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Kingdom of Heaven Parables

 

 

 

 

Christian, have you ever read the fine print? Your “free ticket” to heaven may be in jeopardy. 

 

PONDERING THOUGHT:

 

With a recent refill of a medical prescription drug I took time to glance over the pharmaceutical pamphlet that was provided and to read all the “fine print” of uses and cautions associated with the drug.  To not take or to discontinue taking the prescription as prescribed could lead to, in the case of this drug, a heart attack, stroke or even death. 

I have been taking this medication for over ten years so to suddenly stop, according to my physician, could lead to severe consequences.  So, for the foreseeable future I’ll continue to take the drug as prescribed.  But, as in the case of some drugs and this one in particular, long term use could also lead to other physical or mental issue, “in some people,” yet to be made know the severity; in my circumstances there could be possible kidney or liver issues. 

All this led to my pondering and wondering about eternal life, and the pondering questions, “Am I (or you) a child of God or am I (or you) a child of Satan?” came to mind.  Is there any “fine” print one should be aware of before that final “curtain call” the professing Christian should have been aware of or should have read?

 

DEFINATION OF TERMS USED:

¹Christian: “A follower of Christ, one who professes faith in Him for salvation.

 

¹Church: “A called out assembly (called out, separated from). The entire group of believers in Christ, usually recognized as existing since the Day of Pentecost in NT (New Testament) times (Acts2) until the future rapture (q.v.) Also called the body of Christ.  In a more limited sense, it often refers to a local assembly of believers.”

¹Kingdom of God: “The spiritual realm where God reins sovereignly.  It is composed of all beings who are willingly subject to His rule and thus enjoy fellowship with Him.”

¹Kingdom of Heaven: “The earthly kingdom promised in the OT (Old Testament) with the Messiah as King. The Son of God, the Messiah, will come from heaven to establish this kingdom on earth.  Sometimes synonymous with “Kingdom of God,” but at other times the latter may refer to the present spiritual kingdom composed of believers who worship and serve Christ, the Messiah, as their Lord.”

 

Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven: The teaching of Jesus, in parable form, of the earthly aspect---how it starts, progresses and ends--- of Christendom, His Church, from the time of His Ascension to His Second Coming.  It is not a Spiritual Kingdom on earth, and it is not the Millennium Kingdom.

 

Millennium Kingdom: At the end of the Great Tribulation period when the Antichrist and False Prophet are seized and cast into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone and Satan is seized, bound and thrown into the abyss for one thousand years, Jesus will establish His kingdom and reign on earth for one thousand years.

¹Parable: “Story for illustration (comparison).  A story, usually from everyday life, used to illustrate a specific point of teaching.  In the NT (New Testament), however, Jesus used parables mainly to reserve the meaning of His teaching as a privilege for His disciples and others who are receptive to Him.”

 

¹Definitions taken from Updated New American Standard Bible, DICTIONARY – CONCORDANCE – THESAURUS, The Lockman Foundation.

 

 

 

SUMMARY:

In the Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven parables Jesus gives a forward view of the spread of Christianity, “all forms,” from His ascension to His Second Coming.

 

The simple message of Jesus can be summarized in His Words recorded in the Holy Bible.  If you do not believe in the Trinity of God---God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit---and in the inerrancy of the Holy Bible (the Word) your fate is sealed for eternity and your final destiny will be in the Lake of Fire and Brimstone with “…the devil who deceived them…where the beast and false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever,” Revelation 20:10.  Remember, Satan will not be ruling in the Lake of Fire.  He will be tormented there as will those who chose to follow him.

 

However, if you can accept the following Truths of Scriptures that God will reveal the meanings of to you, and if you will accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you can receive Mercy and be granted eternal life in God’s heaven. 

 

Please mediate on the following words of Jesus:

 

  •  “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me,” John 14:6;

 

  •  “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned,” John 15:5-6;

 

  •  “…but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name,” John 20: 31;

 

  •  “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you,” John 14:16-17;

 

  •  “…because I live, you will live also.  In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you, John 14:19-20;

 

  •  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him,” John 3:16-17.

 

It is apparent, at least it is to me, that to enter Christ’s kingdom, one must follow His rules.  Are you following His rules or are you following man’s rules and traditions?  If you doubt any of the bullet points spoken by Jesus listed above, you must be a follower of man and not a follower of Jesus Christ. 

 

Application, Ponderings and Takeaways:

 

In the kingdom of heaven parables, Jesus taught that not everyone would accept or believe the Word (the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ as we understand it).  In other words, the message of Christianity would not be the panacea for the total betterment of all humanity.  In fact, Jesus even questioned whether He would even find faith remaining at His return, His Second Coming. 

 

Biblical prophecy is being fulfilled today, in front of our very own eyes, but the vast majority of mankind, especially the intellectually elite, will not open their minds to the Truth that is taught in the Biblical Scriptures.  How about you? Have you been blinded to wisdom and knowledge because of your unbelief?

 

If mankind could just believe and follow the simple commandments of God found in the Holy Bible, the world would be a better place.  Unfortunately, most men and women in the past, the present and in the future will not accept the Creator God, His Word and His Commandments.  Man’s heart without God is filled with all forms of rebellious and immoral schemes because of their greed, lust and unforgiving nature of the human spirit.

 

When the Good-News of Jesus Christ is proclaimed or taught, those hearing the message will believe or not believe.  So Christian man or woman, which are you (not your gender but your spiritual standing with God)? Are you the one in which the Spirit of God is growing? Are you working in His Kingdom or are you one of the “others”?

As we look at today’s world, Christianity has not and will not change the human spirit of everyone despite what many of today’s apostates---those who question the deity of Jesus---theologians claim. The Kingdom of Heaven Parables represent the visible and invisible Christendom period with its many denominational beliefs and doctrines---some of God and some of the Devil.

 

While there could be Heaven on Earth if every soul was a true believer, it simply will not be so.  The evidence as to why it will not be so is obvious if eyes were opened. Within Christianity you will fine both good and bad, the saved and unsaved, and it will not be until Jesus’ Second Coming (remember, there are two phases to His coming---the rapture and the revelation) that the true believers will be known.

 

BACKGROUND:

 

The Davidic Kingdom and the Messiah prophesied to come as written in the Old Testament scrolls were well know to the scholars of Jesus’ time. They teach both an earthly and a visible Kingdom to come. Jesus testified that He was the Messiah that had been prophesied.  The Jewish religious authorities in their unbelief that Jesus was this Messiah and His claim of equality with God was blasphemous, led to their cry, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him.” 

 

John the Baptist came teaching the Kingdom, Jesus taught the Kingdom is at Hand, Jesus sent out the twelve Disciples to proclaim the Kingdom and Jesus sent out the seventy to proclaim the Kingdom.  The Kingdom as taught in the Old Testament could have been established if there had been believed.  With the Crucifixion of Jesus, the Kingdom could not be established until Jesus’ Second Return at the end of the Tribulation period that is to come.

Because the Kingdom could not be established in physical form, the Mystery form of the Kingdom of Heaven was taught by Jesus.  He did this in the Kingdom of Heaven parables recorded in the Book of Matthew.  

 

The Kingdom of Heaven is the period of Christendom between Jesus’ ascension to heaven and His Second Coming. In its simplest form, Christendom is the parts of the world where people are Christians. I will use the term Christendom, Christianity and the Church somewhat interchangeably throughout the remainder of this writing. But remember, The Kingdom of Heaven is not the Church, but includes all classes of those who profess Jesus---those who know Him and those who possess Him; in other words, those who are truly His and those who are not but are of the Devil.

 

The Church of Jesus Christ could not have come into existence (founded) until after Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension. Unbeknown to most, the Church is not just a building.  It is the body of True indwelled (Holy Spirit filled) believers (called temples of God) be they Jews or Gentiles who are in unity (“… one Lord, one faith, on baptism, one God and Father who is over all and through all and in all,” Ephesians 4:5-6 NASB) through the Holy Spirit each proclaiming the same Gospel Message of Jesus Christ to whomever and wherever they may be.  When a person is called by God and comes in true repentant faith in Christ, purchased by His blood, they become members of the one True Church.

 

Now, Jesus is the head of the Church with the members being those who have professed Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and who are following the lead of the indwelling Holy Spirit.  The Church is called the Bride of Christ and its members, both those who have died and those who are living, will be called out (raptured) at some date in the future to be with Christ forever.

 

The body of Christ can be described as a “living, cohesive body of believers” who manifest themselves (are drawn to each other) as a group; some within the group are called to be leaders and are named as: “apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.” Each member of the body of Christ are also given spiritual gifts of the Spirit for the common good for the purpose of building up the body of Christ and to promote unity of a common goal amongst the Church members.  These gifts are listed in 1 Corinthians 12 as gifts of: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, distinguishing of spirits, tongues and interpretation of tongues with each gift being given to each member as the Spirit wills.

 

The Church body as a family must live in harmony as a group.  There should be a spirit of honesty, forgiveness, servant leadership (no selfishness on the part of members), known as a house of prayer in unity of prayer and praying, loving as brother’s and sister’s in Christ, fruitful in its purpose in the spreading of the Gospel Message and ministering to each other and the community in which they live.

 

Jesus, in His foreknowledge, gave to us the progression of Christianity---the church period, both visible and invisible---in His teaching of the Kingdom of Heaven parables.  I will not elaborate on each parable in detail.  You can read them for yourselves and let the Holy Spirit teach you their meaning. For now I’ll just make a few comments regarding each one as I have been led to understand.

 

//CAUTION: I believe there is room for “individual Holy Spirit, interpretation of scripture,” but not personal doctrinal change, when there is a revelation made by the Holy Spirit of God to a reader. But one must remember to approach Scripture with trepidation and reverence because it is written: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, 2 Timothy 3:16,” and “…no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God,” 2 Peter 1:20-21.  The parables will be studied from this perspective. //

 

The kingdom of heaven parables are generally, but not always, agreed to be twelve in number with seven recorded in Matthew chapter 13, one each in Matthew chapter’s 18, 20 and 22 and two in chapter 25.  They are as follows:

 

// CAUTION: you will find other interpretations and number of parables so I would suggest that you do your own research under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  I do not claim total originality in my summaries below. My sources were: The Holy Bible, the Holy Spirit, and writings (commentaries) primarily from Reverend Clarence Larkin and Dr. Warren Wiersby.  See Bibliography for cites. // 

 

1) The Sower: “Behold, the sower went out to sow seeds…some fell beside the road…some fell on rocky places…others fell among thorns…and others fell on good soil…” Matthew 13:1-17.

 

The sown seed represents the broadcasting and cultivation of the message of Christianity from Christ’s accession to His Second Coming.  In the world four categories of people will be hearers; some will hear the Word (Gospel Message of Jesus Christ) and take it to heart and live their lives in service to Jesus; some will hear the Word and will quickly forget what they heard because of doubts and unbelief; some will hear the Word and at some moment in time will abandoned the word because of persecutions by family, friends or worldly circumstances; some will hear the Word and will begin to live in the word but because of the riches of the world (lust, pleasures, materialism) will eventually abandoned what they first came to believe.

 

The body of Christ, His Church, will be built by believer’s indwelled by the Holy Spirit.  In the world and even in the Church, there will be a vast multitude that will not believe the Truth but will mock, imitate, distort, disbelieve, and forsake the Word of God.

 

You could almost say that only one-fourth of those who hear the Gospel Message will actually believe since only four classes of hearers were discussed.  However, the actual percentage may be greater or less.  I tend to think it will be less but that is just me.  Only God can tell “His Sheep” from those of Satan’s so while I have an opinion, it is only that, and I will not be a judge.

 

The interpretation of the Sower Parable was made by Jesus so there is no room for speculation, from my perspective, that is.

 

2) The Tares and Wheat: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field.  But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away,” Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43.

 

In the parable of the Wheat and Tares, which Jesus also gave the interpretation, both Godly men and un-Godly men will populate the earth.  Both good and evil will exist on the earth until the return of Jesus. In fact, there will be a noticeable difference between those men of God (good) and those of the Devil (bad). You can see these formations in the great apostasies in the many religious and non-religious systems of the world that deny Jesus Christ as the Son of God. This parable teaches there will be a separation of good and evil people, and also the nations, at Christ’s coming with the bad being burned in flames. 

 

3) The Mustard Seed: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR COME AND NEST IN ITS BRANCHES, Matthew 13:31-32.

 

The mustard seed is one of the smaller of “garden seeds” but can grow into a large plant without cultivation. It was used as a metaphor to show how Christendom begins and its final state when Christ returns.  For the Jews it began at Pentecost (Acts 2:14-40) and for the Gentiles it began at the house of Cornelius at Caesarea (Acts 10:34-38).

 

Beginning with just a few in numbers, the growth of those who profess and possess (believe) in Jesus has grown but also the number of those who profess belief but do not possess Jesus has also grown to a greater extent, I believe, than those who truly believe. But, those who do not possess Jesus claim to be part of Christendom although they are not part of the True Church of Jesus Christ.  Thus within Christendom there will be true and false believers who will mix within the physical church and whose true identity is only known by Jesus.  Jesus is the only one that knows those who are His followers.

 

Some religious teachers claim the parable of the Mustard Seed represents only the growth of Christendom from its beginning to its end and does not include any infiltration by Satan’s children into the Christian Church. I disagree, but then again, that’s just me, a non-credentialed writer.

 

4) The Leaven: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened,” Matthew 13:33.

 

While the mustard seed can be viewed as the outward visible physical growth of Christendom, leaven can be viewed as representing an invisible spiritual dimension of both positive---those possessed by God---and negative---those possessed by Satan who spread false doctrines, hypocrisy, corruption, and compromise within the Church.  If you place leaven (yeast) into flour dough, the yeast will automatically spread throughout the whole dough.  It is a good thing for baking, but not for the spreading of the Gospel.

 

In the Parable of the Leaven, the spread of Christianity does not spread automatically.  For instance, if you placed the Gospel Message in one individual in a town, Christianity would not spread on its own. There must be disciples of Jesus spreading the Gospel through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  Thus in pure, Biblical Christianity, the believer is indwelled by the Holy Spirit of God, and His Spirit works within individuals to promote growth in faith and belief.  Each individual then shares with others who may choose to believe or may chose not to believe. 

 

Likewise, the leaven of Satan will also penetrate the Church and substitute doctrines of men in the place of the Word of God. These are apostates and will spread other “gospels” of good deeds, works, marriage is not as God defined and other man-made traditions.  We are witnessing these event in today’s world first hand.

 

Again, as in the parable of the Mustard Seed, some religious leaders believe that Christendom will spread unhindered by Satanic leaven (his children) and eventually the earth will be saved through the Gospel Message. I disagree, but then again, that’s just me, a non-credentialed writer.  Jesus, Himself, did not teach that the Gospel Message would save the entire world and make it a better place.

 

5) The Hidden Treasure: “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field,” Matthew 13:44.

 

What is this Treasure?  The Treasure is the Nation of Israel.  The Kingdom could have begun with the Israelites, but they failed to obey and have been scattered throughout the whole world.  The Jewish Nation as it will be in the Millennium is presently hid to the world and to the Jew and not until the Second Coming of Jesus will the Jews recognize Jesus as King (their Messiah) and their Nation, Israel, will be re-gathered for its final time to Jerusalem and the Promised Land.  

 

It is important for America and the World to remember these words: “I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed,” Genesis 12:3. America’s leaders and her people are choosing to ignore these words and a price will be paid.  Simply look to history.  The people of the world have been trying to remove all Jews from the face of the world since the time of their beginning.  All attempts have failed and a Jewish remnant has always remained and flourished. Not even ISIS with Obama’s help (Oops) will be able to destroy Israel.

 

Some teach that the Hidden Treasure is Christ or His church, but I do not hold to that teaching.  You cannot buy your salvation or enter the kingdom of heaven by doing good works and deeds.  It is a free gift of God.

 

6) The Costly Pearl: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it,” Matthew 13:45-46. 

 

The costly pearl is the Church of Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the head of the Church and those who accept Him as their Lord and Savior become members of His Church. God’s Holy Spirit indwells them and they become precious in His sight. Jesus gave His life for the world (He gave His life to purchase those who would but believe), but the world will not receive Him.  Those who do receive Him become like costly pearls and will be collected at His Coming in the Rapture. 

 

7) A Dragnet: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind, Matthew 13:47-50.

 

Likewise, in the Dragnet, there will be a separation of the good fish (men) and the bad fish (men).  The Dragnet catches both the good and bad within the Gospel fellowship of the Church or Christendom.  It is not a separation of the worldly but of the professors and possessors of Jesus Christ.  I believe this separation will come at the Rapture and there will not be as many possessors as many feel there will be.

 

8) The Unmerciful Servant: “the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves,” Matthew 18:23-35).

 

The reading of this parable, I believe, has to do with forgiveness.  If God has forgiven you, should you not forgive those who have trespassed against you?  I believe it applies to how the true believers within God’s Church deal with one another. If there is no forgiveness is there a true indwelling of the Holy Spirit?

 

9)Laborers in the Vineyard: “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard, Matthew 20:1-16.).

 

Without the guidance of the Holy Spirit in one’s life, I believe most Christians, and this is the category of people being discussed, would agree that those who worked the longest should be compensated more than those who worked the fewest number of hours. But, that is a human belief and not a spiritual fact.

 

I have always thought that this parable told that it didn’t matter at what point in a person’s life they came to Jesus, i.e., either as a child or an old person, eternal life was given with their confession.  That is, because someone was saved as a child vs. when they were an elder, a distinction would not be made on length of time of their salvation. There would not be a greater award for either over the other. 

 

However, it is taught that there will be a differentiation based on the motive of works, not the amount, at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  Testing of one’s work (gold, wood, hay or stubble) as to whether they survived the “fire test” would depend upon whether works were done for man’s pleasure and their own recognition or because they were done out of love for their God, “The I AM, THAT I AM.”

 

Therefore, the Biblical Christian must labor as the Holy Spirit leads.  He must do everything to bring glory to God and not to himself.

 

10) Parable of the Marriage Feast: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son,” Matthew 22:1-14.

 

The Church is the Bride of Christ and following the Rapture, both the dead in Christ and the living in Christ at His calling, will take part in the Marriage Feast of the Lamb (Jesus Christ). At this feast there will also be others of Old Testament times that were of God. 

 

To partake of this feast, the proper “Wedding Garment” must be worn.  I believe the wedding garment is the confession of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  If you were just a professor and not a possessor of Jesus Christ, you will not be part of the Rapture and thus you will not be part of the Marriage Feast.

 

11) The Ten Virgins: “Then the kingdom heaven may be compared to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom,” Matthew 25:1-13).

 

With the Ten Virgins, five wise and five unwise, Jesus is talking about the members of the True Church of Jesus Christ---the professing and possessors---that are indwelled by the Holy Spirit.  Once again we have a parable that points out that not all who occupy seats in the Church are truly saved. Are you watching and waiting for Jesus to return and in so doing are you preparing yourself for the journey? 

 

12.) The Talents: “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them,” Matthew 25:14-30).

 

All Christian believers possess talents and gifts of the Holy Spirit.  It is the believer’s responsibility to use their talents wisely and to the best of their ability.  In other words, to be good stewards of what God has given.  You may claim to be both a possessor and a professor of Jesus Christ with many or few talents or gifts that you never put to good use.  In other words, you claim to be a Christian but by your actions and service you are just as worldly as those who do not claim Christianity.  You are simply a cultural Christian---professing but not possessing.

 

As a Christian believer and processor of Jesus Christ, it would behoove you to mediate upon and study the Word.  I wished there had been someone in my early life who would have explained to me all that you have just read, assuming you have remained with me to this point.  There is wisdom and power in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.  You must harness this power through belief, study and prayer. 

 

Would it surprise you to learn that a final gospel, not the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ for Salvation, but the “eternal gospel” will be preached by an angel at the end time. Even though man will hear from an angle of God, the majority of men will not turn to God. I’ll quote the prophecy from Revelation 14:6-7 as follows:

 

“And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; and he said with a loud voice, ‘Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.’”

I hope you will take the time to read and study the kingdom of Heaven parables that were taught by Jesus.  My goal has not been to condemn or judge but to simply inform.  Study the Word and meditate upon it, and trust that the Holy Spirit will interpret the scriptures for you.

 

The Bible is the Biblical Christians roadmap and its teachings must be followed. Without “the roadmap” you will get lost in the worldview of today’s generation.  The Holy Spirit is the Comforter and giver of all Wisdom and Knowledge. He will interpret the roadmap for you. Trust Him, and He will lead you in the path of righteousness.

 

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