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Matthew 13:47-51: Kingdom of Heaven is like a net

Posted by adventbiblestudy on January 18, 2012


Matthew 13:47-51
(47) Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a net that was cast into the sea, and gathered some of every kind; (48) which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. (49) So it shall be at the end of the world. The angels shall come out and separate the wicked from among the just, (50) and shall cast them into the furnace of fire. There shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (51) Jesus said to them, Have you understood all these things? They said to Him, Yes, Lord.

It was the perfect night for fishing, no wind, no moon, perfectly quiet and calm. Simon and Andrew patiently let the net down into the water and put oil lamps out on poles to attract fish into the waiting net. With nothing to do but wait in silence, Simon thought about a better hope for tomorrow. His life has always been rough. Growing up with no hope for the future, but to inherit his father’s fishing boat, and a small plot of land was not a life he wanted. He stared into the darkness beyond the light of the oil lamps asking God if He had something better in mind for his life. Looking over at his little brother Andrew, he began to count the blessings in his life, family, food on the table, a roof over his head, and … there had to be more to life than this.

Hours passed before they saw the first hint of the sun, still below the horizon. A sliver of light blue quickly spread over the sky. Waking Andrew, they began pulling in the net. At first nothing seemed out of the ordinary. As they gathered in more of the net, they noticed an unusually heavy load. They toiled against the weight of the net for ten, twenty, then thirty minutes. The more they pulled in the net, the heavier it became. The sun appearing over the horizon lite the entire sky. Simon glanced over the edge of the boat to see if the catch was visible from the surface. To his surprise the net was filled to over flowing. He could see a number of fish escaping from the open sides. Every muscle in his body bulged as he and Andrew labored against the weight of the catch.

Once the catch broke the surface, the brothers knew it would be too heavy for the two of them to pull in over the side. Grabbing wicker baskets they began scooping fish out of the net into the boat. After filing the boat half full of fish Simon suggested, “let’s try pulling in the net now.” With arms budging and back muscles straining the two brothers put every ounce of strength into hauling the net into the boat. After a few minutes of straining against the weight, Simon decided it was beyond their ability. He secured the net in the highest position they were able to manage and told Andrew they had no choice but to head to shore for assistance. This meant sharing the catch, which already had exceeded their expectations. Simon knew returning with the net over the side would be a welcome site to the small fishing village. Fishing had been slow for the past few weeks. Sharing a catch like this is just what the small village needed.

It was difficult to row to shore with a net weighing down one side, not to mention making it impossible to put an oar in the water on the starboard side. Both Simon and Andrew hoped a wind would soon come, which would make getting to shore much easier. Their prayers were almost immediately answered as a mild breeze began to blow. After hoisting the sail, the journey seemed much more enjoyable.

It was no real surprise they were the last boat to reach shore. The village being like family, noticed Simon and Andrew had not returned. A number of people, including their father and mother stood on the shore watching for them. The view of a sail on the small boat in the distance greatly comforted them. As the boat drew closer, the sail exemplified the fact the boat exhibited a dramatic lean. Expecting the worst, other boats quickly made their way out to aid Simon and Andrew. They were greatly relieved and surprised to see the reason for the lean. Simon cast out lines to two of the boats nearest them, preparing to tow them into shore. A third boat positioned itself along side the budging net, scooping out baskets of fish to help lighten the load.

The entire fishing village gathered at the shore with a sense of excitement and anticipation. As soon as the boats were close enough they noticed the loaded net hanging from the side. With anticipation, people began scrambling for baskets to fill. When the loaded boat grounded in the shallow water, a number of men ran out to help haul the net to the shore.

With the entire village gathered around the net, Simon’s father held up his arms signaling for quite. When the excitement and chatter calmed down, he offered up a prayer to God. “Or kind Heavenly Father, I first of all thank you for the safe return of my sons, Simon and Andrew. I also thank you Lord for answering our prayers by providing this bountiful catch. Lord, you are the Creator of all Heaven and earth, the dry land, the seas, and everything in them. We thank you Lord for the kind and gentle mercy you have shown us this day.”

As soon as the prayer was finished, the people began sorting through the fish in orderly fashion, putting the good into baskets, and the bad in a pile along the shore.

“So it shall be at the end of the world. The angels shall come out and separate the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire. There shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Jesus said to them, “Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, Yes, Lord. Matthew 13:40-51.

The separation of the saints and sinners takes place when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him. All nations shall be gathered before Him. And He shall separate them from one another, as a shepherd divides the sheep from the goats. He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats off the left. Then the King shall say to those on His right hand, Come, blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. He shall send His angels and shall gather His elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of heaven. They will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with Him a thousand years. Matthew 25:31-34, Mark 13:26, Revelation 20:6.

Whoever shall be ashamed of Me and of My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man shall also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. Mark 8:38

One day Jesus and the saints will stand upon the walls of the New City Jerusalem looking out at a vast army of the dead which will stretch as far as the eye can see. Although greatly out numbered, no fear will enter into the hearts of the saints. They have been with Jesus for a thousand years, and understand how the prophecies will be fulfilled.

 
The rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. When the thousand years expires, Satan will be loosed out of his prison. He will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle. The number of them is as the sand of the sea. And they went up over the breadth of the earth and circled around the camp of the saints, and the beloved city. And I saw the dead, the small and the great, stand before God. And books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And fire came down from God out of Heaven and devoured them. And the Devil who deceived them was cast into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet were. He also shall say to those on the left hand, Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. This is the second death. And if anyone was not found having been written in the Book of Life, he was cast into the Lake of Fire. Revelation 20:5, 7-9, Revelation 20:12, 9, 10, Matthew 25:41, Revelation 20:14, 15.

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