The Wise and Foolish Virgins:
The Separation of the Wise
Many Believers are awaiting the Bridegroom’s return, but few have made themselves Ready. Scripture reveals the process by which the Wise Bride-Candidates may prepare themselves. This is the process of Separation of the Wise.
Most Believers are familiar with the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins in Matthew chapter 25. As we saw in the article, The Wise and Foolish Virgins, both groups were Born-Again Believers, as confirmed by the term “virgins.” We also note that both the wise and foolish virgins are seen actively waiting for the return of the Bridegroom, again telling us both groups had the same focus at that point.
Although the Wise and Foolish virgins both had the similar focus of ‘waiting’ for the Bridegroom, they remained two separate groups in their preparation. In this writing we will look at the process of separation required of the Wise virgins. We will contrast the two groups in order to receive instruction, and to learn what to do, and what to avoid, in our own preparation.
Let us begin with the opening verse in the parable, as it reveals the fact that the virgins have been separated or ‘divided’ into two groups:
Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. (Matthew 25:1-2)
In the above passage, the two separate groups are contrasted by wisdom, and lack of wisdom. This is not an earthly wisdom, or the wisdom of this world; but a hidden Wisdom, a mystery, a Wisdom that is given by Yahuweh alone.
It is well to note that the Proverbs reveal many contrasts of the Wise vs. foolish, so we will begin there. As we look deeper into this contrast, we will discover a two-step process of separation that the ‘Wise’ virgins had gone through to become wise, but that the ‘Foolish’ virgins had avoided.
Wisdom: Its Initial Separation
Scripture reveals two distinct steps or phases the virgins must pass through for their preparation in obtaining wisdom. These are the virgins’ initial separation or division, and their on-going separation — their ‘set-apart’ actions. This all-important first step may be seen in the Proverbs:
Through desire<08378> a man, having separated<06504> himself, seeketh<01245> and intermeddleth with all wisdom. (Proverbs 18:1)
The first thing we see is that the one who is ‘Wise’ has first separated himself (divide, part, separate; set-apart, divide from; same as sanctify, consecrate oneself) to seek wisdom.
We may have walked down an aisle, uttered a few words, and “believe” in our minds all the facts we read in Scripture. But it is not until a man has actually done what Paul describes in Rom 12:1-2, and what Yahushua said in Matt 11:29; Luke 14:27,33; and in John 21:19, that he actually separates himself, sets himself apart, and consecrates himself unto Yahuweh. These verses in the Gospel accounts and in Paul’s message to the Romans, give a clear directive for the initial separation required for every truly Born-Again Believer.
Next we see in the above passage, that after the ‘wise’ had separated himself (because of his own longing or desire), he then actively seeks out wisdom. But where does he look for this wisdom? Notice the following:
The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; (Proverbs 1:1-2)
How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver! (Proverbs 16:16)
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)
My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:1-5)
We see in the above passages that the purpose of Proverbs is to give Wisdom to those who desire Wisdom.
We then see that Wisdom begins with the Fear of Yahuweh. Having the Fear of Yahuweh is essential to our commitment to seek Wisdom, and to maintain our separation unto Yahuweh.
According to the same verse, however, the Fear of Yahuweh is the result of receiving, and hiding, and seeking out wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, just as one would seek gold, silver, or hidden treasures. The Fear of Yahuweh itself is described in at least 30 passages of Scripture, and these all reveal a panorama of wisdom in action! The seeker of Wisdom will surely want to search out all these verses, for they reveal the various characteristics of those who have the Fear of Yahuweh!
There are 31 chapters of Proverbs. One way to grow in wisdom and understanding of Yahuweh is to practice reading one Proverbs chapter each day, much like taking daily vitamins. As we continue to grow in our understanding of Scripture, we begin to enter into the second phase of wisdom — the on-going phase of being a “DO-er” of the Word of Yahuweh.
Wisdom: Its On-Going Separation
We may see this on-going contrast of the Wise from the foolish in many Scripture passages. Perhaps one of the most profound examples of this contrast can be seen in the following words of Yahushua, where He contrasts the wise and foolish in the process of building their lives:
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings<3056> of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: (Matthew 7:24)
And every one that heareth these sayings<3056> of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: (Matthew 7:26)
Notice the Wise and the foolish both heard the sayings of Yahushua, but the Wise is the one who became a “DO-er” of His Words. The foolish is one who hears the Word, but does not become a “DO-er” of the Word.
The importance of being a “DO-er” of the Word is summed up by James, in the following passage:
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (James 1:22-25)
In the above passages, we see that being a “DO-er” of Yahushua’s Word delivers us from deception. This is a foundational Truth, and is essential for anyone that hopes to gain Wisdom. Let us digress briefly, to re-state exactly what Yahushua meant when He said, “these sayings of mine.”
Wisdom: the Sayings of Yahushua Bring its Separation
In the above passages in Matthew 7:24, 26 the word ‘sayings’ is the Greek word ‘logos,’ Strong’s number <3056> (“words, sayings, decrees, or things; speech”).
The question we must ask is, “What are the sayings or Words of Yahushua?”
To answer this question, let’s look at the following passage:
Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division<1267>: (Luke 12:51)
Notice that Yahushua said He would bring ‘division’ (“separation, division, or parting asunder”). How does Yahushua bring about this division? It is by His sayings — His Words. Let’s see why and how this is true.
Many today do not yet ‘know’ Messiah (Matthew 25:12). They do not yet realise and comprehend that it was the WORD of Yahweh, the pre-incarnate Messiah Himself, who gave all the Words and Commandments to Moses and all the Prophets.
So we see that the entire ‘Torah,’ as well as the Psalms and the Prophets — what we might call the ‘Old Testament’ — are the Words and Commandments of Messiah Yahushua Himself!
And so we may summarise the actions of the ‘Wise’ as follows:
- The ‘Wise’ are those who are committed to being “DO-ers” of all the Words of Yahushua;
- The Words of Yahushua include even the Words Messiah gave to Moses and the Prophets (the ‘Torah’);
- It is therefore the ‘Wise’ who become “DO-ers” of all the Words of Yahushua, including His Words in the Torah!
The ‘Wise’ are those who keep His Commandments — “If you love me, keep ‘My’ Commandments” (John 14:15). These show that they have the “Beginning of Wisdom” (the Fear of Yahuweh) because they have begun to allow “Messiah-in-them” (Col 1:27) to provide the ongoing, daily Grace needed to keep all of His own Commandments, while living within (Php 1:11; Psalms 112:1).
These also show by their obedience to Messiah’s words in Torah, that they know Him.
The ‘Wise’ are thus divided, or separated, from the rest, by being “DO-ers” of all of Yahushua’s Words, including those He gave to Moses.
Wisdom: The Results of its Separation
As we continue to grow in wisdom, and to become “DO-ers of the Word, we begin to notice a few things in Scripture that are the exact opposite of what we have heard in the commercial assemblies:
Hear<08085>, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law<08451> (“Torah”). (Proverbs 4:1-2)
My son, hear<08085> the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law<08451> (“Torah”) of thy mother<0517> (“your point of departure, division”): For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck. (Proverbs 1:8-9)
She (wisdom) shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee. (Proverbs 4:9)
In the above passages, we see several interesting things:
- We are instructed to “Hear” (Strong’s number <08085> “hearken; hear and obey”) the Father’s instructions.
- The instruction of our Heavenly Father is “good” teaching. His “good teaching” includes instruction for us to “forsake not His Torah.”
- The (doing of) Torah, and all of Yahuweh’s Word, is our “point of departure or division,” our point of separation. Being a “DO-er” of Torah is what separates or ‘divides’ us from others who are not “DO-ers” of Torah. Thus our being a “DO-er” of Torah is the determining factor of our separation. This is in agreement with what we saw above in Luke 12:51, that the Word (Yahushua) brings division.
- In Prov 1:9, we see that Father’s instruction, and (the doing of) the Torah, together become an ornament of Grace. This ornament or “wreath” is the sign or token of true Grace at work in our lives, that we will be victorious in the race, because we are runing the race “lawfully” (2Tim 2:5).
- In Prov 4:9, we see that Wisdom ‘gives, yields, makes, or constitutes’ an ornament of Grace. The ornament or wreath here is the same one indicated in Prov 1:9, and this logical equality shows that Instruction and the doing of Torah in Prov 1:9 are “equal to” the Wisdom of Prov 4:9.
The above are a few of many passages showing the many blessings given to all Born-Again Believers who choose to become “DO-ers” of Torah — “DO-ers” of the Words of Yahushua. Again we see that it is in being a “DO-er” of Torah that is the point of departure, separation, and division of the ‘Wise,’ from those who are not “DO-ers” of Torah.
Lest we think, however, that it is simply a matter of our “works” that we are talking about, we must be reminded that it is only by Yahuweh’s Grace that one becomes ‘Wise.’ All that is required of man is his ‘co-operation.’
Wisdom: Separation By Co-operation
We will now look at one necessary picture of the on-going process of separation of the Wise:
Sanctify<37> them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (John 17:17)
That he might sanctify<37> and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word (Ephesians 5:26)
In the above passages, it is clear that Yahuweh Himself is the One who separates, or sanctifies us, by His Word. As we have already seen, the ‘Wise’ Believer is the obedient one, the “DO-er” of His Word, who has begun the process of separating himself unto Yahuweh. However, it is both Yahuweh and the Seeker of Wisdom that are working in co-operation with one another.
Our co-operation with Yahuweh is a necessary requirement in this on-going process of separation. It is “Messiah-in-you” who leads, teaches, and separates the Bride-Candidate. Thus it is ultimately Yahuweh who, by His Grace, brings about this separation — but only as we co-operate through our prayers, our desires, and our obedience to His Word.
The separation of the Wise virgins began with an inner desire and longing to obtain Wisdom. The first step to obtain Wisdom is the commitment to separate oneself unto Yahuweh. The Wise virgins are those who have made the commitment to find, and to walk in, the Fear of Yahuweh.
The Wise virgins continued to set-apart themselves, and to separate themselves, as they grew in understanding. They committed themselves to be “DO-ers” of the Truth of the Word of Yahuweh, as soon as it was revealed to them, thus avoiding deception.
The Wise virgins understood that it is the “doing” of all the Words or sayings of Yahushua, that sanctifies them, sets them apart, and separates them from the others. They understood that being “DO-ers” of the Torah became their point of separation or division, their point of departure from the multitudes.
The Foolish virgins, in contrast, failed to pay the full price to make the required initial separation. They may have made an initial commitment to follow Yahushua, and perhaps an initial repentance from their own way. Perhaps they received forgiveness of their sin. The Foolish virgins may have made an initial separation, but perhaps had heard teachings in the commercial assemblies that conflicted with the Word, resulting in confusion. For whatever reason, the Foolish virgins were not able to progress beyond the initial phase of separation. These had simply failed to enter the on-going process of separation.
As they awaited the arrival of the Bridegroom, the Wise and Foolish virgins were of the same focus, but the paths they had each taken to arrive at that waiting room was vastly different. The Wise virgins had separated themselves from the Way of the multitudes, and had committed themselves to walk on a narrow road, wherein few traveled. It was a lonely road. It was a road despised by the multitudes. It was the Way of Yahuweh.
The Foolish virgins, however, preferred the way of the multitudes, and were never able to separate themselves unto the road less-traveled, to walk in the Way of Yahuweh. Instead, most preferred the comfort of the crowd, and the acceptance and approval of men, “not seeking the love of the truth.” (2Thess 2:10).
Yes, the Wise and Foolish virgins had taken two separate paths that were quite different. The Apostle Paul revealed the difficulties of those following the narrow path, but he also described the “Delight” that enables one to continue in the midst of the difficulties (Rom 7:22).
This is the path of Separation required of all that would desire to be among the Wise virgins, at the moment the Bridegroom arrives. And so the Bridegroom continues to call:
that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not;
and it shall be given him. (James 1:5)
He that has ears to hear, let him hear!
and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” (Rev 3:3)