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Friday, March 13, 2020

Parable of the Dragnet -- Part 1

Dragnet Parable– Matthew 13:47-50

          As I have said in many of my teachings, God and Jesus used the things on earth to teach spiritual truth. Jesus is doing this in His parables. Paul gave us a hint of this in 1 Corinthians 15:46. “The spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.”

The First and the Last

The first of the seven parables in Matthew 13 is about the wheat and tares. The Sower of the seed/wheat is Jesus. The sower of the tares is the devil. Wheat is used to make bread that feeds people, but tares are useless. As the Living Word of God, Jesus sows the Word of God which will gather and feed many people. Satan on the other hand wants to destroy the Body of Christ as well as the unsaved. Satan works through our fleshly nature. Jesus works through the Holy Spirit of God in us and the Holy Word. The true and the false will grow together in the Body of Christ until separated at the end of the age.

Tares look very much like wheat. Because of this, it is hard to distinguish between the two until the harvest when the heads of the grain (fruit) appear. “A tree is known by its fruit.” Matthew 12:33 Then the harvester can distinguish between the two. The tares will produce no fruit and are worthless. Those who eat and understand the Word of God and submit to it will produce fruit and are useful to Jesus and the Kingdom of God.

Wheat in scripture represents true believers and pure doctrine. Tares symbolize children of the devil and false doctrine. Jesus and His angels will do the separating at the end of the age. Matthew 13:30: “Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of the harvest, I will say to the reapers, ‘First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them but gather the wheat into My barn.’”  (see also Luke 3:17; Revelation 14:15)

Both the first and last parable in Matthew 13 are about the separation of the righteous from the wicked. Jesus is the One who separates the true from the false. He did this also in the Gospels when He said those who didn’t believe in Him were of their father the devil.

In the parable of the wheat and tares, Jesus shows the promise and glorious future of His disciples. “The righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” 13:43 The righteous have a future hope and destiny. In the parable of the dragnet the focus is on the tragic end of the age and of the wicked. There is no hope for these at the end of the age and their end is in eternal fire in the belly of the earth. 

The last parable in Matthew 13 is about the dragnet and the fishermen.

What is a Dragnet?

        A dragnet is a large net made of many strings or ropes sewn together. This symbolizes unity. The net symbolizes the Body of Christ sending forth the gospels gathering people of every nation, tribe and tongue.

        At the time of Jesus, fishermen who made their living fishing would sometimes use a dragnet in the sea to gather a catch. These fishermen (disciples) were at the sea of Galilee where Jesus spent a lot of time.

        A dragnet is used in a few ways. It can be dropped between two boats and dragged, or it can be dragged behind one boat. It can also be anchored on the shore with weights and the fishermen in the boat would take the ends of the net, cast it wide and deep and drag it in a semicircle back to the shore gathering a catch of all kinds of fish as well as  stuff like garbage, seaweed, seafood and debris. The “net” doesn’t separate; it grabs up everything in its path. It is up to the fishermen to separate the good from the worthless fish. Just as there were tares among the wheat that the harvester had to separate and good and bad fish in the net, the Word of God gathers all types. Jesus said that “the Kingdom of Heaven is like a large net thrown into the sea. It collected every kind of fish, and when it was full, they dragged it ashore, sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but threw out the worthless ones.” Matthew 13:47-48

 At the end of the age, Jesus and His angels will separate the true from the false. Good and evil on earth will be completely separated at the time of the end for all eternity. (see Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 20:14-15)

“When the  Son of man shall come in all of His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.” Matthew 25:31-32

To the righteous, He will say, “Come you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…..” Mt. 25:34

To the wicked, He will say, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels….”Mt. 25:41 

Symbolism in the Parable of the Dragnet
        In the parable of the dragnet, there is:
·        Net – represents a “gatherer.”  Jesus, the Word of God, gathers people into His Body – the church. Jesus casts a wide net and gathers many people from every nation.
·         Sea – represents the sea of spiritually lost humanity of all nations.
·        Fishermen – those who present the Good News of Jesus Christ—the fivefold ministry gifts Christ gives to equip His Church – apostles, evangelists, teachers, prophets and pastors.  (see Ephesians 4:11)
·     Fish – represent the souls of humans. Jesus told His disciples that He would make them “fishers of men.” (see Matthew 4:19) We are to cast the net of Jesus and the Word of God to gather believers to Christ.

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