Before we address the seven churches in Asia in the second half of the chapter we need familiarize with a parable which throws up problems the church shall face in the end times.
Parable of the Wicked Husbandman (Matt:21:33-45)concerns with the vineyard leased out to some husbandmen. Vineyard is the collective name given,- be it a nation or the church) which requires constant care. These workmen are obligated to God, the householder under mutually agreed terms for use. For example this verse shows the distinction between those who are bound by a covenant:”Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice (Ps.50:5),” does not apply to world at large.
God is the Husbandman(Jn.15:1) as well as the householder being the maker of heaven and the earth. When the Psalmist prays,”The Lord…bless thee out of
Zion(Ps.134:3).’ Zion is the house of the Lord as he makes it clear, “For the Lord hath chosen Zion: he hath desired it for his habitation(Ps.132:13). If we study the gospel of St John we read “In my father’s house are many mansions (Jn.14:2). “But Christ as a son over his house; whose house are we..(He.3:6)”
God as the maker of heaven and earth is the householder and the vineyard refers to the nation of Israel. God’s covenant when drawn up had rights and obligations clearly set down so when the husbandmen broke it they transgressed. He sent his servants from time to time but many of whom were vilely treated. When the householder finally sends his son expecting ‘they will reverence my son’, they ‘caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard’, of which we read elsewhere as ‘without the camp'(He.13:11).From so many similarities the parable gives us a stark warning why they were cast out of Jerusalem and the many vicissitudes that overtook them since the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The warning equally applies to church bought by the blood of Jesus. The parable poses at the end the question,”When the lord cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?” At the end of the Parable of the weeds we are shown that there shall be a separation of the good seed and the weeds. This judgment is determined on the basis of the fruits. Unless they produce fruits expected of them they shall be counted as the wicked and ‘all things that offend, and that which do iniquity’ in his kingdom shall be consigned to fire. In the vision of the seven golden candlesticks the risen Christ warns, “I will give everyone of you according to your works(Re.2:23b).Of another church we have this warning,”Because thou art lukewarm…I will spue thee out of my mouth (3:16).”
Parables of Jesus were shown to the chief priests and Pharisees as a mirror held to their true spiritual state but their hearts must have been so hardened to make them all the more enraged. Neither advice nor warning could help them. For Jesus came into his own and his own received him not explained their moral blindness. Knowing that his parables were aimed at pricking their conscience they resisted evermore. We read at the end of the parable they looked for ways and means to ‘lay hands on him'(Matt.21:46).