These fishermen have just returned to shore with their net full of fish. Now this is not a casting-net, which is thrown out from the boat and drawn in again, but a drag-net which is of great length, and which is drawn constantly through the water until it is well filled with fish. It is then hauled up to the shore, and the fishermen sit around it, and take out the fish. Many of these, of course, are unfit for food, or not liked. They cast those into the sea again, but the good fish which they can sell for food are carefully placed in vessels brought for the purpose.
Christ said, “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered every kind (of fish): which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. 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. There shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
At another time Jesus taught His disciples the same truth; when He spake of His coming and of the gathering of all nations before Him, the good entering into eternal life, but the wicked being cast away. “When the Son of Man shall come in His glory,” said Jesus, “and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory. And before Him shall be gathered all nations; and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.”