The Vineyard 

The God of Israel planted a vineyard:

"Now will I sing to my well-beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard.

"My well-beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.

"For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry. Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth! In mine ears said the LORD of hosts, Of a truth many houses shall be desolate, even great and fair, without inhabitant." (Isaiah 5:1-9).

Other Old Testament uses of the imagery of the vine and the vineyard are found in Jeremiah: "Yet I had planted you a noble vine, a seed of highest quality. How then have you turned before Me into the degenerate plant of an alien vine?" (Jeremiah 2:21), Ezekiel: "Your mother was like a vine in your bloodline, planted by the waters, fruitful and full of branches because of many waters." (Ezekiel 19:10), and the Psalms: "You have brought a vine out of Egypt; You have cast out the nations, and planted it.  You prepared room for it, and caused it to take deep root, and it filled the land. The hills were covered with its shadow, and the mighty cedars with its boughs." (Psalm 80:8-10).

The imagery of the vineyard is not found only in the Old Testament. Jesus also told the story of the vineyard, and in telling it, identified Himself as the Son of God:

  • “Then He began to speak to them in parables: ‘A man planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a place for the wine vat and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that he might receive some of the fruit of the vineyard from the vinedressers. And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent them another servant, and at him they threw stones, wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully treated. And again he sent another, and him they killed; and many others, beating some and killing some.

  • “Therefore still having one son, his beloved, he also sent him to them last, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those vinedressers said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they took him and killed him and cast him out of the vineyard.

  • “Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vinedressers, and give the vineyard to others. Have you not even read this Scripture: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”
  • (Mark 12:1-10).

"Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons." (Matthew 21:33-41).

There are various senses in which people, and angels, can be spoken of as children of God, but one thing the attentive reader notices about the Lord's story is that there is on hand one unique "Son of God" in the highest sense: "Therefore still having one son. . .":

"We have already had occasion to point out the uniqueness and closeness of the relation to God which is indicated by the designation ‘Son of God’ as ascribed to Jesus. In the parable of Mark 12 not only is it emphasized that God has but one such son (verse 6), but He is as such expressly contrasted with all God’s “servants” (verses 2 and 4) and expressly signalized as God’s “heir” (verse 7)." (Warfield, B.B.. The Lord of Glory: The Designations of Our Lord in the New Testament (Kindle Locations 363-366). Titus Books.)

There are many slaves but only one [such] Son.

The Good ShepherdJohn the BaptistTemple VisionI Am That I AmRock of Ages

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 God:


  • “Nor, by the way, did Jesus call himself 'Son of God,' another title that others seem to have ascribed to him.”
  • (Reza Aslan, Zealot, p. 154).

Oddly enough, the solons of the 'Jesus Seminar' concede that Jesus Himself told this story. A version of it occurs in the gospel of Thomas, their preferred source: "The discovery of Thomas prompted scholars to read the story in a wholly new light. It was earlier thought that the parable might have been a Christian creation. Now it appears that a simple, non-allegorical version can be ascribed to Jesus." (The Five Gospels, p. 510). Admitting that Jesus told this story solidifies two points: Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, and He predicted His own death:

  • "He said, A [...] person owned a vineyard and rented it to some farmers, so they could work it and he could collect its crop from them. He sent his slave so the farmers would give him the vineyard's crop. They grabbed him, beat him, and almost killed him, and the slave returned and told his master. His master said, 'Perhaps he didn't know them.' He sent another slave, and the farmers beat that one as well. Then the master sent his son and said, 'Perhaps they'll show my son some respect.' Because the farmers knew that he was the heir to the vineyard, they grabbed him and killed him. Anyone here with two ears had better listen!"
  • (Gospel of Thomas, 65).

Another point in favor of the authenticity of this parable, from a critical standpoint, is the lack of Christian editing and updating: "Nowhere is Jesus's vindication by God or resurrection mentioned, which we would expect the postresurrection church to include." (Michael R. Licona, Paul Meets Muhammad: A Christian-Muslim Debate on the Resurrection, Kindle location 2109).

Another remarkable instance in which secular 'scholars,' who deny they have any agenda, willingly admit evidence destructive to their agenda, is Jesus' cry of dereliction from the cross. Hardly any of those hostile to the claims of Jesus will deny that He spoke these words from the cross: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me." These are the opening words of Psalm 22, without controversy a Messianic psalm. Therefore, when these same 'scholars' deny that Jesus ever claimed to be the Messiah, remind them that they themselves have conceded that Jesus recited Psalm 22 in reference to Himself: