The True Story of the Prodigal Son

Posted by on Nov 27, 2016


The tax collectors and the sinners came to Yeshua to hear Him. The Pharisees and scribes also came and grumbled because of that. But He spoke a parable to them of a certain man who had two sons and the younger of them said to his father to give him his portion of the inheritance. Then the younger son went away to a distant country, and there wasted his moneys with loose living.

But when he had spent all and a severe scarcity of food came throughout that land, he felt the hardship. In order to survive, he began to work the lowest work of the land. But having come to himself, he recalled how many of his father’s servants have bread enough to eat but he was perishing with hunger.

One day he returned to his father said to him, “Father, I have sinned against the heaven, and before you and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”His father was moved with compassion, fell on his neck and kissed him. And the father dressed him with the best clothes and threw a party for his son.

But when his older son returned from the field, he said to his father, ‘See, these many years I have been serving you, and I have never transgressed a command of yours, but to me you have never given a young goat, so I could rejoice with my friends.  But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with whores, you slaughtered the fattened calf for him.’

And this is where most if not all teachers and preachers stop and start drawing conclusions. Following their teachings many have been led to believe that the moral of the parable is all about “the prodigal son” hence the parable was titled thus. And since the prodigal son returned home, he would have a half of his father’s inheritance. But we may recall Yeshua’s saying concerning those who seek their material wealth here on the earth (as the young son did) that they have received their reward already and not to expect anything else.

They also teach that the Lord loves everyone and Jesus not only receives the sinner, but seeks to find the lost one. And that those who have always lived an outwardly righteous life and who do not think themselves in need of repentance are the ninety-nine in the parable spoken in Luk 15:3-7, thus they speak of the older son in the parable. They even call him self-righteous and legalistic because, according to them, he wanted to justify himself by being obedient to his father (Luk 15:29).

Or, in the next parable in Luk_15:8-10 in which a woman having ten silver coins has lost one coin. And when she has found it, she rejoices, as there is rejoice in heaven when one lost repents.

Although, this is absolutely true, this is not the whole story of “the prodigal son” because this is not whole teaching of Yeshua in this parable. The parable however continues:

Then he (the father) said to him (the older son), ‘Son, you are always with me, and all I have is yours. And we had to rejoice and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive, and was lost and is found.’  (Luk 15:31-32)

It is true that because one was dead and is now alive, and was lost and is found, the Father rejoices in heaven but as we see from the parable the faithful son will have all. The other son will be let stay home and enjoy being with the Father but the inheritance will belong to the faithful son, according to the very words of Yeshua the Messiah. This is the part of the story never told in the churches today.

There is an old proverb that says, “A father or a mother can manage their ten children, but ten children cannot take care of one father or mother.” And sadly this is true. Often as parents grow older, their children consider them a burden and find caring for them difficult.

The Torah tells us that Avraham’s son Yitzchak (Isaac) stood at his side and was totally dedicated to his wellbeing. He took care of everything Avraham needed to make his old age peaceful. Yitzchak was born in the Promised Land and never left it. He never left his father. He was always by his father and never left the house. Such a child is indeed a blessing to a parent.

We can be certain that when Yeshua told His disciples this parable, He meant Yitzchak for the faithful son. And how could it be otherwise? Yeshua knew that when Avraham was ready to sacrifice his son Yitzchak, he saw the substitutional lamb that would take the place of the sinful world just as the ram took the place of his son. Avraham saw Yeshua the Messiah in the time to come. For more insight on this, refer to the article To Foresee Yeshua the Messiah.

So, what can we learn from the moral of the Torah and Yeshua’s parable, because this is one teaching?

Yitzchak was faithful and obedient to his father those many years, served him and never transgressed a command of his, and was never given his inheritance, while Avraham was still alive. It is not accidental that we see the same story in the plead of the faithful son in Luk 15:29. However, Yitzchak received it as the faithful son in the parable was promised. While his brother, Ishmael, who persecuted him, according to Gal 4:29-30, received his earthly rewards and was sent away, as the unfaithful son was sent, too.

Therefore, we see, the parable is not all about the prodigal son, but it is all about the Father who is in the authority to judge according to our deeds.

For more information on why Ishmael was sent away, please, refer to the article Did Really Ishmael Mock the Little Isaac?