Matthew 25:1-13 is not about the Christian belief in once-saved always saved. The Lord says to the foolish virgins upon their return for admittance ‘I know you not’. The verb (to know) is in the perfect tense, which means the action (not knowing) was completed in the past and still is. The fools were never known, never saved in the first place to somehow lose their salvation later. So, what’s the pericope about?
It’s about the kingdom of heaven (v. 1).
Matthew 3:2 is the first reference by Christ who says repent (change your mind), the kingdom of heaven is at hand How do these verses relate?
In Scripture, woman, whether virgin or harlot, as religion is a well-known metaphor (Isa. 23:12, Isa. 47:12, Jer. 31:21, Jer. 46:11, Eze. 23:19, Hos. 4:15, 2 Cor. 11:2). In the parable, we have two very similar religions in appearance, but with one major difference between the two. The key is the wise had a vessel to carry extra oil, while the foolish did not. The question thus is to what does the vessel refer?
Literally, it carries extra oil for the lamp (Ex. 39:37, Num. 4:9), but spiritually it does refer to the permanent indwelling, the deposit of the Spirt that New Testament believers experience (2 Cor. 1:22, 5:5, Eph. 1:14, 4:30, 2 Ti. 1:14).
Both groups were virgins, both groups had lamps, and both groups fell asleep. Now, sleep may also be a metaphor for death (Psalm 13:3, Acts 7:60, 2 Peter 3:4). Before then, the two groups were waiting for the bridegroom. This refers of course to Messiah (Psalm 19:5, Isa. 62:5). When awakened, only one group had oil, had light, had (were) the vessel with oil. The other group had to leave to find some.
For the Jewish listeners, they would full well know to what this whole pericope referred. In the Tabernacle and Temples, the lamp was to be kept burning all night (Ex. 27:21, Ex. 30:8). The vessels that fed the lamp were to be kept full of oil. After the Second Temple destruction in 70 CE, the Romans carried off the menorah and vessels. No oil, no light was left. To what would they turn? Repent.
As mentioned, oil itself does refer to the Holy Spirit. This is foreshadowed at 1 Sa. 16:13 when Samuel anoints David with the oil and the Spirit comes powerfully on David. So at Isa 61:1 and Luke 4:18 and Acts 10:38 with the Spirit and Christ. The difference between the Old and New, however, is we in the New receive the indwelling permanently. Our vessel will not run out of oil (see Scripture references above).
In sum, the parable’s picture is of two similar virginal groups that co-existed, they all sleep, rouse, go forth to meet the bridegroom, but only one has a vessel of oil to sustain light, to be recognized by the bridegroom. The other returns somewhere to buy oil, but there is none for sale. They nonetheless return and still beg for admittance. Christ says I never knew you (before or now). Repent.
Therefore, what we are seeing is a warning, of a prophetic word about relying on what would be empty, devoid of Spirit, rather than on the perpetual priesthood of Messiah and His disciples who never run out of Spirit. The foolish virgins have no oil. Their lamp would fail. The wise virgins have sustained oil for the wedding. Christ knows who are His.