By retired Seventh-day Adventist Pastor, Ian Cotton
The parable of the two sons was followed by the parable of the vineyard. In the one, Christ had set before the Jewish teachers the importance of obedience. In the other, He pointed to the rich blessings bestowed upon Israel conditional on their obedience.
“There was a farmer,” Christ said, “who planted a vineyard, and put a hedge around it, and dug a winepress in it, built a tower, leased it, and then left the country.” Matt.21:33ff
Isaiah 5:1 The farmer chooses a piece of land from the wilderness; he fences, clears, and tills it, and plants it with choice vines, expecting a rich harvest.
“The vineyard of the Lord of hosts was Israel, and the men of Judah His pleasant plant.”
God had bestowed great privileges, blessing them richly. In the midst of a fallen, wicked world they were to represent the character of God.
As the Lord’s vineyard they were to produce fruit altogether different from that of the nations who had given themselves up to wickedness. Violence and crime, greed, oppression, and the most corrupt practices, were indulged without restraint. Iniquity, degradation, and misery were the fruits of the corrupt tree. In marked contrast was to be the fruit borne on the vine of God’s planting.
It was the privilege of the Jewish nation to represent the character of God as revealed to Moses. “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” Exodus 34:6, 7.
This was the fruit that God desired from His people. In the purity of their characters, in the holiness of their lives, in their mercy and loving-kindness and compassion, they were to show that “the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” Psalm 19:7.
Through the Jewish nation it was God’s purpose to impart rich blessings to all peoples. The nations of the world had lost the knowledge of God. In His mercy, God did not blot them out. He designed that the principles revealed through His people should be the means of restoring the moral image of God in man.
The descendants of Abraham, Jacob and his posterity, were brought to Egypt that in the midst of that great and wicked nation they might reveal the principles of God’s kingdom. The integrity of Joseph and his wonderful work in preserving the lives of the whole Egyptian people were a representation of the life of Christ.
In delivering Israel from Egypt, the Lord manifested His power and mercy. His wonderful deliverance from bondage and His dealings with them in their travels through the wilderness were to be an object lesson to the surrounding nations.
The Lord revealed Himself as a God above all human authority and greatness. The signs and wonders He wrought in behalf of His people showed His power over nature .
As God went through Egypt, He will go through the earth in the last days. God redeemed His people. He took them out of the land of bondage. He delivered them that they might dwell as under the shadow of the Most High. Just as God promises heaven to all today who choose Him as Saviour and make Him Lord.