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Chapter 16 – The Kingdom Parables

And the woman fled into the desert where she has a place prepared by God so that they might nourish her there 1260 days Rev.12:6

          From the time of Constantine, onwards of over a thousand years, the true Church went underground—or, as the above verse says, fled into the wilderness in order to be preserved. What Constantine did was to wed the Church to political power (from which it took over a millennium and a half to disentangle itself) thus ignoring Jesus’ declaration “My kingdom is not of this world.” Jn 18:36. As political power can tolerate no rivals, so also the church engendered by Constantine could permit no competitors. It was now the catholic, universal church, outside of which there was no salvation or recognition. Neither Jews nor other “heretics” were to be tolerated; and that meant anyone who opposed this marriage.

          Many Jewish historians consider the definitive rift between Judaism and Christianity to have dated not from the first century, but from the time of Constantine, for up to then the Jews still considered Christianity a sect of Judaism. Acts 28:22 No less a personage than Israeli diplomat Abba Eban declared this in a TV documentary I have on tape. He asserted that Judaism and the knowledge of the true God, who had revealed Himself through Judaism, was spread throughout the known world by Christians in the first century—thus equating the two.

          It would be well to take time here to outline the history of the Church from the scriptural perspective because Satan has meddled constantly in the Church, having more influence and causing more mischief than most could imagine. Jesus said the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church. He did not say they would not come against the Church, or invade the Church, but they would not prevail against the Church. He expected battle, and He provided His servants weapons with which to fight. In Mt. 13, the seven parables of the kingdom, synonymous here with the Church, tell us much about Satan’s onslaughts against her.

1.     The parable of the sower. One fourth of the seed of the gospel message sown is eaten up immediately by Satan; one half fails to come to fruition by indirect satanic causation. But the remaining fourth grows to maturity and exhibits varying degrees of fruitfulness.

2.     The wheat and the tares. Noxious weeds are sown among the growing wheat by an  enemy: i.e., false Christians are sown into the Church by Satan. To the unskilled, they look like Christians and may even act like Christians, but they are poisonous: they are children of the devil. The servants were instructed not to uproot the weeds because they were so closely intertwined with the wheat as to be indistinguishable. They were capable of tearing out the good with the bad during the uprooting. The matter would be handled at the harvest when the weeds would be gathered out first (during the tribulation) and afterward the fruitful crop (at the rapture.) [This order will be clarified ahead.] Jesus points out specifically that the weeds were sown by Satan and are his sons, sent by him into the Church. The angels will gather out of His kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers and throw them into the furnace of fire.

3.     The grain of mustard seed. Though the tiny seed of the gospel grows into a huge tree, wickedness lodges and makes nests in its branches. The birds spoken of in this case are evil. Rev 18:2; Gen 40:16-19. They nest and breed within the Church.

4.     The leaven. Leaven is always spoken of as corruption. Satan is here portrayed as a woman who hides (conceals) yeast in three measures of flour and it spreads through all the dough. The measure was equal to a third of an ephah: in other words, the three measures equaled one ephah. Note Zech 5:5-11 where the woman, wickedness personified, is sitting inside the ephah. A temple is built for her in Babylon, the source of all false religion. She wreaks much havoc in the Church. She is depicted in Revelation as a woman dressed in purple and scarlet (colors of the false church) riding a scarlet beast.

5.     The hidden treasure. A man discovers a treasure hidden [in a clay jar] in a field. He covers it over and then, joyous, he sells all he has to purchase the field so as to have the treasure. The man is a sinner who comes across the gospel hidden among all the philosophies, learning, pursuits and affairs of the world. In joy over finding such a treasure he gives up everything he has to make the gospel his own. The gospel is before us all the time but some of us can go years without seeing it until that day when the veil is removed, and we find it. We are filled with joy and willingly surrender ourselves (all that we have) in exchange for the riches of Christ 2Cor 4:7; Eph 3:8; Col 1:26-27

6.     The pearl. The kingdom of heaven is likened to a merchant seeking beautiful pearls. Finding one extremely valuable pearl, he left, sold all that he had, and bought it. The merchant is Jesus. He is rich. He deals in jewels. He goes looking for pearls [He came to seek the lost] and finds one of exceeding value [the Church] for which He sells everything [leaves heaven, comes to earth poor, and gives His life’s Blood] in order to purchase it. Acts 20:28

7.     The net. The kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea which gathers every kind of fish. When it is full they are sorted out. The good are kept but the rotten thrown away. Here Jesus gives us another view similar to the tares and wheat. At the close of the age, when the net [the Church] is full, the angels will separate the wicked, who have been mixed in among the righteous, out of the Church. It may be astounding how few righteous remain. Lk 18:8b, Mt 7:14

These seven parables give us insight into many of the conflicts operating within the Church from her inception until the return of Jesus. All of these parables, with the exception of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price, speak specifically of evil mixing in and operating in the midst of the righteous within the Church; and the parable of the hidden treasure implies Satan at work in concealing the gospel. 2Cor. 4:4

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