Matthew 13 The Parables of The Kingdom of Heaven Part 2
After our Lord had given the parable of the sower, He said something quite interesting.
He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. [Matthew 13:9].
Well, if we have these things on the side of our head called ears, can't we hear Him? Yes, but notice the question and His answer.
And his disciples came and said to him: Why speakest thou to them in parables? [Matthew13:10].
Someone has said that a parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.
This is a good definition. But the word parable is from the Greek that we get our English word ball from. You throw something down beside an object to measure it. For example, it's like putting a ruler down beside a table to measure it. That ruler is a parable; it is put down for the purpose of measuring. Our Lord gave parables to measure heavenly truth which He could set before us.
Why did He do it?
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. [Matthew 13:11].
If a man wants to know the Word of God, he can know it. He who wants to know the truth can know it. But you can shut your ears to it. There are multitudes of so-called broadminded people who shut their ears to the Word of God. If you don't want to hear it, you won't hear it, my friend. Not only would you fail to hear it, but you wouldn't understand it if you did hear it. You must have the kind of ear that wants to hear the Word of God.
For he that hath, to him shall be given, and he shall abound: but he that hath not, from him shall be taken away that also which he hath. [Matthew 13:12].
If you know a little truth and you want to know more, the Lord will add to it. If you don't want to know the truth, the Lord will see to it that you won't get it. You see, the Lord will never shut the door to one who wants to hear. He makes it very clear that this is His reason for speaking in parables. Those who don't want to hear will not understand them.
The Lord drew His parables from commonplace things, things that were at the fingertips of the people in that day. He gave them great spiritual truths illustrated by things they knew and could see.
In the parable of the sower, we see what could be called a kingdom-of-heaven condition; that is, it exhibits God's present ruler-ship over the entire earth as He calls out a people to His name. And God is carrying out His program today through the Church. Therefore, we have a kingdom-of-heaven condition today as God is carrying on His program of bringing people to a saving knowledge of Christ.
Another parable he proposed to them, saying: The kingdom of heaven is likened to a man that sowed good seeds in his field. [Matthew 13:24].
In this parable our Lord picks up where He left off in the parable of the sower. He has told us that only one-fourth of the sown seed ever got into good ground. The other three fourths never did produce anything because the folk who heard the Word did not respond to it. In other words, they were not born again. Of the people who heard the Word of God, only one-fourth excepted the seed of Gods Word. We are in a kingdom-of-heaven situation, giving out the Word of God and this is what happens to it. But now we see another facet of the kingdom-of-heaven condition in the world today. It is a picture of a man who sowed good seed in his field.
But while men were asleep, his enemy came and oversowed tare among the wheat and went his way. [Matthew 13:25].
Notice who is asleep. While men slept, the enemy came. Remember, the sower is the Lord, and He neither slumbers nor sleeps. Satan is the enemy, and he sows tares among the wheat. The tares are false doctrine. There's a great deal of that type of sowing today.
And when the blade was sprung up, and had brought forth fruit, then appeared also the cockle. [Matthew 13:26].
As wheat and tares first begin to grow, it is difficult to distinguish between them.
Frankly, a lot of Denominations and false teachers with in the Catholic Church also sound good at first.
You cannot tell them from the real thing until about the twelfth or thirteenth lesson. Those are the lessons in which they introduce their false doctrine. You see, Satan uses them to sows tares among the wheat.
Now we will see that the sower knew who was responsible for the tares.
And the servants of the goodman of the house coming said to him: Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? whence then hath it tares? And he said to them: An enemy hath done this. And the servants said to him: Wilt thou that we go and gather it up? And he said: No, lest perhaps gathering up the tares, you root up the wheat also together with it. Suffer both to grow until the harvest, and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers: Gather up first the tares, and bind it into bundles to burn, but the wheat gather ye into my barn. [Matthew 13:27-30].
This is a very important picture to see and to interpret. Our Lord says, "Don't try to pull up the tares. Let them both grow together, and when they finally head up, you will be able to recognize which are tares and which are wheat."
Jesus explains later that the fields are the world, not the Church (13:38) Some people will misquote this parable and say, Since Jesus said that both wheat and tares must be allowed to grow in the Church, we should not separate them. So we must allow the unconverted people and the converted people to be in the Church. They say that because they haven't read the Scripture properly. The field is the world and it there that God allows believers and unbelievers to grow together, not the Church. In the Church, we must ensure that only those who have repented of their sins, put their faith and trust in Christ and have been born again in the waters of baptism are allowed to be members of the Catholic Church. It must be clear to them that they are not apart of the Church until that happens.
Both tares and wheat are growing in this world. This is a kingdom-of-heaven situation in Christendom during this interval between Christ's rejection and His return to establish His kingdom upon the earth. It is not a picture of Christ's Church. Don't be disturbed that the wheat and tares are growing together. One day the Lord will put in His sickle and separate the tares and wheat. I am thankful it will not be my job because I am afraid I would pull up some of the wheat.
The next parable is the parable of the mustard seed. This parable presents a different kind of seed.
Another parable he proposed unto them, saying: The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field. Which is the least indeed of all seeds; but when it is grown up, it is greater than all herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come, and dwell in the branches thereof. [Matthew 13:31-32].
The mustard seed normally grows to become only a small plant. But in this case, it grew up unnaturally and became a huge tree. This is a parable of how God does not intend the Church to grow. Today when we look at Rome we see something unnatural. The Fathers of the Church are being ignored. The Bible is being played down in areas of scripture that is not liked. Humanism, and Secularism, is being taught. Sexual sins of all kind are flourishing with in the Church and our spiritual leaders are turning a blind eye to all of it. When theses kind of things are happening then we will see what Jesus spoke of in this parable: the wicked one, Satan and his agents, which we see in vs 4 and 19, come and sit on the branches of the tree. If however we were to get back to being what the Church was intended to be, She will be purer and free from Satanic influences and the problems that such influence brings.
I am afraid that the Catholic Church today is a mustard tree filled with a lot of dirty birds!
Now let us look at the parable of the leaven. This parable is the key parable of this chapter. Let me try to help you realize the importance of it. First of all, the Gospel of Matthew is the key book of the Bible. Secondly, chapter 13 is the key chapter of Matthew. And thirdly, verse 33 is the key verse of chapter 13. So actually, what we have here is one of the key verses of the Bible! Now notice the very important teaching in this verse
Another parable he spoke to them: The kingdom of heaven is like to leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened. [Matthew 13:33].
"The kingdom of heaven is like to leaven" but don't stop there "which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal." Leaven, in scripture is never used as a principle of good; it is always a principle of evil. The word leaven occurs at least ninety-eight times in the scripture and it is always used in a bad sense. The rabbinical writers regularly 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 in Matthew 16:6. And the apostle Paul spoke of the leaven of malice and wickedness in 1 Corinthians 5:8. Symbolism in Scripture does not contradict itself, and we may be certain that leaven is not used in a good sense here in Matthew 13. Some would say that the leaven is the gospel. It is not.
The gospel is represented by the three measures of meal. How do we know this? Because meal is made out of grain or seed, and our Lord has already told us in the parable of the sower that the seed represents the Word of God.
Remember that this parable is a picture of what happens to the Word of God on this earth during the interval between Christ's rejection and His exaltation when He will return to set up His kingdom. Note what happens to the Word of God represented by the meal. This woman comes along-I hope you ladies will forgive me for pointing this out-and when a woman is used in a doctrinal sense in Scripture, she is always used as a principle of evil. She takes the leaven and hides it in the meal. If the leaven represents the gospel, why in the world did she hide it? The gospel is to be shouted from the housetops and heralded to the very ends of the earth. Obviously, the leaven is a principle of evil, and the woman puts it in the meal, which represents the gospel, the Word of God.
We certainly see this in reality in our day. False teachers of every description put leaven in the meal, the Word of God.
What does leaven do? Well, leaven is a substance, such as yeast, used to produce fermentation. When it is put in bread dough, it causes it to rise. And it makes it tasty, also. That is the reason a great many people find a thrill in denominations out side the Catholic Church. Maybe they go there because the preacher tickles the ears with self help and positive thinking sermons. Or maybe the music is exciting, or they just plain “feel good when they go.” Unleavened bread is just blah as far as the natural taste is concerned. A little leaven really helps it. I grew up in the South, where many a mother made delicious biscuits. They would put leaven in the dough and put them on the back of the stove to rise. If you came running into the kitchen, she would shush you because she didn't want those biscuits to fall. When they got to a certain height, she would stop the fermentation by putting them in the oven and baking them. Have you ever seen what happens when you let dough continue to rise? It makes a pan of corruption that is something you wouldn't want to eat! Leaven is a principle of evil.
Jesus warns again and again about the dangers that would face the church-bad ground, tares, demons sitting in the unnatural mustard tree, and leaven.
"The kingdom of heaven is like to leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened." The Lord Jesus Christ Himself said, " ... the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth?" (Luke 18:8). The way the question is couched in the Greek, it demands a negative answer. In other words, he is saying that when He does return the world will be in total apostasy. And the apostle Paul, writing to Timothy warns that the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine (see 2 Timothy 4:3).
All these things Jesus spoke in parables to the multitudes: and without parables he did not speak to them. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world. [Matthew 13:34-35].
"I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world." -nail down that statement. Our Lord is giving us a brand-new truth. The things He is revealing now, in parables, have never been revealed like this in the Old Testament.