Limestone Church Of Christ
meeting at 935 Sydenham Rd in Kingston Ontario

The Wicked Vinedressers
by William J. Stewart

In the hearing of the Pharisees, Jesus shared a parable about wicked men who were not only dishonest and greedy, but violent and murderous.

The story begins with a landowner who leases his vineyard to vinedressers while he went away. Time came for the harvest, and so he sent his servants to the men, that they might receive fruit from the land. The evil men abused and killed the servants. A second time, the master sent servants, more than before, but again the vine-dressers mistreated and murdered them. Finally, he sent his son, assuming that they would respect his son. The evil men perceived that if they killed the heir, they might seize the land for themselves. The Lord asked His hearers,

...when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers? (Matthew 21:40)

They answered correctly,

He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons. (Matthew 21:41)

They acknowledged the evil activity of the men in the parable, but failed to see the parable was for them. In this, they were like king David, who was enraged when he heard of the rich man who took the poor man’s ewe lamb. However, they differed from the monarch in this: when he was confronted with his sin, he repented - they did not.

God had sent His servants to Israel time and again, but they people did not listen to their message. They rejected and persecuted them (Acts 7:51-52). Jesus’ generation were no different. They rejected John (Matthew 21:25-26, 32), and would eventually kill the Son, just as the parable said.

Further implicating them, Jesus quoted from Psalm 118:22,

The stone which the builders rejected has be-come the chief cornerstone. This was the LORD’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.

They rejected the chosen one of God, the Messiah. And because they did so, their guardianship among the Lord’s people would be taken away from them and given to others. No longer would Israel and their leaders be “God’s people,” but a new nation would come which would bear fruits in the service of God. That new nation, Peter says, once was not a nation, but now were God’s people (1 Peter 2:6-10).

He closes His discourse with them by referring to a thought presented by more than one of the prophets. The Lord states:

...whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder. (Matthew 21:44)

This is not a direct quote from any particular place, but a culmination of texts such as Isaiah 8:14-15; 60:12; Daniel 2:44 and Zechariah 12:3. Unwisely, they stood against the Lord – the end would be bad for them. They would be broken, not the stone at whom they were offended. They would be ground to powder, not the Son of Man. David warned those who were great in their own eyes, wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. (Psalm 2:10-12)

Having heard Him speak a parable against them, they wanted to put Him to death, but feared the crowd, for they counted Jesus as a prophet. They would eventually have Him arrested and put to death, but He would be victorious – rising from the dead. The kingdom was taken away from them, even as He said it would be.

Let us be sure to not be like them. Let us serve the Lord faithfully in His vineyard, and give glory to the Son of God.

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Answering The Atheist

Did God condemn (Genesis 2:16) or forgive (Genesis 5:4) Adam for eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Is there a contradiction?

The question posed is this: did God condemn or forgive Adam for eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? The answer is yes. Did God condemn Adam for eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Yes, He did. God had warned Adam not to eat from the tree, and if he did, the result would be death. Most who read Genesis 2:16 and have a problem with it believe that Adam needed to die physically right away.

He died that day, spiritually, not physically. He could no longer stay in God’s presence in the garden. Several texts in the Bible speak about people being dead in sin (but not physically dead) [ie. Proverbs 21:16; Ephesians 2:1, 5; Colossians 2:13; 1 Timothy 5:8, etc.].

He did begin to die physically on the day he was sent out of the garden. He continued to live on the earth for another nine hundred and thirty years, but it was the day he sinned by taking from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that Adam’s body began to die. Just before God sent the man and his wife from the garden, He said,

Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever – (Genesis 3:22)

Verses 23-24 tell us that God sent the man out and guarded the way to the tree of life. He no longer had access to the tree of life – he would die.

Did God forgive Adam? Yes. Before Adam and Eve left the garden, it was God who made sacrifice for them (Genesis 3:21). Forgiveness does not mean that the consequences of one’s actions are taken away. The result of Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden is that death has entered the world. When we sin, we die in sin (spiritual death). Eventually, all who are in the body will die physically. God shows His forgiveness of all who sin (including Adam) by providing a Saviour – Jesus.

There is no contradiction.

A response to 1001 Bible Contradictions.
Previous / Next Articles
30 OCT

Parables Of Jesus
A.T.A. - Was Adam allowed to eat everything in the garden of Eden or not?

13 NOV

Parables Of Jesus
A.T.A. - Was man created upright or was he made in sin?

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