4638. Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins means the final period of the old Church and the first of the new. The Church is the Lord's kingdom on earth; 'the ten virgins' are all who belong to the Church, that is to say, both those who are governed by good and truth, and those who are under the influence of evil and falsity. 'Ten' in the internal sense means remnants, also that which is full and complete, and so means all, while 'virgins' means those who belong to the Church, as in other places in the Word.
 Who took their lamps means spiritual things which have what is celestial within them, or truths that have good within them, or what amounts to the same, faith that has charity towards the neighbour within it, and charity that has love to the Lord within it. For 'oil' means the good of love, dealt with below; but 'lamps that have no oil in them' means those same things when there is no good within them.
 They went out to meet the Bridegroom means their reception.
Five of them however were wise, but five were foolish means that one group of them possessed truths which had good within them, and another group possessed truths which did not have good within them. The former are 'the wise', but the latter 'the foolish'. In the internal sense 'five' means some, in this case therefore a group from within the whole.
Taking their lamps the foolish did not take oil with them means that they did not have within their truths the good of charity, 'oil' in the internal sense being the good of charity and love.
Whereas the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps means that they did have within their truths the good of charity and love - 'vessels' being matters of doctrine concerning faith.
 While the Bridegroom was tarrying they were all drowsy and went to sleep means delay, and therefore doubt. In the internal sense, 'being drowsy' means becoming, because of the delay, inattentive to things of the Church, while 'going to sleep' means nurturing doubt, in the case of 'the wise' doubt that goes with an affirmative attitude of mind, but in the case of 'the foolish' doubt that goes with a negative one.
At midnight there was a shout means the period of time which is the final one of the old Church and the first of the new. In the Word when the subject is the state of the Church this period is called 'night'. 'A shout' means a change taking place.
Behold, the Bridegroom is coming; go out to meet Him means judgement, that is to say, a time of being accepted or rejected.
 Then all those virgins were roused and they trimmed their lamps means the preparation of all, for those whose truths do not have good within them believe themselves to be no less accepted than those whose truths do have good within them. Indeed they imagine that faith alone saves and are unaware of the fact that no faith can exist where no charity does so.
But the foolish said to the wise, Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out means their desire for that good to be communicated from others to their own empty truths, that is, to their own hollow faith. For those who are in the next life communicate to one another every spiritual or celestial thing they possess, though only through good.
 But the wise replied, saying, Perhaps there will not be enough for us and for you means that no communication of it is possible because the small amount of good they have would be taken away from them. For in the next life, when good is communicated to those whose truths are devoid of good, they take away good so to speak from those who do have it and then keep it to themselves. They do not communicate it to others but defile it, which is why no good is communicated to them. My own experience of these people will be seen at the end of Chapter 37 below.
 Go rather to those who sell and buy for yourselves means meritorious good. Those who boast of having this kind of good are meant by 'those who sell'. Also, more than all others in the next life, people whose truth has no good within it think that they have earned merit through every deed they have performed which to all outward appearance looked like good, though inwardly it was evil, as the Lord says of them in Matthew, Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by Your name, and by Your name cast out demons, and do many mighty works in Your name? But then I will confess to them, I do not know you; depart from Me, you workers of iniquity! Matthew 7:22-23.
And in Luke,
Once the Householder has risen up and shut the door, then you will begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But He replying will say to you, I do not know where you come from. Then you will begin to say, We ate in your presence and we drank; and You taught in our Streets. But He will say, I tell you, I do not know where you come from; depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity! Luke 13:25-27.
This describes what those meant here by the foolish virgins are like, and that is why the following words referring to them occur in this parable - they 'came also, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he replying said, Truly, I say to you, I do not know you'.
 While they were going to buy however, the Bridegroom came means their perverse approach.
And those who were ready went in with Him to the wedding feast means that those who were governed by good, and from this by truth, were accepted into heaven. Heaven is likened to a wedding feast by virtue of the heavenly marriage, which is a marriage of good and truth, and the Lord to the Bridegroom because these people are joined to Him, while the Church is therefore called the Bride.
And the door was shut means that no others can enter.
 Afterwards the remaining virgins came also, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us means that they wish to enter on the basis of faith alone without charity, and of works in which the life of the Lord is not present, only selfish life.
But He replying said, Truly, I say to you, I do not know you means rejection. In the internal sense 'not knowing them' means that they lack any charity towards the neighbour, and are not joined through such charity to the Lord. Those who are not so joined to Him are said 'not to be known' by Him.
 Watch therefore, for you do not know the day, nor the hour, in which the Son of Man will be coming means an eagerness to live according to the commandments constituting a person's faith, meant by 'watching'. The actual time of acceptance, which is unknown to a person, and his state then, are meant by 'you do not know the day, nor the hour, in which the Son of Man will be coming'. One who is governed by good, that is, whose deeds conform to the commandments, is called 'wise', but one who has a knowledge of the truth, yet does not act in accordance with this, is called 'foolish', as they are elsewhere by the Lord in Matthew,
Everyone who hears My words and does them I will liken to a wise man. But everyone hearing My words and not doing them will be likened to a foolish man. Matthew 7:24, 26.