A Dragnet

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away. “So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:47-50)

In the teachings of Jesus’ Parables He has spoken of the present Kingdom of God and the future Kingdom. The first Parable was the Wheat and the Tares. Here we saw that the seed was sown and the wheat sprang up. But the enemy came and sowed seed of his own which was wicked seed and the tears of the seed grew amongst the good seed. At the end of the age the harvest would be gathered and the tares would be cast into the fire.

The Parable of the Dragnet is addressing the same subject of the Parable of the Wheat and Tares. But there is a subtle difference between the two. Today we will look closer at the Parable of the Dragnet and see the difference between the two.

In this Parable a Dragnet is cast into the sea. A Dragnet a large fishing net that has a weighted bottom edge that drags along the bottom of the lake or sea. There are floats that are attached to the top of the nets and the nets are drawn into the shore by a boat or people standing on the shore. An example of this method is seen in the Gospel of John when some of the disciples were fishing on the Sea of Galilee. “And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.” So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish.” (John 21:6-8) When the Dragnet is pulled into the shore the catch of fish is divided between the good fish and the bad fish. The good fish are retained and the bad fish are discarded.

As with the Parable of the Wheat and the Tears Jesus explains the meaning of the Parable. In the present state of the Kingdom there is a mixture of good and bad. Of true believers in Jesus Christ and those who truly do not believe. As the Dragnet is pulled towards the end of the age it collects both the righteous and the unrighteous.

In the Parable of the Wheat and the Tears the bad seed was sown by the influence of Satan. As a result of Satan’s influence there will be those who offend and those who practice lawlessness amongst the righteous of the Kingdom. As we read in the Gospel of Matthew at the proper time the harvest will be gathered and the unrighteous will be separated from the righteous and discarded. “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness.” (Matthew 13:41)

In the Apostle Paul’s letter to Titus he wrote that in the great house, or the Church, some of the vessels are for “honor” and that some are for “dishonor.” “Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.” (Titus 2:20-21) My father said it this way of those in his Church. There is the Church visible and the Church invisible. Those who are truly saved and those who act as if they are saved.

That is how it is in this age but at the end there will be a final separation of the wicked and the righteous. “So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:49-50) We see that it will be the work of His Angels that will perform this task of separation. The wicked will be cast into the furnace of fire where they will be eternally tormented and wail greatly with gnashing of teeth. “And will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:42)

In this explanation of this Parable we can see the emphasis of Jesus. His point is there will be a time of separation where the unrighteous are taken out of the Kingdom and that they will be punished. We see nothing in this explanation related to the present mixture of the Kingdom as we did in the Parable of the Wheat and Tares. (Matthew 13:24-30) Neither do we see anything depicting the blessedness of the righteous as in the Parable of the Wheat and Tares. “Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.” (Matthew 13:43) The focus of this Parable is the coming judgment and the condemnation of the wicked. From this we should realize that the good news of the Kingdom of God is bad news for those who have rejected being true followers of Jesus to His Kingdom. This Parable unlike the Wheat and the Tares focuses on the destiny of the wicked.

The cost of wickedness is not a surprise to the listeners of Jesus’ teaching. At the Sermon on the Mount Jesus spoke of the separation from God that the wicked would face. (Matthew 7:21-23) Later in the Gospel of Matthew we learn that the eternal fire was prepared for Satan and his angels, but because the wicked have rejected the Kingdom of God they have accepted the place of Satan, the eternal furnace. (Matthew 25:41-46) If we have rejected the Love of God, then we have accepted the hate of Satan. The two cannot exists together in the Kingdom of God and will be separated in the age to come.

Because the wicked are enemies of God, enemies of His Church, and support the evil in this world, the God of Love who is a just God will deliver His justice through eternal torment. This is the teaching of His Word. We see these truths in both of these Parables the Wheat and the Tares and the Dragnet. This furnace of fire is the same as in Matthew 5:22. “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.” (Matthew 5:22) It is the lake of fire that the Apostle John tells us of in Revelation. “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8) This fire of judgment never ceases to burn. “Where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:48) As the righteous will receive everlasting life so the wicked will receive everlasting punishment. “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:46)

Jesus spent His three year ministry preaching the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God. “Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.” (Matthew 4:23)  He called on His listeners to repent. “From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17) Jesus warned the people of the judgment of God to come at the end of the age, that those who reject the truth that Jesus spoke, those who were not reconciled unto God through Jesus, would suffer eternal torment in the second death.

As followers of Jesus, we are His Christian soldiers who are to faithfully preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God. The word Gospel means good news. It is Good News for those who receive it. As His soldiers we are also to faithfully preach the bad news to those who reject the truth of God’s Word, the judgment that they will endure forever. “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, November 18, 20-16

wordpress analytics

Advertisements