In Matthew 13:47-52 Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a large net cast into the sea which is a kind of "harvest" of mankind for destruction. In addition he seems to suggest :

[Mat 13:47-52 CSB] 47 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a large net thrown into the sea. It collected every kind of fish, 48 "and when it was full, they dragged it ashore, sat down, and gathered the good fish into containers, but threw out the worthless ones. 49 "So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out, separate the evil people from the righteous, 50 "and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 51 "Have you understood all these things? " They answered him, "Yes." 52 "Therefore," he said to them, "every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom treasures new and old."

In Habakkuk 1:13-17 the Chaldeans are depicted as merciless looters and pillagers using the figure of mankind as fish caught in their net and the ones they have no use for are mercilessly destroyed:

[Hab 1:13-17 CSB] 13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil, and you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. So why do you tolerate those who are treacherous? Why are you silent while one who is wicked swallows up one who is more righteous than himself? 14 You have made mankind like the fish of the sea, like marine creatures that have no ruler. 15 The Chaldeans pull them all up with a hook, catch them in their dragnet, and gather them in their fishing net; that is why they are glad and rejoice. 16 That is why they sacrifice to their dragnet and burn incense to their fishing net, for by these things their portion is rich and their food plentiful. 17 Will they therefore empty their net and continually slaughter nations without mercy?

Is Jesus providing the disciples with an illustration of how he expects them to use the OT? By applying it to their generation? IE: That all of prophecy can and should be understood as referring to the Messianic age?

  • Jesus used several fountains, such as the pool of Siloam, which according to the legend described as apocryphal, only gushed water by miracle. I agree with you.
    – Betho's
    Dec 26, 2019 at 16:32

1 Answer 1



I cannot see any verbal allusion between these two passages; nor can I see any semantic allusions. Jesus' parable of the net is discussing final judgement, while Habakkuk is discussing temporal judgement, or more correctly rebuke and discipline.


We should clearly distinguish between final judgement at the end of time when Christ returns, from temporal judgement. Final judgement occurs once and is final. Temporal judgements (Rev 3:19, Heb 12:6) occur many times in a person's or nation's history as the OT clearly shows. God used the Babylonians to chasten the Jews - the Jews survived but the Babylonians did not. The history of the Judges is a litany of God using the surrounding nations to discipline Israel.

This idea of using others to chasten us and our errant ways is an example of the oft used principle, "evil has within it the seeds of its own destruction". Gamaliel stated something similar at the disciples' trial (Acts 5:34) and in other places as well (Ps 35:8, 7:14, Prov 11:3, 5, 6, etc). In the case of ancient Israel, when they turned their backs on God, He withdrew His protection and allowed their enemies to overpower them. Even in Rev 17 we see the great prostitute destroyed by the kings from whom she sought support.


The Bible principle of interpreting prophecy is explicitly stated in 2 Cor 1:20, "For all the promises of God find their Yes in him." The Book of Revelation is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, not politics or anything else.

  • Thanks. Did you consider the common word (in the LXX) and common subject: σαγήνη (net)? While Jesus doesn't say that men are in the net but he might as well have, no?
    – Ruminator
    Nov 30, 2018 at 20:04
  • Agreed. However, I think we need more than a single word (albeit a significant word) to be in common.
    – user25930
    Nov 30, 2018 at 21:24
  • I'm not sure an allusion needs more than what we have here: 1) similar theme 2) same image of "fishers of men" for destruction 3) fisher's use the same word for "net" in the LXX 4) Jesus was apparently illustrating how to understand the OT with these particular parables
    – Ruminator
    Nov 30, 2018 at 21:32
  • Also, what would be an example of a yet-future prophecy to be fulfilled? I would love to find one because because honestly, the NT is beginning to seem like simply a history book of the day of the LORD.
    – Ruminator
    Nov 30, 2018 at 21:35
  • A simple history book, as in the past tense (Hyper-Preterism)? If so, 1 Corinthians 15 needs a great work of exegeting to show in Scripture and reality it has become history.
    – Lowther
    Dec 30, 2018 at 20:23

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