Mr. Pearl,
I gather from your teaching that you are of the “once saved, always saved” persuasion, though I have never heard you say it in just those words. How then do you handle passages like Matthew 25? It says the kingdom of heaven is like five foolish virgins who ran out of oil, which I take to represent the Holy Spirit, and were turned away from the wedding. When the virgins beg to enter they were told that they should have watched—I take that to mean watched for the second coming of Christ. And there are many more passages similar to this one. Take, for example, Matthew 8:12. It says, “But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Michael Answers:
My doctrine is better summed up as “Once lost, once saved, twice lost, never saved again,” but that is for another time. Get my messages on the Security of the Believer, as they address that subject in a good bit of detail.

As to the passages you mention in Matthew, I assume you think the “five foolish virgins” and the “children of the kingdom” are Christian believers. The text bears out that they are not.
Notice how Matthew 25 begins: it dates the parables with the first word: “Then [following the events of chapter 24] shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins…” Chapter 24 was Jesus’ long answer to the question the disciples asked in 24:3, “what shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the world?” The answer dwelt on the Great Tribulation, which culminated with the second coming of Christ in chapter 24, verses 27–30 and the day of wrath that follows (v. 29). The rest of the chapter is a warning to watch for this day of judgment and not be caught unaware, like the five foolish virgins or the drunken servants, lest one be appointed his “portion with the hypocrites” and “there be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

The very next verse is, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins…”  The ten virgins are children of the kingdom (as in Matthew 8:12) who survived the tribulation, Christ’s second coming and the day of wrath. That much is clear.

The one still misunderstood truth is that the kingdom of heaven (the context of this passage—“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be like…”) and the kingdom of God (to which we who are in the church belong), are not the same. No Christian is or ever will be in the kingdom of heaven. None of the “children of the kingdom” during the tribulation are in the kingdom of God. The kingdoms are different, containing different subjects, and only meet in the Millennial reign of Christ upon the earth.

In short, the kingdom of heaven is the physical kingdom promised to Israel and contains both believing and unbelieving Jews during the tribulation. Both the five wise and the five foolish virgins were in the kingdom, but at the second coming of Christ, the good fish and the bad fish are separated from the same net, just as the virgins are separated. At that time the children of the kingdom—the Jews—who are not watching and walking in truth will be cast into outer darkness and be damned.

I spent more than 25 years of my life studying the difference between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven. I finally wrote a definitive book on the subject. It covers every mention of these two kingdoms in the Bible and clearly spells out their differences. You can also get an MP3 on Matthew where I teach verse by verse through all its kingdom passages.

Approach the Bible with an open mind and become a student “rightly dividing the word of truth.”