Matthew 20 - Human selfishness and ambition

Our works don't impress God as we strive for self-importance. No pastor was head of a church. The blind see in the end

First published on the 11th of April 2021 — Last updated on the 21st of July 2021

The vineyard is the 7 church ages and the 144000 Jews

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.

The vineyard produces grapes. Wine symbolizes the stimulation of revelation.

Jesus uses this natural parable to teach us deeper spiritual truths.

The parable opens by referring to the first church age. The apostles were taught the truth by Jesus. They set the early church in order and wrote down the true Word of God as the New Testament. The true word of God is symbolized by seed.

“Labour” is used to describe a woman giving birth.

Spiritually, “labour” really means to bring forth life, by spreading the Gospel which is the true seed.

We need to be paid in order to live. But the big question is whether we work for the money or for the satisfaction of serving God in some way.

MATTHEW 20:2   And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

The payment that the early church received was the Holy Ghost baptism which enabled them to find their position in the Word of God so that they could understand the Word for their day.

This first group was guided by the Lion-beast that is around the throne of God which represented the true Word of God that was established by the apostles because Jesus is called the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

There are four beasts around the throne of God that guide the church through the different conditions of church history.

REVELATION 4:6   And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.

Eyes speak of intelligence. "Full of eyes" means highly intelligent.

“Eyes before” means they know the future. “Eyes behind” means they know the past.

REVELATION 4:7   And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.

MATTHEW 20:3   And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,

MATTHEW 20:4   And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.

This second group of believers got guided by the Ox-beast through the long centuries of the Dark Ages when Trinity began to destroy the Bible truth and believers were slaughtered like oxen in their tens of millions.

MATTHEW 20:5    Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.

The next group (at the 6th hour) used the intellect of man that was inspired by the Man-beast to produce the Reformation where they got saved by faith. They also translated the King James Bible as the Absolute truth as God gave their human intellects the inspiration they needed to translate properly. Men then realized that they had to live holy and they produced the great missionary age. That was as far as man's inspiration could go. They could not unravel the deeper mysteries of Scripture.

The last group (at the 9th hour) was guided by the Eagle-beast as brother Branham revealed the mysteries of Scripture. Then the end-time Bride had to learn how to use his quotes to gain a deeper Biblical insight and thereby understand the Bible for themselves. Then we could understand why Jephthah had to kill his only daughter and why Elisha had to curse 42 little children in the name of the Lord.

After this last group returns to the beliefs of the first church age that was founded by the apostles, then the Coming of the Lord occurs as the Bride is caught up to Heaven to meet the Lord in the air. The Eagle-beast flying up.

After that, only the brief but ghastly great Tribulation of 3½ years is left.

MATTHEW 20:6   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?

There was little time left. These men were standing around completely untouched by the Gospel that had been preached for 2000 years. They were the Jews.

MATTHEW 20:7   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.

Nobody was interested in the Jews. The United Nations voted by 128 – 9 to condemn President Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In the Tribulation, they will be increasingly isolated and unwanted.

But God turns to the Jews in great Tribulation in order to pull out the 144000.

Their ministry will be very brief, just the three-and-a-half years of the great Tribulation.

Understanding the mysteries is God's great reward

The first and last labourers got the same reward. The Holy Ghost baptism which guides people to understand the truth for their day.

MATTHEW 20:8   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.

In the end, each labourer for God gets their reward. The Holy Ghost baptism gives them the revelation of the truth for their day. Then, when the resurrection takes place they will receive their immortal bodies.

JOHN 16:13    Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:

ROMANS 8:23  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

Jesus now describes the reward of the 144000 Jews who served God so briefly.

MATTHEW 20:9   And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.

The 144000 received the same Holy Ghost baptism and understanding of truth that the first church age saints received. Despite having such a short time of 3½ years to serve God.

MATTHEW 20:10   But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.

The first church age thought that they should have got more as they had served God in truth for a much longer time than 3½ years. We humans always make judgements that are biased in favour of our own self-gain.

MATTHEW 20:11   And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,

So they complained. We must learn never to question anything that Jesus says or does. He thinks on a much higher level than we can.

MATTHEW 20:12   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.

"One hour" sounds little but it refers to the time of great Tribulation. These will be the harshest possible conditions under which anyone ever served God. The briefness of time is more than offset by the horror of those events.

Ten military dictators will give their military power to the final Pope so that he, as the man of sin, can plunge the world into great Tribulation. That "one hour" of great Tribulation will be far more terrifying than anyone else has ever experienced in the past.
REVELATION 17:12   And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.

DANIEL 12:1    And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time:

The intense terror and horror of great Tribulation means that it cannot be judged by its short time.

To us humans, we attach a bigger reward to a person who has worked for God for a longer time.

We forget that God thereby allowed those people to live to an older age.

The last group of Jews will have their lives cruelly cut short as they have to die at the end of great Tribulation.

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?

God's salvation plan with the Jews has to follow a different path because Jesus has to get off the mercy seat to come and collect His Bride. As a result, God will work differently with the Jews during great Tribulation because the Blood of Jesus will no longer be on the mercy seat.

Serving God has nothing to do with our works. We can do lots of good works which have got nothing to do with God's end-time plan. Serving God means fulfilling what God wants to be done in your day. So, each age had to face the conditions of their age. None can actually compare their age to another age as conditions changed. The Eagle-age Bride is faced with subtle deceptions within the message groups, making it much harder to find the truth as we are easily fooled by church leaders. The label on the outside of the door says "Church". The business inside is unscriptural "Deception".

"I have a quote" is the most subtle way of getting you away from "It is written".

But God’s initial reward to the first church age was for them to understand the truth that they had to believe as a result of receiving the Holy Ghost baptism. Each labourer had to receive the Holy Ghost baptism in order to receive eternal life.

JOHN 16:13   Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:

Giving the people eternal life, as well as an understanding of the written Bible, was God’s great reward to them. How long they had laboured was not the issue. The Dark Ages struggled on for centuries but had very little truth.

We will never fully appreciate how much value God attaches to us being able to understand the Bible mysteries. That is a much bigger reward than what we can comprehend.

We always think that what we do is more important than what we understand.

But our most valuable works are the efforts that we put into understanding the truth.

Because, when we know the truth, we do not mislead anyone. When we believe wrong doctrines then our energetic good works help to spread these wrong doctrines because that is what we will tell people.

MATTHEW 20:14   Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.

We cannot improve on the Holy Ghost baptism’s ability to make us understand the revealed Word for our day. Appreciate it and do not compare yourself to others.

We are here to serve God, not to accumulate rewards.

We cannot choose the age that we want to serve God in.

The 144000 will also receive the Holy Ghost baptism and an understanding of the revealed Scripture. Just like the early church.

MATTHEW 20:15   Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?

Let God deal with each group or age as He sees fit. He also has to deal with the Jews and fit them into His salvation plan. We humans can only see our own limited point of view which is very biased in favour of our own self-gain. God looks at events from a higher level and is aware of much deeper implications that we cannot grasp.

The lesson here is that we must never argue with God nor disagree with anything that is written in Scripture. God knows what He is doing and we must obey without complaining nor being concerned about how God deals with other people.

Daniel's prophecy of 70 weeks limited the time that was available to the Jews. When Jesus died, the Jews only had half a week or three-and-a-half years left. The Jews were cut off from God's Plan at Calvary. Thus, when God turns back to the Jews He has to do it within the time constraints of Daniel's prophecy.

MATTHEW 20:16   So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

Few are chosen because very few line up with God’s Bible. People develop their own opinions and rely on interpreting what man says instead of learning to understand the Bible and accepting whatever the Scripture says. God does not have to agree with our opinions. Our human intelligence is too limited to grasp what is going on when we come face-to-face with reality.

If the last age is first and the first age is last, then there is no real difference between these two ages as they will be interchangeable.

What we need to focus on in the last church age is being exactly the same as what the first church age was.

MATTHEW 20:17   And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them,

Jesus took the disciples away from the crowd as they walked to Jerusalem and began to reveal the future events to them.

We are unlikely to find deeper truth when we are in a crowd.

Popularity is not the key to revelation.

LUKE 6:26   Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you!

In the wilderness when we are alone or few in number, we have more chance of seeing what is going on.

REVELATION 17:3   So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw …

Jesus begins to prophesy about His impending death

MATTHEW 20:18   Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death,

Jesus is the true Word. The truth gets betrayed and condemned by the religious leaders.

This happened at His first Coming and will happen again as we approach His Second Coming.

Church leaders have built up their own doctrines and opinions and reject or ignore or change any Scripture that disagrees with them.

The New Testament never put a pastor in charge of a church. Thus the very idea of being Scriptural is an immediate threat to a pastor's position. In addition, there is no Scripture that says that all the tithes belong to the pastor. Thus, being Scriptural would threaten his income. Consequently, pastors will oppose being strictly Scriptural. It does not suit them at all.

MATTHEW 20:19   And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.

Jesus outlines the awful price that the religious leaders will impose on Him.

They killed Him as a Man in those days. In these days they do their best to kill off the influence of the Bible. Those who wish to be Scriptural will suffer persecution and rejection.

The King James Version of the Bible will be rejected as a flawed translation.

While Jesus was outlining the agony that He would have to suffer for our sins, then the mother of James and John came up to Him to beg a family favour.

Nepotism is favouring family which is very wrong

Notice how inappropriate we humans are. While Jesus is describing His sufferings, a parent is obsessed with the self-importance of her two sons. Blatant nepotism. Favouring the family. A pastor collects the money in the church and then raises his son to be a co-pastor or assistant pastor in order to keep the money in the family. Nepotism to ensure financial gain.

As His time of anguish approached, she as a woman that symbolizes the church, was obsessed with self-gain. This warns us that in the end, the church will be moving in the opposite direction to the Word of God. That is why the final church of the Laodiceans is described as being blind.

MATTHEW 20:20   Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.

The fact that she worshipped Jesus did not mean that she wanted God's truth. She was after her own gain.

The fact that churches are good at praise and worship does not mean that they want God's Bible truth.

Can her two sons please sit on either side of Jesus in His kingdom? This is nepotism.

We are not supposed to serve God with our eyes on the rewards. God will reward His people but that is not the motive for service. We serve God because we love Him and can thereby show Him our gratitude for paying for our sins.

We should have no self-gain in our motives for serving Him.

We should certainly not dictate what we think our reward or importance should be. God alone can decide that.

MATTHEW 20:21   And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.

Jesus warned that we humans have no clue about the implications of our demands.

MATTHEW 20:22   But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.

Jesus was going to drink a bitter cup of sorrow, pain, and agony in order to pay for our sins. His baptism of death would be the cruellest death any person ever suffered. Not only did He suffer physically but the demons of hell attacked Him spiritually in that titanic struggle between Life and Death on the cross. Jesus was the only man that could endure that torment, sorrow, and horror.

ISAIAH 53:12   ... because he hath poured out his soul unto death:

In death, your spirit leaves your body. In the second death, your soul leaves your spirit. Jesus thus suffered the torments that the doomed will suffer in the Lake of Fire.

James and John said that they could share the baptism of death with Him. They had no idea what they were talking about.

They had no clue as to the depth of suffering that would be involved.

MATTHEW 20:23   And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.

James was the first apostle to be killed. John was boiled in oil and spent two prison sentences on the prison island of Patmos. Suffering was part of the apostolic ministry. But Jesus would not say anything about future positions in Heaven.

We are called to serve God in whatever capacity He desires. James was the first apostle to be killed and John was the only apostle who died of old age. So, God deals with each person separately. Do not compare yourself with another. Do not be motivated by a desire for reward. Just be motivated by your love of God and your love for God’s Plan with His church and with your life. We must just be willing to serve God.

The title Pastor was never attached to a name of a man

Don't attach "Pastor" to a man's name when you speak to him.

MATTHEW 20:24   And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.

Self-interest and self-gain were the motivations for this mother’s requests. She wanted this just at the time when Jesus was describing His totally selfless sacrifice of His own life. While they were thinking of their self-importance, Jesus was thinking of His greatest act of self-denial. God thinks very differently to us humans.

But we learn a lesson. In trying to boost themselves James and John immediately aroused fierce opposition amongst the other 10 disciples. The law of action and reaction. Boosting yourself in order to be admired usually leads to other people opposing you. Boosting brother Branham artificially by calling him the “Voice of God” has sadly led to a rise in the number of critics who react by calling him a false prophet as they just focus on his mistakes.

The only person who should be uplifted is Jesus Christ.

JOHN 12:32   And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

Notice the double emphasis on “I”. Only Jesus must be uplifted.

Prove brother Branham’s quotes by running them through the Bible verses so that you can explain his ideas just from the Bible.

Jesus must be uplifted, not brother Branham.

MATTHEW 20:25   But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.

Now comes a big change. The princes or rulers of the church must be servants.

MATTHEW 20:26   But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;

A minister is a servant. The leaders must serve, not dominate.

MATTHEW 20:27   And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

No servant has a title.

Calling a person by adding the title of pastor to his name, like saying “Pastor Tim” is totally unscriptural. That person thereby becomes the Boss, not the servant.

In the Bible, the title of pastor was never added to a person’s name.

No pastor was ever put in charge of an assembly in the New Testament.

The word “pastor” is only mentioned once in the New Testament but, as a warning, was condemned six times in the Old Testament. That gives him no Bible authority to be in charge of a church.

MATTHEW 20:28   Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Jesus reminds them that His ministry was to be a Servant, a sin-bearer. He came to give, not to get.

Church pastors make the big mistake of wanting power over people. Wanting a reputation. Wanting to be in charge.

Jewish leaders loved the title of "Rabbi" which meant Teacher or Master.

Jesus said this was wrong. They must not attach a title to their name.

MATTHEW 23:8   But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.

Never say, “Rabbi Solomon”. We should, today, thus never say “Pastor Solomon”.

“Apostle Paul” never appears in the New Testament. Nobody spoke to him or of him that way.

He spoke of himself as “Paul, an apostle”. He never connected the title to the front of his name.

II TIMOTHY 1:1   Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,

You can say, “Tim, a pastor” but you cannot say “Pastor Tim” if you want to be Scriptural.

The most common title applied to men in the Bible is that of “Prophet”.

But nobody ever addressed someone such as Jonas, as “Prophet Jonas”.

It was always “the prophet Jonas” or “Jonas the prophet”.

I SAMUEL 22:5   And the prophet Gad said unto David …

II CHRONICLES 21:12   And there came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet, …

“Pastor Tim” is an unscriptural form of address.

In all his sermons, brother Branham never once says, “Prophet Branham”.

The blind will see if they forget their clever theology

MATTHEW 20:29   And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him.

Two blind men had a wrong understanding.

Jesus will be “Son of David” in the Millennium or 1000 years of peace after He has been crowned King at the Wedding Supper.

MATTHEW 20:30   And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.

Calling Him “Lord” was correct.

But they mixed truth with error by calling Him by his future title “Son of David” when He will be King in the Millennium.

MATTHEW 20:31   And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.

The crowds did not want them to call out to Jesus. The churches do not want us to call out to Scripture.

Remember, Jesus is the Word of God. The Bible.

The blind men were noticed by Jesus because they rejected the disapproval of all the crowds around them, and put their focus on Jesus Who is the Word.

They kept calling out to Jesus, despite the crowds rebuking them.

The church of the Laodiceans is blind. So, we must keep searching out the Word of God, which is Jesus in Word form. Take what you believe back to Scripture. Search the Scripture, like they called out to Jesus, Who is the Word, in order to test your ideas and search for truth.

Mixing up truth and error made Jesus unable to respond to them.  So, He stood still.

If you have right and wrong revelations of Scripture, the errors will block your deeper understanding of the Bible.

MATTHEW 20:32   And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you?

Jesus was the “Son of man” in His earthly ministry but not yet the “Son of David”. Jesus expected them to be accurate. Their revelation was wrong as they misplaced the timing of His “Son of David” ministry so Jesus could not help them. He stood still. Asking them what their problem was.

When we get error in our beliefs, then we stop hearing from God.

Jesus stood still as He was just giving them a chance to get their beliefs straightened out. After a while, they forgot their theology about the Son of David and realized that He was their “Lord”. That was truth, unmixed with error.

Their eyes opened so they followed Jesus not some man

MATTHEW 20:33    They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened.

Jesus is close to the end of His First Coming and He sees blind men. That reminds Him of the state that the church age of the Laodiceans will be in just before His Second Coming.

Thus, that should be our cry in this blind church age of the Laodiceans.

“Anoint our eyes with eyesalve that we may see (or understand) the truth of Scripture”.

REVELATION 3:14   And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; …

REVELATION 3:17   Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art … blind,

REVELATION 3:18   … and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

MATTHEW 20:34   So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.

Notice. They followed Jesus, the Man.

If God opens our eyes to the spiritual truths of Scripture then we will follow Jesus, the Word. We will not follow some man, some church leader.

If our eyes open and we receive a revelation, we will then be able to follow the truth as Jesus walks through the pages of the Bible. We will know that we are right only when we are able to prove our belief by linking up the various relevant Bible Scriptures. Proving what we believe from the Scriptures is the only way that we can follow Jesus Who is the Word.

The blind men, when they could see, never followed the disciples who were great men. They followed Jesus.

Your purpose as a servant is not to get people to follow you or some other man.

The purpose of a servant or minister is to get people to follow Scripture because then they are following Jesus.


“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” — 1 Corinthians 16:23