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BIBLE STUDY on the Gospel of Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
The parables of the Kingdom of Heaven reveal the course of the Kingdom after Israel's rejection of it until the King returns to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on the Earth
The Gospel of Matthew is probably the “key” Gospel to the Bible. It is the open door to both the Old and the New Testaments, and I think that chapter 13 is the key to the Gospel of Matthew, making it very important. It gives us a better understanding of what the Kingdom of Heaven is than any other place in the Book. This is called the Mystery Parables Discourse, and it is one of the three major discourses in the Gospel of Matthew.
We must remember that our Lord followed John the Baptist in preaching, "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Mat.4:17). And our Lord pronounced the law of that Kingdom, the Sermon on the Mount. He then verified that He had the credentials and power, after which He sent His disciples out with the same message. The message was met by rejection. Israel rejected its King! Because of this, the Lord hands down a judgment against the cities where His mighty works had been done, and against the religious rulers. When they asked Him for a sign, He said that no sign would be given to them except that of Jonah. Jonah was a resurrection sign, and they were to have that fulfilled in Christ Jesus very shortly after this. As a final point, He gave that very personal invitation, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Mat.11:28).
Now there is a question: What will happen to the Kingdom of Heaven? It is quite clear that He will not establish it on the Earth at His First Coming. So what happens to the Kingdom of Heaven during the time between the suffering and death of the Messiah, the King, and the glory of Christ? The Mystery Parables our Lord sets before us, reveal to us the Kingdom of Heaven conditions on Earth during this time period, by using parables.
They are called Mystery Parables because in the Word of God, a mystery is something hidden or secret up to a certain time and then revealed. The church is a mystery because it was not revealed in the Old Testament. It was revealed AFTER the death and resurrection of Christ. In reality, there could be no church until Christ died and rose again. Ephes. 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; (KJV)
The Kingdom of Heaven is NOT the same as the church, nor is the church the same as the Kingdom of Heaven. The Kingdom of Heaven today is all Christendom. The part of the world where Christianity is predominant can be considered as Christendom. Clearly, the church is in Christendom, but my friend, NOT all of it by any means.
The Mystery Parables show the direction of the Kingdom AFTER Jesus had offered it to Israel, and she had rejected it. These parables reveal what is going to take place between the time of Christ's rejection and the time when He returns to the Earth as King. With these parables the Lord covers the entire period between His rejection by Israel and His return to the Earth to establish His Kingdom. They are extremely important.
Matthew 13:1 The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. (KJV)
The same day Jesus went out of the house . . . Jesus was in a literal house, before He went to the sea side (verse 36), but I also think that we must take note of the symbolism used here. "The same day went Jesus out of the house" . . . house speaks of the house of Israel. "And sat by the sea side" . . . the sea represents the Gentile nations. This symbolism used elsewhere in Scripture (Ex.40:38; Eze.3:17; Isa.17:12-13; Rev.13:1) Our Lord is leaving the nation of Israel and turning to the world. He is now speaking of what will take place in the world until He returns as King. This is a huge change that has taken place in His method. Great multitudes were gathered together to hear Him.
And sat by the sea side . . . I think the Lord was fed up with all the hatred and rejection, and He was now going to bring them several parables (difficult to understand stories). In order to preach to the people, "he began again to teach by the sea side" (Mk.4:1). This was the sea of Galilee, sometimes called the sea of Tiberias.
Matthew 13:2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. (KJV)
And great multitudes were gathered unto him . . . some for one reason, some for another. Some wanted to see His miracles, others wanted to be healed of their bodily afflictions. I do think there were some who wanted to hear His Gospel, for the healing of their souls.
So that he went into a ship . . . as the crowd of people kept pressing in on Him, He went into a ship, both for His own advantage, that He might not be so crowded, and to have more room, and a freer space to speak in; and for the people’s as well, that they might both see and hear Him better.
And sat, and the whole multitude stood on the shore . . . this was the then custom of the Jewish doctors and hearers, the one to sit, and the other to stand (Mat.5:1). Christ sat on the deck of the ship, or possibly this may have just been a small open boat.
Parable Of The Sower (Matthew 13:3-12)
Matthew 13:3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; (KJV)
And he spake many things unto them in parables . . . the word parable comes from a Greek word suggesting to compare together, and means a likeness taken from a natural object to illustrate a spiritual or moral subject. It is a story of a fictitious or real event, in order to illustrate more clearly some truth that the speaker wished to communicate. In early ages it was used a lot. In the time of Christ it was common. The prophets had used it, and Christ used it often in teaching His disciples. We should not expect that the stories were true . . . the main thing was the instilling of a spiritual truth. The design of speaking in parables was the following:
#1. To convey truth in a more interesting manner, by adding to the truth the interesting image or story.
#2. To teach spiritual truth to get the attention of ignorant people, making an appeal to them through the senses.
#3. To convey some offensive truth, or personal rebuke, in such a way as to reach the conscience. Of this kind was the parable which Nathan delivered to David (2 Sam.12:1-7), and many of the Saviour's parables addressed to the Jews.
#4. To conceal from part of His audience, truths which He intended others should understand. By this means, Jesus often delivered truths to His disciples in the presence of the Jews, which He knew the Jews would not understand . . . truths especially pertaining to them, and which He was under no obligations to explain to the Jews (Mk.4:33; Mat.13:13-16). Our Saviour's parables are set apart from all others for clearness, purity, chasteness, intelligibility, importance of instruction, and simplicity. They are taken as a rule from the affairs of common life and understandable to all men. They contain much of Himself, His doctrine, His life, His plan in coming again, and are therefore of great importance to all men. They are told in a style of native simplicity understandable to a child, yet instructive to men and women of every rank and age. In His parables, as in ALL His instructions, He highly excelled in all men in the purity, importance, and stimulation of His doctrine.
Behold, a sower went forth to sow . . . the Sower is the Son of Man (verse 37). The image here is taken from something known to all men, and therefore understandable to all. There cannot be a more striking illustration of preaching the Gospel, than placing the seed in the ground to spring up hereafter, and bear fruit. Sower is one who sows or scatters seed, a farmer. (Mk.4:3; Lk.8:5). Luke adds, "his seed", and Mark introduces the parable, "hearken, behold!" It is a matter of great importance and concern, which is expressed by this parable, it deserves the diligent attention. "The sower" is "the son of man", as may be learned from the explanation of another parable (verse 37), which is Christ Jesus Himself, the seed He sowed is called "His seed", meaning the Gospel, of which He is the Author, Publisher, Sum and Substance. He is by way of authority and excellence, called "the sower"; which must be understood of Him as a Prophet or Preacher of the Word, who was by divine authority sent by God. He was abundantly qualified for such an office, and was most diligent in it, and yet His success was small (Mat.7:13-14). Every minister of the Gospel may be called a sower, because they bear precious seed and sow spiritual things.
Matthew 13:4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: (KJV)
And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the wayside . . . meaning the hard ground that the plow had not touched, and where there was little or no chance for it to sink into the earth. The wayside symbolizes people with no understanding and do not want any.
And the fowls came and devoured them up . . . the other writers say, "the fowls of the air", and mean the devils, called so because their habitation is in the air; hence they are said to be "the power of the air" (Eph.2:2), and because of their greedy and devouring nature, their speed to do mischief, and their flocking in multitudes where the Word is preached. Satan and his cronies (fowls of the air) hinder the Gospel usefulness, just as fowls of the air do, where seed is being sown. Satan and his principalities and powers (Eph.6:12), roaming about in the air, come down on earth, and seek whom they may devour. BEWARE! They often mix themselves in religious gatherings, to do what mischief they can (Job 1:6-7). There is some difference in the terms used by Mark and Luke concerning this parable (Mk.4:3-8; Lk.8:4-8), but nothing contradicts Matthew..
Matthew 13:5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: (KJV)
Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth . . . barren, stony places, where it is not fit to plant anything, where there was little good soil, but was hard and rocky; so that the roots could not reach down into the earth for enough moisture to support the plant, and when the sun got hot, the tiny plant withered away. This symbolizes those who have little concern about their sin, and have low awakenings of the conscience, very little light, and uncertain ideas about the Word of God, in their understanding and opinions. There may be a brief flash of natural affection for it, and some outward expressions of delight and pleasure. Some even show signs of grace, and a form of godliness, but NOTHING real or sincere from the heart. Stony places symbolizes rocky ground with very little good soil, and no depth. These receive the Word at first warmly and emotionally, but when any persecution or tribulation comes their way, they back away from Jesus quickly.
And forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth . . . forthwith means immediately! They did not sprout and grow any quicker or faster than the others, but they were just quicker in reaching the surface . . . but having little root, they soon withered away. Some of these seeds fell upon such hearers, in whom the natural hardness of their hearts continues, and who remain unbroken by the Word (Ps.34:18; 51:17), and are without any true sense of sin, and repentance of it.
Matthew 13:6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. (KJV)
And when the sun was up . . . as the sun rises in the sky, its heat increases, and it beats down on the tiny plants with vehemence and force. This may mean stinging temptations or severe affliction; or the fiery trial of persecution and tribulation (verse 21). This is not to be understood of the glorious light of the Gospel, which although very comfortable and refreshing, as well as illuminating to good men, is very distressing and tormenting to carnal or unbelieving minds . . . for these cannot bear the Truths and doctrines of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The sun is a symbol for the fire which comes out of the mouth of God's faithful witnesses, and torments those who reject God’s plan of salvation (Jesus), that dwell on the Earth, and devours their enemies (Rev.11:5-10). The Truth, like the sun, has different effects on different things . . . just as the sun hardens clay, it melts wax, so too, the Gospel hardens some, and softens others. To one it is the joy and value of life unto eternal life, and to the other the smell and taste of death unto eternal death. It seems that those who they take up their profession of Christ in haste, are just as fast to drop it (Mat.13:21; Jam.1:11-12).
They were scorched, and because they had not root, they withered away . . . we must remember, the little plants are symbols of people. So, many are offended with what they meet up with, for the sake of Christ, and the confessing of His Word, for they are not rooted in Him, nor in the love of God. They are not rooted in the true grace of God, or as Luke says, "lacked moisture" (Lk.8:6), of divine grace, and of the waterings of it, and theses fall away finally and completely. This is NO instance of the apostasy of TRUE saints, or any proof of TRUE believers falling away finally and completely, because these are well rooted and grounded in the everlasting and unchangeable love of God! These could NOT be separated from God by tribulation, distress or persecution. NOTHING can separate TRUE believers from God (Rom.8:38-39).
Matthew 13:7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: (KJV)
And some fell among thorns . . . some of the seed sowed, fell on ground which was full of thorns and briars, which was not cleared as it should have be. Thorns symbolize the world, riches and material things that choke out the Word.
And the thorns sprung up . . . thorns come up on their own, naturally. They need not be sown or planted. And the thorns grew faster, and higher than the seed planted.
And choked them . . . the little seed plants came to nothing . . . hence the advice, "sow not among thorns" (Jer. 4:3). Thorns are a part of the Earth's curse for the sin of man (Gen.3:17), and so it is with such persons in whom thorny cares and immoral lusts reign, as they are like unto the Earth which bears thorns. They are rejected, and cursed, whose end is to be burned in everlasting flames of divine wrath and fury (Heb.6:8).
Matthew 13:8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. (KJV)
But others fell into good ground . . . not hardened by being trodden on by the feet of men, not stony, not thorny, but well broken up, fertilized and tilled. This symbolizes the good, sincere hearers who become so by the Spirit and grace of God. These have a spiritual understanding, and appreciate, enjoy and value what they hear (verse 23).
And brought forth fruit, some an hundred fold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold . . . some seeds produced a hundred, others sixty and others thirty times what was planted. The first of these especially was a large increase, but what was sometimes had, and which Isaac received in Gerar, in the land of the Philistines (Gen.26:12). I think in this parable, these various increases mean the different degrees of fruitfulness in gracious souls; for although the fruits of grace in believers, are of the same quality, yet not all are of the same quantity. Some believers are grown to a greater maturity than others; while some are but little children, some are young men, some are fathers (1 Jn.2:13-14).
Matthew 13:9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. (KJV)
Who hath ears to hear, let him hear . . . the Lord is saying “pay attention”. . . you have ears, use them, and not only externally, but internally. God has given us ears to hear and be aware of what He is saying. We should seriously consider and diligently focus on the use and importance of this parable. This way of speaking is used by Christ, when anything was said and not so easy to understand, to quicken the attention of His listeners, and stir up in them a desire to understand what He was saying.
Matthew 13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? (KJV)
And the disciples came, and said unto him . . . Luke says: His disciples asked him, saying, what might this parable be? (Lk.8:9) and Mark says: When he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. (Mk.4:10). It should seem that His twelve apostles understood His meaning, but others that were with them did not: and they therefore desire to know: #1. That they might understand the reason why He spoke in a multitude of dark sayings of parables, without plainly telling the meaning to them. #2. They own up to their own dullness of understanding, and confess that they themselves did not understand, and therefore they wanted Him to tell them the meaning of this parable. Not the twelve only, but others that were about Him, as Mark says, who also were His disciples, and believed in Him.
Why speakest thou unto them in parables? . . . this way of speaking was not new and surprising to them; but because it was not easily understood, especially not by the common people, without an explanation, which, as yet, Christ had not given. And the parable was not understood by the disciples themselves; who put this question, not only for the sake of the multitude, but for their sake too, hoping to be told the meaning of it.
Matthew 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. (KJV)
He answered, and said unto them . . . Mark 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: (KJV)
Because it is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. . .the word "mystery" in the Bible, means something that is "concealed," or that "has been concealed." It does not mean that the thing was "incomprehensible," or even hard to understand. The thing might be "plain" enough IF revealed, but it simply means that it "had" not been made known before. So . . . the "mysteries of the kingdom" do NOT mean that the doctrines were incomprehensible, but simply doctrines about the preaching of the Gospel and the establishment of the new Kingdom of the Messiah, which "had not" been understood, and which was as yet concealed from the great body of the Jews (Rom.11:25; 16:25; Eph.3:3-4,9). The Truth that the Gospel was to be preached to the Gentiles; the Jewish privilege was to cease; and that the Messiah was to die. To the apostles it was given to know these Truths. This was important for them, as they were to carry the Gospel around the globe. To the others it was not "then" given. They were too worldly; they had wrong conceptions of the Messiah's Kingdom to understand these Truths, if it could be communicated to them at all. The Pharisees, and Jews generally, were simply not prepared to receive the system, and would not have believed it, and therefore Jesus purposely brought forth a kind of teaching which was intended for His apostles only. To know and understand the great truths of the Gospel spiritually, is not from nature, or to be acquired by men's work, but is the GIFT of God's grace, flowing from His sovereign will and pleasure; a favor which the apostles of Christ, as a chosen people, receive from the Lord, and which is denied to others.
But to them it is not given . . . to the wise and prudent, to the Scribes and Pharisees, to the multitude, to the vast majority of the people, to these the Gospel was hidden. Mark calls them "them that are without" (Mk.4:11); who are not in the number of God's people; nor within the covenant of grace, nor among the disciples of Christ. This was a common way of speaking among the Jews, when they referred to the Gentiles; but Christ here calls those
Matthew 13:12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. (KJV)
For whosoever hath, to him shall be given . . . whosoever has the true grace of God implanted within him, has the saving knowledge of Christ, and a spiritual association with the doctrines of the Gospel, and shall have more grace given to him, so that he can grow in the knowledge of Christ, and the Spirit of Truth shall guide him into all truth (Jn.16:13).
And he shall have more abundance . . . because the Holy Spirit abides in all TRUE believers (Rom.8:9), He produces abundant grace, light and knowledge, and all grace shall be made to abound towards him. These shall be filled with all the fullness of God (Eph.3:19), and shall arrive to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph.4:13), and His light shall shine more and more abundantly to the perfect day.
But whosoever hath not . . . means lacking the Truth of God’s amazing grace, a spiritual knowledge of Christ, and any experience of the doctrines of the Gospel.
From him shall be taken away, even that he hath . . . (Mat.25:29; Mk.4:24-25; Lk. 8:18; 9:26; 19:24-26). I think this states it pretty well. Luke 8:18 Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have. (KJV) . . . From him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have! Everything except the TRUE grace of God, is a mere a show, a put on! If a person does not have Jesus in their heart and life, they have nothing that will last, and eventually, all that they have (or think they have), shall be taken away.
Matthew 13:13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. (KJV)
Therefore speak I to them in parables . . . neither Mark or Luke has this, but it directly follows from what they have, which also follows here; only here it is plainly declared concerning these hearers, and given as a reason why our Lord spoke to them in parables. We shall in the explanation of the following words see in what sense it is said, This people seeing, saw not, and hearing, heard not. Because it was the will and pleasure of His Father to give the knowledge of divine mysteries to some, and not to others; and because even the outward good things they had, being wrongly used or abused by them, would be taken away from them.
And because they seeing, see not . . . they saw Christ with their physical eyes, but NOT with an eye of faith. They saw the miracles that He did, but did NOT recognize the evidence of them, which proved that He was the true Messiah.
And hearing, they hear not, neither do they understand . . . they heard externally, but NOT internally. They heard the sound of Christ's voice, but did NOT understand His Words, even when He spoke in the plainest and most logical manner. Neither were they interested to know the meaning of His Words, as a result He spoke to them in this obscure and parabolic way, that they might be what they really were, seers that could not see, hearers that could not hear, that what He said would remain sealed and hidden to them, as the things contained in the sealed book (Dan.12:4) were to the Jews of old.
Matthew 13:14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: (KJV)
And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias . . . Isaiah 6:9-10 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.  Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. (KJV)
Which saith . . . may be read as follows . . .
By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand, and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive . . . the words are a prophecy concerning the Jews, which began to be accomplished in the times of Isaiah; and were again fulfilled in the times of some of the prophets (Isa.6:9-10; Eze.12:2), and had been in part fulfilled under the ministry of Christ (Mk.4:12; Lk.8:10; Jn.12:39-40), and was to have a further accomplishment under this parabolical (obscure, unclear) way of preaching under the ministry of the apostles (Acts 28:26-27; Rom.11:8-9). The judicial blindness here predicted was to go on among them, until the land of Judea was utterly destroyed by the Romans, and their cities and houses were left without any inhabitants. All of this came to pass, for that this prophecy refers to the times of the Messiah and to the Jews, is clear from this one observation made by Christ Himself, that Isaiah foretold those things when he saw the glory of the Messiah, and spoke of Him (Jn.12:40-41), and because it was to have, and had, its fulfillment over and over again in the Jews.
Matthew 13:15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. (KJV)
For this people's heart is waxed gross . . . their hearts grew fat and stupid, without understanding, and incapable of taking in the true sense and meaning of what they saw with their eyes, and heard with their ears. Their outward senses of hearing and seeing, and their logical powers were bewildered.
And their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed . . . this expresses their spiritual blindness and their hardness of hearts, brought upon themselves by their own inflexibility and stubbornness against the clear evidence that came from the doctrine of the Gospel and miracles of Christ. God waits so long and then He brings down His righteous judgment, giving them up, for their perverseness, to judicial blindness and pig-headedness (Jn.12:40). Gave them up: (Ps.81:12; Rom.1:24,26,28).
Lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart . . . this may be understood either of God's intention in giving them up to blindness and hardness of heart, because of Jesus’ miracles and His ministry, as a punishment for their willful contempt of them . . . that they might never have any true sight, hearing and understanding of these things, and be turned from the evil of their ways, have repentance unto life, and remission of sins; which seems to be the sense of the other writers (Mk.4:12; Lk.8:10, Jn.12:40) . . . OR . . . that these people knowingly stopped their ears, and pulled away the shoulder (Zec.7:11), and willfully shut their eyes . . . afraid they might receive some conviction, light and knowledge,
And be converted . . . by the power and grace of God.
And I should heal them . . . or as Mark says, "and their sins should be forgiven them". The healing of diseases and forgiveness of sins, are the same thing, many times in Scripture.
These words of the prophet Isaiah are found several times in the New Testament, besides by Matthew in these verses, and are applied to the Jews. Isaiah 6:9-10 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.  Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. (KJV) . . . This is quoted in Mk.4:12 and Lk.8:10, where the sense of the words is quoted more shortly; and in Jn.12:40 and Rom.11:8-10 more largely, yet with some of phrase from that of the prophet. But by all of them, it appears either that God spoke those words to the prophet, as well with reference to those Jews that were to live in the time of Christ, as to those Jews who were living when Isaiah prophesied; or at least, that the words were as true of these Jews as they were of those, so the prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled in them. Matthew seems to speak of the more close cause; Isaiah, Luke, John and Paul of the higher but more remote cause. Matthew speaks of their sinful act preceding, while John, Luke, Paul and Isaiah, of the judicial act of God, resulting from their sinful act. God first sent them Moses and the prophets, by whom they might have seen and known His will . . . but they would NOT see, NOT hear, NOT understand, NOT repent and NOT change, and NOT be healed. God finally left them to be condemned by their own mind. It is the same today. God will tolerate willful sin just so long and then he will turn His back on those people. A person CANNOT reject God and knowingly keep on in sin, and get away with it. BEWARE!!!
Matthew 13:16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. (KJV)
But blessed are your eyes, for they see . . . (Lk.10:23). He is speaking to the apostles. This is to be understood both of physical and spiritual sight. It must have been great happiness to see Christ in the flesh, and hear Him speak in Person, be eyewitnesses of His awesome majesty, and see with their own eyes the miracles that He performed, the confirmation and verification of those doctrines of the Gospel that they were to publish to all the world. But it was much greater happiness, that they saw His glory, as the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. BUT, there were many that saw Him in the flesh with their physical eyes, but saw NO beauty, NO magnetism in Him, saw NOTHING likable and desirable in Him. There are multitudes today that have this same problem! People must SEE (with their spiritual eyes), His personal and inspiring glories, must SEE Him as the Son of God, must SEE His extensiveness as Mediator, must SEE His being the right and proper One and Only Saviour and Redeemer of mankind, and must SEE that He IS the Messiah (Christ); and must believe and be sure that He IS the Christ, the Son of the living God that can save your soul.
And your ears, for they hear . . . this also must be understood of physical and spiritual hearing. The apostles and multitudes of Jews heard the words of Truth from the lips of that Great Prophet that Moses said should rise up among them, like unto him (Deut.18:15), whom they should hear. Many heard, with their own ears, a voice from Heaven, declaring Him to be the beloved Son of God, in whom He was well pleased (Mat.3:17; Mk.1:11; Lk.3:22). The apostles heard the Gospel preached by Him, not only heard it but also understood it spiritually, and they brought forth much fruit of it; signified by the good ground in the parable Christ had just delivered. BUT again, there were multitudes that heard the Lord speak the doctrines of the Gospel with their physical ears, but did NOT understand spiritually. And it is so today. Multitudes go to church; they hear the Gospel, but it just does NOT sink in! They do not hear it spiritually!
Matthew 13:17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. (KJV)
For verily I say unto you . . . this is added for the further confirmation of what is before said, concerning the happiness of the apostles, in seeing and hearing what they did.
That many prophets, and righteous men . . . (Lk.10:23-24). Luke says "kings".
Have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them, and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them . . . to see Christ Jesus in the flesh, and have a clearer understanding into the knowledge of the mysteries of grace, were things very desirable to men of the best characters, such as Abraham (Jn.8:56), Jacob (Gen.49:18), David (Ps.14:7), Solomon (Song 8:1), and Isaiah (Isa.25:9). All these SAW Christ Jesus spiritually, but at a distance. They saw Him afar off in the Promises and prophecies of Him; and even then, not very clearly, but through dark types and cloudy sacrifices; while the apostles saw Him in Person, heard Him preach, took in all the evidence of His miracles, and felt the power of His doctrines . . . and they spiritually understood them.
Matthew 13:18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. (KJV)
Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower . . . remember that the Lord is speaking to the apostles alone (verse 10). Jesus gave them the interpretation of the parable; for they wanted an explanation of it; which, although not mentioned by Matthew, is, by the other writers (Mk.4:10; Lk.8:9), and since it was given to them to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven, therefore the Lord Jesus calls upon them to listen and hear, so they might understand the spiritual meaning of this parable. Mark 4:13 And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? (KJV) . . . Do ye not understand the meaning of it? It seems that He rebukes them for their dullness of hearing, in spite of the grace given to them, and the advantages they enjoyed. He tells them that if they do not pay attention, they would not understand all that He had spoken so far, or would speak after this, which would be more difficult to interpret, and not so easy to be understood as this one.
Matthew 13:19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. (KJV)
When anyone heareth the word of the kingdom . . . this makes it perfectly clear! The “seed” (verses 3-4) in the parable of the sower is the Gospel! Now Jesus says that the hearers of this Word is here described. Anyone, who hears it by chance and externally only; hears the sound of it with his ears . . . BUT does not understand!
And understandeth it not . . . these hear it externally with their physical ears, but NOT internally with their heart. These hearers are careless and lack concentration, negligent and forgetful; has some small idea of things he hears, but these pass away quickly. His affections are not touched, neither is his opinion informed by the Words, but remains as dense and unconcerned as ever. The Words go in one ear and out the other! His heart is not opened to receive the Word, but continues hard and stubborn . . . just like the common wayside, packed down down by everyone that walks on that road, so hardened that it is not inclined to receive the seed that falls upon it.
Then cometh the wicked one . . . since the seed does not penetrate the hard, packed soil, it gives the devil a huge chance to pluck it away (Mk.4:15; Lk.8:12). Satan, the devil is entirely wicked, and not likely to change, except for the worse. The wicked one . . . is an evil spirit, one of multitudes of the evil spirits of Satan. Just as soon as he detects one hearing the Word, and not taking it into the heart, comes immediately, as he is hearing, and
Catcheth away that which is sown in his heart: . . . this is absolutely NOT the grace of God, because once implanted in the heart, can NEVER be taken away by Satan! This refers to the Word which was sown, NOT in his understanding, in a spiritual sense, NOT in his affections, so as to love it, delight, and take pleasure in it; and especially NOT in his heart, so it would become the engrafted Word which is able to save, BUT in his memory, and that just very slightly. The Word only fell "upon", NOT "into" his heart, as into the good ground, and it made no impression, nor was it inwardly received, but as soon as the seed dropped, it was "caught" away by the enemy. The heart sometimes means the memory (Lk.2:51).
This is he which receiveth the seed by the way side . . . this “hearer” is compared to hard, packed ground, on whom the Word has no more effect, than seed sown upon a common beaten path.
Matthew 13:20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; (KJV)
But he that receiveth the seed into stony places . . . this “hearer” is different. He is not a spur of the moment hearer. This one is a settled regular hearer of it; not one that is careless and lacking concentration, negligent and forgetful, but is careful and attentive, and has some understanding of what he hears.
The same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it . . . these hear and receive the Word, and they make a profession of their faith in it. They hold it for a while, having some confidence of the Truth of it: and having some tentative ideas of it. They have some sparks of natural affection for it, and deliver some outward expressions of pleasure and delight in it, but have no heart to work, so the natural hardness of his heart continues, and it remains unbroken by the Word, without any true sense of sin, and no repentance for it. These are destitute of a deep, spiritual life and true faith, love, and joy: and so, because their profession was taken up in such haste, immediately, upon a spark of affection, it does not last long, nor does it prove honorable.
Matthew 13:21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. (KJV)
Yet hath he not root in himself . . . the Word is NOT rooted in him, nor has he the truth of grace in him.
But dureth for a while . . . a hearer of the Word, a professor of religion (I’m a Christian), and showing some outward respect to the Word and to the preachers of it:
For when tribulation or persecution ariseth, because of the word . . . stony places is rocky ground with very little soil and no depth. These at first receive the Word very warmly and emotionally, but the minute persecution or tribulation comes, they back off from Jesus. Persecution often comes to TRUE Christians, and must be expected by those who embrace the Gospel, profess the Name of Christ, and are willing to trust and obey Him, and live godly in Him. Tribulation may mean some lesser and lighter troubles for the sake of Christ, and his Gospel, such as the reviling and reproach of men. Luke calls this a time "of temptation", or trial, as it is either way, both by private troubles, and more public persecutions (Lk.8:13). These try men's beliefs, professions and values, and prove whether the truth of God’s grace is in them or not . . . and where it is not in any person,
By and by he is offended . . . by Christ Jesus (Mat.11:6; 13:57;26:31; Mk.6:3; Lk.7:23); by His cross (Mk.14:27; Jn.11:25; Acts 4:2), by His demands of obedience (Mat.10:32-40; 22:36-40; Jn.14:15; 15:14). If a person is offended by Jesus and His cross, shrinking back from it, refusing to take it up, refusing to follow Christ; and abandons his religion, and the profession of it; this person apostatizes, falls away, and they shall NOT see the Kingdom of God! http://www.judgmentcoming.org/j_c_apostate_world.htm
Matthew 13:22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. (KJV)
He also that receiveth seed among the thorns . . . thorns represents worldly riches and material things that choke out the seed (Word). This hearer is similar to the thorny ground, on which the seed fell.
Is he that heareth the word . . . not a wicked sinner, nor one who despises and condemns religion, not a persecutor of the saints; but someone that not only shows a love for the Word, but who seems to have his mind renewed by it (Rom.12:2). His conscience seems tender, and his life outwardly reformed. This hearer seems settled, diligent, understanding and affectionate, a believing receiver and professor of it. He seems to have a thorough work of God’s grace upon him, seems to have the fallow ground of his heart plowed up, seems to be truly contrite. The thorns are not yet to be seen, but afterwards appear:
And the care of this world . . . thorns represent the cares, anxieties, and the deceitful lure of riches. The lust for riches can affect anyone! It is the way in where there is a chaotic desire to be rich, deceives people. This takes away the time and attention that should be paid to the Word, and does NOT leave the chance to examine the state of the soul. My friend, riches attract and promise what they CANNOT give! They promise to make us happy; but, when gained, happiness does NOT come. The soul is not satisfied. There is just the repeated desire to possess more and more wealth. BEWARE . . . to this there is no end "but death." Proverbs 11:4 Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death. (KJV) . . . The devil presents every temptation to make a person dishonest, to cheat, to take advantage of others, to oppress others, and to squeeze the little earnings from the poor. Every evil passion is treasured as the love of gain. It is only common sense that the Word is choked, and every good feeling destroyed, by this "disgusting love of gold." 1 Tim. 6:7-12 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.  But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.  For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. (KJV) . . . How many foolishly drown themselves in destruction and perdition! How many more might reach Heaven, if it were not for this deep-seated love of riches, that fills the mind, deceives the soul, and finally leaves it naked, and guilty, and lost!
And the deceitfulness of riches . . . worldly riches are in total opposition to the riches of God’s grace and glory, where there is NO deceit. Worldly riches deceive and mislead, leading persons out of the right way (God's way) . . . and causes them to err from the faith. They do NOT give permanent satisfaction, but are as thorns, sharp to the owners of them, who pierce themselves through with many sorrows in getting and keeping them. Mark adds, "and the lusts of other things" (Mk.4:19), and Luke adds, and "pleasures of this life" (Lk.8:14); meaning many other worldly lusts and pleasures, such as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 Jn.2:16), which too, like thorns, distract and afflict sooner or later. They are vain, unprofitable and lead to destruction (Mat.7:13). Now these, all and each of them,
Choke the word . . . just as thorns do a field; by growing higher and fuller than the good seed's little plant, and by hiding it from the sun. So too do worldly riches hide the Word from the Sun of Righteousness (Mal.4:2), and rain of grace (2 Cor.4:15; Jam.4:6); and by attracting everything in the heart and mind to themselves.
And he becometh unfruitful . . . if there be any show of fruit in outward respect to the Word, in a past faith of it, in an external profession, and an outward improvement, "yet brings not fruit to perfection" (Lk.8:14) as Luke says. Any of these fruits in the process of time shrivel up, wither away and end up being nothing.
Matthew 13:23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (KJV)
But he that received seed into the good ground . . . the hearer compared to good ground where the seed fell, is the person that hears the Word, believes and receives it and understands it. These have a new and spiritual understanding given to him, feels the power of it on his heart that enlightens and quickens him. These have an application of grace made to him by the Spirit of God, and can discern the worth and excellence of it, and can distinguish the Truth of it from all others; and, as Mark says, "receives it"; as the Word of God in faith, and with the love of it, and with all readiness and meekness; and, as Luke states, "keeps it"; holds it fast against all opposition and will not part with it in any way, nor depart from it in any way. These do NOT have any doubt about it; but abides by it, stands fast in it, and is bold for it (Pro.28:1); and this he does with "an honest and good heart" (Lk.8:15); which NO man has naturally; and NO man can make his heart so. This is done only by the work of God, and is because of His efficacious grace. A heart of flesh is made into a new and right heart and spirit, and this heart fears God, loves Him, and trusts Him in all things. This new heart is where Christ dwells and where the Spirit of God has His temple (1 Cor.3:16-17), and where the grace of God is implanted. These hear with a firm and honest intention, and in the exercise of God’s grace, and these hold fast the Word that he hears, believes, receives and understands with faith and sincerity.
Which also beareth fruit and bringeth forth, some an hundred fold, some sixty, and some thirty . . . no two people are alike; the fruit each TRUE believer bears differs . . . BUT, with certainty, a TRUE child of God will bear spiritual fruit! (Ps.1:3; Jer.17:8; Jn.15:2,5; Rom.6:22; Heb.12:11; Gal.5:22-23; Eph.5:9; Phil.1:11; 4:17; Col.1:6; Jam.3:17). The fruit these bear is the true fruit of grace and righteousness, and is ALL from Christ, under the influences of the Holy Spirit (Gal.5:22-26). This fruit issue forth from the glory of God; and although not brought forth in the same quantity in all, it is of the same quality. This fruit is brought forth, as Luke says, "with patience" (Lk.8:15); continuously and constantly, in all seasons, in old age, unto our death. The good ground symbolizes those who hear the Word, receive it, understand it, and bear fruit. This parable tells us that only one-fourth of the sown seed ever got into good ground. The other three-fourths never did produce anything because those who heard the Word did NOT respond to it. In other words, they were NOT saved. I honestly do not think the percentage is that high. I think it would be closer to one out of ten, if that. Look around! What do you see? With all the tornadoes and acts of violence and terror that has recently taken place, how often do you see just anyone thank God that they were spared? VERY seldom! This is just my opinion.
Now we see another feature of the Kingdom of Heaven in the world today. This is a picture of a Man who sowed good seed in His field . . .
The Parable Of The Tares (Matthew 13:24-30)
Matthew 13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: (KJV)
Another parable put he forth unto them, saying . . . this is similar to the parable of the Sower, but from a different viewpoint. The former one shows the different kinds of hearers that go to the ministry of the Word . . . three out of four being bad (Mat.7:13-14). This shows how different the members in churches are. Some are compared to good seed, while others to tares (weeds).
The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field . . . again, the Man (or Sower) is Jesus (verse 37). The kingdom of heaven does not mean the ultimate glory of the saints in Heaven, or the state of never ending happiness in the other world . . . because there, there will be no tares, no Gospel, no administering of it, but instead means the Gospel dispensation and times, and Kingdom of the Messiah, meaning the visible church condition on Earth, called a "Kingdom", of which Christ is King! In this Kingdom, all TRUE saints are subject to Him; where laws are made to govern it, and officers appointed to explain and to carry out those laws. The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one.
Matthew 13:25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. (KJV)
But while men slept, his enemy came . . . the enemy is the devil. This, many times, refers to good men, pastors and churches; who fall asleep (spiritually). This sleepiness stems from not exercising the grace of God, being lazy and sluggish in their duty; being content with just the external exercises of religion, with no heart-felt love for Jesus; being lukewarm (Rev.3:16) about the cause of Christ; being unconcerned about their sins (of both omission and commission); and being willing to continue in this condition. There are MANY churches in this state in today’s world! How can this be fixed? Consider the sin in your life and repent; turn away from worldly cares, and back to Jesus; quit being lazy in your spiritual duties; get back on track with spiritual exercises (prayer, reading the Bible every day); start keeping company with TRUE Christians, and consider that the Lord Jesus could return at any time (1 Thes.4:13-18).
And sowed tares among the wheat . . . the wheat is the "good seed" which are the children of God (1 Jn.3:10), the TRUE believers in Christ, TRUE Christians. These are compared to wheat, for it is the choicest grain, so they are the chosen of God (1 Cor.1:27-28). The devil is NOT happy with this, so he comes and sows tares (the devil’s children and their false doctrine), among the good wheat (God’s children).
And went his way . . . somewhere else, to do more deadly harm, having done all he could here, not being noticed of by the pastors and churches, for they all were sound asleep as to what was going on, for they had lost, in a great measure, the spirit of discerning. Tares can rightly be expressed false professors, nominal Christians, men of degenerate principles and practices who are under the control of Satan.
Matthew 13:26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. (KJV)
But when the blade was sprung up . . . when the wheat came up, meaning a profession of Christ on the principles of God’s grace, it springs up from and proceeds upon a work started in the heart. Such a profession should be made by ALL who partake of the grace of God; and should be made by a confession of the mouth (Rom.10:9), and too declaring of the work of God upon the heart by deeds performed, and should be sincere, and from the heart, and be seen by men, and be held fast unto the end without wavering (Heb.10:23).
And brought forth fruit . . . this does not mean the conversion of sinners, nor performance of duties, but the first appearance of grace under their profession: a Godly sorrow for sin, fear and reverence of God (Ps.33:8; 34:9; Mat.10:28), a great humility and self-denial, passionate love for Christ, and fellowship with Him and concern to honor and glorify Him.
Then appeared the tares also . . . when wheat and tares first begin to grow, it is hard to tell them apart. Many cults also sound very good at first. It is hard to tell that they are NOT good! Some people listen to a pastor and say that he preaches the Gospel. He may preach the Gospel every now and then, BUT . . . it is the other things that he says that are in error and could hurt your soul. These pastors are sowing tares among the wheat. These pastors always appear to be what they are to God, the searcher of hearts (Ps.44:21), but to the good seed, the tares fool them all too often IF they are not on guard.
Matthew 13:27 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? (KJV)
So the servants of the householder came . . . we now see that the Sower knew exactly who was responsible for the tares. Christ is the householder; the house of which He is Master is the church, the household of faith on Earth. The servants are not civil magistrates, who have nothing to do in the affairs of churches; nor the angels, although these are the ministering servants to Christ (Mat.4:11; 18:10), and will be employed by Him in the close of this age, to gather up the tares, bind them in bundles, and cast them into the fire (Mat.13:30). These servants are the ministers of the Gospel, the servants of Christ and of the most high God, who help in planting, sowing and weeding His field (the church). These servants see the tares, and feared the danger the wheat was in by them.
Said unto him, Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? From whence then hath it tares? . . . the servants calling Him Sir, or Lord, expresses their reverence for Him, and their obedience to Him. This is said, not only in word, but from honest and sincere hearts, and under the influence of the Spirit of God. The field is the church, the good seed is converts that sprung up in it. They are sure that nothing but good could come from Christ; NO bad seed, NO tares could be of His sowing: and declare their ignorance of where the tares came from. My friend, their ignorance was due to their being asleep, when the enemy sowed them. We must NEVER fall asleep spiritually!
Matthew 13:28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? (KJV)
He said unto them, an enemy has done this . . . the answer the Householder gave to His servants. This signifies a certain enemy, and one that is a relentless enemy to man, the devil!
The servants said unto him, wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? . . . this expresses the concern of good and true pastors, for the true members of the church (symbolic of the wheat), lest they should be hurt by the bad examples, and destructive and harmful principles of evil men among them. God’s TRUE children should detest and hate people of wickedness and wrong principles.
Matthew 13:29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. (KJV)
But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them . . . not that men of openly scandalous lives are to be tolerated in churches; they are to be withdrawn from, and put away. But in today’s churches, putting someone out of the church is unheard of! I saw it once in all my many years. A woman was openly committing adultery and still coming to church. The church tried to get her to stop, she would not stop. So they cast her from the church. The meaning of the parable, is to show that a pure and perfect church cannot be in the present state of the world. It means that saints should not be uneasy, but patiently bear, until Christ's time is come to relieve them, when the tares and chaff shall be separated from the wheat (Mat.3:12; 13:30); when sinners shall NOT stand in the congregation of the righteous (Ps.1:5), and there shall be no more prickly briars, nor grieving thorns in the house of Israel (Eze.28:24) or any where else!
Matthew 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. (KJV)
Let both grow together until the harvest . . . the harvest is the end of the age. The reapers are the angels of God. Jesus does not say so here, but the barn is Heaven (common sense). Believers and unbelievers shall live together until the end of the age when judgment shall come to all, and ALL shall be judged exactly as they deserve. http://www.judgmentcoming.org/j_c_judgment_coming.htm
The harvest time is a time of speedy work, and so it will it be in the end of the world, especially with the angels, who will be gathering the elect from the four winds (Mat.24:31), and all men, to appear before the judgment seat of Christ; and as at harvest the wheat is cut down, the fields cleared, and all brought home, so it will be at the end of the age; the sickle will be thrust in, and the Earth reaped, the tares bound in bundles, and cast into the fire, and the wheat gathered into the garner; and just as the harvest, as it falls out to be good or bad, is matter of joy or sorrow, so will the end of the age be joy to saints, who will then enter into the joy of their Lord, and be for ever with Him, and sorrow to the wicked, who will then go into everlasting punishment. Until this time, wheat and tares are to "grow" together.
And in the time of harvest, I will say to the reapers . . . the reapers are the angels of God (verse 39).
Gather ye together first the tares . . . meaning false professors, false teachers, false preachers, hypocrites, heretics, the wicked; whom He will have removed out of His Kingdom, His church and His field. This command shows, that the angels will have a perfect and precise knowledge of who these persons are, and they will not be fooled by smooth talking words from the devil’s children (Acts 13:10). Their work will be to separate the wicked from the righteous. Tares are false professors, false teachers, unbelievers, cults . . . that are close to Christianity as to fool (if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect Mat.24:24). Tares do NOT accept the TRUE Gospel of Christ, but instead the gospel of Satan. These pose as true Christians, and they actually believe that they are right. Satan can really deceive a person. BEWARE!!!
And bind them in bundles to burn them . . . this shows the power of angels over these persons, the certainty of their ruin, their association together, and their destruction in company with one another. Their misery is expressed by "burning" with fire; not physically but symbolically. My friend, God is a consuming fire (Heb.12:29), and His wrath shall be a consuming fire, everlasting and unquenchable (Mat.3:12).
But gather the wheat into my barn . . . meaning Heaven, which is a garner or storehouse, in which none but wheat is put, and where it is safe, and where none but righteous, pure, and undefiled persons, are admitted. HOW does a person get righteous, pure, and undefiled? Only by the Blood of Jesus (1 Pet.1:18-19). The gathering of the saints into Heaven by God’s angels, will make their happiness perfect and complete. SO . . . believers and unbelievers shall live together until the end of the age when judgment shall come to all, and ALL shall be judged exactly as they deserve, by the One and Only Righteous Judge of ALL mankind. http://www.judgmentcoming.org/j_c_judgment_coming.htm
The Parable Of The Mustard Seed (Matthew 13:31-32)
How Small Is a Mustard Seed? It certainly is small, but the naked eye can tell that there are smaller seeds, like the poppy seed. A mustard seed is several times the size of a poppy seed. So . . . why did Jesus say in Mark, that it is "the smallest of seeds"? Mark 4:31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: 32 But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it. (KJV)
The Lord Jesus is NOT giving us a lesson in plants and gardening, but instead making a natural comparison to the Kingdom of God. Jesus is pointing out something as an illustration; He is not trying to give an absolute truth. Holding Jesus responsible for something He had no intention of teaching or implying, shows the inability of the accuser to understand, and it is NOT a failure of Jesus or the Gospel writers. The mustard seed is smaller than any other the Jews commonly planted. I think it is possible that the focus of Jesus' saying this is to make a contrast between the smallness of the seed planted and the size of the resulting plant. It does not grow into a thin grass or weak-stemmed flower, unable to support the weight of anything more than insects, but into a sturdy plant maybe three feet high with stems strong enough to support small birds. The Kingdom of Heaven is like that, beginning with Jesus and His small group of followers, barely noticeable in the towns and cities of Palestine, let alone the Roman Empire . . . yet, He predicts, that Kingdom will grow until it becomes something very large and strong.
What was this supposed to mean for the listeners? The smallness of the heart of the Kingdom of Heaven was very easy to ignore. Yet this Kingdom is NOT going to go away. It will become something increasingly large and strong. Birds are sometimes used in that symbolic way in rabbinic teaching. Jesus is NOT something for the people to ignore. Now is the time for decision, for you do not know what tomorrow will bring. Your time on Earth may be up by tomorrow.
Matthew 13:31 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: (KJV)
Another parable put he forth unto them, saying . . . as the former parable sets forth the condition of the Gospel church state until the end of the world; this expresses the small beginnings of it, and the large increase and growth of it, and its great usefulness to the saints.
The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field . . . "the kingdom of heaven" means, as before, the Gospel dispensation, or the Gospel church condition, and the ministry of the Word, and the administration of ordinances in it (see Mat.3:2). A grain of mustard seed . . . seems to me to be the Kingdom of Heaven. The “Man” is still Jesus, He took and sowed it in His field (world, the church). The emphasis, in this parable, is placed on the smallness of the seed and the greatness of its resulting growth. We must remember this as points of importance and likeness. The Kingdom of Heaven, like the seed, was very small in its beginning on the day of Pentecost, but afterward it became a very great kingdom. This parable is prophetic, and is still in the process of fulfillment.
The mustard tree is a very unlikely symbol of the church or of individual Christians. Normally, fruit-bearing trees are used to represent believers. Mustard is an herb, a condiment, something used to enhance the flavor of food, and has no food value. The mustard seed does not grow into a mighty oak like the little acorn does. Mustard seed normally produces a shrub, not a tree.
This little seed, which should have become an herb, must have received a huge portion of fertilizer and became a tree so big that birds could roost in it. I think that this parable reveals the outward growth of Christendom, just as the parable of the leaven speaks of the internal condition of Christendom. The church has NOT converted the world, nor will it, but it does have a large influence on the world. Any place that Christianity has gone can be called Christendom.
Matthew 13:32 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. (KJV)
Which indeed is the least of all seeds. . . not that there are seeds lesser than this; but it seems that the meaning is, that this is one of the least of all seeds that were commonly known in Judea; and too, this very least seed which grew to a very large size shrub. A grain of mustard seed is often used, proverbially, for the least thing, as it is by Christ (Mat.17:20; Mk.17:6). The grace of God, in the ministry of the Word is implanted in the hearts of the Lord's people, is at first very small, like a grain of mustard seed. Faith in Christ is very weak when a person accepts the Lord Jesus, but increases with sincere prayer (Lk.17:5); spiritual strength is small, comforts little at first, but grows and comforts much before long, and the love of God does not seem large at first, but indeed grows and is felt within; light and knowledge in the doctrines of grace are slim and very obscure at first, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, become bright and understandable; fruit of the Spirit is small at first, but the Holy Spirit produces more and more with each passing day (Gal.5:22-26).
But when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree . . . Luke says, "a great tree" (Lk.13:19). Although this mustard tree grew to this height and size, it was considered an herb, not a tree, as stated here by Christ.
So that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof . . . the birds of the air have been interpreted by Jesus (Verse 19). These birds are the devil and his children. This parable reveals the outward growth of Christendom, while the parable of the leaven speaks of the internal condition of Christendom. My friend, the church has not, and will not convert the world, but it does have had a huge influence on the world. Any where that Christianity has gone can be called Christendom.
This parable reveals the outward growth of the organized church. The church and the world have become terribly mixed. There has been real integration between man in the church and man in the world. They live and act very much in the same way in our day. The Christian should be salt in the world, NOT sugar!
"The birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof." Birds do not mean different denominations. That is a dire contradiction of our Lord's own interpretation of the birds in the first parable. My friend, the birds in the parables of this discourse do NOT speak of anything good, but instead, represent the evil of the devil. The birds are the ones that took the seed which fell by the wayside (verses 3,19). The Lord Jesus said that they represent the enemy who is Satan. This tiny mustard seed, grew into an unnaturally large tree. This does NOT represent TRUE Christianity, but rather FALSE Christendom, that profess the Name of Christ Jesus . . . BUT . . . which Jesus? (2 Cor.11:4). And they teach another gospel (Gal.1:6-7). These PROFESS the Name of Christ, but have NEITHER Christ Jesus or the Holy Spirit (Rom.8:9). Birds are the children of the devil (1 Jn.3:10), finding refuge in the church originally started by the Lord Jesus (Rev.18:2). Christendom today is a mustard tree filled with a lot of dirty birds! . . . . . . "The birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof" . . . we can be sure that the birds in the parables of this discourse do absolutely do NOT speak of anything good, but instead, represent evil, sin and wickedness. The birds are the ones that took the seed which fell by the wayside (verse 4). Our Lord said that they represent the enemy who is Satan. My dear friend, I think that Christendom today is a mustard tree filled with a lot of dirty birds! I think that this parable reveals the outward growth of the so-called Christian church in the Kingdom of Heaven. I say "so-called" because there are millions who PROFESS they are "Christians" but in fact, they are hypocrites, because they do not POSSESS Christ in their heart. The church and the world have become all horribly mixed up together. The church and worldly mankind have become incorporated, acting very much the same in most of the world. The TRUE Christian should be salt (Mat.5:13) in the world, not mustard!
Just because a person PROFESSES to be a "Christian," or PROFESSES to trust the Lord, or PROFESSES to make a "commitment" to the Lord . . . does NOT mean they are sincere. IF a person does not POSSESS Christ in their heart . . . and only God knows that Truth . . . they are a HYPOCRITE! (Matthew 23). Jesus pronounces '14' WOES on hypocrites there. Please do NOT be a hypocrite.
There are millions of Hell-bound souls who CLAIM to be born again and trust Christ. For instance, there are so many Catholics, who do not completely trust Christ, and Christ ALONE. They also trust Mary, their priests, baptism, religion, works, and their sacraments to save them. So a big question arises: "Can a person who refuses to believe in eternal security be saved? Or is it unbelief in the Bible?" Again, quoting Darien: "You either believe the Bible or you don't." SO TRUE! http://www.hisservants.org/a_1_hypocrisy_runs_wild.htm
The Parable Of The Leaven (Matthew 13:33-43)
Matthew 13:33 Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. (KJV)
Another parable spake he unto them . . . to the apostles and the multitude. This parable was of the same kind, for the same purpose, and involving to the same subject as the former; the spread of the Gospel, and the increase of it in the world.
The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven . . . what does the leaven represent? There are some who say that here it means good, and it symbolizes the Gospel of Christ. I strongly disagree. NO where in the Bible is leaven used as a standard of good; it is always a standard of evil. The word leaven occurs about 100 times in the Bible . . . and it is always used in a bad or evil sense. The rabbinical writers often used leaven as a symbol of evil. In the Old Testament it was forbidden to be used in the offerings made to God. In the New Testament our Lord warned to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees (Mat.16:6). The apostle Paul spoke of the leaven of malice and wickedness (1 Cor.5:8). Symbolism in the Bible never contradicts itself, so we may be sure that leaven used here is NOT good. Leaven is absolutely NOT the TRUE Gospel of Christ Jesus. Leaven is evil: (Mat.13:33; 16:6,11,12; Mk.8:15; Lk.12:1; 13:21; 1 Cor.5:6-8; Gal.5:9). I believe that the leaven was “a” gospel, but it is “another gospel”, the FALSE gospel of the devil, or a perversion of the TRUE Gospel of Christ!. Galatians 1:6-7 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. (KJV) And when anyone of these profess Christ Jesus, they are professing “another Jesus”. 2 Cor. 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (KJV) . . . There are many of these “another Jesus’”; the Catholics have theirs, the Mormons have theirs, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have theirs, etc, etc. IF you are not believing, accepting and professing the JESUS of the Bible, you are professing “another Jesus"!
Which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal . . . this “leaven” hidden is absolutely NOT good, absolutely NOT the Gospel of Christ! The leaven is evil. The “woman” is evil (Rev.2:20; 17:1-6). The “meal” is the Truth of Jesus, His work, His Word, His Gospel. "The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven" . . . do not stop in the middle of the stream . . . "which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal." The Gospel is represented by the three measures of meal. How can we be sure of this? Because meal is GOOD, made out of grain or seed, and the Lord Jesus has already told us in the parable of the Sower that the seed represents the Word of God (verses 19;23).
Until the whole was leavened . . . this parable teaches that the invasion of wrong doctrine into the church will eventually lead to total apostasy. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself said, ". . . when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Lk.18:8). The way the question is asked, demands a negative answer. In other words, Jesus is saying that when He does return, the world will be in total apostasy. My friend, it is well on its way! I pray that you are not with this group on the wrong road. So, the gospel of Satan (leaven), is hidden in the good meal (true Gospel of Christ), and it will eventually permeate the whole world. Only the heat of the fire will stop the leaven! The apostle Paul, writing to young Timothy, warns that the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine (2 Tim.4:3-4). The final, total apostasy of the church is revealed in the church of Laodicea (Rev.3:14-19). Apostasy: (2 Thes.2:3; 1 Tim.1:19; 4:1; 5:12; 2 Tim.4:4; Heb.3:12; 2 Pet.2:21; 3:17). To read more on the subject of apostasy: http://www.judgmentcoming.org/j_c_apostate_world.htm
The opinion of this humble servant follows, of which many will disagree.
What I think to be CORRECT: Leaven is evil. (Ex.12:15,19; 13:3; 23:18; 34:25; Lev.2:11; 6:17; 23:17; Deut.16:4; Mat.13:33; 16:6; Lk.13:21; 1 Cor.5:6; Gal.5:9). No Jew of that day or today, would even consider leaven as representing anything good. LEAVEN is evil: it is all sin, false doctrine, immorality, corruption. MEAL is the Truth of Jesus, His work, His Word! WOMAN is the mother of harlots (Rev.17). The doctrine of Satan (leaven), is introduced into the good meal (the TRUE doctrine of Christ), and it will eventually permeate the whole world. Only the fires of Hell will stop the leaven!
What I think to be INCORRECT: the woman is the true church. Leaven is the true Gospel, of Christ. Meal is the unbelieving world. IF this were true, this teaches that the result of the leaven (Gospel of Christ), would eventually win over the whole world. Only a fool would believe this! See Luke 18:8 above.
Matthew 13:34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: (KJV)
All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables . . . meaning the previous parables.
And without a parable spake he not unto them . . . not that He never had preached except in a parabolical way unto them, or that He never did afterwards use any other way of speaking; for it is certain, that both before and after, He spoke plainly, and without symbols, but the meaning here is, that in that sermon, at that time, Jesus thought it right to use the parables, as it seems from the many other parables He spoke afterwards. And although He explained the meaning of some of them to His apostles at their request (Mat.13:36; Mk.4:10), yet He dismissed the multitude without giving any explanation to them.
Matthew 13:35 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. (KJV)
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet saying . . . not Isaiah, as some think, but Asaph, who is called Asaph the seer (2 Chron.29:30), which is the same as a prophet, for vision is one kind of prophecy.
I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world . . . Psalm 78:2-3 I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:  Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. (KJV) . . . The words of Asaph. That it might be fulfilled . . .Christ taught, as did that prophet, Asaph . . . in parables. These words of Asaph described the manner in which Christ taught, and in this sense it could be said that they were fulfilled. "I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world" . . . the things He is revealing now, in parables, had never been revealed like this in the Old Testament.
Without a parable spake he not . . . this remark refers only to that particular instance. Because both before and after this, Jesus taught much without parables. Jesus is the only great teacher known to history who is highly renowned for His use of parables, and His skill in their use has never been outdone by any other person. He fulfills the prophecy quoted from Psalm 78:2-3. It has NEVER been fulfilled by another; and therefore Matthew's application of it is clearly correct.
Jesus Interpretation of the Parable of the Tares (Matthew 13:36-43)
Matthew 13:36 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. (KJV)
Then Jesus sent the multitude away . . . so the apostles could have the chance of speaking privately with Him, about the wisdom of the parables He had delivered; and that He might instruct them further in some other parables mentioned after this.
And went into the house . . . He left the ship in which He had been preaching to the multitude, came on shore, and returned to the house that He came out of before He went to the sea side (verse 1).
And his disciples came to him . . . and being alone, make a humble request to Him,
Saying, declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field . . . (Mat.13:24-30), by which they mean, to clarify the meaning of it. They do not ask about the parables of the mustard seed and leaven, because it seems they better understood them; or because there were some things very remarkable and striking in the parable of the tares. They just wanted to know more about the meaning of it.
Matthew 13:37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; (KJV)
He answered and said unto them . . . He was more than ready to answer their request, and willing to communicate the spiritual knowledge to them; thereby showing great humility in Himself, and great affection for them.
He that soweth the good seed, is the son of man . . . the “Man” in ALL the parables is Jesus! God is NOT the Author of confusion (1 Cor.14:33), it is NOT a different “man” in each parable. That does not make any sense at all. It is the same “Man” that is signified by the man that sowed good seed in His field, and is "the son of man" meaning Himself, the seed of the woman (Gen 3:15); and the son of David (Mat.1:1,20; 9:27); who being anointed with the Holy Ghost without measure (Jn.3:34), went about Judea and Galilee, preaching the everlasting Gospel (Rev.14:6), to the converting of sinners, thereby making them good seed.
Matthew 13:38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; (KJV)
The field is the world . . . "the field” where the good seed is sown, is not only the land of Judea, where Christ preached in person, but the whole world, into which the apostles were afterwards sent (Mat.28:18-20); and where pastors still go today.
The good seed are the children of the kingdom . . . they which are meant by the good seed, are those for whom the Kingdom of Heaven is prepared, and to whom it is bequeathed (1 Pet.1:4-5), who possess the grace of God. These are the heirs of the Kingdom of glory; and are fit for it, and have a right to it, being the children of God by adoption (Jn.1:12-13), and that have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit (Jn.3:3,5,8; 1 Cor.6:11).
But the tares are the children of the wicked one . . .(1 Jn.3:10). The tares are those who PROFESS to be “Christians”, but both by their principles and practices, clearly show that they are of their father the devil (Jn.8:44); resembling and imitating him, and doing his works. They are wicked, and do not believe God (1 Jn.5:10-13). They are openly profane and immoral persons; and really hurt and disgrace the importance and significance of Christ.
Matthew 13:39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. (KJV)
The enemy that sowed them is the devil . . . the enemy of Jesus and His people, is the devil and all his children. Satan is the enemy of Christ, and of God's elect (Jn.10:27-30; Rom.8:33) in particular. Satan is the accuser of the brethren (Rev.12:10), and his getting hypocrites and heretics into churches, is no problem. His merciless hostility to Christ Jesus and His interest, reveals just how much of an adversary he is to the peace, comfort and fruitfulness of the churches of Christ.
The harvest is the end of the world . . . the harvest is the last day (Jn.12:48), the end of the world (Mat.24:3), the day of judgment (Mat.11:24; 12:36), meaning either the day of wrath and vengeance upon the Jewish nation; when those that truly believed in Christ were separated from the rest, and that hypocritical generation of men were utterly destroyed; or else the day of judgment, the great and last day, when the heavens and the earth, and all that is therein, shall be burnt up (2 Pet.3:10), when the righteous will enter into life, and the wicked go into everlasting punishment (Mat.25:41,46). Until that time, the wheat and the tares, good and bad men, are to live together.
And the reapers are the angels . . . the reapers are God’s angels, who shall put in the sickle (Rev.14:14-19), cut down the tares, bind them in bundles, and cast them into the fire, and who shall then gather the wheat (God’s people) into the barn (Heaven). These shall be the executors of God's wrath, upon all the wicked upon the Earth. These heavenly angels are the ministers of Christ, and ministering servants to them who are the heirs of salvation (Heb.1:14). They oppose all secret and open enemies of Christ and His people, and shall be employed in the end of time, against the wicked, and for the righteous.
Matthew 13:40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. (KJV)
As therefore the tares are gathered . . . it is symbolized in this parable, that in the time of harvest, the tares shall be gathered out from the wheat first; and being bound in bundles, shall be . . .
And burned in the fire . . . prepared especially for that purpose.
So shall it be in the end of this world . . . hypocrites and heretics, and all false professors of Christianity, shall be gathered out from among the saints, and the churches where they have been; and they all shall be cast into everlasting burnings (Isa.33:14), prepared for the devil and his angels (Mat.25:41), whose children they are (1 Jn.3:10; Acts 13:10). This is an exact picture of the condition in Christendom in our day. The Lord Jesus NEVER missed with His predictions. This has been, and IS being fulfilled as accurately as anything possibly could be.
Matthew 13:41 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; (KJV)
The Son of man shall send forth his angels . . . Jesus means Himself. The angels of God are His servants, just as we humans on Earth are His servants, or should be! The angels wait upon Him, and are at His beck and call . . . there are thousands of thousands (Rev.5:11) that minister unto Him. These wait patiently for the command to go and separate the tares from the wheat . . . the wicked from the righteous, the bad from the good. NO mistakes shall be made!
And they shall gather out of his kingdom . . . the Gospel church of Christ Jesus, over which Christ is King, where He rules and governs in the hearts of His TRUE people; and who are ever so willing to obey His laws (Mat.22:36-40), under the influence of His Spirit (Rom.8:11; 1 Cor.2:10; Eph.3:16) and His grace (2 Cor.8:9). But, my friend, NOT all who are in the Gospel church really Christians . . . some are wicked and rebellious. The angels will NOT be fooled! They will NOT make any mistakes.
All things that offend . . . all those who are a disgrace to Christ, His church, and His Gospel, by their wicked principles, or sinful practices; and who give offence, not only to God, and His righteous law, but lay stumbling blocks (Rom.9:32; 1 Pet.2:8) in the way of the children of God. The wicked keep dreaming up ways to offend and disgrace the TRUE church. All these one day will be removed by the angels.
And them that do iniquity . . . iniquity is sin, evil, wickedness, disobedience to God. It is also those who, although they profess to be religious persons, are secretly, or even openly, willingly and knowingly workers of iniquity. This is the condition of the church today, all over the world! Homosexuals and gay marriage is absolutely SIN, and all those connected in any way with these abominations. Homosexuality, an abomination: (Gen.19:4-5; Lev.18:22; 20:13; Rom.1:26; 1 Cor.6:9-11; Jude 1:7).
Matthew 13:42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (KJV)
And shall cast them into a furnace of fire . . . not a physical one, but a symbolic one, meaning the wrath of God, which shall fall upon all the wicked and abide upon them through all eternity: which is sometimes called hell fire, a lake which burns with fire and brimstone, and here a furnace of fire, expressing the vehemence and intenseness of divine wrath, which will be intolerable.
There shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth . . . stating the remorse of conscience, the torture of mind, the sense of inexpressible pain and punishment that the wicked shall feel. Their gnashing of teeth is their furious rage at where God has placed them. Such shall be the black despair of the wicked. These harsh words of Scripture came from the gentle lips of our wonderful Lord. See more on Hell: http://www.judgmentcoming.org/j_c_hell_is_real.htm
Matthew 13:43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. (KJV)
Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun . . . this is still speaking of when the tares shall be separated from the wheat, when they that offend and do iniquity shall be gathered OUT of Christ's Kingdom; when the wicked shall be cast into Hell . . . it shall be at this time that the "righteous" shall "shine forth" as the sun. HOW do God’s people become righteous? To be righteous in the Father’s eyes, a person must have Christ's righteousness put in them (1 Cor.1:30). Only then can a person be justified (Rom.3:24; 5:1,9;) in God’s sight. We must have faith if the only begotten Son of God to be righteous (Gal.2:16; 3:11,24; Tit.3:7). The righteous have no spot in them or upon them. They are without any clouds of darkness (evil), for they will be as Christ Himself, the sun of righteousness (Mal.4:2), with Whom and in whose glory they shall appear, both body and soul, before Almighty God.
In the kingdom of their father . . . meaning either the Kingdom of Christ (the Father's and His), being one and the same; or as the church, and the government of it in this world (verse 41), in all ages of time, and especially in the latter day, and during the thousand years (Rev.20:1-4), when Christ Jesus and His saints shall reign together.
Who hath ears to hear, let him hear . . . listen and seriously consider several things said in this parable, concerning the wheat and tares, the righteous and the wicked . . . for they are matters of the great importance.
The last three parables are different in that they deal with certain different features of the Kingdom of Heaven as it is today.
The Parable Of The Treasure Hidden In A Field (13:44)
Matthew 13:44 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. (KJV)
Again the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure . . . the "treasure" is Israel. The "field" is the world. The "man" is still the same, He is the Son of man who gave Himself to redeem the nation Israel. Israel is truly buried throughout the world. A large population of Jews is in New York City. The Jewish people are scattered throughout the world. But my friend, God is NOT through with Israel as a nation. Romans 11:1-2 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.  God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, (KJV) . . . Paul believed that the Lord was not through with Israel.
Zechariah, one of the last writers in the Old Testament, wrote that a new day would come for Israel. Zech. 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. (KJV)
The prophet Jeremiah in many passages speaks of the regathering of the people of Israel and of God bringing them to their own land. That time is still future. When God regathers them, it will be by miracles so great that they will even forget their miraculous deliverance from Egypt which has been celebrated longer than any other religious holiday. God is not through with the nation Israel, and this parable makes that fact very clear. Israel is the treasure hid in a field, and Christ is the One who "for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field." In fact, Christ Jesus gave Himself to redeem the nation. Our Lord purchased them with His Blood (1 Pet.1:18-19), the exact same way that He bought your salvation and mine! Zechariah writes of the cleansing which will take place at the time of Christ's return to this earth. Zech. 13:1 In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. (KJV)
Hid in a field . . . this is absolutely NOT a sinner finding and buying the Gospel, because my friend, the Gospel is NOT hidden in a field (the world). But Israel actually is buried in the world today. Yes, they are a nation now . . . but they certainly are having a desperate struggle. They will not have peace, they will not be able to enjoy their land until they receive it from the Lord Jesus Christ.
True, the Gospel is in some ways hidden, under the former dispensation, from the Old Testament saints; and for a long time was hidden from the Gentile world; and is completely hidden from them that are lost, who are blinded by the god of this world (2 Cor.4:4); and in some cases, even hidden from the elect of God, before they are converted. Christ Jesus is the Storehouse of Truth, as well as of grace; and may be thought to be hidden under the Mosaic system, in the types and shadows of the ceremonial law. But IF the "the field" means the Scriptures, as some say, and the Gospel lies hidden there, it makes perfect sense to me that these Scriptures should be searched for it, the same way that men seek and search for gold and hidden treasures, by determined digging to find it.
The which when a man hath found he hideth . . . remember, the treasure is Israel (Ex.19:5; Ps.135:4), NOT the Gospel, and the Man is still Jesus, NOT the sinner as some say.
For joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth the field . . . the Treasure is NOT, CANNOT be the Gospel! Israel is the treasure hid in a field, and Christ Jesus, the Messiah is the One who "for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field." The fact is, that He gave Himself to redeem the nation of Israel. Our Lord purchased them with His precious Blood, just as He redeemed you and me. The opinion of this humble servant follows, of which many will disagree.
What I think to be CORRECT: The treasure is Israel (Ex.19:5; Ps.135:4). As of today, she is still hidden in the field (world). God scattered her from one corner of the Earth to the other. Israel regathered: (Jer.23:3; 29:14; 30:3; 31:8; 321:37; Deut. 30:3-5; Ps.106:47; Isa.11:11-16; 27:12-13; 43:5-6; Eze.11:17; 34:13-31; 36:24,37; 37:21-27; 39:27-28; Amos 9:14-15; Mic.7:12; Zrp.3:19-20; Zec.10:8-12). The Man has not changed! The Man is still Jesus. Jesus gave all that He had (His very life), to buy the field. The implication here is that the treasure (Israel) is still hidden, and she is!
What I think to be INCORRECT: The man is the unsaved sinner. My friend, we are NOT asked to give up all that we own to achieve salvation (treasure). We have NOTHING on our own, to give or to bring. WE have NO way of earning salvation. Self-sacrifice, self-denial, or right living CANNOT give you eternal life. We are NOT CAPABLE OF BUYING THE FIELD (the world , verse 38). ETERNAL LIFE is a GIFT of God!!! It is FREE!!!
The Parable Of The Pearl Of Great Price (13:45-46)
Matthew 13:45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: (KJV)
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man . . . again, the Man is Jesus. It is NOT the unsaved sinner, as some think. This parable may be understood of Christ's seeking, finding, and purchasing His elect (the church).
Seeking goodly pearls . . . WHO is it looking for goodly pearls? Sinners are NOT looking for salvation! The Merchantman CANNOT be the unsaved sinner because he has nothing with which to pay. To start with, NO unsaved person is seeking Christ . . . but IF he were, HOW could he buy Him? The Merchantman sells all that he has . . . HOW can a sinner sell all that he has when he is dead in trespasses and sins (Eph.2:1)? In addition to this, the Bible is very clear that Christ and salvation is NOT for sale. Salvation is a gift (Rom.6:23; Eph.2:8-9). John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (KJV) . . . Christ's finding His elect is NOT by chance, nor do any of them have any built-in excellence or quality in them, that they should be called pearls . . . it is only by His grace that HE finds them.
Matthew 13:46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. (KJV)
Who when he had found one pearl of great price . . . the Man (Jesus), found the pearl of great price (the church). I believe the correct interpretation of this parable reveals Christ as the Merchantman. He left His heavenly home and came to this Earth to find a pearl of great price. He found lost sinners, and He suffered and bled and died for them by shedding His precious Blood. He sold all that He had (His life) to buy us and redeem us to God. Paul told this to the Corinthians: 2 Cor. 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. (KJV)
Let's consider the pearl. The pearl represents the church. A pearl is not a stone like the diamond. It is formed by a living creature. A grain of sand or other foreign matter intrudes into the shell of a small oyster. It hurts and harms it. The response of the oyster is to send out a secretion that covers over the foreign matter. That fluid builds up, again and again, until a pearl is formed, not a ruby or a diamond, but a beautiful white pearl. A pearl is not like other gems. It cannot be cut to enhance its beauty. It is formed intact. If it is cut, it is ruined.
The pearl was not considered very valuable by the Israelites. In Job 28:18, pearls are classed with coral. Although the pearl was not considered valuable among the Jews, it was very valuable to the Gentiles. When Christ used the figure of "goodly pearls" (verse 45), I imagine that His apostles wondered why. Christ came to this Earth as the Merchantman. He saw man in sin, and He took man's sin and bore it in His own body on the cross. HOW does Christ respond to the sinner. Christ sees us, not as we are now but as we shall be someday, when we are presented to Him as ". . . a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish" (Eph.5:27). Christ sold all that He had in order that He might gain the church. 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (KJV) . . . In the Book of Revelation, we see a description of the New Jerusalem, the future home of the church (Rev.21). Do you see the symbol on the outside of the city? The gates are made of pearls! (Rev.21:21). That is no accident, my friend; it is planned that way by Christ's blueprint. He is the Merchantman "Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it."
Went and sold all that he had, and bought it . . . Jesus left the safety and glory of Heaven, to come to Earth to lay down His life for those who believe God (1 Jn.5:10-13).
The correct interpretation of this parable reveals Christ as the Merchantman Who found lost sinners and died for them by shedding His precious Blood.
The merchantman is NOT the unsaved sinner, for the same reason as in the previous parable. We are NOT required to sell anything for salvation. The Merchantman is Jesus. The pearl of great price is the church, the Body of Christ.
The Parable Of The Net (Matthew 13:47-50)
Matthew 13:47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: (KJV)
Again the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net . . . this parable is about fishermen using a net to catch fish. The net is cast into the sea and pulled onto shore full of all kinds of fish in it. The fishermen then sit down to sort the fish into the “good” and the “bad.” The good fish were kept, but the bad ones were thrown away.
That was cast into the sea . . . the sea means the world, like the field is the world in the parable of the tares. Just as the net was cast into the sea collecting many fish, the church draws many people to it. Just as the net gathered all types of fish, good and bad, no matter their value, so too, the church acts as a magnet for many people who neither repent or have any desire to follow Christ. Just as the fish could not be sorted until the net was pulled ashore, so too, false believers (hypocrites) masquerading as TRUE Christians will not be made known until the end of the age. The “bad fish,” or false believers, can be compared to the rocky and thorny soil in verses 5-7, and to the tares in verse 40. These claim to have a relationship with Jesus, saying “Lord, Lord” (Mat.7:22), and Jesus’ sorrowful reply will be “I never knew you, depart from me” (Mat.7:23). The sad and somber point of this parable is this: “A day of reckoning will come in which God will separate the true believers from mere pretenders, and those found to be false will be cast into Hell.”
And gathered of every kind . . . the preaching of the Gospel, is the means of gathering souls to Christ, and into His church. Those that are gathered into the church, are of every kind, of all nations in the world, both Jews and Gentiles: and of all ranks and degrees of men, high and low, rich and poor, bond and free. My friend, there are all kinds of sinners, some who have the grace of God in them, while others are just hypocrites: professing in words, but denying in works; have nothing more than a form of godliness (2 Tim.3:5), but are dead to Christ.
Matthew 13:48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. (KJV)
Which, when it was full they drew to shore . . . when the end of the age comes, when the fullness of the Gentiles shall be brought in (Rom.11:25), and all Israel shall be saved (Rom.11:26), when all those in the net are pulled to shore . . .
And sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away . . . the fishermen will not be the ones separating the contents of the net, the angels of God will do that (Mat.13:30,39;49; Mk.13:27). They will gather he “good” into Christ's barn, the mansions in Jesus’ Father's house, Whom He is gone on to prepare (Jn.14:2) . . . but as for the “bad”, who prove to be destitute of the grace of God and righteousness of Christ, in spite of their professing to be religious, they shall be rejected, as good for nothing, and shall be cast into the lake which burns with fire and brimstone (Rev.19:20; 20:15; 21:8). For more on Hell: http://www.judgmentcoming.org/j_c_hell_is_real.htm
Matthew 13:49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, (KJV)
So shall it be at the end of the world . . . . Jesus now interprets this parable for His apostles, telling them: “This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (verses 49-50). This parable is similar to the parable of the wheat and the tares (verses 36-43). Both parables are about the end-times sorting, done by the angels of God, when believers will be separated from unbelievers once and for all. So shall it be at the end of the world (age). The end of the age simply means the time when Christ will return to establish His Kingdom on Earth. Just as the fisherman, when he draws his net to shore, picks out the good fish, and casts the dead and useless fish away; so too, at the close of time, in the last day,
The angels shall come forth . . . out of heaven, from the Presence of God and Christ, and by His orders, as the Judge of all the Earth (Isa.11:4; Mat.25:32; Jn.5:22; Acts 17:31; Rom.2:16; 2 Tim.4:18; 1 Pet.4:5; Rev.19:11).
And sever the wicked from the just . . . the angels shall separate the righteous (the good), from the ungodly unbelievers, the hypocrites. The righteous (good) will be set at Christ's right hand, the ungodly (bad) at his left hand. The righteous will go into life eternal, and the other into everlasting punishment (Mat.25:33,41,46). Their separation from one another will be right and just and complete.
Matthew 13:50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (KJV)
The Lord Jesus makes it SO clear in these words that it is a horrible thing to be without Christ, to be lost and headed for the Lake of Fire (Rev.19:20; 20:10;15), meaning HELL!
Do you deny the existence of Hell? My friend, in reality you really do not know a thing about Hell, do you? What about you? You may say. What I know is what the Bible says, and to me, the Bible has been very accurate in everything it has predicted. I simply take it for granted that the Bible is accurate in its description of Hell. Our Lord Jesus Himself makes this fact very clear in this parable when He says, "the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." Believe it or be condemned to Hell.
John 3:17-19 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (KJV)
John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (KJV)
John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. (KJV) . . . For more on Hell: http://www.judgmentcoming.org/j_c_hell_is_real.htm
Matthew 13:51 Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord. (KJV)
Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? . . . Jesus asking this question of the apostles, shows that the parables delivered, had some difficulty being understood; and that He was concerned, because He wanted them to understand; so that they could communicate the Truth of the parables to others.
They say unto him, yea, Lord. . . . their answer is proof of their close attention to the Words of Christ, and the quickness of their understanding. They were illuminated by Christ, so that they could pass on the knowledge He had given them in their ministry. The Lord makes it very clear in this section that it is a terrible thing to be lost, to be condemned to Hell.
The Lord Jesus Himself makes this fact very clear in this parable when He says, "the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
Some people call this next verse a parable and others do not. Which ever way you decide to understand it, the words in this single verse has a very important message for us.
The Parable Of The Householder (Matthew 13:52)
Matthew 13:52 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. (KJV)
Then said he unto them . . . since the apostles now understood the above parables, they were by them and by other things they had learned from Jesus, ready to preach the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven to others. Jesus now brings the following words to them, to stir them up, to be diligent in the exercise of their gifts, and to bring a free and joyful communication of their knowledge to others.
Therefore every Scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven . . . meaning every man that is acquainted with the Gospel or with the Truth of Scriptures. Since the apostles said that they understood the Truth, Jesus says that they should not just sit there but to “go ye therefore” (Mat.28:19-20).
Is like unto a man that is an householder . . . they should bring forth in due time, what they knew, like a householder bringing out of his treasury, or place of deposit, what had been laid up there at any time, as it was needed.
Which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old . . . a householder (head of the family) will bring forth out of his treasury, whatever the occasion demands; such as sickness, calamity, needs of his family, or helping the poor. The word "treasure" here means not just money, but anything necessary for the comfort of a family. New and old . . . things recently acquired, or things that had been laid up for a long time. By "his treasure" means either Christ Jesus, who is the Great Treasury and Storehouse of grace and truth; from where His servants receive all their gifts of grace, light and knowledge; or the Word of God, the Truth of the Scriptures, by which the servants of God are thoroughly furnished for every good work; or the treasure of the Gospel, which is put into their hearts, thus with that store of Gospel knowledge and experience they are blessed. Every good work: (2 Cor.9:8; 2 Thes.2:17; 2 Tim.2:21; Heb.13:21)
"Things new and old". . . not the new Gospel and the old law, for the law is not old, nor is the Gospel new. The Gospel is older than the law, but it was hidden by God, and ordained before the world was, long before the law was on Mount Sinai. I think this means it is the business of Gospel preachers, to bring forth Truths and doctrines that are contained in both the Old and New Testaments. Truths that are old in themselves, but newly discovered may be intended, and every new attainment of knowledge and experience, added to the former.
This is a very personal verse, especially for those of us who teach the Word of God. We are to bring forth both the old and new. Some people say: "I have heard all that before." Maybe so, but it is my business to bring forth old things, and hope to bring some new thoughts as well, to arouse the mind and heart to get closer to the Lord Jesus.
Jesus Returns To His Own Country And Is Rejected (Matthew 13:54-58)
Matthew 13:53 And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence. (KJV)
And it came to pass that, when Jesus had finished these parables . . . which He had spoken both to the multitude from the ship, and to His apostles in the house.
He departed thence . . . from the house where He was, and the city of Capernaum, where He had been for some time.
Matthew 13:54 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? (KJV)
And when he was come into his own country . . . not Bethlehem where He was born, for it is never said that He ever went there again; but where He was educated, and where His parents and close relations, according to the flesh, lived. It had been some time since He had been in Nazareth, and they wanted to speak with Him.
He taught them in their synagogue . . . since it was the Sabbath day (Mk.6:1-2). But since Nazareth was so small, it is not likely that there was more synagogues than one. An account is given of Christ's preaching in this place before this time (Lk.4:16,20,28).
Insomuch that they were astonished . . . at the doctrines He taught, which were new and unheard of to them; and were delivered in such a graceful manner, and with such power and authority; and also at the miracles He did, to confirm what He spoke.
Whence hath this man this wisdom and these mighty works? . . . the people knew His education, knew how that He had NOT been to school, had never received any instructions from their scholarly doctors . . . so they could not see how He came by such awe-inspiring and divine knowledge, and by what power He performed such wonderful miracles. They saw Him as just a mere man, and a very low and despicable one . . . not knowing that He was the wisdom of God and the power of God (1 Cor.1:24) . . . which had they known, there would have been no reason for such questions.
Matthew 13:55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? (KJV)
Is not this the carpenter's son? . . . meaning Joseph, who was by trade a carpenter, and who was Jesus’ earthly father. It is likely that Joseph was now dead, which may be the reason he is not mentioned by name.
Is not his mother called Mary? . . . Mary, without any title, or civil respect; a poor woman that got her bread by her own hand. The Jews say that she was a plaiter of women's hair, and treated her with the great scorn.
And his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? . . . Jesus’ brothers: (Mat.12:46-48; 13:55-56; Mk.3:31; 6:3; Lk.8:19-21; Jn.2:12; 7:3,5,10; Acts 1:14; 1 Cor.9:5; Gal.1:19).
Matthew 13:56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? (KJV)
And his sisters . . . whose names, according to some, were Mary and Salome.
Are they not all with us? . . . lived in the same town with them, were well known by them, and familiar with them.
Whence then hath this man all these things? . . . meaning His wisdom and His mighty works; for since He had not been to any of their schools, and places of learning, from their scholarly doctors and wise men. They knew that He could not have received these things from His parents, and close relations, so they could not think from where He could have gotten them.
Matthew 13:57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. (KJV)
And they were offended in him . . . He was a stone of stumbling to them (Isa.8:14; 1 Pet.2:8). How did He come by His wisdom and His power; since He did not get these things from their men of learning, and could not have them from His relatives . . . therefore, so instead of believing that He had them of Himself, or from God, they chose to say that He received them from the devil, and they were offended in Him. They were also offended at the lowness of His birth and parentage.
But Jesus said unto them . . . being unmoved at their offence in Him, and their contempt of Him, which was nothing less than what He expected.
A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house . . . proverbial speech in common use, showing, that a prophet, teacher or preacher, is more honored and respected among strangers, who have no personal interest, or prejudices against him, and who judge him, not by what he has been, but by his present abilities. The people of Nazareth knew His family, and watched as He grew up among them, and they could not understand where He got all the things that He was teaching.
Matthew 13:58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief. (KJV)
And he did not many mighty works there . . . He may have done some, but not many. This is a fantastic revelation. Do you SEE what it was that limited the power of God when Jesus was here. UNBELIEF!!! "He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief." It was NOT that Jesus was not able to do miracles, but because of their unbelief, He did very few miracles there. The great problem in the world today is UNBELIEF! The great problem with people is that they do NOT have faith to believe . . . I am speaking about FAITH to save men and women. I am talking about the kind of faith that BELIEVES that Christ Jesus can save the lost, who are condemned to an everlasting Hell (Jn.3:17-19,36). The Lord Jesus is SO limited today, in your church, your family and in your own life . . . because of UNBELIEF! The Lord states a tremendous Truth here. Please do NOT bypass it.
In this chapter, Jesus is presented both as a Prophet and a Subject of prophecy. By speaking in parables He fulfilled a prediction of David concerning Him (verses 34-35). Each of the parables holds a prediction. In the parable of the Sower He predicted the future effects of preaching the Holy Word of God; in that of the tares, the final separation of the good and bad, and the destruction of all the bad. In that of the mustard seed, the future growth of the Kingdom; in that of the leaven, the certainty that the principles of Satan’s kingdom would permeate human society; in that of the hidden treasure, the knowledge that Israel would one day be found. In the parable of the precious pearl is the church for which Christ gave Himself, and in that of the parable of the net, the intermingling of bad men with the good in the world until the last day, when the bad will be removed into the furnace of fire. All of these predictions, with the exception of the two concerning the Last Day, have been in process of fulfillment before the eyes of the world from the time the Lord Jesus spoke the Words, down to the present time. They are an absolute proof of an ongoing display of the divine foresight of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Gospel of Matthew
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