The prodigal son has been claimed oftentimes to represent the repentant soul, this makes its identity clear. I believe there is more to the story. The father said all things belong to the first child who has always been obedient to him. Who is the first child?

I wouldn't agree it's Jesus since he can't in any way be envious of people. It is related that the first child was envious when the father killed the fattest cow for the returned son. Who does he symbolize?


In the parable of the prodigal son, the forgiving father is a picture of God, and the parable highlights His patience and love towards those who are lost.

The younger son symbolises the lost and the elder brother represents the self-righteous. In Jesus' day the self-righteous would be the Pharisees. The parable is about the restoration of a believer into fellowship with the Father.

More information here: https://www.gotquestions.org/parable-prodigal-son.html

  • Would that mean the Pharisees have the reserved share with the father as the father claimed that all things are yours when trying to calm the first brother? Does it mean the remaining portion now belongs to them and not the second son?
    – ken4ward
    Dec 16 '19 at 3:02
  • 1
    I don’t think so. The firstborn son did not lose his inheritance, even though he was self-righteous and angry against his brother. The wise father gently rebukes the older son but his inheritance remains the same – two-thirds. The parable illustrates how self-righteous people miss out on God’s grace by allowing anger to take root and blind them to their own sin. The Pharisees and scribes were like the older son in their self-righteousness and jealousy which they directed against Jesus. Jesus, who is God, is represented in this parable by the Father who desires the restoration of sinners.
    – Lesley
    Dec 16 '19 at 9:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.