Summary: Jesus gives 1) A vivid picture of judgment (Matthew 13:47–48), 2) A brief explanation of the principle of judgment (Matthew 13:49), and 3) A sobering warning about the peril of judgment (Matthew 13:50).
Francis Chan’s new book, Erasing Hell, will be on the shelves from July 5 countering Rob Bell’s recent work, Love Wins. Bell acknowledges hell’s existence on earth but finds it difficult to believe that it is forever and that God can punish non-Christians for all eternity. Chan, on the other hand, says while most people wouldn’t want to believe in the reality of hell, the Bible clearly speaks about it.
Randy Alcorn, director of the Eternal Perspective Ministries, reviewing Chan’s book on his blog Wednesday said: “You can almost feel him (Chan) trembling over the issues at stake. He recognizes this debate is about God, His nature and His authority. I sensed both humility and prophetic power in this book,” .Chan honestly admits that when it comes to Matthew 25:46 – “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life” – “Everything in me wants to interpret it differently, to make it say something that fits my own view of justice and morality,”. Alcorn, said too many Christians had chosen to believe “whatever makes them feel good,” ignoring, denying, or reinterpreting Scripture to suit culture’s current definition of love and tolerance. “Hence, culture and the reader of Scripture become the authority, rather than Scripture itself. Faith becomes merely a collection of fleeting opinions, always subject to revision.”
In an interview with Relevant Magazine, Francis Chan said he was surprised to discover that the passages on hell were written to believers. “Usually we only talk about hell in this evangelistic, ‘I’m going to preach the gospel’ and ‘Hell, fire and brimstone’ to these unbelievers, but these passages really were written to those who called themselves the church. It’s a very sobering thought, and a very interesting warning,” he was quoted as saying (http://www.christianpost.com/news/francis-chans-coming-book-on-hell-gets-reviewed-51561/).
In the previous parables Jesus illustrated the nature of the kingdom, the power and influence of the kingdom, and the personal appropriation of the kingdom. Now He focuses again (v. 42) on the judgment connected with the kingdom. The parable of the net (Matthew 13:47-50) found only in Matthew is a frightening warning about what happens to the wicked when they are separated from the righteous in the last days. Here Jesus gives 1) A vivid picture of judgment (Matthew 13:47–48), 2) A brief explanation of the principle of judgment (Matthew 13:49), and 3) A sobering warning about the peril of judgment (Matthew 13:50) .
1) The Picture of Judgment (Matthew 13:47–48)
Matthew 13:47-48 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. (ESV)
The seventh parable in this great parable chapter of the Bible is the fifth parable similitude in the chapter. This parable, like the previous two, begins with “Again” (Matthew 13:47; cp. Matthew 13:44, 45). It is the lesson that says we need repetition in the learning process. The flesh does not like the “again” business. But if you are going to learn anything well or do anything well, “again” must be part of the process. In studying the Scripture, you must study “again” and “again”....Christ taught the people parables to help instruct in spiritual matters (Butler, J. G. (2008). Analytical Bible Expositor: Matthew (231). Clinton, IA: LBC Publications.)