The Parable Of The Dragnet

Matt 13:47-50 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; {48} 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. {49} So it ;will be at the end of the age; the angels shall come forth, and take out the wicked from among the righteous, {50} and will cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Once again, we make comparisons of things spiritual, which cannot be seen, with objects that we humans can relate to. These word pictures combined together give us a pretty good description of the kingdom of heaven.

What we have to keep in mind is what perspective we are using at any given parable. The kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God are the same. It can refer to the present day church or it can refer to the futuristic heaven after judgement. We must be careful to interpret these with the right perspective concerning each.

Some of these parables have to do with the beginning, not only of the church, but also of our individual relationships we develop with God. Some of these parables deal with the Church in existence and contending with evil in it's midst. Some of these parables deal with the great value place upon finding and obtaining these priceless treasures. And some of these parables deal with the judgement to come.

This particular parable is obviously dealing with the judgement. The picture given is that no one will escape the dragnet. Unlike shrimp boats that only gather a small portion of the sea, and by law have methods to release unintended guest from their nets. This reveals that none will be released and that none can or will escape, the judgement.

The sea is one of two thoughts. It is the world and everyone that lives in the world will be caught up in this net for ultimate judgement. Or it is the church of God or the church of Christ of which judgement is still required. This teachs that just being in the church is not enough, we still must be active and continuous in our obedience.

The gathering is the same gathering that will be found in the great hall on judgement day. This is pictured in Matt.25:31ff. The idea of fish of every kind is used to show that all will be pulled in for judgement. This is in opposition to the teaching that only the just will be caught up in rapture( a false doctrine very popular with many). The good and the bad will face the same judgement.

v.48 It was filled indicating the completness and fullness of the magnitude of this gathering. When they draw it up on the beach is the same as gathering in the great throne room of God where the separation takes place.

Notice that the fishermen have time to sit down and choose the good from the bad. The concept of sit down means that there is no rush or urgency in the matter. We know from our personal experience that fresh fish lose freshness quite quickly. We almost have to put them on ice immediatley or have to eventually throw them away because they become rotten or bad. No, these people are going to take their time.

The good fish are gathered into containers where they are reserved for later use. The bad fish are thrown away. Out on the water, you would just throw the bad fish back into the sea, but this does not indicate thrown away into the sea, but rather for destruction, which is in line with the explanation found in v.50.

Jesus says it will be this way in the end, whenever that time comes, that the angels will come and make the separation. There are other passages that state that Jesus will return with his angels. 2 Thess 1:7 says that they will come with flaming fire to execute retribution to the bad. The bad are described by Paul as those who do not know God and those who do not keep His commandments.

Jesus also states that the wicked will be removed from the righteous. Since we as God's people are to be set apart or separate from the world and worldy ways and people, then this must mean that within our confines of the church, that there will be those who are considered wicked. Jesus describes laziness and slothfulness and being wicked. A deceiver is considered to be wicked. v41 says that the angels will remove all the stumbling blocks and those who commit lawlessness. 1 John 3:4 "sin is lawlessness". The five foolish virgins who were not prepared were denied entrance into the feast. Those who offered excuses were said that they could not enter and partake of the feast. Those who treated their brethren in an ill manner were taken and cast into the place of chains and darkness.

The final picture is that of hell, described as a furnace of fire. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Throw me into a fire and I'll do more than that, screaming, hollering, begging, crying, jumping, writhing, suffering, and I would be calling for the mercy of my God. But by then it is too late. If we never took the time to acknowledge God and His presence. If we did not want to abide by His teaching. If we did not listen to His holy prophets the evangelist. And if we did not follow His Holy Spirit's message calling for obedience. Then it will be too late to beg for mercy. Our judgement will be sealed up for all time and this will be the place where the worm dies not. Forever in agony and punishment.

At the close of these parables, Jesus asked His disciples if they understood all these things. They said to Him, "Yes". It is doubtful that they comprehended these concepts fully, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, on the day of Pentecost, they finally did understand them.

We have the Holy Spirit to guide us in our comprehension of being in God's kingdom. We know that our citizenship is special and we cannot put a pricetag on it. We know that we have responsibilities and dutes in this kingdom and that we are a part of it. We also must contribute to the welfare of the kingdom and it's ruler. We stand accountable.

Are you ready to face your judgement?

Are you living according to His word, or mans?

Turn to the Word of God to find the correct answer, and you will find Jesus Christ to be your savior. Will you acknowledge Him?

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