The Parable of the Marriage Feast

And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen. Mat 22:1-14 KJV

This parable is not to be confused with the parable of the great supper in Luke 14:16-24. Neither of these stories is an illustration of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb of Revelation 19:1-10. These passages are illustrations of the kingdom of Heaven in this age. The certain king making a marriage (marriage feast) for his son illustrates God, who has made possible the blessings of the kingdom and the Gospel to all. Jn. 3:16; Rom. 8:32; 1 Cor. 2:9  The Jews were the first ones invited, but they would not come. Mt. 10:5-7; 15:21-28; Jn. 1:11-13 The occasion for this parable was the rejection of Christ by the Jews. Mt. 21:42-46  The servants sent out were Christ, the apostles, the seventy, and the early ministers of the Church. All went first to Israel, but met with no response, as far as the nation was concerned. They were persecuted and killed until the city was destroyed and Israel was scattered. Mt. 24:2; Lk. 21:20-24; Acts 2:22-24; 7:54-60; 8:1-8; 13:44-49; Rom. 11

All things are ready” 22:4 illustrates the time for the Jews to accept their Messiah and the time for the fulfillment of the promise made to their fathers concerning the kingdom.  “But they made light of it” 22:5; Acts 13:45-49; 18:6; Mt. 23:37-39 The rejection of Jesus by Israel freed God from all responsibility to them in fulfilling His covenants with them, so His program became a worldwide one for all men. Jn. 3:16; Rom. 1:16; 2Cor. 12:13

At the rejection of the Jews by God, because they would not accept the invitation to partake of the blessings, God began to invite all kinds of people, as in the parables in Matthew 13.  The man without the wedding garment illustrates the ones in the kingdom of Heaven in this age, or during their lifetime, who fail to prepare for eternity, or for their place in the literal kingdom of Heaven, when it is set up at the return of Christ. Mt. 18:1-4; Jn. 3:3-8; Rev. 19:7-8 This life is the only time men have to put on that righteousness of the saints in order to get into the real, literal kingdom.  This negligent man was commanded to be put in the same furnace of fire in which the tares, bad fish, and all the wicked were commanded to be put at the end of this age. Mt. 13:37-43, 49-50; 24:51; 25:31-46; Rev. 20:11-15

The central truth which the story illustrates is stated in verse 14.  It is the same truth the parable of the laborers in the vineyard illustrates. “For many are called, but few are chosen,” or “whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted”. Lk. 14:11; 18:14  The difference in the two parables is that the one story illustrates the importance of humility in service, while this one illustrates the importance of preparation in this life to be chosen of God and accepted when we shall see Him. All are called to salvation, Mt. 11:28; Jn. 3:16; Rev. 22:17 but few will finally be saved. Mt. 7:13-14; Lk. 13:23-30

Jesus was teaching these Jews who desired His life and who rejected Him as their Messiah that they were not worthy of the blessings that He had in store for them, that the Gentiles and individual Jews who accepted the invitation would be blessed with the things that the Jewish nation rejected, and that there must be a preparation made before they would be admitted into the presence of God. The necessary preparation was to put on the wedding garment or change their raiment. It was the custom in the East for royal guests to put on garments provided, else they would be excluded from the feasts. A rejection of the garment provided was taken as an insult and a total disregard for the one who provided the garment. It was an avowal that the guest denied the authority and despised the power of the one providing the raiment. This was exactly true of the Jews who refused the teaching of Christ, which was able to make them wise unto salvation.

I will answer the call by choosing God’s salvation through Jesus Christ; I will not deny the authority or despise the power that is provided, so that I can be prepared and be admitted into the presence of God.

The Parable of the Householder

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:  And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.  And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.  Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.  But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.  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.  And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.  When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?  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.  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?  Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.nAnd when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet. Mat 21:33-46 KJV

The householder illustrates God the Father, who sent His Son into the world to redeem mankind. Mt. 21:37; Jn. 3:16; 15:1  The vineyard illustrates the kingdom of Heaven part of the kingdom of God, which was intrusted to the Jews, planted by God with the rich and fruitful vines of the knowledge of God, His commandments, the institutions of religion, and His revealed Word. Mt. 21:43; Mk. 12:1-9; Lk. 20:9-19; Rom. 3:1-2; 9:1-5 The hedge illustrates God’s watchful care and provision for the protection of the kingdom, so that it would be free from the intrusion of wild beasts which would spoil the vines and destroy the fruit. The winepress illustrates all the institutions and means of blessing for the human race. Winepresses were hewn out of solid rock. They usually consisted of two or three vats, each a little higher than the other, with troughs from one to the other. The grapes were put in the top vat, which was always the biggest, and two or more persons with naked feet and legs would jump up and down, crushing the grapes. The juice flowed into the next vat and from it would be drawn off into the next, or into vessels, leaving the dregs in the vats. The tower illustrates the place of dwelling where the workers of the vineyard could find rest and recreation and a place to store the fruit. These towers in literal vineyards were sometimes forty to fifty feet high, affording a place for the watchman to see the vineyard and protect it.

The husbandmen illustrate Israel who had charge of the vineyard to render unto the householder the fruit in due season. Mt. 21:45-46 There were two kinds of leases that could be had in the East. The tenant paid a money rent to the proprietor, or else he agreed to give the owner a definite amount of the produce, whether the harvest had been good or bad. Such leases were given by the year or for life; sometimes the lease was even hereditary, passing from father to son. The latter kind of lease is no doubt referred to in this parable.

The householder going away illustrates the long period that God permitted the nation to be ruled under the guidance of kings and prophets through the law. Acts 13:17-43  The time of the fruit illustrates the seasons that God expected results from the Jews in extending the kingdom among other nations and doing those things required to bring the knowledge of God to others.

The servants illustrate the Old Testament prophets, priests, and teachers whom God sent to get the Jews to render to Him the fruit of the kingdom. Mt. 23:37-39; Heb. 11:32-40  The son of the householder illustrates the Son of God, who was sent to the lost sheep of Israel. Mt. 10:6; 23:37-39; Jn. 1:11; 3:16; Acts 2:22-36  The maltreatment of the servants and the son illustrates the bitter hatreds and backslidings of Israel against God from the time in Egypt to the crucifixion of Christ. This is plainly recorded in 1 Ki. 18:13; 22:24-27; 2 Ki. 6:31; 21:16; 2 Chron. 24:19-22; 36:16; Jer. 37:138:28; Mt. 23:37-39; Acts 7:52; Heb. 11:36; Lk. 4:29; Jn. 8:37, 59; 10:31-39; 19:14-30.

The scheme of the husbandmen to seize the inheritance illustrates the reason for their rejection of the Messiah. They sinned against light. If Jesus was the Messiah and if He was introducing the kingdom of God, the whole spirit of which was different from theirs, then they would lose their places as rulers, as teachers, as men of influence, as well as their authority over the people and their chief business. They were so connected with a system and with wrong ideas, principles, and customs, which must pass away with the reign of the Messiah, that if Christ prevailed they must fall. They imagined that if they could destroy Christ, they could continue in their possession of the inheritance. They killed that they might possess, but killing was the shortest road to entire loss. Every possible method of leading them to right conduct had been exhausted; so judgment must fall. They pronounced their own judgment. Mt. 21:40-41 The destruction of the husbandmen refers to the cutting off of Israel and the destruction of their city and nation. Mt. 23:37-39; 24:2; Lk. 21:20-24; Acts 13:44-49; 18:6; Rom. 11:1-33

The central truths illustrated are stated in Mat. 21:42-44. The Jews at last saw the application of the parable and immediately went out unconsciously to fulfill it. There are three main truths illustrated by this story:

  • The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner. 21:42; Ps. 118:22-23; Acts 4:11; 1 Pet. 2:7 The cornerstone on which the superstructure rested was the most important stone in the building. The primary meaning in the Psalm about the rejected stone was taken from the great cornerstone that the builders of Solomon’s Temple left out because they did not understand the head architect’s plans. Afterward this stone was found to be that on which the completeness of the structure depended – on which the two walls met and were bonded together. The Messiah of these Jews was compared to this stone. Christ warned them not to make the same mistake that the builders of the Temple had made.
  • The kingdom of God shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. 21:43 This refers to the cutting off of Israel from being the ministers and people of God to carry out God’s purpose of evangelizing the world. Acts 13:44-52; 18:6; Rom. 11:1-33 The Gentiles have been the propagators of the Gospel throughout this Age of Grace.
  •  Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder  Mt. 21:44 This saying means that the individual who humbles himself and falls on the stone for mercy shall receive mercy and shall become broken in heart and spirit, Isa. 57:15; 66:1-2; Ps. 34:18; Mt. 5:3-7 but if he hardens himself against God, he shall receive judgment without mercy. The stone in this verse is the same as in verse 42. It refers to Christ, who is pictured as a stone in Scripture, in a threefold way:
  1. To Israel – He is pictured as a stumbling stone and a rock of offence, because He came as a lowly servant instead of a great world-monarch 8:14; Rom. 9:32-33; 1 Cor. 1:23; 1 Pet. 2:8
  2. To the Church – He is pictured as a foundation stone and the head of the corner 1 Cor. 3:11; 2:20-22; 1 Pet. 2:4-5
  3. To the nations – He is pictured as a smiting stone of destruction 2:34, 44-45; Lk. 21:24; Rev. 16:14; 19:11-21

Israel stumbled over Christ; the Church is built upon Christ; and the nations will be broken by Christ.

 

The Parable of Weeds

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. Mat. 13:24-26 KJV

The sower illustrates the Son of Man (Jesus) Mt. 13:37 and the “good seed” illustrates the true children of the kingdom of Heaven. The field illustrates the world of men and the tares illustrate the professed children of the kingdom who are, in reality, the sons of the devil, who sowed them among the wheat. Mt. 13:25, 38-39 The wheat being in the ground first shows God’s plan concerning the kingdom, that only good shall be in it and that every one who professes to be a child of God should really be one. An enemy – the devil Mt. 13:25,28,39; Lk. 10:19; Acts 13:10 – sowed tares among the wheat, causing a mixture of good and bad in the same field. Thus, the kingdom of Heaven now takes on a new aspect and should rightly be understood as “the sphere of profession, “Christendom,” or “the kingdom of Heaven in mystery.”

It was common in the East for enemies to sow tares and other poisonous seeds in the fields of those they wished to hurt. In India various weeds are sown that take years to get rid of.  The word “tares” – the Greek, zizania, occurs only in Matthew 13:25, 36 is not the same as the darnel of the naturalists, but zewan, as known in Palestine today. While growing it looks like wheat, but when full grown the ears are long and the grain is black. Each grain of the zewan must be removed before grinding the wheat, or the bread is bitter and poisonous. Tares show their true color as they ripen. Verse 26 shows that the tares could not be detected until the fruit began to appear. Mt. 7:15-20

He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. Mat. 13:27-30 KJV

The tares and the wheat both grow side by side in the same field, which is the will of the householder, until the harvest. Mt. 13:37-40 Both saved and unsaved who profess to be children of the kingdom will mingle together in this world until the end of the age. The harvest illustrates the separation of the wicked among the just at the end of this age when the Messiah comes to reign. Mt. 13:39-43; 25:31-46; 1 Thess. 5:1-11; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; Jude 14; Zech. 14:1-21   The reapers illustrate angels who will separate the wicked from the good when Christ comes. Mt. 13:39-43; 24:31, 51; 25:31-46; 2 Thess. 1:7-10

As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;  And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. Mat. 13:40-43 KJV

The expression of “the end of the world” means “the end of the age.” At this time the kingdom of Heaven ceases to be the sphere of profession and becomes the literal kingdom of Heaven, or the reign of the Messiah over all the kingdoms of this world. Rev. 11:15; Dan. 7:13-14, 18

When the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, refers to the time when the judgment of the nations Mt. 25:31-46; Dan. 7:9 will be executed. The tares will be burned in the same sense the branches of Christ will be if they do not abide in Him. Mt. 8:12; 13:40-43,49-50; 24:31; 25:41,46; Jn. 15:6

The furnace of fire where there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth is another description of eternal hell, not the grave. Mt. 13:42,50; Rev. 9:2 Wailing, Mt. 13:50 weeping Mt. 8:12; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Lk. 13:28 and the gnashing of teeth, picture bitter remorse and pain. The righteous will take over the kingdoms of this world forever Rev. 1:5-7; 5:10; 11:15; 20:4-6; 22:4-5; Mt. 25:31-46; Zech. 14 and they will be luminous like the sun Mt. 19:28; 25:31-46; Rev. 5:10; 20:1-10 and inherit all things. Mt. 5:5; 25:35; Lk. 12:32; Rom. 8:17; Dan. 7:18,22,27; Rev. 21:7

I choose to hear what the Word of God says and will live in obedience so that I can shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of my Heavenly Father! Amen