Christian Churches of God

No. 199z





Lost Sheep and the Prodigal Son

(Edition 1.1 19970510-19990526)


The parables in Luke 15 have an extended meaning that is not well appreciated. Many apply the parable of the prodigal son to wayward sinners but most do not understand the powerful scope and symbolism of these parables.





Christian Churches of God

PO Box 369,  WODEN  ACT 2606,  AUSTRALIA






(Copyright © 1997, 1999  Wade Cox)

(Summary by Tom Hoffahrt, ed. Wade Cox)



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Lost Sheep and the Prodigal Son


Luke 15 is directly aimed at explaining the concept of sin and repentance to two classes of people – both the sinners and those who profited by them. A third class was also there as Pharisees and thus there were sinners and the self-righteous.


The lesson by Christ in Luke is broken into three parts; the lost sheep; the woman and the lost silver; and the prodigal son. Each parable is an interlinked sector of the whole, which explains the love and mercy and forgiveness of God.

The Lost Sheep

The first six verses of the lost sheep tie in the audience, namely the publicans and sinners, to the lost sheep and the search for them that is made by the shepherd. The self-righteous of the Pharisees murmured against this, because they did not see that it was necessary to receive, or even eat with sinners (verse 2).


The text in verse 7 lifts the sense out of the physical into the spiritual heavenly realm and ties it into the loyal Host and the redemption of the lost sinners. The central issue is identified as repentance and concerns all three parables as the real problem in issue (Luke 15:1-7).


The man in the first section is often seen to be Christ looking for the lost sheep. He has to leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go in search of the lost one until he finds it. It is the same search as the woman undertakes from verse 8 onwards. The search extends from the Host, that the shepherd is forced to leave in the wilderness; a place where the ninety-nine might feed freely and it is not infertile.


The search continues so that the sheep is found. Nothing is left to be lost. This extends over the entire Host. When the sheep is found there is rejoicing with Messiah, who comes home with the sheep and celebrates with his friends and neighbours. The sense of this reconciliation is seen also in the third section concerning the prodigal son.


The Woman and Her Treasure

Luke 15:8-10 continues into the section of the woman who searches for her treasures. The Holy Spirit is symbolised by the woman, who sweeps the house clean in order to restore her treasure to its full amount.


The use of ten pieces of silver appears to relate to the fallen Host and their conversion. The price for Christ was that of a slave at thirty pieces of silver. This was a piece for each of the 30 entities in the inner council of the Elohim, as we see in Revelation 4 and 5. Christ stated that a third of the Host had fallen with Satan in the rebellion, represented here in the ten, as a third of the thirty. The purpose is that the Holy Spirit has to make the house clean, in order to restore the lost pieces.

The Prodigal Son

In the third section the man (God the Father) is portrayed as having two sons. The symbolism is Christ and Satan. The far-off place is the wilderness of sin and the place of traffic and merchandise, for which Satan was condemned and for which he fell from grace (see Isa. 14:12-19; Ezek. 28:12-19). So God has a faithful and obedient son and a prodigal or wayward son (Luke 15:11-32).


The second son could not wait for the bounty that was to be bestowed upon him. Being in the form of God he sought to grasp equality with God. Christ the elder son did not seek to grasp this equality (Phil. 2:5-8).


Satan is to be removed and changed so that this being is not to be anymore (Ezek. 28:12-19). Thus, there is a process of restoration to deal with the Host as well in the final judgment (see the paper The Judgment of the Demons (No. 80)).


Christ remained steady and loyal and was always by the side of God. Yet we saw that he had to go away to recover the sheep that were lost. This was only by example and self-sacrifice. We cannot read the three parables in isolation, as the text in Luke is the complete sequence. The parable was not meant to be fully understood until the demons had the full chance to repent.


We see from Luke 15:13 that not many days after Satan was given the power and wealth, he went into a far country and wasted his substance with riotous living. This essentially is the message in Ezekiel and Isaiah. In the full story he took a third of the Host (Rev. 12:4).


The Family at Issue

This parable in Luke shows that the ousia of the prodigal son was wasted, but it was derived as his inheritance from the Father. The faithful son was always with the Father and partook of the inheritance of the Father. He was heir of the Father, but both sons shared in the inheritance. In this way, all are heirs together with the Messiah as eldest son or prõtotokos of the creation. The Trinity is thus completely false and the divine nature is shared by the sons of God. The entire Host are and were always sons of God as Christ was a son of God.


After he had been gone many days there was a famine in that land and the prodigal son began to be in want (verse 14). The mighty famine was due to the fact that it was not run according to the laws of the Father (Deut. 28).


He joined himself to the citizens of a foreign land as a form of slavery and was no longer a citizen of the Father (cf. Phil. 3:20). This was the production of the fallen Host divorced from God and which produced the Nephilim who have no resurrection (Isa. 26:14; and see the paper The Nephilim (No. 154)).


He was then given to feed swine, the symbolism being that he was unclean ritually and spiritually. This total desolation and hunger is a realisation that he is cut off from his Father’s house and family.


In the end he realises that he has sinned against heaven and before God (v. 18). This confession and repentance is enough to restore him to the love of the Father. He did not properly understand the nature of the Father and sought merely to be as one of the hired servants. This ignorance caused the rebellion in the first instance. The loyal Host showed faith even though it had not been fully revealed to them.


All who live in the house of God, possessing the Holy Spirit, are sons of God. The prodigal son was to be restored to his former condition. He was given the first robe and a ring was put on his finger. We are all given a robe washed in the blood of the Lamb and that extends to the entire heavenly Host, even up to and including Satan. In other words, the robe of salvation washed white in the blood of the Lamb, is of a first or uniform quality, so that all partake equally of the citizenship of God.


The son was seen as being dead and is alive, was lost and is found. All were under the death penalty and all were saved by the desire of the Father and the efforts of the sons, under the one who was the loyal vinedresser in the fields.


A reproach is made to the Father for His seeming unjust leniency. The prodigal son has devoured the living of the Father with harlots. This is a reference to Jude 6 and Genesis 6:4. God answers Christ (verses 31-32) and remember it is Christ speaking in the Spirit. Compare Romans 9:4-5 and Matthew 20:14 regarding all that I have is yours.


When we are confronted with the repentance of the Host, including Satan, make sure we are possessed of the love of the Father and not as a jealous elder son. Christ himself stated and understood this point and so should we.