The American Wisdom Series

Pamphlet #4243

My Note:  But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first. Ref. Scripture Matthew 19:30

 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

Scripture: Matthew 19:30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

Christ is still giving answer to the question Peter asked back in Matthew 19:27 which was, "Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? Thus far, Jesus has told His disciples that "... ye which have followed me... shall sit in the throne of His glory" and everyone that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, etc., for His name's sake shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit eternal life".

Now in reference to what He just said concerning the reward of those who have forsaken all and followed Him, Christ makes the statement that "many first shall be last; and the last shall be first"! What does that mean? It simply means that many who were first to forsake all and follow Him, shall be the last laborers sent into in the vineyard and those last laborers sent into the vineyard shall be the first ones to receive their reward. In other words, when Peter asked on behalf of the disciples what their reward would be, after answering the question He spoke of you, if you are one of His disciples in this final generation, who would be the last laborers He sends into the vineyard, which the following analogy will confirm. You "see", it was in the first earth age that they forsook all and followed Him.

Note: There is a prerequisite of the knowledge of the first earth age, the "world that then was" spoken of by Peter in 2 Pet. 3:6, which is the time "before the foundation of this world" when God's elect were chosen and predestined "according to His will" (Eph. 1:4), that is required to fully understand the following analogy of the laborers in the vineyard. If that is something with which you are not familiar we suggest you read #6204 and #5161 for more information the subject.
Matthew 20:1
For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.
Keep in mind that this is an analogy (an "is like"), an earthly picture one can see with the flesh eyes but which concerns the "kingdom of heaven" and reveals to us more of God's plan! That should give us a pretty good idea of where the householder was when He went out to hire "labourers" to "send them" into his vineyard. This will correspond to verse eight when the day is done and the laboring in the vineyard is over and the Lord of the vineyard calls forth his labourers to receive their just reward.
[2] And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
Don't miss the fact that they "agreed" to labour for the householder. Not only that, the penny (denarion) for which they agreed to labour was a full day's wages at that time and a generous one at that.
[3] And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
The third hour of the day corresponds to 9:00 AM. One of the things that the times given in this analogy show us is that there have been labourers hired to work in the vineyard all day long, even from early on.
[4] And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.
Our Father is completely fair and just in dealing with all of His children for as it is written, "... God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34)". If you have earned a reward in working for Him, He will see to it that you receive your reward. That is only right, right? So whatsoever is right is what you shall be given!
[5] Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.
"Again" means He repeated the process of hiring labourers and sending them into His vineyard throughout the day. The sixth hour would be noon and the ninth hour would be about 3:00 PM.

Now we have come to the final hour of the work day, the eleventh hour of the day, where the first ones to "forsake all and follow Him" are sent into the vineyard. This eleventh hour, this final hour called "one hour" in verse twelve, is that "hour of temptation" spoken of in Rev. 3:10 where the sons and daughters of the brotherhood (church of Philadelphia) shall come forth into the vineyard to "serve Him" (keep His Word) and declare His righteousness to this final generation. They are those "seed" (offspring, i.e. sons and daughters) foretold of in Ps. 22, the entire Psalm of which Christ taught while hanging on the cross beginning with "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me (Ps. 22:1 & Mat. 27:46)" and ending with "It is finished (Ps. 22:31* & Jn. 19:30)".

Note: Those of you who have Companion Bibles will note in the margin that the phrase "He hath done this" in Hebrew is equivalent to "It is finished". We therefore have documented in Matthew 27:46 that Jesus Christ spoke the first words of Psalm 22, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?", and we have documented in John 19:30 that Jesus Christ spoke the last words of Psalm 22, "It is finished". Do you have any doubt that He taught the rest of that Psalm while hanging on the cross?

Psalm 22:30-31
A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.

[31]They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.

They shall come because the householder sends them... and He has!
[6] And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?
To help us understand on a deeper level concerning these "others" sent into the vineyard for the "final hour" of the day we need to look ahead to verse sixteen to know that Christ is talking about the "few chosen" who receive the "first reward" in verse eight. Matthew 20:16 "So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen."

The Greek word for "others" used in verse means more than "in addition to" as in "another". It also means different (in many applications). And there is something "different" about these who stand prepared and ready to be hired.

others, allos, al'-los, Greek 243; a primary word; "else," i.e. different (in many applications) :- more, one (another), (an-, some an-) other (-s, -wise).
[7] They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.
They were not lazy servants, as some suppose, but all the day were standing and ready and eagerly willing to be of service, but the householder so far had NOT YET hired them to send them forth. Now at the eleventh hour he sends them into the vineyard.
[8] So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.
Remember this is an "is like", an analogy concerning the kingdom of heaven and how His plan works. When do the servants of God who have "forsaken all and followed Him" receive their reward along with the eternal life promised in Mat. 19:29? That is correct... at the first advent, at the return of Jesus Christ!
[9] And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.
These who were the last labourers sent into the vineyard were the first to receive their reward.
[10] But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.
The first don't come until last. Why should they think they deserved more than that to which they agreed? We will find out in verse 15 that they have a "vision" problem! The householder is a just and fair man and has promised to give everyone "that which is right". Question: "What is the purpose of the labourers in the vineyard?" Is it not to serve Christ who came to save to the lost? A servant is not someone who is sent forth to serve himself or herself but to serve their Lord and do His will. After all, whose vineyard is it anyway?
[11] And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,
Man can be very shallow in His understanding of our Father's plan, not to mention "self serving", i.e. thinking of "me, me, me". You know, one cannot "get" things like happiness and peace of mind, etc. They only come as a result of living (following) a certain way! Jesus Christ is that way! John 14:6 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." He is the "door" by which you must enter into the kingdom of heaven. Remember that His disciples who have eyes to see and ears to hear have been given the keys to that kingdom, for the door of truth is open unto them, and they are to show their brothers and sisters the way.
[12] Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is the family of God with Jesus Christ as the head of the body. It is not about who is better than someone else or greater in stature, as in "Who is the greatest in the kingdom?" It is about service, about serving Him and laboring in the field for the good of the body by growing the family and bringing forth fruit for the kingdom. So if there is only one small seed that the householder needs planted in certain place and He sends one of His elect to do the job, that task is as important as any other. After all, have we not learned that if one sheep out of an hundred goes astray that the good shepherd will leave the flock and go find that sheep and bring it home? What if He sends you to help? The point is that those in the first earth age who were the first to forsake all and stand against the great red dragon (Satan) and his angels earned the privilege to be sent and used as the householder sees fit, i.e. according to His purpose, the "good pleasure of His will", which is to save the lost! Again, verse 16 shows us that the subject here concerning those sent during the final hour to labour in the field, has to do with the few that are chosen. When were they chosen? In the first earth age before the "katabole" which is "before the foundation of the world" (see appendix 146 in the "Companion Bible".) Paul documents this for us in Eph. 1:4-5.
Ephes. 1:4-5
According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:
Again, God's elect in this final generation were the first to forsake all others and follow Him in the first earth age. In other words, they stood by our Father in that first earth age and earned the right to be chosen to labor lastly in the vineyard. And they shall receive their reward first, not because they were last to labor in the field, but because they were first to follow Him! They agreed with Him to labor according to His will (next verse) and therefore they have a destiny to fulfill! Isn't that fantastic? Do you have a purpose and a destiny?
[5] Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
God's elect labor according to HIS WILL, not their own! In other words, those whom He has chosen to labour in the vineyard in this final hour "keep His Word" and do according to His will! That is why He loves them so much (Rev. 3:9-10 "Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. [10] Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.") They will be here labouring for the kingdom of heaven during the great tribulation and God will keep His eye upon to them to protect them from the evil one (Rev. 9:4)!

By the way, speaking of God sending forth His servants to labor according to His will (purpose), did you know the name "Jeremiah" means "Whom God launches (or sends) forth?" Jeremiah was chosen and sanctified and ordained before he was ever placed in his mother's womb to dwell in the flesh. Not only that, he was predestinated to be a prophet unto the nations. Here is your documentation from Jeremiah 1:5 where the LORD is speaking in the first person:

Jeremiah 1:5
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
All this, the sanctification, the ordination, i.e. God choosing him and predestinating him to go labour in the vineyard at that time, i.e. the time of his calling to labor, was done before Jeremiah was ever placed in his mother's womb. Actually, it was done before the "foundation of this earth age" as Paul just documented in Eph. 1:4. You "see" (if you have no vision problem), it is written "God knew Jeremiah" before he was placed in the womb, as He knows all of us (His children), and "the agreement to labor" was made between the two of them. A word to the wise is sufficient for it is no different for the "few chosen" in this final generation. In other words, they were also sanctified, predestinated, and called (to labour in the vineyard during the final hour)!

Paul documents this for us in Romans 8:

Romans 8:29-31
For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
He foreknew you before you were placed in your mother's womb too! Notice that these with a destiny, call it a pre-labor agreement if you like, receive their reward first while some will have to wait until the end, even the end of the Millennium if you have understanding.
[30] Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.
He has a purpose and a specific job to do for those who were first to forsake all and follow Him in the first earth age, even as He did Jeremiah the prophet. Part of the glory they receive is the privilege to labor in the vineyard for Him at this most exciting time in the history of the world, even at the time of the harvest!
[31] What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
I don't know about you, but I certainly am speechless and in awe of His love and His plan and His fairness. And as regards the question, "If God be for us, who can be against us?"... well, Satan and his troops are against us but as we have already read, Father keeps His own from the hour of temptation, i.e. from the evil one during that hour (Rev. 9:4).

Let us now conclude Christ's analogy of the laborers in the vineyard, which concerns the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 20:13
But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?
What cause do those who made an agreement to work for a fair day's wage have when they receive that to which they agreed? The householder is completely fair and just in giving his reward and will not shortchange nor rip off any of his labourers. Their murmuring against the householder comes from a lack of trust and a lack of understanding in thinking they know the business of the householder when in fact they do err.
[14] Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.
Again, how does he give unto them? Fairly, as in rightly, as in justly. Do you murmur against His plan or do you praise His work and His fairness by singing the Song of Moses that the overcomers in this final hour sing? Rev. 15:3 "And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints."
[15] Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?
Do you have a vision problem? Is your eye, your perception, evil towards the plan of God. It is His plan and it is good because He and He alone is good, remember? And we are His own if we do according to His will.
[16] So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
So there you have it! Many are called but there are some who are both called chosen who have a destiny, a job to do for Him in this final hour, because of what they did in the first earth age. Again, they were first to forsake all and follow Him and kick dragon. Therefore it matters not if they are sent to plant one seed or tend a whole flock for they are part of the family working toward the same goal... laboring to help save the lost!

Do you have a destiny? Have you been called according to the good pleasure of His will? Then let's hear no murmuring and get on with fulfilling the labor agreement to show forth the praises of Him who hath called you and sent you into His vineyard!

1 Peter 2:9
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light:

To study the Bible is the noblest of all pursuits; to understand it, the highest of all goals.
We pray that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you accomplish both.

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