Vol. 19, No. 42 – November 1, 2020
c. The Parable of the Prodigal Son, vs. 11-32, (continued).
3) The resentful brother and insightful father, vs. 25-32.
Luke 15:30, “But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him’.”
Operation “Self-Pity Party” continues with more whining and complaining, now turning to venomous attacks against his father. Once again we have three aspects to this sinful attack. 1) Disassociation with a family member. 2) False accusations – sinful judgment against his brother. 3) False accusations – sinful judgment against his father. In this we also see God our Father’s plan for our salvation. This week we pick it up with the third point.
3) False accusations – sinful judgment against his father. “You killed the fattened calf for him.”
“You killed,” is once again the Aorist, Active, Indicative of THUO, as in vs. 23, 27, that means, “sacrifice, slaughter, or kill.” It is also used in Luke 22:7, “Then came the first day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.”
“The fattened calf,” SISTEUTOS, is only used here and vs. 23, 27, in the NT, with MOSCHOS, “calf or young bull,” also used in these three verses and in Heb 9:12, 19, Rev 4:7.
“For him,” AUTOS, is speaking of the younger brother.
Like Satan’s third temptation of Jesus Christ in the wilderness when he quoted Scripture, Luke 4, this comment is true. Yet, in the light of its context from vs. 29, “you have never given me a young goat,” it is used as an antagonism towards the father. The older brother is comparing what the father did for the younger son to what he allegedly never did for him. He is comparing a greater with a lesser that never occurred, trying to gain sympathy for his cause.
We can only assume this is a true statement, but in reality it is probably an exaggeration at best and a lie at worst. The father most likely had given many parties for many occasions, and the older son was most likely the subject for some of them.
Nevertheless, the point here is the whining exaggeration with false accusations that the older son brings against his father. In these verbal sins, they are motivated by an oscillation between self-righteous arrogance and self-pity in emotional revolt of the soul. By judging his father in this manner, he is committing at least three sins; dishonoring, judging, and maligning him; all because he felt sorry for himself in jealous anger.
In this section, we see pride, entitlement, and self-righteousness continues to keep him from repenting. If we think we have something to boast about before God, then we will not see our need for turning to God in repentance. This son thinks his obedience justifies him before his father, just as the Pharisees through their self-righteousness made them right before God. How many of us have a difficult time detecting the fault in our own thinking?
Therefore, in the whining complaint of the elder son, due to the anger within his soul towards his brother and father, we see how the self-righteous, legalistic, arrogant believer can have contempt for his fellow believer and God. Because things do not always go their way, they get angry and lash out at them both! And, because of their self-righteousness, they cannot stand it when a fellow believer repents and God forgives them giving restoration to fellowship with a celebration.
In conclusion: “But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him’,” symbolically tells us of the great plan of Salvation God the Father has for all of mankind through His Son, Jesus Christ.
1) “But when this son of yours came,” speaks of the First Advent of Jesus Christ, where he came to earth in humanity to take on the sins of the entire world.
2) “Who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes,” tells us that Jesus took on (i.e., devoured / was consumed with) the sins of the world upon the Cross. There, He bore the sins of every sinner, (i.e., prostitutes) – every member of the human race. He gave His life (i.e., wealth, BIOS) for the sinner. He gave His livelihood, (temporarily set aside His Deity to become man), for the sinner. And, oh by the way, (follow the logic here), it was God who gave physical life to the body Jesus had here on earth. Because God gave Him that life, it was God’s life. As such, it was God’s life (in ownership) to give. Therefore, it was God’s life, (in the person of Jesus Christ), that was given as our sacrifice.
3) “You killed the fattened calf for him,” tells us that it was God the Father’s plan of salvation for His Son to be sacrificed for the sinner. Therefore, God the Father killed, (i.e., THUO, sacrificed), the fattened calf, (Jesus Christ), for him, (the sinners of the world). God the Father sacrificed His Son for the forgiveness of our sins. And, through belief in Him the unbeliever is given eternal life, and the believer is restored to fellowship through repentance.
Luke 15:31, “And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours.”
Wisdom Steps In. Once again, the father steps in to reassure the older wayward son that he is still part of the family and that his estate / inheritance is still intact. In like fashion, our heavenly Father reassures us that we are always a part of His family with an irrevocable inheritance, cf. John 1:12; 11:52; Rom 8:14; Gal 3:26; 4:6; Phil 2:15; 1 John 3:1-2; Eph 1:11, 14, 18; Col 1:12; 3:24; 1 Peter 1:4.
Rom 8:14, “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
Gal 3:26, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”
Gal 4:6, “Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!””
1 John 3:1-2, “See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.”
1 Peter 1:3-5, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Interestingly, the father does not use the typical word for son HIOUS here, instead he uses the term TEKNON, τέκνον that means, “child, descendant, or posterity.” It particularly connotes the child-parent relationship. Not only was the father using this term to reassure his son of his family and financial status, but he was also subtly reminding him of his relationship with the father. From the basis of the 5th Commandment, the NT stresses the responsibility of children to obey their parents, Eph 6:1-3; Col 3:20, which this elder wayward son was not doing at this time. Therefore, with all the grandstanding the elder son was performing, his father was lovingly and compassionately trying to get him to realize his own sin and repent by using this phrase. As such, we see the tender touch of our heavenly Father towards us too, when we fall into any form of sinning including moralistic sinning.
The compassionate address of the father to the son includes three aspects here and in vs. 32a.
- “You have always been with me.”
- “All that is mine is yours.”
- “We had to celebrate and rejoice.”
1. “You have always been with me,” SU EIMI PANTOTE META EGO. EIMI is in the Extending-from-Past Present tenses, Active voice, and Indicative mood for action that began in the past and continues into the present, with emphasis on the present time. Literally it says, “you have been, are, and always will be with me.”
This is the analogy of once saved always saved, which means regardless of the sins we commit post-salvation, we do not lose our salvation. In other words, once we are saved we have been, are, and always will be with God our Father as members of His family; as His sons and daughters.
As for the analogy of the Pharisees represented in the elder son, the Jews are God’s chosen people and He will never abandon them. They will always be His chosen race. Though individual Jews will not believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior, including the religious leaders, God will not abandon His promises to the Jewish people and will honor His unconditional covenants to them. They will always be God’s chosen race with unconditional covenant promises to be fulfilled.
Beginning with Abraham, God made a covenant with him that he would be the father of a great nation. It would be fulfilled through his son Isaac, and grandson Jacob, who would be changed to Israel by God. From Jacob/Israel the covenant would be fulfilled. Later, God made more covenants with the people of Israel at the time of King David. God promised to give Israel an eternal king, with an eternal throne, with an eternal kingdom, to go along with the Abrahamic covenant of an eternal people.
The covenants to Israel are God’s gracious promises and provision for Israel as the new racial species called the Hebrews or Jews, and as a client nation to God. These covenants are fulfilled to all born again Jews as the possessors of eternal life, Rom 9:6, “But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel.”
Covenants are defined in the OT scriptures in terms of favorable disposition. God, as party of the first part, made a favorable disposition to Israel as party of the second part. Because God made these promises to Israel, the covenants or contracts cannot be conditional, because it is an agreement between two parties with the first party favoring the second party. The primary issue is favor or GRACE. The key to the covenants to Israel is based on two doctrines: the Jews as a new racial species and Israel as a client nation to God.
As noted above, the Jew had to believe in Jesus Christ in order to qualify to receive the blessings of the unconditional covenants. The Jew cannot enter their spiritual heritage until they first believe in Jesus Christ. All the covenants to Israel have an eternal life clause based on the fact that Israel has a future in both time and eternity. Being born racially a Jew is not enough to benefit from these covenants. Spiritually dead persons cannot inherit eternal life or benefit from these unconditional covenants. Those who benefit from these covenants must have eternal life. In addition, the covenants to Israel cover two dispensations when Israel is a client nation to God: the Jewish Age and the Millennium. These contracts apply to both dispensations. Unconditional covenants are given to Israel in three categories:
1) To Israel as a new racial species.
2) To Israel as a priest nation to God.
3) To regenerate Israel as true Israel.
The unconditional covenants include: the Abraham, Palestinian, Davidic, and New Covenants to Israel.
1) The Abrahamic covenant defines the race for client nation Israel. Abraham became a Jew at age 99; circumcision was the sign, Gen 12:1‑3; 13:15‑16; 15:18; 22:15‑18; 26:3‑4; Ex 6:2‑8.
2) The Palestinian covenant defines the land for client nation Israel, Gen 15:18; Num 34:1‑12; Deut 30:1‑9; Josh 1:3‑4. This is the real estate of the client nation.
3) The Davidic covenant defines the dynasty for client nation Israel, 2 Sam 7:8‑16; Psa 89:20‑37.
4) The New Covenant defines the restoration of the client nation Israel at the Second Advent and the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ, Jer 31:31‑34. This part of the contract is not operational until the Second Advent. It will be fulfilled in two parts.
a) During the great power experiment of the hypostatic union, the New Covenant is fulfilled in the provision of a Savior. The New Covenant cannot be fulfilled to any Jew unless he has eternal life, Mat 26:28; 1 Cor 11:25; Heb 8:8, 13; 9:15; 12:24. The point of the Cross fulfills this salvation requirement. This is taught in Isa 61:1.
b) During the Millennium and the eternal state. This is taught in Isa 61:2‑11; 59:20‑21, quoted in Rom 11:26‑27.
All unconditional covenants have an eternal life clause based on the fact that Israel has a future both in time and in eternity. Therefore, we see in the prodigal son’s father’s address to the elder wayward son, that his elder son has been, is, and always will be with him, just as true Israel has been, is, and always will be with God the Father in fulfillment of the four unconditional covenants made to Israel.
2. “All that is mine is yours,” PAS HO EMOS EIMI SOS. This has to do with the father’s wealth. That which remained after the younger son took his 1/3 is the inheritance of the elder son. Therefore, all that the father currently owned was the property of the elder son. The reassurance was that the elder son in reality and actuality has not lost a thing. What he will inherit has not changed one bit.
On a side note, with some supposition, it is interesting that 1/3 of the inheritance went to someone besides the elder brother, who is in analogy for the people of Israel in this parable. Therefore, by analogy, we could say the 1/3 went to believing Gentiles. We could also narrow it down to say the 1/3 of the inheritance went to Church Age believers, of which we are a part of, as we too have an unconditional inheritance in Christ. This is interesting also when we compare it with Rev 12:4, “And his (Satan’s) tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.”
In this passage, the woman is Israel (Mary) and the child is Jesus. The 1/3 of the “stars of heaven” are angels, which we assume is an indicator of all the fallen angels that stayed in rebellion against God with Satan, as compared to all the angels God created. Now, here is the supposition part. Some suppose that until there are enough believers from human history to replace the 1/3 angels that fell, Christ will not return. So, if we look at the Gentiles of all time and of the Church Age who are believers, could they be the ones that take the 1/3 of the inheritance leaving 2/3 for the elder son, Israel? Just an interesting analogy, that cannot be backed up, but interesting none- the- less comparing the 1/3 and 2/3 of the inheritance.
Now, getting back to the parable, this is the analogy of the covenant promises made to the believing people of Israel. Even though God has also blessed the believing Gentile people, especially during the Church Age, the believing Jewish people would not lose one thing of the promises God has made to them. They will still receive all of the blessings of the unconditional covenant promises God made to them, cf. Heb 9:15; 11:8. They too will inherit the Kingdom of God, where they would have an eternal Jewish kingdom with a land promise, with a Jewish throne, and a Jewish king to sit upon that throne for all of eternity. Jesus Christ will fulfill those covenants in His Second Advent and on into eternity. Gal 3:18, “For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.” Sadly, the One who the Jewish leaders would reject is the One who would fulfill those promises they were eagerly looking for.
This also reminds the Church Age believer, made up of both Jews and Gentiles, that we will never lose the promised inheritance that Jesus has made to us, His bride, Acts 20:32; 26:18; Eph 1:11-19; Col 1:12; 3:24; 1 Peter 1:3-5.
Paul quoted Jesus in Acts 26:18, “To open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.”
Eph 1:11, “Also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.”
Eph 1:14, “Who (the Holy Spirit) is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”
Eph 1:18, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.”
Col 1:12, “Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.”
Col 3:24, “Knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”
In a final note, this is another indicator that “Replacement Covenant Theology” is a false doctrine and false system of interpreting the Bible. The Gentiles of the Church Age have not replaced the position true Israel has with God, nor are the unconditional covenant promises made to them now made to the Church Age. The covenant promises made to Israel will be fulfilled for Israel through Jesus Christ during His Second Advent, Millennial reign, and into eternity. There are separate and unique promises of blessings and inheritance given to the Church, and in no way has the Church replaced Israel regarding the covenant promises.
Luke 15:32a, “But we had to celebrate and rejoice.”
3. “We had to celebrate and rejoice,” DE DEI EUPHRAINO KAI CHAIRO. DEI is a Verb in the Imperfect, Active, Indicative that means, “it is necessary, must, has to, or should.” The Imperfect tense is used for incomplete and ongoing action. It expresses what one ought to do because of the demands of custom, law, etc. In other words, this was the customary thing to do when someone returned home after a long absence; it was nothing out of the ordinary.
The thing that was customary to do was to “celebrate,” EUPHRAINO, in the Aorist, Passive, Infinitive that means, “to make glad, be happy, glad, rejoice, or be merry,” as we have noted in vs. 23, 24, 29. It is especially associated with banquets and their consequent merriment. Therefore, it was customary to celebrate the return of a relative with a celebration of merriment, as well as to “rejoice,” CHAIRO, also in the Aorist, Passive, Infinitive that means, “rejoice or be glad.” We noted CHAIRO in vs. 5, in the parable of the lost sheep, where the shepherd “rejoiced” when he found it. Interestingly, CHAIRO also served as a greeting like “welcome or good day.” So, we see the rejoicing when someone is met after a time of absence. Using these two words, our Lord was stressing both the outward form of rejoicing, EUPHRAINO, in celebration at a banquet, and the inward emotion of rejoicing, CHAIRO, having joy and happiness in your soul, especially when greeting someone. Therefore, the father was trying to show the elder son that what they were doing was not a slight against him, but what was customarily done and felt when a family member returned home. The father’s explanation left the son with a decision: either continue in his own brand of rebellion or repent and join the celebration.
In the previous two explanations, “You have always been with me and all that is mine is yours,” the father conveyed to the elder son his family status and privileges that were always his, unconditionally, and with the third, “we had to celebrate and rejoice,” showed what was the customary or lawful thing to do that in no way negatively affected the elder brother. Paul demonstrated this when teaching on the assurance of the believers inheritance in Eph 1:15-16, “For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, 16do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers.”
In the analogy to the religious leaders of Israel, Jesus too was conveying their privileged position as members of God’s chosen race, especially as recipients and guardians of the covenants and the Law, Rom 3:1-2; 9:4. Having been given that privilege and responsibility, they should be confident in their relationship with God and openly welcome with celebration the sinners of the world, whether they are Jews or Gentiles, rather than feeling jealous and angry towards them. And, with that, they should rejoice that others were joining them and would be a part of the kingdom of God.
In addition, by staying outside of the house party, the elder brother humiliated his father and his brother. The father could have commanded him to come in, but he preferred to go out and plead with him. That is what Jesus did with the Jewish religious leaders, yet they too would not be persuaded. They rather stay in their rebellion outside than to repent and join the celebration of fellowship with their heavenly Father and fellow believers both Jew and Gentile. This is also the sad story of all who refuse to believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior.
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#20-114 & 20-115 & 20-116
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life.
So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!