The parables of Jesus both conceal and reveal. The word parable in Greek (parabolé) means to cast along side. A short narrative fiction (story) is told by Jesus along side of which is cast a parallel meaning conveying either some unconventional wisdom relating to the Kingdom of the Heavens, the impending Kingdom of Yahweh, or some critical warning directed at the Pharisees and scribes representing the rulers and teachers of Israel.
The parables of Jesus belong to the Hebrew genre called mashal, consisting mainly of proverbs,
but including riddles, words of the wise, oracles, prophecies of doom, and
allegories. They are concrete dramatic narratives (in contrast to abstract
definitions) drawn from the daily experience of the contemporaries of Jesus. These
parables redescribe reality (usually the reality of the Kingdom of the Heavens)
in such a way as to subvert the conventional expectations of the audience or
addressees. The parables of Jesus seek to overcome conventional presuppositions
regarding the Law and the Prophets and regarding conventional expectations
concerning the age to come and the Kingdom of the Heavens. They create dramatic
confrontation using vivid, impressionable, jolting concrete situations and
images challenging the conventional traditions and commandments of the apostate
rulers and teachers of
His parables directed to the Pharisees and scribes are revelational. This audience of Pharisees and scribes understands these parables to be criticizing them, implying the need for repentance and the necessity of relinquishing their own traditions and commandments and returning to the commandments and traditions of Yahweh as expounded by Jesus. However, the parables Jesus directed to the throngs are concealing:
All these things Jesus speaks in parables to the throngs, and apart from a parable He spoke nothing to them [concerning the secrets of the Kingdom of the Heavens], so that fulfilled may be that which is declared through the prophet saying, I shall be opening My mouth in parables, I shall be emitting what is hid from a disruption [casting down, establishment of the Sinatic Covenant]. (Matthew 13:34-35 CV modified)
The parables that Jesus taught the throngs conceal from them the secrets of the Kingdom of the Heavens. When His disciples ask Him why He is speaking to the throngs in parables, He answers, “To you has it been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of the heavens, yet to those [the throngs] it has not been given” (Matt. CV).
The throngs have been blinded by the distorted teachings of their rulers and teachers. This blindness is in accord with Isaiah 6:9-10:
Therefore in parables am I speaking to them [concerning the secrets of the Kingdom of the Heavens], seeing that, observing, they are not observing, and hearing, they are not hearing, neither are they understanding. And filled up in them is the prophecy of Isaiah, that is saying, “In hearing, you will be hearing, and may by no means be understanding, And observing, you will be observing, and may by no means be perceiving.” (Matthew 13:13-14 CV)
But the disciples of Jesus themselves are also blind. They do not understand the meaning of His parables. Jesus must open their eyes and ears in order for them to perceive and understand and be healed, delivered, saved. This He does by interpreting for them the parables, thereby revealing to them the secrets of the Kingdom of the Heavens which have been hid from the throngs (but even so, His disciples’ knowledge remains partial). Unless Yahweh opens the eyes and ears, there is no possibility of seeing and understanding these secrets.
During the ministry of Jesus, Yahweh elects to open the eyes
and ears of the disciples of Jesus. What He does for them during the ministry
of Jesus, He will do for the throngs after the death, resurrection, and
ascension of Jesus and the pouring out of His spirit. But He will open the eyes
and ears of
Though the secrets of the Kingdom of the Heavens are concealed from the throngs, Jesus teaches the throngs concerning the Law and the Prophets apart from the use of parables. He expounds to them the essential meaning and requirements of the righteousness of the Mosaic Law. He proclaims the Gospel of the Kingdom, calling for repentance and a return to a proper relation to Yahweh under the Sinatic Covenant.
Though the throngs are blind to the secrets of the kingdom, they are drawn to the expository teaching of Jesus and His call to repentance. The throngs do not reject Jesus. They are puzzled in relation to much of His teaching, but they believe Him to be the prophet of Yahweh, an astonishing rabbi having unusual authority and power. As they had received John the Baptist, so also they receive Jesus.
This reception is contrary to the opposition of the religious leaders of the nation. These religious leaders consist of those blind, deceived children of the woman, Eve, who have been mesmerized by the apostate sons of Cain, the seed of the Serpent, which seed consists of those Jewish rulers who possessing national power and prestige have authored and espoused the traditions and commandments of men. The blind, deceived, mesmerized leaders exemplified by Nicodemus (John, chapter 3) and Joseph of Arimathea (Jn. ) are attracted to and drawn toward Jesus and His teaching. They do not oppose Him, though they are cautious about publicly endorsing Him. These leaders are blind, like the throngs. They are not children or sons of apostate Cain. Temporarily, they continue to serve The Adversary in their blindness. But when Yahweh chooses to open their eyes and ears, they choose to follow Jesus the Messiah, publicly endorsing Him and willingly enduring the reproach and persecution on account of His name.
The apostate rulers and teachers, being sons of Cain, are not blind. They publicly oppose Jesus and His teaching. They understand His parables which are criticizing their teachings and their practices. They clearly recognize His judgment against their conception and practice of righteousness. They cling to the righteousness of their own traditions and commandments, rejecting the superexceeding righteousness of Yahweh’s Law as expounded by Jesus. Their rebellious heart, hating Jesus, seeks His life in the defense and maintenance of their own traditions and commandments.
Declaring themselves able to see and hear, they are not blind,
thereby excluding themselves from Yahweh’s gracious and merciful restoration of
Before analyzing a selection of the parables of Jesus, it is
necessary to keep in mind the adversaries of Jesus, the work of Jesus, and the
Emancipation Proclamation of Jesus. The adversaries of Jesus are the apostate
rulers and teachers of
The first parable to be analyzed concerns The Two Debtors Paying Usury found in Luke 7:41-50. This parable
characterizes both the adversary of Jesus and the disciple of Jesus. The
chapter opens with an account of Jesus healing the illness of a slave serving a
certain God-fearing centurion. Jesus is told by a group of Jewish elders, at
the request of this gentile centurion, of the dire condition of his slave. They
implore Him to heal the sick slave, testifying concerning this centurion that “he loves our nation, and he builds us the
synagogue” (Lk. 7:5 CV). While on His way to the residence of this
centurion, the centurion sends friends to inform Jesus He need not come to his
home because he is unworthy to host this honorable rabbi of
Lord, do not bother, for not enough am I that Thou mayest be entering under my roof. Wherefore, neither do I count myself worthy to be coming to Thee. But say the word, and my boy will be healed. For I also am a man set under authority, having soldiers under me, and I am saying to this one, “Go,” and he is going, and to another, “Come,” and he is coming, and to my slave, “Do this,” and he is doing it. (Luke 7:6b-8 CV)
Hearing this message, Jesus marvels at this centurion’s faith, exclaiming, “I am saying to you [Jews] that not even in Israel did I find so much faith” (Lk. 7:9b CV). The centurion’s slave is then healed by Jesus without Jesus even going to the centurion’s residence.
This gentile reveals extraordinary faith. He is committed to the Elohim of Israel. He has honored Yahweh’s people, the children of Abraham, and is blessed according to the word of Yahweh to Abraham (Gen. 22:18). His fulfillment of the royal law is manifested in his attitude concerning Jesus’ authority (Thou shalt love Yahweh your Elohim) and in his love for his servant whom he calls “my boy” (Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself). Here is a man after Yahweh’s own heart. Here is a man whose heart is circumcised. Here is a man who will soon enter the Davidic Kingdom of Jesus the Messiah and will soon be counted by Yahweh a faithful child of Abraham, being found worthy of the Celestial Allotment promised to all the faithful seed of Abraham.
Luke follows this account with another healing act of Jesus. A widow’s only-begotten son is roused from the dead. Jesus sees the widowed mother in a funeral procession consisting of “a considerable throng of the city” (Lk. 7:12b). The text records, “And perceiving her, the Lord has compassion on her and said to her, ‘Do not lament!’” (v. 13 CV). He then proceeds to rouse her son from the dead. This woman, attracting such a great procession of people, must have been beloved by a considerable number of people in the city, revealing her righteous, kind, loving character.
Jesus, perceiving this, has compassion on her. She had already
lost her husband, and now had lost her only-begotten son. She is among those
poor to the interest of spirit to whom Jesus has been sent in order to heal
their suffering at the hands of the apostate shepherds. The considerable
throng, fearing and glorifying Yahweh, responds, “God [Yahweh] visits His
people!” (Lk. 7:16b CV). This conclusion spreads throughout the
This healing is followed by an account concerning John the Baptist. His disciples had reported to him the healing activities of Jesus. John sends two of his disciples to Jesus, asking, “Art Thou the coming One, or may we be hoping for a different One?” (Lk. 7:19b CV). In that same hour, in fulfillment of Isaiah 35:5, 29:18, and 61:1, Jesus cures many of their diseases, scourges, malignant spirits, as well as opening the eyes of many of the blind. He then tells the messengers of John,
Go, report to John what you perceived and heard: that
the blind are receiving sight, the lame are walking, lepers are being cleansed,
and the deaf are hearing, the dead are being roused, and to the poor the
evangel is being brought. And happy [blessed,
honored] is he whosoever may not be snared in
He then turns his attention to the throngs. He speaks to them of the Baptist. He declares to these Israelites that John is “exceedingly more than a prophet” (Lk. 7:26b CV). He identifies him as the messenger of Malachi 3:1. Then He eschatologically announces that there is no greater prophet among those born of woman than John the Baptist, indicating the Baptist to be the last of the Sinatic prophets. All that the prophets wrote about concerning the last days has now begun to be fulfilled.
Jesus then declares, “And hearing, the entire people, even the tribute collectors, justify God [Yahweh], being baptized with the baptism of John. Yet the Pharisees and those learned in the law repudiate the counsel of God for themselves, not being baptized by him” (Lk. -30 CV). The people, untrained in the law, obediently respond to the voice of Yahweh heard in the proclamation of the Baptist. But the very elite leaders, those trained in the law, repudiate, reject, disobey the voice of Yahweh, refusing to be baptized by the Baptist.
Jesus, then, parabolically illustrates this unhealthy
To whom, then, shall I be likening the men of this generation [the Pharisees and those learned in the law], and to whom are they like? Like are they to little boys and girls sitting in the market and shouting to one another and saying, “We flute to you and you do not dance! We wail to you and you do not lament!” For come has John the baptist, neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you are saying, “A demon has he!” Come has the Son of the Man, eating and drinking, and you are saying, “Lo! a man gluttonous and a tippler, a friend of tribute collectors and sinners!” And justified was [this] Wisdom by all her children. (Luke 7:31-35 CV)
In this parable, Jesus does not refer to the uneducated people. He refers only to “the Pharisees and those learned in the law (Lk. 7:30a), identifying them as “the men of this generation” (Lk. 7:31) to be equated with the teaching described as “the tradition of the men” (Grk. text, Mk. 7:8 NGEINT).
Jesus describes them as immature, foolish little boys and girls capriciously ridiculing John the Baptist because of his somber, serious tone and ascetic way of life. Ridiculously, they declare the Baptist to be possessed by a demon, thereby justifying their refusal to submit to his gospel and baptism. However, when the Son of Man, Jesus Himself, comes joyously celebrating the gracious mercy of Yahweh toward His people, these same immature, foolish children capriciously condemn Him as a glutton, an unorthodox rabbi contaminated by his association with tribute collectors and sinners, those members of Jewish society ostracized socially, religiously, and culticly.
The hypocritical responses to the Baptist and Jesus by the leaders learned in the law justify the wisdom which condemned them as lawless ones. Their attitude and behavior reveal their uncircumcised, malignant hearts and distorted, disapproved minds. On the other hand, the obedient response of “the entire people” (Lk. 7:29) to both the Baptist and Jesus justifies the wisdom of Yahweh which judges them as righteous ones, lawful ones. The people justify Yahweh by obediently responding to His voice being heard in the proclamation of the Baptist. The Pharisees and those learned in the law condemn, repudiate, reject Yahweh by disobediently refusing to obey His voice being heard in the proclamation of John the Baptist.
Having made clear the just attitude of the people and the unjust attitude of the Pharisees and those learned in the law, Luke proceeds to demonstrate concretely the characteristics of a specific adversary of Yahweh, Jesus, and Israel, while at the same time demonstrating concretely the characteristics of a specific advocate of Yahweh, Jesus, and Israel. Luke, thus, records, “Now a certain one of the Pharisees asked Him [Jesus], that He may be eating with him. And entering into the Pharisee’s house, He reclined” (Lk. CV). This invitation amounted to a banquet during which the controversial rabbi could be heard and questioned by both the host and the other esteemed guests invited to the banquet. Such entertainment is a public affair.
The gateway of the court and the door remain open. The guests enter, removing their sandals and being placed around the food in the order of their rank. Each guest would lean on his left elbow, his feet extending away from the dishes of food placed on the floor or the table in the middle of the room. At this time it would be usual for the servants to wash the feet of the guests, thus displaying common courtesy and esteeming each guest’s honor. Behind the servants, interested villagers or local neighbors would be allowed to gather in order to benefit from the discussion of the law about to take place (Barley 1983, p. 4).
This invitation implies Jesus is known to the community. He has taught among these people. He has been invited to this banquet for further discussion regarding His teaching. The uninvited are free to gather at a distance behind the guests and the servants. This type of public banquet would be considered a public contribution to the covenantal welfare of the community, and, thus, would add to the public reputation of the host.
The host of this banquet, supposedly honoring Jesus, is a Pharisee named Simon. Luke informs the reader that a local woman of ill-repute, learning of this banquet in honor of the rabbi she has heard and honored (obeying the voice of Yahweh heard in Jesus’ proclamation of the Gospel of Yahweh), immediately, “fetching an alabaster vase of attar [expensive perfume used by prostitutes to sweeten the breath and perfume the body]” (Lk. 7:37 CV), hurries to gather among those uninvited, hoping to offer a grateful response to the mercy received from Yahweh through the teaching of this young rabbi.
Arriving as Jesus is entering, she takes her place among the uninvited, directly behind the extended legs of Jesus. Luke, omitting the details, records how, lamenting, she washes Jesus’ feet with her tears, drying them with her hair, fondly showering His feet with kisses and finally anointing His feet with the expensive perfume she had brought. Perceiving this activity, the host, Simon the Pharisee, concludes within himself, “This one, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman it is who is touching him, seeing that she is a sinner” (Lk. 7:39b CV). Disregarding the woman’s grateful response to the rabbi’s merciful teaching, Simon sees only an immoral prostitute defiling a rabbi now confirmed in Simon’s heart to be unworthy of this position.
Jesus, knowing the malignant judgment of Simon’s heart, says to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you” (Lk. CV). Thereupon, He begins The Parable of the Two Debtors.
Two debtors paying usury were owing a certain creditor. The one owed five hundred denarii, yet the other fifty. Now, they having nothing to pay, he deals graciously with both. Which of them, then, will be loving him more? (Luke 7:41-42 CV)
To this question Simon answers, “with whom he deals the more graciously” (Lk. 7:43b CV). Jesus responds, “Correctly do you decide” ( CV), thereby judging him out of his own mouth. Simon had judged the present situation incorrectly. His judgment had been defiled by an unmerciful heart. His judgment had not been in accord with the Law of Yahweh. He had judged unrighteously.
By doing so, he had condemned the prophet of Yahweh,
dishonoring Yahweh Himself. He had also condemned a woman of
Judging himself righteous, he opposes Yahweh and Jesus. Concerning himself with dietary purity, social and religious separateness from those considered covenantally unclean, impure by the traditions of men, he neglects the impurity, the defilement of his own heart. Simon is either unaware of or in denial of his own debt to Yahweh. The prostitute is aware of her great debt to Yahweh. When she is forgiven her great debt, she unabashedly manifests her enormous appreciation. If Simon had loved Yahweh and had loved his neighbor as himself, he would have rejoiced over the woman’s restoration and her appreciative act revealing the genuineness of her repentance and the cleansing of her previously unclean heart and body.
However, Jesus is not through with Simon. As He is concerned about the covenantal welfare of the woman of ill-repute, so also is He concerned about the covenantal welfare of Simon. As the creditor in the parable waives the debt of the man owing only 50 denarii, so Yahweh Elohim of Israel forgives the smaller debt of Simon. Simon has his share of sins, but has little awareness of them. Therefore, he perceives little need for Yahweh’s forgiveness. He had rejected John’s baptism and seeks to unmask Jesus, exposing him as a false prophet. Jesus, however, does not disregard the need of Simon. He seeks to instruct Simon in the righteousness of the law, the superexceeding righteousness of Yahweh in contrast to the ineffectual righteousness of the Pharisees.
With this in mind, Jesus, turning toward and looking at the woman, says to Simon,
Are you observing this woman? I entered into your house; water for My feet you do not give, yet she rains tears on My feet and with her hair she wipes them off; a kiss to Me you do not give, yet she, from the time I entered, did not intermit [stop] fondly kissing My feet; with oil My head you do not rub, yet she with attar [precious perfume] rubs My feet; on behalf of which, I am saying to you, pardoned [have been forgiven NGEINT] are her many sins, for [therefore] she loves much. Now to whom there is scant [little] pardoning, there is scant loving. (Luke 7:44-47 CV)
By turning toward the woman while addressing Simon, Jesus avoids the harshness of direct accusation against Simon. He seeks to make Simon aware of his shortcomings and his need to repent in obedience to the gracious proclamation of Yahweh announced in the Gospel of the Kingdom of the Heavens. By pointing out the great gratitude expressed in the woman’s actions, Simon is encouraged to reevaluate his malignant judgment of this woman. He is instructed in the great love of Yahweh toward all His people, especially those who have wandered from the covenantal way of life and peace.
By praising the woman’s behavior, Jesus graciously awakes Simon to his own unrighteous behavior. Jesus, affectionately beholding the woman, asks Simon, “Are you observing this woman?” (Lk. 7:44a CV). In observing the behavior of the woman, Simon had both condemned the woman and condemned Jesus. He has thus judged both of them unrighteously. His hypocrisy is unmasked, exposing his judgment and behavior as that of a child of Cain, like the unjust, foolish children calling to one another in the market place (Lk. 7:32).
When Jesus had entered Simon’s house, He had not been shown the common courtesy of having His feet washed by Simon’s servants; He had not been extended the honorable kiss of either the equal (on the cheek) or the rabbi (on the hand). Simon had greeted Jesus as a rabbi (Lk. 7:40) and should have kissed His hand. Simon had not anointed His head with the common and inexpensive olive oil.
In contrast, this woman, perceiving the numerous insults of Simon toward this prophet and rabbi of Yahweh, disregards her conventional place and role. Breaking rank, she rushes to the feet of Jesus, seeking to give Him the honor and respect denied Him by Simon. Her devotion and gratitude spurred on by her righteous anger compels her, while weeping tears of sorrow, to the feet of Jesus, which she washes with these tears of deep gratitude. Letting down her hair, she humbly dries His feet with her crown of glory. Thereupon, she proceeds to unremittingly kiss His feet in humble subjection and adoration. Finally, desiring to honor Him to her utmost and to show her overwhelming gratitude for Yahweh’s forgiveness and restoration to covenantal status, she pours out her precious perfume previously used to entice men, anointing His feet with that which she no longer has need for, since her days as a prostitute have ended.
All this she does for the prophet of Yahweh Who had announced Yahweh’s love for her and Yahweh’s mercy toward her. Perceiving His abuse at the hands of this calloused company of distinguished men, she attempts to compensate for their insults against this man of Yahweh. In doing so, she acts righteously, honoring Yahweh and demonstrating the love of Yahweh’s Law now treasured in her heart.
The Greek text of the following announcement of Jesus uses a
perfect passive, better translated as follows, “I am saying to you [Simon],
forgiven have been her many sins, therefore she loved much” (Lk. 7:47a my
translation). The use of the perfect tense indicates a present condition
resulting from a past action. This woman had previously heard the proclamation
of Jesus and had responded in faith. Her present behavior is the righteous
fruit indicative of a worthy, genuine repentance in response to Yahweh’s mercy
announced in the Gospel of the
Concluding His address to Simon, while continuing to look at the woman, Jesus declares, “Now to whom there is scant [little] pardoning, there is scant loving” (Lk. 7:47b CV). Simon, having many more sins than he acknowledges, is thus forgiven little. Since he acknowledges little, he is forgiven little, resulting in his loving little. Simon is thus made aware of his unrighteousness. He is made aware of the condition of his heart and the character of his behavior. His judgment and his behavior are characteristic of a child of Cain. His covenantal relationship to Yahweh is in jeopardy. He needs to respond in faith to the Gospel. He needs to respond, confessing his sins as this woman of ill-repute has done. It is not too late.
The righteousness of the Pharisees and scribes is defiled. Such righteousness does not honor and glorify Yahweh Elohim of Israel. Without harshly rebuking Simon, Jesus has pointed out to him his sinful pride and arrogance, his hard-heartedness and unmerciful judgment, his distortion of Yahweh’s laws regarding clean and unclean, his lack of love for both Yahweh and his sinful neighbor, and finally, his inability to recognize authentic, genuine repentance and its fruit. For he has just condemned the good tree bearing righteous fruit, prejudiciously condemning both Jesus and this repentant woman.
The axe is already laid to the root of the malignant trees. The time for repentance will be running out soon. Simon must make a choice. To continue in his Pharisaical ways, in his adversarial opposition to Jesus and His word is to continue traveling along the Spacious Way of the traditions and commandments of the men, which way ends in the Broad Gate leading to covenantal death and destruction.
Continuing to look at the woman, Jesus now addresses her, “Your sins have been forgiven you” (Lk. 7:47 my translation), again using the perfect passive tense, indicating what Yahweh had already done for her. Hearing these words, Simon and the other guests each says within himself, “Who is this who is pardoning sins also?” (Lk. 7:49b CV). Though Jesus, as well as John the Baptist, has the authority to pardon sins, in this text Jesus attributes the forgiveness of sins to Yahweh the source of forgiveness. In His proclamation of the Gospel, Jesus announces the forgiveness of sins upon repentance and baptism. He is given authority to announce this forgiveness, but the forgiveness comes from Yahweh. Jesus and the Baptist become Yahweh’s agents in this forgiveness.
Simon and the other prestigious guests are further offended by Jesus. Not only does Jesus teach outrageous doctrines and cavort with sinners, He also has the gall to forgive sins. These men are predisposed to oppose Jesus as a result of their commitment to the traditions and commandments of the men. For Jesus has announced nothing more than the prophets had announced in the past: Yahweh’s promise of forgiveness of sins on the basis of repentance.
Knowing what is in the heart of these men, Jesus says to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace” (Lk. CV). Her faith in Yahweh’s word has saved her. The genuineness of her faith resulted in faithful behavior. In her present circumstance, she had correctly judged the situation, determining her response on the basis of her love for Yahweh her Elohim and her love for His commissioned prophet, thus obeying Yahweh’s Law in contrast to Simon the Pharisee and adversary of Yahweh and Jesus. Therefore, in Simon we are given a concrete example of the adversarial righteousness of the Pharisees in contrast to the superexceeding righteousness of Yahweh demonstrated by the cleansed heart and renewed behavior of this repentant and faithful advocatory disciple of Jesus.
The subject of The Parable of the Sower (Matt. 13:3-9) is the evangelization of the Gospel of the Kingdom. It concerns the secrets of the Kingdom of the Heavens. Jesus speaks to the vast throngs teaching them many things in parables. What is concealed from the throngs in these parables are the secrets of the Kingdom of the Heavens. The throngs would have little trouble understanding that the Sower is the messenger sent by Yahweh to proclaim a word to His people. They are very familiar with the ministries of the prophets of the past. Under the contemporary circumstances, they would full well understand the sower in the parable to refer first to John the Baptist and then Jesus Himself. The sower as Yahweh’s messenger, Yahweh’s prophet, proclaims Yahweh’s message to His people.
The arrival of John the Baptist had been extraordinary. After many years without a prophet, Yahweh had suddenly broken into the history of His people, sending them a prophet proclaiming, “Repent and be baptized for the pardon of sins.” The Baptist had Yahweh’s authority to restore Yahweh’s people to covenantal fellowship. He alerted his people Israel to the soon arrival of Yahweh’s Messiah, the Anointed One, the Son of David, the Lamb of Yahweh who would take away the sin of the Sinatic world-order of Israel.
John the Baptist sowed, planted, proclaimed the word of
John the Baptist and Jesus sow the Gospel of the Kingdom. The seed, the word of their proclamation, falls on the Pharisees and scribes (the seed falling beside the road), representing the leaders of the nation. In their hearts, they reject and oppose the word of John the Baptist and Jesus, preferring their own traditions and commandments. Thinking and behaving as children of The Adversary, Satan, the word of Yahweh planted, sown in their hearts, cannot germinate, since this word is perceived through the eyes of The Adversary, the eyes of the traditions and commandments of the apostate men.
Through these eyes, the word of Yahweh proclaimed by the
Baptist is perceived as false. This proclamation is perceived as a threat to the national
welfare. This proclamation is a threat to the status quo political, economic,
and religious/cultic order of the
The word of Yahweh falling on rocky places represents those Israelites who upon hearing, immediately believe the word, rejoicing in its significance. But their rejoicing is short-lived. Their appreciation of the enormous significance of this word is not rooted in their hearts. Their joy is temporary. Going on their way, they abandon, disregard the word when they learn of the opposition from the elite rulers and teachers. The rising sun of affliction or persecution because of the word scorches the word which has germinated and sprouted up, and, because it has no depth in the earth, no root in their hearts, it dries up and withers away.
The word sown among thorns represents those Israelites who upon hearing, believe and obey the word. The word germinates, sprouting up and growing. However, over time, the worry of the present eon of crisis and the seduction of the riches or wealth of the world-order of the apostate men stifle, strangle the word of covenantal life, causing it to become unfruitful, worthless.
The word of Yahweh sown on the fertile soil represents those
Israelites who hearing, believe the word, understand the word, obey the word to
the end of the eon. These are those who endure the affliction and persecution
on account of the Gospel and the righteousness of Yahweh. These are those who
bear fruit to the glory of Yahweh during this eschatological crisis of
This parable, therefore, describes the ministries of John the
Baptist and Jesus. The throngs understood the reference to the Baptist and
Jesus. They did not understand, however, the nature of the kingdom being
proclaimed. They expected the restoration of the kingdom of David and Solomon. They
expected the Messiah, the Son of David to act as a warrior-king defeating the
political and religious enemies of
The throngs and the disciples of Jesus understood the
significance of the parable in terms of the proclamation of the Gospel and the
necessity to believe and obey Yahweh’s word. But neither the throngs nor the
disciples understood the secrets of the kingdom. Neither group perceived the
length of time involved in the establishment of this kingdom. Neither group
perceived the celestial nature of this kingdom. Neither group grasped the
spiritual warfare of this kingdom. Neither group realized the essential nature
of the humiliating affliction and persecution associated with the sufferings of
the Messiah. Neither group could foresee the crucifixion death of the Messiah. Neither
group could foresee the destruction of the
Though the parable makes reference to the present ministries of the Baptist and Jesus, its essential and primary significance points to a future time after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus the Messiah and the resulting pouring out of the spirit of Yahweh upon His people. Jesus interprets the parable to His disciples, but their understanding does not exceed the understanding of the throngs by much. As the Pharisees and scribes serve The Adversary, so, later, Peter rebukes Jesus for declaring He must suffer much at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes and even be killed by them (Matt. 16:21-22). Jesus then responds, “Go away behind Me, satan! A snare are you to Me, for you are not disposed to that which is of God, but that which is of the [apostate] men [of Israel]” (Matt. 16:23 CV modified).
Peter’s rebuke of Jesus is a product of The Adversary, Satan. In this rebuke, Peter is serving The Adversary, though in ignorance. In spite of having the parable interpreted for him by Jesus, Peter remains ignorant of the essential significance of the secrets of the kingdom.
According to the Lukan account (Lk. ), those receiving the seed as on rocky ground have no root, believing for a season, but withdrawing with the coming of trial. At the arrest of Jesus, His disciples flee the scene. Even though Jesus had warned them about His coming trial and had interpreted the parables for them, their false preconceptions blinded them to the secrets of the kingdom.
After Jesus had interpreted The Parable of the Tares (presented in the next section of this chapter), He provides His disciples with another group of parables. Concluding, He asks His disciples, “Do you understand all these things?” They answer “Yes” (Matt. CV). It is clear, however, that they did not understand “all” these things. They are totally caught off guard at Jesus’ arrest. They flee; they withdraw in shock. His crucifixion death overwhelms their world of conceptions. They become confused, disoriented, more than the outsiders who had not had access to the interpretation of the parables.
Only after the resurrection of Jesus and His appearances to His disciples, do they begin to understand. Only after the pouring out of the spirit of Yahweh are they delivered from the typical preconceptions of their generation. The spirit of Yahweh, the spirit of the Messiah would teach them, instruct them in the proper understanding of all that Jesus had spoken, “Now the consoler, the holy spirit, which the Father will be sending in My name, that will be teaching you all, and reminding you of all that I said to you” (Jn. 14:26 CV).
The spirit of Yahweh would release them from the bondage of the preconceptions of the traditions and commandments of the Jewish apostate men. Yahweh’s spirit would also continue to teach them of those things yet to be revealed to His people concerning the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets. The writers contributing to the Greek Scriptures had the advantage of access to accurate spiritual remembrance of all that Jesus had spoken. The spirit of Yahweh brought to firsthand witnesses accurate remembrance of the words and activities of Jesus, making it possible for the writers of the Greek Scriptures to accurately record all that Jesus did and said with a proper understanding of the meaning and significance of His deeds and words. His disciples did not have access to such knowledge during the terrestrial ministry of Jesus. Their belief into Jesus remained steeped in the ignorance of contemporary misconceptions and misperceptions.
Considering the foregoing, The
Parable of the Sower must be understood eschatologically. The sower first refers to the eschatological
ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus. These ministries are preparatory. Each
introduces the nation of
In the Evangel of the Kingdom the voice of Yahweh’s merciful call to repentance is being heard. The rulers of the nation are opposing this call, though some are drawn to Jesus. Some are experiencing doubts concerning their understanding of the Law and the Prophets. The deeds and teaching of Jesus are having an affect on them. The eschatological crisis is shaking their traditional foundation. For these rulers, the necessity of a decision is a reality. They realize their covenantal future is at stake.
Likewise, the people are responding to Yahweh’s call echoing throughout the land in the proclamation of the Gospel of the Kingdom by John the Baptist and Jesus. The response of some is inauthentic, temporary, having no root in their hearts. But, initially, they do respond positively, though quickly reneging when pressured by the opposing rulers. Others, responding positively to the Gospel, actually begin to practice a repentant life, but come short of producing fruit worthy of repentance.
However, others (like the woman of ill-repute) respond in obedience, being baptized confessing their sins, overwhelmingly thankful to Yahweh for His merciful restoration. These continue obediently, producing fruit worthy of repentance. These believe into Jesus even though they do not understand the secrets of the kingdom. These remain faithful even through Jesus’ trial and crucifixion death. They become stunned in their ignorance, but remain faithfully committed to Jesus. Such are Jesus’ apostles. They scatter at His arrest, but they cannot shake off their commitment to this man they know in their hearts to be the Son of Yahweh, the Son of David.
Thus, the preparatory ministries of the Baptist and Jesus leave the people in a state of suspended animation, having successfully prepared them for the resurrection proclamation of the Gospel of Messiah. The Gospel of the Kingdom, after the resurrection, becomes more concrete in the proclamation of the Gospel of Messiah which further defines the meaning and significance of the Gospel of the Kingdom.
Therefore, The Parable of the Sower must primarily be understood as pointing eschatologically to the new situation coming into existence as a result of the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus the Messiah and the resulting pouring out of the spirit of Yahweh. The people, having been properly and successfully prepared by the ministries of the Baptist and Jesus, are now ready to be delivered from the state of suspended animation. They stand ready to hear afresh and respond anew to the spirit-energized proclamation of the Gospel of Messiah.
The time of ignorance concerning the secrets of the kingdom has come to an end. The progressive revelation of the spirit of Yahweh is in the process of revealing all that had been concealed in the Law and the Prophets. The night of the Sinatic Covenant is drawing to a close; the dawn of the new day of the New Davidic Covenant is on the horizon.
The primary fulfillment of The Parable of the Sower is now taking place. The people must decide for or against Yahweh. The last days have arrived. The civil war between the two Israels has begun. The Son of David has ascended the throne of His Father. The Warrior-King has begun His rule. The spiritual warfare has been initiated. The final decision of all Israelites must now be made. Only those producing the righteous fruit of Yahweh to the end of the eon will participate in the Celestial Allotment promised Abraham. The sower has now become the Apostles and disciples of the risen, ascended, and enthroned Son of David, Jesus the Messiah.
According to The Parable of the Tares (Matt. -30), the Kingdom of the Heavens is likened to a man sowing good seed in his own field. Overnight, however, his enemy comes and sows tares among the grain. When the grain germinates and sprouts up, tares also appear in their midst. The servants of the lord of the household report the problem. Their lord explains that an enemy is responsible for this evil. He then instructs them to wait for the harvest before separating the tares from the grain, thus avoiding any damage to the grain. Both are to grow up together until the harvest. At that season, the grain is to be harvested and placed in his barn, while the tares are to be separated into bundles and burned. Again, the throngs understand the parable to refer to the future judgment, but they understand no more than this. His disciples are no better off.
After Jesus leaves the throngs, entering into a house, His disciples request that He explain the meaning of this parable. In His explanation, He reveals that He Himself, as the Son of the man Adam, is sowing the good seed. Therefore, He, as the Son of Adam to whom Yahweh had given authority over His creation, is the owner or Lord of the field. This field is then declared to refer to “the world,” the order. In this designation Jesus makes use of double entendre.
His disciples understand the use of “world” to refer to the world-order of
The good seed represents the sons belonging to Yahweh’s Kingdom. The tares represent the counterfeit disciples commissioned by The Adversary, Satan. The tares, as the children of Cain, the malignant one, have been sent to infiltrate the ranks of the legitimate sons of the Kingdom. Their task is to divide and conquer the Israel of Yahweh, those labeled in the Hebrew Scriptures (and later the Greek Scriptures) saints, circumcised faithful followers of Jesus. These counterfeit disciples seek to destroy the harvest crop of Yahweh.
The harvest refers to the conclusion (sunteleia) of the eon, not the consummation (telos), the end of the eon. The conclusion refers to those events merging together to form the final end, the consummation. This harvest is to be equated with the Parousia of Messiah, a short period of time culminating in the consummation, the end of the harvest, the end of the Mosaic Eon.
During this period of harvesting (gathering of the grain, the
sons of the Kingdom), the tares (sons of The Adversary, the apostate Jews,
circumcised opponents, enemies of Yahweh and Jesus) are in the process of being
gathered together by Yahweh for burning in a furnace of fire. Little do the
disciples understand that this burning, this furnace of fire, refers to the
Thus, the harvest would be accomplished over a period of years, the last years of the Mosaic Eon. At the end (the consummation, the telos) of the harvest years, the sons of the Kingdom would be gathered into Yahweh’s barn, the Celestial Allotment promised to Abraham and his righteous seed (see Jn. 14:1-3). Thus would be fulfilled the Law and the Prophets.
Jesus concludes His interpretation by saying, “Then shall the just be shining out as the
sun in [the interest of, dative case]
the kingdom of their Father. Who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 13:43
CV). The “then” refers to the
concluding years of the harvest, during which time the faithful sons of the kingdom
would be revealed in the interest of glory, as later indicated by the Apostle
Paul, “For I am reckoning that the
sufferings of the current era do not deserve the glory about to be revealed for
[literally into] us” (Rom. CV). During the years of Messiah’s Parousia, His
faithful disciples would be gloriously revealed, distinguishing them from the
illegitimate, counterfeit tares. As a result, the last remnant of the Israel of
Yahweh (like Saul of Tarsus on the road to
Arriving out of
He will be turning away irreverence from Jacob.
And this is My covenant with them
Whenever I should be eliminating their sins. (
(See also Heb. 9:27-28, which refers to Jesus as High Priest returning to the people after sprinkling the blood of the sacrifice upon the Mercy Seat on the Day of Atonement.)
This last remnant of
This male son refers to Messiah and His Ecclesia understood as one corporate Body: “For even as the body is one and has many members, yet all the members of the one body, being many, are one body, thus also is the Christ” (1 Cor. 12:12 CV). This is confirmed by John’s reference to Christ’s Ecclesia in Revelation 2:26-27:
And to the one who is conquering and keeping My acts until the consummation [telos, end], to him will I be giving authority over the nations; and he shall be shepherding them with an iron club, . . . (CV)
In the Book of Acts, the Ecclesia of Christ is seen shepherding the nations with an iron club as the nations become “fellow-citizens of the saints [circumcised faithful ones] and belong to God’s family, . . .” (Eph. CV).
Those faithful Gentiles, believing the Gospel of the Uncircumcision proclaimed to them, are shepherded, instructed, trained, guided in the way of Yahweh and His Messiah by the Saints, the circumcised faithful ones, depicted later in the Book of Revelation as the Bride of the Lamb (Rev. 21:9). This they do because they keep, practice His deeds. They do His work according to His teaching, His word:
And I perceived heaven open, and lo! a white horse. And He Who is sitting on it is called “Faithful and True,” and in righteousness is He judging and battling. . . . His name is called “The Word of God.” And the armies in heaven, dressed in cambric, white and clean [the Ecclesia], followed Him on white horses. And out of His mouth a sharp blade is issuing, that with it He should be smiting [guiding] the nations. And He will be shepherding them with an iron club. . . . (Revelation 19:11-15a CV)
The shepherd does not destroy the sheep. He protects and
guides the sheep. So does the Ecclesia of Christ from the entrance of Cornelius
to the destruction of
The woman, having given birth to Christ and His Ecclesia, is
then depicted as leaving heaven (metaphorically/covenantally) as she flees to
the wilderness on the earth, metaphorically the
In the wilderness, the woman, this last remnant of
The Parable of the Tares is followed by The Parable of the Mustard Seed (Matt. -32). In this parable, Jesus
likens the Kingdom of the Heavens to a mustard seed, which a man, having
received, takes and plants in his field. Luke has this man cast the mustard
seed into his garden (Lk. ).
For Matthew, the field depicts
Matthew describes the mustard seed as “smaller than all the seeds” (Matt. 13:32a CV). However, when fully grown it “is greater [larger] than the greens [the garden vegetables], and is becoming a tree, so that the flying creatures of heaven are coming and roosting among its boughs [branches]” (Matt. 13:32b CV). Thus, the analogy of the field becomes the analogy of a garden. The small mustard seed becomes greater in size than any of the adjacent garden vegetables.
The mustard seed represents the Gospel of God (Yahweh) which, when more specifically defined, becomes the Gospel of Christ (Messiah) which later is to be revealed as consisting of the Gospel of the Circumcision and the Gospel of the Uncircumcision. This smallest of seeds, when fully grown, becomes a tree. According to Luke, it becomes “a great tree” (Lk. 13:19b CV). In either case, this shrub becomes supernaturally transformed into a tree, for the mustard seed naturally grows into a large, rapidly spreading shrub, not a tree, not a great tree.
This transformation from a large, rapidly spreading shrub into
a great tree refers to the eschatological Davidic Kingdom of Jesus the Messiah
after His resurrection and ascension to the throne of His father David. The
triumph of this Kingdom over its enemies results in the establishment of the
Kingdom of the Heavens, the Kingdom of Yahweh. Thus, the Kingdom of the Davidic
Anointed One is likened to a large rapidly spreading shrub which becomes a
great tree and when triumphant is handed over to the Father, becoming the
Kingdom of the Heavens, the
Yet each in his own class: the Firstfruit, Messiah; thereupon those who are Messiah's in His presence [parousia]; thereafter the consummation, whenever He may be giving up the kingdom [His Davidic Kingdom, the shrub which had become a great tree, a kingdom ruling over all nations] to His God and Father [the Davidic Kingdom (a shrub having been transformed into a great tree) now transferred to Yahweh Elohim], whenever He should be nullifying all sovereignty and all authority and power. For He must be reigning until He should be placing all His enemies under His feet. (1Corinthians 15:23-25 CV modified)
This alludes to the Book of Daniel. In this book, Daniel, speaking to king Nebuchadnezzar concerning his departing or fading dream, declares, “the Alue [Elohim] in the heavens reveals secrets, and He makes known to king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days” (Dan. 2:28 CV). Daniel proceeds to interpret the king’s dream. In the king’s dream, he sees a huge image which Daniel interprets as representing four world empires. Nebuchadnezzar is said to be the Head of Gold,
You, O king, are king of kings, seeing that the Alue [Elohim] of the heavens grants a safeguarded kingdom to you, and might and honor and esteem. In every place where the sons of the mortals are abiding, the animal of the field, the flyer of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, He grants into your hand. He gives you authority over them all. You are the head that is gold. (Daniel 2:37-38 CV)
Thus, Nebuchadnezzar is given authority by Yahweh to rule over
the kingdom of the man Adam.
In their days, that is, of these kings, the Alue [Elohim] of the heavens will set up a
kingdom that for the eons shall not come to harm. His kingdom [the Davidic Kingdom becoming the Kingdom of
God] shall not be left to another people [like Israel, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome]. It
will pulverize and terminate all these kingdoms [
The stone not made with hands refers to Jesus the Messiah. His
Davidic Kingdom terminates the rule of the nations over Apostate Israel and
over the earth. He then hands this
However, The Parable of the Mustard Seed alludes more specifically to the dream of Nebuchadnezzar recorded in Daniel, chapter 4. In this dream the king envisions an enormous oak tree in the midst of the earth. This oak tree grows, becoming mighty. Its height reaches into the heavens, being perceptible to the extremity of the entire earth. It provides sustenance for all those dwelling within its reach, those coming in contact with it, those within the sphere of its interest. Under it, even the animals of the field enjoy shade. In its branches abide the birds of the heavens.
A voice is then heard, calling potently, “Slash down the oak; . . . But the stump with its roots leave in the earth . . .” (Dan. 4:14-15a CV). Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar that the great oak tree represents him and his kingdom which has been given him by the Supreme (Yahweh Elohim). The king has grown proud and haughty. He is to be humbled by the chastisement of the Supreme until he comes to realize, to acknowledge “that the Supreme is in authority in the kingdom of the mortals, and to whom He is willing He is giving it” (Dan. 4:25b CV). Nebuchadnezzar is to have restored to him the power and authority, but only after he has learned his dependence on the Supreme and submits himself to the authority of the Supreme.
The large, rapidly spreading shrub becoming a great tree of The Parable of the Mustard Seed
represents the rise to power and authority over Israel of Jesus the Messiah,
the son of David. The Supreme, Yahweh Elohim, has given Him authority to reign
The flying creatures of the heaven (Matt. 13:32) coming to
roost among the branches of the Kingdom of Jesus the Messiah refer to the
God-fearing uncircumcised Gentiles added to His Ecclesia, exemplified by
Cornelius. The singular heaven
The Parable of the Leaven (Matt. 13:33) follows The Parable of the Mustard Seed. In this parable the Kingdom of the Heavens is likened to leaven which a woman receiving, takes and “hides in three seahs of meal, till the whole was leavened” (CV). The key to opening up this secret of the Kingdom of the Heavens is found in Matthew 16:5-6, 11-12:
And the disciples, coming to the other side, forgot to get [take] bread. Now Jesus said to them, “See and take heed of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees!” . . . “How is it you are not apprehending that I spoke not to you concerning bread? Now take heed of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that He did not say to take heed of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (CV)
Jesus warns His disciples about the covenantally malignant
affect of the teaching of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Their teaching
pollutes the covenantal purity of
The teaching of Jesus is perceived by the Pharisees and Sadducees as impure, defiled, malignant. From their perspective, His teaching amounts to unholy, leavened bread, not fit to be offered up to Yahweh. He associates with and reaches out to the outcasts of the nation, those labeled “sinners of the nations” (Gal. 2:5) by the serious religious elite striving for cultic purity. These Jews, so labeled, are considered lawless, impure, unholy and, thus contaminating to the religiously pure. They are unworthy of covenantal participation in the holy community, people of Yahweh.
Jesus and His teaching become, in the eyes of the apostate rulers and teachers, polluted by His social contact with these outcasts and by His endeavor to specifically address them and call them to repentance. The Pharisees and Sadducees, through their teaching, had excluded from the covenantal community a great number of Jews whose covenantal welfare was no longer considered (by these elite citizens) their responsibility. Thus these pseudo-shepherds no longer extended to them the mercy and compassion of Yahweh required by His law. They no longer treated them as neighbors to be loved and cared for. Their separatist religious quest for outward purity corrupted the inward purity of their hearts. Their doctrines and their practices cold-heartedly and haughtily set them apart from the throngs.
These pseudo-shepherds perceived the righteousness of their teaching and practices as honoring Yahweh and as exemplifying obedience to Yahweh’s Law. Those Jewish outcasts unwilling or unable, due to sinful activity, to even attempt to follow the example of these pseudo-shepherds, to whatever degree, were judged unworthy of covenantal participation in community fellowship and worship. Covenantal purity, as these apostate teachers so narrowly perceived it, was vital to them.
When Jesus shows compassion and mercy to these outcasts, seeking to perceive the heart rather than only the outward appearance, the Pharisees, scribes, Sadducees, and Chief Priests become offended. They perceive Him as a threat to community holiness. From their perspective, He is opening the door to those whose entrance would pollute the covenantal honor, integrity, purity and righteousness of the holy people of Yahweh. He is thus perceived as a threat to national existence. If they allow Jesus to proceed unchecked, the nation could possibly expose itself to Yahweh’s judgmental wrath.
These leaders are not purely evil. Many are deeply concerned about the welfare of Yahweh’s nation. They, however, as a result of their own traditions and commandments, their own teaching (that teaching Jesus associates with the Pharisees and the Sadducees) are blind to and ignorant of the thought and way of Yahweh being proclaimed by Jesus.
Others among this ruling elite are committed to their own thoughts and ways, following the example of Cain. They refuse to take heed to Yahweh’s warning through Isaiah: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord [Yahweh]” (Isa. 55:8 KJV). These sons of Cain oppose their thoughts and ways to Yahweh’s thoughts and ways. They are not blind or ignorant. They possess uncircumcised and rebellious hearts. They oppose Yahweh’s word, not believing His testimony: “so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isa. 55:11 KJV).
This applies to the High Priest and some of the Sadducees with
him according to Acts 5:17-18. These authorities, after the resurrection of
Messiah Jesus, seize and imprison the Apostles as they are teaching in the
These Apostles are delivered from prison by a messenger of
Yahweh. They are instructed to immediately
“Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life [the
life of the New Covenant]” (Acts KJV). When the High Priest
learns of their escape and their teaching in the
The High Priest then declares, “Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name?
and, behold, ye have filled
We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our
fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God
exalted . . . to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to
The response of the High Priest and the council as a corporate body is described as follows: “they were cut to the heart, and took counsel [were minded, intended] to slay them” (Acts 5:33 KJV). This is the mind and heart of Cain.
However, among this same council is a Pharisee named Gamaliel. He is neither cut to the heart nor minded to slay these men. According to Luke, he is “a doctor of the law [a rabbi], had in reputation among all the people” (Acts 5:34a KJV). Here is a Pharisee like Nicodemus. He is cautious. He takes heed to Yahweh’s words in Isaiah 55:8-11. His heart and mind are open. He counsels, “And now I am saying to you, Withdraw from these men and let them be, for if this counsel or this work should be of men, it will be demolished; yet if it is of God, you will not be able to demolish them—lest at some time you may be found fighters against God also” (Acts 5:38-39 CV).
Here is a man, a Pharisee, an Israelite on the way to belief and repentance. Here is an Israelite, a Pharisee, a ruler and teacher of the nation whose mind and heart are open to the contemporary voice and activity of Yahweh. This teacher stands ready to discard the unrighteous teaching of the Pharisees (his own) and Sadducees in exchange for the righteous teaching of Jesus. He is ready to abandon the corrupting leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees for the purifying leaven of Jesus.
Returning to The Parable
of the Leaven, the woman in the parable who hides the leaven in the flour
depicts Jesus. In His proclamation of the Gospel, He hides the secrets of the
Kingdom within the kneading lump of
This was the one occasion in the festival calendar when leavened bread was required as an offering (see Lev. -17). At the end of the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) which follows the Feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread (associated with the sacrifice of the Passover lamb and thus with the sacrificial death of Jesus), two loaves of leavened bread were to be offered as gratitude to Yahweh for the blessings of the grain harvest. Thus, two leavened loaves of bread were offered expressing gratitude for Yahweh’s goodness and remembrance of the needs of the poor.
The offering of these leavened loaves is associated with the firstfruits of the grain harvest which is in association with the resurrection of Messiah Jesus as the firstfruit out from among the dead. The writer of Hebrews refers to the Ecclesia of Messiah as “the ecclesia of the firstborn [ones]” (Heb. 12:23b CV). James writes of the faithful followers of Jesus: “Of his [Yahweh’s] own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures” (James 1:18 KJV). Paul writes of “the Firstfruit, Christ” (1 Cor. CV), referring to His resurrection from the dead.
The leaven hid in the flour refers to this secret of the
Kingdom of the Heavens. The leaven signifies the goodness of Yahweh revealed in
His rousing of Jesus from the dead, thus guaranteeing the full harvest, the Hope of Israel, both national and
individual resurrection from among the dead. Hid within the Gospel of the
Kingdom proclaimed in the midst of
Thus, the teaching of Jesus (the leaven of Jesus in contrast to the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees) is right in the eyes of Yahweh. It righteously affects the Israel of Yahweh according to spirit, leavening the nation to its resurrection hope. In this leaven is revealed the faithfulness of Yahweh to fulfill His promises. It was concealed from both the throngs and the disciples of Jesus, to be revealed only after His resurrection and only to His disciples who would be witnesses to its revelation and to its truth.
After Jesus explains The Parable of the Tares to His disciples, Matthew records The Parable of the Hidden Treasure (Matt. ). In this parable the Kingdom of the Heavens is likened to a treasure hidden in a specific field. A man, finding it, hides it. Rejoicing, he leaves, selling all he has in order to purchase this specific field.
Here again is a secret of the Kingdom of the Heavens. The
specific field referred to is Yahweh’s holy, elect nation,
With the arrival of John the Baptist and Jesus, the nation is
currently under the rule of the
The man finding the treasure in this particular field points
to Jesus, the Son of Yahweh, the son of Adam, the son of David, the seed of
Abraham. He is commissioned by Yahweh to work, to minister, in Yahweh’s field,
This treasure hidden within the captive nation refers to the
potential faithful ones whose hearts are circumcised, eagerly awaiting the
Such treasure rejoices the heart of Yahweh and Jesus Who is
commissioned by His Father to sell all He has (His life, His soul, see John -18) in order to buy back,
redeem, the field,
emptied Himself [deprived Himself of the possession of His life, His soul which was not under condemnation of death, the common death of all men], taking the form of a slave [humbled Himself at the feet of death] thus coming to be in the likeness of men [vulnerable to experience death], and being found to the interest of a prevailing fashion [schema, crucifixion NGEINT], He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even a death of a cross. (Philippians 2:7-8 my translation)
This death of Jesus redeems, buys back
Immediately following The Parable of the Hidden Treasure, Jesus continues, offering The Parable of the Precious Pearl (Matt. -46). This parable provides an additional aspect of The Parable of the Hidden Treasure. In this complementary parable, the Kingdom of the Heavens is likened to a specific kind of man, a merchant. This merchant seeks ideal, costly, precious pearls. Finding one very exceptional, precious pearl, having already disposed of all his possessions through sale, he purchases the one precious pearl.
In the previous Parable of the Hidden Treasure, the verb selling is present tense, indicative mood. But in The Parable of the Precious Pearl, the verb for disposing all through sale is a participle in the aorist tense, indicating the merchant had already disposed of all he had through sale. Thus, the analogy of the merchant is to be distinguished from the analogy of a man in The Parable of the Hidden Treasure.
The merchant represents Jesus, but not during His terrestrial ministry. The merchant represents Jesus after His terrestrial ministry, after His death and resurrection, thus, after He has sold, given His all, His life, His soul. The one precious pearl represents the completed, perfected Ecclesia of Jesus, the pearl made perfect through suffering, the suffering of the cross of Messiah, the suffering on account of the righteousness of the Kingdom.
Not all the treasure found in the field, in
A merchant seeking valuable pearls does not proceed to purchase such pearls without the necessary funds ready at hand. The purpose of the merchant is to buy. He therefore seeks, already having in his possession the necessary capital for the desired purchase. Jesus as the merchant has already disposed of His all through sale. He already has the means for the purchase of that which He seeks. At the conclusion of the Mosaic Eon, at the conclusion of the harvest, He gathers His grain into His barn. According to the analogy used in The Parable of the Pearl, at the conclusion of the eon He makes the final payment on the purchase of His one very exceptional, precious pearl: the completed, perfected Ecclesia consisting of all those faithful to the end of the Mosaic Eon.
Once again, an eschatological secret of the Kingdom of the Heavens is concealed in a parable. In The Parable of the Hidden Treasure, a secret concerning the shocking conclusion of Jesus’ terrestrial ministry is concealed (the Messiah’s suffering of a crucifixion death), while in The Parable of the Precious Pearl, a secret concerning the shocking conclusion of Jesus’ Celestial ministry is concealed (the suffering of the faithful remnant). The analogy is perfect. A pearl is made within the shell of a clam only as a result of the irritation caused by intruding sand. Such intrusion is rare, thus making pearls a rarity within clams.
In The Parable of the
Hidden Treasure, many in
The pouring out of the spirit of Yahweh is the pledge, the
down-payment for the pearl (Eph. 1:13‑14). The final payment is made at
the end of the Mosaic Eon, at the Parousia of Christ when the faithful remnant
(The Born-From-Above Israel of Yahweh)
is led away by and together with Christ to her promised allotment in the Celestial
Realm, thus entering into the
The last of the parables recorded in Matthew, chapter 13, is The Parable of the Dragnet (Matt. 13:47‑50). This parable completes the theme begun in The Parable of the Sower. It highlights the proclamation of the Gospel as begun by John the Baptist and concluded by the Apostles of Jesus. According to this parable, the Kingdom of the Heavens is likened to a dragnet cast into the sea. Having gathered in every species (every kind), it is hauled in upon the beach, whereupon the ideal or good things are placed in containers while the rotten things are cast out.
This, declares Jesus, is a depiction of the conclusion (sunteleia) of the eon when the messengers of Yahweh will be coming to separate the wicked or malignant ones from the just ones. The wicked ones will be cast into the furnace of fire. Jesus then concludes, “There shall be the lamenting man and the gnashing of the teeth man” (Matt. 13:50b my translation).
Such a dragnet was in common use among the Palestinian
fishermen of the first century. Peter and Andrew used such a dragnet. When
Jesus called them to follow Him, they had been casting such a net into the
The dragnet is used to haul in edible fish. The parable distinguishes the edible fish (the ideal or good things) from everything else drawn into the net (the rotten things). The word rendered “species” (Matt. 13:47 CV) or “kind” (KJV) in English is neuter, singular in Greek. The words “good” (13:48 KJV and “rotten” (13:48 CV) are neuter, plural in the Greek text. The fishermen using the net are seeking fish. Everything else is considered, in the parable, “rotten.”
The “rotten” things (Matt. 13:48 CV) refer to those people who respond to the proclamation of the Gospel, but are not faithful to the end, turning back to the Sinatic Covenant. Thus, they became “rotten,” “apostate,” returning to the Sinatic Covenant as a result of their rejection of persecution on account of the righteousness of the Kingdom. The “ideal” (CV) or “good” (KJV) things, therefore, refer to the people hearing the Gospel and remaining faithful to Jesus and His teaching in spite of the persecution on account of His name and His Kingdom which is consecrated by the blood of the New Davidic Covenant. These are the metaphorical fish Jesus spoke of when He called His Apostles to become “fishers of men.”
The sea into which the dragnet is cast refers to the
The Parable of the
Dragnet when first told is limited to the
To the nations, the net of the proclamation of the Kingdom of the Heavens is proclaimed as the Gospel of the Uncircumcision. Thus the fish caught in the net of the Gospel include the faithful ones from among the nations. These faithful, uncircumcised disciples, together with the faithful circumcised disciples, make up the Israel of Yahweh in contrast to Apostate Israel.
During the conclusion of the Mosaic Eon and the period representing the Parousia (the presence of Jesus the Messiah) the celestial messengers of Yahweh, under the authority of Jesus the Messiah, are sent to sever, separate the fish (the disciples faithful to the end) from every other living creature caught in the net (the unfaithful disciples becoming rotten, apostate as a result of turning away from Jesus and the Gospel in order to return to the comfort of the Sinatic Covenant, and the weak disciples who through timidity and fear fail to remain awake to the consummation of the Parousia). The impure, rotten, apostate disciples are cast into the metaphorical furnace of fire, Gehenna, the lake of fire, the Second Death representing Yahweh’s judgment upon the Israel according to flesh.
This judgment amounted to being cut off from the people of
Yahweh, thus losing one’s right to the Celestial Allotment promised to the
faithful seed of Abraham. To be cast into this metaphorical furnace of fire is
to be left without a covenant relationship to Yahweh, for the Sinatic Covenant
is metaphorically burnt up, destroyed, terminated. The literal destruction of
Each of these apostate disciples suffering this judgment of Yahweh is figuratively described by Jesus as the man lamenting and gnashing his teeth, having discovered his momentous mistake. This description applies, of course, only to those who had once been disciples but chose the comfort, security, and social acceptance of the Sinatic Covenant rather than the suffering associated with the cross of Messiah, the cross of the New Davidic Covenant.
This judgment of the unjust and the just corresponds to the judgment of the Tares and the Grain, as well as the distinction made between the Hidden Treasure and the Precious Pearl. It also corresponds to the resurrection of life and the resurrection of judging referred to in John 5:27-29. These parables are concerned with the secrets of the Kingdom of the Heavens and, thus, completely conceal from the throngs the secrets of the Kingdom while partially revealing to Jesus’ disciples the secrets contained in these parables. Therefore, these parables are to be distinguished from those parables unconcerned with the secrets of the Kingdom of the Heavens.
Having spoken these parables to His disciples, Jesus asks them, “Do you understand all these things?” (Matt. CV). They respond, “Yes.” This Yes is deceptive. They have not understood all that Jesus has spoken. They understood more than the throng, but not much more. This is evidenced by Jesus’ response, “But He said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe discipled [instructed to teach] to the interest of the Kingdom of the Heavens is like a man, a householder, who is extracting out of his treasure things new and things old’” (Matt. 13:52 my translation).
Matthew’s use of the Greek conjunction de (but) to introduce the response of Jesus indicates contrast. Jesus sees through their Yes. He knows they do not understand all these things. But they will in the near future. They will be trained as scribes discipled to instruct the faithful ones in all the things concerning the interest of the Kingdom of the Heavens. Out of the treasure of their knowledge they will extract things new (the secrets of the Kingdom) and things old (the wisdom of the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings concerning the Messiah and the promises made to Abraham). They will instruct the Messianic brethren concerning these extracted truths.
The fact that Jesus responds to their answer with a parable (The Parable of a Householder) supports this interpretation. As they did not understand His parables, having to request His interpretation, so, here, they do not understand His parable likening disciples to a householder extracting and then distributing to those in the household treasure (truths) consisting of things new and old. Matthew, writing after the fact, has understood the failure of the disciples to grasp the secrets of the Kingdom concealed in these parables. Thus, he introduces the response of Jesus with the Greek conjunction emphasizing contrast. In contrast to their Yes, Jesus concludes with a final parable (a Householder) concealing from them His insight into the hollowness of their Yes. They do not at present understand all these things, but they shortly will.
The parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk. -35) is not concerned with the secrets of
the Kingdom of the Heavens. Therefore it is not meant to conceal but to reveal.
Luke places this parable in the context of the last days of the ministry of
Jesus. Ascending into a mountain to pray, Moses and Elijah appear to Him,
speaking about “His exodus, which He was
about to be completing in
At this time He declares to His disciples that “the Son of the Man [Adam/Abraham/David] is about to be given up into the hands of the men [of Apostate Israel]” (Lk. 9:44b CV). The text then records, “Yet they were ignorant of this declaration, and it was screened [hid] from them, [in order] that they may not be sensing it [making sense of it . . . ]” (Lk. 9:45a CV). Their understanding of the secrets of the Kingdom is most limited. Neither they nor the throngs understand what Jesus means when He declares His Kingdom is not of this world-order.
Their mind-set is reflected in the response of James and John to the Samaritan refusal to receive Jesus. Jesus had dispatched messengers to a certain Samaritan village to prepare the people for His arrival. Upon entering this Samaritan village, the messengers had been rejected. Perceiving this evil, James and John, concluding that these Samaritans are enemies of Israel after the likeness of those Samaritans Elijah destroyed by calling down fire from heaven (2 Kings 1:10-12), believe themselves justified in asking Jesus, “Lord, art Thou willing? May we be telling fire to descend from heaven and consume them, as Elijah also did?” (Lk. 9:54b CV).
Jesus rebukes James and John. He quietly accepts this opposition of these Samaritans, refusing to seek vengeance upon those who insult Him. James and John still do not understand that Jesus seeks the lost sheep. Yahweh’s mercy and compassion continue to seek the repentance of His people. The time for judgment is near, but has not yet arrived. There is still time to heed the warning proclamation of the Gospel of the Kingdom and repent, producing fruit worthy of genuine repentance.
Jesus knows He must make His way to the cross. Thus, the secrets of the Kingdom must remain concealed until this takes place. The disciples are not yet able to administer out of Yahweh’s treasure things new and old. They still perceive the present only in terms of the past. The coming passion will set in motion things new.
Jesus tells these seventy-two, “The harvest, indeed, is vast, yet the workers are few. Beseech, then, the Lord of the harvest, so that He should be ejecting [sending forth] workers into His harvest” (Lk. 10:2 CV). Jesus is pointing to the commissioning of workers after His death, resurrection, and ascension. He does not anticipate a meager harvest. The harvest is great. Many Israelites are ready to be harvested, ready to repent and bring forth fruit worthy of repentance.
However, the present ministry is not to accomplish this. It prepares the way for the great harvesting to follow. Jesus commissions these 72 disciples “as lambs in the midst of wolves” (Lk. 10:3 CV). The wolves refer to the hireling-shepherds, the apostate rulers and teachers who oppose Jesus and His teaching. These wolves seek the sheep for themselves. They will do all they can to hinder the harvesting labor of the disciples, for these wolves also seek to harvest, but in their own name (see Lk. ).
Each pair of disciples is to enter a village or city and seek
out a hospitable household in which they can reside for the duration of their
stay. Since they will not encounter much opposition from the wolves at this
time, they are to go out without any extra traveling supplies. The people as a
corporate body will be receptive to their healing ministry. The scandal of the
Gospel is yet to come. They are to cure the infirm and proclaim, “'Near to you is the
If, after proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom and curing the
infirm, the city rejects their ministry, they are to wipe the dust of the city
from their sandals as a warning of the severe judgment of Yahweh to come upon
them if they continue in disobedience. It will be more tolerable for
The cities of
When the 72 return from their mission, nothing is reported concerning the wiping of the dust from their feet. They return rejoicing. The demons have been subject to them. The implication is that their mission has been well received. They have not yet suffered any great persecution. They are enthralled with their authority over the demons. They remain ignorant concerning the secrets of the Kingdom of the Heavens.
The power of The Adversary, Satan, has begun to be broken. But the covenantal warfare has not yet begun. Jesus warns these disciples not to rejoice because the demons are subject to them. The more substantial joy should be the fact that their names are engraven in the interest of the heavens, that is, in the book of covenantal life.
To rejoice in this indicates one’s authentic commitment to Yahweh and the righteousness of His Kingdom, for one’s name can be blotted out of this covenantal book of life (Rev. 3:5; Ex. 32:32-33; Deut. 9:14; 29:20; Ps. 69:28; 109:13). The requirement is faithful endurance of the sufferings associated with the cross of Messiah and the righteousness of the Kingdom to the end of the eon. The time of trial had not yet begun. The reward is life in the age to come, eonian life, participation in the Celestial Allotment.
In this context, a certain lawyer, seeking to trap Jesus, asks, “Teacher, by doing what should I enjoy the allotment of life eonian?” (Lk. 10:25b CV). Jesus answers, “What is written in the law? How are you reading?” (Lk. CV). Jesus asks him what laws concern this issue. The lawyer quotes Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18, love Yahweh and love your associate or neighbor as yourself. Jesus responds, “Correctly have you answered. This be doing and you shall be living” (Lk. 10:28b CV). Obedience to the law provides covenantal life; obedience to the end of one’s life promises access to the Celestial Allotment in the age to come. Jesus has been declaring that this age to come has drawn near.
The problem about to be confronted arrives because of the
lawyer’s interpretation of the practical application of the law. This had
The lawyer now falls into his own trap. He asks, “And who is my associate?” (Lk. CV), seeking to justify himself by questioning the meaning of words. This is precisely the attitude that led to the contemporary traditions and commandments of the apostate men. By questioning who is one’s associate, one can escape the full responsibility of the practical application of this law in one’s daily life.
The law which was established to give and enhance covenantal
life could be distorted so as to administer and enhance covenantal death. The
very law obligating one to love one’s associate could be interpreted in such a
way as to exclude some people from the category of associate. This is exactly what
This lawyer has justified his exclusion of some from the category of associate, thereby excusing himself from the necessity of loving these people in a practical manner. The tax collectors and sinners are examples of this kind of devious interpretation. By deviously defining who is one’s associate, one could exclude some from the benefits and welfare due them under the stipulations of the law, thereby excusing the so-called righteous ones from the obligation to care for the legitimate, practical needs of those within the community whom these so-called righteous ones judged religiously unclean. These “sinners out of the nations” (see Gal. 2:15 CV), sinners after the likeness of the uncircumcised gentiles, were not to be considered one’s associate or neighbor by these religiously elite righteous ones.
In response to this
attempt to justify the bypassing of the spirit of the law on the basis of a
devious (biased) interpretation of the letter of the law, Jesus tells The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk.
10:30‑37). A certain man
Finally, a certain Samaritan drawing near to the man and perceiving his condition, has compassion for the dying man. Cleansing his wounds with oil and wine, he bandages them. Mounting the dying man on his own riding animal, he leads the animal to an inn where he has him cared for. Before leaving the next day, he pays the innkeeper two denarii, instructing him to continue to care for the man, promising at his return he would reimburse the innkeeper for any further expense accrued.
Upon completion of the parable, Jesus asks the lawyer which of the three men became an associate of this unfortunate man. The lawyer again answers correctly, “The one doing the merciful thing with him” (Lk. 10:37a CV). Notice, Jesus reverses the question as proposed by this lawyer. The lawyer had asked, “Who is my associate?” Jesus asks the lawyer which man became the associate of the man in need. He who loves Yahweh and His law seeks how he can become an associate to those in his vicinity. The man according to flesh, seeking to justify himself, concerns himself with the thought of determining whether the other is worthy of being counted his associate. Jesus then commands, “Go you, and you do likewise” (Lk. 10:37b my translation).
The Aaronic priest and the Levite had both placed the letter of the law above the spirit of the law, thus failing to obey Yahweh’s voice. Compassion and mercy must often under certain circumstances be elevated above the requirements of the letter of the law. Love of Yahweh and love of neighbor or associate as oneself often necessitate the setting aside of the letter of the law in order to fulfill the superior requirement of the spirit of the law.
The Aaronic priest, the Levite, the lawyer, the Pharisees and scribes, seeking to justify themselves as righteous in the eyes of the law, chose to exalt the letter of the law above the spirit of the law, thus justifying the setting aside of the superior requirement of the spirit of the law. They obeyed that which they determined was right in the eyes of the letter of the law as deviously interpreted rather than obey the voice of Yahweh speaking through the superior spirit of the law:
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. (Matthew 23:23 KJV)
But woe to you, Pharisees! for you are taking tithes from mint and rue and all greens, and you are passing by judging and the love of God. Now these it was binding for you to do and not to be devoid of those. (Luke 11:42 CV)
To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord [Yahweh] than sacrifice. (Proverbs 21:3 KJV)
The Pharisees had accused the disciples of Jesus of breaking the law of the sabbath when, being hungry as they followed Jesus through a corn field, they had plucked and ate the corn. Jesus had replied,
Did you never read what David did, when he had need and hungered, he and those with him? How he entered into the house [tabernacle] of God under Abiathar the chief priest, and ate the show bread, which is not allowed to be eaten except by the priests, and he gave also to those who were with him? . . . The sabbath came because of the man [Adam], and not the man [Adam] because of the sabbath, so that the Son of the man [Adam] is Lord, also, of the sabbath. (Mark 2:25-28 CV)
The spirit of the law is concerned primarily with the welfare of all those under the law. The spirit of the law seeks to provide life. The primary purpose of the law is the welfare of the man under the law. The law is designed to provide for the welfare of the man under its authority. The man under its authority is not tyrannically enslaved to keep the letter of the law either to his own or his neighbor’s physical and spiritual destruction. The law is created to secure the legitimate needs of man in order that this same man might lovingly and righteously serve Yahweh his Elohim. Thus, as Paul declares, “So that the law, indeed, is holy, and the precept holy and just and good” (Rom. CV).
Matthew, writing of this same charge against Jesus and His disciples, records Jesus as also saying,
Or did you not read in the law that on the sabbaths the priests in the sanctuary are profaning the sabbath and are faultless? Now I am saying to you that a Greater than the sanctuary is here. Now if you had known what this is: Mercy am I wanting, and not sacrifice—you would not convict the faultless, for the Son of the Man [Adam] is Lord of the sabbath. (Matthew 12:5-8 CV)
Jesus here alludes to the priority of the circumcision of a male child eight days after birth. If the eighth day falls on a sabbath, the priests are faultless when they perform the circumcision in the sanctuary on the sabbath (see Jn. -24). The application of the letter of the law calls for just judgment conforming to the spirit of the law. The apostate rulers and hireling shepherds had blatantly failed to produce just judgment conforming to the spirit of Yahweh’s Law.
The role of the Samaritan in the parable comes as a complete surprise to the lawyer and those with him who also hear it. It is unexpected. Typical expectation necessitated the coming of some righteous Jew. The response of the Aaronic priest and the Levite would have been understandable and acceptable to a Jewish audience. But the coming of a Samaritan to the rescue is shocking. Samaritans, as heretics and schismatics, are hated by the Jews. Centuries of animosity between the Jews and the Samaritans had contributed to this hatred. The Jews and Samaritans are enemies. For a Samaritan to exemplify one who demonstrates loving one’s associate (neighbor) as oneself effectively jars the religious expectation and sensitivity of the Jews.
The Samaritan, considered a heretic and schismatic by the Jews, treats his cultural enemy (a Jew robbed, beaten, and almost dead) with compassion, fulfilling the spirit of the law to the welfare of this unfortunate man, in contrast to two of the elite members of the Jewish cultic community, both of whom disregard the concrete needs of a fellow Jew in order for them to maintain their cultic purity. The letter of the law concerning one’s obligation to maintain ritual purity is placed above the spirit of the law concerning one’s obligation to meet the concrete, desperate, immediate needs of a beaten and dying man.
Cleansing for ritual impurity is provided by the letter of the law. The priority under this specific circumstance is the obligation to one’s associate. The spirit of the law demands the caring for one’s associate at the cost of one’s ritual impurity. The letter of the law, alienated from or exalted above the spirit of the law, kills, thus making the perpetrator of such an act a breaker of the law, one who is lawless, one who nullifies the Law of Yahweh, one who defiles, pollutes the covenant of Yahweh, shaming Yahweh, his associate, and himself.
The lawyer seeking to accuse (taking the role of The Adversary) Jesus in order to justify himself is exposed by Jesus as a hypocrite who chooses to keep the letter of the law at the expense of the spirit of the law. He is exposed as lawless, a nullifier of Yahweh’s Law. He is a defiler of Yahweh’s covenant with His people. In seeking to justify himself, he, in fact, shames Yahweh, Jesus, his associate, and himself.
In seeking to prove Jesus false, he exposes his own unrighteousness, his own opposition to Yahweh, his own lawlessness, and his own need of repentance in order to obtain the salvation offered by Yahweh his Elohim in the proclamation of the Gospel. In coming to Jesus hypocritically asking what he needs to do in order to obtain eonian life, he departs from Jesus having his hypocrisy unmasked and his own covenantally sick and near-dead condition diagnosed to his own shocking dismay.
He departs from Jesus as a man made aware of his own personal crisis, a man made aware of having been stripped of his covenantally righteous apparel, robbed of his covenantal possession, and covenantally left for dead by his own apostate shepherds. He departs from Jesus as a man faced with a crucial, eschatological decision. The Kingdom of the Heavens is drawing near. Salvation is being proclaimed. There is still time for repentance and the producing of fruit worthy of such genuine repentance. Eonian life, life in the eon to come, participation in the Celestial Allotment promised to those faithful to Yahweh to the end of the eon, is still available to those whose hearts sincerely seek to obtain it. Thus, this parable reveals rather than conceals.
The Parable of the Rich Fool (Lk. 12:16-21) is immersed within the themes recorded in Luke 11:14–12:59. In the latter days of the ministry of Jesus, hostility is approaching its boiling point. The opponents of the teaching of Jesus are becoming restlessly anxious concerning the affect Jesus is having on the throngs. Simultaneously, the throngs are increasing immensely (Lk. 12:1). Interest in Jesus and His message is at its peak. Controversy dominates the scene.
The throngs, however, continue to respond to Jesus with
excitement and amazement. Yet, Jesus is very much aware of the superficialness
of their response. These are the same throngs which had earlier sought to crown
Him king. These people understand the nearness of the Kingdom of the Heavens to
mean the political, religious, social, and economic salvation of
They envision political exaltation over
The perception of the disciples of Jesus is only slightly better. They too, like Nicodemus, are troubled over the terrestrial teaching of Jesus. He has barely exposed them to His celestial teaching, realizing they are not ready to receive this teaching. In regard to things old and things new, their perception of the old things remains distorted, even though they have been initiated into the awareness of the new things about to appear on the horizon. Awareness, however, is neither understanding nor insight.
Though Jesus cannot trust the superficial response of the throngs, He can trust the response of His enemies. As committed opponents, He knows they are about to step forward and take control of events. They cannot afford to let the situation get out of their control. They must now act without hesitation and without second thought. They must put an end to the threat that this revolutionary, unprofessionally trained, socially unauthorized, and scandalous rabbi poses to the welfare of the nation.
Having described the present situation, an analysis of the
thematic waters within which the parable of the Rich Fool is immersed can now
be initiated. In Luke 11:14-26, Jesus is accused by some in the throng (no
doubt swayed by the opposing influence of the Pharisees and scribes) of casting
out demons by Beelzebub, the chief of the demons. Beelzebub was the name of a
Canaanite god. The pagan gods were perceived to be demons.
Jesus is accused of being in cahoots (partnership, collusion) with Satan. Jesus replies that their judgment is unjustified and inappropriate, “And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils [demons], by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges” (Lk. KJV). Jesus then claims, “But if I with the finger of God cast out devils [demons], no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you” (Lk. 11:20 KJV). Jesus alludes to the writing of the Ten Words with the finger of God upon the two tablets of stone (Ex. 31:18). He claims to be casting out demons, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, opening the eyes of the blind, and raising the dead by the finger of God. And by the finger of the God Who carved the Ten Words of covenantal life into the holy stone tablets, Jesus is also interpreting the spirit of that same law. His miracles and teaching are direct products of the finger of Yahweh Elohim.
The Adversary, Satan, had been given authority and power over
The Adversary had been given possession of
By casting out demons by the finger of Yahweh, Jesus is cleansing the nation for restoration to Yahweh and His covenant. He is liberating the nation from the defiling and debilitating tyranny of The Adversary (as administered by the Jewish sons of Cain, the seed of the Serpent). The nation is cleansed by Yahweh in order to make possible a covenantal restoration to Yahweh through submission to Yahweh’s power and authority as displayed by Jesus. The power and authority of The Adversary (and thus the Jewish adversaries, the sons of Cain) can no longer legitimately hinder the one choosing to repent, to return to Yahweh by believing into Jesus and producing fruit worthy of authentic repentance.
Therefore, the nation, once liberated and cleansed from the debilitating and defiling demonic possession of The Adversary, but later returning willingly to the power and authority of The Adversary, will come to be in a far worse state than it had been before Yahweh’s gracious cleansing through the work of Jesus. This is the message of the parable Jesus uses as the conclusion to His reply to His accusers.
Whenever the unclean spirit may be coming out from a man, it is passing through waterless places, seeking rest, and not finding it. Then it is saying, “I will be returning into my home whence I came out.” And coming, it is finding it unoccupied, swept and decorated. Then it is going and taking along with itself seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and entering, it is dwelling there. And the last state of that man is becoming worse than the first. (Luke 11:24-26 CV)
The entire corporate body of
Thus, the man in the parable represents corporate
This would become the condition of the apostate nation in
contrast to the faithful nation willingly subjecting herself to the power and
authority of Jesus. The last state of the apostate nation will qualify it for
the judgment of Gehenna, the judgment
for choosing the
As Jesus concludes His parable, a woman in the throng cries out, “Happy the womb which bears Thee, and the breasts which Thou didst suckle!” (Lk. 11:27b CV). Jesus replies, “Indeed then, happy [blessed, honored, honorable] are those who are hearing the word of God and maintaining it!” (Lk. 11:28b CV). Jesus understands the woman’s statement to be true, but also inadequate in the present eschatological crisis.
The fact that Jesus responds to the woman at all indicates His
invitation to Jewish women to aim for more than a terrestrial blessedness. They,
also, are to seek first the
When Jesus is invited to dine with a certain Pharisee, He is expected, before eating, to participate in the washing which would remove cultic impurity. The Pharisee, perceiving that Jesus neglects this cultic duty, is astonishingly scandalized, offended. Jesus, recognizing the Pharisee’s indignant astonishment, accuses this Pharisee, and all those of like attitude, of rapacity and wickedness in the heart. These Pharisees cleanse the outside, the body, but the inward man, the realm of the heart, “is brimming with rapacity and wickedness” (Lk. 11:39b CV). Rapacity is a seizing or extorting of that which is wickedly or malignantly coveted.
The actions and attitude of this Pharisee reveal him to be a sinner. He has feigned both love of Yahweh and love of neighbor. He seeks only his own wealth and honor, and that at the cost of the covenantal welfare of the nation as a corporate whole. The following harsh judgment of Jesus is meant to be a concerned warning:
Imprudent ones [fools]! . . . you are passing by judging [just judgment] and the love of God. Now these it was binding for you to do and not to be devoid of those [tithing, cultic cleansing, etc.]. Woe to you, Pharisees! seeing that you are loving [rapacious coveting or coveting rapaciously] the front seat in the synagogues and the salutations in the markets. (Luke 11:40-43 CV)
Pharisees characterized by this kind of mind and behavior can repent. There is still time to correct one’s relation to Yahweh and neighbor. In seeking their own righteous separation from their neighbors by their insistence on cultic purity at the price of actively loving their neighbor as themselves, Jesus charges, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are as the obscure tombs, and the men who are walking upon them are not aware of it” (Lk. CV). In seeking to keep themselves culticly pure from the contaminating impure, these Pharisees and scribes have become inwardly defiled (obscure tombs) and are themselves the cause of impurity for all others who come in contact with them. In seeking to be outwardly clean before Yahweh, while in actuality becoming inwardly defiled, they become a source of defilement to others who are unaware of the danger they pose.
In response to Jesus’ rebuke, Luke records, “And at His coming out thence, the scribes and the Pharisees begin to hem Him in dreadfully and to be quizzing Him concerning more things, ambushing Him, seeking to pounce upon something out of His mouth, that they shall be accusing Him” (Lk. 11:53-54 CV). The scribes and Pharisees described in this passage do not represent all individual scribes and Pharisees, but they do represent the scribes and Pharisees as a corporate whole. As a corporate whole, the faults described by Jesus are accurate.
This is confirmed by the warning Jesus directs primarily to His disciples, but also to the throngs, “Take heed to yourselves of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy” (Lk. 12:1b CV). The teaching of the Pharisees inherently promotes hypocrisy, the rapacious love of possessions and the honor bestowed by men rather than the honor bestowed by Yahweh. His disciples are in need of this warning, for later they will argue over who among them would occupy the greatest seat of honor in the coming kingdom (Lk. 22:24; see also 9:46).
Jesus warns them of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, since the disciples, also, may be tempted to conceal their allegiance to Yahweh for fear of being persecuted or killed because of this allegiance. They are not to fear men. What is in their heart they must manifest to men, even if that means their death. For the coming judgment of Yahweh will reveal the secret thoughts of men. One must be faithful to Yahweh both in one’s heart and in one’s behavior (Lk. 12:2-3).
Jesus encourages His disciples to
be not afraid of those who are killing the body and after this do not have anything more excessive that they can do. . . . Be afraid of Him Who, after [this] killing, has authority to be casting into Gehenna. Yea, I am saying to you, of this One be afraid! (Luke 12:4-5 CV)
Yahweh alone has the power and authority to cast the rebellious one, the unfaithful one into the judgment of Gehenna, the Second Death, thereby excluding such a person from the promised Celestial Allotment in the impending coming eon. Thus, one is not to fear the apostate rulers who have the power and authority to kill the body (take one’s physical or soulish life) which is temporary, being mortal, but cannot affect one’s spiritual, covenantal life (which is perpetual, being immortal) and allotment in the presence of Yahweh.
Endure, then, the killing of the body in faithfulness to Yahweh, thereby being counted worthy by Yahweh to enter into the Celestial Allotment, rather than, having the body killed by Yahweh as a result of rebellious unfaithfulness, being cast out into Gehenna, the Second Death. This would result in being denied entrance into the hope of Israel, the promised Celestial Allotment, the Kingdom of Yahweh. Since Yahweh has delegated this power and authority to His Only-Begotten Son, the One to fear is Jesus Himself. Unfaithfulness to Jesus in this time of eschatological crisis will result in a far more excessive loss than the mere loss of one’s physical or soulish life. Thus, Jesus warns,
everyone whoever shall be avowing [advocating] Me in front of men [Israelites and the rulers of Israel], him shall the Son of the Man also be avowing [advocating] in front of the messengers of God [Yahweh]. Now he who is disowning Me before men will be renounced before the messengers of God. And everyone who shall be declaring a word against the Son of the Man, it shall be pardoned him, yet the one who blasphemes against the holy spirit shall not be pardoned. (Luke 12:8-10 CV)
During the present ministry of Jesus, it is possible for one to speak against Jesus and be pardoned. This would be true even of His disciples, as exemplified by Peter’s denial of Jesus three times before Jesus’ death and resurrection. However, after Jesus’ death, resurrection, ascension, and the pouring out of the spirit, those continually speaking against the testimony of the holy spirit concerning Jesus the Messiah would not be pardoned. A crucial decision would have to be made between the resurrection of Jesus and His Parousia, during which time His disciples would be proclaiming the Gospel of Messiah in the inspirational power of the spirit,
Now whenever they [the apostate Israelites] may be bringing you before the synagogues and the chiefs and the authorities, you should not be worrying about how or what your defense should be or what you may say, for the holy spirit will be teaching you in the same hour what you must be saying. (Luke 12:11-12 CV)
Having warned His disciples of the dangerous threat (the loss of the Celestial Allotment) of the hypocritical teaching of the Pharisees, someone in the throng entreats Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to part the enjoyment of the allotment with me” (Lk. CV). Jesus is implored to intervene in a family dispute over property inheritance. An elder brother has refused to give a younger brother a share in the allotment left by the father after his death. The younger brother, addressing Jesus as “rabbi,” petitions Him to intervene on his behalf. Jesus responds, “Man! who constitutes Me a judge or a parter over [all of] you [Israelites]?” (Lk. CV).
Jesus has not been commissioned by the Father to settle disputes over allotment of terrestrial possessions. He has been commissioned to announce the present eschatological crisis, and, thus, the present crisis of the end of the Mosaic Eon, the present crisis of this final wicked (malignant) generation, the crisis requiring a crucial decision determining one’s share in the far superior Celestial Allotment granted by the Greater Father, Yahweh Elohim of Israel, to the faithful children of Abraham.
This eschatological crisis calls for a liberation from
terrestrial possessions, from Sinatic Covenantal allotments. It demands a
turning from a rapacious greed for terrestrial treasure to a benevolent
aspiration for celestial treasure. The end of the age has arrived. Yahweh’s
judgment against apostate
To cling rapaciously to terrestrial possessions would mean
covenantal death: loss of fellowship with Yahweh and loss of Celestial
Allotment. To be terrestrial-minded is to be enslaved with Hagar and her
children (Gal. 4:24-25), to be doomed to the Second Death—the death of the
Sinatic Covenant. Jesus has been commissioned to distribute a share in His
Father’s Celestial Allotment, not a share in His brother Moses’ terrestrial
allotment. A share in the Sinatic allotment means death; a share in the New
Davidic allotment means life, and life more abundantly (Jn. 10:10). To cling to
terrestrial possessions is to cling to the Sinatic Covenant, which is to cling
to covenantal death and the judgment of Gehenna, the destruction of
Turning His attention from the petitioner and the throng, Jesus says to His disciples, “See and guard against all greed, for one's life is not in the superfluity of his possessions” (Lk. 12:15 CV). The life of the New Davidic Covenant is not measured by one’s wealth of material possessions. Greed for great quantities of material possessions indicates a trust in and a worship of Mammon, another elohim (god). Yahweh’s gift of abundant material terrestrial possessions requires noble, honorable sharing of this abundance with those lacking such an abundance, those suffering the unforeseeable and uncontrollable misfortunes of terrestrial life.
The throng, the petitioner, and the disciples of Jesus are ignorant of the significance of the present eschatological crisis. They are ignorant of the near termination of the Sinatic Covenant and the consequential displacement of the terrestrial allotment received under Joshua by the Celestial Allotment about to be received under Jesus, the present and ultimate Savior (Joshua) of His people.
The nearness of the end of the Mosaic Eon and the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets necessitates an extraordinary decision for and commitment to an extraordinary way of life requiring a righteousness superexceeding the righteousness of the Pharisees and scribes, Sadducees, priests, and chief priests. An extraordinary time calls for extraordinary thinking and acting. A new exodus, a new warfare, and a new allotment indicate a dangerous period of time demanding heroic commitment and achievement, commitment to and achievement of the Righteousness of the Kingdom of the Heavens, the Righteousness of Yahweh, the One Living Elohim of Israel.
To illustrate His teaching concerning possessions and terrestrial mindedness, Jesus tells the throng The Parable of the Rich Fool (Lk. 12:16-21).
The country place of a certain rich man bears well. And he reasoned in himself, saying, “What shall I be doing, seeing that I have no where to gather my fruits?” And he said, “This will I be doing: I will pull down my barns, and greater ones will I build, and I will gather there all my grain and my good things. And I will be declaring to my soul, ‘Soul, many good things have you laid up for many years. Rest, eat, drink, make merry.’” Yet God [Yahweh] said to him, “Imprudent one [thou fool, KJV]! To the interest of this very night your soul are they [his good things stored up] demanding from you. Now, what you make ready [what you prepared], [to] whose [interest] will it be?” Thus is he who is hoarding for himself and is not rich for God. (Luke 12:16-21 CV modified)
This rich man loves neither Yahweh nor his neighbor. He has
been blessed with abundant wealth. But he chooses to hoard it for himself
alone. He trusts in the abundance of his possessions rather than in Yahweh the
source of abundance. He has hardened his heart against Yahweh and his neighbor.
He has defiled the Mosaic Law by denying the poor and misfortunate their share
in Yahweh’s covenantal gift to him. He has thus despised Yahweh’s covenant with
Consequently, in the very night he worships his many good things (his possessions),
these very possessions enslave him, claiming his soul, hardening his heart so
as to exclude the possibility of salvation. Thus, he gains the world (the order
of possessions) but loses his soul, his right to enter the Celestial Allotment
promised to the faithful children of Abraham. Such hoarding, Jesus concludes,
reveals the heart of a person whose treasure is located in the terrestrial
realm. Such a heart seeks not the
Such a person is rich in possessions, but poor and wretched in the eyes of Yahweh. Such is the rich man portrayed in this parable. Yahweh neither demands his soul nor takes his life in that very night of his confession. He is left to await his part in the impending judgment of Yahweh against this present malignant generation of apostate Jews. His love of possessions, his worship of mammon, his rapacious greed have sealed his fate: “wherever your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. CV); “You can not be slaving for God and mammon” (Matt. CV).
To such a man, Yahweh merely describes the consequence of what he has done to himself, declaring him to be an imprudent fool. Such a man represents many of the Pharisees, scribes, Sadducees, priests, and chief-priests, though certainly not all. Such a man represents a rebellious son of Cain whose worship and service are devoted to The Adversary, Satan. Such a man, implies Jesus, is an enemy of Yahweh and Himself.
In this eschatological time of crisis, Jesus instructs His disciples,
Do not worry about the soul [the five senses of the body], what you may be eating, nor yet about your body, what you should be putting on, for the soul is more than nourishment and the body than apparel. (Luke 12:22‑23 CV)
They must trust Yahweh to provide the needs of their souls and
their bodies as they are called to commit themselves first and foremost to the
seeking of the
They are not to primarily seek terrestrial possessions. They are to primarily seek celestial possessions, and the terrestrial possessions necessary in order to carry out their commission will be faithfully provided by Yahweh. Jesus encourages them,
Do not fear, little flocklet, for it delights your Father to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32 CV)
He refers here to the impending New Davidic Kingdom of the authentic Israel of Yahweh as contrasted with the old, soulish kingdom of the pseudo-Israel of The Adversary, thus, alluding to the impending civil war between the two kingdoms and nations claiming to represent Yahweh’s kingdom and nation (Matt. 24:7).
Once again, the kingdom is taken from Saul and given to David (1 Sam. 28:17-19; -28). The apostate kingdom of Israel according to flesh under the rule of the Saulish pseudo-shepherds is rejected, while the faithful kingdom of Israel according to spirit under the rule of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of David, is anointed by Yahweh as His acceptable kingdom, nation, and people. Consequently, Jesus instructs His disciples,
Sell your possessions and give alms. Make yourselves purses [receptacles] which do not age [purses which can bear the weight of celestial treasure], a treasure which does not default, in [the interest of] the heavens where a thief is not nearing, neither moth is causing decay. For wherever your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Luke 12:33-34 CV)
Thus, His disciples are to seek and store up celestial possessions out of which treasury they are to administer the kingdom, distributing Yahweh’s covenantal possessions to Yahweh’s covenantal people. The time of the eschatological crisis is relatively short, fitting the necessary heroic attitude, behavior, and feat. This call to heroic service applies only to this critical situation and crucial time of eschatological crisis. The disciples are to be faithful and prudent administrators (Lk. 12:42 CV) of the New Davidic Kingdom to the imminent end of the Mosaic Eon.
Referring to these administrators distributing Yahweh’s covenantal possessions out of the treasures given to them by Yahweh, Jesus warns,
Now to everyone to whom much was given [covenantal possessions, New Covenant wisdom and truth], from him much [achievement] will be sought, and to whom they [covenantal possessions conveying New Covenant wisdom and truth] committed much [wisdom and truth], more excessively will they [these things, covenantal possessions conveying New Covenant wisdom and truth] be requesting [requiring] of him. (Luke 12:48b CV)
Such administrators bear a most solemn responsibility demanding heroic daring and strength. But Yahweh does not demand that which is impossible. He will supply them with the appropriate power of the spirit. If any administrator fails to faithfully execute his office, it will not be because he was unable to execute it, but because he chose apostasy rather than endure the sufferings associated with Jesus the Messiah during the current era of eschatological crisis. For the Parousia of Jesus the Messiah would occur during the days of the then present evil generation.
Jesus confirms this in His Parable of Men Anticipating Their Own Lord (Lk. -40). Directing this parable to His disciples, Jesus instructs,
Let your loins be girded about and lamps be burning, and you be like men anticipating their own lord, . . . Happy [Honorable] are those slaves, whom the Lord, coming, will be finding watching. . . . Now this you know, that if the householder were aware at what hour the thief is coming, he would watch and would not let his house be tunneled into. You also become ready, then, for, in an hour which you are not supposing, the Son of the Man is coming. (Luke 12:35-40 CV)
Peter then asks, “Lord, to us art Thou saying this parable, or also to all?” (Lk. CV). Jesus answers him by saying the parable applies to all faithful and prudent administrators whom He, as Yahweh’s agent, is placing in charge of His possessions (His covenantal wisdom and truth and His sheep),
Happy [Honorable] is that slave [administrator, steward], whom his lord, coming, will be finding doing thus [administering, distributing, caring for his lord’s possessions placed under his charge, his authority]. Truly, I am saying to you that over all his possessions will he be placing him. (Luke 12:43-44 CV)
Jesus, then, speaking of His scheduled Parousia during the days of the present current evil generation, parabolically warns His disciples,
Now if that slave [administrator] should be saying in his heart, “My lord is delaying his coming,” and should be beginning both to beat the boys and the maids [the sheep, the other servants of Jesus and Yahweh under the administrator’s care] and to be eating and drinking and to be drunk [turn back to the greedy, selfish enjoyment of terrestrial possessions], the lord of that slave will be arriving on a day for which he is not hoping [expecting] and at an hour which he does not know, and shall be cutting him asunder and shall be appointing his part with the unfaithful. (Luke 12:45-46 CV)
Such an administrator will be given his part with the
unfaithful, the apostate rulers and teachers of apostate
The malignant administrator presupposes a delay (“My lord is delaying his coming”). There is no delay. The administrators of Jesus have been clearly told of His imminent Parousia during the course of that very generation: “Verily, I am saying to you that by no means may this [very] generation be passing by till all these things should be occurring” (Matt. 24:34 CV). The administrator in the parable unfaithfully denies this covenantal truth, erroneously concluding a delay. Such a conclusion is unbelief. For only the day and the hour are unknown to the administrators.
This is why all administrators must be constantly watching and constantly be about their lord’s business. The Parousia cannot be delayed. It is already scheduled by the Father according to Jesus’ testimony: “Now, concerning that day and hour no one is aware, neither the messengers of the heavens, nor the Son; except the Father only” (Matt. 24:36 CV). Only the day and the hour are unknown to all but the Father. What is known, what has been revealed, is that this Parousia is to occur during the course of this final, evil generation, before the imminent end of the current eschatological crisis, before the imminent end of the Mosaic Eon.
Describing the ministry of His disciples after His death and resurrection, Jesus had warned,
Now, whenever they may be giving you up, you should not be worrying about how or what you should be speaking, for it shall be given you in that hour what you should be speaking, for not you are speaking, but the spirit of your Father is speaking in you. (Matthew 10:19-20 CV)
This is fulfilled after His death and resurrection and is recorded in the Book of Acts (chapters 4-5). Jesus concludes this warning concerning this ministry of His disciples by promising,
Under no circumstances should you be finishing the
The disciples of Jesus have been warned to avoid the leaven, the hypocritical teaching of the Pharisees. They have been warned about the danger of rapacious greed for terrestrial possessions. They have been warned against unfaithful administration of Yahweh’s New Covenant possessions. They have been warned against presupposing a delay of His Parousia. They are encouraged to be faithful administrators of these good things stored up in the celestial treasury soon to be made available for their use and distribution in the care of Yahweh’s new people, new nation, new kingdom.
As Jesus continues His journey toward
As Pharaoh attempted to destroy
As Moses mediated the Sinatic Covenant making the children of
Israel Yahweh’s holy, elect, special nation, so also Jesus the Messiah would
shortly mediate the New Zionic Covenant making the faithful, circumcised
children of Israel Yahweh’s holy, elect, special nation. As Joshua led the
Foreseeing all this, Jesus warns the throngs concerning the great cost involved in following Him,
If anyone is coming to Me and is not hating his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, and still more his soul besides, he can not be My disciple. And anyone who is not bearing his cross and coming after Me, can not be My disciple. (Luke 14:26-27 CV)
Jesus is not teaching the throngs to disregard the commandment
to honor one’s father and mother. He is not teaching the throngs to abandon
one’s covenantal obligations to family and neighbor. He is encouraging them to
seek first and foremost the
This will mean persecution and suffering on behalf of Jesus and the Kingdom. In fulfilling the righteousness of Yahweh, they will surely be persecuted. They are warned of the necessity to endure such persecution even if and when it comes from their fathers, mothers, wives, brothers, or sisters. They must continue faithfully enduring such persecution and suffering, even if it costs them their lives.
Such teaching was applicable only to those of that present
evil generation, only to those living during that eschatological time of
crisis, a crucial and relatively short period of time in the covenantal history
The coming exodus journey would demand a life of hardship. Possessions would be kept to a minimum. Those having an abundance of possessions would be required to share this abundance with those less fortunate. Love of Yahweh and neighbor would be carried out as Yahweh’s Law intended it to be appropriately applied in the various situations of daily living. Thus, greedy, selfish attachment to possessions would not be tolerated and would result in exclusion from the community of disciples. The cost of discipleship would be high.
Jesus demands that each potential disciple seriously count the cost before committing himself to follow Him. To make His point, He tells the throngs the multiple parables of Counting the Cost (Lk. 14:28‑35).
For which of you, wanting to build a tower, is not first seated to calculate the expense, to see if he has the wherewithal?—lest at some time, he laying a foundation and not being strong enough to finish up, all those beholding should begin to scoff at him, saying that “This man begins building and is not strong enough to finish up!” (Luke 14:28-30 CV)
The arduous exodus about to begin would demand great strength of conviction and endurance. Calculating the cost of such a journey is likened to a man desiring to construct a farm-fortification against thieves or potential enemies. Before committing himself to such an endeavor, such a man would solemnly attempt to calculate the required cost, in this case, necessary resources and physical strength to complete the fortification. For, having to abandon the project before completion, such a man would suffer social shame and ridicule as well as failing to secure his agricultural possessions against potential intruders.
The New Covenant exodus would involve spiritual warfare. The
disciple of Jesus must count the cost necessary to secure his spiritual
possessions from potential enemies. He must sincerely evaluate the condition of
his heart in relation to Yahweh. To follow Jesus would mean maintaining a
circumcised heart totally committed to loving Yahweh, Yahweh’s Law, and his
neighbor as himself. It would mean a commitment to that righteousness which superexceeds
the righteousness of Apostate
Jesus continues with another parabolic analogy concerned with counting the cost,
Or what king, going to engage another king in battle, will not, being seated, first plan to see if he is able to meet, with ten thousand, him who is coming against him with twenty thousand? Otherwise, surely, at his being still at a distance, he, dispatching an embassy, is asking the terms of peace. Thus, then, everyone of you who is not taking leave of all of his possessions, can not be My disciple. (Luke 14:31-33 CV)
The coming spiritual, covenantal warfare against the apostate king, kingdom, nation of Israel according to flesh demands of each disciple a trust and confidence in the exceeding strength and power of Yahweh and His Anointed Davidic King, Jesus the Messiah, the Son of David. For the disciple of Jesus must choose decisively to become a holy warrior in the army of the coming newly anointed Davidic King ruling over the establishment of the newly restored Davidic Kingdom of Yahweh. Such a holy warrior must willingly devaluate all terrestrial possessions in the cause of the faithful and righteous King, Kingdom, Nation of Israel according to spirit.
Jesus concludes His exhortation of the throngs with a parabolic reference to salt:
Ideal, then, is salt. Yet if even the salt should be made insipid, with what shall it be seasoned? Neither is it fit for the land nor for manure. Outside are they casting it. Who has ears to hear, let him hear! (Luke 14:34-35 CV)
The cost must be counted. But what will be the cost of not following Jesus?! This, also, is involved in counting the cost! Salt in this parabolic concluding exhortation represents the Sinatic Covenant which had been made insipid, useless. The apostate rulers and teachers had defiled, distorted, contaminated it so as to make it ineffective. Instead of establishing, promoting terrestrial covenantal life (social, religious, economic, and political corporate health), it had established, promoted covenantal death (social, religious, economic, and political corporate sickness). In addition, Yahweh is about to terminate the authority of the Sinatic Covenant, superseding it with the New Davidic Covenant, which alone will establish, bring to perfection celestial covenantal life: the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets. To cling to the Sinatic Covenant is to cling to covenantal death and national desolation. To cling to the Sinatic Covenant is to suffer separation from covenantal fellowship with Yahweh and loss of one’s participation in the Celestial Allotment of the imminent age to come. Covenantal wisdom, having counted all aspects of the cost, demands the choosing of discipleship. This wisdom would be justified by all her children (see Lk. ).
The journey to
What man of [all of] you, having a hundred sheep, and losing one of them, is not leaving the ninety-nine in the wilderness and is going after the lost one, till he may be finding it? And, finding it, he is placing it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And, coming into the house, he is calling together the friends and the neighbors, saying to them, “Rejoice together with me that I found my sheep that was lost!” I am saying to you that thus there will be joy in [the interest of] heaven over one sinner repenting, more than over the ninety-nine just persons who have no need of repentance. (CV)
A flock consisting of one hundred sheep is quite large. In
In this parable, Jesus presents to the Pharisees and scribes a shepherd who, losing a sheep, leaves the flock in the care of the remaining shepherd or shepherds in order to seek and return the lost sheep to the safety of the flock. In this case, the shepherd finds the sheep and, rejoicing, places it on his shoulders. Returning to his village and placing the lost sheep in the fold, he invites his friends and neighbors to rejoice with him over the restoration of the lost sheep. The Pharisees and scribes themselves are goats and have caused many of the sheep to think and act as goats.
Jesus then concludes that in the interest of heaven (the Gospel of the Kingdom concerning Yahweh’s covenantal people) there will be more joy over one sinning Israelite repenting than over the ninety-nine righteous Israelites who have no need of repentance. As the Pharisees and scribes have accused Jesus of defiling Himself by receiving and dining with social and religious outcasts, Jesus parabolically accuses the Pharisees and scribes of failing as shepherds presiding over Yahweh’s sheep. They should have been caring for the welfare of the sheep as inscribed in the law of the Sinatic Covenant. In fact, they had scattered the sheep in the wilderness, losing them all. Jesus is holding them accountable. Since they will not seek out the lost sheep, Yahweh has sent Jesus to fulfill their abandoned obligation.
Ironically, the parable depicts only one lost sheep. In reality, all Yahweh’s sheep had been lost by the self-appointed shepherds now being confronted by the owner of the sheep. The Pharisees and scribes have scattered and lost Yahweh’s sheep. Many sheep have been inappropriately taught so as to cause them to think and act like goats. Jesus, as Yahweh’s appointed shepherd, has been in the process of seeking and re-gathering the sheep into the safety of the Sinatic Covenantal flock and fold. The entire flock has been covenantally defiled by the teaching of the apostate shepherds. The lost sheep all need to be cleansed, purified from contaminating contact with the apostate rulers and teachers. The entire flock also needs to be redeemed from the Sinatic Covenant which is undergoing the final old-age decay of natural, innate death.
Jesus has sought and found the lost sheep. He is now in the
process of bearing them on His shoulders as He proceeds to
Apostate Israelites, the
This the Pharisees and scribes do not do. They did not rejoice
in John the Baptist’s invitation to all sinners in
After the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, these sheep began to be gathered up by the Apostles and faithful disciples of Jesus and led into the new flock and fold of the New Davidic Covenant. By the end of that eschatological crisis, the end of the Mosaic Eon, the completion of the commission given to the Apostles of Jesus, all Yahweh’s sheep in the Sinatic House of Israel had been sought, found, gathered together into a new flock and fold, and led by Jesus the Messiah, the Ideal Shepherd of Yahweh, into the Celestial Allotment promised in the Law and the Prophets.
Jesus continues His accusation against the grumbling hard-heartedness of the Pharisees and scribes in His telling of The Parable of the Prodigal Son (Lk. -32). More accurately, the parable should be entitled The Parable of the Two Sons. The purpose for the telling of this parable is not to condemn the Pharisees and scribes, but to graciously convince them of their need for Yahweh’s compassionate, merciful forgiveness. Both sons in the parable are alienated from Yahweh, each in his own way.
The parable begins, “A certain man had two sons” (Lk. 15:11 CV). The younger son, representing the tribute collectors and sinners, demands of Yahweh his Father, “give me the part of the estate accruing to me” (Lk. 15:12 CV). This extreme and unorthodox demand implies a strained relationship between the brothers, not lost on either the Pharisees and scribes or tribute collectors and sinners. The father (Yahweh) grants the unrighteous and insulting demand. He distributes the estate property between his two sons. Yahweh grants the religious division of the nation desired by the two extreme parties.
There is no indication that the elder son attempts to reconcile his brother to either himself or his father. He refuses to either challenge the unrighteous demand of his brother, thus refusing to come to the defense of the insult against his father, or attempt to persuade his brother to withdraw such an improper, unrighteous, insulting request, thus refusing to work out his differences with his brother. He remains silent, even accepting his apportionment (Lk. 15:12b) of his father’s estate against custom and propriety, indicating his greedy heart.
Due to the older brother’s conflict with his younger brother, the younger brother, believing himself abused by both his brother and his father, bitterly has felt compelled to dishonor his father by demanding what he has no right to and abandoning the household of his father. Having turned his portion of the property possessions into fluid currency, he “travels into a far country and there dissipates his estate, living profligately” (Lk. 15:13b CV).
These occurrences are a parabolic description of the conflict between the Pharisees and scribes (the older brother) and the tribute collectors and sinners (the younger brother). In raising the ritualistic standards too high, the Pharisees and scribes made it too difficult for many Israelites to keep the law as interpreted by this religious elite. Frustrated and overwhelmed by these traditions and commandments of men who were attempting to ultra-seriously live by the letter of the law (but neglecting the spirit of the law), many Israelites were religiously, socially, economically, and politically pushed to the periphery, the circumference, the outskirts of Jewish life, becoming outcasts.
Such were the tribute collectors and sinners, who, having been pushed too far by the religious elite, figuratively sold their covenantal possessions, their covenantal standing, their covenantal rights by forsaking the keeping of Yahweh’s Law. These became defiled in the eyes of the religious elite. Close or intimate contact with them was deemed defiling. Therefore, they were to be avoided at all costs. Thus, these rebellious sons were forced outside the holy community of Yahweh, outside the protection of the Sinatic Covenant.
The overzealous attempt of the Pharisees and scribes to keep the righteousness of the letter of the law resulted in their dishonoring of Yahweh and their hatred of their brothers. Consequently, they failed to love Yahweh and their neighbor as themselves. They lawlessly failed to produce the essential spirit of the law. Thus, they themselves were living lawlessly. They were hypocrites. Many, of course, were not aware of this hypocrisy. They were ignorant as a result of the distorted interpretation of Yahweh’s Law by the corporate body representing the religious elite. These unaware ones sincerely believed they were fulfilling Yahweh’s Law. They were attempting to live righteously, and that meant separation from the lawless.
In the parable, the father grants the younger son the freedom to withdraw from him, but he does not grant him the right to forfeit sonship. Only the father has this right. The father continues to view him as a son. The father graciously endures both the insult of this younger son and the insult of the elder son. When the younger son realizes the value of that which he has lost, he comes to his senses; he comes into his right mind. He perceives the deception of his unrighteous anger against both his father and his brother. He comes to understand his unrighteous treatment of his father and becomes aware of his rebellious heart. He remembers who he is. He is a son in the wealthy household of a worthy, honorable, just father (a covenantal son in the household of Yahweh the holy Elohim of Israel, a citizen in the holy, elect nation blessed of Yahweh).
He longs to return home to his father, but knows such a return to be both dangerous and difficult. How will he be received? He is uncertain. But his mind and his heart know he must return. Here is a lost sheep desiring to return home but anxiously concerned about his reception. His change of heart and mind humbles him. He will return to his father declaring, “Father, I sinned against heaven and in your sight. No longer am I worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired men” (Lk. 15:18b-19 CV).
This precisely depicts parabolically the condition of the heart and mind of many of the tribute collectors and sinners at the arrival of John the Baptist and Jesus. They are longing to return to their covenantal home, to their Sinatic Covenantal status in the sight of Yahweh Elohim their covenantal Father. In their hearts, they are returning to Yahweh. But their elder brothers are a dangerous obstacle to their return. The Pharisees and scribes will not allow them to return.
However, their covenantal Father, seeing them still far away, that is, reading their hearts and having been patiently awaiting their return, compassionately and mercifully runs out to embrace them with loving, affectionate, filial kisses figuratively given in the ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus. The Baptist begins to manifest the compassionate and merciful love of Yahweh as a servant in the Sinatic Household. Jesus succeeds the Baptist, perfecting the compassion and mercy of Yahweh as the Only-Begotten Elder Son in the Household of Yahweh.
Jesus is the righteous Son of the Father missing in the
parable. He performs the mediating work of reconciliation which the Pharisees
and scribes had failed to perform. He is the proper, authentic Son of the
Father commissioned to restore His brothers, first, to their rightful status as
sons of Yahweh according to the Sinatic Covenant. Thus, He comes proclaiming
repentance for the forgiveness of sins; He comes eating and dining with His
brothers ostracized by the hypocritical religious elite; He comes as The Ideal
Shepherd of Yahweh carrying upon His shoulders the lost and confused sheep of
the house of
In these things, He manifests the compassion and mercy of His
loving Father. Jesus is the Son who manifests in His thinking, acting, and
teaching the character of the Father. He seeks the restoration of all the lost
sheep of the house of
The younger son in the parable had sinned against heaven, that is, against the heavenly Sinatic Covenant, and in the sight of Yahweh the One Living God of this terrestrial life-giving covenant. In restoring him to covenantal sonship with its filial rights and responsibilities, the Father rejoicefully announces, “for this my son was dead [covenantally], and is alive again [covenantally]; he was lost [outside Sinatic covenantal status], and is found [restored to Sinatic covenantal status]” (Lk. 15:24a KJV). Thereupon, the celebration begins, and so, explains the celebratory eating and dining of Jesus with the tribute collectors and sinners. The hypocritical Pharisees and scribes had complained about the Baptist’s ascetic lifestyle as well as the celebratory lifestyle of Jesus (Matt. 11:18-19; Lk. 7:33-34). In doing so, the Pharisees and scribes, first, insulted and dishonored the character and will of Yahweh their confessed Elohim, and, second, hatefully mistreated, abused lawlessly His straying, lost, confused sheep whose wounded hearts inwardly sought to return to the goodness of Yahweh and the safety of His covenant, but were being prevented by the Pharisees and scribes.
While the celebration begins in the village, the elder son is still working in the field. He perceives himself as going about his father’s business, even as the Pharisees and scribes perceive themselves as seriously attending scrupulously to the attainment of the righteousness of Yahweh’s Law. When the elder brother arrives from the field and learns of his younger brother’s return and his gracious reception by his father, he becomes resentfully indignant, refusing to participate in the celebration.
As the elder son, he is obligated to entertain the guests as co-host with his father. By refusing to enter the celebration, he is dishonoring his father publicly. His refusal to celebrate also reveals his hatred of his brother. He resents his brother’s return, especially under the shameful condition of this return. Again, the father acts graciously. He leaves the celebration to compassionately entreat the elder son to join in the festivities in celebration of the return of his lost brother.
The elder son, however, disrespectfully addresses his father, neglectfully omitting to use the customary respectful title Father. The anger in his heart being stirred up, he accuses his father of injustice,
Lo! so many years am I slaving for you, and I never passed by your precept [commandment], and you never give me [even] a kid [goat] that I may make merry with my friends. Yet when this son of yours came [returns], who is devouring your livelihood [possessions] with prostitutes, you sacrifice for him the grain-fed calf! (Luke 15:29b-30 CV)
The elder son perceives himself as “slaving” for the father his entire life. He claims never to have disregarded the father’s commandments. He has been an obedient son.
But his obedience is not due to his love of his father. He has been obedient as a slave. He has been living in his father’s household with the greedy and suspicious heart of an unscrupulous, disloyal slave. He has served the father only due to his greed for the father’s estate. In this attitude, he secretly desires the death of the father, for only upon the father’s death can the elder son come into practical possession of the estate.
He claims never to have disobeyed his father, but publicly humiliates him by refusing to join him in the celebration initiated by his own father in honor of the younger son, his own brother. He also disobeys the father by refusing to love his prodigal brother. In this, he rejects also the love his father willingly extends to his sinful brother. Thus, he has accused the father of favoritism, partiality.
In effect, he has said, You obviously love and value this worthless brother of mine more than you love and value my obedient service on your behalf. In this, he exposes both his hatred of his father as well as his hatred of his brother. He has taken for granted all the favor his father has extended to him over his entire lifetime, thus becoming unappreciative of his father’s graciousness toward him.
This is precisely Jesus’ charge against the Pharisee Simon, “Now to whom there is scant pardoning, there is scant loving” (Lk. 7:47b CV). The elder son has been oblivious to his own faults, his own sins against the father. He perceives himself as righteous, even more righteous than his father. In fact, he is no better than his prodigal brother. To the contrary, he is worse than his hated prodigal brother.
His rebellious brother was openly honest with his father. He was an honorable sinner. He exposed his contentious heart to his father, much like Job, though unlike Job, in that he is unjustified, but not without a certain degree of legitimate cause. The elder son hypocritically deceives the father. In his heart he opposes the father. He serves the father not as a beloved son, but as a malicious slave, willing the destruction of his brother and the death of his father. He obeys his father’s commandments only at the expense of his brother whom he seeks to devalue in the eyes of his father.
This is the attitude of a Cainite. This is the attitude of the Pharisees as a corporate body,
But woe to you, Pharisees! for you are taking tithes from mint and rue and all greens, and you are passing by judging [the righteous judgment of the spirit of the law] and the love of God [Yahweh]. Now these it was binding for you to do and not to be devoid of those. (Luke 11:42)
Outwardly, the Pharisees and scribes (the religious elite) appear to be worshiping and serving Yahweh, the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David, but this claim is deceptive, hypocritical; for this appearance hides their opposition to Yahweh and their opposition to His law which should have been dwelling in their hearts.
In actuality, they worship and serve The Adversary, their minds and hearts dwelling in the household of The Adversary as content children of Cain, desiring the covenantal death of their brothers and the death of the Elohim of Jesus. In spite of this opposition, the father in the parable (Yahweh) overlooks the omission of the title Father (disrespect of the Pharisees and scribes toward Jesus’ title, Son of Yahweh, and its authority); overlooks the unjustified anger (the hatred of the Pharisees and scribes who desire the death of Jesus); overlooks the arrogance (the self-righteousness of the Pharisees and scribes causing them to stubbornly resist the Gospel of repentance for the forgiveness of sins); overlooks the insult (the accusation of the Pharisees and scribes that Jesus is unjust, unrighteous, and casts out demons by Beelzebub); overlooks the distortion of fact (the teaching of the Pharisees and scribes which distorts the essential spirit of Yahweh’s Law).
Overlooking all these offenses, the loving father responds with compassion and mercy, addressing the rebellious son with the affectionate, though admonishing, title “child,” rather than “son.” “Child, you are always with me, and all mine is yours. Yet we must be merry and rejoice [it is necessary to be merry and to rejoice], seeing that this your brother was dead and revives, and was lost and was found” (Lk. 15:31-32 CV). The father is rejoicing over the return of the sinful younger son, but his joy remains incomplete, since his elder son is against him, his brother, and the entire household.
The father, desiring the reconciliation of the two sons and the unity of the entire household, does not reject the elder son. He endearingly attempts to lead the grieving, rebelliously immature child from immature, childish foolishness to the wisdom and truth of mature adulthood. The perfection of sonship maturity would reflect the wisdom and truth characteristic of the father: It is necessary to be merry and to rejoice over the salvation, the return to covenantal health, of any straying, wayward brother—thus, compassion, mercy, and righteous judgment according to the essential spirit of the Law of Yahweh mediated through Moses only to Yahweh’s elect, holy nation.
Here again we meet the essence of the Mosaic Law: “Hear, O
Jesus, in the telling of this parable, as the True, Obedient Elder Covenantal Son of Yahweh and the Loving Covenantal Brother, seeks to reconcile, to restore, His Pharisaic brothers to covenantal fellowship with Yahweh, with Himself, with the repenting tribute collectors and sinners, and with the rest of the repenting Israelites. He admonishes His pharisaic brothers to repent of their covenantal childishness and receive graciously the forgiveness of their covenantal Father, restoring them to the covenantal maturity that reflects the sound mind and heart of Yahweh. To continue in their present, imprudent childishness is to court Yahweh’s impending judgment against the children of Cain, the sons of The Adversary, the apostate Cainite nation of Israel according to flesh. This admonition is also a warning to those disobedient covenantal sons among the tribute collectors and sinners who also may continue in their blatant sins against Yahweh and His gracious covenant.
The ending of this parable is left open. There is still time left for repentance. The Pharisees and scribes as well as the tribute collectors and sinners must make a decision one way or the other. The eschatological crisis demands an eschatological choice. No Israelite will be allowed to remain neutral. One must either choose Yahweh (Jesus and the proclamation of the Gospel of the Kingdom of the Heavens) or The Adversary (the Cainite sons among the chief priests, priests, Sadducees, Pharisees, and scribes ruling the apostate nation). Yahweh’s judgment against the apostate nation and adversarial kingdom is imminent. The time is short. The Father is compassionately pleading with His people to return to Him. His pleading will not be in vain. His people (His sheep) will hear His voice and rejoice in His salvation.
Many from among the Chief Priests, priests, Sadducees, Pharisees, and scribes will forsake the adversarial kingdom with its apostate rulers and teachers. Many will flee to the covenantal safety of the righteous New Davidic Kingdom of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of David, under His apostolic administrators. Many will commit themselves to the persecution and suffering associated with Jesus and the Gospel of the Kingdom of the Heavens, rather than the temporary enjoyment of sin among the sons of Cain which culminates in the eschatological judgment of Yahweh with its concomitant loss of Celestial Allotment.
Many will remember this parable and, like David, after hearing Nathan’s parable and being told by the prophet Nathan, “Thou art the man” (2 Sam. 12:7 KJV), those sinning religious elites, whose hearts are circumcised as David’s heart, will sorrowfully utter from the depth of their circumcised hearts the confession of David, “I have sinned against Yahweh” (2 Sam. 12:13a). These repentant, circumcised-in-heart, contemporary Jews will once again hear the merciful response placed in the mouth of Nathan by Yahweh, “The Lord [Yahweh] also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die” (2 Sam. 12:13b).
Finally, Jesus approaches
He spoke a parable because of His being near
In this parable, a man of nobility journeys to a far country
in order to obtain for himself a kingdom. Note, this nobleman seeks a kingdom
for HIMSELF. This refers to the Davidic Kingdom covenanted to Jesus as the Son
of David by Yahweh His Father (see Lk.
CV). This kingdom is to be distinguished from the
Having obtained this kingdom, the nobleman is to return. In this parable the return refers to Jesus’ return after His death, resurrection, and ascension to His Father (see Jn. 20:17). Thus, Jesus, having obtained the Davidic Kingdom from His Father, returns to instruct His disciples, promising them the gift of the holy spirit which He pours out upon them at Pentecost.
This gift of the holy spirit is the fulfillment of the nobleman’s giving to ten of his slaves ten minas (the equivalent of three months wages). The number ten represents indefiniteness. Thus, the ten slaves represent all those who will become slaves of Jesus the Messiah after His death, resurrection, and ascension to His Father. The ten minas given to His slaves represent the rich indefiniteness (diversity) of the powerful gifts of the holy spirit poured out upon the slaves of Jesus the Messiah beginning at Pentecost (see Acts 2:1‑18, 33), fulfilling the prophecy of John the Baptist, “He will be baptizing you in holy spirit . . .” (Lk. 3:16b CV); “This is he Who is baptizing in holy spirit” (Jn. 1:33b CV).
With this endowment, the slaves of Jesus the Messiah are to “Go into business in the interest of My coming” (Lk. 19:13b my translation). Notice, the slaves are to be conducting the business of their master’s kingdom in the interest of his coming, not his return, as in verse 12. The nobleman’s coming represents the Parousia/Approach of Jesus the Messiah at the end of the Mosaic Eon. The slaves of Jesus the Messiah are to be carrying on the work of the newly restored Davidic Kingdom which is the kingdom covenanted to Jesus by His Father.
This Davidic Kingdom is the Kingdom of Jesus the Messiah obtained at His ascension to the Father, at which time He ascended the throne of David His father. During this reign, His Apostles carry out the great commission given to them after His return from the ascension to the Father. This reign would continue until the final defeat of His enemies in 70 a.d.
Having obtained His kingdom and having commissioned his slaves, the parable, using double entendre, refers to the two departures of the nobleman. As he begins his first departure (his journey to Jerusalem where Jesus the nobleman of the parable will obtain for Himself a kingdom by subjecting Himself, in obedience to His Father, Yahweh, to a crucifixion death, “His exodus, which He was about to be completing in Jerusalem” [Lk. 9:31b CV]), his citizens who hate him (the apostate Jewish rulers and teachers) dispatch an embassy to the Roman Procurator, Pontius Pilate, in essence, declaring, “We do not want this man to reign over us!” (Lk. 19:14 CV), in fact, declaring (in response to Pilate’s question, “Shall I crucify your King?”), “No King have we except Caesar?” (Jn. 19:15 CV).
The parable, thus, forewarns the people concerning Jesus’ imminent
rejection by their leaders during His soon–to-occur entrance into
This victory over Apostate Israel would only occur after the Nobleman’s second departure. This second departure would take place following the Nobleman’s return after receiving the Kingdom. For Jesus, the first departure took place after His death, resurrection, and ascension to His Father at which time He received His kingdom. Having received His Davidic Kingdom from Yahweh, the Elohim of Israel, Jesus returned to Jerusalem and taught His Apostles during a period of 40 days (Luke 19:13, by double entendre, refers to the actual events described in Acts 1:3-5).
Just prior to departing a second time, Jesus promised to send His Apostles the promised spirit (Acts 1:1-5). After this second departure and the pouring out of the spirit at the Festival of Pentecost of Acts, chapter 2, the apostate Jewish rulers and teachers, rejecting the testimony of the spirit, in essence, dispatched an embassy to Yahweh declaring, “We do not want this man to reign over us!” (Lk. 19:14b CV). Thus began the civil war, a kingdom against a kingdom, a nation against a nation (Matt. 24:7); the New Davidic Kingdom of Jesus the Messiah against the old, decrepit Sinatic Kingdom of Saul; the New-Born-From-Above Israel of Yahweh against the old Apostate Israel of Cain.
Chronologically, the parable now leaps to the conclusion of the Davidic Kingdom, the conclusion of the Mosaic Eon. The nobleman, having obtained his kingdom and having fulfilled the purpose of his reign (the period of his parousia/approach), comes back, arrives again (his parousia/arrival). At his parousia/arrival (his final presence), he first summons his slaves, rewarding the faithful and judging the unfaithful (the wicked or malignant slaves, Lk. 19:22). Then he deals with his enemies,
However, these, my enemies, who are not willing for me to reign over them—lead them here and slay them in front of me. (Luke 19:27)
The slaying of the enemies in the presence of the nobleman-king refers to the Parousia/Arrival of Jesus the Messiah and His judgment of His enemies (the apostate rulers, teachers, and people making up the apostate nation and kingdom of Israel according to flesh), fulfilled in 70 a.d. with the destruction of Jerusalem and the burning of the Temple made with hands.
Journeying to the
The king [David] also said unto them, Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride upon mine own mule, . . . and blow ye with the trumpet, . . . that he may come and sit upon my throne; for he shall be king in my stead: and I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and over Judah. (1 Kings 1:33-35 KJV)
Jesus is the ultimate, the final Son of David. He has been
appointed prophetically by both David and Yahweh to be ruler over Israel and
Judah, the undivided kingdom of David. This entrance into
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of
Thus, Jesus approaches
the entire multitude of the disciples begins rejoicing,
praising God with a loud voice concerning all the powerful deeds which they
perceived, saying, “Blessed be the King coming in the name of the Lord! In [the
interest of] heaven [
Matthew provides additional color to this scene:
others [of His disciples] chopped boughs from the trees and strewed them in the road. Now the throngs [of those other disciples] preceding and following Him cried, saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed be He Who is coming in the name of the Lord!’ Hosanna among the highest!” (Matthew 21:8-9 CV)
This is a typical procession inaugurating a new king in
Hearing and observing this homage, some of the Pharisees apart
from the throng are offended. The acceptance of such inappropriate adoration is
perceived by them as illegitimate arrogance. These Pharisees exclaim, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” (Lk.
19:39b CV). They acknowledge Jesus as a teacher in
Jesus rejects the implication of their complaint. The present moment is one of prophetic destiny. If His disciples were to be silenced, the lifeless stones would cry out the adoration due Him as the only legitimate Son of David and the Only-Begotten Son of Yahweh Elohim.
These Pharisees remain the victims of the commandments and traditions of apostate rulers and teachers. Behind the hypocritical masks of these pseudo, hireling shepherds are the faces of diabolically arrogant Cainites opposed to the voice and word of Yahweh Elohim. These Pharisees ignorantly believe the deception of the hypocritical masks of the sons of Cain while rejecting the truth of the unveiled face of Jesus the Messiah.
Their destiny, however, is not yet determined. There is yet a season
remaining for salvation. Repentance is still possible. They sought Jesus’
rebuke of His disciples; instead, they themselves receive the rebuke of Jesus. The
rebuke of Jesus will give them something to think about. If they love truth,
such a rebuke, together with the events imminently
to occur, will become weeds in their path, “each weed . . . a single knife.” If
they love Yahweh, they will follow Jesus along His pathway to truth, even as
Zaccheus, a chief tribute collector, who, when confronted by Jesus just prior
to His entry into
“Lo! the half of my possessions, Lord, I am giving to the poor! And if from anyone I get anything by blackmail, I am giving back fourfold.” Now Jesus said to him that “Today salvation came to this home, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of the Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:8-10 CV)
The complaining Pharisees have rebuked Jesus for allowing His
disciples to rejoice over His salvific entrance into
His compassion over the condition of
If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time [era] of thy visitation. (Luke 19:42-44 KJV)
In this lament, Jesus alludes to Deuteronomy 31:29, the lament
of Moses over
For I know that after my death you shall bring ruin, yea ruin on yourselves; you will withdraw from the way that I enjoined on you, and the evil visitation will befall you in the latter days, for you shall do the thing that is evil in the eyes of Yahweh so as to provoke Him to vexation by the work of your hands. (CV)
She had never completely recuperated from that evil
visitation. The arrival of John the Baptist and Jesus initiated Yahweh’s final
visitation of His nation. For Apostate Israel it was to be an evil visitation. For
During the early ministry of Jesus, John records, “And near was the Passover of the Jews, and
Jesus went up into
Take these away hence, and do not be making My Father's house a house for a merchant's store. (John 2:16 CV)
This initial cleansing at the beginning of His ministry has to
do with Apostate Israel’s making the
Jesus as the Only-Begotten Son of Yahweh faithfully attempts to correct an unacceptable, contaminating use of the house of His Father. As the Messiah, the Anointed One of the Father, Yahweh, He acts on behalf of His Father’s interests. He acts in the defense of the Mosaic Law. What the Aaronic Priesthood fails to do, “Yahweh said to Aaron: You and your sons and your father’s house with you shall bear any depravity committed against the sanctuary, . . .” (Num. 18:1a CV), Jesus the Anointed One of Yahweh faithfully carries out.
The priesthood was to “warn
the sons of
At this first cleansing of the
It is written, “My house shall also be a house of prayer [Isa. 56:7]” yet you make it a burglars’ cave [a den of thieves, Jer. 7:11]. (Luke 19:46 CV)
At the last cleansing of the
begins to cast out those who are selling and buying in it, saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall also be a house of prayer,’ yet you make it a burglars’ cave.” (Luke 19:45-46 CV)
Here, His objection is not only to the practice of merchandizing which the chief priests and rulers had continued to support and condone, but also to the avaricious and dishonest conduction of business. He accuses those selling and buying of turning His Father’s house into a den of thieves rather than a house of prayer which it is intended to be. His charge is supported with a quote taken from Isaiah 56:7 and Jeremiah 7:11.
The context within which Isaiah 56:7 is found has to do with the participation of the Gentiles, the peoples other than Israelites, in the worship and service of Yahweh in His house:
I bring them [Gentiles]
also to My holy mountain [the
This right of the Gentiles to participate in the worship and
service of Yahweh in His house, to rejoice together with His people in the
Thus saith the Lord [Yahweh], On account of you my name is continually blasphemed among the Gentiles.
Paul quotes this same Septuagint text in his accusation
against the teachers of
you are despoiling the sanctuary! [You] who are boasting in a law, through the transgression of the law you are dishonoring God! For because of you the name of God is being blasphemed among the nations, according as it is written. (Romans 2:23b-24 CV)
Thus, Jesus, in cleansing the
This judgment against the
Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Will
ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, . . . And come and
stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are
delivered to do all these abominations? Is this house, which is called by my
name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith
[Yahweh]. But go ye now unto my place
which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it
for the wickedness of my people
The Tabernacle at Shiloh had been defiled by the sons of Eli
who, attempting to defeat the Philistines in battle, led the Ark of the Covenant
into the battle encampment of
As Yahweh had destroyed His Tabernacle at Shiloh and, later,
His Temple in Jerusalem, withdrawing the glory of His presence, so Jesus
confirms the final destruction of the Temple made with hands. The apostate
rulers and teachers had failed to amend their ways. They had failed to heed the
warning of Jesus’ opening salvo against them and their abominations. As they
had taken possession of Yahweh’s house, robbing Him of His possession by making
it their own, so Yahweh would do to them and their house what He had done to the
Tabernacle at Shiloh and the Solomonic Temple in
According to Luke’s account, after the second and last cleansing of the Temple, Jesus continues “teaching daily in the sanctuary, yet the chief priests and the scribes and the foremost of the people sought to destroy Him” (Lk. 19:47 CV). The apostate leaders, the hireling shepherds, and the elite citizens of the Cainite people seek to destroy Jesus in order to hold on to their burglarized plunder. They avariciously seek to maintain their power and authority over the people. This corporate body of authority consists of the chief priests, the scribes, and the distinguished aristocracy of social rank, economic wealth, and privileged education. They cling, not to Yahweh, but to their privileged positions of power and wealth.
This necessitates control and sway over the people (the sheep of Yahweh’s flock). These sons of Cain fear the capricious nature of the people (seed of the Woman):
And, seeking to hold Him, they were afraid of the throngs [the people], since they [the people] had Him [took Him] for a prophet. (Matthew 21:46 CV)
Seeking to destroy Him, they found the people to be an obstacle not easily removed because “all the people, hearing [Jesus], hung on Him” (Lk. CV).
The people, the sheep of the flock, the children of the Woman (Eve), though having been deceived and led astray, cling to the teaching of Jesus, their ears hanging on each word out of His mouth. The people are not capricious. They may be weak, and they may be blind. They may be hard of hearing, but they still can recognize faintly the voice of the Good Shepherd and are sincerely attracted to that voice. The apostate rulers, teachers, and elite citizens have legitimate cause to fear these people.
Though many scholars teach that these people forsook Jesus, demanding He be crucified, the inspired texts do not warrant such a conclusion. When Jesus is put on trial before Pilate, Pilate calls together the chief priests, the chiefs, and the people (Lk. 23:13 CV). He does not call together the leaders and the throngs (the people hanging on the words of Jesus, the people feared by the leaders). He calls together the chief priests, the religious leaders, and the “foremost of the people” (Lk. 19:47 CV) who gather together their own people, those who share their religious, political, social, and economic interests.
Now Pilate, calling together the chief priests and the chiefs and the people [the foremost of the people and their followers], said to them, “You bring to me this man as one who is turning away the people [those people the rulers and teachers fear], and lo! I, . . . found in this man not one fault of which you are accusing him.” (Luke 23:13-14 CV)
The people before Pilate (not the throngs clinging to Jesus whom the chief priests, scribes, and foremost of the people fear) as “one multitude” cry out, “Away with this one!” (Lk. CV) and, finally, “Crucify, crucify him!” (Lk. CV). Luke’s account concludes,
Yet they [the people as one multitude] importuned with loud voices, requesting that He [Jesus] be crucified. And their voices and the chief priests’ prevailed. (Luke 23:23 CV)
This unanimous multitude of the people cannot be the throng which during that same week the chief priests, the scribes, and the foremost of the people feared so much. The throng had hindered their effort to kill Jesus.
Knowing the intent of these sons of Cain in whose hearts is the hatred of their righteous brother, the Son of Yahweh, the One Who has come in the interest of His Father to call these thieves to account, Jesus tells the people The Parable of the Vineyard (Lk. 20:9-16; Matt. 21:33-41; Mk. 12:1-9) within the hearing range of His enemies. Though addressed to the people, the parable is primarily aimed at the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders who are standing by seeking an opportunity against Him. According to the parable, a certain man plants a vineyard and leases it to a group of tenants. This man then goes away for a considerable time. The tenants have contracted to tend the vineyard and cultivate its fruit.
After the passing of the necessary seasons allowing the vineyard to become fruitful, the owner of the vineyard, during the season of harvest, sends one of his slaves to collect his contractual share of the fruit. The tenants, however, “lashing him, send him away empty” (Lk. 20:10b CV). The owner then commissions another of his slaves, “Yet that one also, lashing and dishonoring, those men [tenants] send away empty” (Lk. 20:11b CV). A third commissioned slave is wounded and cast out of the vineyard empty-handed.
Now the lord of the vineyard said, “What shall I be doing? I shall be sending my son, the beloved. Him they will be respecting equally with me.” (Luke 20:13 CV)
The lord of the vineyard, having been denied his contractual rights to the fruit of the vineyard by the tenants’ abuse of his commissioned slaves, decides to commission his son with the authority to receive from the contracted tenants his contractual share of the fruit. He assumes the tenants will extend to the beloved son the honor due his father, the lord of the vineyard. But the tenants, recognizing the beloved son,
reasoned with one another, saying, “This is the enjoyer of the allotment [the sole heir]. Hither! We should be killing him, that the enjoyer of the allotment may become ours.” And, casting him outside of the vineyard, they kill him. (Luke 20:14b-15a CV)
The parable obviously summarizes the rebellious history of the
apostate nation. The lord of the vineyard represents Yahweh Elohim. The
vineyard represents the nation
However, the rulers and teachers of
The qualitative difference between the people hearing this parable and the chief priests, scribes, and elders listening at a distance is revealed in the response of the tenants to the sending of the beloved son of the lord of the vineyard. The tenants recognize the beloved son of the lord of the vineyard. They recognize his identity as the sole heir to the vineyard. They do not act ignorantly in blindness. They perceive the identity and authority of the Only-Begotten Son. On the basis of their knowledge concerning His identity and authority, they rationally decide to murder him in order that they might secure the heirship to the vineyard for themselves.
Thus, like Cain, they are not deceived into murder. Knowing all the facts, they act rebelliously against the known will and right of Yahweh. They oppose Yahweh openly, defiantly, seeking to vindicate their claim as the worthy and honorable firstborn sons of Yahweh and Adam, those truly worthy of being elohim (subjectors, rulers), sons in the glorious image and likeness of both Yahweh Elohim and Adam elohim, king over Yahweh Elohim’s Kingdom of the heavens and the earth (His terrestrial kingdom).
Thus, their claim is against the Abelites. To these Cainites, the Abelites represent the inferior sons of Adam and Yahweh. They perceive the Abelites as weak and foolish, unwise and unworthy. The Cainites seek to harness the creation so as to manipulate it to perform their bidding.
But this they attempt to do in opposition to Yahweh Elohim. They
desire and demand personal vindication. By opposing Yahweh, they seek to exact,
compel His approval. They seek to prove that they are thinking and acting as
Yahweh Elohim. They have bought into the wisdom of the serpent spoken in
Elohim knows that in the day that you eat of it [the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil], unclosed shall be your eyes, and you shall become as Elohim, knowing [practically controlling, harnessing] good and evil. (Genesis 3:5 my translation)
Such wisdom is relative and partial. Such wisdom transforms relative truth into the falsely absolute. Such wisdom acknowledges man as the equal of Yahweh Elohim, thereby making men elohim, gods, eventually transcending dependence upon the creator and sustainer of life, Yahweh Elohim. Hence, these sons conclude that to honor their father (Yahweh Elohim), they must prove to be His equal.
After Jesus relates the response of the tenants to the arrival of the beloved son of the lord of the vineyard, He asks,
What, then, will the lord of the vineyard be doing to them? He will be coming and destroying these farmers [tenants] and will be giving the vineyard to others. (Luke 20:15b-16a CV)
The apostate rulers and teachers and the apostate nation will be destroyed and the rule of the nation given to others. The people, of course, are not aware of who these others are. This has not been revealed to them as yet. The others refer to Jesus and His disciples. However, the people being ignorant of whom the others are, fearfully respond, “May it not be coming to that!” (Lk. 20:16b CV), believing that this would mean another defeat at the hands of the gentiles, most likely the Roman Empire, and another period of scattering among the nations, another period of captivity and shame, rather than the expected restoration of the Davidic Kingdom to Israel.
Jesus, understanding the misconception of their ignorance concerning Himself, His mission, and His apostles, looking at them intently with compassion, declares,
What, then, is this that is written, “The stone which is rejected by the builders, This came to be for the head of the corner?” Everyone falling on that stone shall be shattered, yet on whomever it should be falling, it will be scattering him like chaff. (Luke 20:17-18 CV)
He Himself is the stone rejected by the builders, the chief priests, scribes, and elders (the apostate rulers and teachers). He is about to be rejected by the apostate leaders of Apostate Israel. He knows the rebellious hatred in their hearts toward the Only-Begotten Son of Yahweh Elohim. He knows these Cainites recognize Who He is and from Whom His authority comes. He knows they are aware of His purpose. He knows they perceive Him as an Abelite and therefore as their enemy.
He sees through their hypocritical masks while they, eyes
unclosed, see Him for Who He actually is, in contrast to the people whose eyes
are closed to the full identity of Jesus. The people acknowledge Jesus as a
prophet, a son of David, and thus heir to David’s throne. They are blind to the
evil machinations of their leaders. They are blind to the necessity of the
death of Jesus. They are blind to the reality of the two
Jesus, as the rejected stone by the apostate rulers and the soon to be made cornerstone by Yahweh, will affect all Israelites in one of two ways. For everyone falling on this stone, the stone will shatter the unbelief of their ignorance due to blindness, resulting in their salvation. Thus, this stone becomes a stone of stumbling, the tripping upon which causes the falling upon the stone, resulting in the shattering of one’s unbelief due to one’s ignorance. This is confirmed by Paul when he asks,
Has God rejected his people? (Romans 11:1a RSV)
May it not be coming to that! For I also am an Israelite, out of Abraham’s seed, Benjamin’s tribe. God does not thrust away His people whom He foreknew. . . . I am saying, then, Do they not trip that they should be falling? May it not be coming to that! (Romans 11:1b, 2a, 11a CV)
Saul/Paul stumbled over the stone of stumbling, shattering the
unbelief of his ignorance. On the road to
However, everyone upon whom the stone falls will be scattered like chaff. Such a person will be destroyed by the stone. Such a person will be characterized as opposed to Yahweh and His Anointed One with eyes unclosed. These will choose the way of the Cainites. These will characterize themselves as apostate Israelites. They reject Jesus the Messiah as cornerstone with their eyes wide open.
Though the people (the lost sheep of
As Isaiah the prophet sang his song of Yahweh’s abused vineyard,
Now will I sing to my well-beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My well-beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: and he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. (Isaiah 5:1-2 KJV)
so, also, Jesus the Messiah, privately to His apostles, in the midst of the events taking place during His final visitation of Jerusalem, sings His song of Yahweh’s fruitful vineyard,
I am the true Grapevine, and My Father is the Farmer. Every branch in Me bringing forth no fruit, He is taking it away, and every one bringing forth fruit, He is cleansing it, that it may be bringing forth more fruit. . . . I am the Grapevine. You are the branches. He who is remaining in Me, and I in him, this one is bringing forth much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. (John 15:1-2, 5 CV)
Jesus Himself is Yahweh’s true vineyard. He is the new,
Those branches bringing forth no fruit are removed from the vine. These branches represent the tares in The Parable of the Tares (Matt. -43). They are apostate Israelites infiltrating the Israel of Yahweh on behalf of the apostate rulers and teachers seeking to destroy the Israel of Yahweh, the new, righteous vine in the new righteous vineyard of Yahweh.
Those branches bringing forth fruit will undergo the pruning of the sufferings of Messiah, the persecution on account of the righteousness of the Kingdom, resulting in the production of even more fruit. These faithful branches remaining true to Jesus the Messiah to the end of the Mosaic Eon will participate in the grapevine’s celestial replanting:
In My Father's house are many abodes; . . . I am going to make ready a place for you. . . . I am coming again and I will be taking you along to Myself, that where I am, you also may be. (John 14:2-3 CV)
Jesus is the true, righteous, holy vine of Yahweh. Jesus is
the vine of
Simon Peter is saying to Him, “Lord, whither art Thou going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going, you can not follow Me now, yet you shall be following subsequently.” (John 13:36 CV)
According to the record of Acts, Peter proclaimed, “Repent and be baptized each of you in the
name of Jesus Messiah for the pardon of your sins, and you shall be obtaining
the gratuity of the holy spirit” (Acts 2:38 CV), and “Be saved from this crooked generation!” (Acts 2:40b CV). Those observing
the results of the pouring out of Yahweh’s spirit and believing Peter’s word
and being baptized were “about three
thousand souls” (Acts 2:41b CV). This was just the beginning of the success
of the Gospel of Messiah. At Peter’s second proclamation of the Gospel, the
people (Acts 4:1) hearing and believing numbered “about five thousand” (Acts 4:4 CV). Yahweh’s word does not return
to Him empty, “And the word of God grows,
and the number of the disciples in
Having overheard The Parable of the Vineyard, the scribes and chief priests perceive clearly that Jesus “told this parable in regard to them” (Lk. 20:19b CV). They understand the parable. They recognize Jesus as their enemy. He is a threat to the vineyard of their triumphant, ingenious conquest. They had acquired this vineyard at a great expenditure of thought and deed. Thus, they perceived it as theirs on the basis of the strength and ingenuity of their noble intelligence and endeavors. They would maintain their right to the vineyard even if that necessitated the murder of a weak, impractical, but dangerous brother.
Hence, these apostate rulers, these Cainites “seek to lay hands on Him in this hour” (Lk. 20:19a CV), but they are “afraid of the people, for they know that He told this parable in regard to them [the apostate rulers]” (Lk. 20:19b CV). They are afraid that if Jesus is allowed to continue, He will unmask them before the eyes of the people. The eyes of the people must not be unclosed. They have worked diligently at sealing the eyelids of the people. By this means they have maintained control over the people, thus gathering the fruit of the vineyard for themselves.
These chief priests and scribes realize they can wait no longer to deliver Jesus “up to the sovereignty and the jurisdiction of the governor” (Lk. 20:20b CV). He must be put to death as a criminal and humiliated in the eyes of the people. The reverent attitude of the people toward Jesus must be destroyed. His reputation in their eyes must be devastated. This necessitated a thorough humiliation. What greater humiliation can be brought upon a messiah-figure than the humiliation of crucifixion! Jesus must be delivered up to the Roman governor.
A trap is set. Emissaries are sent into the sanctuary to ask Him a question meant to justify their charge of treason against Caesar. Pretending to be sincerely and justly interested in obedience to Yahweh’s Law, thus continuing to dramatically don their faces with the mask of the concerned shepherd for the sheep, they cunningly inquire of Him,
Teacher, we are aware that you are saying and teaching correctly [an outright lie], and are not taking the surface view [not showing partiality but judging justly], but of a truth the way of God you are teaching. Is it allowed us [Jews] to give a tax to Caesar, or not? (Luke 20:21b-22 CV)
These deceitful liars are aware of the authoritative teaching of Jesus. They have not been able to refute His exposition of the law. Neither, however, have they submitted to His authoritative teaching. Unable to refute or trap Him, they still remain opposed to Him. Cunningly, they continue their inquiry with another flattering lie: He teaches the way of Yahweh. This they are far from believing as a corporate body (though individually many among them have been impressed with His teaching and privately remain attracted, but as yet uncommitted one way or the other).
The actual truth of the matter is that Jesus not only teaches the Way of Yahweh (the essential spirit of the law as delivered and instructed to Moses, Deut. 9:12), He had claimed He is The Way:
I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one is
coming to the Father except through
If these sons of Cain had believed that Jesus taught the Way of Yahweh, as revealed through
Moses, they would have been worshipers and servers of Yahweh, Elohim of
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, and Jesus. But Jesus had already charged
them with not worshiping and serving His
Father, Yahweh Elohim of Israel, but their own father, The Adversary, Satan,
and Cain the first murderer and the first blatant liar in the presence of
Yahweh Elohim (see Jn. 8:34-47, especially v. 44, CV). These apostate
Israelites are members of the final, evil, crooked generation of
Then, Yahweh said to me [Moses]: Arise! Go down quickly hence, for your people, whom you
brought forth from
These murderous, lying sons of Cain flagrantly refuse to come to Yahweh Elohim the Father of Jesus. In rejecting and seeking to kill Jesus, they cut themselves off from the one and only way to come to the Father, Yahweh Elohim. They reject and brazenly oppose the Way, the Truth, and the Life of Yahweh Elohim, choosing instead the way, the truth, and the life of proud, defiant, majestically arrogant Cain, the Hebrew archetype upon which the Greek Prometheus is based. This is the way of those showing partiality and trafficking in false, expedient answers among the people of Yahweh.
Having flatteringly set the stage for their deceitful inquiry, these hypocritical emissaries finally pose their question concerning the payment of taxes to Caesar. Jesus, aware of their craftiness, calls for a denarius, the coin of Caesar used to pay the imperial tax. He then asks,
“Whose image and inscription has it?” Now answering, they say, “Caesar’s.” Now He said to them, “Now then, be paying Caesar’s to Caesar, and God’s [Yahweh’s] to God [Yahweh].” (Luke 20:24b-25 CV)
This alludes directly to the preceding Parable of the Vineyard just recently addressed to the people within the hearing of the chief priests, scribes, and elders of the people. The vineyard belongs to Yahweh. The fruit belongs to Yahweh. Pay to Yahweh what belongs to Yahweh.
As Caesar’s image and inscription is embossed upon his
denarius, his coinage, so also is Yahweh’s image and inscription embossed upon
the people of His coinage.
But the apostate treasurers had minted their own counterfeit coinage, passing them off as Yahweh’s authentic coinage. This counterfeit coinage, however, was worthless when presented to Yahweh for payment granting covenantal life and blessing. Yahweh’s coinage had been corrupted, tainted by the counterfeit embossing of the traditions and commandments of apostate men. The coinage needed cleansing for acceptable presentation to Yahweh as payment for covenantal life.
John the Baptist and Jesus had been commissioned by Yahweh to provide such cleansing. The people in great numbers had responded to the call of the Baptist and Jesus, in spite of their ignorance due to covenantal blindness, in spite of the counterfeit embossing of the traditions and commandments of their shameful rulers and teachers.
Render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar answers Jesus. But, more importantly, Jesus advisedly warns, render to Yahweh what belongs to Yahweh. All of you, together with all the people, belong to Yahweh contractually, covenantally. Do not deceive yourselves. You cannot successfully rob Yahweh of what is His. The time for repentance and remorse is short. Yahweh’s judgment against the thieves in His household is imminently impending. Render to Yahweh what is Yahweh’s!
But the apostate sons of Cain close their ears to the plea of the Beloved Son, secretly, under the darkness of night, seizing and dragging Him before the members of their ruling body, the Sanhedrin, in the presence of whom He is officially condemned to death, after which He is given into the hands of the gentiles for execution (cast outside the vineyard and killed). They would be judged out of their own mouths,
Evil men! Evilly will he [Yahweh] be destroying them [the unjust tenants of the vineyard], and the vineyard will he be leasing to other farmers [tenants], who will be rendering the fruits to him in their seasons. (Matthew 21:41 CV)
These sons of Cain prepare to imitate their father. The warning of Jesus is equivalent to the warning given to Cain by Yahweh:
And Yahweh is saying to Cain, “Why does your anger continue burning hot? Why is your face fallen? If you should be doing well, your face you will be lifting up. But if you continue doing not well, sin is crouching before the opening of the womb of your heart. Master it! Do not permit it to wickedly leap forth.” (Genesis 4:6-7 my translation)
Like Cain, these apostate, rebellious sons of
These haughty sons of Cain are determined to demonstrate their strength, their ingenuity, and their worthiness, proving themselves to be the righteous, authentic firstborn sons of Yahweh, Adam, Abraham, and Jacob. They will lift up their humiliated faces reflecting the majestic triumph resulting from their contemptuously bold act of rebellious vengeance. They will glorify themselves as the only legitimate heirs of Yahweh. In their eyes, they alone reflect His glorious likeness and image. His approval cannot and will not be denied. They will be vindicated!
As a result of this hubristic confidence, these apostate sons of Cain believe Yahweh their Elohim and Father will finally embrace them, restoring their honor and place as the rightful firstborn ones. Thus, these presumptuous sons of Cain premeditatively prepare for the crucifixion death of the (in their eyes) unjustly favored Abelite son of Yahweh Elohim, a brother worthy of death, a necessary death in the achievement of their own long-awaited, justified exaltation.