The Kingdom of Heaven

The Parables of the Kingdom of Heaven

PART ONE
                                                                   By Pastor F. M. Riley
                                                                                                                                   October 15, 2013

     “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 a householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.”
                                                                                                                    Matthew 13:51-52
Introduction

     I have taught and preached on these parables many times over the years in the Lord’s ministry, and have been asked many times to write out an exposition of them.  However, until now I have had neither the time nor the inclination to do so.  But in the last few days I have been made to realize that I am to write out an exposition of these parables.  The truths set forth in these parables have never been more timely, relevant, and needed than they are today.  By God’s grace I willingly obey what I believe to be the leadership of God’s Holy Spirit.  Pray for me as we study together.
     Let’s begin this exposition by defining the subject…..
     THE KINGDOM…..In God’s Word there are several kingdoms mentioned, but in this study we will only deal with those kingdoms which are relevant to the study. 
     There is the literal Kingdom of God in heaven, which “flesh and blood” cannot enter into or inherit, 1 Corinthians 15:50. But there is also the spiritual Kingdom of God upon earth, which every true believer is “born” into by the “new birth,” John 3:3-8.  So there is both a spiritual and a literal aspect to the Kingdom of God. 
     In similar manner there is also the Kingdom of Satan, Matthew 12:26.  Satan rules over a literal kingdom of “principalities and powers…..in the heavenlies,” Ephesians 6:11-12. Yet Satan also directs a spiritual kingdom in this present evil world, which seeks to attack and destroy the minds, hearts, and souls of men, and bring upon mankind eternal destruction, 2 Corinthians 4:4.           
     The term, “the kingdom of heaven,” literally means “the kingdom from heaven,” or “the kingdom bestowed upon mankind from Heaven.”  It refers to the kingdom of God which true believers were instructed to pray for in the model prayer, Matthew 6:10.  It is the promised Kingdom to come prophesied in Daniel 2:44, “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other peoples, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” 
     However, keep in mind that there are also two aspects to this promised kingdom.  Like the  kingdom of God, the “kingdom of heaven”  is both spiritual and literal   At the first coming of Christ, only the spiritual aspect of this promised kingdom was established, Colossians 1:13. At the second coming of Christ the literal kingdom will be established on the earth.  In the four gospels there are Scriptures where “the kingdom of heaven” and “the kingdom of God” are obviously used synonymously, but there are also other Scriptures where the two kingdoms are quite distinct from each other. How does one tell the difference?  A true believer tells the difference in the two kingdoms by prayer and STUDY, 2 Timothy 2:15.   The two kingdoms are sometimes distinct because the King who is to reign and rule over this kingdom was rejected and crucified by His subjects to whom the Kingdom was promised, Luke 19:12-14.  Therefore He ascended back to Heaven to receive authority from Father God Himself to return and take the promised kingdom by force, Luke 19:12; Daniel 7:13-14; Revelation 19:11-21.     The parables which we will be studying speak about the spiritual aspect of “the kingdom of heaven” during this present dispensation.  These parables give to us a good prophetic
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view of what would occur in the kingdom on earth during the Lord’s absence.
     I would also point out that these parables are related to one another in the order of cause and effect.  In other words, one set of events predicted in a parable leads up to another set of events occurring as described in the next parable, etc.  
     THE CHURCH…..There are some today who teach that the “church” and the “kingdom” are one and the same thing.  This is absolutely not Scriptural truth!   The Lord’s church is in the kingdom, but it is not the kingdom, just as the Lord’s church is also in the world, but not of the world, John 15:18-19.  The Lord’s New Covenant churches are promised to reign with Christ over the kingdom, Matthew 25:19-21; Luke 19:15-19; Revelation 1:6; 5:8-10; 20:4.  In fact the inspired Apostle Paul rebuked the Corinthian church for reigning as kings before the appointed time, 1 Corinthians 4:8.  Because the Lord’s churches are in the kingdom during this present dispensation, there are similarities between “the kingdom of heaven” parables and the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2 – 3.  To get the full picture of what was predicted to occur on the earth during this present dispensation while our Lord is bodily absent from the earth, our readers should study both the parables and the church letters together. 
      There are seven of these parables set forth in Matthew 13, then there is one more parable which applies to those who claim to have understood all of the parables, making a total of eight parables in the whole chapter. All of these parables, according to 13:1-3, were spoken to the multitudes on the shore of the sea of Galilee.  These “multitudes” are obviously typical of the masses of humanity, as confirmed by the parables. The Gospel of Christ Jesus is for all humanity.  It is God’s way of revealing His mercy and way of salvation to all of mankind, “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,” 2 Peter 3:9. But keep in mind that the Lord’s disciples were present as the Lord spoke these parables to the multitudes, therefore true believers are also to learn Scriptural truth from these parables. Carefully notice that Christ Himself “interpreted” or explained the symbolism of five of these parables.  It is obvious that Christ Jesus had a fervent desire for people to understand what He was teaching them.  Shouldn’t we who “profess” to be “true believers” have just as fervent a desire to understand these parables in order that we might use them to witness to and warn the lost?  Think about it! 
      Now having made these introductory remarks, let’s turn our attention to an in-depth, diligent study of each of “The Parables of the Kingdom of Heaven.”

The Parable of the Sower

     Matthew 13:1-9; 13:18-23……
    This parable is the first of “the kingdom of heaven” parables, as it rightly should be for this parable deals with “the way of salvation.”  Any genuine relationship with God has to begin with being saved; salvation in Christ.  Compare John 3:3-5 and 14:6.  The importance of this parable is emphasized by  being repeated three times in the Scriptures. See the other two accounts in Mark 4:1-9 and Luke 8:4-8.
 
Four Hearts

     What this parable sets forth is four kinds or types of heart that beat within the breast [or soul] of every human being.  The Lord clearly stated in His explanation of this parable, that the ground in which the “seed” is being sown is “the heart,” Matthew 13:19.  It is still true that God looks upon what is in the heart of men and women, boys and girls, rather than being impressed with their outward appearance, 1 Samuel 16:7; Jeremiah 11:20; 17:9-10.
     [1]  The incorrigible indifferent sinner…..
     “Behold, a sower went forth to sow;  And when He sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:,” 13:4. See also Mark 4:15 and Luke 8:12. 
     When Christ Jesus Himself explained this parable in 13:19, He equated the “hearing of the Word” with the “seed” that was sown “in the heart.” In other words, the heart of man is “the ground” in which the “seed” of the Word is being sown.   In 13:37 Christ explicitly states that He is the One “who
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soweth the good seed.”  When some reader gets “puffed up” about the “great work” they are doing for God, perhaps they need to read again John 15:5.  Without the presence and leadership of Christ, through His Holy Spirit, no believer can accomplish “diddly squat” in the work of the Lord.  Hello!
     The person hearing the Word in this instance is the one who is totally indifferent to the things of God.  They hear the Word with their ears, but it  never penetrates into their heart, because their heart is totally indifferent to the things of God.  Even though the Word is sown in their heart, they pay no attention to it, for they don’t consider it important enough to bother with.  Then the demons [birds of the air] or Satan himself comes and steals out of their minds and hearts even what they have heard.  This parable is speaking of lost people who are confronted with the Word of God, but who have no concern whatsoever about the knowledge of God, Christ, His Word, or the way of salvation.  They are lost in their sin and, barring the direct intervention of God, will remain incorrigible sinners to the day they die.  Take heed! 
      [2]  The hard hearted incorrigible sinner…..
      “Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:  And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away,” 13:5-6.  See also Mark 4:16-17 and Luke
     When the Lord Himself explained this, He explicitly stated that this person hears the Word and suddenly and joyfully, [emotionally] receives this “good news,” yet there is no depth at all to their “profession” and no root connecting them to the Lord God.  These are the kind of hard hearted “professing” Christians who having heard the Word, emotionally reason in their own minds that “joining the church” and/or being baptized will solve all their problems and assure them of a home in Heaven in the hereafter.   They reason that having made a “profession” and “joined the church” they can then float into Heaven on a flowery bed of ease.  But the Lord pointed out that when trials and tribulations arise because of the Word these kinds of people suddenly become offended and are gone, 13:20-21.  See also Mark 4:16-17 and Luke 8:13.   The winds of trials and tribulations just blow them away.  They remain still lost and on their way to eternal damnation.
     Folks, no one gets saved and floats into Heaven on a flowery bed of ease.  Christ Jesus Himself clearly stated, “And He said to them all, if any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me,” Luke 9:23.  Christ also told His disciples, “These things have I spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace.  In the world ye shall have tribulation [trouble]: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world,” John 16:33.  Folks, there is only one purpose for a cross, and that is to suffer and die on.  Notice that the Lord said “daily.”  This means that every morning when you awake, as a true believer your life is to be consecrated to whatever the Lord’s will is for you for the day.  If that means suffering, or even dying, for Christ, then “self” is to be abandoned into the hands of the Lord.  This gets down to the “nitty gritty” of real Bible believing Christianity, and many who want to be identified as “Christians” today have neither the “guts” nor the “grace” to receive this truth.    
     Folks, joining some church in an emotional “high” and making a “profession” is not salvation.  The Lord made it quite clear when speaking of this hard hearted individual, that they had no “root” connection with God.  In essence, regardless of their “profession,” made in an emotional “high,” such people are still lost in their sin and on the road to hell.  While a true salvation experience does touch the heart and emotions of a true believer, there is more to salvation than just an emotional experience.  This is exactly why 2 Corinthians 13:5 and 2 Peter 1:10 is in the Bible.  Take heed!   
     [3]   “And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them,” 13:7.
     When the Lord Himself explained this in 13:22, He explicitly related the “thorns” to “the care of this world,”  “the deceitfulness of riches,” “lusts of other things,” and “pleasures of this life.”  See Mark 4:18-19 and Luke 8:14.  In other words, these are “gods” that are in the heart of this person, and although the person makes a “profession” of being saved, they really value these things more than they value “salvation in Christ.”  Notice that the Lord explicitly states that these “thorns” in their heart spring up and “choke out the Word” so that “the Word” never brings forth “fruit.” No matter how hard some expositors try to get around the exact wording of these Scriptures, these kinds of people are still lost in their sin and are on the way to hell.  The “gods” of this present evil world, which they have
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erected in their heart, mean more to them than the true God of Heaven. 
     I fully realize and teach that New Covenant believers are not living under the Law of God given to Old Covenant Israel, yet God has not changed His mind in regards to Exodus 20:3-4.  This is clearly
seen in the statement of the Lord Jesus Himself when during His personal ministry He explicitly stated,
“…Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,” Matthew 22:37.  See also Mark 12:30.  Folks, salvation is a total commitment to Christ, receiving Him as your own personal Savior and the Lord of your life, and placing Him above and before anything or anyone in this present evil world.  If that was not what was in your heart when you made a “profession,” then you do not have salvation.  You are still lost in your sin and on the way to hell, regardless of all your outward show of “religion.”  Take heed!
     [4] “But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
     Who hath ears to hear, let him hear,” 13:8-9.  See also Mark 4:20 and Luke 8:15. 
     When the Lord Jesus explained this, He explicitly stated,
     “But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the Word, and understandeth it, which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty,” 13:23.                   
     Notice that in Luke’s account the Lord specifically stated that this person having “heard the Word,  keeps it.” Compare James 1:21-25.  This sets forth the difference between this person being described, and the former three persons.  The Greek word translated as “keep” in this Scripture is the word, “katecho.”  This word literally means, “to hold fast; to possess; to be bound by; to be held by; to keep in memory; to take hold on.”  See Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, pages 339-340, Strong’s No. 2722.  In other words this believer readily receives the Word and embraces it in faith, refusing to let it slip away.  Christ Jesus also added in Luke’s account, that “with patience” this true believer “brings forth fruit.”  Glory to God!  Hallelujah!  Praise the Lord!  This gives wonderful assurance that a life lived in the Word and for Christ will never be lived in vain.  There will indeed be “fruit” produced by such a life, and it will be present when we stand before our Lord to give account, 2 Corinthians 5:10; Psalm 126:5-6.
     “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord,” 1 Corinthians 15:58.  See also Galatians 6:9 and 2 Thessalonians 3:13. 

       
        
          

            

The Parables of the Kingdom of Heaven

PART TWO
                                                                                                                       By Pastor F. M. Riley
                                                                                                                              October 22, 2013
     “And the disciples came, and said unto Him, Why speakest Thou unto them in parables?
     He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
     For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath,” Matthew 13:10-12. 

Introduction

     My introduction to these parables was set forth in Part One.  The Lord spoke these parables to the “multitude” of people gathered together by the sea side, 13:1-3.  The Lord’s disciples were present, but the parables were spoken to the masses of unbelievers who were gathered together on that occasion.  
     After giving the first parable, the disciples of the Lord ask Him why He was speaking to the multitudes in parables.  His complete answer is contained in 13:10-17.  Our readers should carefully study this whole passage.  The Lord made it quite plain in these Scriptures that unbelievers do not receive nor understand spiritual truth.  Compare 1 Corinthians 2:14, Mark 4:10-12, and Luke 8:9-10.  If one wants understanding of God’s Word, then they MUST first believe what God’s Word has to say about Christ and the way of salvation, and receive Christ as their own personal Savior. There is no other way to come to spiritual understanding of God’s Word!  PERIOD!   
      It is not that Christ Jesus did not want the multitudes to be saved, but rather that they refused to hear and believe that they might be saved.  The Lord explicitly stated that they closed their own eyes and shut their own ears, for they didn’t even want to risk becoming convinced that Christ was the promised Messiah and Savior of Israel.  In essence, by their own choice of refusing to see and hear, they sealed their own doom and eternal damnation.  Those who spend eternity in the lake of fire will be there by having made their own choice to reject the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior, Romans 10:17; John 14:6; Acts 4:12.    
     But notice that Christ pronounced a blessing upon the eyes and ears of His disciples who had chosen to see and hear and believe, 13:16.  Christ also made it clear that the prophets and righteous men of Israel had desired for centuries to see and hear what they were hearing and seeing at that time, 13:17.  But now the “appointed time” had come for Christ to appear in person and speak forth these wonderful truths, and the disciples were blessed in their seeing and hearing. 
      For those readers who are really serious about wanting to know and learn the truths of God’s Word,
I would point out that the next three parables are all connected by subject.  All three of them have to do
with Satan’s infiltration of the Lord’s churches and the ranks of Christianity.  A good understanding of
these next three parables will tell our readers exactly how Satan infiltrated the churches and the ranks  
of Christianity. 
      As we go into this second, and following parables, keep in mind that the Lord set forth the    parables in the exact chronological order in which He foreknew events would occur during this present dispensation, with one event preparing the way for the next event to follow.  This inspired chronological order in these parables extends right on through to the seventh parable which deals with   the Tribulation period which follows this present dispensation of grace.  
     Now let’s turn our attention to the second parable given by the Lord in this chapter…..

The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares
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     “Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened to 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 up together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into My barn,” Matthew 13:24-30.                             

     The first parable was The Parable of the Sower.  Then it is perfectly logical that the next parable in order would deal with the crop which is produced by the seed sown.   And so it is here in Matthew 13.  This second parable is also explained by the Lord Himself to the disciples.  See 13:34-43. 
     In 13:34-35 it is explicitly stated that Christ setting forth these parables was a fulfillment of what had been desired by the prophets and righteous men of Israel for centuries, as predicted  in  Psalm 49:1-4 and 78:1-2.  It was predicted by the Psalmist some 1,000 years in advance that Christ would speak to the lost world in parables, and at His first coming, in these Parables of the Kingdom of Heaven, that is exactly what He did.
       However, carefully note that each of these parables are prophetic.  In other words, what was predicted in each of the parables was not fulfilled at the time Christ gave the parables, but the events predicted in each parable awaited a future fulfillment.  Events in each of these seven parables prophesied events to be fulfilled at some point during this present dispensation of grace, and during the coming Tribulation period to follow this dispensation.  It is more than “coincidence” that the Lord God first called for the attention of the whole world in the 49th Psalm, which Psalm correlates with 1949, the year Israel won their war of independence and took their place as a sovereign nation among the nations of the world.  But now let’s carefully examine this parable…..
      The symbols…..In this parable of The Wheat and the Tares the “man” who sowed the “good seed” is Christ Jesus Himself, 13:37.  
      The “field” in which the good seed is sown “is the world,” 13:38.   Compare this statement with Psalm 24:1.  Therefore, by virtue of being “the last Adam” and the “heir of God,” this world rightfully belongs to Christ, 1 Corinthians 15:45; Romans 8:17.  The earth and the world upon it is “His field.” 
      The “good seed” in this parable are “the children of the kingdom,” 13:38. 
      The “enemy” is “the devil” [Satan], 13:39. 
      The “tares” are “the children of the wicked one,” 13:38.
      The “servants” are the true Christian believers during the early centuries of Christianity, who soon spotted the difference between true believers and those “religionists” who simply made a “profession.” 
      The Exposition…..
The Sowing of the Tares

      Our readers need to keep in mind that Satan has never forgotten the “curse” placed upon him by the Lord God in Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it [He] shall bruise [crush] thy head, and thou shalt bruise [crush] His heel.”  Satan, that old [ancient] serpent and the devil [Revelation 12:9; 20:2], knew that the Lord God always keeps His Word, therefore “the seed of the woman” would be the end of him forever.   He then tried for centuries to prevent “the seed of the woman” from even being born.  Every attempt on Satan’s part failed, and Christ Jesus came into the world as the virgin born son of Mary; literally “the seed of the woman.”  At the time appointed for Christ to begin His public ministry, immediately Satan tempted [tested] Him in every area of His humanity to see how best He could be defeated.  Satan knew that if
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he could defeat Christ, then he could deliver himself from the curse placed upon him in Eden so long ago, Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13.  Gloriously, Christ passed every test and retained
His integrity as “the seed of the woman.” 
     From that time forward Satan instigated the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Herodians, and others to oppose Christ at every opportunity.  But our Lord always prevailed.  Finally, Satan instigated the unbelieving Jewish priests to have the Lord put to death.  Satan, originally created as “the anointed cherub,” was endowed with great wisdom and knowledge, Ezekiel 28:11-19.  But in rebelling against his Creator, his wisdom was “corrupted,” 28:17.  While Satan still possesses great wisdom, yet he didn’t really believe that Christ was “the Son of God,” Matthew 4:3; 4:6.  Satan apparently reasoned that since Christ was prophesied to be “the seed of the woman,” he was just a man like all other men. Satan obviously believed that if Christ was killed, then He could not fulfill Genesis 3:15.  Satan, and those whom Satan instigated to kill Christ, were so “dumb” that they didn’t realize that in killing Christ, they were fulfilling God’s plan for the justification of fallen mankind and  sealing their own eternal doom and damnation, 1 Corinthians 2:7-8.  Isn’t the wisdom of our Lord wonderful?  1 Corinthians 1:25.  Praise His Holy Name! 
     After the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, Satan realized that the crucifixion actually spelled his own defeat.  But he refused to give up!  Satan then set out to defeat the gospel of Christ in an attempt to make it impossible for the Lord to fulfill His Word.  In order to accomplish this, Satan set out to sow “tares” among the “wheat” in the Lord’s church.  . 
      At the beginning of the Christian era, the Lord’s church could not be infiltrated.  Why?  Because the entire church was in such perfect agreement in Christ that there was no way for any lost person to slip into their ranks.  Read it for yourself.  It is explicitly recorded eight times in the opening chapters of the Book of Acts that the Lord’s church was “in one accord,”and of “one heart,” “one mind,” and  “one soul” on everything, Acts 1:14; 2:1; 2:42; 2:46; 2:46; 4:24; 4:32; 5:12. In other words, there was not a single lost person [religionist] in the ranks of the Lord’s church in these opening chapters of the Book of Acts, and the entire church was in perfect agreement and harmony on God’s Word.  This made an invincible wall around the church which Satan could not penetrate.  Nevertheless Satan tried! 
     The account of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 was nothing but an attempt on Satan’s part to place two wicked unbelievers in the Lord’s church to disrupt the Lord’s work.  That first attempt to “sow tares among the wheat” totally failed!
      Yet Satan refused to give up.  If our readers carefully study these parables, it is obvious that Satan’s reasoning was “if we can’t defeat them from without, we will join their ranks and work for their defeat from within.” Ultimately, he succeeded.  In this parable the Lord Jesus Christ Himself pointed out that “tares” would be sown among the “wheat” due to some of God’s people sleeping on the job.                        
     The Lord Jesus explicitly stated that the tares were sown “while men slept,” 13:25.  It is a historical and Scriptural truth that after Christ ascended back to the Father in Heaven, the early fervent love for Him that His disciples had exhibited for Him while He was bodily present with them during His personal ministry began to wane.  This is clearly seen by comparing the Lord’s letter to His church in Ephesus, Revelation 2:4.  In other words, without the Lord’s personal bodily presence, the true church of the Lord began sleeping on the job, 13:25. This lack of diligent devotion on the part of the early believers gave Satan the opportunity to slip “his men” into the ranks of Christianity, thereby sowing “tares among the wheat,” 13:25.  That such actually happened is evident from such passages as 1 Timothy 4:1-3, 2 Timothy 3:1-9, 4:1-4, 2 Peter 2:1-2, Jude 3 and many other similar passages.
     As a literal plant, the tares are noxious, worthless, weeds, but when first beginning to grow, the tares look exactly like the wheat.  It is only after a bit of growth, when the blade or stem of the tares puts forth, that it becomes apparent that the tares are really not wheat.  While the wheat turns golden color when it begins to mature and ripen, the tares turn dark or black.  While the golden wheat is lovely to look at when it matures or ripens, when the tares mature or ripen they become black and ugly.
     So it was with the spiritual tares that Satan sowed in the ranks of Christianity.  At the time some make a “profession” of faith, who can tell if their “profession” is genuine or phony?  When a person first “professes” Christ as their Savior, they look like any other true believer. But with the passing of
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time it becomes apparent whether the person’s “profession” is genuine, or whether Satan is merely sowing “tares among the wheat.” Who says so? The Lord Jesus Christ said so!  Read it for yourself in
Matthew 7:15-20.  A corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit, and a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, 7:17-18.  The Lord explicitly said that we believers can identify the false “by their fruits,” Matthew 7:20.   The true believer, by the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling him [or her], subdues the flesh and grows in the Lord producing “the fruit of the Spirit,” Galatians 5:22-25.  The true believer is also given the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit enabling them to discern God’s Word, and thereby the difference between “the clean and the unclean,” John 14:16-17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 1 Thessalonians 5:21.   On the other hand, the phony “professing religionist” never gets free of “the works of the flesh,” Galatians 5:19-21.  Take heed!      
      When it became apparent that many false “religionists” were infiltrating the ranks of Christianity, the early Christian believers then ask the Lord if they were to “gather up” the tares, 13:27-28.  The Lord’s reply is quite clear that “gathering up the tares” is not our job.  It literally is not possible for even true Christian believers to carry out such a task, for while we might “think” that some person is a tare by their conduct at or over a given time, they might really be a true believer that is struggling with some temptation or testing, while trying to come to real spiritual understanding, growth, and maturity in the Lord.  Keep in mind that it is only the Lord God who has the ability to look upon the heart, Jeremiah 17:9-10. We believers can look upon the outward appearance and judge men’s works [or fruits] as good or evil, but due to still living in a body of flesh with a “sin nature,” we are not yet infallible in our ability to judge.  Therefore the Lord forbade His disciples from attempting to “gather the tares” out of His kingdom.  That task is reserved for the Lord’s angels to perform at the appointed time, 13:40-41.  Remember this the next time you are tempted to consign someone to hell, Matthew 7:1-5.  The Lord did say that we believers can identify wicked “false prophets” “by their fruits,” [works] Matthew 7:15-16.  However, this is not an instant identification based on a solitary work, but rather an identification based on a consistent pattern of habitual evil over a period of time.  Take heed! 
      The Lord made it quite clear in explaining this parable to His disciples, that at the end of this age His angels will come forth, first “gathering the tares into bundles” in preparation for burning them, 13:30; 14:40.  Dear readers, I truly believe that we today are living very close to the end of this age, and that this gathering of the tares into bundles has been going on now for some 60 years or more.  Right after the end of the Second World War, and continually since then, it seems like every kind of organization has sprung up for those with a “common interest.”  While some of these organizations are “morally” good, many others have highly questionable moral values and worth. Today there are organizations for recovering alcoholics [?], drug addicts, sexual addicts, pornographers, child molesters, prostitutes, ex-convicts, lesbians, homo-sexuals, divorcees, juveniles with behavioral problems, people who are too fat, those with eating disorders, environmentalists, and on and on and on.  One can almost think of any problem in our society today, and there is an organization whose purpose is to bring together all those who are concerned with that problem.  In view of what the Lord explicitly stated in this parable, I am made to wonder if the Lord’s presently unseen angels have had some influence in the formation of all of these organizations bringing these “tares” among mankind together in preparation for the swiftly approaching judgment, Malachi 4:1?  Think about it!
     Don’t fail to notice that while the tares are being gathered into bundles for burning, the “wheat” is also being gathered into the Lord’s barn.  Glory to God!  Does this speak of the resurrection and rapture of true believers occurring at or near the same time that the bundles of tares are brought to the burning?  Think about it!   
Conclusion

     Dear readers, it is obvious to any true believer that we are living right at the end of this present age or dispensation.  The time is fast approaching for “the wheat” to be gathered into the Lord’s barn.  It is glaringly obvious that terrible judgment is staring the whole world in the face right now, and could begin at any minute.  Therefore, the time for the burning of “the tares” is also imminent.  
     My question to every reader is then, have you made your “calling and election sure?”  Do you have absolute assurance that you are truly saved and ready to meet the Lord?  Read 2 Corinthians
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13:5, 2 Peter 1:10, and 1 John 5:13.   Spiritually speaking, are you “wheat” or are you “a tare?” Do you have the perfect “peace” in your heart that you are truly saved and bound for glory, or are you troubled by doubts and fears?   Folks, our wonderful Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, imparts “love, joy, and peace” to every truly repentant believer whom He saves, Galatians 5:22.  Do you have “Christ Jesus” as your Savior, or do you just have “church membership and baptism?”  What difference does it make?  It makes the difference between spending eternity in glory with the Lord and His redeemed saints, and spending eternity in hell-fire and damnation!  
     I would like so much to meet every reader in glory when our Lord comes REAL SOON to call us all “home” to glory.  Please don’t disappoint me! 


The Parables of the Kingdom of Heaven
PART THREE
                                                                                                                By Pastor F. M. Riley
                                                                                                                   November 12, 2013

     “Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:
     Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but, when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof,” Matthew 13:31-32.  
Introduction

     The first parable, The Parable of the Sower, had to do with the sowing of the “seed” of God’s precious Word, during and following the first coming of Christ.  The second parable, The Parable of the Wheat and Tares, had to do with the crop that resulted from the sowing of the “seed” of the Word,   and also revealed that Satan began sowing “tares” among the “wheat” in order to defeat and nullify the effects of true Bible believing Christianity. The Lord explicitly stated that “the tares are the children of the wicked,” 13:38.    
      Now let’s turn our attention to the third parable in the series…..

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

     This is the third parable in the series.  “3” is the Bible number signifying “resurrection and/or rapture.”  That this parable reveals a resurrection occurring is often overlooked or ignored by most commentators and Bible students.  I will explain this statement as we study the parable.  But now let’s turn our attention to…..
     The symbols…..
     Caution…..The “man” in this parable is not Christ Jesus, and “the field” is not the world.   
     The “man” in this parable is the Roman Emperor, Constantine.
     The man’s “field” was the Roman Empire.
     The “mustard seed” in this parable is not the gospel of Christ, but rather the odious false teachings from which the false religious system springs forth and grows.     
     The crop produced by this “mustard seed” grows up into a “tree” with many “branches.”
     The “tree” is the ancient Babylonian religious system resurrected in the Roman Empire.
     The “birds” are demonic spirits and fallen angels.  Compare 13:4 and 13:19. 
     The “branches” are the many divisions which have come forth from the Roman whore false religious system
     The Exposition…..
     Let’s begin by noticing the exact wording that the Lord used in relating this parable; “a mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field.” From this statement we know that the “mustard seed” was already in existence, and in someone’s possession.  The “man” in this parable “took” the seed from whomever possessed it, and sowed it in “his field.” Now let’s carefully review Biblical and secular history to identify the “man” and “the seed” which he “took” to plant in “his field.” 
     Our readers should turn back in their Bibles and carefully study Daniel 4, noticing especially 4:19-23.  Notice that the exact same description of the “tree” in Matthew 13:32 is first found here in Daniel 4:20-21.  Coincidence?  Not hardly! 
     The ancient Babylonian religious system was established in the earth after the flood by Nimrod, Genesis 10:8-10; 11:1-9.  Significantly, every pagan religious system on earth today can be traced right back to the idolatrous religious system founded by Nimrod in the city of Babylon after the flood.  
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       But let’s “fast forward” to the time of Nebuchadnezzar, the ruling autocrat over the city and kingdom of Babylon in the time of Daniel.  As the ruling autocrat over Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar was also considered to be the “head” or “leader” of the Babylonian religious system, just as Nimrod had been centuries previously.  Notice that Daniel explicitly referred to Nebuchadnezzar as “the tree,” Daniel 4:20; 4:22. Daniel also said that “the tree” was to be “cut down,” 4:23. 
     While the immediate application of Daniel’s interpretation most certainly applied to Nebuchadnezzar, the long term prophetic application was to be fulfilled after Nebuchadnezzar had passed from the scene.  Now go to Daniel 5.  In this chapter Nebuchadnezzar had been dead a number of years and his grandson, Belshazzar, had become the ruler of Babylon. 
     It was at this point that secular and Scriptural history reveals that Cyrus the Mede, surrounded the city of Babylon with his armies.  To show his defiance of Cyrus, Belshazzar shut up the city of Babylon and had a drunken party with his military officers.  Belshazzar was so defiant that he took the sacred vessels that the armies of Babylon had previously taken from the Jewish Temple and mis-used them by serving liquors in them to his officers.   
     For those readers who have never seriously studied the prophecies of Daniel, the ancient city of Babylon had a double wall surrounding the entire city that was 300 feet high.  The massive gates in the city wall could be closed and barred, so that no one could enter or leave the city.  This appeared to make the city “invincible” and unconquerable.  When the army of Cyrus then surrounded the city, Belshazzar in his wicked pride simply shut up the city and threw a drunken party for his officers. 
     But the Lord God was so incensed by Belshazzar’s wicked pride and the mis-use of the vessels from the Jewish Temple which had been “sanctified” for the worship of God, that He caused the handwriting to appear on the wall of Belshazzar’s palace, pronouncing Belshazzar’s doom, and the doom of the Kingdom of Babylon.  That same night the city of Babylon was conquered by Cyrus and Belshazzar was put to death, Daniel 5:30. 
     But now let’s get the rest of the story…..
     Cyrus, for whatever his reason, had a bitter hatred for the Babylonian religion.  Cyrus issued an order to his soldiers that all of the Babylonian priests were to be immediately put to death without mercy. Thus, that very night the Babylonian religious system was destroyed, with one small exception. When the word spread that the priests were being slaughtered, one of the priests escaped by fleeing in the night.  He fled to the city of Pergamos [at that time a city-state], where the king of Pergamos gave him “sanctuary” and ultimately re-established and adopted his pagan religion as the official religion of the kingdom of Pergamos.  In other words, a “seed” of the ancient Babylonian religious system had been preserved and was received into the possession of the King of Pergamos.  Since only one of the Babylonian priests had escaped, this made that ancient religion “the least” of all the pagan religions on the earth, just as “the mustard seed” is “the least of all seeds.” 
     The Lord Jesus Christ Himself, in the first century of Christianity, verified this truth in His letter to the church at Pergamos, Revelation 1:12-17.  In verse 13 of this letter the Lord explicitly stated, “I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat [throne] is: and thou holdest fast My name, and hast not denied My faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.”  Christ clearly states twice in this Scripture that Satan’s throne and dwelling place at that time in history was located in the city of Pergamos.  Was this just an idle statement?  Not hardly!     
     Then during the latter part of the second century of the Christian era, one of the Roman Emperors made a trip to the city of Pergamos.  While there, he observed how the Babylonian priests were able to gain total devotion and control over the adherents to their religion.  The Roman Emperor reasoned that this “religion” was exactly what was needed in Rome to wield together and control the citizens of the Roman Empire.  Therefore, when he returned to Rome, he took two or three of the Babylonian priests back to Rome with him and encouraged them to establish their religion in the city of Rome.  If our readers are paying close attention, this tells us exactly how the “seed” of the ancient Babylonian religion was transferred from the city of Babylon to the city of Pergamos, and then later brought to the city of Rome, Italy.  But this is not yet all the story…..
     Enter Emperor Constantine.  After Constantine had become the Roman Emperor, in 313 A.D. he
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convened a “church council” in the city of Nicaea.  Constantine invited and urged every head of a “religious” group in the Roman Empire to come to the council.  According to the history of Eusebius, many “Christian” [?] pastors went to the council. But not all! Some Christian pastors living at that time had enough true Godliness and spiritual sense that they refused to have anything to do with Constantine’s council.  Eusebius, in his history, refers to those pastors who refused to attend the council as “the pure.”  Take note! The history of Eusebius proves that not all Christian churches came out of, or descended from, the Roman Catholic religion as the Catholic priests today like to claim.  Their claim is simply not so!  There have always been true believers who took the inspired Word seriously for what it actually and literally says, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,   And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty,” 2 Corinthians 6:17-18. 
      At that council Constantine related how that he had been given a “vision” of a great cross in the sky with words written in the latin language, saying, “By this sign conquer.” Constantine took this to mean that he was to embrace “Christianity” as the official “religion” of the Roman Empire.  At that council Constantine established a Hierarchy, laying the foundation for what would ultimately develop into the Roman Universal [Catholic] “Christian” [Sic!] religion. Constantine then gave government grants out of the Roman treasury to the pastors who were willing to compromise their “professed” faith in order to be a part of Constantine’s new Hierarchy.  These government grants enabled the compromising pastors to begin building huge church buildings for their congregations and exercising “religious” authority, backed by the power and authority of the Roman Empire, over those pastors and churches who refused to have anything to do with Constantine’s newly established Hierarchy. The “Dark Ages” had begun, and it lasted for a 1,000 years until the time of the Protestant Reformation.  Prior to this time almost all Christian churches still met in private homes, in fields, by the river sides, in caves, and various other places due to their extreme poverty and sacrificial lifestyle.   Constantine, at that time, made himself the official “head” or “papa” of the Roman Catholic [universal] ”Christian” Heirarchy. [Sic!]
    Of course, the pagan Babylonian priests in Rome welcomed the opportunity to add “Christianity” to their paganism [?], which they did by changing the names of their pagan gods, simply giving their gods  “Christian” names, and kept right on worshiping the same way they had worshipped since the days of Nimrod.  More about this when we study the next parable. 

Conclusion

     What we see in this parable is how “the mustard seed” of the pagan Babylonian religious system, which had been almost totally destroyed during the reign of Cyrus and the Media-Persian Empire, was preserved and resurrected back to life by Emperor Constantine in the third century of Christianity. 
     The Lord Himself predicted that this odious “mustard seed” sowed by Constantine in the Roman Empire would grow into a great monstrosity of a tree with many “branches,” to the extent that the “birds of the air” [demons and fallen angels, 13:4; 13:19] would “come and lodge in the branches thereof,” 13:32.  We believers living today can look back at Christian and secular history and see how this literally came to pass. Today, the world headquarters of all “false religion” [Satan’s throne] is still located in the Vatican in Rome, Italy.   Let this exposition be a warning to every reader.  “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try [test] the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world,” 1 John 4:1. 
    No reader should take this study as a blanket condemnation of the Catholic people, for it is not.  My heart goes out and my prayers go up to the Lord God for the poor, deceived Catholic people.  The wicked priests know what a “religious” scam they are running, but they deliberately keep the people deceived and in heathen darkness.  Nevertheless, by the grace of God, many have been delivered from the clutches of “Jezebel,” the whore religion of Babylon, Revelation 2:20-23.  Look to Christ and live!       
     Dear readers, you can trust the inspired Word of God implicitly for your salvation, Romans 10:17; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 16:30-31. The inspired Word of God will never fail you or betray you, but you
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cannot trust the opinions and theories of even well intentioned “religious” men about the Word.  “…try the spirits…” and “prove all things,” 1 Thessalonians 5:21.  Study the Word for yourself and accept it at face value for what it actually and literally says and teaches.  Take heed! 




               The Parables of the Kingdom of Heaven
PART FOUR
                                                                                                                         By Pastor F. M. Riley
                                                                                                                           November 19, 2013

     “Another parable spake He unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened,” Matthew 13:33.

Introduction

     I have now posted Bible study expositions of the first three Kingdom of Heaven parables; The Parable of the Sower, The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, and The Parable of the Mustard Seed.  This morning [November 18th] I posted an article, Binding the Bundles for Burning, which I hope sets forth the connection between these first three parables.  Any reader who has not received these Bible studies need only request them. 
     There is yet one more parable necessary to complete the subject being set forth in the first four parables given by the Lord in Matthew 13.  Thus far we have pointed out…..
     [1]   The sowing of the “seed” of the gospel of Christ in The Parable of the Sower.
     [2]   The crop that the “seed” of the gospel produced; “wheat,” in The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares.  But this second parable also reveals Satan’s attempt to dilute and destroy the effects of the gospel of Christ by sowing “tares” in the “field” among the “wheat.”
     [3]   The Parable of the Mustard Seed sets forth the history of how the “seed” of Satan’s false religion [the tares] was moved from ancient Babylon to the city of Pergamos, and then from Pergamos to Rome, Italy, where it was “sown” in the Roman Empire in the religious Hierarchy established by Emperor Constantine.       
     [4]    Now let’s turn our attention to the fourth parable which completes the prophetic picture Christ was setting forth in the first four Kingdom of Heaven parables…..

The Parable of the Hidden Leaven

     This is the fourth parable in the Kingdom of Heaven parables given by the Lord in Matthew 13.  This parable completes the account of Satan’s infiltration of Christianity with the “tares” of the ancient Babylonian religious system.  
     The Symbols…..
     The “leaven” in this parable, and throughout the Scriptures, is symbolic of SIN.  It is a ridiculous, silly, false teaching that attempts to make leaven represent the gospel of Christ.  No place in the Scriptures does leaven ever represent anything other than SIN.  Read 1 Corinthians 5:6-9. 
     The “woman” in this parable symbolizes wicked old “Jezebel,” the whore Queen of ancient Babylon.  Compare the Lord’s statement to His church in Thyatira in Revelation 2:20-23. 
     The “three measures” are symbolic of the the third century of the Christian era.
     The “meal” is symbolic of true Bible believing Christians and Christianity, who at the beginning of the third century had been crushed and ground by the persecutions heaped upon them by the Roman Empire during the previous three centuries.    
     The Exposition…..
     Most Christian believers today never give any serious thought to the fact that Satan began to sow “tares” among the “wheat” just as soon as the “weakness of the flesh” among true believers made it possible, Revelation 2:4-5. Before the New Testament had been written, several “professing” Christians had already turned away from their “profession” and gone back into the world.  Those specifically mentioned by name in the New Testament are Demas, [2 Timothy 4:10], Hymenaeus and
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Alexander [1 Timothy 1:19-20; 2 Timothy 4:14-15], Philetus [2 Timothy 2:17-18], and Diotrephes [3 John 9-10]. 
     Also, before the New Testament had been written, there had already been at least two serious “splits” or divisions in the ranks of the Christian movement. 
     Paul records in Acts 15:1-2 how that certain men in the church at Jerusalem had come down to Antioch and began teaching the disciples that they had to be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses in order to be saved.  Paul adds that him and Barnabas “had no small dissension and disputation” with these “false brethren,” Galatians 2:4.  This resulted in the first genuine church council being convened as recorded in Acts 15.  Our readers should notice that during the course of this council, there was “a sect of the Pharisees which believed,” yet insisted “That it was needful to circumcise them [Paul, Silas, Barnabas, and the church at Antioch], and command them to keep the law of Moses,” Acts 15:6.  This resulted in “much disputing” at that council.  Nevertheless, the Apostles settled the matter by commending the work and teachings of Paul and Barnabas and writing a letter to the church at Antioch verifying the truth of the gospel.  Every reader should study the account of this church council carefully.  It is a sad truth that after that church council, this “sect of the Pharisees” who insisted that salvation was by being circumcised and keeping the law, is never mentioned again anywhere in the New Testament. It appears that they separated themselves from the Lord’s churches. 
     That there was such a division or split in the ranks of Christianity before the New Testament was completed is made glaringly clear in 1 John 2:18-19, “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist [singular] shall come, even now are there many antichrists [plural]; whereby we know that it is the last time.  They went out from us [separated themselves; split off], but they were not of us: for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”  Don’t fail to notice that by Divine Inspiration, John refers to those early “professors” who split off from Bible believing Christianity as “antichrists.”   
    These inspired Scriptures plainly establish that there were two or more “splits” in the ranks of Christianity before the New Testament had even been completed.  But this split is not the point I want to make! Rather, the important point is that those religious “antichrists” who apostatized, and left Bible believing Christianity continued to refer to themselves and represent themselves as “Christians.” 
     This made it glaringly easy, after Constantine convened his council, for a Hierarchy to be set up which called itself “Christian,” even though it obviously was filled with unscriptural pagan practices and teachings. What an opportunity this presented for the old Babylonian whore religious system to infiltrate the ranks of Christianity.  In the third century of Christianity, after Constantine had established his religious Hierarchy, the old Babylonian whore religious system joined the Hierarchy, hiding their idolatry, false teachings, and wicked practices by disguising them as “Christianity.”  Now some 2,000 years later, the old Babylonian-Roman whore religion is still claiming to be ”Christian.”  Sic!
    If our readers will obtain a copy of the book written by Charles Chiniquy entitled Fifty Years in the “Church” of Rome,” and carefully read it, they will gain insight into the inner workings of the Roman whore religious system far beyond anything even imagined by the average Christian.  Charles Chiniquy was a Catholic priest for fifty years before receiving Christ as his Savior.  He held a number of high positions in the Roman Hierarchy, and shared his intimate knowledge of the whole wicked system in his book.   I do not sell the book, but it can be obtained at any good Christian bookstore, or by contacting Chick Publications, P. O. Box 3500, Ontario, California 91761-1019.  
    Through the so-called “Christian” Hierarchy system established by Constantine in 313 A.D., thereby the “counterfeit” church was brought into existence.  This counterfeit church grew in power and wealth until it literally controlled the whole religious world for a thousand years.  313 A.D. to the time of the Protestant Reformation in the 1500’s.  The Lord sternly rebuked His church at Thyatira for allowing “that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols,” Revelation 2:20.  During that 1,000 year period, the old whore of Babylon bitterly persecuted the Lord’s true churches, torturing, raping, murdering,   burning, and crucifying millions of true believers.
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     Remember that the Lord told His “servants” to allow the “tares” to continue to grow with the “wheat” in the Kingdom of Heaven until “the end of the world [age].  Notice that in this parable the “leaven” keeps right on working “till the whole was leavened,” 13:33.  Dear readers, we have reached that point in human history.  The entire world society today has been permeated with the “leaven” of the old Babylonian whore religion, which for the past 1,700 years has been flowing forth out of the putrid fountain of paganism established in Rome, Italy by Constantine in 313 A.D.  When one carefully looks today, they can see how the “leaven” hidden by the “woman” has permeated every strata of human society.  We can see it in the ranks of Christianity, but also in commerce and business, in politics, in education, in medicine, in the military, in morals, in gangsterism, especially in the so-called “entertainment” industry such as movies and TV, and even in social relations such as marriage, family, and the home.  Why is it that Catholicism is always portrayed in movies and on TV as “holy, pure, and good,” while all other religious systems and characters are portrayed as evil idiots, and as sources of foolishness, greed, crime, and perversion?  Well…???  The Lord Jesus said that the “leaven” hidden by the “woman” in or among the “meal” would ultimately leaven the whole kingdom, and it has!  Exactly as the Lord predicted that it would!  Hello!

Conclusion

     This spreading of the “leaven” through every strata of human society today, should again impress upon true believers that we are living right at the very end of this present age, and the coming of our Lord Jesus to resurrect and rapture His true New Covenant believers to glory is at the door.  The Lord’s “wheat” is ready to be gathered into the Lord’s “barn,” Matthew 13:30; 13:43.  If our readers will carefully study The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares again, it is obvious that the gathering of the “tares” for the burning and the gathering of the “wheat” into the Lord’s barn takes place in very close proximity.  Hallelujah!  Glory to God!   Praise the Lord!  
     Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as I write the “tares” are being gathered together into “bundles”  in preparation for their “burning.”  Therefore, we who are true New Covenant believers should be expecting our “gathering into the Lord’s barn” to occur at any minute now.  O praise the Lord! 
     If you know and have assurance that you are a true believer, then lift up your heart and voice and give the Lord praise!  If you have any doubts about your salvation, then seek the Lord in earnest and sincere prayer right now for salvation or assurance.  If any reader needs spiritual help, contact me at once.  By the grace of God, I do know the way, John 14:6.  I will study with you, pray with you, and help you in any way I can to find salvation in Christ, or the assurance of salvation and peace in Christ.  Read Galatians 5:22-25 and 1 John 5:13.  I would like to meet every reader in Heaven when our Lord comes to take us home to glory.  Please don’t disappoint me!



                                                
The Parables of the Kingdom of Heaven
PART FIVE
                                                                                                                By Pastor F. M. Riley
                                                                                                                   November 22, 2013

     “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,” Matthew 13:44. 
Introduction

     In the first four parables in this chapter the Lord set forth a prophetic picture of how the gospel of Christ would be sown in the world and would produce “wheat,” and  how Satan would oppose it by sowing “tares” among the “wheat.” The third and fourth parables zero in on how Satan set up a “counterfeit church” [a pagan religion] in opposition to the true churches of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Each of these first four parables need to be studied carefully as a unit in order to get the full picture of the establishment and development of the “counterfeit church” that Christ Jesus was warning His people about. 
     In this fifth parable the Lord turns His attention to a different matter.  This fifth parable concerns  His ancient chosen covenanted people during this present dispensation of grace.  Let’s see…..

The Parable of the Hidden Treasure

     Like each of these parables, this parable contains symbolic language, setting forth spiritual truth for those with “seeing eyes and hearing ears,” 13:16. 
     The Symbols…..
     The “treasure” in this parable is a reference to Israel and the Jewish people.
     The “field” in which this treasure is hid has already been defined by the Lord Himself as “the world,” 13:38.
     The “man” who finds the treasure, then hides it again, is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. 
     The Lord Jesus Christ is the One who sold all that He had, including His own life’s blood, to pay “the wages of sin” [Romans 6:23] for Israel and for all of lost humanity as He suffered, and bled, and died on Calvary’s old rugged cross, and to pay the redemption price for the earth itself.       
     The Exposition…..
     That Israel and the Jewish people are the “treasure” in this parable is beyond question.  In “the third month” after “the children of Israel” had left Egypt some 3,500 years ago, the Lord God explicitly told Moses, “Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My commandments, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine,” Exodus 19:1-5.  The sad truth is that Israel as a nation and a people did not obey the voice of the Lord nor keep His commandments.  Yet the Lord God graciously regarded them as His “peculiar treasure.”  Because of their disobedience and rebellion the Lord God finally removed them from out of their land, causing them to be carried away as captives by both the Assyrians and the Babylonians, from whose lands they were then scattered into and buried [hidden] among all the nations of the earth.  Study Ezekiel 37, the entire chapter, where we find Israel and the Jewish people [spiritually dead] buried among the Gentile nations of the earth.  Yet most of this chapter in Ezekiel is prophetic of the Lord God resurrecting them from the “cemetery of the nations” and bringing them back to their own land, and ultimately to Himself.  Glory to God! 
     At the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord explicitly stated, “For the Son of man
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 is come to seek and to save that which was lost,” Luke 19:10.  In Matthew’s gospel the Lord said, “…I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” Matthew 15:24.  Folks, it was the children of Israel who were lost among the nations, and it was “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” whom the Lord was seeking at His first coming.  Read again the parable of the lost sheep spoken by the Lord in Luke 15:3-7.  In this Parable of the Hidden Treasure the Lord makes it quite clear that He “found” the hidden “treasure” He was searching for at His first coming. 
     However, there was a “legal” problem involved with the Lord’s discovery.  Keep in mind that the inspired Scriptures repeatedly state that the God whom we believers serve is “a God of judgment and justice.”  As the Creator and Supreme Law Giver of the whole Universe, the Lord God will not violate His own laws.  At the first coming of Christ, the “field” was in the possession of Satan and his followers.  It had become Satan’s possession clear back in the Garden of Eden, when through Satan’s deception of Eve, Adam had disobeyed God and lost “legal” possession of the earth and everything in it, 2 Peter 2:19.  This is why the inspired Word explicitly states that Satan is “the god of this world” [aion…age], 2 Corinthians 4:4.  This present wicked world system is in the hands of, and under the control of, Satan and his fallen angels and demon powers.  He has possession of it all, 1 John 2:15-17.
     Therefore, there was no way that Christ could “legally” take “the hidden treasure” to Himself at His first coming.  The “field” in which it was hidden “legally” belonged to Satan, and therefore anything hidden in it likewise belonged to Satan.  However, keep in mind that the Lord Jesus Christ is explicitly stated to be “the last Adam,” 1 Corinthians 15:45.  In other words, Christ, being born into this world as “the seed of the woman” was a true human and therefore a “kinsman” to “the first Adam.”  As such Christ then had the “legal” right to redeem the earth and everything in it which  Adam had lost.  See the Law of Redemption for the land in Leviticus 25.  Glory to God!
     So just as the Lord set forth in this parable, He hid the “treasure” back in the “field” again, and then went to Calvary and sold all that He had and paid the redemption price to buy back the “field” that Adam had lost by his disobedience.  Seriously think about this for a moment…..
     When Adam disobeyed the Lord, the earth itself was placed under a curse, “And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;  Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field,” Genesis 3:17-18. We living today know that this curse is still in effect on the earth even as I write.  However, the redemption price to redeem the earth and remove the curse from it has already been paid.  What do I mean? 
     Let’s look again at the suffering of our precious Savior as He was being prepared for crucifixion.  The Scriptures tell us that He was arrested, given three trials, that according to both Jewish and Roman Law, were “illegal.”  He was then mocked, whipped, and beaten.    Read the accounts for yourself in each of the four gospels.  Notice that Matthew 27:29 explicitly states that the Roman soldiers “plaited a crown of thorns, and placed it on the head of the Lord Jesus.  See also Mark 15:17 and John 19:5. A careful study of the Scriptures reveals that while Christ was stripped of His robe, yet He continued to wear the “crown of thorns” as He was crucified and died on Calvary’s cross, thereby not only paying the redemption price for the sins of fallen humanity, but also paying the redemption price to remove the curse from the earth itself.  Glory to God!  Praise the Lord!  Thank you Lord Jesus!  
     So the redemption price has already been paid for all of mankind, but also for the earth itself.  At the “appointed time” [Acts 17:26] this entire earth will then be set free from “the bondage of corruption” under the possession of Satan, and delivered into “the glorious liberty of the children of God,” Romans 8:18-23.  This whole “legal” process is set forth from Revelation 5:1 through 11:15.  During the first half of the Tribulation, Christ Jesus, our beloved “Kinsman-Redeemer” will open the Title Deed [the little book; Rev. 5:1] to this earth, and fulfill every requirement necessary for bringing the earth back into the “legal” possession of mankind to whom it was originally given by God in Genesis 1:26-28.   Hallelujah!  Praise the Lord Jesus our wonderful “Kinsman-Redeemer” and Savior.
     This parable then assures us that presently unbelieving Israel and the Jewish people; the Lord God’s “hidden treasure,” are going to be redeemed, for the redemption price has already been paid.
     However, the “hidden treasure” is not all that is presently “hidden” in this world, and for which
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the Lord God paid the redemption price.  Read on…..

The Pearl of Great Price

     “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,” Matthew 13:45-46. 
Introduction

     This parable is the sixth parable in the The Parables of the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew 13.  Due to the short length of these two parables, The Parable of the Hidden Treasure, and The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price, I decided to expound on them both in this one Bible study.  Read on for an expositon of The Pearl of Great Price…..
     The Symbols…..
     The “merchant man” in this parable is Christ Jesus the Savior and Lord, who purchased salvation with His own precious blood for all who will believe, John 3:16; 3:36.   
     The “goodly pearls” which the Lord is seeking are “churches” which are true and righteous in relation to the Lord God and His Word. 
     The “one pearl” is His own blood bought church which He established and left in the earth some 2,000 years ago.     
     The term, “great price,” literally means “priceless.”  In other words, so valuable to Christ that no price can be set on its value in His sight. Compare Proverbs 31:10.   
     The Exposition…..
     Many of God’s people today [true believers] do not realize that, just as the “treasure” was hidden among the nations in the previous parable, so the Lord’s true church is hidden today among the  Laodicean “false churches” that characterize apostate “Christianity,” Revelation 3:14-22.   This should be glaringly obvious to any true believer who seriously studies the Lord’s letter to the church at Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-22. This parable could just as easily have been titled, The Hidden Pearl, as the title commonly assigned to it.  I want to briefly comment on this truth…..
     The letter to the church at Laodicea is the final church letter, and as such represents the final period of “the church age” at the end of this present dispensation. It is glaringly obvious in reading the letter, that the Lord is so sickened by apostate Laodicean “Christianity” [?] today that He bluntly told the Laodicean church, “I will spue thee out of My mouth,” Revelation 3:16.  The Greek word translated as “spue” in this Scripture literally means “to vomit out.”  Look it up for yourself in your own Concordance, Strong’s No. 1692.  The Lord did not say that He might, or that He should.  He explicitly stated that He “will.”  Therefore, this is absolutely certain.  These apostate Laodicean churches today, mostly made up of “unsaved religionists” who are only “playing church,” are as certain to be vomited into the  Tribulation period as if they were already there.  Take heed!
     This parable, The Pearl of Great Price, looks both back into the past and forward into the future. 
     When Christ came into the world at His first coming, He was “seeking goodly pearls.” Another way of putting this is that the Lord was seeking for a true faith  among mankind.   At His first coming, humanity upon the earth had gone so far away from God that it was steeped in religious “heathen” paganism and idolatry.  Among this religious mess, Christ was seeking those whose desire was to live in “righteousness” and true faith towards God, Matthew 5:4.  This parable indicates that He found such men and women, and from them established His Church upon the earth, and delivered unto them “the faith,” John 1:11-13; Jude 3.  Carefully notice “faith” is not simply limited to the true believer, but is an entire doctrinal system of “faith” which has been delivered to the Lord’s true churches to uphold, proclaim, and pass on to others, Acts 2:42. 
     Christ then went to Calvary and bought this “pearl of great price” with His own precious blood, Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 7:22-23.  This obviously verifies Christ Jesus as being the “merchant man” who came into the world seeking “goodly pearls.”  He found only one such “pearl,” which He Himself chose, John 15:16; 15:19.
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     That the Lord’s church is “the pearl of great price” is verified by a careful study of the word “pearl” in the Bible.  The word “pearl” occurs only ten times in the entire Bible.  The last time theword occurs in Scripture is in Revelation 21:21, where the word is used in speaking of and describing New Jerusalem, the future eternal home of the Lord’s church; His own blood bought bride, Revelation 21:1-2. 
     Remember that in John 14:1-3 the Lord promised His church that He was going back to His Father’s house to “prepare a place” for His church [His bride].  New Jerusalem is that special place that Christ has prepared for His bride.  But don’t forget that in this passage in John 14, Christ also promised to return and take His church unto Himself, John 14:3. 
     In the parable of The Hidden Treasure, it is specifically stated that the “treasure,” having been found was hidden again.  Such is not the case in this parable!  The clear implication is that after purchasing “the pearl of great price” the Lord then took the pearl unto Himself.  But when?  That is the unanswered question.  We are not told in the Scriptures when Christ is coming for His bride; His church, other than at the end of this present dispensation and before the terrible Tribulation begins, Revelation 3:10.  Rather, we are told to “be watching” and to “be ready.”  Are our readers paying attention to the Lord’s admonition and warning? 
     I mentioned at the beginning of this exposition that The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price is the sixth parable in the Kingdom of Heaven parables.  This obviously harmonizes with the prophetic Word which teaches that the Pre-tribulation rapture of the Lord’s New Covenant believing church will occur at the end of 6,000 years of human history. Consider the Lord Gods own timeline as set forth in 2 Peter 3:8.   Hello!  Folks, we are there!  We have arrived!  It is then obviously time for the Lord to come and take His blood bought “pearl;” His precious church bride to Himself, and “home” to glory.
     When this occurs, the Lord’s church will then spend the next seven years in seclusion with the Lord, fulfilling to the letter the type set forth in the normal Jewish wedding.  Praise the Lord!
 
Conclusion

     Dear readers, it is time for Christ to come for His blood bought “pearl of great price” and take her home to glory.  Are YOU a part of the blood bought church of the Lord Jesus Christ?  Or…are you just a “religious” Laodicean, playing silly little church games?   What do I mean?
     I mean what I said!  Today many “professing” Christians have substituted baptism and church membership in place of a genuine born-again experience of saving grace with the Lord.  Ditto for doing “good works” and “keeping the Ten Commandments.”  These “works of the flesh” are not what saves and delivers one’s soul from eternal damnation, Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:5.  A person is saved only by genuine “repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ,” Acts 20:21.  If any reader wants to escape from Laodicea, and become a true disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, then get serious about studying and listening to His Word, Romans 10:17.  Hear His voice speaking to you as He gently knocks at the door of your soul, Revelation 3:19-20.  Ask Him in prayer to give to you the “faith” to believe on Him.  If you are honest and sincere, He will hear your prayer and answer, and you will be truly saved.  The “love, joy, and peace” that passes all [human] understanding will flood your soul, and you will know that you have been saved, Galatians 5:22-23.  You will immediately realize that you are no longer a part of Laodicea, but have “passed from death unto life,” John 5:24.  If you really want to escape Laodicea, and find true salvation in Christ then put this counsel to the test for yourself.  I’d like to meet you in glory in New Jerusalem, for that is where I am going any day now.  Please don’t disappoint me!  Glory to God!

TO BE CONTINUED…..
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     Permission is granted to any true believer or Bible believing Christian ministry to reproduce this study to share with others, or to quote from it in context as written
     Thank you dear friends for the response to this series of studies.  I am glad that these studies have
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blessed the lives of some of God’s people, and hopefully, of lost seeking souls.  More to come…..
     Please address all comments, questions, and correspondence to: Pastor F. M. Riley, Last Call Gospel Ministry, 184 County Road 108, Harrisburg, Missouri 65256, or I can be contacted by email at:
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