In order to understand how the kingdom of heaven is like a net that is let down into the sea, we have to understand the spiritual language Jesus used in this parable. When Jesus came 2000 years ago he explained all the secrets hidden in the Old Testament. Now is the time to understand all the secrets that have been hidden in the New Testament.
The Parable of the Net
Matthew 13:47-50 “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
FISH: Mark 1:17 says, “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” If you go fishing, you usually catch fish… Habakkuk 1:14 says, “You have made men like fish in the sea, like sea creatures that have no ruler.” It is pretty obvious that people can be compared to fish in God’s word. But if people are fish, what is the sea?
SEA: The sea is the world. In one of Daniel’s dreams he sees four great beasts coming up out of the sea. When the dream is interpreted the sea is explained as the earth (Dan 7:3 & 17). The sea is the place where all the different waters of the earth gather – all rivers and streams flow into the sea. Sea water is not fresh or drinkable. This symbolizes the mixed teachings of the world.
NET: Proverbs 6:2 says, “…you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth,”… and in John 8:6 it says, “They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.” From these two passages it is easy to see that words can act as a trap or something that ensnares people. Just like fish are caught by a net, people are caught by the word. However, just like there are 2 kinds of seed, and 2 kinds of spirits (mentioned Part 1), as well as 2 kinds of fish, there are also 2 kinds of nets: God’s worth of truth, and the devil’s lies.
FISHERMAN: Matthew 4:18-22 is about Jesus calling his first disciples. From this passage we can see that the soon-to-be disciples were physical fishermen. When Jesus calls them he tells them that they will become “fishers of men”. A spiritual fisherman is a person, who by using his net (the word) is able to catch fish (people). A fisherman = a disciple, or evangelist, someone who spreads the word of truth.
BASKET: A basket is a type of container. This basket contains fish, only the good fish. If fish are people, the basket has to be a ‘container’ that holds people. From this we can understand the basket to be a building. This building refers to God’s temple, his church, where the good fish are gathered.
This parable explains how the kingdom of heaven is like a church where God’s people have been gathered (the basket). They were gathered by the word of truth (the net), which was taught to them by those who have the correct understanding of God’s word (fishermen/disciples), who, in turn, were taught by the pastor promised by God (like Jesus at the time of the first coming). We have to discern the times, and then make sure we are searching for God’s kingdom.