The purpose and intent of this site is twofold:

1. Share the Word of God as found in the Bible.

2. Comment on current events as they relate to Bible prophecy

Monday, January 26, 2015

Visualizations Of The Kingdom Of God


The Seeds of the Kingdom:  Good and Bad
Matthew 13:24-30 NET  He presented them with another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a person who sowed good seed in his field.  (25)  But while everyone was sleeping, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.  (26)  When the plants sprouted and bore grain, then the weeds also appeared.  (27)  So the slaves of the owner came and said to him, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Then where did the weeds come from?'  (28)  He said, 'An enemy has done this.'so the slaves replied, 'Do you want us to go and gather them?'  (29)  But he said, 'No, since in gathering the weeds you may uproot the wheat with them.  (30)  Let both grow together until the harvest. At harvest time I will tell the reapers, "First collect the weeds and tie t hem in bundles to be burned, but then gather the wheat into my barn."
The enemy can either be Satan or false teachers energized by Satan or demons.  It can also be someone who distorts the gospel of the Kingdom. According to sources, darnel or wild wheat and domestic wheat look exactly alike until they bear fruit. The wild seed has a dark grain, while edible wheat has a light brown grain.  The farmer ordered the harvesters to delay the separation of the wheat and darnel (weeds).  I have read that the roots of the grain and darnel are so intertwined that it is virtually impossible to pull up one without uprooting the other.  The same difficulty will appear in human separation and intervention.  It is not always possible for a person to distinguish the saved from the unsaved – only God has that ability, therefore He will do the separating.

There is no way for humans to entirely know the hearts of other humans.  One of Satan's most effective schemes is religious activity.  People appear to be spiritual but they are inwardly not.  The wheat and tares look alike, but time reveals the difference. Many people are fooled by religious appearances masquerading as true spirituality.  Only the grace of God can help believers understand the fakery and resist error.

Satan is not able to uproot the true wheat (Christians) so he plants counterfeits among them.  The good seed is the Word of God but in this parable the good seed represents true believing Christians.  The field is not necessarily human hearts but is the world of the Kingdom of God.  When a true believer is planted, Satan plants a counterfeit.  The churches have many counterfeit “Christians” with a counterfeit gospel.  At the end of the age there will be a counterfeit Christ known as the beast or man of sin.  We must work against Satanic influences and expose the lies of false gospels, but we must also sow the Word of God and bear fruit in the place where He has planted us.

God will gather the tares together and burn them at the end of the age.  It is difficult to tell the false from the true today, but the angels will separate them and place them into the lake of fire.

The kingdom of God (heaven) designated by the church is not going to be a perfect representation.  That which is not true, that which is not genuine, that which is false will arise within the Church, that is, the tares will be there with the wheat.

The Great Mustard Tree
Matthew 13:31-32 NET  He gave them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field.  (32)  It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest garden plant and becomes a tree, so that the wild birds come and nest in its branches."

The mustard seed is a small garden seed and a relatively small leafy plant.  The Kingdom of God began with one man, Jesus, sowing the seed in the garden of Judea.  However, this normally modest plant becomes a great tree.  It grew bigger than what it really is intended to be.  This depicted parabolic mustard plant has an abnormal growth until it resembles a tree or a world empire.  The end of the age tree has little reference to its beginnings as a humble plant.  Its vastness and lack of true substance now allows wild birds to make their homes within it.

The wild birds represent Satan and his demons with their untrue versions of the gospel.  Its complex organization with many branches is filled with organizations that do not represent the Kingdom of God.  It has become an abnormal forced thing of man, not representative of the true righteous kingdom of heaven, and it will become a shelter for all kinds of evil purposes, as the church has been used today as a shelter for all kinds of evil purposes.

Some make this parable teach the worldwide success of the Gospel. But that would contradict what Jesus taught earlier. If anything, the New Testament teaches a growing decline in the ministry of the Gospel as the end of the age draws near.

So here the Lord forewarned the disciples that during His absence the kingdom would experience a phenomenal growth. They should not be deceived nor equate growth with success. It would be an unhealthy growth. Though the tiny seed would become an abnormal tree, its largeness would become “a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird” as the end of the age mystery, Babylon.

He shouted with a powerful voice: "Fallen, fallen, is Babylon the great! She has become a lair for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detested beast.
(Revelation 18:2 NET)

The Flour and the Yeast
Matthew 13:33 NET  He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of flour until all the dough had risen." 

This parable has been interpreted in two diametrical opposite ways:

(1)  The Incorrect Interpretation:  The yeast is the gospel of the Kingdom or the Church as it starts very small but gradually develops and grows until it influences the whole world for good.  In agreement with this thesis the Utley Commentary says:  In the OT yeast was often a symbol of evil, but here it was an obvious symbol of the pervasiveness and growth of the Kingdom of God.  In disagreement the Chuck Smith Commentary states:  As I look at the world today, I cannot honestly rejoice for the tremendous effect that the world has received from the influence of the church. I look at a sick world; a world that seems to me is getting sicker every day. I have difficulty with that particular interpretation.

(2)  The Correct Interpretation:  The use of leaven in the New Testament is an unhealthy ingredient and is symbolic of sin and/or evil.

Three measures of meal was the exact amount customarily used in a grain offering to God, and leaven (which always is a picture of evil and sin in the Bible) has absolutely no place in a grain offering.  The idea of hiding leaven in three measures of meal would have offended any observant Jew. This would certainly not be a picture of the church gradually influencing the entire world for good.

The mustard seed of the previous parable illustrates the false outward expansion of the kingdom, while the leaven illustrates the inward development of false doctrine and false living. Throughout the Bible, leaven is a symbol of evil. It had to be removed from the Jewish homes during Passover (see Exodus 12:15-19; 13:7).

Bread made without yeast must be eaten for seven days; no bread made with yeast shall be seen among you, and you must have no yeast among you within any of your borders.  (Exodus 13:7 NET)

Yeast (or leaven) was excluded from the sacrifices (Exodus 34:35), with the exception of the loaves used at the Feast of Pentecost (Leviticus 23:15-21).

Jesus used leaven to picture:  hypocrisy;

Meanwhile, when many thousands of the crowd had gathered so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.  (Luke 12:1 NET)

False teaching;

Then they understood that he had not told them to be on guard against the yeast in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
(Matthew 16:12 NET)

Paul used leaven to picture carnality in the church (1Corinthians 5:6-8) and false doctrine (Galatians 5:9).  Sin is like leaven (yeast): It quietly grows, it corrupts, and according to Paul, it “puffs up” (KJV) or makes one arrogant (NET).

Some have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord is willing, and I will find out not only the talk of these arrogant people, but also their power.  (1 Corinthians 4:18-19 NET)

 It would seem that making the growth of the leaven a picture of the spread of the Gospel throughout the world would violate the meaning of this important symbol. It would also contradict the other parables concerning yeast.
Satan has worked hard to introduce false doctrine and false living into the ministry of the Word of God. From the very early days of the church, true believers have battled false doctrine and hypocrisy.

The kingdom of God (heaven) began with the sowing of the Word of God in the hearts of men. Much of the seed did not bear fruit; but some was fruitful. Satan opposed the work of God by sowing counterfeit Christians, by encouraging a false growth, and by introducing false doctrine.

No comments:

Post a Comment