The Parables …pt1
Webster’s Dictionary defines ‘parable’ as a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, as told by Jesus in the Gospels. Synonyms for the word ‘parable’ would include: allegory, moral story/tale, fable, and exemplum. Our best definition would be allegory which is, again according to the dictionary, “a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.”
The word ‘parable’ in scripture is a combination of the words G906 βάλλω ballo (ɓal’-lō) v. “to throw” and G3844 παρά para (pa-ra’) prep. “near or close”. In popular contemporary vernacular we would use phrases like; “let me run something past you” or “try this on for size” as a way to describe a “near” or “likeness” in relating a concept.
The purpose of the allegory or parable is to get the person to come to a conclusion on a matter within their own mind without telling them directly. That would be “letting the cat out of the bag”. There are many professional orators with an expertise in this art of conversation.
Unraveling these examples can be simplistic coming from a repetitive experience of life, equally so, they can be so clouded that they only reveal themselves amid the exacting atmosphere described in the allegory. Let us move forward and reveal the parables/allegories Yahshua delivered to the people, recalling the words of his herald John. John 1:11 “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”
The parable of the vineyard. Matthew 21:33-45 “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. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.”
It would be very easy to see that this story speaks to justice and the recompense of the land owner. However, one must deal with the closing statements after the base story has been completed. In defining the terms we see a much bigger teaching at hand.
The householder is a term used in that day and time to describe the head of the family. Our householder is none other YHWH, the head of the House of Israel. Yahshua tells us directly about His ministry in the same terminology used here in the Gospel of John.
John 15:1-2, 5 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
YHWH has established a set apart people that grow under His watchful presence being carefully pruned and tended. The ‘hedge’ that is ‘round about’ is a guardrail to protect the tender young plants from outside influences. This is the Torah. The instructions of YHWH are given to us for the protection they provide from worldly and sinful influences. David pens in Psalm 119:53 “Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law.”
There may be those that have picked up on this part of the story, and yet, there is an undoubtedly huge disdain for the instructions, or Torah, by the mass of Christianity. The story goes on to detail what the people in that day did with the perfectly prepared vineyard. “And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.” These servants are unnamed in the parable, however, it is made plain when reading the totality of the scriptures they would bear the names: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum and countless others.
The people met these servants with contempt and when we read their accounts we see the stoning, beatings and murder of these men of YHWH. 1 Kings 19:9-10 “And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”
What Yahshua is relating to the hearers of the parable are the actions of their forefathers and describing the actions they will be taking very soon. The parable continues with “This is the heir; come, let us kill him”. Having not received him as the Son of YHWH the chief priests and Pharisees fulfil the words of the parable. Having been consumed by the words and still unaffected by the allegory the chief priests and Pharisees were at odds with the Messiah instead of embracing the fact that prophesy was being fulfilled before their eyes.
We can see that the people, the chief priest and Pahrisees, in general terms, will not follow these loving instructions. Ezekiel warns in “Because they despised my judgments, and walked not in my statutes, but polluted my sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols.” It was a problem then and still a problem today and not just in the general society, it prevails in the Roman Pagan Churchianity embraced by the masses.
Isaiah 30:9-10 “That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits.”
The popularity of smooth talking preachers like Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, The Whites and a whole host of others is not by the hand of YHWH but the hard hearts of humanity.