One of the problems that people have with understanding the Messianic Scriptures which are applicable to Jesus, is in seeing the hidden meanings and dual fulfillments of scriptures from the Old Testament.
In Isaiah 6, the prophet sees the Lord high and lifted up on His throne with the train of His robe filling the temple. He hears the voice of the Lord ask of him, “whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”
Isaiah responds, “Here am I, Send Me.”
This is followed by a word from the Lord in the form of a prophecy which is written for the future Jesus as the Messiah. How do we know this? First read the words of Isaiah 6:9-10:
And He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ “Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed.” ~Isaiah 6:9-10
Later in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus references this prophecy from Isaiah 6:9-10, in describing the hearts of people who hear His words but cannot see or hear what He is saying.
And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.’ ~Matthew 13:14-15
In this we see the duality of Messianic Prophecy where there is a local application, such as with Isaiah where God is sending him to Israel to warn of Judgment and to turn to the Lord, but also the later application to Jesus as the Messiah. Here in Matthew 13, Jesus has entered a boat at the Sea of Galilee to speak to the multitudes of people. He teaches by use of Parables, also a calling card of the Messiah.
The disciples ask Jesus why He teaches in this manner instead of just telling the people plainly what He means.
Jesus’ response is that most people who hear what He says, are not interested in salvation or gaining knowledge of God. The Parable was intended by Jesus as a way of teaching where the serious seeker would hear the story and seek the deeper meaning. Those who are not really interested in God or His word, will hear the story, and not try to understand what it means. They will turn away and go on with their life.
When God Hides Himself
An often unknown principle of God is that He only reveals Himself to those who are diligently seeking Him. God created the universe as a visible representation of His existence. By it we see and understand how mighty He is and that nothing is impossible for Him. We see His love for us in that He made this beautiful planet for us to enjoy which has everything we need for a happy and satisfying life.
In spite of His visible existence being understood by what He has made, people still insist that all we see is an accident and fail to give God recognition or even to thank Him for all He has given to us.
After Jesus taught the masses of people by parables and the disciples asked Him why He taught in this manner, Jesus revealed that only those who “have” a desire to know God can receive continued revelation of Him. To those who “does not have” a desire to know God, or seek to ridicule Him or assert that He does not exist, He hides Himself from these persons.
And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. ~Matthew 13:10-13
Jesus speaks of “the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,” as one of the things that God only reveals to those who are close to Him and seeking greater knowledge of Him. These “mysteries,” are the μυστήριον mystērion in the Greek language. These are formerly hidden principles that can only be known if God chooses to reveal them to us.
The Eleven Mysteries Revealed By Scripture:
- The mysteries of the kingdom of heaven (Mt. 13:3-50);
- The mystery of Israel’s blindness during this age (Rom. 11:25);
- The mystery of the Rapture at the end of this age (1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Th. 4:13-17);
- The mystery of the New Testament Church as one body made up of Jews and Gentiles (Eph. 3:1-12; Rom. 16:25; Eph. 6:19; Col. 4:3);
- The mystery of the Church as the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:23-32);
- The mystery Christ living in each believer (Gal. 2:20; Col. 1:26-27);
- The mystery of God, living in the body of a man, in whom all the divine wisdom for man exists (1 Cor. 2:7; Col. 2:2,9);
- The mystery of how God will restore man to be like God again (1 Tim. 3:16);
- The mystery of sin (2 Th. 2:7; compare Mt. 13:33);
- The mystery of the seven stars (Rev. 1:20); and
- The mystery of Babylon (Rev. 17:5,7).
The world does not know nor understand any of these mysteries as they are only revealed and understood by those who have been born again by the Spirit of God and have had these principles revealed to them. Anyone can read these things, but not everyone can understand what they mean. This is an artifact of the new life that begins once a person commits their life to Jesus Christ. Upon salvation, God opens the mind of the believer to understand these mysteries; who God is, and how He is working in the world today. The unbeliever cannot know these things, nor understand them. In fact, these mysteries are seen as “foolishness” to the unsaved.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. ~1 Corinthians 1:18
By blinding the eyes of those who scorn God, He Hides Himself and makes it impossible for those who oppose Him to discern His existence and the mysteries of His word.
The Existence Of False Believers In The World
As Jesus teaches and explains the parables which described the kingdom of heaven, He includes the stunning news that alongside the true believers in Jesus, satan will distribute false believers.
In Matt. 13:4, 19, Jesus describes the unseen enemy that is present on the earth constantly working against those who seek to make Jesus known to the world. By Jesus’ parables we learn that satan uses the counterfeit to distract the world from the true. Alongside true believers in Jesus, satan plants false Christians, creates an unnatural growth in the church and inserts false doctrine into the world.
The Parable Of The Wheat And The Tares
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. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’ ” ~Matthew 13:24-30
In verses 24-30 and 36-43, Jesus defines these false Christians as “Tares.” Since it is impossible for satan to uproot the true Christian, he plants next to them, the counterfeit believer. These counterfeits look and sound just like the true Christian and it is impossible to tell them apart. They are so close in resemblance to the true, that Jesus said the true believers should not seek to discover who they are and remove them. This separation between the true and counterfeit will be done by the angels at the conclusion of Jesus return to earth. See: “The Parable Of The Wheat And The Tares,” below.
The Parable of the Tares Explained
Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! ~Matthew 13:36-43
One of the views of the “seed” that Jesus describes, is that these are the true believers who genuinely trust Jesus as their Savior. The Field is the world. Jesus is saying that He is planting true believers in the world so that they can bear the good fruit of leading others to Him (John 12:23-26).
Those who are truly saved should understand that wherever Jesus sows true believers, satan sows a counterfeit (2 Corinthians. 11:15). These individuals believe in a counterfeit gospel (Galatians. 1:6-9). They teach a counterfeit righteousness (Romans. 10:1-3), and create a counterfeit church (Revelation. 2:9).
During the seven year Tribulation, a counterfeit christ will emerge (2 Thessalonians. 2:1-12). Those who sincerely trust in Jesus must constantly be aware of those who are sent by satan into the fellowship of believers for the purpose of creating havoc, confusion, and disunity. They are known by the confusion and conflicts they create (2 Peter 2; 1 John 4:1-6).
Jesus said that when the true believers become so comfortable in their church and personal life that they are “asleep,” this is when satan is at work. The Christian church today is fast asleep and unaware of what is happening due to its massive growth and success all over the world.
Jesus said that it is not the task of the true believer to discover who these false believers are and remove them, but to continue to plant true believers.
The Parable Of The Mustard Seed
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.” ~Matthew 13:31-32
The Smallest Seed Which Becomes A Tree
In verses 31-32, we see that something which cannot become large, a mustard seed, grows unnaturally by the work of satan, into a much larger than normal tree. We can understand the nature of this tree by what comes to sit in its branches, the “birds of the air.”
In Matthew 13:19, Jesus gave us the definition for who these “bird” are:
“When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.“
In Daniel 4:12 and Ezekiel 17:23, we learn that the tree is a representation of a world power. Today, for the first time in the history of the world, we see the megachurch. These are gatherings of many thousands of believers from where a great number of those who attend are false believers, sitting in the branches of this abnormally large tree. Pastors of these churches and the members are delighted by the large numbers of people who attend but at the same time, they should understand that they have with them, many who will work to undermine and disrupt the good work that is being accomplished.
The Leaven, False Doctrine
Jesus defines one of the primary works of the false believer as false doctrine. We see this today by those who have entered the Christian church but bring with them a worldly view and insistence upon acceptance of the lifestyle choices of every person. There are many Christian churches today who embrace same-sex couples and teach from the pulpit that God accepts these persons, despite the massive number of scriptures which strictly prohibit this practice.
The Parable Of The Leaven
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.” ~Matthew 13:33
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
The Leaven in the mind of the Jew was an illustration of sin which must be purged from the church, home, and life of the believer. We see this in the scriptures which describe the removal of leaven during the feast of Passover (Ex. 12:15-19; 13:7). Leaven was excluded from the sacrifices (Ex. 34:25), except for the loaves used at the Feast of Pentecost (Lev. 23:15-21).
Jesus describes leaven as hypocrisy in the church, (Luke 12:1), false teaching (Matthew 16:6-12), and compromise with the world (Matt. 22:16-21).
Paul spoke of leaven as an illustration of carnality in the church (1 Corinthians 5:6-8) and false doctrine (Galatians 5:9).
Leaven is an illustration of sin (yeast) in that it grows undetected, corrupts, and “puffs up” (1 Corinthians 4:18-19; 5:2; 8:1), causing pride.
Today, we see how diligently satan is working in the world to introduce false doctrine and acceptance of formerly abhorrent practices like fornication, adultery, same-sex relationships, and materialism, which is idolatry, as common and acceptable practices in the Christian church. We see the success of satan’s work by the acceptance of the Church in these matters.
It is the historical view of the church Jesus founded that its members stand against these formerly mentioned practices because of what God has already said in His word. We see an complete transformation of this once firm view as we are now in the last days described by scripture in which these sexual practices were predicted to become acceptable (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
We are experiencing an unprecedented move of satan in the world today as he has infiltrated the Christian church with false believers who opposed the work of God by introducing false doctrine.
The Parable Of The Sower Explained
“Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 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.” ~Matthew 13:18-23
This parable starts with the teaching of God’s word, the planting of the seed, which in this case is the word of God as it is planted into the hearts of those who hear it. In this regard, the Word is “living and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12 ).
Contrary to the words that we speak to each other, the words which God has recorded for us are empowered with eternal life. Every person who reads of hears what God has said, can believe and receive the forgiveness of their sins and eternal life. In order for this to take place, the word of God must take root in the heart of those who hear it. The sign that this word has taken productive life in the person is observed by the kind of fruit that results.
Whether in great number or only sparsely seen, it is good fruit that distinguishes the true believer from the false. This fruit is described in various places as “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Those who are sincerely saved walk in their lives by displaying these attributes. If these qualities of the Spirit are not visible, salvation has not taken place. These attributes do not cause salvation but they are the result of salvation. It is not the quantity of the fruit but the quality that is most important, as well as a new and abiding love (Galatians 5:22-26).
When we examine the four types of soils that Jesus describes, He tells us that only one on four will hear the word of Go and go on to bear fruit. The implications of this principle is obvious; one in four will hear about Jesus and go on to be saved. In this context, we understand that in the presence of the Gospels’s preaching, there will not be a large harvest, but a majority will reject Jesus and His offer of salvation.
As we see many multitudes of people who followed Jesus, the majority were not interested in His teaching or offer of eternal life, they simply attended for what they could get from Jesus.
The visible evidence of true salvation is seen in the fruit that comes as a result of hearing about Jesus and receiving Him into the heart of the person. Paul described the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-26, above. Jesus echoed this principle in (Matthew 7:16).
A second preeminent quality of salvation is a burning desire for holiness (Romans 6:22), with the exhibition of character and manner of living that Jesus exhibited (Galatians 5:22-23), the performing good works, (Colossians1:10), telling others about Jesus (Romans 1:13), giving of our resources to further the Gospel (Romans 15:25-28), and an attitude and desire to praise and worship God (Hebrews 13:15).
By the parable of the soils that Jesus taught, we see that it is possible to believe upon Him and not be saved (James 2:18-20). Even the demons believe in Jesus but they remain unsaved. It is what we do with our life after we believe that matters. The fruit of the Spirit is the only visible proof which demonstrates that we have truly been born again of the Spirit.
It must also be stated that the exhibition of fruit must be maintained for the entire life of the believer and they must abide with Jesus to the very end, if they will be saved.
The Parable Of The Hidden Treasure
“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. ~Matthew 13:44
Israel, The Hidden Treasure
Throughout the history of the world, God has intended a wonderful future for the Jews and their nation. After Jesus informed the leaders of Israel that their nation would be left desolate and Titus fulfilled Jesus words, just 38 years later, more than one million Jews were disbursed all over the known world. Because Israel is God’s treasure, the nation was reborn on May 14, 1948.
Despite God’s care for nearly 2,000 years, the Jews today continue to be blind to their Messiah and remain in a state of blindness. All of this will change when Jesus returns at the end of the seven year Tribulation, when all Israel will be saved.
The common interpretation for this parable by Jesus is that the sinner gives up all he has in order to gain Christ and find salvation. The problem with this view is clear: This makes salvation a matter of works by the one seeking redemption, contrary to the principle of grace through faith. The sinner can do nothing to obtain his salvation except receive Christ’s death as payment for his sins and believe.
Secondly, no one can find Jesus and be saved. Jesus made it very clear that it is He who searches for those who will be saved (Luke 19:10).
In this parable, the treasure is the Jews and the nation of Israel (Ex. 19:5; Ps. 135:4). It was the purpose of God that the Jews would be His representation to the world to make their salvation possible. The nation rejected their Messiah when He came to them and thereby failed to fulfill Gods purpose for them.
It is Jesus that set aside His rights as God and gave up His place in heaven in order to become one of us and die for our sins (John 11:51). On the cross, Jesus died for the whole world, but He also died for Israel (Isaiah. 53:8). Because Israel rejected their Messiah, their true place in the world has been hidden for the time being, but will soon be revealed when Jesus is revealed once again from heaven.
The Parable Of The Pearl Of Great Price
“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.” ~Matthew 13:45-46
The pearl represents the church. This becomes clearer as we understand why Jesus used a pearl to make His point. A pearl grows hidden inside the shell of an oyster by irritation from the outside. A grain of sand becomes lodged inside the clam which causes irritation. Layer upon layer of a liquid coating is placed upon the grain of sand until it is covered with a beautiful perl.
Jesus church grows by irritation from the outside world. Layer upon layer of love and grace by Jesus covers us and slowly makes us into a beautiful jewel. The more we are persecuted, suffer, and go through the trials of life, the more our Lord covers us with His beautiful righteousness. We live within this abiding love and His covering of grace all of our lives. Were it not for what Jesus allows us to suffer through, none of us would ever become His pearls.
Today, the church, is called “the body of Christ,” and is composed of believing Jews and Gentiles (Ephesians. 2:11.). We are not carved out as with diamonds and other gems but grow gradually by grace. Like the pearl which is hidden in the oyster, the world cannot see what the Lord is doing in us or who we are. On the day that we return with Jesus to earth, the world will see who we really are as we come to rule and reign with Him.
In the books of Daniel (7:1-3;) and Revelation (13:1; 17:15) Jesus church is seen as hidden amongst the nations and being prepared for a kingdom that will begin upon Jesus’ return.
Despite satan’s attempts at disrupting Jesus’ church and its influence upon the world, our Lord is always at work forming us and shaping each person into their particular stone in the total building of God. Jesus set aside His rights as God, according to Ephesians 2:6-11, and gave all He had to purchase us as His Bride. We are the Pearl of Great Price.
The Parable Of The Dragnet
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Jesus said to them, “Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” ~Matthew 13:47-52
Our efforts at reaching the whole world with Jesus Gospel will not saved them. We are only His witnesses, it is He who spreads out His Gospels like a great net that gathers in all kinds of fish. There are some good and others bad. The church Jesus birthed with His death and resurrection has always been filled with true and false believers.
I read a book a few years ago by an author who claimed that he was a missionary for many years for Jesus Gospel but finally realized that he could not believe and continue with Him. The truth is, this man was never saved, he was just pretending and going through the motions of serving, without being born again by the Spirit of God and obtaining a new life.
When Jesus returns with His His church, Matthew 25 describes a time when He will separate the nations before Him into sheep and goats. Depending upon how the nations treated Israel and the Jews during the last three and one half years of the Great Tribulation, will determine whether they may enter Jesus’ one thousand year kingdom. Those who helped the Jews, provided food, clothing, shelter and protection will go into the kingdom. The nations which joined the antichrist in persecuting the Jews will be excluded.
When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
“Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” ~Matthew 25:31-46
Those who survive the Tribulation Period but have not taken the mark of the beast or have worshipped his image will be allowed to enter the one thousand year kingdom as mortals. Those who have believed upon Jesus and were taken to heaven to be with Him during the seven year Tribulation, will come with Him again to earth as immortals to reign as kings and priests over the nations.
To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. ~Revelation 1:5-6
And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.” ~Revelation 5:9-10
These two groups will be separated from those who survive the Tribulation during the 45 days after Jesus returns.
These Things Are Hidden From The World
These mysteries of Jesus’ kingdom are not seen or understood by the world. The atheists who rejects Jesus and His word, who fight against Him, will never be able to understand the incredible things that God has prepared for those who love Him.
God does not seek to prove that He exists. He has created this magnificent universe, the earth for us to live upon, and every creature on earth. These are sufficient for any person to know that God exists and then embark on a journey to find and know Him.
While the critics mock those who love God, they exclude themselves from every blessing which God has made for them. By their unwillingness to turn to God and admit that He is Lord, they will remain blind to see, deaf to hear, and unable to enter in.
To those who have pursued God and are trying to know Him, they will find Him and enter into the perfect and beautiful eternal life He made for all those who love Him.
I pray that all who read these words will open their hearts and minds and find the Great God who loves them and has done everything He could possibly do to make Himself known to the world.
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