The Parable of the Prodigal Son

The Parable of the Prodigal Son

Luke 15:11-32 (NKJV)

Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.

“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” ’

“And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.

“Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’

“But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’

“And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”

I have heard this story for years. I have never made the connection that you will see in just a moment. I was taught this is a story all about the sinner. The Father has always represented YHWH, and the “older son” represented the “bad” Jew. Now, after studying so much of the Old Testament, and learning the things I now know, I believe it is close, but also way off. There is a much more specific understanding of this parable. Everyone who knew the scriptures in the days of Yeshua, would have definitely understood what He was saying when He spoke this parable.

In the beginning days of Israel, there were twelve tribes. These twelve tribes made up the entire Kingdom of Israel. Because of the reign of Solomon, Israel was split into two kingdoms. There was the Southern kingdom known as the House of Judah, made up of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Then there was the Northern kingdom known as the House of Israel, made up of the remaining ten tribes of Israel. During the reign of David, YHWH mad a promise to him that there would always be one of his descendants ruling Jerusalem.

2 Samuel 7:12-16
“When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.” ’ ”

Psalm 132:11
The Lord has sworn in truth to David; He will not turn from it: “I will set upon your throne the fruit of your body.

1 Kings 9:5
then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.’

As we can clearly see, the house of Judah, David was a Jew, will never lose mercy from YHWH. However, there is no promise given to the House of Israel. David is the “older son” from the story. So, what I was taught in Sunday school was correct in that aspect. The “older son” does represent the Jews. But, the Jews are not bad, just jealous.

The parable talks about the Father having two sons. If David represents the “older son”, then who is the younger? Well, we also know David is a representative of the House of Judah, and the whole of Israel was split into two kingdoms, therefore, we can conclude the younger son is a representative of the House of Israel. This will make a lot more sense in a few moments.

Let’s consider this idea. We know that for much longer than the last 2000 years, only the Jews have been practicing the keeping of Torah. Ever since the House of Israel was scattered among the nations they have completely abandoned the Law of YHWH. In doing so, they have wholly assimilated and adopted the gentile worshiping practices to false gods.

Alright, so in the parable, we see the younger son has gone out into the nations while the older son stayed home with the Father. If I am correct, home is Israel and the nations are the gentile nations of the world. This is exactly how the Bible explains what happened to the two houses, Judah, the older brother stayed home, and Israel the younger brother was scattered about the nations. The House of Judah kept Jerusalem after the split, making it the “older brother” so to speak.

The Northern Kingdom was taken captive into Assyria and never returned to Israel. The Southern Kingdom was taken captive into Babylon, but did return to the land. When Judah came back, they continued to keep the Laws of YHWH, known as the Torah. Israel did not. Israel went the complete opposite way with this abandoning all of the Law of YHWH. They continued to sacrifice their children to the false gods, they worshiped other gods by decorating trees in their living rooms among other things.

While the younger brother was out among the nations, he abandoned all the rules of the Fathers house, we see this with the idea that he was living recklessly, or prodigal living. He even went so far a joining himself to a country and ate what the swine ate. Now, we must understand that pigs or swine was a reference to the gentiles. Furthermore, joining oneself to a country simply means assimilating to that country or becoming so much like the people of that country that you were indistinguishable from them. Again, This is exactly what the prophecy foretold would happen to the House of Israel. They were scattered among the nations, and assimilated into the gentile nations, becoming gentiles themselves. They no longer keep the Laws of YHWH and even eat unclean foods, just as the gentiles do.
The parable goes on to say that while in this state of being lost, the prodigal son realizes being back with his Father is a much better life than what he has now. Again, this is what the prophecy says about Israel. While living in sin among the gentiles, they will long for the Laws of YHWH. They will begin to call upon His name and return to His Laws.

When he does return to his Father, He accepts him with open arms. There is a big feast to celebrate the return of His son. We read about this feast in Revelation. After the full amount of the gentiles have returned, there is the big marriage feast. This parable is an exact match to everything else we see in the Bible. The only thing missing is the link between Israel and the younger son. Even Judah is jealous of the fact the gentiles are trying to keep the Torah today. Israel is waking up and starting to return to the YHWH’s Laws. Prophecy is happening right before our very eyes. The Jews are not happy about it, but soon enough, Israel will be joined again back with Judah and they will be one stick combined just as the prophet Ezekiel talks about.

Here is the prophecy given from YHWH Himself.

Deuteronomy 4:23-31
Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of anything which the Lord your God has forbidden you. For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. “When you beget children and grandchildren and have grown old in the land, and act corruptly and make a carved image in the form of anything, and do evil in the sight of the Lord your God to provoke Him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that you will soon utterly perish from the land which you cross over the Jordan to possess; you will not prolong your days in it, but will be utterly destroyed. And the Lord will scatter you among the peoples (nations), and you will be left few in number among the nations where the Lord will drive you. And there you will serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell. But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice (for the Lord your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.

Deuteronomy 30:1-6
“Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God drives you, and you return to the Lord your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, that the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you. If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you. Then the Lord your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

From this point, I would like to point out the link between this story, the prophecy given, and the prophecy of the New Covenant found both in the Old and New Testaments. It is absolutely amazing how this all fits so perfectly together with the identity of the lost sheep of the House of Israel. Next you will read what is stated in the New Testament concerning the New Covenant.

Hebrews 8:6-13
But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

First I want to make note of the word better. Better means more effective considering it is being used as an adjective and not a verb. Had this word been used as a verb, the argument could be made that the covenant itself was better than the previous, but that isn’t the case. As an adjective it simply means more effective. If this covenant is more effective, it must be more effective at obtaining the original outcome or purpose. The original covenant purpose was to get men to follow the ways or Laws of YHWH. Therefore, we can conclude this “New Covenant” is a more effective way of getting men to follow His Law. So, how is that possible? The author goes on to tell us exactly that in the following verses. Next we read the new covenant is built on better promises. So what is that promise? Again, we will find out in just a few short verses.

Now, this is where everyone always says, “see, there was a problem with the old Covenant, there was a problem with the Law”. The problem is those who make this claim, fail to read the very next sentence. The fault, or problem does not lie with the Law, or the Covenant itself, but rather with the people who chose not to follow that Law. That is exactly what we read about earlier. The house of Israel chose not to follow the Law of YHWH, and YHWH “disregarded them”. It is because they chose not to do this, they were divorced by YHWH and ultimately ended up getting scattered among the nations of gentiles. This is the reason for a New Covenant. There must be a way for the House of Israel to return to YHWH without breaking His own given Law. Also, notice the New Covenant is going to be made with only the House of Judah, and the House of Israel. There is no brand new completely different law given to only the gentiles.

Now, for the answer to the earlier posed questions, what is a more effective way to get men to follow His Law, and what is the better promise, it is right here. The new covenant will be different from the Old in terms of it wont be given to men and men have the choice to keep it. Both questions are answered by the same thing, the Holy Spirit. Notice, YHWH says “this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days.” There is no mention of Judah here. It is very interesting considering the link between the prodigal son, Judah has always been with the Father, keeping His law, but Israel did not. Israel was divorced. YHWH says, “I will put my laws on their mind and write them on their hearts”. This is different than what happened “according to their fathers”. YHWH put His law on a tablet and told them to put it on their minds and write it on their own hearts. Notice, it is still the same Law. It is at this point where YHWH says He will have mercy on them for their sin. Remember, when Israel chose to return to his father, the father had mercy on him and took him into His house for a celebration. The prophecy said the very same thing for the House of Israel.

So, how does the Holy Spirit answer both questions? Following you will read the Old Testament prophecy concerning the purpose of the Holy Spirit.

Ezekiel 36:24-27
For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

This prophecy matches almost exactly with the parable of the prodigal son. YHWH takes “them” back from the nations to their own home. He cleans them up, and rids them of their sinful ways. He then gives them His Spirit that will cause them to do all His commandments. This is how the New Covenant works! It does not have new laws, but the same laws. It is better because it no longer requires men to choose to keep the Law of YHWH, but rather, gives men the Spirit of YHWH which causes them to keep it. Instead of the Law being written on stone, it is now written on the hearts of men. Better promises, more effective covenant.

The Two Sticks Prophecy
There is another prophecy that can be linked together with this particular parable. This is the prophecy of the two sticks found in the book of Ezekiel. This particular prophecy has been used to “prove” the gentiles and the Jews will be one under Jesus. That is, in my opinion, a very close theory to what I saying here, but I think it misses the bigger picture of who the gentiles actually are in this particular prophecy.

Ezekiel 37:15-28
Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “As for you, son of man, take a stick for yourself and write on it: ‘For Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions.’ Then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel, his companions.’ Then join them one to another for yourself into one stick, and they will become one in your hand.

“And when the children of your people speak to you, saying, ‘Will you not show us what you mean by these?’— say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.” ’ And the sticks on which you write will be in your hand before their eyes.

“Then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God.

“David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them. Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. The nations also will know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.” ’ ”

YHWH says take a stick and mark it Judah, then take another stick and mark it Ephraim. The stick marked Judah is for all those living in the land of Israel. The stick marked Ephraim is for the House of Israel. These are the two houses that are continually spoken of in all the prophecies and throughout the entire Bible. Once the two sticks have been marked, they are to be joined together as one.

Next, the people ask for help understanding this prophecy. YHWH says He will take the House of Israel and join them with the House of Judah to make them one stick, or one people group. He will gather all His people from among the gentile nations and bring them back to the land of Israel. In the land of Israel YHWH will have one king over the entire combine nation. The two will be one and never again be divided into two nations, and they will keep His Law, and no longer defile themselves. He even says He will cleanse them. We see this terminology in the last prophecy, indicating once again it is the very same prophecy given in a different way. Once all this happens, these two Houses will once again be His people and He will be their God.

David, who is a representing Yeshua, will be the king over these people. These people will be keeping the Law of YHWH, and doing them. They will dwell in the land He gave to Israel. Next, there is the prophecy that states, during the time Yeshua is reigning over them, they will be multiplied, meaning children will be born during the millennial reign. The temple of YHWH, where YHWH will dwell, will be within the country limits where His people live.

The House of Israel, the younger brother, in this prophecy are scattered among the nations. They will be gathered back together in the land of Israel. They will be joined together with the House of Judah, who is the older brother. After all this, it should be clear that all these prophecies are really the same one, given in many different ways or parables.

Next I will link the prophecy of the Valley of the Dry Bones to this very same idea. This prophecy has been used in so many different ways, but for the most part, those using it stop short from who YHWH says it is referencing. I assure you, that will not be the case here.

Ezekiel 37:1-14
The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.”

Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.” ’ ”

So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.

Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” ’ ” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.

Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,” says the Lord.’ ”

Here we have Ezekiel being taken into the Spirit, similar to John in Revelation. I believe this is representative of being taken to see future events. Considering in both cases, the author “sees” what is to come. While in the Spirit, Ezekiel sees a valley full of dry bones of slain, or murdered, men. He is ordered to prophecy to these bones to come back to life. It is not until this occurs that “then” these people belonging to these bones will know YHWH is God.

Even after they begin to know who God is, they still have no breath, which is, in my opinion, the Holy Spirit. But then we see they are prophesied to receive breath, or the Holy Spirit. Remember from earlier, the Holy Spirits purpose is to cause them to keep and do the Law of YHWH. Now, once these bones are brought back to life and given breath, they stood up and are a great army.

Now, here is the part that always is left out. YHWH says outright, these bones are the House of Israel. Now, let’s think about this. YHWH scattered the House of Israel into the gentile nations. While there, they were separated from Him. They were in a sense, dead spiritually. They even went so far as to claim, “our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off”. But, YHWH opens up their graves and brings them back to life. This is all similar terminology to what Paul uses throughout his writings in the New Testament. Once these bones are brought back to life, they are physically taken back to the land of Israel. Again, this is the same prophecy about the House of Israel, being scattered among the nations, then turning back to YHWH, being brought back to life, followed by returning to His Laws, being given the breath or Holy Spirit. After this, they are taken back to their original land.

How amazing is all of this? The prophecies concerning the “gentiles” and YHWH’s people all tell the exact same story of how He plans to bring His people back to Him. They are all different versions of the very same prophecy. Our God is amazing, and He truly does love His chosen people, that is, all of Israel.

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