here is some information i dug up off of the wt-cd rom.
*** it-1 614 Denarius *** A Roman silver coin that weighed about 3.85 g (0.124 oz t) and hence would have a modern value of 74 cents. It bore a likeness of the head of Caesar and was the head tax coin exacted by the Romans from the Jews. (Mt 22:19-21) In the days of Jesus earthly ministry, agricultural laborers commonly received a denarius for a 12-hour workday. (Mt 20:2) Hence, Revelation 6:6 depicts an extreme condition in stating that a quart of wheat or three quarts of barley would cost a denarius (a full days wage).
*** it-1 1182 Illustrations *** (23) Theworkerspaidadenarius (Mt 20:1-16). The illustration is part of Jesus answer to Peters question in Matthew 19:27: Look! We have left all things and followed you; what actually will there be for us? Note also Matthew 19:30 and Mt 20:16.
Grape-gathering time is a season of anxious concern for the owners of vineyards. Some workers are employed for the entire harvesttime; others are hired as the need becomes apparent. Payment of wages at the end of the day was in harmony with the Mosaic Law; it was a necessity for poor laborers. (Le 19:13; De 24:14, 15) A denarius, which was payment for the days work, was a silver Roman coin. Its modern-day value would be 74 cents. In the first century C.E., the day, from sunrise to sunset, was divided by the Jews into 12 equal parts; so the 3rd hour would be about 8:00 to 9:00 a.m.; the 6th hour, about 11:00 a.m. to noon; the 9th hour, about 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.; and the 11th hour, about 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.
*** w89 8/15 8 Workers in the Vineyard *** Jesus
The 12-hour, or full-day, workers represent the Jewish leaders who have been occupied continually in religious service. They are unlike Jesus disciples, who have, for most of their lives, been employed in fishing or other secular occupations. Not until the fall of 29 C.E. did the householder send Jesus Christ to gather these to be his disciples. They thus became the last, or the 11th-hour vineyard workers.
Finally, the symbolic workday ends with the death of Jesus, and the time comes to pay the workers. The unusual rule of paying the last first is followed, as is explained: When it became evening, the master of the vineyard said to his man in charge, Call the workers and pay them their wages, proceeding from the last to the first. When the eleventh-hour men came, they each received a denarius. So, when the first came, they concluded they would receive more; but they also received pay at the rate of a denarius. On receiving it they began to murmur against the householder and said, These last put in one hours work; still you made them equal to us who bore the burden of the day and the burning heat! But in reply to one of them he said, Fellow, I do you no wrong. You agreed with me for a denarius, did you not? Take what is yours and go. I want to give to this last one the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I want with my own things? Or is your eye wicked because I am good? In conclusion Jesus repeated a point made earlier, saying: In this way the last ones will be first, and the first ones last.
The receiving of the denarius occurred, not at Jesus death, but at Pentecost 33 C.E., when Christ, the man in charge, poured out holy spirit on his disciples. These disciples of Jesus were like the last, or the 11th-hour, workers.
The denarius did not represent the gift of the holy spirit itself. The denarius was something for the disciples to use here on earth. It was something that meant their livelihood, their everlasting life. It was the privilege of being a spiritual Israelite,
anointed to preach about Gods Kingdom.
Is that first-century fulfillment the only fulfillment of Jesus illustration? No, the clergy of Christendom in this 20th century have, by reason of their positions and responsibilities, been first to be hired for work in Gods symbolic vineyard. They considered dedicated preachers associated with the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society to be the last ones to have any valid assignment in Gods service. But it is, in fact, these very ones whom the clergy despised who received the denariusthe honor of serving as anointed ambassadors of Gods heavenly Kingdom. Matthew
Edited by - zev on 14 August 2002 7:11:49