Parables of a Field

By C. Elden McNabb

One day Jesus went out of the house where He was staying, and sat down by the sea side.  Multitudes of people began to gather unto him.  So Jesus went into a ship and sat down; and the whole multitude stood on the shore, and He began to speak to them with parables, beginning in Matthew 13:3 and finishing in verse fifty two.

Those seven parables are carefully positioned by the writer so we can readily grasp the fact that all of them are about events which God intended to develop in Christianity between the ministry of Jesus Christ and His second coming.  The first, second, fifth, and seventh parables are about the Kingdom of God in “the field;” a term Jesus used figuratively for “the world.”  The seventh one is similar to the other three, but Jesus treats the subject in the precept of fish, good and bad.  It is comparable to the “tares and the wheat.”

The third, fourth, and sixth parables in this sequence are more specifically about the Church in the midst of the Kingdom of God.

In the first parable Jesus spoke of a man who went forth sowing seed.  The seed which fell on good soil produced fruit, “some a hundred fold, some sixty fold, and some thirty fold.”  Then He challenged us to listen carefully to His words, and to really hear them and know what they meant (Matt. 13:1-9).

Later the disciples approached Him with the question, “Why do you speak to them in parables?”  Then Jesus, at some length, revealed the amazing truth of the matter.  He was using a manner of speaking which would hide the truth of “the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven” from “the wise and prudent,” but reveal it to babes: the wise hearted among the righteous (Matt. 13:10-17).  Unto this day, most ministers, with their flocks, have not been able to perceive “the church in the kingdom.”  They erroneously advocate, rather, that the Kingdom of God is the Church.  A careful study of these seven parables will help us to understand this great truth.  However, not all of us are, as sleuths, trying to unravel the mysteries.  Nor should we be.  That responsibility is given solely to the ministers who have been given the gifts of Apostle and Prophet (Eph. 3:1-5).  In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul explained how that works.  He said that God divided the gifts individually to every man personally, to every man to profit withal.

As Jesus continued, He proceeded to explain the meaning of the first parable which He had told them.  The mystery of the parable became relatively easy to understand, because Jesus explained it.  As it is written, “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever” (Deut. 29:29).  However, there is a point or two in that parable which could still use some explaining.

In that first parable, Jesus is speaking of the effect of the preaching of the gospel.  He is showing us that there would be at least three different kinds of Christians, as concerns fruitfulness, which the word of God would produce among all those who would believe the gospel until Jesus comes back (Matt. 13:18-23). 

The second parable He put forth unto them was about the development of Christianity from its beginning unto its end.  He said, “The kingdom of Heaven is likened unto a man, which sowed good seed in his field: but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.  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” (Matt 13:24-30).

Jesus told this “parable of the tares,” then told a couple other parables (Matt. 13:31-33), followed by a much-needed explanation of what His parables are.  The writer said, “All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: 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 (Matt. 13:34-35).

(Apparently we might do well to lighten up about telling people that the parables are written with such simplicity that even the little children in Sunday School can understand them.)

When Jesus had finished explaining the truth about His parables, He sent the multitude away, then, His disciples came and asked Him to explain to them “the parable of the tares of the field.”

“He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 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.  Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.  Who hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 13:37-43).

What simplicity of wisdom in Jesus’ explanation of this parable, yet so rarely understood.  As in the first parable, Jesus did not clearly reveal the meaning of every aspect of the parable.

Herein Jesus described for us the saga of Christianity in “seven aspects” from the beginning of the grace age to the end of it.  The sower: Jesus Christ came and gave us the truth of the gospel to sow in the world; providing us with the wonder of the born-again experience.  Many believed: the good seed, and the glory of God was manifested in the Church which He built, with Peter’s help, and of the rest no man dared join himself to the Church of the twelve Apostles: but the people magnified them.  And multitudes were added to the Lord, both of men and women (John 21:15-17, 20-22; Acts 5:13-14).

By early in the second century A.D., as the fire of that glorious manifestation became dimmer and dimmer, Satan was already sowing his tares.  The church in Rome sank into the idolatry which we know as Catholicism, and that darkness caused the gospel message to stagnate in Europe.  For more than a thousand years, the gospel did not go to the western hemisphere.  However, near the very end of the fifth millennium from Adam, the Eastern Orthodox version did finally reach Moscow, Russia, and in the 14th century, missions of the Roman church were established in eastern China.

In the beginning of the 17th century, when the time began to come near when Jesus would send forth His reapers to the harvest, the gospel began to be brought to a place in the western hemisphere, [now known as the United States of America], where He could “Raise up again the Tabernacle of David which is broken down; and build again the ruins thereof, and set it up: that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord who doeth all these things” (Acts 15:15-18).

Jesus did not tell us in this parable when the harvest was to occur, nor does He say how much time He has allotted for it, but all of that is prophesied of in other scriptures.

“The Tabernacle of David,” which James mentioned in Acts 15, was the Jewish Church in the first century A.D.  Jude stated clearly that, in the time of his leadership of the Church, certain men had slipped into the Church unnoticed, who corrupted the purity of the message of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.  In the process, “The Tabernacle of David:” The Church of God was “broken down.”  A diluted Christianity continued into the “Dark Ages,” and out again, with new vigor, in the Protestant “Reformation.”  But the Church would have to be “Raised up again, at the last day,” that is, during the time of harvest, which is a fifty-year-long event prophesied of by the fifty-year Jubilee cycle (Matt. 13:38; John 6:39; see verses 5-14-39; Lev. 25:1-10).

In John 6, during the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus commanded the twelve Apostles to “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.”  They did, “and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves.”  According to both Matthew and Mark, Jesus performed another miracle in which He took seven loaves, and fed four thousand people, after which they took up seven baskets full of fragments.  These are prophetic miracles.  By these miracles, Jesus told us that He would raise up His Church again, “At the last day,” in the “time of harvest,” among the Gentiles, and therefore “should lose nothing.”  He is specifically telling us that it will have the offices of the Twelve Apostles, and Seven Men of Wisdom, just as the Jewish Church had in its time. 

Jesus continued His series of parables about the Church and the Kingdom of God, saying, “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.”

And Jesus said, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

These two parables reveal the distinction between the Elect of God and the rest of the redeemed.  Jesus bought the whole world, and issued an offer unto all who would believe.  As it is written, “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”

But what Jesus was especially working and sacrificing for was the Bride the Lamb’s wife (Exodus 19:3-5; Rev. 21:2-10).  Therefore, in the process, He also “purchased the Church of God with His own blood” (Acts 20:28).

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.

“So shall it be at the end of the world: 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.”

“Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord.  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” (Matt. 13:44-52).

The time is short, and in a very short time God will fulfill the words of Paul in Romans 2:6-11.  He said, that God would “Render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life … glory,  honor, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: for there is no respect of person with God.”  He also said the same thing to the disobedient, saying, “But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, [He will give His] indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile.

Everything that happened to the Jews in judgment and in glory will also happen to Gentile Christianity very soon.  The nations of the world are, at this moment, finalizing the formation of the one world government.  It is no more clearly shown that in the fact that, since October 1, 08, the U.S. Homeland Security has been mobilized with military troops together with another of the G-Ten of the U.N.: Canadian military.

I believe we can now expect, with confidence, that stopping the religious activities of the Christian community will be one of the first things on their agenda. The enemy will not be able to win against “The Lamb,” and they that are with Him [who] are called, and chosen and faithful (Rev. 17:12-14), but they will stand long enough to punish wayward Christianity; coming in “like a flood” to destroy that religion which they do so despise (Isaiah 59:19).

Would God allow that to happen?  God has not changed.  After 2,000 years, He destroyed Israel in A.D. 70, except for those few who believed.  God has now given the Gentiles nearly 2,000 years, and He is almost ready to destroy all of Christianity who do not believe the truth, and do not go into the wedding before the door is shut.

Natural Israel did not get by with their idolatry, and their adultery, or the other various evils which they practiced against the true God.  Neither will we Gentiles, who became a part of spiritual Israel, escape the day of the Lord’s wrath which even now is hastening upon us.

The days are evil, “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed” (Romans 13:11).                              

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