But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?” They said to Him, “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.” Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’ ? Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.” Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them. (Matthew 21:38-45)
The End Of The Nation Of Israel
There are many reasons given in scripture for the coming of the Son of Man and Jesus often alluded to His purpose as He spoke in parables to the Jewish leaders. Near the end of His life, the Lord spoke more clearly about what He came to do and the future of the nation of Israel and the fate of Jerusalem. After Jesus had received a glorious welcoming to the city of Jerusalem He challenged the hierarchy of the temple by overturning the tables of the money changes and the seats of those who sold doves in what is commonly referred to as Jesus cleansing the temple. His authority was challenged for doing such things and Jesus offers two parables. The first is about a father coming to his two sons asking them to do a certain task. The first son refuses to obey his father but later repents but the second son while telling his father he would do what was asked, refused to go. Jesus adds another and a more direct parable about a landowner who leased his vineyard out to vinedressers. When the time came for the bounty of the harvest to be received, the evil vinedressers beat the messengers and killed one and stoned another. The Lord sent his son and they killed him also. Asked what the landowner should do, the chief priest and elders answered Jesus the landowner should destroy the evil vinedressers and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who would render to him the fruits in their seasons. It was then Jesus revealed another purpose for His coming to earth. The nation of Israel had been shown to be the vineyard of God in the Old Testament and now Jesus is showing how the Father will reject the nation because they will kill the Son of God. When the chief priests and elders heard the parable they knew Jesus was talking about them. They wanted to kill Jesus but feared the multitude. Their day would come in less than a week when Jesus would be betrayed by Judas and crucified outside the city. In the very act of taking Jesus outside the city and killing Him, the Jewish leaders fulfilled the parable spoken by Jesus only a few days before.
Israel had been the apple of God’s eye, His chosen people, a royal nation of His own special people He had delivered from the bondage of Egypt, planted in Canaan through His powerful hand and established in the rule of David. The seed of Christ would come through the nation to save all men, Jew and Gentile alike. Sadly, the nation of Israel had rebelled against the Lord and final destruction would come nearly four decades after Jesus died. He had prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem and the demise of Israel but the Jewish leaders were not listening. The parable of the wicked vinedressers was the final message of Jesus warning them of the impending doom. In the year 70 A.D., the Romans sent their army against Jerusalem and obliterated the city and killed thousands enslaving many more. While resistance persisted for a few years, the end of the nation was final. The words of Jesus had come true and the account of the Jewish leaders fulfilled their own destiny. In the parable of the evil vinedressers, the vineyard was taken away and given to another. God took the nation of Israel away because they had rebelled against Him following the death of Solomon and finally they conspired to kill the Son of God. Israel fell never to rise again. The parable of the wicked vinedressers serves another purpose for modern man to understand the State of Israel formed in 1948 is not the Biblical nation of Israel. There will never be a revival of Israel to its former glory or its place in the will of God. Jesus will never come back and restore the kingdom because the parable spoken before His death outlines the final destruction of Israel with no hope of return. Those who teach a millennial kingdom in the future will have to deny the final parable of Jesus.
It was according to the will of God that Israel is destroyed. Salvation would no longer come through keeping the Law of Moses, Ten commandments, the Abrahamic covenant experienced by the Gentiles who were a law to themselves. The Jews proved they could not justify themselves by keeping the written law and the Gentiles showed they could not save themselves by keeping an unwritten law of conscious. Jesus told the parable of the wicked vinedressers to outline how the Father was going to draw all men (Jew and Gentile) to Jesus by the act of the evil vinedressers (Israel) casting out the son of the landowner (Jesus the Son; God the landowner) and killing Him (the crucifixion). Thereby the gospel was given to those who would render to God the fruits of righteousness (the early church). Jesus came to seek and save the lost and His death united all men again under the banner of God’s love without distinction of race, gender, or social status. All are one in Christ in the church serving the new covenant as a spiritual nation of God’s elect, a royal priesthood and those chosen by the grace of God’s eternal love. Israel remains a remnant of historical lessons showing the goodness and severity of God. While they are no more a nation, they remain an example and tutor to help us see more clearly the work of Christ.