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The older brother in the parable of the prodigal son.

Updated on October 27, 2013

Like some of you know, I have come to know that all are saved in the end. Some of you rejoice with that thought and some of you hate the thought that all are saved. The prodigal son in my belief is symbolic for the gentiles and the older, the Jews. But I once read some where that a parable may have more than one meaning and it got me thinking. I also believe that this parable has another meaning as well. The younger son who squandered his share away may be symbolic for those who are the unbelievers. But this is about the older brother. The older refused to celebrate his sinful younger brothers return. He did not see the love His Father gave his brother at his return. He was angry because He stayed with his Father and did the work and never had a fatted calve killed for him. Seems like a little jealousy here. For the last while, I have been posting some hard questions in the Christian community and I received mix answers. There were a few who believed as I do, but most did not. Some even told me to stop this heresy. If it is a heresy, it is a beautiful heresy. And one continued to spam every comment and boastfully claimed he refuted my belief. That what he said is the truth. I always laugh when someone says he speaks the truth because let us be honest. Who really knows the real truth about anything or everything? So when Christ spoke about the older brother, I believe that He also meant the stubbern future gentile Christians who follow the teachings of dead men and pagan beliefs about hell. The same Christians who follow doctrines interpret from bibles translated from books translated from both Hebrew and Greek scriptures. These same men and women who never lived as Christians during the time of Paul and the apostles. Sadly they refuse to believe that all are saved. Can any of you see the connection? Peace.to all

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    • profile image

      Deepes Mind 4 years ago

      May I ask you what other interpretations you gathered from the story of the prodigal son?

    • SwordofManticorE profile image
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      SwordofManticorE 4 years ago from Burlington

      I was taught that the prodical son is symbolic for Christians, but latter came to understand the gentile nations. Because it was the Jews who Christ spoke this parable to. At that time I came to understand the older brother as the pharisees, scribes and stubbern Jews who would not share God,s blessings with the gentiles.

      BTW, thanks for stopping by Deepes.

    • profile image

      Deepes Mind 4 years ago

      No problem. There are a lot of different interpretations of the story. The primary message is that no matter how far you stray you can always come back home.

    • SwordofManticorE profile image
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      SwordofManticorE 4 years ago from Burlington

      Who is the symbolic older brother in your opinion Deepes?

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      Deepes Mind 4 years ago

      I really never thought about it, But if I were to hazard a guess I would say that the older brother could actually be symbolic of the "established" religions (organized if you will) that hold tight to what they believe is their duties to the father while the younger brothers (free thinkers) went out and lived their lives before returning home. In either way, the older brother received the same inheritance as the younger brother but chose to sit on it and stick to status quo. The older brother had gotten the same love as the prodigal, but was so used to having it that it was no longer special.. But in either case the father didn't get upset with the older brother and cast him out for his anger. He just let him understand that the love is the same but he celebrates the return of wayward children

    • SwordofManticorE profile image
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      SwordofManticorE 4 years ago from Burlington

      Great answer Deepes. I never thought of it that way.

    • aguasilver profile image

      John Harper 4 years ago from Malaga, Spain

      Great hub and wise comments above... that (Deppes Mind) is a good alternative explanation on the parable.

      Thanks.

    • Disappearinghead profile image

      Disappearinghead 4 years ago from Wales, UK

      Yes I agree that what you represent is another valid interpretation. When some Christians baulk at the idea of ultimate reconciliation they often complain that it's not fair, or why should the sinners 'get away with it'? They see hell as just punishment; instead of celebrating the concept that our Father so loves the World that he does not want to see anyone perish, they'd rather stand on a pedestal of superiority over the unbelievers. "Look Jesus we're your favourites because we accepted you into our hearts, and these sinners who rejected you don't deserve salvation".

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      Deepes Mind 4 years ago

      Exactly, and big brother felt that Prodigal shouldn't get any further special treatment because he left home and squandered his inheritance. Nevermind the knowledge and wisdom that the prodigal gained while big brother kept himself rooted and using the same small frame

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      Michael Milec 4 years ago

      Nice article, SwordofManticorE. Thanks

      Jesus is using the parable of the father and a two sons never mentioning " prodigal".

      As many other teachings this one also is addressing immediate listeners with moral consequences for the generations to come.

      Could be one of the "son" a group of religious self righteous Pharisees or equally so called" Christians" who in any case thinks of the selves being better than the rest.

      Knowing the love of the " Father " a d the redemptive gain of the Anointed One, we need to take in consideration His quote, " I desire mercy and not sacrifice; I have not come to call the righteous , but the sinners." (Matt. 9:13.)

      It's all about your true repentance , before to ' mark' the others, yours is to come to ' senses'...

      The final say IS /was the "FATHER's" a hay.

      Was there a question ?

      Useful and interesting.

      Shalom.

      Michael

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      Brenda Durham 4 years ago

      SwordofManitcorE,

      I've thought of the parable in that way before----about the older brother too. And yes I think we can learn from that. However, that doesn't in any way prove universal salvation! In fact, it does the opposite. It shows that all men should consider their ways, motives, actions, words, feelings, to see if they're sinful or not and whether we need to repent of them! Both brothers were in need of repentance and salvation.

      And many other places in the Bible show how universal salvation is a false deceitful idea.

      All I can say is, if you really would want to see everyone go to Heaven, then start doing your duty in the Great Commission----go preach the Gospel to everyone that you can! because everyone's soul hangs in the balance while upon this earth. And by "the Gospel" I mean the good news that Jesus the Christ gave His life to offer everyone salvation! People have the choice to accept that offer or to refuse it. You, nor I, nor anyone else, cannot save anybody at all, much less everybody! So even if you try, you will not see everyone go to Heaven! But we're commanded to try to bring anyone we can to a knowledge of our Savior.

    • SwordofManticorE profile image
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      SwordofManticorE 4 years ago from Burlington

      @Brenda, there are over a hundred verses that prove that universal salvation is God's over all plan. Have you studied the feasts of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles in the Old Testament? What do they represent for us today?

    • LoisRyan13903 profile image

      LoisRyan13903 4 years ago from Upstate NY originally from Long Island

      I never heard of Universal Salvation-I always believe the saved will go to haven and the unsaved will go to hell-though it would be great if no go to hell. My interpretation would be the older one thinking the younger one does not deserve heaven.

    • SwordofManticorE profile image
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      SwordofManticorE 4 years ago from Burlington

      Sister, the apostle Paul taught Universal salvation. He called it the ministry of reconciliation of all with God (2Cor 5).

      Acts 20:27 tells us that Paul taught us all what God wants us to know. But never once did he warn the gentiles about gehenna fire let alone a place called hell.

    • FSlovenec profile image

      Frank Slovenec 4 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      If you believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior your premise of universal salvation is easily refuted..Universal Salvation is the lie the devil would like everyone to believe, it certainly gives him company on hell...

    • SwordofManticorE profile image
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      SwordofManticorE 4 years ago from Burlington

      @ slovenec. How does a place of eternal torture glorify my father's mercy? If what you say is true, than the god you believe in a selfish tyrant of a diety.

    • LoisRyan13903 profile image

      LoisRyan13903 4 years ago from Upstate NY originally from Long Island

      @sword I am not up to Peter yet. I will get to them eventually. I am doing an interesting project. I am typing out the books of the Biblee-it is a little time consuming but fulfilling. Just Curious what version of the Bible do you read? I have several King James Version, New International Version and New Living Translation

    • SwordofManticorE profile image
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      SwordofManticorE 4 years ago from Burlington

      Concordant.

    • SiberianWolf profile image

      Eric T. Shortridge 4 years ago from MidWest

      i think you could go deeper still... and say that the younger brother represents all the souls that left heaven and came to earth... earth being the 'far country' the older brother, meanwhile, represents the angels that stayed and served God in heaven... Peace

    • SwordofManticorE profile image
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      SwordofManticorE 4 years ago from Burlington

      That may even be possible. Who truly knows?

    • aguasilver profile image

      John Harper 4 years ago from Malaga, Spain

      I love the way these comments are building up a better understanding of this parable, and what we can know about God.

      Excellent hub!

    • Sarah Christina profile image

      Sarah C Nason 4 years ago from Fresno, CA

      It's about free will. The younger brother chooses to return to God, or "home" in the end. He doesn't reject God entirely. I do believe God is fair and will give everyone a fair chance to accept Him and Jesus Christ as their Savior. However, there will be those who choose, after everything is said and done, to reject God (like Lucifer did). They are in essence, choosing to be without God or in "hell" or "Gehenna" or whatever you want to call it. (what "hell" actually is is a whole other argument).

      I can't prescribe to the belief of "universal salvation" because then why would Jesus command that everyone go out and preach the Gospel? If we're all saved anyway, what's the point? In fact, what's' the point in not sinning or trying to behave morally if we all get saved in the end? My issue isn't that "the sinners get away with everything" my issue is there's no reason not to sin if we all get saved regardless. This concept contradicts God's teachings throughout the Bible. God is fair because we all get a fair chance to decide who's side we're on--His or Satan's. He loves us, that's why he will give us many chances to reconcile--if that's our choice.

      Here is an excellent argument against universal salvation I found, with scripture to back it up, that I suggest you fully read:

      http://carm.org/1-tim-24-2-pet-39-and-universalism

    • SwordofManticorE profile image
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      SwordofManticorE 4 years ago from Burlington

      This verse is the only verse I need to refute the free will belief.

      Eph 1:11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,

      Btw, I dont need to defend my belief of Universal reconciliation of all. It is the hell wishers who need to defend their hell beliefs.

    • Sarah Christina profile image

      Sarah C Nason 4 years ago from Fresno, CA

      I don't wish for their to be a hell. But it's not my place to judge God and His laws. He has a good reason for everything He does, whether my human brain understands why or not. He is beyond full human understanding. That's why we have something called faith. God doesn't wish for anyone to suffer, but if you disobey His laws there are consequences for those actions. Period.

      The verse you referenced is merely saying that God has everything planned out ahead of time, of what He needs to allow and where He needs to interfere, in the overall scheme of things. Yes, sometimes He chooses certain people to fulfill tasks (such as prophets, the disciples, etc) as well as allowing others to do evil in order to carry out His plan. However, this doesn't mean we still don't have free will. In other words, it's not one extreme or the other, things are predetermined to a certain extent, but most humans still have a choice in what they do. Chaos bound within order, is how I like to see it. The following verses prove that we have free will:

      John 7:17

      "If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own."

      2 Cor. 9:7

      "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."

      "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, (Deuteronomy 30:19)

    • SwordofManticorE profile image
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      SwordofManticorE 4 years ago from Burlington

      You alse said that heaven would not be appealing to you if all were saved, because you believe that your god believes that those in hell deserve what they get. So you as well must also believe that those in hell, deserve what they get. Son dont tell me that you dont wish hell. If God has everything planned out ahead of time knowing full well that part of his plan will envolve eternaly roasting most of his creation forever, he is far from being merciful. This is the nature of a cruel monster. But that is not what Esp 1:11 is saying. It says that we are all part of His will and btw, in 1Tim2:3-4 says that He wills all to be saved. Thy will be done.

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 3 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      You comments or hubs should not be spammed simply because others do not agree with the. There is also another verse in the bible

      Luke 6:35 Continue to love your enemies and to do good, and continue to do good and lend without interest, not for anything back and your reward will be great and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind toward the unthankful and the wicked

      Luke 6:36 Continue to be merciful, just as your father is merciful.

      Luke 6:37 Stop judging and you will not be judged, and stop condemning and by no means will you be condemned . Keep releasing and you will be released.

      Sorry I did not write about hell, or the prodigal son, I just don't think people should spam you if they do not agree with you.

    • denden mangubat profile image

      denden mangubat 3 years ago from liloan, cebu, philippines

      all is saved by the damnation of the Father when Jesus died on the cross and rebuild a connection between God and man.But to complete that salvation you should accept Jesus as your Personal Saviour and obey God's commandments.When the end times come all will be saved if they side with Jesus.But judgment day is judgment day.

    • SwordofManticorE profile image
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      SwordofManticorE 3 years ago from Burlington

      All will be saved and every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Christ is Lord. The blessing of salvation begin when one believes in Christ (1Tim4:10). Obey God's commandments, and that is the law of love, for no law is greater. Do this and you shall see that all are saved.

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      Robert A. Joseph 3 years ago

      I agree with you, SwordofManticorE; all are saved, and that, to me at least, is enlightened and loving. Again to me, you are no heretic. Please, that is ridiculous, my friend. You realize Christ and/or love; be at peace, for false you are not.

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      KnownByHim 3 years ago

      Hello SwordofManticorE,

      I have been stirred by the Holy Spirit to write on this subject of the Older Brother and because of this I actually was lead to an article on Hubpages written by NorthWind on this very subject.

      I loved what the Holy Spirit shared through NorthWind.

      It actually confirmed to me what I have believed to be true....that the Older Brother is actually Christ.....that Jesus was letting all those called to Sonship know that He understands their pain (of sharing in the sufferings of Christ)....He was the fattened calf....it was all HIS....His inheritance....and yet it was not easy to pay the price....it COST Him.....it cost His very life.....and He revealed this deep dialogue that His soul had with the Father through the parable of the Prodigal Son.....and graciously He allows us to hear the pain, the struggle, the hurt, of what going to Calvary was going to be like for him....there are no words....He was faithful....He remains faithful....and as He poured out His heart to His Father, the Father answered with these words....YOU HAVE ALWAYS BEEN WITH ME and ALL THAT I HAVE IS YOURS.....yes! it is His Kingdom.... and for those that are called to Sonship He graciously allows entrance....for all those that say Yes to their cross and go all the way HIS WAY....of complete surrender to His Lordship and Kingship He then shares His very own inheritance....all that He has is now shared with them....they too become ONE with the FATHER as the Son is one with the Father.

      The truth that most within the church systems of man do not understand is this.....Salvation is a free gift for ALL.....ALL WILL BE SAVED each man in his own order (1 Cor. 15:21-22).....He will draw ALL MEN unto Himself.....ALL MEANS ALL!

      Halleluyah! Praise His Holy name!

      And yet, salvation is only the beginning....while salvation is a free gift TO ALL... the Kingdom of God is not freely given....it is ENTERED....and one enters the Kingdom of God through much tribulation....and this tribulation comes through the SHARING OF THE CROSS....of denying self....of saying "Yes Lord, not my will, your will be done"......the glorious truth is that He gives us the grace, He works the grace into us so that we have the desire to yield to Him, to utter those words....it is all Him and all His work....and He gets ALL the glory!

      I've only been on this site for a few days and I have been drawn by the Spirit to 3 hubbers......NorthWind, you, (SwordofManticorE), and PlanksandNails.....all 3 of you are precious in His sight and are all on that narrow road that leads to LIFE....in spirit, soul, and body.

      I love how you are zealous for the Father's reputation....His reputation of being a God of MERCY....a God of love....the GOOD SHEPHERD who will not lose ONE SHEEP....but will search and search until He finds every last one and will bring them safely home.

      There was a time in my life that I held to the belief in eternal torment, and I am deeply grateful that the Lord gave me the grace to desire truth in my innermost being and to search the scriptures to see what is said about certain words.....words such as 'FIRE', 'EVERLASTING', 'GEHENNA', 'HADES', 'SHEOL'.....all of these words have been completely misunderstood by those within the 'church systems of man'.....and this is why the Lord calls His people to come out of the church systems so that He can begin the process of purging the teachings of Babylon out of His people!

      I encourage you to share the truth of the word FIRE in your comments to those here on Hubpages.....the greek word *Fire* is "PYR"....and means "to purify".....we get our English words "pure", "purify", "purification" from the Greek word "PYR".

      So, now with that understanding, one can see more clearly that when the scriptures use the word FIRE...it is not used in the context of LITERAL FIRE.....instead it is used in the context for PURIFYING FIRE.....GODFIRE!......whew.....Halleluyah!.....He burns the dross of the old adamic nature so that the new creation nature can come forth as GOLD! ......shining with His glory.....and this is how ALL FLESH will see HIM.....for He will come to be manifested IN AND THROUGH His saints! Praise Him!

      Christ Jesus will save to the uttermost...!

      All His love to you, precious SwordofManticorE!

    • JPB0756 profile image

      Robert A. Joseph 3 years ago

      High praise to one I feel is worthy of same. Love is the result of the "forge" if you see; if you do not, love will clear your vision. Sword, peace is always and surely yours. To avoid ambiguity, first and third sentence are to you, Sword, the middle, your commenter. Thanks, my friend.

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