The Final Separation: The Parable of the Net

imagesIs the kingdom of God concerned with the wicked of this world? The answer is yes, according to the Parable of the Net. Matthew 13:47-50 reads,[1]

47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind,

48 which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away.

49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just,

50 and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

The Kingdom of God, Jesus said, is like a net that was thrown into the sea. The net gathered fish of every kind. When the net was full, the fishermen pulled it to the shore. There they sat down and sorted out the fish. They put the good fish into containers, while throwing out the bad.

Jesus then interprets the parable as follows:

Kingdom of God = net

Men = angels

Filled net = end of the age

Sorting of good and bad fish = separation of the wicked from the righteous

Throwing away of bad fish = throwing the wicked into the fiery furnace

Note that Jesus interprets the Parable in terms of judgment of the wicked. The force of the Parable centers on the certainty of judgment. The kingdom of God, therefore, is a kingdom of judgment. It brings judgment to the wicked.

The Parable of the Net is similar to the Parable of the Weeds. Both tell of the separation of the righteous and wicked at the last day. But there is one big difference between the two. The Parable of the Weeds tells of both the punishment of the wicked and the reward of the righteous. But the Parable of the Net tells only of the punishment of the wicked. The emphasis is on the absolute certainty of a coming judgment of the wicked.

We note three acts of divine judgment on the wicked in this parable.


[1] Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New King James Version (NKJV).

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