October 17, 2007
PLAINER WORDS ...THE MYSTIFYING GROWTH OF THE KINGDOM
“And He said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.”
For those “who have ears to hear” (Mark 4:23), this parable sheds an enormous amount of light on how God’s Kingdom, to wit, His Government, will begin and how it will progress and, finally, come to its fruition.
This parable is often referred to as “the seed growing secretly,” or “the unconscious growth.” What is unmistakably clear is that, like a “seed cast into the ground,” the Kingdom of God does not come, or spring forth suddenly, or dramatically. According to this parable, it gradually materializes through three stages of growth as we shall see.
The focus is to be on the “seed.” The “seed” is a figure, or type of the Kingdom of God. It just doesn’t suddenly appear, as it were, in “full bloom.” The growth of the Kingdom will appear to be just the result of the natural outgrowth in the course of human events. That’s why the Lord Jesus said, it’s as if a man scatters seed into the ground and “should sleep, and rise night and day.” Thus, indicating that the man goes about his normal, everyday affairs. The man, according to this parable, expends no labor in tillage of the soil, but the “seed” begins to grow as the result of the earth “bringing forth fruit of herself.” Likewise, when Christ’s Epiphaneia occurs (2 Tim. 4:1), the Kingdom of God begins to grow, develop, and spread, all in the absence of human hands, or toil. Just like the natural outcome of seed being scattered into the earth—it takes root, a shoot emerges by opening up the soil which produces a “blade,” then an “ear,” and “after that the full corn in the ear.”
THE EARTH BRINGS FORTH FRUIT OF HERSELF
This statement is an emphatic acknowledgement that just as the growth of a seed into a “full corn in the ear” is accomplished without the help of man, so will the Kingdom come into being without the help of man. A seed planted in the earth exerts energy and power which causes it to germinate. This energy and power to germinate is an unseen force of nature.
Notice four different translations of Mark 4:29:
All by itself the soil produces grain—NIV.
The earth yields crops by itself—NKJV.
The soil produces crops by itself—NAS.
The earth produces of itself—RSV.
When this present dispensation gives way to the coming dispensation of the Kingdom (2 Tim. 4:1), there will begin to be unseen spiritual forces at work—shaping world-events which will bring to fruition the Kingdom of God. Hence, the seed growing unseen is an analogy of the Divinely directed spiritual forces setting the world-stage for the growth and development of God’s Kingdom, as if they were the results of the natural progression of political events.
This parable portrays the Kingdom developing through stages of growth: (1). the blade stage, (2). the ear stage, and (3). the full corn in the ear stage. Some teachers believe that stage 1, and some even teach that stage 2 took place during the Book of Acts. We are unable to embrace this based upon our present understanding. We still believe that the saints during The Acts of the Apostles only had a foretaste of the coming Kingdom of God (Heb. 6:4-5).
However, the initiated, or enlightened during this future eon will discern “the Hand of God” shaping the events which will produce the full-blown Kingdom [Reign] of God. In plainer words, it will be the Outcome of the Work of God. The emphasis is upon the fact that man does not, nor will not, have the capacity to bring-in the Kingdom upon the earth! Some schools of Theological thought, such as Dominion Theology and other off-shoots of amillennial positions, insist the church will bring about the successful conversion of the world and will rule as the “triumphant Church.” Sad !!! No room for Christ in this theology.
THE KINGDOM APPEARS WITHOUT HUMAN ASSISTANCE
A reading of Daniel Chapter Two provides a snap-shot of the mystifying growth of the Kingdom of God (Mark 4:26-29).The second chapter of Daniel concerns the forgotten dream of King Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel’s explanation of it to the king. Daniel explains to the king what he, the king, had seen in his forgotten dream. He saw an “awesome” image/statue of a man whose head was of pure gold, and the rest of the image’s body was of silver, brass, iron, and clay. But, in the interpretation of the dream, there was seen a “stone” which represented the growing and spreading of the Kingdom of God.
“Thou [Nebhadnezzar] sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth”
The “Stone” will be the Kingdom of Israel, which will be “cut out without hands,” means that humans will not be the instruments of its existence—it will be an act of God. The “Stone” becomes a “great Mountain.” A mountain, in Scripture, is often a figure, or type of “government.” So, the “Stone” becomes a great Government and will fill the “whole earth.” And, as such, will be the world-wide Reign of God over the earth.
We should additionally note:
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people [Gentiles], but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it [the Kingdom of God] shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the Stone was cut out of the mountain without hands [an act of God], and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure” (Dan. 2:44-45).
When the Kingdom Dispensation is ushered in, Gentile Monarchs will rule the world, under Christ (Isa. 42:1-4), while the “Stone” is being cut-out “of the mountain.” The Kingdom of Israel starts out in the beginning of the Kingdom Dispensation as a small, insignificant nation-state, but it grows and spreads, man “knoweth not how.” It becomes a great “Mountain” [Government] which seems to appear as the outcome of normal geo-political-spiritual affairs of the world at the time. Those of us who are members of the Church over which Christ is the Head, as well as, the Old and New Testament saints who are living again in resurrection will see the Invisible Hand of God as He orchestrates, through His Spiritual Authorities, the new “course of this world” (Eph. 2:2).
In consideration of the phrase, as found in Mark 4:29, “But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he [the man in the parable] putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.” We believe the “harvest” does not refer to the “harvest” at the consummation of the Kingdom, to wit, Christ’s Parousia, but rather, to the harvest which is to be reaped when the “Stone” strikes the clay feet of the image of Daniel Two. The pulverization of the statue-image marks the ascendancy of Israel’s Kingdom to that of a world-wide Kingdom of God which shall never be destroyed.
The mystifying growth of the Kingdom of God begins when Jesus Christ begins judging the quick and the dead at His Appearing [Epiphaneia] and His Kingdom (2 Timothy 4:1). The growth and coming of the Kingdom, during the Day of Jesus Christ, comes “without observation” (Luke 17:20). Neither will people say, “‘Here it is,’ or “‘There it is’” (Luke 17:21). The Kingdom springs, and grows up, but men “knoweth not how” (Mark 4:27).
Tom L. Ballinger
From Plainer Words
The Mystifying Growth Of The Kingdom
Posted in: 2007
By Tom L. Ballinger
Mar 13, 2008 - 4:34:35 AM
Mar 13, 2008 - 4:34:35 AM
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