This parable is the story of Israel. God chose Israel to be His special inheritance (Deuteronomy 32:9). When mankind rebelled at the Tower of Babel and Yahweh scattered them into nations, He effectively divorced the majority of men for the time being in order to raise a nation loyal to Him. From that time, Israel was to be God’s Chosen People; a light and blessing to the nations. They were to be the nation that lived for God and drew others back to Him.
As in the parable, the Lord – the master – built that vineyard of Israel. Throughout the years the Lord sent His servants for the harvest. As in the vineyard, the tenants – the people of Israel – killed and beat those servants, i.e. the many prophets that came in the Name of the Lord. Time and again the prophets came to warn, to bring correction, and to harvest Israel that she might receive the blessings of God. But, in the hardness of their hearts, the tenants – the people of Israel – determined that they knew a better way to their inheritance. Finally, when the master sent his son – when Yahweh sent Jesus – the tenants who the master had hoped to favor, i.e. the Jews and their religious leaders, killed the master’s son. Israel rejected the Son of God and killed Him. That resulted in God’s curse upon them.
When Jesus asked the chief priests and elders what the master of the vineyard would do in this situation, they answered correctly in Matthew 21:41:
They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.”
The wretches in this case were those very priests and elders. They pointed their index fingers at the faithless tenants, while at the same time their other three fingers were pointing back toward themselves.
Because of their cluelessness, Jesus had to make this clear to them. He did so in Matthew 21:43-44:
“Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”
The prophecy proved true. Just as the Word of God the prophets had spoken to Israel time and again to warn them of their sins, yet proclaim the blessings that would someday come, so it was with Jesus’ Words.
The people that produced the fruit in God’s Kingdom were the Gentiles in the form of the church. During the Church Age from the time of Pentecost to now, Israel was literally destroyed as a nation. Yet because God is faithful, He is in the process of restoring her. That process of restoration began when Israel miraculously became a nation again on May 14, 1948. That also set the final days time clock ticking with its hands nearing midnight.
God has much to do to redeem the hearts of His people Israel. They are largely secular today, but that will change during the 7-year Tribulation. At the end of that period, they will finally turn to the One they pierced and proclaim Yeshua Jesus as Messiah Lord and Savior.
The Church Age is almost at its end. The church did as the Lord instructed in bringing many among the nations back to Him. Yet, the church itself has fallen into much apostasy in these end times. As has happened throughout Biblical history, there remains only a remnant of true believers.
Soon, God will turn His attention back to Israel. In so doing, He will remove those who currently love and follow Him. God’s judgment is about to fall upon the earth to accomplish all that He has purposed for so long.
Thankfully, because of His great love, He will keep those who retain their believing loyalty in Him from the coming wrath:
and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. (1 Thessalonians 1:10)
Let us be sure that we are faithful to the very end.