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Parable of the Vineyard

The kingdom Parable of the Landowner, also called The Parable of the Vineyard is spoken in the last week of Christ’s ministry before His death. It was spoken on the occasion of the opposition to Christ’s teachings by the Pharisees. The Lord has just warned them that the tax collectors and harlots entered the kingdom of God before they did, citing as proof the events occurring with John the Baptist.

At that point, he invites them to hear another parable. He describes a landowner who planted a vineyard, hedged it in and dug a winepress in it and built a tower. It was pleasant, protected and profitable. At that point, he leveraged it by leasing it out to vinedressers. The landowner leaves and goes into a far country. In due time “vintage-time” drew near so he sent his servants to the vinedressers to receive its fruit.

Servants Violently Attacked

Instead of receiving fruit from the lease-holders, the servants received violence from their hands. They beat one, killed one, and stoned another. So, the landowner responded by sending more servants, but they likewise received the same treatment.

The Land Owner Sends His Son

The landowner reasoned that the leaseholders would respect His son so as a last resort effort, he sent him. But, when they saw the son, they reasoned that he was the heir of the vineyard. Perhaps they thought the landowner was dead, seriously ill or physically handicapped and thus unable to tend his land. Thus he sent the son to claim the land. Instead of receiving him, they then plotted that by killing him, they could seize his inheritance claiming it all for themselves.

Resolving to do so they took him, cast him out of the vineyard and killed him.

What Will Happen to the Vinedressers?

The answer to this question as given in the text provides the real point of this parable, setting it in context. Remember, it is a parable of the kingdom. The fate of the lease-holders turns their evil back upon them. The landowner would miserably destroy the wicked men miserably. He would then lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render him the fruits of their seasons.

Application of the Kingdom Parable of the Vineyard

After the Lord explains the meaning of the parable, he allows the hearers to make the application. He tells them that the stone which thy reject becomes the head of the chief cornerstone by the will of God. Jesus is that cornerstone.  The unbelieving Jews rejection and crucifixion of him would lead to the taking of the kingdom from them. As it was taken from the 10 tribes, it would be taken from Judah.  This is the fulfillment of Genesis 49:10.

Hearing this, the Pharisees  understood the parable applied to them. The events of the parable were literally fulfilled in their rejection and crucifixion of Christ and upon His subsequent return in judgment upon the nation in A.D. 70.  God tore the kingdom from Judah, and gave it to a new nation, a spiritual nation of believers in Christ. They are Christians, the new spiritual nation of God where Jews and Gentiles are united together in the body of Christ, (Eph. 3:6; 1 Peter. 2:9-10).

Check out the Re-Examination Book: A Study of Christ’s Return in A.D. 70.

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