The Parable of the net
"47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: 48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. 49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, 50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
The Fishermans parable
A) The net
sagene (sag-ay’-nay) - a large fishing net, a drag net
The net is a tool used by skilled hands to perform a function. It cannot cast itself upon the waters. In its design it is many pieces of rope or twine, that are cut and formed and twisted together with a purpose. It starts as many individual pieces but becomes as one. It work as a unit when assembled. It’s purpose is to gather in and keep that which it comes in contact with.
The word church- is defined by webster as the whole body of Christians.
I Corinthians chapter 12 speaks of the church being made up of many members in one body. There are different types of abilities and people represented as different body parts but all being as one body. Just as the net is a unit made of different pieces of rope or twine functioning together so is the church. One of its functions is to gather and keep that which it comes in contact with. Other wise churches would close there doors to new members. There would not be evangalization. There would not be outreach ministries, or missionaries. One of the functions of the church is to gather to itself.
The net is a picture of the Church.
B) The sea
The net is cast into the sea. The sea is the element which the catch lives in. If you wish to catch fish you cast your net upon water. The sea contains many things. Things that are deemed good and things that are deemed bad. The sea contains that which sea life needs to survive. There are fish and creatures of every shape and size and kind. It provides shelter, food, protection. It provides what is necessary for life to continue within it.
If you wish to catch Christians you cast your nets among men.
Matthew 4:19 "And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."
The world contains people of every kind different sizes, shapes, colors, different beliefs, people that are considered good, and people who are considered as evil. The world is the element we live in and it provides that which we need to survive, food ,shelter, protection.
The net or the church gathers from the world
Matthew 28:19 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost"
The sea is the world and all who are in it.
C) The Catch
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:"
The catch here is of every kind. A fishermans net does not selectively catch fish. It draws in and gathers all that is near it. It cannot tell a tuna from a dolphin, a bass from a catfish, a shark from a stingray, a trout from a marlin. It does not seperate that which is good from that which is bad. It cannot tell which fish are good and which are bad.
One of the purposes of the church is to gather. It also cannot tell a genuine Christian from an un- genuine one. It cannot seperate the good (saved) from the bad (unsaved). We as the church do not have the ability to seperate the catch.
Something else we need to note here, the net is not pulled in and the catch seperated until it is full. "48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. "
There is completion is here it is full. We as the church do not get to decide when its full. The one who cast the net does.
D) The shore
"48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. "
Where is the shore? At the end of the sea.
If the sea represents the world, and the shore is at the end of the sea, the shore could represnt the end of the world.
"49 So shall it be at the end of the world: "
Nothing is seperated from the net until it is upon the shore. "So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, "
We have seen this seperation before in another parable, a similar parable. The wheat and the tares. 13:30 "30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn." Jesus explains in this parable also that those that seperate are his angels. "39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. "
E) The seperation
"48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. 49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, 50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
The good are gathered into vessels, they are worth keeping. They are saved. The bad are cast away, into a furnace of fire. Fisherman when they seperate their catch may throw back that which is not good, that it may continue to live. The angels show no such mercy, that which is deemed wicked is cast into the fiery furnace where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. There is eternal seperation, no chance to once again swim in the world and have a chance to get gathered into the net and be saved. It will be too late for them.
The kingdom of heaven is like a net cast into the sea it contains that which is good ( the genuinely saved) and that which is wicked (false teachers, false doctrine, and false professions). The church is to continue gathering from the world of all kinds, until the Lord deems the net is full and it is time to pull it to shore and let his angels seperate the good from the bad.
This parable was told to his disciples not to unsaved masses of people. "51 Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord. 52 Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old."
His disciples had previously asked for some parables to be explained. But now they understood. This parable again is a lesson to the chosen (the truly saved, the followers of Christ) to show the purpose of the church is to serve Christ. It is not the duty of the church to seperate the haul, only to gather it.