“I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old…” ~Psalms 78:2
New Testament Fulfillment:
All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.” ~Matthew 13:34-35
It is interesting that the Old Testament describes the actual teaching style of the Messiah. He will speak plainly to those who are earnestly seeking Him; but to those who do not have a sincere heart after God, He will teach by parables. This is the prophecy of Psalms 78:12.
The Messiah will teach by the use of Parables—Jesus taught by Parables; therefore, He is the Messiah.
A Parable is an eternal truth that is hidden in an illustration of something that is well-known and familiar to most people in their everyday life. These commonly understood stories, such as how seeds are planted and grow, hide a truth of infinite value. It was by this method of teaching that Jesus identified Himself as the object of this 125th prophecy.
For the casual listener, the Parables that Jesus taught were perceived as only simple stories. If, however, the listener continued to ponder and search out the deeper meaning, they could discover a spiritual truth that Jesus had hidden within.
A Parable Is An Earthly Illustration Of A Heavenly Truth
A person who came to be fed or healed by Jesus might listen to the Parables and not give them much thought. There were, however, some who came to Jesus not for what they could receive materially but for riches that were perceived in the deep spiritual and eternal knowledge that Jesus possessed. Paul wrote to the church at Colosse, that hidden within Jesus are all the treasures of all wisdom and knowledge.
…Jesus, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. ~Colossians 2:2-3
As the parable was spoken, there was a choice to be made—either to ponder the deeper meaning of what was being said or to walk away perplexed and uninterested. It is true of the human heart that when it comes to spiritual matters, most people are really not that interested. When many people hear a story or illustration from the Bible, very often they could care less about the deeper meaning. For some who have a genuine heart to know who God is—when a parable or illustration is recited, an earnest desire springs up to understand the depth of the story.
The teaching of Parables is similar to the teaching of Prophecy. Both require an inquisitive mind, teamed with a willing heart, which are both searching for truth.
Everything that can be known about the word of God comes by careful and diligent study. Verses of scripture must be compared with other verses, along with prayer and a sincere desire to know God, through the revelation of hidden truth. In order to understand the Parables that Jesus taught in the New Testament, the object is not to know the word of God, but to know the God of the word.
The Lord reveals Himself to those who diligently seek Him and who honestly want to know Him and have a relationship with Him.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. ~Hebrews 11:6
And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us… ~Acts 17:26-27
There are 28 Parables found in four Gospels. This is 4 X 7, the number seven being the number of completion. In these 28 parables that Jesus taught, we see a complete explanation of the Kingdom of Heaven.
There are differences of opinion as to exactly how many parables exist in the four Gospels. Some parables, such as the tares and the growing seed, seem to be speaking of the same subject. Under careful examination, these two illustrations are found to be different parables with similar content. It is important to note that these parables were recounted by contrasting witnesses, who each noted and heard different things. This is quite common among eyewitnesses who are present during the same event. Being individual people, they see unique things that others may not have noticed. This does not mean that there is a conflict; in fact, these differences serve to validate the fact that their testimonies are genuine. In cases of fraud, the stories of witnesses will be exact, with no variance. In genuine testimony from a group of eyewitnesses, the testimonies will always have different perspectives and points that were noted by each individual eye witness.
This unique feature of the New Testament is an important validating feature of its authenticity.
Other Parables which appear similar, but are in fact—different are: The Wedding of the King’s Son, The Great Supper, The Talents, and the Minas.
When I examined the different commentaries which have been written for these parables, I found that many writers combined the parables mentioned above, as one. When I examined these Parables afresh, as I hope you will, I noted that they are all different in their content. Although some parables appear similar, they contain different language. The fact that a different writer is describing these parables indicates that he is recording a different event in which Jesus was describing what the Kingdom of Heaven is like, by an earthly illustration.
Many people confuse Metaphors, Similitudes, and Epigrams, and combine them together as a Parable. For this reason, you may see other commentaries or websites with a list of scriptures that are described as Parables, which are in reality—Metaphors, Similitudes, Epigrams, or Allegories.
- A Parable (Gr. “Parabole) is a short story with a beginning, plot, and ending.
- A Metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action, which it is not literally applicable. You are the salt of the earth, is not a Parable.
- A Similitude is the quality or state of being, similar to something else, or a comparison between two things; for example; yeast or leaven in flour.
- An Epigram is a pithy saying or remark expressing an idea in a clever and amusing way: Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes?
- An Allegory is a story, poem, or picture, that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning; typically with a moral or political significance. An Allegory is an extended Metaphor that uses a story or event, even mythical or supernatural, to illustrate a point: Pilgrim’s Progress is an allegory of the spiritual journey of those seeking God.
The following is list of true Parables, in my opinion, that are found in the New Testament—predicted by this 125th Old Testament Prophecy from Psalms 78:1-2:
The purpose of the Parables:
Mark 4:10-12, 4:33-34
1. The Sower
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
Mark 4:3-9, 13-20
2. The Tares
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
3. The Growing Seed
4. The Mustard Seed
5. The Leaven
6. The Hidden Treasure
7. The Pearl of Great Price
8. The Net
9. The Lost Sheep
10. The Unforgiving Servant
11. The workers in the vineyard
12.The Two Sons
13. The Wicked Vinedressers
14. The Wedding of the King’s Son
15. The Great supper
16. The Ten Virgins
17. The Talents
18. The Good Samaritan
19. The Rich Fool
20. The Barren Fig Tree
21. The Wedding Feast
22. The Lost Coin
23. The Prodigal Son
24. The Dishonest Manager
25. The Rich Man and Lazarus
26. The Persistent Widow
27. The Pharisee and the Tax Collector
28. The Minas
For a detailed explanation of each of these Parables, see Prophecy 126.
Jesus wrote to each of the seven churches in the Book of Revelation, chapters 1 and 2. It may be surmised from history, that each of these seven churches also fulfilled a particular period of church history as detailed below:
- Ephesus: The First Church, founded on the 12 Apostles, 32 A.D.
- Smyrna: The Church in which 5 million believers were killed, 100 A.D.
- Pergamos: The Compromising church, 313 A.D.
- Thyatira: The Catholic Church, 600 A.D.
- Sardis: The Protestant Church, 1517 A.D.
- Philadelphia: The True Church, 1649 A.D.
- Laodicea: The Lukewarm Church, 1900 A.D.
As we examine the following seven Kingdom Parables spoken by Jesus, there is a stunning resemblance between each of these, to, the seven churches of the Book of Revelation, chapters 2-3.
- The Sower: Ephesus-The Apostolic Church.
- The Tares: Smyrna-The Persecuted Church.
- The Mustard Seed: Pergamos-Marriage to the World.
- The Woman/Leaven: Thyatira-The Papacy in the ancient world.
- The Treasure: Sardis-Denominationalism/Dead Orthodoxy.
- The Pearl: Philadelphia-The missionary church, expectation of Jesus’ appearing.
- The Dragnet: Laodicea-The apostate 20th century Church.
The Sower/Ephesus: Church of the Apostles
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23-The Spreading of the Word.
Matthew 13:23 “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
The Tares/Smyrna: Martyred Church
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43-The Enemy from within.
Matthew 13:24-25 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.
The Mustard Seed /Pergamos: Compromising Church
Matthew 13:31-32-Begins small, unnatural growth.
Matthew 13:31-32 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”
The Leaven/Thyatira: Catholic Church
Matthew 13:33-Hidden sin within.
Matthew 13:33 Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”
The Hidden Treasure/Sardis: Protestant Church
Matthew 13:44-Open Door, treasure within.
Matthew 13:44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
The Pearl of Great Price/Philadelphia: The True Church
Matthew 13:45-46-Jesus gives all He has for it.
Matthew 13:45-46 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
The Net/Laodicea: Lukewarm Church
Matthew 13:47-50-The end of the age, church.
Matthew 13:49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just…
Finally, Paul wrote thirteen epistles. Three have two books: 1-2 Timothy, 1-2 Thessalonians. Subtracting one from each, we have ten letters. Three of these are letters specific to pastors, not to the church itself. This leaves us with seven letters to seven churches. These seven letters are amazingly similar to the seven churches of the Book of Revelation.
- Ephesus: Ephesians (Jesus as the head of the church).
- Smyrna: Philippians (finding joy through suffering).
- Pergamos: Corinthians (compromising with the world).
- Thyatira: Galatians (full of love and sin).
- Sardis: Romans (salvation by faith).
- Philadelphia: Thessalonians (Church of the Rapture).
- Laodicea: Colossians (instructed to exchange letters with Laodicea).
These incredible similarities between seven churches and the seven letters Paul wrote to specific churches are not present in the Scriptures by happenstance. There are no accidents in the Bible—only “God incidents.” The Holy Spirit designed the parables that would be spoken by the coming Messiah, with clear parallels to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation, as well as the seven churches which Paul addressed in his epistles to these churches.
Jesus claimed that He was the object of this 125th Old Testament prediction. Out of His mouth, He would speak parables to the multitudes and reveal the mystery of the church that was hidden in the Old Testament.
Matthew 13:34-35 All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.”