The Parable of the Tenants
The definition of the word “parable” is to “lay next to or compare”.
A parable is a story with a hidden message that only
“spiritually opened” ears can hear.
The parables are word pictures into what God is trying to teach us.
The parables of Jesus are one of the times Jesus teaches lessons
for future generations. These parables need to be meditated on and
closely studied. Parables have a “layered” meaning, for example
the parable of the Prodigal Son. The story is one of going astray
and coming back. It seems to be the story of an actual son, with
an older brother, and his father…like in any family.
We have all read this before and it has given much comfort and
hope to the families that have had a child gone astray.
We must realize that the parables have layers...there is a surface
layer and a deeper layer. For example, the surface layer would be
relating to children going astray within your own family and the
deeper meaning is what we are going to present to you in the
Remember what the disciples asked Jesus:
The Purpose of Parables
10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to
them in parables?”
11 He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to
you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to
them it has not been given. 12 For whoever has, to him more
will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does
not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.
13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they
do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
14 And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:
‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
And seeing you will see and not perceive;
15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.’
But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they
17 for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous
men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to
hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
Matthew 21:33-41 (NIV)
The Parable of the Tenants
33"Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted
a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and
built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers
and went away on a journey. 34When the harvest time approached,
he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.
35"The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another,
and stoned a third. 36Then he sent other servants to them, more
than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way.
37Last of all, he sent his son to them. 'They will respect my son,'
38"But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other,
'This is the heir. Come, let's kill him and take his inheritance.'
39So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
40"Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he
do to those tenants?" 41"He will bring those wretches to a wretched
end," they replied, "and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants,
who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time."
Scripture in BLACK, Comments in BLUE
33 Listen to another parable:
A) There was a landowner
The landowner is God.
B) who planted a vineyard
The vineyard is the Jews because God established a covenant
C) He put a wall around it,
and God protected it,
D) dug a winepress in it
and God gave the Jews His Word,
E) and built a watchtower
and God gave them priests.
F) The he rented the vineyard
God allowed the Jews to rent His land. By using the word
"rent" God as owner of the vineyard is establishing due diligence.
The Mishnah allows people to "establish title to a vineyard if
they could show that they had undisputed possession of it for
three years" (Mishnah, B. Bat. 3:1). God, as the owner of the
vineyard is establishing His ownership by collecting rent...
rent being the fruit of His people, the Jews.
G) to some farmers
God rented the vineyard to the priests,
H) and went away on a journey
God left it in their care for a while and will come back to
collect the rent.
I) 34 When the harvest time approached,
Rent is due and payment is made by the fuits of His people, and
God is expected to be paid as agreed...
J) he sent his servants
the servants are the prophets,
K) to the tenants to collect his fruit
God made a covenant, and the Jews agreed to it by agreeing to
follow God's ways...God wants to collect the Good Fruit that has
materialized from His people following His ways. The prophets
are God's collectors and channels for Him to speak through...
L) 35 "The tenants seized his servants;
The priests seized the prophets,
M) they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third
they silenced those prophets who warned them of rent being due
and that their fruit was not worthy.
N) 36 Then he sent other servants to them,
God kept sending them more and more prophets, and we have plenty
of them in the Torah / Old Testament..
O) more than the first time,
more prophets, more warnings, showing patience for His people...
P) and the tenants treated them the same way
the Jews beat, persecuted, stoned, and killed the prophets.
Q) 37 Last of all,
R) he sent his son to them
God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus,
S) 'They will respect my son,' he said.
My Son, the Creator, is expected as prophesized by my servants
who are the prophets...Jesus is the promised Messiah.
T) 38 "But when the tenants saw the son,
When the Jews saw Jesus,
U) they said to each other,
the Jews gossiped among each other, priest to priest,
Rabbi to Rabbi, Jew to Jew.
V) 'This is the heir
They said; "This Jesus claims to be the Son of God,
W) Come, let's kill him
X) and take his inheritance
We want the vineyard for our own and we (the Jewish leaders) will
bring the people back into our control!
Y) 39 So they took him
They took Jesus into custody and had Him arrested,
Z) and threw him out of the vineyard
they dragged Him off the streets and threw Him out of Jerusalem,
A1) and killed him.
they crucified Jesus.
B2) 40 "Therefore,
"Jews, after you did this...
C3) when the owner
The risen Jesus,
D4) of the vineyard
Creator of the world
comes back (the Second Coming),
F6) what will he do to those tenants?"
those who didn't follow Jesus,
G7) 41 "He will bring those wretches
and those who persecuted His people...
(His people are everyone in the world who follow Him)
H8) to a wretched end,"
are tossed into the fire.
I9) they replied,
The chief priests and elders pronounce judgement on themselves,
and they knew their time was done when the temple fell in 70 AD.
J10) "and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants,
Jesus will bring others into His vineyard as TENANTS. These
"other" people now include Gentiles and heathen who follow Jesus,
K11) who will give him
bring forth other believers (faith"ers")...
L12) his share of the crop
into the Kingdom of God,
M13) at harvest time."
at the end of the Millenium.
God has taken the vineyard from those who were not worthy (the Jews)
and has given it to those who are the faith"ers" in Jesus who
comprise the Body fo Christ, and who ARE the Church. The judgement
pronounced on the original tenants, who were the Jews, serves as a
warning to the new tenants. The "others" who are the new tenants
of the vineyard, include the body of believers who are the
faith"ers" in Jesus and include Gentiles and heathen.
They are accountable to the owner as tenants.
The "other" new tenants are now in charge of producing the fruits
of the kingdom being made worthy by faith in the Son of God.
There is no worthy fruit possible without the direction and
leadership of the Creator who is the Son of God.
The new tenants (and Christians are tenants, not owners) are to
bear fruit through righteous living coming forth by faith in the
Son of God or the vineyard may again be transferred, OR abandoned,
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