The Wicked Husbandman
Matt. 21:33-46 - Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: 34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. 35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. 37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. 38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. 39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. 40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? 41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. 42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. 44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. 45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. 46 But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.
Mark 12:1-12 - And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country. 2 And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty. 4 And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled. 5 And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some. 6 Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son. 7 But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours. 8 And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. 9 What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others. 10 And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner: 11 This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 12 And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way.
Luke 20:9-20 - Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time. 10 And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty. 11 And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty. 12 And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out. 13 Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him. 14 But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours. 15 So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? 16 He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid. 17 And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? 18 Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. 19 And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them. 20 And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.
This parable is the second of three parables which Christ gave to the Pharisees, showing that He was leaving them, because of their utter and complete disbelief, and giving his power, authority, and gospel message to the Gentiles. This is a gradual transition, as the Gentile church was originally made up of only Jews. As time passes, and the Jewish Christians fulfilled the Great Commission (going first to Jerusalem, then to all Judea, then to the uttermost parts of the world) the local churches gradually filled more and more with Gentile believers. After a while, there are very few Jewish believers, but there are a multitude of Gentile believers. This fulfills Romans 9:22-24. This passage explains that God has turned from 2% of the world population (Jews) and turned to 98% of the world population (Gentiles).
There is a parallel between the three parables of Matthew 21:23 - 22:14 and the three parables of Luke 15:1-32. Both of these sets of three parables teach the same truth. The Israelite religious leaders do not have the truth of God, nor do they have any joy when others receive the truth. The religious leaders of the Jews will travel many miles to make a single proselyte, making that person a two fold child of hell, yet they are extremely unhappy (even to the point of killing their own Messiah) when a person comes to the truth. In the case of the elder brother, he would have been happier if his prodigal brother had remained in a foreign country, feeding swine and eating forbidden food. The elder brother is typical of the Jewish religious leaders, who would have been much happier if they had been allowed to continue in their own traditions, and their prodigal brothers left in unbelief. The Jews are very sure they have the truth, yet they have followed the traditions of the elders, studying their books, instead of studying the Word of God which would have led them into all truth. The Israelite religious leaders never understand one simple truth - God is love, which causes believers to love others - even when they disagree.
I. The interpretation of the parable is given by Christ in verse 42-44.
A. Verse 43 - A correct definition of the kingdom of God is essential for the proper interpretation of this verse.
1. The four aspects of the kingdom of God is as follows: The kingdom of God will be visible removed from one locality to another. The four aspects of the kingdom of God are:
a. A present spiritual reality - As revealed in the heart of every believer. (There is an acceptance of Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.
b. A present physical reality - As revealed in the nation of Israel when Christ gave this parable, but revealed in the true churches of the Lord Jesus Christ now.
c. A future spiritual reality - As revealed to all saved people after they die, and before they rule with Christ during the millennium and on the new earth.
d. A future physical reality - As revealed during the millennium and on the new earth.
2. The aspect of the kingdom of God that will removed from Israel is the spiritual reality, but it will be clearly seen and understood by all that it is moved.
a. Verse 42 clearly explains that the reason Christ will remove the spiritual aspect from the nation of Israel is because they have individually rejected Christ as their spiritual leader.
b. The Jews wanted the physical aspect of the kingdom of God, but since they rejected the spiritual, Christ would also remove the physical.
B. This kingdom doesn’t refer to the Jewish form of religion of offering sacrifices.
1. This aspect of the kingdom of God was for the Jews only.
2. It cannot be transferred to another nation.
3. This aspect of revealing the kingdom of God doesn’t exist any more because Christ crucifixion did away with all that.
C. This aspect of the kingdom doesn’t deal with the covenant God made with Abraham.
1. That covenant is an everlasting covenant.
2. The physical parts of that covenant will be fulfilled during the millennium.
D. This aspect of the kingdom of heaven is that part that deals with acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
1. This part of the kingdom has been given to the local church.
2. Matt. 3:1 - John the Baptist preached “repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
3. Mark 1:1 - The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; 2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. When John began to preach, this marked the beginning of the aspect of the kingdom of heaven that deals with acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
4. John prepared the material that Jesus Christ used to organize and establish His kind of church.
5. Matt. 4:17 - Christ preached “repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
6. Luke 11:20 - But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.
7. Luke 17:20,21 - And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
II. The Keys of the kingdom of Heaven taken from Israel and given to the church - to be taken from the church and returned to Israel.
A. Matt. 16:19 - And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
B. Acts 13:46 - The fulfilling of Christ turning away from Israel. Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
C. Rom. 11:25 - Lest we would be over proud and ignorant of what God will do to Israel, read this verse. For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
D. Rom. 11:11,17,21 - The Jews are broken off and the Gentiles are grafted in.
1. Note verses 23 - Unbelief is what keeps Israel out of the kingdom now, God is able to graft them in again.
2. Verse 25 - ...blindness in part is happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
a) Note the word "until".
b) This shows very clearly that the Gentiles will be taken out of the kingdom, and Israel put back in.
c) The church will be taken out of the earthly kingdom of God at the rapture of the saints.
d) The tribulation will then begin and God will once again use Israel to show His glory and honor to all nations.
3. Verse 26 - ...shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.
a) The words "shall turn away" is future tense perfect.
b) Israel turning back to God is not something that might happen, it is something that will happen.
4. Verse 27 - ...when I shall take away their sins.
a) The word "when" is future tense perfect.
b) This is something that will happen, not something that might happen.
5. As you can tell, I am a pre-millennial, not an a-millennial.
III. The church and her relationship to the kingdom.
A. The keys of the kingdom of heaven are given to the church.
1. Rom. 3:2 - The oracles of God are the keys of knowledge, and the keys of the kingdom. What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? 2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.
2. Proof - Luke 11:52 - The lawyers had taken away the keys of knowledge for themselves and all others. Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.
3. Matt. 16:13-20 - verse 19 - And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
4. Today, we would call these keys the Bible.
B. It is very remarkable to note that there is not a scripture in the New Testament that shows Israel, as a nation, using the keys of the kingdom of God.
1. God removed the keys from Israel and gave them to the Gentile local churches.
2. Churches all over have stopped using the keys of the kingdom and have replaced them with their own plans, programs, and promotions, just like Israel did.
3. It would not surprise me if God removed the keys from the local Gentile church and returned those keys to Israel.
4. Actually, the Bible seems to teach just that!
C. The transfer of the keys from Israel to the church.
1. Matt. 21:33-46 - The parable before us. Jesus describes how the Jews have rejected the prophets, and finally rejected the Son Himself. Then the vineyard is taken from the wicked husbandman and given to another.
2. Isaiah 5-8 - Israel is said to be the vineyard of God.
D. Scripture which shows the church using the keys of the kingdom. There is no New Testament verse that shows Israel, as a nation, using the keys of the kingdom of God.
1. Acts 8:12 - Stephen preaching the things of the kingdom.
2. Acts 14:22 - Paul preaching, Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
3. Acts 19:8 - Paul went into Ephesus, ...disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.
4. Acts 20:25 - Paul tells the brothers gathered together at Miletus that he has preached the kingdom of God among them, and they shall see his face no more.
5. Acts 28:23,31 - The book of Acts closes with Paul preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God. This is using the keys of the kingdom.
6. Col. 1:13 - We have been translated into the kingdom of God by salvation.
a) I Thess. 2:12 - Paul writes to the Thessalonian church, declaring God has called them unto his kingdom and glory.
b) It is the local churches that have preached the gospel and the kingdom, not Israel.
7. Col. 4:11 - Paul recommends Jesus which is called Justus, who are his fellow workers unto the kingdom of God. This is done in the church at Colosse.
8. II Thess 1:4,5 - It is manifest token that Gentiles should be called into the church and the kingdom of God.