Gospels in Harmony – Mat 20:1-16 Laborers in the Vineyard

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Mat 20:1-16 Laborers in the Vineyard

[Study Aired January 26, 2021]

Mat 20:1-16 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. And when he had agreed with the  labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in  the marketplace, And said unto them; Go ye also into the  vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went  their way. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and  did likewise. 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? 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. 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. And  when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise  received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, 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. But he  answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong:  didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen. 

What is this parable showing us about the kingdom of heaven?

Notice there are five different times the laborers were hired. What do the five  different times the laborers were hired represent? Here is a link to Mike’s  study on the number five:
Significance of the Number Five. In that study it is shown the number five represents grace through faith. Examples such as the measurements of the temple, the measurements of the cherubims, the implements of the temple all are associated with the  number five.

Another set of five I noticed while researching for this study are the five major covenants mentioned throughout the scriptures which are the Noahic, the Abrahamic, the Mosaic, the Davidic and the New. These covenants are tied to our parable represented by the five different times the householder went  out to hire laborers.

The Noahic Covenant “The Flood of many waters”

Gen 6:17-22 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them. Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he. 

The Abrahamic Covenant “Circumcision of the flesh”

Gen 17:1-10 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the  Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee  exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. 

The Mosaic Covenant “Freedom from Bondage”

Exo 6:1-8 Then the LORD said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his  land. And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD: And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto  Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them. And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.

The Davidic Covenant “The house building”

1Ch 17:11-15 And it shall come to pass, when thy [David’s] days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee: But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore. According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David. 

The New Covenant “The Law is put inwardly, written in their hearts”

Jer 31:31-34 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. 

These covenants are all part of the process of the old man becoming the  new man by grace through faith.

Eph 2:1-10 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of  disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in  mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. 

“The kingdom of heaven is like a man that is a householder.” Who is this “man that is a householder”?

Householder means head of the family. Who is the head of our family? God is literally the householder, and the Christ is the steward.

1Co 11:2-3 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God

This parable taken inwardly shows us that Christ is the householder, and the elect are the stewards.

Col 1:15-18 Who [Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head [householder, master] of the body, the church [the elect]: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

This process starts with the householder hiring the laborers. The householder is hiring laborers to work his vineyard. The vineyard in this  parable is the house of Israel which represents the world.

Isa 5:7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked  for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but  behold a cry. 

Jer 22:29 O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD.

There are five groups of laborers hired throughout the day. They are described as the first and the last. The first four groups represent the called and chosen. The last group represents those who endure until the end.

Mat 20:16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen. 

Rev 17:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb  shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings:  and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. 

Mat 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake:  but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Here is the attitude of the first group even though they receive what was promised – a day’s wage.

Mat 20:10-12 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, 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. 

What more can you receive than a day’s wage for a day’s work? The last received the day’s wage first, representing receiving the “crown of Life”.  Everyone receives “Life” but only in the proper order, and only the first group receives the “crown of Life”.

Jas 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when  he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord  hath promised to them that love him. 

Rev 2:10-11 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer:  behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may  be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

Today, the teachings of the Christian world dictate doing something in the flesh will secure life. It is either practicing the old covenants, physical baptism, tithing, communion, or some form of good works that saves you.  On the other hand, Christ tells us that only being born again of the spirit and worshipping in spirit and truth will give us life.

Joh 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 

Joh 4:22-24 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we  worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

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