The lamps then can be taken as the Christian’s confession or profession of faith. This is how one enters the kingdom of Heaven—they must confess with their mouth that Jesus is both Lord and Christ.
Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
All things in Scripture are not of equal clarity. Nevertheless, that which is to be believed and embraced in order to be saved is so clear in Scripture that the young and the old, the wise and the unwise can understand and embrace it. This paraphrase of the Westminster Confession of Faith 1:7 is helpful as we come to the elements in the parable of the lamp and the oil. In comparison to the rich instruction around the kingdom, the virgins, and the bridegroom, the lamps are less clear. Nevertheless, there are many good and necessary consequences we can draw from Scripture in understanding the lamp within the parable and than applying it to our Christian life.
In John’s gospel, Jesus is introduced immediately as the Word made flesh, the Life, and the Light. Should there be any doubt regarding these statements from John 1, the balance of the gospel heightens and reaffirms these truths. “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).
Jesus is the light. Those that are Christ’s then must shine forth the light of Christ which is in them. To be in Christ means by definition to have the light of Christ. This is a major concern of not only Matthew’s gospel but of all gospels—that people would deceive themselves by thinking they had Christ while hiding His light. Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid…let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14,16). So bright did the glory and light of God reflect in Moses that his face literally shone brightly (Exodus 34:29-35). It follows then that those that claim Christ as their own must shine forth His glorious light in all that they do.