Wednesday, September 29, 2004
PLAINER WORDS … THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER
The Mysteries of the Kingdom of God have perplexed everyone who has not recognized that there will be a pre-millennial rule or reign of Jesus Christ. Long before He returns for His one- thousand-year Parousia on the earth, He will assume sovereignty over the nations (Isaiah 42:1-4), and all mankind will be in submission to His rule.
One of the Mysteries of the Kingdom is that of the Sower. It is found in Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8. Our attention will focus on Matthew 13. Matthew refers to “the kingdom of heaven” while Mark and Luke use the term “the kingdom of God.” The Greek word for “heaven” is plural, therefore it could be translated the “kingdom of the heavens.” The terms refer to the same kingdom. In considering Matthew’s account of the “kingdom of heaven,” he employs a figure of speech where Heaven is put for God, Who dwells there. We say, “Heaven help us,” “Heaven only knows,” or “the blessings of Heaven,” meaning God help us, God only knows, or the blessings of God. The figure of speech is a metonymy of subject. Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar that “the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men,” then, in the next verse he said, “the heavens do rule” (Daniel 4:25-26). The “most High” and “the Heavens” are synonymous.
When Jesus Christ (i.e. God) speaks from heaven, it will be at His “appearing and kingdom.” He continues to speak from heaven throughout most of His Kingdom reign. Not only will He speak and be heard and understood, but the heavenly hosts will also speak (Psalm 19:1-3). The Parable of the Sower illustrates what happens when the word of the Kingdom is proclaimed through the “air waves,” and falls upon the ears of mankind. This parable gave spiritual insight to the disciples as to man’s response when the word of the Kingdom goes forth in “that day,” and the differences of man’s heart responses over the duration of the Kingdom.
In Matthew 13:3-9, the Lord Jesus spoke the parable of the sower to the multitude. “And He spake many things unto them in parables. Behold a sower went forth to sow: And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun came up, they scorched; and because they had no root, they writhed away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold .Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
This was the parable the Lord spoke to the multitude. He was in a ship, and they were on the shore. The multitude did not understand the parable. Just as today, the multitudes do not understand.
During the first year of the ministry of Jesus, He spoke plainly, openly, and frankly in Jerusalem, in the synagogues, and on the seashore of Galilee, never once using a parable. But, then a change took place. His direct teaching was met with scorn, unbelief, and a hardness of heart. Then, He began to speak in parables. Parables were adapted to hide truth from those who loved darkness. Parables protected the truth which they enshrined from the mockery of the scoffers. The parables, on the other hand, revealed truth to those who sincerely desired to know.
The disciples came to Jesus and asked him, “Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 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” (v.11).
His disciples were to understand the “secrets” of the kingdom. His answer to their question was most significant:
“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. 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. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 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: 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. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear” (Matthew 13:11-16).
The positive statement of Christ Jesus is; “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.” This has do with faith or understanding; that is to say, whoever has faith or understanding, more will be given, and he will abound in faith and comprehension. But, to those who are lacking, even the little they have will be taken away. The implication is that which is taken away shall be given to those who already have.
Here, He punished the unbelieving by parabolic veiling of the truth. Parables teach truth to those having hearing ears!
In fact, what He explained to His disciples was a truth of such spiritual depth that He said:
“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” (Matthew 13:17).
The Lord Jesus explained the secret of the parable to the disciples in verses 18-23. He gives no explanation to the multitude, only to His inner circle. “Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. 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. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 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. 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. 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.Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
When Jesus Christ establishes His Government (or Kingdom) in the earth, all of mankind will be subjects of His Government, and as such, they must submit to His rule. Those who do not submit will be purged. There will be world-wide recognition that Jesus is LORD, to the glory of God the Father (Phil.2:11). This is miraculously accomplished when Christ speaks from heaven and employs His Spirit to exert tremendous power upon mankind to bring them into compliance with His governmental rule over them.
The parable of the sower was to show what man’s response will be to the “word of the kingdom” (v.19) during the long duration of Christ’s rule from heaven. This “word” will not be spoken by preachers, evangelists, pastors or teachers but rather by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and His angelic hosts.
The hearers are grouped into four categories: 1. Way side hearers, 2. Stony place hearers, 3. Thorny place hearers and, 4. Good ground hearers.
“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” (Matthew 13:19).
The way side hearers will hear the “word of the Kingdom,” but cannot comprehend it even though the word will be lodged in their hearts. Then, the devil, who is alive and well during the Kingdom era, catcheth away that which was sown in the heart. This parable cannot possibly find its’ interpretation in the millennium, because Satan will be bound and in the bottomless pit during the millennium. The way side hearers will not heed Peter's admonition, “Be sober, be vigilant; because the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). This truth belongs to the next dispensation that will be ushered in after the Dispensation of Grace closes.
“But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 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” (Matthew 13:20-21).
The stony place hearers are those who will hear the “word of the kingdom” and immediately receive it with joy. They will be living under the benevolent rule and enjoy the benefits provided them. Then, there will be those who are submissive to Christ's rule from heaven only because of fear of falling “into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). However, over time the divine restraints imposed on the world will be relaxed. They begin to wax bold. They begin to grow weary in well doing. They test the waters and note that swift punishment is not being meted out. This relaxation of the restraints is by divine design; a divine unraveling, if you will. So, they become more open in their rebellion against the Lord. The rebels begin to persecute the ones who adhere to the word of the kingdom. The stony places hearers, by and by, become offended because of the word. This begins the falling away, which is mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. The stony place hearers “draw back to perdition" (Hebrews 10:39).
“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” (Matthew 13:22).
The “care of this world” is neither the cares of this present age nor the cares of the Acts age. But rather, it is a reference to the coming dispensation—the Kingdom of God. The word “world,” in Matthew 12:22, is the Greek word aion which means “age.”
The thorny place hearers are those who hear the “word of the kingdom,” and over time, they grow weary in well doing. They begin to prosper under the Heavens Rule, and instead of relying on the Lord as the Great Provider, to provide them their “daily bread,” they want to build bigger barns to store their provisions; thus, not relying on the Provider. The thorny place hearers can be likened to those in the days of Lot, they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, and they builded (Luke 17:26). The cares of this world (i.e. the world to come), the deceitfulness of riches, and as Luke says, and the pleasures of this life, choke the word. The “word of the kingdom” becomes of none effect in their lives. Luke says, they bring no fruit to perfection (8:14).
“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” (Matthew 13:23).
The good ground hearers are those who hear and understand the "word of the kingdom." They are the ones who live, not by bread alone, but live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). They have the "planted ear" (Psalm 94:9). They are the ones who have ears to hear. They bear fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, and some thirtyfold. The good ground hearers are the ones who go on to perfection (Heb.6:1).
The “word of the kingdom” will be spoken by Jesus Christ Himself, as well as His heavenly hosts, through cyber-space. It will encompass all the truths that nations and individuals need to know to reap the majestic benefits and the abundance of Christ's blessings during the Kingdom of God being manifest in the earth. What an information super-highway this will be! Those who have ears to hear will hear. Those who have eyes to see (discern) will see.
The Lord said in Matthew 13:13, Therefore I speak unto them (the multitude) in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. The same can be said of the multitudes of Christians today regarding this parable; seeing, they see not, hearing, they hear not, neither do they understand.
Some present day critics of the Parables would have us believe that Parables are similes, and therefore, doctrines cannot be established through similes. The Bible doesn’t seem to agree with that position: “He taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in His doctrine, Behold, there went a sower to sow …” (Mark 4:2-3).
Tom L. Ballinger
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
PLAINER WORDS … PARABLE OF THE TARES
In the thirteenth chapter of Matthew, our Lord Jesus Christ began to reveal certain truths concerning the coming kingdom of the heavens which heretofore, had been kept secret. The revelation of these truths permitted His disciples to have an understanding of the secret workings of God’s Government when it actually becomes a reality in the earth. The multitudes to whom Jesus preached had their own ideas concerning the operation of God’s Government. They seemed to think that “the kingdom of God should immediately appear” (Luke 19:11), that is to say, that it should suddenly become visible. The Lord made no attempt to correct them of their false assumptions. He spoke in parables so that His disciples would know the secrets of how God’s Government would be established in the earth, and how it would operate.
The parables of Matthew 13 are called “the mysteries (secrets) of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 13:11). The first parable of this chapter reveals how God and the hosts of heaven will speak “the word of the kingdom” to mankind during the kingdom age. The first parable was one which was not a simile. A simile is a figure of speech which is usually introduced with the word “like.” The parable of the Sower was not introduced with the expression “the kingdom of heaven is like a sower.” However, the parables which follow are similes.
When the parable of the tares among the wheat is objectively studied, there is no question but that this parable reveals that the rule of the heavens, as set forth by Matthew, precedes the second coming of Christ and His 1000 year rule.
PARABLE: “The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field.” (Matthew 13:24).
INTERPRETATION: “He that soweth the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world; the good seed are the children (sons) of the kingdom;” (Matthew 13:37-38a).
The word “children” should be translated “sons.” The Greek word “huios” means “son,” or in the plural, “huioi” means “sons.” Many times, the King James translators translated the “huioi” as “children.” I will not speculate on why they did this. Strong’s number 5207 for “children” in Matthew 13:38 is the Greek: huioi. It is suggested that the word “sons” carries with it a more significant meaning than that of children. It should be pointed out that the New Testament writers were Hebrews. While they may have written in Aramaic or Greek, they thought as a Hebrew. To a Hebrew, a son was not just the male offspring of his parents, but when the male child grew, matured, and became responsible, his father declared him to be his son, and as such, the son would assume full responsibility of the family affairs. The son would act in behalf of his father. Sonship was not bestowed in childhood, but when the father considered his child to be responsible enough to take over, he was declared as the son. As the elder’s son he exercised control over the family’s affairs.
While our Lord Jesus Christ was referred to in the Gospels as the Son of God, He was not officially declared to be God’s Son until His resurrection. He had proved to the Father that He was worthy to be “heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:2).
“And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4).
In this parable, the sower of the good seed is the Son of Man. The good seed are the “sons of the kingdom.” They were not born “sons of the kingdom.” They learn the rules, laws, and ways of the kingdom and are then declared to be the sons of the kingdom. As the “sons of the kingdom,” they will be men who have the kingdom character and will exercise rule, leadership, and authority during the reign of Jesus Christ from heaven. Many of those believing Jews, who will be raised from the dead, will be raised as “sons of the kingdom.” They earned their sonship rights before their death.
The Twelve Apostles will be raised from the dead, and will immediately take their places, as Judges over the twelve tribes of Israel. It can truly be said of them that they are the “sons of the kingdom.”
PARABLE: “But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way” (Matthew 13:25).
INTERPRETATION: “The tares are the children (sons) of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil” (Matthew 13:38b).
The tares are not just children of the devil. They take on the character of the devil. Since the days of Cain, there has never been a time when the devil didn’t have his sons upon the earth; planted, rooted, established, and growing. The Lord Jesus told a certain company of the sons of Satan; “Ye are of your father the devil” (John 8:44).
During the Kingdom of God, the devil will be busy planting his tares among the good seeds. As the “sons of the wicked one” grows and develops they will not cause trouble. They will be “undercover” agents. They will wait until the time when Heaven’s restraints will be lifted. Then, they will be open in their defiance of Heaven’s rule.
The “good seed” sown are identified as “the world” (v. 38a). Since this parable concerns itself with the Kingdom as it relates to Israel, I tend to think the “world” is a narrower scope than being world-wide. It is “his field.” John the Baptist said of Christ that He will thoroughly purge “His floor” (Matthew 3:12). I think, in the context, “His world” and “His field” refer Israel’s to the Promised Land. The Son of man will not plant wheat in a field of weeds. He will first cleanse or purge His field of all such weeds; then, He’ll plant the good seed. This parable is a prophecy which can never have any fulfillment until such time as the Lord’s field is thoroughly purged of tares. This purging has never taken place; although, many see this parable as having been fulfilled in the past. The purging will be the result of Christ judging the quick and the dead at His appearing and His Kingdom (2 Tim. 4:1). Therefore, the “field” will be cleared of all weeds (tares). The planting of the “wheat” (children of the Kingdom) will be sown in good ground, which has been prepared by the Lord Jesus Christ. He will never plant His good seed among tares
The amazing thing is that men, living under ideal conditions during the “times of refreshing,” will become careless and let Satan enter and sow tares. But they do, for it is while men “slept,” that is to say, while they lounged in a comfortable position, they were not aware that the enemy came and sowed tares in their midst. A few more facts about the Kingdom of God should make this clear.
After Christ has purged “His field” of wicked men, only two categories of men will be left. These will be the disciples of the Kingdom and sons of the Kingdom. With the exception of those who had qualified as sons of the kingdom in past ages, all men must begin as disciples (learners). Those who do learn go on to become sons of the Kingdom. It will be the sons of the Kingdom who are established (planted); not the disciples. Even though the disciples will have the Lord’s law in their inward parts, and have it written in their hearts (Jeremiah 31:31-33), that doesn’t mean that they will go on to perfection. Any disciple can grow in Kingdom Truth and become a son of the Kingdom. However, some will never do it. It will be from these disciples that Satan, in the end, produces a new company of sons. They will take on his character. To illustrate; we can point to the twelve disciples of our Lord. Eleven of these went on to maturity, and when we see them in The Acts of the Apostles, each one has the Kingdom character. The Acts period was a foretaste of the Kingdom of God (Hebrews 6:4-5). However, Judas Iscariot never advanced to maturity, and when tested, he quickly developed into a son of Satan.
PARABLE: “But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 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? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 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” (Matthew 13:26-30).
INTERPRETATION: “The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth”
The harvest comes at the end of the Kingdom age. The truth revealed in this parable comes up to the Parousia of Christ which is the consummation of the pre-Parousia Kingdom of God. It does not go beyond it. No matter how hard one tries to make the parable of the wheat and tares fit into the context of the 1000 year reign of Christ on earth, it will not meet the requirements to do so. To conclude that this parable has, in view, the millennium is like forcing square pegs into round holes. They will not fit.
The truth to be learned from this is that when the Kingdom comes, Christ will purge His field of all that offend [weeds]. He will never plant His good seed among tares. The Kingdom produces sons who will act in behalf of the King (Christ) and will be responsible stewards. Once God’s Government is established in the earth it will produce men who have the stamp of His rule upon them. Only the Kingdom can produce sons of the Kingdom.
The disciples who will not have matured as sons grow comfortable in their leisure, and many will become the “sons of the wicked one.”
They are not rooted out until the Lord Jesus Christ sends His angels to gather them out and burn them in a furnace of fire. This will be the consummation of the Kingdom of God by which Christ’s 1000 year Parousia on earth begins.
From Plainer Words
The Parable Of The Sower/Parable Of The Tares
Posted in: 2004
By Tom L. Ballinger
Mar 4, 2008 - 9:15:34 PM
Mar 4, 2008 - 9:15:34 PM
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