Wicked vinedressers

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by JohnC, Dec 16, 2014.

  1. Hey guys,

    I want to share a musing I have been chewing on with the Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers.
    Scripture references: Matt 21:33-46, Mark 12:1-12, Luke 20:9-19

    Now... I am going to say this right up front... this is a bit "out there"... If you aren't seeing it - that's OK.

    So... For my intro....

    Let's start this one off with a bit of a riddle...
    WHY did Jesus speak in Parables?
    Go back to Matt 13:10-17

    Contrary to popular opinon - The Parables Jesus gave are NOT meant to Enlighten - but rather to Obscure. Parables are to HIDE meaning so it's not obvious... so that ".....Hearing they may not hear and seeing they may not see, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them" Matt 13:15 b.

    Parables are meant to conceal and obscure truths that may not be revealed other places....

    On to the Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers.
    This parable was given near the End of Jesus earthly ministry.
    It was given Publicly in the Temple - directly to the Temple Leadership and leaders of the Pharisees sect.

    Immediately preceding it, we see Jesus' second "Cleansing of the temple" and the attendant angry response of the Roman Appointed temple leadership - which had received the "Official License" by the Roman Senate to sell sacrificial material IN the temple courtyards.

    A ruler builds a Vinyard and plants a vine - then leases it out to tenant vinedressers. At vintage time - the Vinedressers refuse to pay their annual lease price to the Owner. He sends servants who are mistreated and killed. Finally he sends his son - who is also killed by the wicked vinedressers - who hope to take possession of the land and vinyard for themselves... Jesus then posits the question "What will the Ruler do to those wicked vinedressers" - and the temple leaders answered .....

    And then - the Chief Priests and Scribes sought to lay hands on Jesus because they understood the parable to be about them....

    BUT... Was it really? Remember - Parables are to OBSCURE meaning - not to clarify....

    To be continued...
  2. Let's walk through this parable.. Step by Step...

    First question - WHAT is the Vine in question?

    I am going to suggest that the Grape Vine is idiomatic of the House of Israel (Ref back to Hosea, Amos, Micah, and Isaiah)... By the "House of Israel" - the specific meaning I am talking about is the Northern Kingdom. (1st Kings 12:21 clearly delineates between the Northern "House of Israel" and the Southern "House of Judah" formed in the Civil war lead by Jeroboam. Zechariah 8:13 refers to the House of Israel and the House of Judah as 2 distinct entities, and Isaiah 5 prophesies the destruction of the Northern Kingdom (The vine))

    You will often see the northern "House of Israel" referred to as the vine, and the southern "House of Judah" referred to as the Fig tree idiomatically.

    What happened to the "House of Israel" - the Northern Kingdom? They fell into Idolatry and were wiped out by the Assyrians - starting in around 740BC and being completed around 715BC or so. After that - the "Northern Kingdom" - the "House of Israel" ceased to exist. The only Jewish nation left was the "House of Judah" - or the Nation named Judea... Judea went into captivity under the Babylonians - but was then released 70 years later... and it STILL retained it's national identity - and maintained a distinct National identity until it's destruction in 70AD. This nation of Judea was where the Faithful from all 12 tribes of Israel called home and where they celebrated festivals and presented their sacrifices....

    The Northern Kingdom (The Grape Vinyard) was initially taken captive by Assyria, and then through a series of successive Gentile Kingdoms - Babylon, Persia, Macedonia, Greece, Ptolemy/Egypt, Selucid Syria, the Parthians, and finally - ROME. Unlike Judea - they were successively scattered and transplanted hither and yon... These were "Unfaithful Israel" - they gave up practice of The Law, they took up Idolatry and pagan customs, completely assimilated into Gentile existence, and gave up all claim to any Covenant Claims.....

    So... In this context.... WHO then are the "Wicked Vinedressers?"
    I am going to suggest that the Wicked Vinedressers were NOT the Temple leadership.... The Temple Leadership were in charge of Shepherding the FAITHFUL ISRAEL... They existed in the nation of Judea..... They may well have fit the bill of the "Worthless shepherds" in Zechariah.... I will make the argument that they had no responsibility for "The Lost Sheep of the House of Israel" who had been assimilated into the Gentile world 750 YEARS before Christ taught this parable...

    The more I go through this - the more I become comfortable that the Wicked Vinedressers were REALLY the Roman Civil Leadership whom God had "Leased his Vinyard" - the Northern Kingdom - to some 750 years prior beginning with the Assyrian Captivity....

    See, this makes more sense - as the Gentile Kingdoms didn't really offer any real tribute up to God... and especially not from the increase they received out of the Northern Kingdom... They had their own pagan practices, and they did whatever they wanted to.... God successively destroyed each of them and "Gave the Vinyard" to others.....
  3. So... then.... WHO is the Son?

    This is pretty obvious - Jesus.

    What happens to the Son in the parable? He is put to death by the Wicked Vinedressers....

    WHO killed Jesus? Who physically put Him to death? .. because that would tell us WHO the wicked Vinedressers are.....

    Did the Jews put Jesus to death? NO! They had NO power to do such. They LOST the power of Capital Punishment when Caponius took over as procurator in around 6 AD... Sure - the Jews handed Him over - but they did NOT put Jesus to death.... Pontius Pilate as the Roman Procurator of Judea - the Official Representative of the Roman Civil Government put Jesus to death....

    Further evidence that the "Wicked Vinedressers" were The Romans....

    But... Since parables are meant to OBSCURE meaning, not to Enlighten - the Temple Leadership took the parable as speaking against themselves.....

    but notice that Jesus NEVER confirms that He was in fact speaking of them....
  4. The parable itself states who the vinedressers were.

    The Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers
    33 “Hear another parable: There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. 34

    God is the landowner. The people that God "leased" the land to, i.e. set aside land for, was the Jews.
    The Romans were conquerors, not lessees..
    Major likes this.
  5. So, you are saying that Israel is both the vine and also the vinedresser at the same time in the same parable...
    How does the vine dress itself?

    Then.. As to whether the Romans are Conquerors or Lessors - I suppose it depends on whose perspective we are looking at... From the Roman's perspective - I suppose they looked upon themselves as Conquerors who didn't owe anything to anybody....
    But... What about from God's perspective? Whose land was it?

  6. Nowhere in the parable does it allude to the vines being people of any kind. The vines mentioned in this context were grapes, no more, no less.

    Again, it was the "land of the Jews". Jesus was concerned with the Jews, as He mentioned over and over again.
  7. I can understand JohnC's point(s) but I don't quite agree with parables meant to obscure. In standard debate, to make a point, examples/hypotheticals are used to narrarate a point and consequences. The emphasis is on the ability to "hear and see" the truths mentioned without personal defenses being raised. Plain english: If all that exists belongs to God, and He allows your use of said property and you abuse it, you will pay the consequences. This would include everybody - Jews, Romans, whoever.
  8. So, then what do you do with Matthew 13:10-17 where Jesus specifically states that the purpose of HIS parables is to obscure meaning?

    I get that in normal parlance - we use stories to illustrate a point... but it's interesting that Jesus specifically states that He is doing the opposite....
  9. I'm not so sure about that. In Luke when they hear the parable and say, "certainly not!"...

    Then He looked at them and said, "What then is this that is written:
    'The stone which the builders rejected
    Has become the chief cornerstone'?

    And hadn't they rejected the cornerstone? But in a way, you are right, in that this parable is wisdom in the form of a warning to anyone who rejects Jesus:

    "Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder."
  10. 2 problems...
    The Jews did not kill Jesus. The Romans did - this is a matter of biblical record.... Thus - the parable breaks down - as Jews in the position of "Wicked vinedressers" did not actually succeed in personally killing the Son....

    Why would Jesus make a parable full of details that were references to specific Prophecies (Like Isaiah 5 and the vineyard) and familiar Jewish National Idioms (the vine) when he really meant all the details to simply mean "stuff"
  11. I don't think Mat 13 is about declaring that the purpose of the His parables is to universally obscure meaning.

    Verse 11 of that passage says "Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them..."

    He seemed to have expected the disciples to understand the meaning in them. "Obscure meaning" probably isn't the best way to understand the purpose of the parables, so much as to speak specifically to those whose hearts are not hard against Him.
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  12. I don't think Jesus is obscuring. If you are looking for truth in His statements, you will find it. If you are looking for whatever you want - you will also find it. The Pharisees still got angry and wanted His death. They were aware of the scriptures that backed His words or examples. Jesus made His points while still remaining blameless (edit*) via scripture and parables..
  13. Sort of. Ultimately, Jesus was killed by the necessity for His sacrifice, for which we all share equal responsibility. Here's what Paul says in Acts 2:

    "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross..."

    I do want to be cautious about assigning blame, because in the past many have used this and other similar verses to propagate antisemitism. So note that Paul doesn't exactly assign blame (i.e., "God's set purpose"), but I just wanted to demonstrate that it's reasonable to suggest that the individuals present were correct about who He was speaking of.
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  14. There seems to be some confusion over who had power of execution.
    Acts 7:58. Steven was stoned to death outside the city.
  15. Why then if Matt 13 can be made to imply that Jesus spoke in parables to hide the truth from the leaders, does the same account given in Mark 4, say otherwise?
    Mar 4:2. And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them:
    Same parable, one in fact that the disciples needed to have explained just as would/did the others.
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  16. Joh 19:6. When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him."
    and since.......
    John 19:15. They cried out, "Away with him, away with him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar."....shows that the Jewish leadership and probably not a few of the common gentry aligned themselves with Rome, how can it be said that the Jews did not have Jesus executed?
    Lest my argument be mistaken for Jew bashing, I should say that I had a significant hand in the execution of Jesus. It was my sin that placed Him on that cross. So I'm not trying to shift blame onto any person or class of peoples.
  17. Are you reading the same narrative I did?

    The Jews had a choice as to who would be killed. They chose Barrabas to live.
    Pontius Pilate washed his hands of the entire mess, do you get that?
    The Pharisees ordered the death of Jesus, the fact that the Romans carried it out is meaningless.
  18. Problem: the Jews did kill Jesus. The Pharisses condemned Him to death, did you miss that part?
    Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.
    Who ruled Jerusalem?
  19. There is no doubt that the Jews, as a whole rejected Christ but not all of them did. There is no doubt that Nero using burning Christians to light his dinner partys rejected Christ but not all Romans did. I agree with Roads - our sins put Him on the cross.

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