The Vineyard

Most of prophets speak of bringing Israel back from captivity and possessing the land their fathers were promised.

People can make the mistake of thinking the return of Israel from captivity is all about the Church, that the blessing of Abraham was taken from Israel and given to the Church.  With further reading of the scriptures, we find that God does not just have a plan for the church, but more importantly, even though Israel totaly rejected God and were sent into captivity for their sins, God still has a plan for them.

The Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen (Mark 12: 1-12) is a good example to show that God still has a plan for Israel.  If we over-lay this parable over the history of Israel (Nehemiah 9:7-36), we will find it easy to understand who the characters in this parable are:

Mark 12:1-12

And he began to speak unto them by parables.  A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.  And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard.  And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty.  And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled.  And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some.  Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son.  But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours.'  And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.  What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do?  he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others.  And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner:  This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?  And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people:  for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them:  and they left him, and went their way.

  • Jesus was speaking this parable against the rulers of Israel.
  • The man who planted the vineyard, let it out to the husbandmen, sent servants and finally sent his only wellbeloved son is God
  • The one wellbeloved son who is the heir is Jesus
  • The servants that were sent to the husbandmen by the man who planted the vineyard are the prophets
  • The husbandmen who beat and killed the servants and then finally killed the son are the leaders of Israel
  • The vineyard is the inheritance for the son
  • The inheritance that the husbandmen were supposed to be looking after, and wanted for themselves is Israel
  • The others that get the inheritance because the husbandmen failed is the Church

This parable shows that God was angry with the religious leaders of Israel and is giving their job to others (the Church) to look after the Vineyard (Israel) His inheritance.

God grew a branch out of Israel from the seed of Abraham called the 'Stem of Jesse' (Isaiah 11:1).  Jesse was King David's father and Jesus a descendant of David (Matthew 1:1).  Jesus became our seed, grafted us into the promises of Abraham by dying for us, and filling us with the Holy Ghost.  This is how we receive the blessing of Abraham.  We are grafted into Israel replacing the Levitical tribe (Romans 11:17), not replacing Israel.  In the parable, God did not destroy the vineyard His inheritance (Psalm 94:14), He destroyed the people operating the vineyard.  God wants people who will do the work correctly.  They must be of the seed of Abraham, because the promise is to his seed.

Therefore when the bible speaks of restoring Israel, it is not just referring to the church.  It is referring to Israel taking up the land it once possessed, with Christ and the Church ruling and reigning.