The "oil" as Ray Steadman points out, is the Holy Spirit.(from here)
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The "oil" as Ray Steadman points out, is the Holy Spirit.
This is a parable, as a previous answer noted, so it should not be taken out of the context it was meant to communicate. '10' is typically a number representing man; 10 fingers, 10 toes, of course our numbering system is base 10. The point of comparison is 5 Foolish/5 Wise.
They were all virgins, meaning they were all "acceptable" for the Lord's Return, and initially, all their lamps were lit. It was intended that they "all" be ready for the Marriage Feast of the Lamb.
But the Lord delayed His Return-over 2000 years. And they ALL fell asleep. The point the Lord was making wasn't 'don't fall asleep', but "Be ready for My Return". When the shout came, they all awoke; we can trust that the Lord will let His 'elect' be aware of His Eminent Return. But then came the separation; 5 virgins thought it 'wise' to keep a measure of oil-the Holy Spirit, for His Eminent Return, and 5 virgins didn't. It was not enough for the virgins to be awake, they also had to(Luke 12:35)
The sad truth is while the others were looking for the 'oil sellers', the Master came and closed the doors-leaving them outside, no different than the rest. And to make matters worse, when they 'reminded Him" of their invitation, He says,"I knew you not".(Matt. 25:12)
This parable can certainly apply to the individual, as vs 13 says
but since the picture is one of the Marriage Feast, which the believer is invited to when the Lord Returns,(Rev. 19:7-9)
I believe the inference is to the churches-some of which have waited 2000 years. Are they(and their members) equipt with the Holy Spirit and ready to meet the Lord? Or have they 'frittered' away their oil, and are no different than the world around them; searching with programs and methodologies which only the Holy Spirit can give. The oil(when lit) 'illuminates'; are they a light? Or is it just more darkness?