Skip to comments.PARABLE OF THE WEDDING FEAST
Posted on 10/25/2017 5:30:01 PM PDT by grumpa
Parable of the Wedding Feast
by Charles S. Meek
Christians are easily inclined to misinterpret the Bible because of their ingrained presuppositions. Even trained theologians are subject to this error. Heres an example:
I recently heard a sermon on the Parable of the Wedding Feast (Matthew 22:1-14). You remember the story. Jesus was discussing the kingdom of heaven and the refusal of those invited to the wedding feast to attend. To make matters worse, those invited killed the kings servants! The king was obviously greatly perturbed and administered his justice by destroying their city and casting the perpetrators into outer darkness. The parable ends with a warning: Many are called but few are chosen.
Now, how could you miss what is going on here, especially in the greater context of chapters 21 through 26? Certainly, this is about the refusal of the Jews to accept Jesuss new-covenant kingdom. The bride of Christ is, of course, the church (Ephesians 5:32; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 19:7-8). But in his sermon, the preacher turned this story into one of grace vs. works, thus reading something into the text that really is not there. The details of the parable dwell on the Jews sins of (a) persecuting Christian servants, and (b) failing to accept Jesus as Messiah!
As the sermon progressed, the preacher even mentioned, by way of context, the previous parable in Matthew 21the Parable of the Tenants. But he missed entirely the main message of these parables, which was clearly the coming judgment against Old Covenant Israel for their sins. In the Parable of the Tenants we find the owner of the vineyard and his son (obviously YHWH and Jesus), and the TENANTS who worked the vineyard. A vineyard is an Old Testament metaphor for Israel, so the tenants were the Jews of Old Covenant Israel whom Jesus was addressing. The tenants not only killed the kings servants (Christians), but killed the son (Jesus)!
In punishment, God took the kingdom from the wicked tenants. The parable ends with this: When the chief priests and Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that He was speaking about them. Gotcha.
The Old Testament repeatedly, beginning in Deuteronomy 27-32, prophesied that there would come a timein the last dayswhen Israel would become so apostate that God would take the kingdom from them and give it to others. This would happen at Messiahs coming (Daniel 9, 12). Jesus was telling them: THE TIME WAS AT HAND TO FULFILL ALL THAT WAS WRITTEN (Luke 21:22). Clearly, the Jews of Jesus day got this message. An important interpretive concept is that we should understand the Bible based on how the original audience understood it, rather than reading it through the lens of our daily newspaper.
So, these parables are not about some far distant judgment or some theological discourse about how we are saved. It is about the soon coming destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in AD 70. In Matthew 22:7 Jesus prophesied that their city would be burned! This literally happened in AD 70 when God used the Roman army to demolish Jerusalem and the temple.
Interestingly, the entire Parable of the Wedding Feast, including this statement about the BURNING OF THEIR CITY was printed in the worship folder of our pastors sermon. But the pastor never mentioned this part of it in his sermon. Im confident that the pastor just didnt know how to deal with this, so he just ignored it.
Need more proof? In the very next chapter, Matthew 23:29-39, Jesus proclaimed the most powerful curse on the Jews that could possibly be given. He told them that they would suffer the punishment for all the righteous blood EVER SHED ON EARTH! And it would happen in THEIR GENERATION. Wow!
Then the famous Olivet Discourse which follows immediatelyChapter 24. Here Jesus gets even more specific. The cherished Jewish temple would be left in rubble IN THEIR GENERATION (Matthew 24:34). And, in Matthew 26:64 Jesus added insult to injury. He told the high priest and the other Jewish bigwigs that THEY THEMSELVES would see Him (Jesus) coming in power (on clouds of heaven). Again, the Jews understood that Jesus was claiming deity and authority to judge THEM, just as Yahweh came on a cloud in judgment numerous times in the Old Testament against his enemies.
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