The description of the Kingdom of Heaven as protrayed by Jesus could not be given in one single description or analogy. As we are about see, there are seven distinct parables that Jesus uses to describe different aspects of the kingdom. This has some significance because in the hebrew symbolism of numbers, the number seven represents a complete, perfect arrangement. Therefore we have seven different descriptions in the thirteenth chapter of Matthew. The seven taken together portray one complete picture. Just one would not give a good description. They complement and supplement each other.
And He said, "How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it"?
Jesus used this sentence while he was going from one description to another.
And He said, "To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in Parables, in order that SEEING THEY MAY NOT SEE, AND HEARING THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND."
A quotation from the prophets brings this to understand that the disciples were well prepared to learn the spiritual lessons involved, but there were those who had hardened their hearts from God, that they had literally closed the door and blocked that which Christ was trying to open. Christ explains some of these in written format, the rest we have to apply through logic and study and prayer and God's wisdom.
The first parable is the parable of the sower. In this, we see the various characters of men and the hearts that the gospel is sown upon and how it is received.
The second is the Parable of the tares. In this we see that though God has made all things, good and acceptable, there is an agency working that is in opposition. The judgement will separate the type of plants produced in this field.
The third parable is that of the Mustard Seed. In this we see the beginning of the church in a very small way, in which it eventually grows to dynamic proportions of the seed that produces it.
The forth parable is that of the Leven. In this we see how the word works upon the individual heart to produce favorable results.
The fifth parable is that of the Hidden Treasure. This is how people who do not know what they are looking for, all of a sudden find the great treasure of salvation and make every effort to possess it.
The sixth parable is that of the Pearl of Great Price. This is similar to those of the fifth parable, but these people are seeking with all their might to find the great treasure. Then when they are sure they have found it, they make sure that they keep it.
The seventh parable of the fishnet. The consumation of all the above, God's net of salvation will capture the hearts of all, but the faithful will be kept and the rest destroyed. In this is the condemnation of the wicked and the separation of the righteous.
Besides these seven in one setting, we have a few other descriptions.
Matt 18:23-35 the king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves
Matt 20:1-16 the landowner who hired laborors and paid them all the same.
Matt 25:14-30 the ruler who gave talents to his servants and came to reckon with them.
Matt 22:2-14 about a king who gave a wedding feast for his son and was/not disappointed.
Matt 25:1-13 ten virgins, five of whom were not foolish but prepared.
Lessons to be learned:
In all of these we see that God is the ruler, and Christ is the son (heir).
Christ spreads the word which is the seed.
The seed is sown everywhere on all hearts. But only those hearts that are good will accept it and grow thereby.
The kingdom represents the church.
The soils represent the hearts of men and how they accept or reject the message of truth.
The harvest time represents the judgement when God will separate the wicked and righteous.
The field is the world and our relation to it.
The treasure and the pearl represent the blessings of God (salvation)(righteousness).
The leven protrays the invisible inner workings of God's word on our hearts.
v.52 describes the teachers (scribes) who bring from his experience and knowledge the newness of life and the spiritual renewal day by day, and brings the old out of the pages of the book and applies the lessons taught of old for us to learn as an example. We learn from the old and produce that which is new. The new convert, the new birth, the new creature, the new beginning, the newness of life.
Now, what does this have to do with our basic theme of "growing the kingdom"? In order to appreciate the position that we have, we must understand what the church is like. That there are responsibilities and there are judgements of obedience and dis-obedience. We have to know that we are an important part of this kingdom. We also know that if we do not do our part, then we will be rooted up and cast into the fires of hell.
The church needs to grow, but not at the expense of the truth. The church is the pillar and ground of truth and must remain so. We still have individual responsibilities and each of us must give an account to God. What are you doing for God, today?
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