The Prodigal Son and the Elder Son of God


"Mark 16:15 preach the gospel to every creature. Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe (do) all things whatsoever I (Jesus Christ) have commanded: Revelation 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega,... 14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, ... have right to the tree of life, and... enter ... the city."


I am a retired pastor of the Church of God (Tennessee).
My name is Isaac Livingston. I am from Neyyoor India.

The prodigal son of God repented, came back to God to stay with God as a servant of God, but not to sin again. His position of the son is restored and his past sins are forgiven. The elder son obeyed all the commandments of God all the time. So, all that God has is to him. That is, he is the bride of Christ.

If you prefer to hear the video clip also, please click on this link: "Video: Prodigal"

The Prodigal Son and the Elder Son of God

Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be upon you.

In Matthew 13:10-11 the disciples asked Jesus, why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. Many people think that Jesus was speaking in parables so that people may understand the teaching easily. No, it is just the opposite. He does not want a common man to understand unless the man is his disciple. Here, he tells a story of a rich father and his two sons. You all know the story of the prodigal son. This story is very widely preached. Many doctrines are taught out of this story. The most popular doctrine is that the prodigal son is a true son who repented and is saved and the elder son who has anger is lost and rejected. There are some more worthless interpretations. But, I want to teach what God has revealed to me from this parable.

You will find this parable in Luke 15:11-32. The father of the story can be compared to God. Verse 11 says that he has two sons. That is two kinds of people who follow him. One group is similar to the younger son and the other group is similar to the elder son. Verse 12 says that the younger son asked his father, “Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me” and his father gave it to him. That is, one group of people ask God to give them the blessings here and now, so that they may enjoy their life while living on this world. This is the prodigal group. They are backsliding, getting blessings from God, going to the world, and enjoying life. They are having a good time with ungodly friends. They call God as their Father.

Let us look at the elder son. In verse "29.. he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither I transgressed at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:" That is, God has given him nothing in this world to enjoy, in spite of the fact that he was the best beloved son. Yet, he was obeying all the commandments of God all the time. That is, the group similar to the elder son, is particular in doing what God desires them to do, in spite of the fact that they do not receive any blessings in this world. They have a hard life with no fun in this world. But, they are the beloved of God.

Let us look at the prodigal son again. Very soon the blessings are ended. One day, when he was up against the wall, he came to his senses. He remembered the abundance of bread that the servants of his father had. Then, he has repented for what he has done. He has decided to ask his father to accept him as a servant. He came back to his father. He says in verse 18, I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19 I am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. He realized that we must be worthy to be called the sons of God. In his case the father decided to accept him as a son. In verse 22, he was put on the best robe, a ring, and shoes. Some ignorant teachers pick up the robe, ring, and shoes and make him something which is not true. They interpret these items in such a way to suit their fantasy to fit the prodigal son into it. They should not do that. It is a parable, but not real life. However God and angels celebrated his return because he was dead, now he is alive.

Preachers encourage sinners by comparing them to the prodigal son. Of course, the prodigal son backslid. But he came back, not to sin again, but to be with God as his servant and his son-ship is restored. But preachers preach the message of the prodigal son to sinners who desires to be sinners and to praise God for the provision to help them to continue as sinners. That is not the prodigal son. He came out of backsliding and now lives without sin. If they preach the prodigal son, they must admonish sinners to repent and not to sin again. Notice a few things here. The prodigal son or prodigal people are not sons of the devil, who deceives people and become rich. But, their blessings came from their Father, who is God. Even though they backslid, they came back now to God as true servants.

So far we have covered: There are two groups of sons to God. First group obeys all commandments of God all the time. They work in the field of God. Second group loves to enjoy life. So they backslide. But they confess that their blessings are from God. If and when they come to their senses, they will repent and will come back to God, not to backslide again. They will desire to serve God afterwards.

Now, we come to the highlight of the story. Pay attention to this very carefully. This is the conversation of the Father to the elder son. In verse 31, the Father said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. The only one group who will have all that God has is the bride of Christ. Jesus Christ receives his bride unto himself. But the sons are received in the mansions of God. The elder son will be the bride of Christ and the backslidden son, who came back to the Father to be a servant, will regain the position as the son.

Let me say something. Do not listen to soothsayers. They will tell you pleasant things to hear. But those are lies. Face the truth. Let me ask you a question. Where do you stand in obedience to God?

If you do not obey God, then you are not converted. Do not argue with God. He is always right. Obey him. If you don't, you will be in hell fire. Humble yourself before God. Obey him and be converted.

If you were converted and now you are backslidden, repent. Come back to God to serve but not to sin. God will forgive your past sins. You can be a son of God again. Then you will inherit his kingdom.

If you obey his commandments always after you are converted, then you are the bride of Christ. You are number one. Congratulations.

Thank you for listening.

God Bless You

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