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Saturday, March 19 2016

Matthew 20: The Labourers Of His Vineyard

"For the Kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard"

Daylight timekeeping in Bible history was based upon the time between actual sunrise and sunset. Workdays, particularly during harvest time, generally ran from sunrise to sunset. "Hours" of the day referred to daylight hours i.e. "11:9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world." (John 11:9 KJV). Sundials, which only function in the daylight, were used to measure hours. The only "watches" used were approximated periods of time during the night e.g. "14:25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea" (Matthew 14:25 KJV). Hence, "the third hour" of daylight was equivalent to mid-morning, about 9:00 a.m. The "sixth hour" was equivalent to 12:00 noon. The "ninth hour" was equivalent to mid-afternoon, about 3:00 p.m. The "eleventh hour" is about an hour before the end of the "day," sunset.

There are people who have lived a genuine, converted Christian life right from the time that they were little children. They read and studied the Word of God and have always worked hard to live according to it, faithfully and steadfastly.

On the other hand, there are people who have lived very unChristian lives, some until they were young adults, some until they were middle aged, some even until they were in old age, but who did eventually repent and become good Christians too. By the time that they die, they may have only lived according to the Word of God for the last half, or the last quarter, or even the last year of their lives. But they too will receive the same salvation as the others. That's the lesson of the parable.

The parable does not mean that people can deliberately put off repentance until later in life. The different times of the parable represent the time when those who begin to know better must do better (see the Fact Finder question below). Some people learn the Truth early, some people learn it later, but whenever it's heard that is when the choice must be made.

With that in mind, the parable of the workers in the vineyard (see The Meaning Of Parables).

Grape Harvest

"20:1 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. 20:2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

20:3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 20:4 And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. 20:5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.

20:6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?

20:7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us.

He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.

20:8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.

20:9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. 20:10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. 20:11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, 20:12 Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.

20:13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? 20:14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. 20:15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?

20:16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen." (Matthew 20:1-16 KJV)

The Messiah lived His life with the full knowledge that He would die a violent death at the hands of self-righteous people (see Iniquity In History And Prophecy and Is Iniquity Liberal Or Conservative?). Ironically, what humanity did to Him will provide the cure for their wanting to kill Him (see The Cure For Confusion).

"20:17 And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, 20:18 Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, 20:19 And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again." (Matthew 20:17-19 KJV)

Some of the most well-known prophets and apostles of the Holy Scriptures were physical relatives of the Messiah - John the Baptist was His cousin (see The Mothers Of The Two Greatest Prophets), as were the apostles James and John. The coming Kingdom of God isn't about physical favoritism however, as Jesus' aunt, the mother of James and John (see The Kinsfolk Of Jesus Of Nazareth), was given to understand.

"20:20 Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.

20:21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou?

She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.

20:22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?

They say unto him, We are able.

20:23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.

20:24 And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren. 20:25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 20:26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 20:27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:20-28 KJV)

So too, the cure for spiritual blindness is coming (see Paul's Blindness Lesson).

"20:29 And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him. 20:30 And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.

20:31 And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.

20:32 And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you?

20:33 They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened.

20:34 So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him." (Matthew 20:29-34 KJV)

Fact Finder: What other lessons of the Messiah involved a vineyard?
See The Messiah's Vineyard Lessons


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This Day In History, March 19

721 BC: The first lunar eclipse recorded in non-Biblical history; seen in Babylon (see also When Do Eclipses Happen On The Christian Holy Days?).

1279: A Mongolian victory at the Battle of Yamen ended the Song Dynasty of China (see also The Origin Of Gog And Magog and End-Time Gog And Magog).

1452: Frederick III (Hapsburg) was coronated Holy Roman emperor by Pope Nicholas V (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation and Emperors and Popes). He was crowned with the crown of Charlemagne and married to Leonora in the same ceremony.

1563: In France, the Peace of Amboise brought the First War of Religion to an end. The Huguenots were granted a limited amount of religious freedom.

1687: French explorer Robert Cavelier (La Salle) was murdered by his own men while searching for the mouth of the Mississippi River.

1702: Upon the death of William III of Orange, Anne Stuart, sister of Mary, succeeded to the throne of England, Scotland and Ireland.

1861: The Maori insurrection in New Zealand ended.

1885: Louis Riel declared a Provisional Government in Saskatchewan, beginning the North-West Rebellion.

1930: Arthur James Balfour died at age 82. The British statesman maintained a position of power in the British Conservative party for 50 years, was Prime Minister 1902-1905, Foreign Secretary 1916-1919, was perhaps best known for his First World War statement (the Balfour Declaration) which expressed official British approval of "Zionism" (see A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate, A History Of Jerusalem: Zionism and A History Of Jerusalem: War And Peace).

Balfour

1931: Gambling was legalized in Nevada, paving the way for it to become a major industry in the state.

1932: Australia's Sydney Harbor Bridge was officially opened.

1943: Chicago gangster Frank Nitti (a close associate of Al Capone), committed suicide at the Chicago Central Railyard.

1945: At the end of the Second World War, as Allied forces were invading Germany, Adolf Hitler issued his "Nero Decree" that ordered the destruction of all industries, military installations, shops, transportation facilities and communications facilities in Germany. Most of his defeated army refused to carry out the order of the "Leader" (see Why Does Satan Love Liars? and Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion; also Is Iniquity Liberal Or Conservative?).

1969: The 385 meter / 1,263 foot TV-mast at Emley Moor, United Kingdom, collapsed due to a rare ice build-up.

1982: An Argentine scrap metal dealer landed on South Georgia and planted an Argentinian flag. The situation escalated and eventually led to the Falklands War between Britain and Argentina.

1987: U.S. "Televangelist" Jim Bakker resigned as head of the PTL Club due to sex scandal; control of the "ministry" was delegated to Jerry Falwell.

1989: The Egyptian Flag was raised on Taba, Egypt proclaiming the end of the Israeli occupation after the Yom Kippur War in 1973 and the peace negotiations in 1979.

2002: Zimbabwe was suspended from membership in the Commonwealth amidst charges of human rights abuses and electoral fraud.

2003: George W. Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq to supposedly seize Iraq's nonexistent "weapons of mass destruction" and in proclaimed retaliation for Iraq's nonexistent connection to the 9-11 terrorist attacks (all of the 9-11 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan - none were from Iraq). Over one million non-combatant Iraqi men, women and children were killed or maimed, and Iraq was reduced to rubble, as a result of Bush's proven-false accusations.


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