The Prophetic Parables of Jesus
Interestingly enough, Jesus even used parables in his references pertaining to his return to this world in the last days. Jesus was sharing his infamous parable about the sower of seed to the crowds that came to hear him on one occasion when he was preaching by the Sea of Galilee, and the Disciples came to him and asked, “why speakest thou unto them in parables?” Jesus answered them thusly: (Matthew 13:11-13 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.)
So, as you can see, Jesus was always trying to simplify his mission to this world so that people could more readily and easily understand things. This is just more evidence that Jesus loves us and wants us to be enlightened to the reality of his kingdom. For the purpose of studying Bible prophecy, it is always a good idea to simply indulge ones self into the wonderful parables that our Lord used to simplify this sometimes complicated subject.
The Kingdom of Heaven Parable
One such parable is recorded by Matthew, and deals with the kingdom of Heaven. Here the Lord uses the tool of symbolism within the parable to portray himself as one having come into the world to establish a base of servants that are charged with laboring for a bountiful harvest. First, notice that He begins by using the analogy that the kingdom of Heaven is as a man travelling into a far country:
Matthew 25:14-31 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man (Jesus) travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, (Christians) and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. When the Son of man shall come in his glory, (epipaneia) and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: (a reference to Jesus Millennial Kingdom reign from Jerusalem)
Jesus asserts through the telling of this parable that the kingdom of Heaven is like a man that has charged his servants with looking after, tending for, and furthering the welfare of his estate while He embarks upon a long journey. In the bygone days before automobiles and airplanes, it was not unusual for a wealthy estate and landholder to have to take long trips and need to be away from his dominion for long periods of time. In these interim periods, the estate master needed dependable and ingenious servants that could not only sustain the affairs of the estate, but also act in the master’s absence to incorporate estate decisions that would result in a profitable venture for the owner.
Jesus concludes this parable painting a picture of the journeyman’s triumphant return from a far country. The parable reflects the fact that the estate owner will then take stock of his servants to see how they performed in his absence, to see whether they have been productive or whether they have been unfruitful. It is worth noting in this parable that the reason for the masters journey into a far country was for the purpose of empowering for the right to return home to establish a kingdom. Now that the kingdom is at hand, the master is ready to evaluate his servants.The Parable of the Nobleman Another of Jesus great parables that were intended to convey a simple and direct prophetic message is his story of the nobleman who went into a far country to receive a kingship.
Luke 19:10-14 For the Son of man (Jesus) is come to seek and to save that which was lost. And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
In the parable of the Nobleman, we are informed officially that the nobleman went unto a far country to receive a kingdom. The promise of the nobleman to his servants that remain behind is that He will return. His last instruction to his servants is that they “occupy until he comes,” and then he proceeds to journey away for an extended period of time.
Meanwhile, many of the citizenry of the nobleman’s estate conspired amongst themselves to oppose the nobleman’s heritage. They conclude that they would prefer that the estate’s rightful heir not be allowed to rule over them. This is the basis of rebellion! They have concluded two things. (1.) They would prefer a different ruler, any other ruler, (2.) They have concluded that they don’t want to be ruled over by someone who doesn’t condone their actions, and by selecting their own ruler, maybe they can have political clout with him.
Israel came to this same rebellious conclusion 2000 years ago. The Jewish chief priests shouted out loud the basis of their conspiracy against the Nobleman and it has haunted Israel ever since. (John 19:14-15 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.) Israel has still not yet learned to love the Nobleman, but as sworn by the promise of God, that day will come. Until that day does come, it is the bound duty of all those who have come to the knowledge of the Cross to occupy in this world until the Nobleman returns!
Christians must avoid the same mistake that Israel made, and that is in xpecting the kingdom to be established before the King is ready. There can be no kingdom without the King. The Disciples promptly questioned Jesus after his resurrection in Acts chapter one; (Acts 1:6 Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?) Jesus responded that it was not up to them to know the times or seasons, and that these matters had been left placed in the hand of the Father. Albeit, elsewhere the Lord gave innumerable signs pertaining to his imminent return and to the establishment of the eventual kingdom. The faithful servants pictured in the parable of the nobleman represents the small minority within the Church that looked steadfastly ahead to the return of the King and the establishment of His kingdom. The Nobleman had not yet received his kingdom, and it is most likely because of that fact that many rejected his authority. And so it was with Jesus in his first visitation to Israel. He hadn’t yet received his kingdom, but needed to take that far journey into Heaven to take his seat at the right hand of his Father, and await his crowning day. The Church cannot accomplish or speed up the establishment of the kingdom, for that mission is reserved unto the Day of the Lord, when he himself will return in majesty, and establish his throne!The Parable of the Vineyard
Yet another of Jesus simple prophetic parables is contained in the parable of the vineyard. The parable of the vineyard is a powerful story and it is a cutting story, so much so that it should prick the heart of every reader. In John 15, Jesus used another parable to symbolically identify himself as the True Vine. For more on that topic, seeThe Vine and The Vineyard article.
Luke 20:9-17 Then began he (Jesus) 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. 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. And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty. And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out. 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. 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. So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid. And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone (Jesus) which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?
Jesus parable of the vineyard really hits close to home doesn’t it? In this simple story, Jesus conveys a panoramic view of history, and of his imminent return to recompense judgement against a Christ rejecting world.
The husbandmen in this landmark parable symbolizes the children/nation of Israel. First, God sent one, then a second of his most trusted servants unto his Vineyard at an appointed season when a harvest was anxiously anticipated. These two servants probably represent Elijah and Moses in the annals of Jewish history. The third servant that was killed by the husbandmen was the Vineyard owner’s own son. The analogy utilized by Jesus in this parable is a prophetic reference to himself, and his impending (Cross, cut off) destiny of being rejected by his own people. The Vineyard owner’s son was well beloved of the Father, (John 3:16) and He expected that his vineyard keepers would reverence his son. But instead of accepting him, the husbandmen killed the heir in a vain conspiratorial plot to steal the heir’s inheritance. (Satanic conspiracy)
Israel has paid a horrible and devastating price for their ignorance of the 1st visitation of God’s beloved Son. The Jewish priests and scribes did not recognize Jesus authority when he visited Israel on that auspicious occasion 2000 years ago when he questioned them about the baptism of John. Thus the Lord God gave the vineyard to others. (vs. 16)
But as it always turns out, since God is all-knowing, God is never caught unaware or unprepared for mankind’s failures and plots, even when it involves future things. God used the husbandmen’s (Israel’s) unconscionable act of rejection to make Jesus the rock of salvation!
For anyone who does not know the cornerstone of salvation, the haunting question posed by Jesus to the Scribes and Pharisees lingers, and is now of the utmost importance to everyone. “What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto those who reject God’s Son?” Afterall, He is coming back to take vengeance upon those who would steal his inheritance! And therein lies just one of the values of the knowledge of prophecy.The Parable of the Watching Servant A fourth parable that Jesus used for prophetic purposes and also to highlight a special point about his imminent Second Coming is found at the close of his Olivet Discourse. His own pointed advice to his servants anticipating his return from a far country is summed up in just one word, “watch.”
Mark 13:34-37 For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.)
Here, Jesus, referring to himself as the Son of man depicts his leaving the world as a man taking a far journey. His far journey compels him to leave his house in the official charge of a porter, and also to leave his servants specific duties, each such as their talents demanded. The word porter stems from the Greek word “thuroros.” The Porter was a gatekeeper or someone in authority that maintained constant logistical guard at the door of entry. The porter often utilized watchmen to relay advance warnings in case of any unauthorized or suspicious approaches to the gate.
Jesus uses the porter-watchman analogy to teach his servants that they needed to always be watching for his unannounced return. In this manner, they could always be assured that the House of the master was in tip-top shape just in case the master returned at any given moment. Certainly, the master of the house might have taken leisure with his estimated return time of arrival, but by leaving it unspecified, he basically assured himself that his servants would have to be busy occupying his estate in his absence. Our Lord is no less shrewd, for he has commanded all of his servants to watch for his coming, less we be found slack in our responsibilities, and having grown slack, to be found lacking altogether. For this reason, the Gospel of Luke inspiringly adds these words of advice concerning the far journey that the Son of man has undertaken:
(Luke 21:34-36 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.)The Parable of the Great Banquet
On another occasion, Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to the event of a great royal house supper. The event is planned and the invitations go out RSVP. Everyone is expected as the day for gala event arrives. Jesus explains the sad scene with this story:
Luke 14:16-23 Then said he (Jesus) unto him, (a guest at one of the Chief Pharisee’s house) A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
Jesus reveals that this rich man experienced great difficulty in persuading his invitees to the great banquet that he had prepared. Jesus goes on into some detail about the silly excuses made by those who had been assigned seats at the great feast. Many preachers interpret this parable to be emblematic of the rejection of Christ by sinners, but in reality, the banquet invitations had already been sent out earlier, and the guests were expected as they had all already responded to accept the invitation via RSVP. After the feast was prepared, the scheduled time for the feast arrived, and yet many of the invitees failed to show up, and sent only their excusable regards. The inference from Jesus story is that the invitees did not actually VALUE being present for the great feast. The banquet was in reality an event of high honor for the master. The absence of so many invitees was a slap in the face of the banquet master.
This parable is meant for Christians, or the servants of the master. We are summoned to be present at the Lord’s great feast. We have cordially accepted the master’s invitation. It then behooves us to make ourselves ready and available upon that auspicious occasion when the Lord is set to sit down and dine with us at his own Marriage Supper! Jesus was clearly pointing ahead in time to the Rapture and the appointed set time for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb in Heaven.
The abominable excuses raised by the expected guests highlight’s the fact that the guests had fixed their affections on the things of this world, rather than on the things of the master. They were preoccupied with personal indulgences rather than on the prospect of going to Heaven and being with the Lord. And that is the way with humanity, we too often become engrossed with the way of the world, and forget the way of the Lord. The inappropriate excuses that were made by the people in this parable belies the hypocrisy that dominated their lives. Jesus concludes his story by showing how angry their hypocritical complacency made the host of the feast. The host then sends his servants out to gather a crowd for his feast, because the one thing the Lord wants above all, is a full house!
This prophetic parable is consistent with all the Lord’s parables relative to his Second Coming. This parable lends itself to the Lord’s later Revelation to John concerning the church at Laodicea. Taken together, they seem to indicate that the Last Days apostasy will have far reaching effects, even inside the Church, which is another reason why the Lord remarked as he did later in Luke about the later days when describing the prayers of the Pharisee and the publican. (Luke 18:7-17 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.)
As a young Christian boy, I used to be especially enamored by a simple song entitled, “How far is Heaven.” Its words by a Fatherless little girl included the following lyrics: “How far is heaven, when can I go, How far is heaven, lets go tonight, I want my daddy to hold me tight.” Ah, Heaven, glorious Heaven, why have we lost our zeal for Heaven? It is the place where our Savior awaits, and our eternal glorious home with him is located! Why do we fight tooth and nail to hang onto every little morsel of earthly passions? When you stop and think about it, most of the Bride of Christ is already in Heaven. There are only a few of us (kingdom heirs) remaining behind here in this world. But, alas, we must do as the Lord informed us, we must “occupy” here in this world for a short while, until our work is done. It is our duty to help make sure that the Lord has a full house when He is ready for his marriage supper. But still, we must always remember that this world is not our home, and that we are indeed just passing through, acting as ambassadors for our King in a foreign land, and seeking to call out others to join his kingdom. Hey, won’t you come along? Were going to have a grand time. And there will be many happy reunions there, and you need to be there too.
The Day of the Lord’s Return Looms
So, in this little venture through the prophetic parables of Jesus we have covered very clearly the fact that the Lord has compared his departure from this world 2000 years ago to the semblance of a man taking a journey into a far country. He clearly has used these parables to denote that we (Christians-servants) have been left behind with specific instructions, duties, talents, missions and purposes, and a command to watch for his sudden return. While not being specific about the actual day of his return, (so we don’t become complacent and fall asleep, and fall victim to apostasy) the Lord has given us a vast library of information that is pertinent to the projected time of his imminent return.
The Divine reasoning for these things is of the utmost importance. The Lord is coming this (2nd) time to establish His Kingdom, and the establishment of that kingdom is going to be the focus of a world war, the likes of which this world has never seen before. (Matthew 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.)
Isaiah 13:2-6 Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles. I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness. The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the Lord of hosts mustereth the host of the battle. They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the Lord, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land. Howl ye; for the Day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.)
The mighty King Jesus is coming back to this all right, that is a certainty. But he is not coming as a humble little sacrificial Lamb or a baby in a manger. He is going to suddenly appear (parasouia) on the distant horizon any day now, without warning, without any announcement, and without any earthly fanfare to secretly wisk away his faithful bride. Then he will instantly sweep that bride back across the cosmos toward the third Heaven and into a grand reception hall for the Marriage feast of the bridegroom.
Then seven years afterward, the King of Kings with all the hosts of Heaven assembled will sweep back across the heavenly span of the universe to this old wicked and sin infested world. (Epipaneia) But this time the King will physically come to earth to wage war against all those who have joined the cosmic rebellion of the Antichrist and all those who have rallied under the hellish theme; “we will not have that man (Jesus Christ) to rule over us.”His Sudden Appearance & Our Reward
I John 3:1-3 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
1 Corinthians 3:13-17 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
II Timothy 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
Revelation 22:12 And, behold, I (Jesus) come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
My Little Parable
Fifteen years ago, (Christmas 1989) I had the traumatic experience of losing my only child via a stillbirth. There is nothing quite as disturbing as the unexpected loss of an infant baby. For nine months you plan, prepare, work and look ahead to the happy day of the new arrival, and especially so when it is your first child. (Little did I know then that it would also be the last.) John 3:16 has forever took on new and special meaning for me. To imagine how God the Father could actually “permit” his only Son to be so cruelly treated by the sinful barbarians is beyond my comprehension. But that permitted action by our Heavenly Father with his only begotten Son was the greatest act of Love in the history of all creation.
On Christmas of that awful year, I read a kind of parable that has become my favorite story. I don’t remember the source or writer of the original story. But it helped me then, and I think it will help any readers of this particular article. It went something like this:
Cleaning the House Windows
A young Father was busy whirling through the house packing for an annual business trip. His journey was for an extended stay and would take quite a long time, and would also require him to leave his Wife and young daughter at home all alone. The young Father kept muttering to himself as he thought about what to pack, and what all he might need while he was away from home. All the while his lovely young five year old girl was curiously watching him as he paced back and forth, and ever musing over his list of things to check.
Finally at long last, the man was satisfied that he had everything for himself in order and turned his attention to his wife and daughter. It occurred to him that he was leaving the ones he loved most, behind and all alone. As the time for his departure arrived, he took his little girl aside and gave her instructions for being a good little girl while he was gone and suggested some helpful chores that would help her Mommy to cope better while he was gone. He suggested that she keep the windows in the house cleaned as one way to help out around the house. The Father informs his little girl that he doesn’t know exactly what time he will be back, but adds that if she kept busy, the time would pass quickly, and he would indeed be back before she knew it. The young man then kisses his wife and daughter good-bye and proceeds off on his long journey.
Anxious to please her Father, the loving little girl sets out the very next day to clean the windows around the house. She is set in her mind to do a good job and spares no energy to rub and wipe on those old dirty windows. And she also discovers to her chagrin that the windows need regular cleaning as the days go by. Intent upon the windows being cleaned when her Father arrives, she is persistent at first, but gradually becomes discouraged after awhile because she notices that she just can’t seem to get the windows completely clean.
Noticing that the her little girl had become discouraged and that the windows weren’t all that particularly clean, the Mother approached the young girl to see what had befallen her daughter effort in her responsibility. The little girl remarked to her Mother, “I have scrubbed and scrubbed on these windows daily, but they just will not come clean. I feel it is hopeless in getting them clean enough for when Daddy comes.” The young Mom leans down to a close eye-level with one pane on one window and notices something. She straightens back up and calmly says to her daughter, “Honey, some of that dirt on the window is on the inside.” You have really scrubbed up the outside, but you haven’t scrubbed up on the inside of the house, and that’s why the window still looks dirty.
Needless to say, the loving little girl set about to clean up on the inside and made her Daddy proud when he finally returned!
And the moral of this little parable of mine is that we as Christians need to utilize the Holy Spirit to clean up the inside of our physical and spiritual temple. If we truly wish to please our Heavenly Father when he returns some day, then we can’t simply rely on cleaning the exterior of our earthly bodies, we must also be “washed in the blood on the inside.”
And so the final point is that our Heavenly Father will soon send his precious Son to back to this world for the purpose of receiving unto himself his beautiful and spotless Bride. Are you washed in the blood? Are you ready for the Son of Man to return? Have you been cleaned inside? (Matthew 28:3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:)Jesus wears a raiment white as snow, and we must all be found with our garments cleaned white as snow if we want to be please him when he comes from that far country! Proverbs 25:25 As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.
Focus on Jerusalem Prophecy Ministry
The Prophetic Parables of Jesus
Darrell G. Young