Bible Answer

Is Jesus’ 10 virgins parable about the Rapture?

The artist who wrote of one of my favorite contemporary Christian songs said that the "shout" mentioned in Matthew 25:6 is not speaking about the rapture of the Church but about Israel. This confused me, because I had always understood this passage to be teaching about the coming rapture. Is the song artist right?

We should be discerning at all times in what we hear, whether in teaching or song, to ensure we are learning truths consistent with the word of God. In this case, the author of the song is mistaken in his/her understanding of Matthew 25:6. 

Matt. 25:1  “Then  the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Matt. 25:2  “Five of them were foolish, and five were  prudent.
Matt. 25:3  “For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them,
Matt. 25:4  but the  prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps.
Matt. 25:5  “Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep.
Matt. 25:6  “But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’
Matt. 25:7  “Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.
Matt. 25:8  “The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’
Matt. 25:9  “But the  prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’
Matt. 25:10  “And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were  ready went in with him to  the wedding feast; and  the door was shut.
Matt. 25:11  “Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘ Lord, lord, open up for us.’
Matt. 25:12  “But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’
Matt. 25:13  “Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.

The midnight shout in Matthew 25:6 is a reference to the Lord's shout by which He initiates the Rapture of His church prior to the Tribulation, as Paul explains:

1Th. 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him  those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 
1Th. 4:15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede  those who have fallen asleep. 
1Th. 4:16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 
1Th. 4:17 Then we who are alive and remain will be  caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 

In Matthew’s parables (particularly in chapter 25), a groom is a picture of Christ and a bride is a picture of the Church, never Israel. Based on the details and context of this parable in Matthew 25, we know Jesus was speaking in a simple picture of the coming resurrection (i.e., rapture) of the church. For a more complete explanation, we recommend you listen to our Revelation study online, especially Lesson 5E.

Finally, we caution against relying too much on contemporary Christian music for your Christian theology. Your example is consistent with our experience that many contemporary Christian musical artists may be gifted in song but are not qualified teachers. Even when a song's lyrics are consistent with sound biblical theology, lyrics are never adequate to express the depths of God's word with clarity and nuance, so we must look beyond the typical 4-minute Christian radio hit song for our biblical discipleship.