Matthew 25:1 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. (2) Five of them were foolish and five were wise. (3) The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. (4) The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. (5) The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. (6) “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ (7) “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. (8) The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ (9) “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ (10) “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. (11) “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ (12) “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ (13) “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
By itself this parable does not give away its underlying meaning. Some have interpreted the oil needed by the virgins to signify the “anointing” of the Holy Spirit which believers need in order to serve during these last days. But this interpretation is not supported by any other Scripture in the New Testament. Nowhere does the New Testament speak about believers having an “anointing” to minister to others. For further understanding, therefore, let’s look at the context of this parable by reading the verses immediately preceding it. These verses are comprised of two more parables.
Matthew 24:42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. (43) But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. (44) So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
(45) “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? (46) It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. (47) Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. (48) But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ (49) and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. (50) The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. (51) He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
This first parable above warns us to “be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” The second parable has to do with a foolish servant who has been given charge of the other servants to feed them at the proper time. But since the master stays away a long time, he fails to do his duty and instead gets involved with the world. When the master returns unexpectedly, he is punished by being assigned a place with the hypocrites where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (We learn that there will be a place for “Christian” hypocrites where there will be much regret.) This second parable, therefore, also warns us to be ready for the Lord’s return at every moment—constantly. We must be consistently faithful in serving the Lord’s people. We followers of Jesus Christ are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14), and that light which shines in the darkness must not go out—ever.
This context gives us light in understanding the subsequent parable of the ten virgins. The oil in their lamps is to provide light. That light is never to go out while we are in the world. Having sufficient oil, therefore, means being sure that our light never dies out. It means that we will never stop serving the Lord consistently and faithfully as He commands us. The oil therefore has nothing to do with “the anointing.”