A. The story of the vineyard comes immediately before this. We are not told that the last to be employed are paid first or more. "you have made them equal/isous". Matthew 20:12 The same not first.

B. In Matthew 20:16 is this "all" the last will be first? Compare with: "some" are last Luke 13:30, and, "many" who are first Matthew 19:30.

C. "So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen". KJB. Does the word "for" link, "many" be called, with "many" in Matthew 19:30 and give another insight?

"But many [that are] first shall be last". Matthew 19:30. KJB.

3 Answers 3


Let's start by placing Jesus' words into context.

Jesus made the statement “many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first” (Matthew 19:30) in the context of His encounter with the rich young ruler (Matthew 19:16–30). After the young man turned away from Jesus, unable to give up his great wealth (verse 22), Jesus’ disciples asked the Lord what reward they would have in heaven, since they had given up everything to follow Him (verses 27–30). Jesus promised them “a hundred times as much,” plus eternal life (verse 29). Then He said, “But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first” (verse 30).

When Jesus told the disciples they would be greatly rewarded in heaven for what they had given up on earth, He was contrasting their sacrifice with the rich young ruler’s lack thereof—the young man had been unwilling to give up much of anything for Christ’s sake (Matthew 19:16–22). God, who sees the heart, will reward accordingly. The disciples are an example of those who may be first, and they happened to be poor (but their poverty was not what makes them first in heaven). The rich young ruler is an example of those who may be last, and he happened to be rich (but his wealth was not what makes him last).

Now we can move on to Jesus' words in Matthew 20:16 at the end of the parable of the laborers in the vineyard, a story designed to illustrate the last being first and the first being last.

The point of the parable is that all believers, no matter how long they have served God during their lifetime will receive the same basic reward: eternal life. Even if a person comes to saving faith toward the latter part of their life, they are valued just as much as a person who has served God for the duration of their lifetime. The article from which I have partially quoted concludes thus:

What Jesus is teaching in Matthew 19:30 is this: there will be many surprises in heaven. Heaven’s value system is far different from earth’s value system. Those who are esteemed and respected in this world (like the rich young ruler) may be frowned upon by God. The opposite is also true: those who are despised and rejected in this world (like the disciples) may, in fact, be rewarded by God. Don’t get caught up in the world’s way of ranking things; it’s too prone to error. Those who are first in the opinion of others (or first in their own opinion!) may be surprised to learn, on Judgment Day, they are last in God’s opinion.

I hesitate to be pressed into going with either your A, B, or C choices. Rather, I believe that whatever happens when we get to heaven, all will finally be revealed and understood.

Source: https://www.gotquestions.org/first-last-last-first.html


Matthew 19:

28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

the day for judging for rewards

29And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

Many who are first in coming into the kingdom of God will be rewarded less. Many who come later into the kingdom will be rewarded more.

The word "first" refers to either first (come) in time or first (prize) in reward. Similarly, the word "last" has these two possible meanings.

These terminologies are repeated in Matthew 20:

8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

"last" in terms of time

9 “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius.

but they were rewarded the first prize, a full day's reward

16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

The latecomers received first prize. The early comers received the same prize after the latecomers.

These "first" and "last" teminolgies are used in Luke 13 as well:

29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”

Some latecomers will be rewarded first and some early comers will be rewarded last.


Matthew 20:8- 16

8 “Now when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, starting with the last group to the first.’ 9 When those hired about the eleventh hour came, each one received a denarius. 10 And so when those hired first came, they thought that they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they grumbled at the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day’s work and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he answered and said to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what is yours and go; but I want to give to this last person the same as to you. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I want with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’ 16 So the last shall be first, and the first, last.”

The last [Generation] will enter the Kingdom of God first, the assembly of Philadelphia.

  1. Before the Tribulation [hour of trail] Philadelphia G726. harpazó snatched away by the spirit of YHWH just like Philip in [Acts 8:39 2 to the Kingdom. Rev 3:10-12 Lu 21:36
  2. 1:st resurrection is after the Tribulation Rev 20:4 1Thessalonians 4:16 1 Corinthians 15:51-53
  3. 2:nd resurrection is after the thousand years Rev 20:5

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