigestion; however I cannot deny that there is strong scriptural reason to strongly consider it.
First let me begin with the two scriptures that Fabledsog provided;
“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (New Testament | Revelation 21:2)
“And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.
“And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God” (New Testament | Revelation 21:9 – 10)
Fabledsog did not provide any commentary with the two scriptures he provided so I am not sure if he was making the point I am going to make or another one.
The thing that stands out in the above scriptures is that the bride (the holy city representing the celestial- elect) is coming down from heaven adorned as a bride.
This means that the coming of the bride to the marriage takes place after the Zion from below is caught up to meet the Zion from above in 84:99;
“The Lord has brought down Zion from above, the Lord has brought up Zion from below”
Now section 88 indicates that the rapture of the elect takes place in the 7th seal! (forgive me for using a protestant term which if not found in the scriptures, but the doctrine of the rapture does show up… more in LDS scriptures than the protestant scriptures)
This got me wondering if in fact the fulfillment of the parable of the Ten Virgins could in fact take place in the seventh seal after the day of probation is over.
I then looked for another scripture as a second witness to the possibility that the fulfillment of this parable takes place in the seventh seal and found it;
Section 45 which tells us that the parable of the ten virgins will be fulfilled in the day that Christ comes in his glory!
“And in that day when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins”
We know from section 77 that Christ does not come in his glory until sometime during the seven seal or seventh temporal millennium;
“…in the beginning of the seventh thousand years- the preparing of the way before the time of his coming”
Furthermore, we are informed by section 88 and Matt 25 that the bride is with the Bridegroom when he comes in his glory;
“They are Christ’s the first fruits, they who shall descend with him first, and they who are on the earth and in their graves, who are first caught up to meet him; and all this by the voice of the sounding of the trump of the angel of God.” D&C 88:98
Another parable in matthew 25 describes the two groups that the inhabitants of the earth are divided into, as the sheep and the goats.
We know from section 88 that the “holy angels” mentioned in the verses below that come with Christ at his coming in glory are the celestrial souls who become the first fruits, the first harvest and the first resurrection;
“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his aright hand, but the goats on the left.” Mat. 25:31
Additionally, while the parable assures us that all ten virgins will be slumber and be asleep when the call goes forth, section 35 informs us that the elect of God will not be asleep!
“And a commandment I give unto thee—that thou shalt write for him; and the scriptures shall be given, even as they are in mine own bosom, to the salvation of mine own elect; For they will hear my voice, and shall see me, and shall not be asleep and shall abide the day of my coming; for they shall be purified, even as I am pure.” D&C 35:21
I must confess that I have vacillated back and forth as to whether the fulfillment of the parable took place during probation in the sixth seal or the seventh seal.
This is because of the teaching that the two groups represented the celestial and the terrestrial members of Christs Church, as taught in LDS theology.
However, if in fact the parable is fulfilled in the seventh seal, after probation is over, and if in fact, the bride is with the Bridegroom when he comes, then in fact the two groups left on the earth must surely be those that are 1) redeemed when the Lord comes (the terrestrial) and those that are not redeemed when he come (the telestial people and Sons of perdition).
This would prove the gut feeling that TruthSeekerToo had is accurate, regarding the possibility that there was a third group of people beside the two sets of virgins, that was more righteous than the other two sets of virgins.
It would also confirm Malachi’s contention that verse 92 in section 88 is in fact referring to the parable of the Ten Virgins even though the invitation to meet the Bridegroom is to the “inhabitants of the world” instead of being limited to the membership of Christs church. However, it would appear to support my contention that verse 92 marks the beginning or opening of the seventh seal rather than verse 94, since we have established scripturally that the parable is fulfilled during the seventh seal… although I guess you could argue that the call goes out in the sixth seal and the parable is finally fulfilled in the seventh seal.
It is interesting that when referring to the elect “abiding the day” it says they… shall not be asleep and shall abide the day of my coming; for they shall be purified, even as I am pure.” D&C 35:21
But when referring to the terrestrials abiding the day it refers to them not being thrust into the fire;
“..verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day..”.
So, what causes me indigestion about this interpretation?
1- The use of the term Elect to refer to the terrestrial souls. I have come to associate the term elect with the celestrial souls, however, the “election of grace” does seem to refer in some instances to the predestination of the terrestrial souls and several scriptures that assure us that “all Israel will be saved” which certainly must refer to the terrestrial souls. For instance the children of Israel that were very wicked and rejected the higher law, after they suffer according to terrestrial law of justice, they will categorically be saved as a people. Hence the definition of the word “elect” is confusing since it is used interchangeably between the celestial and terrestrial Saints.
2- It seems that the Parable should be referring to a marriage feast (or in modern day context, “reception”) rather than the actual marriage, particularly if TruthSeekerToo’s observation that the marriage takes place one year before the marriage feast. In other words it seems that the bride should already be married to the Bridegroom when she descends with him, rather than coming with him and then being married once they touch down on the earth, although again, the scriptures provided initially do state that the holy city is adorned as a bride as she descends.
3- The statement in section 45 that the wise virgins have not been deceived and have received the truth really bothers me. Frankly, section 76 defines the terrestrial souls as the “ honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men.” To me that implies that they were deceived and did not receive the full truth. The only way I can reconcile this it to assume that the context has changed in the seventh seal from the sixth seal. During the sixth seal blindness was put upon Israel and all Israel was blinded and deceived, however, during the seventh seal, when Satan was no longer allowed to go forth deceiving the nations and the light shown brightly, the terrestrials were not deceived in the ultimate sense, as were the telestial and the Sons of Perditions.
4- The statement in section 45:58 that appears to state that the terrestrials will be having eternal offspring and creating spirit children to populate future worlds during the paradisaical millennium. This seems to contradict traditional LDS theology that only the Celestial Souls will be organizing intelligences and populating future worlds. Since when did I ever have a problem challenging traditional LDS theology? I don’t, however, there are some potential scriptural problems. What are the implication of D&C 131:1-4? Perhaps eternal increase has reference to adding souls to a persons kingdom rather than to the act of procreating. Again, this may be explained by the fact that celestial souls who gain “eternal life” will be organizing celestial spirits who will be predestined for eternal life while terrestrial souls who are saved in a terrestrial glory but are not exalted into the highest kingdom and to not have the same “eternal life” as Christ has, will be procreating terrestrial souls like unto themselves.
5- Although section 45 states that the parable will be fulfilled in the day when Christ comes in his glory, the JST begins the parable by saying ” And at that day, before the Son of Man comes, the kingdom of heaven shall be likened unto ten virgins…” That could imply that the parable takes place in the sixth thousand year period which precedes the coming of the Lord in glory.
6- Latter day revelation seems to make it clear that the Latter Day Saints represent the five wise virgins in the parable: “Wherefore, be faithful, praying always, having your lamps trimmed and burning, and oil with you, that you may be ready at the coming of the Bridegroom—” (33:17) If that is true, that the wise virgins are the righteous LDS, are the righteous latter day Saints not going to be the celestial Bride of Christ?
section 33 seems to give credence to the following statements by Spencer Kimball and Bruce R. McConkie;
“I believe that the Ten Virgins represent the people of the Church of Jesus Christ and not the rank and file of the world. All of the virgins, wise and foolish, had accepted the invitation to the wedding supper; they had knowledge of the program and had been warned of the important day to come.” Spencer W. Kimball.
“In the last days, before the Son of Man comes, his church is likened unto ten virgins, all of whom have accepted the gospel invitation to attend the marriage feast of the Lamb. But the bridegroom delays his coming.” Bruce R. McConkie
Perhaps, the parable of the ten virgins, like virtually all of the Old Testament prophecies and all of the prophecies in Isaiah has a dual fulfillment. That could explain many of the apparent contradictions.
For now, I must accept the fact that the wise virgins are the celestial souls on the earth just prior to the second coming of the Lord… because the parable is about the “Kingdom of heaven”, which always has reference to the highest kingdom of God. Clearly, the door to the kingdom is the “door” that was “shut” and the wise virgins that were not deceived, that took the Holy Spirit as their guide, are those who were living in the end times that were faithful and were caught up and entered into the kingdom.