“THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN”
I. Unto A Net
A) The Net
- When Jesus was talking here about the Kingdom of heaven …which is what? God’s children, all of Christendom. He likened it to a “net.” This is right up their alley. This was one of the biggest industries of that time in the blue collar world.
- In my personal opinion it ranks down there with “trash collectors.” Both are stinky hard jobs, unappreciated, repetitive, and somewhat repulsive.
- However, the implication here in this verse is likened to the job of a fisherman where they take a net, drag the ocean, or sea and pull in all sorts of fish.
- The Nile river in Egypt abounded in fish, and the fishing industry was very profitable there. In ancient times fish were usually caught with either a hook, a spear, or a net. In Israel the Sea of Galilee was famous for its quantities and types of fish. In fact the “Fish Gate” was so named because of the large amounts of fish brought inside Jerusalem to its markets. Fishing was very strenuous work, especially casting nets during the day or dragging nets at night as they rowed their wooden boats.
- The sea of Galilee was approximately 7 miles wide and 12.5 miles long.
- Note the importance of fish to Palestinian society..
- Jerusalem had a “fish gate” (Neh 3:3). A fisherman’s entrance or business area.
- The capital of Gaulanitus was Bethsaida (“Fishing Village” or “Temple of the Fish-God”), located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee (Mark 6:45).
- The Greek name for the town of Magdala on the western shore of Galilee was Tarichaeae (“Processed-Fishville”).
- Fishing techniques in the Hellenistic era were of four basic types: a) angling—a rod with hooks on flaxen line; b) casting with flaxen nets; c) fish traps; and d) pronged tridents
- We must remember they did not have the technology that we have today. It was not near as sophisticated.
- Besides the generic word for “nets” (dictua; Mark 1:18 19), two different types are mentioned in the New Testament:
The casting net (amphiblêstron ), used either from a boat or along the shoreline (Matt 4:18);
And the much larger dragnet (sagênê), used from a boat (Matt 13:47). Greek authors, such as Oppian and Aelian, mention as many as ten different types of nets, but we are no longer able to distinguish between all of them. Nets required a great deal of attention: fishers and their hired laborers not only made the nets, but after each outing the nets had to be mended, washed, dried and folded (Mark 1:19).
B) Miraculous draught of fishes
- I thought it worth mentioning, this fishing miracle that is still talked about among the fishermen today in the Mideast. There are many who disbelieve.
- This story is found only in John’s gospel chapter 21 verses 1-11. It was Christ’s 3rd appearance to His disciples after the resurrection.
- Christ had told the apostles to be “fishers of men.” Peter wanted to go back to his old accomplished trade of being a “fisherman.” And like many friends are, they follow their best friend and do what he was doing. They fished all night on a specific night that was normally a “good catch night,” and caught nothing, nada, zippo, zilch.
- Well you know the story… Jesus appeared unto them on the next morning and told them to cast their net on the other side of the boat. They caught 153 fish in a small net not made for a big draught. Not only was that a miracle, but also the fact that a school of fish that large would be approximately 300 feet away from the shore, and right next to their boat.
- Now then, Jesus performed this miracle to… 1) show them He will provide for His children (even their breakfast) if they have faith in Him 2) He will provide in the most unexpected place, and way 3) Great faith produces great rewards. 4) it doesn’t matter “the size of the net (the tools used)” what matters is “the faith of the heart.”
- So folks, when Christ is speaking in Matthew 13:47… “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:” I believe that we can be assured there was a purpose for this reference of a net in the Kingdom of Heaven. What is the purpose?
C) Purpose (meaning) of the Net
- What is the purpose of any net for a fisherman? Duh, catch fish right. Bear with me now…let me kind of draw a diagram for you…
NET THE CHRISTIAN
Purpose – catch fish of all kinds Purpose – catch lost souls of all and nations
- Bring fish into one boat – Brings souls in unity with Christ
- Not let any escape into the sea – not let anyone escape back into the world.
- Many times a net gets broken, torn, or just wore out and needs to be mended, fixed or replaced with a new one.
- Many times we as Christians are broken, torn, and even wore out in the walk with the Lord. There are times we need to be mended, fixed or even have a change of heart.
- We also need to be aware of our duty as “fishermen” for Christ… we need to be helping others to mend, repair their lives and not let Satan tear a hole in the net and them and pull them back into the sea (world).
- Christ’s analogy here is “spot on.”
D) Gathered Of Every Kind
- 47) Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:
- The net does not have a “sensor” on it which will sense what kinds of fish are coming into the net and only allow certain kinds of fish in.
- This is easy folks….so is “The Kingdom of Heaven.” We should not be picky as to who joins our church (race or creed). We do however make sure that they are in compliance with our church by-laws when they join. Namely salvation and baptism.
- What Christ was talking about here was Jew or Gentile, not black, white, red, purple or green skin color.
- By the way, these verses of 47- 50 backs up the parable of “..the man which sowed good seed” up in verses 24-30 of Matthew 13.
- There are many kinds of Christians but not all will be a part of the Kingdom.
- There are many who look like Christians (wheat) but are not (tare).
- But they will all be gathered one day at the rapture.
E) When It Was 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.
- Now I could go into some big long drawn out explanation here but Christ already does thin in the next verse.
- But what a neat parallel with the “fishermen” and the “fishers of men.”
- With the “fishermen,” After their net was full they took their draw to the shore. Sat down (because their hard work was done) and separated the good fish and the bad fish (or non-fish). Sometimes crabs, lobster, jellyfish and etc. would be mixed in the draw.
- The fish that were bad or non-fish would be discarded by either thrown back into the water or thrown away and burned or whatever. They were of no value.
F) So Shall It Be At The End Of The World.
- 49) So shall it be at the end of the world:
- What Christ is telling us here is prophetic, it is futuristic. He is saying…that the results that lay on the shore after fishing with a net is the same as it will be when the world comes to an end.
- Let us look at how this unfolds….
- “49b)..the angels come forth” (The fishermen sit on the shore after fishing) This is referring to the parable earlier where Jesus said in Matthew 13:41…The Son of man (Jesus) shall send forth his angels, This is the rapture of the saints, those who claim christianity.
- “…and sever the wicked from among the just,” (The fishermen separate the good fish from the bad) This again Jesus is stating the same scenario mentioned in verse 41… and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; These are people who claim Christianity but offend their brethren, and continue to do wicked things.
- “50) And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.(The fishermen would discard or throw away all the bad fish or non-fish because they were of no use to them.) This is where the Great White thrown of Judgment comes into play when He will say to those who thought they were saved “…depart from me ye workers of iniquity, I never knew you.”
- Listen my dear friends… If you “think” you are on the path to righteousness and the in the “net,” Let us show you how you can “know.”
- The world is full of different kinds of fish but only those that are of value to God, true worshippers will be kept on shore.