(Matthew 21:28-31, NIV) In Jesus Parable of the Two Sons, who was represented by the first son? The Parable of the Two Sons is linked to the preceding verses about the question of authority (Matt 21:23-27), which established the importance of John the Baptist.John the Baptist spoke of the Good News of the kingdom of God which enabled sinners the means to enter and obligated them to ethical reforms with the imminent approach of the kingdom. Ruben Zimmermann (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011), 639–40.  See, for example, the discussion of the role of allegory in Stoic literature as well as the use of allegory by Philo and his Alexandrian predecessors in Svendsen, Allegory Transformed, 9–52. These words were used by Jesus himself in referring to his own going away or departure, as a euphemism for his impending death and descent into the spirit prison: “Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? One of Jesus’ most famous parables is found in Luke 15:11-32. It’s a really easy craft and you get a nice prop that the kid can … The chief priests and the elders come to Jesus and ask him, "By what authority are you doing these things? In most manuscripts, at the end of the story in verse 31, he is called “the first” (ho prōtos). This approach focuses on explaining what happened in the story, either actually or fictively. (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1972), 80–81. 3–4 (1973), 76–98, reprinted in The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, 1:171–214 (see p. 174); see generally E. Theodore Mullen Jr., The Divine Council in Canaanite and Early Hebrew Literature (Chico, CA: Scholars, 1980). Perhaps this son knew when he was asked to go down that there were or would be wicked tenants in the vineyard who had or would have already killed the two sets of servants sent by the landowner-father, and now in desperation the father needed a son to send. While some … The son who—even though he was openly rebellious and nasty— afterward he regretted it and changed his mind and did the will of the father. The parable of the two sons emphasizes this point, and we want to let children know that they ought to live out their love in real ways. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. This animated Bible story for kids is based on Matthew 21:28-32. At the broader ethical level, this parable gives helpful domestic guidance to all sons and daughters on how they ought to behave. Speaking about the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son in Luke 15, on Sunday, January 23, 1843, Joseph taught: “I have a Key by which I understand the scriptures—I enquire what was the question which drew out the answer?” As will be seen, these four modes of reading and especially Joseph’s key unlock the meaning of the parable of the certain man who had two sons in Matthew 21:28–31. And who gave you this authority?"  See, generally, Ruben Zimmermann and Gabi Kern, eds., Hermeneutik der Gleichnisse Jesu (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008); Stefan Nordgaard Svendsen, Allegory Transformed: The Appropriation of Philonic Hermeneutics in the Letter of the Hebrews (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2009). That’s the main idea in these Sunday School suggestions for the Parable of the Two Sons found in Matthew 21. ; surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor” (Moses 4:1; emphasis added). . Metzger, Textual Commentary, 56.  See generally Jeffrey M. Bradshaw and Ronan James Head, “Mormonism’s Satan and the Tree of Life,” Element: The Journal of the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology 4, no. The Parable of the Two Sons. These two sons were both offered their commission to “go” by way of commandment from the Father. To summarize, the youngest of the two sons demands his share of his father’s estate which the father gives him.  Thus, for example, second-century Christian readers and exegetes linked “the man going down” and his “falling among robbers” with Adam and the Fall in Genesis; the robbers were seen as symbolizing the minions of Satan; and the Samaritan was interpreted as a reference by Jesus Christ to himself as the one who rescues. The parable begins in verse 11 (ESV): And He (Jesus) said, “There was a man who had two sons.” These two sons personify the audiences to whom Jesus spoke (cf. In the Septuagint, God does not bring Israel through the land of Canaan so that they will not change their minds (metamelēsēi, Exodus 13:17; but here the KJV reads “repent”). 3. . Of course it is the first son. Amplifying and extending these two levels of reading, Christian interpreters, especially in the Middle Ages, saw in all biblical texts four levels of meaning: 1. Tuesday, April 4, A. D. These subtle meanings or double entendres are invited by the elevated spiritual vantage point from which Jesus spoke. Metzger calls this reading “probably the original,” 56. At a deep level, this parable calls to mind a particular dichotomy of enduring eternal character and consequence. If the first son is identifiable as Jesus, the second son in this parable can be understood as Lucifer, his brother. In explicating this lesser-known of the two-sons parables, I hope to honor and recognize Robert L. Millet for his consummate willingness to do the will of the Father and to go down this day to work in his vineyard, wherever the needs may be found. The first son says “no,” but does the father’s will. This is the first word he says. In the parable of the Two Sons, another parable unique to Matthew's Gospel, the father calls one son first to go work in the vineyard. 21:30 “The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he answered, ‘I will, sir’; but he did not go. 28 “What do you think? When the father tells his second son to go work on the vineyard, he tells him he will work on it. The two sons are referred to as the father’s tekna, his own immediate offspring (not slaves or servants); although referred to with this term of endearment, which is often used in speaking of young children, these sons must be old enough and mature enough to do this work. This word, along with the Father’s command, “go down” (hypage), may call to mind the condescension or incarnation of Jesus leaving his Father’s presence. The theme of the parable is grace toward the prodigal. Here one finds a strong reading of this text, conceptually engaging all of its elements. This verb is translated simply as “went” in the KJV in Matthew 21:29, 30. In fact, logically, the comparative failure of the Jewish leaders to do the will of God has nothing to do with Jesus’ authoritative empowerment to do or to say all the things he was teaching and doing. Because of this symbolic element, it is often suggested that this parable should be read nationally, as a statement about God’s two ethnic sons, so to speak, the Israelites and the Gentiles: one of the sons (Israel) said (and covenanted) that he would do what God wanted but then did not, while the other (the Gentiles, or the publicans and the harlots) said he would not go, but reconsidered and did go. Timing was important for the coming of Christ. This made the Pharisaical teachers of religious law complain that Jesus was associating with such despicable people – even eating with them.” The parable of the prodigal son; sometimes termed “the lost son” as narrated by Jesus himself (Luke 15: 11-32); is one that shows God's incomprehensible mercy and love. (Indeed the leaders won’t get in at all unless they repent.) The less often mentioned can be called the parable of the willing and unwilling two sons, found in Matthew 21.  They may have known of the pattern of authoritative callings and the heavenly council from several passages, including 1 Kings 22:19–23; Psalms 82:1; 110:3; Isaiah 9:5 LXX; Jeremiah 23:18; Daniel 7:9–14; Amos 3:7; 1 Enoch 12:3–4. Indeed, speaking prophetically of his death in the longer and immediately following parable of the vineyard and the wicked tenants at the end of Matthew 21, Jesus clearly referred to himself as the son of a landowner in a faraway country who planted a vineyard and sent his servants, whom the tenants beat and killed; and when he sent his own son, they cast him out and killed him too (see Matthew 21:33–41). Whether of them twain did the will of his father? A Summary Of The Parable Of Two Sons Is Presented, Along with A Reflection On The Parable. While the word hypage can have a number of meanings, including to “go away,” “withdraw,” “depart,” “go forward,” or simply to “go,” its sense always depends on the context in which it is used. Which of the two did what his father wanted?" John W. Welch, “Symbolism in the Parable of the Willing and Unwilling Two Sons in Matthew 21,” in Let Us Reason Together: Essays in Honor of the Life’s Work of Robert L. Millet, ed. Sometimes these paralleling referents are transparent and obvious; other times, and for various reasons, the allegorical counterparts are more obscure and esoterically coded.  Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, and Henry Stuart Jones, A Greek-English Lexicon (Oxford: Clarendon, 1968), 1850. The two sons parable, taught by Jesus Christ, demands that you LET GO of whatever religion you trust, and cling to him alone (Luke 17:33). But, while this allegorical reading emphasizes the way in which this little parable silenced Jesus’ critics, it does not really answer either of the two questions they had asked him about his authority, and so this collective or national allegorical reading—useful though it certainly is in Matthew’s rhetorical agenda—still leaves us wanting more. Thinking allegorically, this parable offers other interpretive outcomes. If that was all that was intended by Jesus, a simpler story involving only one son who at first disregarded his father’s wishes but then changed his mind might have been sufficient and more appropriate in showing that those sinners had ultimately done the right thing by repenting and following John. Lessons for the church about the parable of the two sons 1. The domain of this social approach is the “ought,” and it adds to the discussion the implications of cultural mores and expectations. This view has been embraced by several commentators because at the end of verse 31 Jesus indicted his challengers, saying that the publicans and harlots would enter the kingdom of God before they would because the publicans and harlots believed John the Baptist but the chief priests and elders did not. Many things help make this early Christian understanding of the parable of the good Samaritan plausible, elegant, and instructive.  I first suggested this reading in “‘Thy Mind, O Man, Must Stretch,’” BYU Studies 50, no. Was it “from heaven, or of men?” (21:25). In this context, what does this word egō entail? Indeed, most potently, this parable takes the question of authority into divine realms. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go.  While not exactly the same as in this parable, certain similarities are unmistakable. The point of the parable is clear. . The most widely supported Greek texts literally read as follows: “A man had two sons, and going to the first he said, ‘Go down this day to work in the vineyard.’ He answered, ‘Not as I will,’ but then reconciling himself to the task he went. I will redeem all mankind . The two brothers were each other's keeper. 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