Matthew 21:23, 28-32 “And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching….... But what think ye? A [certain] man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I [go], sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of [his] father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen [it], repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.
Matthew 21 contains a parable.
From Strong’s Concordance, “John” means Jehovah is a gracious giver. The LORD wants to give to man. But the chief-est of priests and “wise old men” who are prudent in their own eyes think they have to “work” for what the LORD will graciously give. The “harlots” and “publicans” represent those who are considered “evil” and sinners in the world. These people also represent deeper spiritual things. But either way, those who are not righteous in their own eyes or the even in the eyes of the LORD can find the kingdom, but this scripture implies finding the kingdom has more to do with what one believes rather than their status in the church. Whether that be “church” be an outward church, or the spiritual church who is the bride and internal woman/soul (see previous posts for more explanation on this). The men who are wise in their own eyes fail to see what God has done for those who are not conceited, and for that reason they fail to understand and believe what “John” represents because they cannot see past their own understanding.
Isaiah 5:20-21 “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto [them that are] wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!”
It also implies that those that say they work for the LORD are the ones who end up not finding the way to the vineyard, and those who have not promised to serve the LORD will find the way. Find the kingdom is backwards to what it seems in the world. Those that call themselves good and prudent may be putting darkness for light. Finding the kingdom is not as is seems so man needs to be careful as to what he thinks he knows.
1 Corinthians 8:1-2 “Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.”
Man has the power to choose for himself what he will call evil and what he will call good. But the problem is man sees through the mirror darkly (1Cor13:12).
Romans 1:21-22 “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
Man in his foolishness forgets to glorify God in what he has already done and because of this un-thankfulness for what man already has, he calls evil that which is good. He becomes distorted in his own way of judging that which is good or evil and pursues or reaches out for life with his own strength and on his own timeline using his own “goodness”. But the LORD God said this is not possible;
Genesis 3:22-23 “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.”
The LORD says that man cannot obtain the tree of life on his own terms with his own strength using his own hand, via the knowledge of what is good or evil via his own thoughts and ways in this world. This is because man thinks he knows the way to obtain the tree of life, but he cannot know. He has to let go of all he knows and allow the tree of life to be given to him.
Matthew 10:39 “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”
Galatians 5:24-25 “And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
The life of man that needs to be lost are his affections and strong longing desires. The life of man represents his desire for things that his flesh wants in this world, which can represent anything that brings pain and suffering to man due to a sense of lack. So when man learns how to lose this “life” in him that represents need, he will find true life (tree of life). When man give his life of flesh away, then true life will be given back.
Luke 6:38 “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”