This parable is especially instructive in regard to two
departures from sound doctrine, namely gnosticism and modalism. The
gnostics, whose strange religion has been revived in the modern day
through the efforts of bowdlerizers like Elaine Pagels, dislike the
God of the Old Testament and think Him unrelated to Jesus, God in
the New; however, the parable of the vineyard makes this impossible.
The modalists, like the 'Oneness' Pentecostals, would like to tell
this story as if the Father leaves heaven, travels to the edge of
vineyard, then morphs into the Son; but this is not the way Jesus
told the story. The house-holder's deliberations, about sending His
son, are somewhat beside the point if there was at the time no son,
as the 'Oneness' people allege. The point of the story is that He
has one son: "Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved. . .",
not that He intends to create a son, as they say. Like all the
others scriptures which reference the son prior to the incarnation,
these passages testify against their system.
"Our Lord's Sonship is not a result of the
incarnation. The relationships of Father and Son are intrinsic
to the Godhead, and are the basis of revelation. . . .It is noteworthy that the first mention of love in
Scripture is found in the words to Abraham in Genesis 22: 'Take now
thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest.' Here is the
signpost to the study of love in the Word, the love of a father for
his only begotten son. Later, in the Song of the Beloved in Isaiah
5, we find that the Lord of Hosts speaks of One whom He calls His
well beloved, and to whom He attributes the bringing of Israel into
their land. In the light of the parable of the vineyard—'having
yet therefore one son, his well beloved ' (Mk. 12:6)—the meaning
is clear. Before the incarnation, our Lord was the well--beloved
of God. This was His joy." (The Glories of Our Lord, H. C.
Hewlett, p. 13).
Denial of the Sonship is common to Muslims and 'liberals.' The
old gnostic paradigm was carried to its consistent result in the
early church by Marcion, who 'excommunicated' the Jews along with their