The Parable of the Net Cast into the Sea

Matthew 13:47–50

47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:
48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.
49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,
50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote:

“When those whom God hath chosen to be ‘fishers of men’ (Matt. 4:19; Jer. 16:16) go forth preaching the gospel, they catch men of all sorts in the gospel net. Rich and poor, bond and free, Jew and Gentile, learned and ignorant, sincere and hypocritical, stable and wavering—men of all races, cultures, and backgrounds accept the gospel and seek its blessings. But all who are caught in the gospel net are not saved in the celestial kingdom; church membership alone gives no unconditional assurance of eternal life [see 2 Ne. 31:16–21]. Rather, there will be a day of judgment, a day of sorting and dividing, a day when the wicked shall be cast out of the Church, ‘out into the world to be burned.’ For those then living the Second Coming will be an initial day of burning, sorting, and judgment [see Matt. 25:31–46; D&C 63:54]; for all men of all ages the ultimate day of sorting and dividing will occur, after all men have been raised from the dead, at the final great day of judgment [see 2 Ne. 9:15–16].

“Joseph Smith, in applying this parable to latter-day conditions, wrote: ‘Behold the seed of Joseph, spreading forth the Gospel net upon the face of the earth, gathering of every kind, that the good may be saved in vessels prepared for that purpose, and the angels will take care of the bad. “So shall it be at the end of the world—the angels shall come forth and sever the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire, and there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” [Matthew 13:49–50].’ [Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 303].”

(Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 1:302–3.)

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