The second parable is definitely said to be a likeness of the kingdom of heaven. What we have pointed out already is very evident here: the kingdom of heaven is not heaven itself, neither is it, as used in this part of Matthew’s gospel, to be confounded with the coming glorious kingdom of our God and His Christ when all the world will be subjected to Jesus as King. It speaks of a mixed condition of things, such as has prevailed in Christendom ever since the beginning of the present age.
Tares, which are the children of the evil one, are mingled with the wheat, the children of God.
24 Another parable put be forth unto them, saying, This kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the repers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat unto my barn.
This parable is also explained farther on in the chapter. We now need only to take note of the fact that the Lord was portraying a state of things in which professors and true believers would be found together. The great difference between the two is that those who are genuine bring forth fruit, whereas the others are without fruit and even are hurtful rather than helpful. The tares themselves are actually poisonous instead of being good for food. “His enemy,” Jesus says, “came and sowed tares.” That enemy, we know, is the Devil. But when the servants of the householder came asking if they should root up the tares, the answer was in the negative. Not until the time of harvest would the great separation take place.
Third Mystery, the Grain of Mustard Seed
31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:
32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.
We are not to understand from our Lord’s words that the mustard seed is the most infinitesimal of all seeds in the entire vegetable kingdom, but it is the least of all the seeds of the garden herbs; yet when it is grown it becomes the greatest of all the herbs, towering over all the rest, so that it forms a place of shelter. The parable was not explained so far as the record goes, but it is easy to understand it in the light of other Scripture passages. It speaks of the development of the kingdom of heaven into a great world power. Such dominions were frequently likened to large trees with spreading branches, as in the case of Babylon (Dan. 4); the Assyrian Ezekiel 31:3, and other similar powers. So that which began as a field of wheat developed, in the course of centuries, into the mustard tree. The professing church of God became a power to be reckoned with among the nations, but its branches sheltered all kinds of false professors and evil teachers. The birds of the air represent the hosts of evil, and these lodge in the branches of the mustard tree. It is a most graphic picture of what Christendom became throughout the course of centuries when the false church seemed to dominate the world.
Fourth Mystery, the Leaven:
One other parable was spoken by the Lord as He sat by the seaside. It is that of the leaven hidden in the meal. Perhaps of all the teachings of the Lord nothing has been more misunderstood than this. He said, “The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.”
33 Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measurers of meal, til the whole was leavened.
34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:
35 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.
The general idea among Christians is that the woman here represents the church; the three measures of meal, the world; the leaven, the gospel-as a result of which the whole world will be converted eventually. Nothing could be more contrary to the teaching of the Word of God than this. It is a solemn fact that after nearly twenty centuries of gospel preaching there are more unbelievers in the world today than there were when Christ commissioned the apostles to go forth and evangelize the nations. Scripture nowhere warrants us to expect to see a converted world before the coming again of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In order to understand this parable one needs to inquire as to the meaning of leaven. Throughout the Word of God leaven is used always in an evil sense. Of old the people of Israel were to put all leaven out of their houses during the Passover season, and the apostle Paul explains this when he says, “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” 1 Corinthians 5:7-8. Leaven, then, speaks of malice and wickedness, and the Christian is to put this out of his life. The Lord Jesus warned His disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy and self-righteousness; the leaven of the Sadducees, which is false doctrine and materialism; and the leaven of Herod, which is worldliness and political corruption.
In the book of Leviticus (chap. 2) we have the meal offering in which there was to be no leaven. This represents our Lord Jesus Christ’s humanity, which was absolutely without sin. In the parable the woman is surreptitiously hiding the leaven in the meal offering. The three measures of meal certainly do not represent the world, but rather the truth of God concerning His Son. The woman is not the church, as such, but is the false church-that woman, Jezebel, of whom we read in Revelation 2:20, who calls herself a prophetess and teaches the servants of God unholy principles that are subversive of the faith. Is not this exactly what has been taking place during the past almost two millennia of church history? “The mystery of iniquity” began to work in apostolic days, and it has spread throughout the centuries until today there is practically no great doctrine of Scripture that has not been perverted by false teachers.
With this fourth parable the Lord ended what we might call His public ministry for that occasion. He had opened up secrets that God had kept hidden until that time, even as it had been declared by Him prophetically in Psalms 78:2.
All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world, (vv. 34-35)
The Second Mystery Explained:
Dismissing the outdoor gathering, Jesus entered the house, followed by His disciples. In this place of seclusion He uttered three more parables, as well as explaining that of the wheat and the tares.
36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house; and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.
37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire: so shall it be in the end of this world.
41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
The apostles came to Him a second time asking for further explanation. They asked regarding the tares of the field. He explained by telling them that He Himself was the Sower of the good seed; the field is the world. It is important that we remember this because of what follows. The field is not the church, but rather that world out of which the church was eventually to be gathered. “The good seed,” Jesus said, “are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one.” Here we have the result of the sowing: those who believe the gospel message are the wheat; those who accept the teachings of Satan are the tares, for the enemy that sowed the evil seed is the Devil himself. He has ever been busy sowing the tares wherever servants of God have sown the good seed. But it is not for Christ’s servants to attempt to destroy the tares during this age. Our understanding is too limited. We might make the fatal mistake that Rome made of rooting up the good in order to destroy the bad. At the end of the age-it is not the end of the world He has in mind but the end of the present age-“The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire.” Notice that the Son of Man sends forth His angels. What a definite proof of His Deity we have here! He is both Son of God and Son of Man in one blessed, adorable person. The angels are His, and they do His bidding.
Then observe the mixed condition that prevails in the kingdom down to the end of the age. The angels gather out of His kingdom all things that afford cause for scandal. There will be false professors mingled with the true in the field...... that is, in the world....... down to the end of the age. “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” This is the heavenly side of the kingdom into which the Lord shall gather His own in that day. Again the challenge comes, “Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
Link together the three parables that the Lord gave inside the house.
Fifth Mystery, the Hid Treasure
44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
Sixth Mystery, the Pearl
45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
Seventh Mystery, the Drag-net
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.
51 Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.
52 Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.
In the fifth parable the treasure is not the sinner seeking after Christ, but the blessed Lord Himself who came from heaven to earth to find that which to Him was of inestimable value: namely, His own people Israel. In order to redeem Israel to Himself He died upon the cross, but they were not yet ready to receive Him as their King, and so the treasure was hidden in the field and would remain hidden until He returned.
From of old, Israel was recognized as God’s special treasure Exodus 19:5. The Lord Himself is represented by the man who found and hid this treasure. At Calvary He sold all that He had and bought the field, which is the world (v. 38). At present the treasure remains hidden. When Israel turns to the Lord, they will be manifested as Jehovah’s peculiar treasure, and through them blessing will come to all the Gentile nations.
The Sixth Parable
“The kingdom of heaven,” is likened next “unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls.” Again the seeker is Christ, who came from the throne of glory to this poor world, seeking for jewels to adorn His crown forever.
“One pearl of great price.” This is the church, which is of supreme value in His eyes, for which He gave Himself. At the cross He “sold all that he had, and bought it.” There He literally impoverished Himself to purchase the church as His own choice pearl (Ephesians 5:25; 2 Corinthians 8:9). Many think of salvation as the pearl and the sinner as the merchantman, but that is to invert completely the message of the gospel.
The Seventh Parable
“The kingdom of heaven is like unto a net.” It is, literally, a dragnet. This illustrates the present work of the professing church when vast numbers of both saved and lost are gathered in from the waters of the nations (Revelation 17:16) and are numbered among the professors of faith in Christ.
“Gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.” When the dragnet is full it is drawn to shore, and the good and bad fishes are separated from each other.
“So shall it be at the end of the age”. It is not the end of the world that is in view, but the consummation of the present age of grace, immediately preceding the ushering in of the age of the kingdom in full manifestation.
“Wailing and gnashing of teeth.” The last expression shows that judgment does not necessarily produce repentance. When the final separation takes place the false professors will be cast away in judgment, which results in wailing because of their suffering, but gnashing of teeth because of their hatred against God and His Christ (Psalms 35:16; Lamentations 2:16).
Having set forth this remarkable panorama covering the entire present age and reaching on even into the tribulation period, thus viewing its consummation at the second coming of the Lord, Jesus questioned His disciples as to how much they had really apprehended.
Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord. Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old. And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence, (vv. 51-53)
Though they declared they had understood these things, it is evident they but feebly entered into them. But a groundwork had been laid in their hearts and minds upon which they could build in after days. So the Lord likened them unto scribes instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, who in days to come would be able to bring forth out of their treasure things new and old. With this, Jesus closed that particular period of ministry and returned to Nazareth.
Jesus Returns to Nazareth: Again is Rejected:
53 And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence.
54 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?
Even in Jesus’ own country-that is, as Luke tells us, in the city of Nazareth (Luke 4:16-24), there were few who responded to the message of the kingdom. They heard His teaching and saw His miracles with amazement but failed to recognize Him as the Messiah.
55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
The answer is, No. He was the Eternal Son of God, born of a virgin, but brought up under the fostering care of Joseph, from whom He learned the trade of the carpenter.
56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?
They were frankly puzzled. Jesus was so different from others of His townspeople. His wisdom and power were inexplicable from a merely human standpoint. Without scholastic training, He was more profound than the scribes.
57 And they were offended in him, But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.
That is, they were stumbled by His lowliness and took offence when He intimated that their very familiarity with Him in past days, when they knew Him as a simple artisan, blinded their eyes to the fact that He was God’s mouthpiece.
58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
Even God Himself is straitened by mans unbelief. He who does for faith “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20), may be hindered in His working by stony-hearted opposition and unbelief.
The one great truth that this chapter in the life of our Lord demonstrates clearly is that unbelief on the one hand, or faith on the other, are not dependent on intellectual difficulties or logical arguments. The secret of both is the state of the conscience. Where one is determined to go contrary to what he knows to be right, he will continue in unbelief and refuse to submit to the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. When one repents of his sins and honestly seeks deliverance from them, he will have no difficulty in believing the record God has given of His Son 1 John 5:11. It may be safely said, without fear of successful contradiction, that if one professes to have intellectual difficulties about believing the Bible, it is because he is living in some sin which the Bible condemns from which he does not wish to be delivered but in which he is determined to continue. Unjudged sin is responsible for lack of faith in the testimony of God.
It will be well to reiterate some thoughts already expressed as we conclude the study of this chapter. First, let us notice the distinction between the kingdoms of God and of heaven. We are told that God’s kingdom rules over all Psalms 103:19; Psa_22:28 and is from age to age Daniel 4:3. This is called in the New Testament “the kingdom of God.” The expression is never found in the older revelation. It takes on different forms at different times. During the present age it is designated in Matthew, and there only, “the kingdom of heaven.” The King is seen as rejected by men and having returned to heaven from which place He directs His saints on earth, who go forth disseminating the Word of the kingdom and thus causing a vast throng of mankind to own Him, at least outwardly, as earth’s rightful King. When He returns, He will gather out of His kingdom all who are unreal. Those who are genuine will have their part either in the heavenly or the earthly sphere of the kingdom of the Son of Man, which will be the aspect taken by the kingdom of God in the millennial age.
Men often speak of “building the kingdom.” This is an expression in common use but never found in Scripture. We are commissioned to preach the gospel to every creature, and when men believe the message they become members of the church, the body of Christ. As such, they are in the kingdom of heaven also, but our primary object is to lead them to recognize Jesus as Savior and Lord.
No one can enter the kingdom of God in reality except by new birth. But many profess allegiance to the absent King who have never yielded their hearts to Him. These are in the sphere of the kingdom but are not actually of it. Let us be sure our faith and profession are real.
End of Chapter 13
That explains why,even when you can logically explain a Spiritual thing,people will still not listen to you.When we pray for a person,pray that Almighty will show them,reveal to them their need,and even put in their heart the desire,to come to Him.Please,help me to pray for my loved ones in this way,I can do the same for yours.God said He will give us what we ask Him for if we ask for what is His will.He is not willingthat any would perish,so we pray in His will when we ask for these things.May HE BE PRAISED,AND MAY YOU BE BLESSED.