The vineyard of God – the house of Israel – did not produce any fruit that God was pleased with. As His vineyard they only produced wild grapes. This was not what God was expecting or looking for. The judgment of the vineyard by God was predicted by the prophet Isaiah eight hundred some years before it was carried out (Isaiah 5:1-7). Jesus quotes Isaiah and says that his prophecies are fulfilled in the multitudes of Israel He was speaking to (Matt. 13:13-15). The Jews, in general, are proven to be the ones who do not have, and even what they have will be taken away from them (Matt. 13:12). This would be the Messianic kingdom, the promises and prophecies, the practice of their religion, and their beautiful temple and city. Israel set aside is blinded and hardened by God (Rom. 11:7-10). God’s vineyard would be laid waste and burned (Psalm 80:8-16).
The Old Vineyard made Desolate; The New Planting of God
In the time period of Israel’s hardening, and after the completion of the foundational work of the cross, there is the opportunity for God to bring forth the fruit of His eternal counsels. As a consequence to Israel being set aside, there would need to be an entirely new and distinct planting from God – the sower went out to sow (Matt. 13:3-9). The dispensation of the kingdom of heaven replaces the Jewish dispensation now set aside by God. With the going away of the Son of Man to the right hand of God, the kingdom of heaven is no longer at hand, but presently exists, in whatever form it may take in the world. The kingdom would contain the new planting of God after He had made the house of Israel desolate.
The parable of the sower reveals to us the divine agent used by God in establishing the kingdom of heaven. The sower is Jesus, the Son of Man; the divine agent used is the Word of God. The parable graphically depicts the general expected results of the seed falling into good or bad soil – the hearts of men (Matt. 13:18-23). Only he who receives the seed on good ground is the Christian example; it is he who produces fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. The three examples of bad ground show different means and agents Satan uses to occupy the hearts of men. In them the Word is eventually rejected, and there is no fruit produced at all.
I would caution the reader to take the interpretation that Jesus gives of the parable in its simplistic literal form without adding human thoughts to it. For example, the sovereignty of God surrounds the entire chapter beginning with the Lord’s answer to the disciples’ question, “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.”
The giving that Jesus is speaking of that takes place is from God. It is God doing the giving. Understanding of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven is given by God. It is grace. It was not earned or merited by the disciples in any way so that God was obligated to respond to them in debt – this would not be grace. The verse describes the sovereign choice of God – to some it was given, to others it was denied. When we look at the interpretation of the parable of the wheat and tares Jesus declares, “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man.” (Matt. 13:37) He is solely responsible for the planting and bringing forth of all the wheat in the crop in His field. It is the work of God and His work cannot fail – this is sovereignty. The wheat is planted, and the wheat comes up. It is a simple thought and understanding. All the choices, all the work – they are God’s choices and only God’s work. Therefore, in the parable of the sower, if we find good soil, we know it has to be the work of God beforehand. If there is good soil for the Word to enter into, it has to be God who prepared it. In man, that is, in the flesh, there is no good thing (Rom. 7:18). There is no good soil. Man in Adam is lost, utterly depraved, and by nature a child of wrath and disobedience. There is no such thing as good soil all on its own, or by chance or circumstances.
The Corrupting Leaven in Christendom
It is such a temptation in contemporary Christian teaching to add in Arminian and Judaizing thoughts – the corrupting leaven of human achievement and accomplishment. When we see good soil in the parable we are tempted to say man has accomplished this or man is responsible for it. We slip and fall into the conclusion that man is basically good at his core, and the only difference between those producing fruit and others is better decisions, better circumstances, and more human effort.
Let us entertain an example of how the leaven penetrates the teaching in Christianity, and does so in a hidden and very subtle way. If the subject is Christian financial planning, we have a church program or class you can take to get you free of debt and start you on the road to saving for your ‘Christian retirement’. We have nationally known names who have designed these very programs. This is all done in the name of Jesus Christ and according to so called Christian principles. Lay up treasure in heaven? – Well, let’s just hold on to that thought, after all, we do not want to be so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good! We dare not lay up treasure in heaven until we’ve laid up enough treasure on earth for that comfortable future, or family properties and trusts, or inheritances we want to provide (Luke 12:15-21). “After all, I’m sure these are Christian things as well and we should be able to find some Scripture to support it. It is family we’re talking about, and there isn’t anything more important to God than family.” Can we not see that this is the cares of this world or, at the very least it is laying up treasures on the earth and in the world where we can readily see them and get at them? By our Christian teachings are we not compromising our Lord’s own teachings concerning the kingdom of heaven?
“Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
“So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
“Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
The above four passages represent the Lord’s teaching in the area of money and finances concerning those who are part of the kingdom of heaven. For that matter, all His teaching in Matthew 5-7 is teaching concerning the kingdom of heaven that was ‘at hand’ (Matt. 4:17), and emphasizes the contrasts and differences from the Jewish teachings ‘of old’ in the Jewish dispensation. When we examine what He says concerning money and earthly things we should easily recognize that He is not teaching the old Jewish tithe from the law as a new Christian principle. He isn’t teaching the Jewish tithe at all. His teaching goes far beyond any thought of a tithe. It is to sell all you possess; it is to forsake all that you have; it is to lay up treasures in the heavens only, where robbery and rust do not exist and cannot touch.
Another issue we have with this specific subject is how we trick ourselves into thinking that we can lay up treasures on the earth with certain purposes and under certain circumstances that will gain the Lord’s approval. In our thinking we are laying up treasures on the earth that actually count for us as treasures laid up in the heavens. This is a strange way of thinking. The bottom line of the truth is whether thieves can break in to steal, or rust and moth can degrade? This is true concerning any treasure on the earth and in this world. Such things do not qualify as what Jesus is speaking about – treasures in the heavens.
This is not the teachings contained in our popular Christian retirement seminars, nor is it the tithe funding the building of church structures on earth. I say all this on the subject of money to show how contemporary church teachings actually circumvent and contradict the very words of Christ. How easily we attach the name of Christ to what the church world does, and then ask God to pour blessings on it. The leaven corrupts Christian teaching: in the area of finances it robs it from the heavens and brings it back down to the earth, and very much a part of the cares of this world and the pride of human accomplishment (Luke 12:15-21). And in doing so it is connected to the earth, and becomes a very Jewish teaching.
The New Teachings of the Kingdom of Heaven
The three chapters found in Matthew 5-7 are the teachings of the kingdom of heaven. Many times He uses the phrase, ‘it was said to those of old’, or something very similar to this. He is referencing the teachings of the Jewish dispensation and how the Jews properly understood and practiced the law (Matt. 5:20-21, 27, 31, 33, 38, 43). Immediately after these sayings He starts His contrasting teachings with the phrase, “But I say to you…” (Matt. 5:22, 28, 32, 34, 39, 44). It is the difference between the Jewish dispensation and the kingdom of heaven. These are some of the distinctions between Judaism and Christianity.
If we are to understand the existence of the kingdom of heaven, its progression through time as well as what it is at the end of the age, then we must consider the seven parables in Matthew thirteen (13). Seven is the number symbolizing perfection or completeness, and the parables give us a complete picture of the times of the kingdom of heaven in mystery, from its beginnings to the end of the age. They also give us a prophetic completeness in allegory form of the kingdom, which at the time of the Lord speaking, was only a kingdom at hand.
The Prophetic Story of the Kingdom of Heaven – Matthew 13
We have already discussed in part the parable of the sower. This first parable shows the divine agent of the kingdom of heaven and who it is that sows the new planting of God. The divine agent is the Word of God, and the sower is Jesus, the Son of Man. All seven parables concern the kingdom of heaven, yet this first is apart from the remaining six in that it is not a similitude depicting the prophetic progression of the kingdom over time.
The first four parables of the chapter were spoken to the multitudes, in the presence of the disciples. These were spoken to the world in general, and in a certain sense take on a worldly viewpoint. However, the interpretation of the parable of the tares and the three remaining parables were spoken to the disciples alone, after He had sent the multitudes away. We must remember Jesus saying of the disciples, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.” (Matt. 13:11) This is the sovereign difference God makes between the disciples and the multitudes of the Jews. In this sense the last three parables, which were spoken in private to the disciples, take on a divine perspective and viewpoint of the kingdom.
The Wheat and Tares
The importance of the second parable – the wheat and tares – should soon become obvious to us. It is the one of the seven that is comprehensive of the kingdom of heaven in mystery. In it we see the kingdom from its beginning, then as it progresses to the end of the age.
(24) “Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; (25) but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. (26) But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. (27) 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?’ (28) 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?’ (29) But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. (30) 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.”’”
The parable contains allegories that need proper and accurate interpretation. These symbols and events all have their own literal meanings. It may be worthwhile to list what we are looking at;
- There is the man and his field.
- There is the assurance that good seed was planted in the field.
- There is the enemy and his work.
- There are men sleeping and at fault, allowing the enemy to work.
- There is a crop in the field – wheat and tares mixed together – which exists ‘as is’ for a period of time. What are the wheat? What are the tares?
- There is a time of harvest at the end, and different events associated with this general time. There is the bundling of tares and there is the intention to burn the tares. Separate from this, there is the wheat removed out of the field and into the barn.
- The reapers are different from the men that slept.
All this and more has its appropriate literal meaning, and prophetically tells the story of the kingdom of heaven. The fortunate thing for believers is that the Lord gave to His disciples and gives to us the literal interpretation.
(36) “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.”
(37) “He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. (38) The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. (39) The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. (40) Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. (41) 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, (42) and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (43) Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
The existence of the kingdom of heaven is dependent on Jesus, the Son of Man. He is the owner of the field and He is responsible for planting the wheat. There are certain themes and meanings that are carried on throughout the parables depicting the kingdom of heaven. One example of this is that the field always means the unbelieving world and is the purchased possession of the Son of Man. The field is the world (v.38), but it is His field (v.24). This theme is repeated in the parable of the treasure hidden in the field (Matt. 13:44). The Son of Man ends up buying the field because of the value of the treasure hidden in it.
The Son of Man Gone Away
Another theme that is expressed in other parables of the kingdom of heaven is that the kingdom presently exists in the world and carries out its business there, while the Son of Man has gone away, back to heaven. He is the Bridegroom that will return for whom the ten virgins are waiting (Matt. 25:1-12). He is the man traveling to a far country (Matt. 25:14) or the certain nobleman who went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return (Luke 19:12-27). Jesus does not say this last parable in Luke is of the kingdom of heaven. It is not in Matthew’s gospel where all the kingdom parables and teachings are found. Yet it does depict the same general events of the kingdom on earth, particularly those that occur while the Son of Man is away.
During the time of the kingdom of heaven on earth the King remains ‘hidden’ in heaven at the right hand of God (Col. 3:1-3). The kingdom progresses on earth without His presence. It takes certain forms and characteristics over time, which testifies of the King’s absence. It appears to the world that the absent King is not much concerned about His kingdom. But known to the believer’s faith is the reality of His work and action – in sovereign grace He plants the wheat, He calls His own, and He makes them grow (Mark 4:26-29).
It bears repeating that the Son of Man goes away after His rejection as a Jewish Messiah in the flesh, and it encompasses His resurrection and glorification to the right hand of God. This is the foundation for God’s work in bringing forth the wheat in the kingdom of heaven. It is how the Son of Man relates to the wheat and how they relate to the Son of Man in glory. He is their Head in glory, and the wheat united to Him is His body, the church (Eph. 1:20-23). The wheat are the sons of the Father in heaven (Matt. 5:45), and the true sons of the kingdom (v.38). They are the ones who will be taken by the Son of Man to His Father’s house, a place specifically referenced by His promise, “…that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-4) The wheat, at the time of harvest, will be taken from the field of the world and placed in His barn (v.30).
The Crop in the Field
If we, as believers, are to get very far in our understandings of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, we must understand the dynamics of the crop in the field. Allow me to list some of the salient points describing the character of the crop (the following verses are from Matthew 13).
- The composition of the crop is wheat and tares together. The wheat is the work of the Son of Man, the tares the work of Satan (vs. 37-38). The individual wheat are true Christians – sons of the kingdom (v. 38), and sons of the Father. The individual wheat together is the body of Christ, the true church. The seed planted by the Son of Man comes up as individual wheat (this is seen as God’s sovereign work). The wheat does not and will not come up as tares. As the crop existing in the world over time the wheat does not change into tares, and the tares do not change into wheat – everything will follow after its own kind, its own nature, and its own seed.
- The tares are the sons of the wicked one, and they are his work to hinder and corrupt the plan and work of God during all the time the crop is in the field of the world (vs. 25-30). The tares are truly a special work, for they are distinct from the field, that is, distinct from the unbelieving world. They acknowledge their profession of Christ in order to be part of the crop, but nevertheless are the work of Satan.
- The crop is not a part of the field (world), but is growing in the field (world). The world sees the crop as one big corporate entity united together.
- Satan sowed the tares among real Christians to spoil the crop on the earth (in the field). The spiritual mind will see that the crop has become spoiled and corrupted in this world. On the earth it is always a spoiled crop. The world does not see this, and neither does the carnal mind. The crop is a mixture of good and evil – the work of God and the work of Satan. It remains this way, growing in its corruption and evil until the time of harvest at the end (vs. 26-30). This is the kingdom of heaven at this present time.
- The state and condition of the crop in the world refers to Christianity. The crop in the field of the world is all of Christendom (v. 26). The world sees it all as one. God sees it for what it really is – a corporate entity that contains His work, the body of Christ, yet as a corporate entity it is a spoiled crop, corrupt, and growing in evil.
- All the time of the crop in the field, that is, when it is a mixture of wheat and tares together, is when you see professing Christianity on the earth and in the world. This is the time while the body of Christ (the true church) is still contained within it. It is the time when evil and corruption grows and ripens in the outward body of Christendom.
- All the time of the crop in the field, His servants are not to be occupied with trying to separate and purify the spoiled crop (vs. 27-30).
- The time of harvest requires special reapers (angels – vs. 39-41) and involves bundling and then burning tares (vs. 40-42) and removing the wheat from the field (v. 30). The time of harvest in the end is when the crop stops existing. It is the time when God will work to separate out the mixture.
The Work of Satan Enters into the Kingdom of Heaven
The wheat and tares are mixed together as a crop in the field – professing Christianity in the world. The entire crop professes Jesus Christ, confessing Him as Lord. The enemy came in and planted tares while men slept. This is failure in human responsibility in the church world, and the failure of safeguarding can mostly be assigned to its ministers. Responsibility is a biblical principle involving human beings on the earth, corporate or individual, and whether they will be found obedient to the will of God. The outward society of Christendom has a corporate responsibility to God. All individuals in professing Christianity have individual responsibility to account for before God. On the earth responsibility is always placed in the hands of man and therefore becomes the subject of the judgment of God. The history of man in the Scriptures tells the story of man’s continual failure in responsibility, and this is usually immediately when given to him. This particular failure of men sleeping, which is said to be from the beginning sprouting of the crop (vs. 25-26), permitted the enemy to do his work.
As believers we are mostly naïve concerning the work of Satan. When Jesus appears again to this world, He will destroy the instruments of evil that the devil will have brought forth on the earth to oppose Him. He will throw them into the lake of fire, destroy their armies, and bind Satan in chains in the bottomless pit (Rev. 19:17-20:3). It has to be this way for the government of God to spread out over the entire earth under the authority and kingdom of the Son of Man (Dan. 2:34-35). Satan can no longer be the god of this world, nor can he be allowed to remain in the world to continue his rebellions against God. Before Christ’s return there is a period of great tribulation, during which time Satan is removed from the heavens (Rev. 12:7-12). Again, it has to be this way because the body of Christ is brought into the heavens prior to this, by the rapture of the church.
In considering the low state and condition of the church world, we cannot forget about the influence of the power of darkness, and the active instruments of the devil who rules the darkness of this world. Without considering this, our estimate of the condition of Christendom in the world will be false. From the beginning of time, there has been no greater source of evil and alienation from God than the power of the adversary. We should have a serious consideration of what Satan’s intentions are at this present time. He planted tares in the crop in the field. His work is to falsify the overall profession and testimony of the corporate entity. He does this for the corruption and ruin of professing Christianity. He cannot touch or harm the wheat, for this is the work of God. However, the crop is a corporate entity that bears responsibility to God on earth, and it is the devil’s intention to bring evil and corruption in. Satan is in the heavens now (Rev. 12:3, 12:7, Eph. 6:12). He is there for the purpose of ruining the church world.
How does he accomplish this task? While he is still in the heavens it is not the time for murder, rebellion, idolatry, and outright blasphemy – this will be the character of his final evils in civil power after he is removed from the heavens and cast down to the earth (Rev. 13). While in the heavens he acts as a serpent, beguiling and deceiving, lying with false teachings of unsound doctrine, spreading leaven in the professing church. The point is this – from the beginning of the kingdom of heaven and the crop existing in the field, while Satan is still in the heavens, he is concentrating his efforts towards the internal corruption of Christendom.
Satan holds a specific enmity against Christ and those things associated with Christ. He knows that the true church – those sealed by the Holy Spirit individually and then baptized by the Holy Spirit into the one body – is Christ in the world (Eph. 1:13, I Cor. 12:12-13, I John 4:17). Although he cannot touch the divine purpose of God concerning the true church, he can corrupt the vessel that contains the body of Christ on the earth. This he does by corrupting professing Christianity. Satan has the following two evil effects while in the heavens:
- He is the god of the unbelieving world, the spirit who works in the sons of disobedience (Eph. 2:2). Satan in the heavenlies is his place of authority and power as ruling the world, and all things that are part of the world – the rulers of the darkness of this world. At this time the world is under his sway and does his bidding, while God restricts and restrains the fullest development of evil (II Thess. 2:6-7). Yet evil is progressing and ripening to the end. The world is not under the sway of God or the gospel. God has condemned the world that Satan is god over (John 12:31). In saving anyone and giving them eternal life, it is God choosing them out of the world that He has already condemned (John 15:19, 17:1-3).
- He is the antipriest in the heavens as the accuser of the true church (Rev. 12:10). Although all his accusations hold no substance before God, yet his presence in the heavens allows for the true church to suffer persecution, tribulation, and hatred while still on the earth. This would be considered suffering with Christ, because He suffered the same while He was in the world. Also while the devil is still in the heavens he works by the mystery of lawlessness in the professing church – secret subtle hidden corruption in doctrine and works (II Thess. 2:7). The ripening of this principle has provided the opportunity for God to characterize professing Christianity as mystery Babylon (Rev. 17:5). We also cannot forget that the devil sowed tares in Christendom early in its history.
Satan in the heavens is for the work of corrupting the heavenly calling. You see, Satan knows that the earthly calling in Israel has been presently set aside. When he is cast out of the heavens and he is on the earth, he must turn all his attention to destroying the earthly calling of Israel. Why? It is because at that time the heavenly calling of the true church will have been fulfilled in God’s sovereign power – physically fulfilled through the rapture and glorifying of the body of Christ to the heavens. The true church brought to the heavens is the reason he is removed and cast down to the earth. The body of Christ will replace the devil and his angels in heavenly authority with Christ over the millennial earth (Heb. 2:5).
Satan in the heavens, as the accuser of the brethren, brings certain consequences on the earth for the true church. His accusations and power in heavenly places result in trials and persecutions. Satan in the heavens presently means the body of Christ suffers on the earth. The church’s struggle and warfare is carried out on the earth, while she remains here and as believers in these bodies of flesh. However, the weapons of our warfare are not in the flesh. We overcome the accuser by the word of our testimony and the blood of the Lamb, even unto death if necessary (Rev. 12:11). Yet the struggle for the true church is carried on in suffering because Satan remains in the heavens (Rom. 8:18, 5:3-4, II Cor. 4:7-11, 17, and 12:9-10).
The Spoiled Crop in the Field
It is the Lord’s will that the mixture of wheat and tares remains ‘as is’ until His separation and judgments that come at the end of the age. His instructions are, “Let both grow together until the harvest.” Man cannot be trusted to separate things. He forbids any attempts by His servants at separating the evil, saying, “No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them” (vs. 28-30). This is the Lord’s will, and it is revealed by His words in the parable and the interpretation He gives. Unfortunately, throughout the history of the church world, there have been many instances where the Lord’s words were not obeyed, and men have taken authority unrighteously into their own hands and evil ensued.
To the spiritually minded believer, the presence of tares means the presence of evil and corruption. The crop in the field is a spoiled crop. Tares are weeds that multiply, easily grow, and dominate. They are in fact Satan’s work and Satan’s representatives. The crop is overrun by its corruption. All the time before the harvest the kingdom of heaven on the earth exists as an unholy mixture of good and bad in the world. The crop is all of professing Christianity, all that professes Christ. The crop is not the body of Christ – this would be the wheat only. The crop in the field is a much larger corporate body that contains and encompasses the smaller body of Christ. The profession of the name of Christ by the entire crop is reason why this corporate entity bears responsibility before God.
The Will of God Concerning the Spoiled Crop
For all Christians what is of importance is to have an accurate spiritual and moral assessment of the crop in the field. Every true believer is a grain of wheat in this crop growing in the field. The only assessment of value is God’s. Only what God says, only what God judges, only what His Word already declares, is of any substance in the matter. You do not have to seek God in prayer to know His thoughts about the crop – He has already declared His opinion. You do not need to seek God in prayer to know what He wants to do about it – this He has already declared as well.
- “Let both grow together until the harvest…” (Matt. 13:30) This is the mind of God for the present time. God planted the wheat and His work cannot fail. The wheat does just fine through the entire time of the parable. But the work of the enemy in bringing in tares has spoiled and corrupted the overall crop. In considering the crop there are other understandings and dynamics in play, other than the sovereign work of God in the wheat that cannot fail. There is responsibility and failure by the overall crop, and then separation and judgment of the corporate entity by God. Also, men are forbidden to separate the crop (Matt. 13:28-29). It is not man’s work to do. The mind of God is that the crop stays as a mixture of good and bad until the end of the age, and men cannot be trusted to separate in responsibility.
- If the crop remains ‘as is’ until the end of the age, then its witness before the world is falsified by the evil that is present. The light that Christendom is to be to the world, a lighted city on a hill, is also compromised by the present evil and corruption. The crop is not in good shape and we should never presume that it is. It is spoiled by the evil and corruption that has come in, and it will remain spoiled until the end of the age.
- At the time of harvest there will be a separation of the mixed crop. ‘…I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them…” (Matt. 13:30) The tares are gathered and bundled and left in the world. They are to be burnt – this is their judgment from God. Seeing that the reapers are angels, we know this work of separation is not man’s work, but the work of God.
- “…but gather the wheat into my barn.” (Matt. 13:30) The detail added in the interpretation that goes beyond the substance of the parable is, “Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father…” (Matt. 13:43) The wheat are removed from the world, but notice, they shine forth in the kingdom of their Father, not in the kingdom of the Son of Man on earth. The parable speaks distinctly of the kingdom of the Son of Man when He says,“The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His Kingdom all things that offend…” This is on the earth. However the wheat is taken to the house of the Father in the heavens. This is where the kingdom of their Father is. It is in the heavens that the sons will shine as the Sun – the Son of the Father, the Son of God (John 20:17).
The four bullet points above answer the question, ‘what will God want to do about the crop?’ This is His mind and intention. It is His work, and notice, man is not involved in any of it. It is all that God does to fulfill His purpose and plans.
There simply is no reason for man to boast when we consider the kingdom of heaven in the parable of the wheat and tares. The only thing that man did was ‘while men slept the enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat.’ The only thing that resulted from what man did is the evil and corruption present in the external body of Christendom. Are there any words in the parable relating to the improvement of the crop over time before the time of harvest? Is there found in the parable the promise of revival of the state of the spoiled crop?
The Public Effect in the World of the established Kingdom
Then Jesus tells the multitudes two more parables of the kingdom of heaven before He sends them away and retired to the house to speak with His disciples privately.
(31) “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, (32) 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.”
(33) Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”
In this setting these two parables finish off what He tells to the multitudes, that is, what He speaks to the world. After the parable of the Sower, the three parables that follow carry a decidedly worldly perspective – they unfold the outward apparent effects, the external appearance of the kingdom of heaven in the world, consequent to the sowing of the seed. In a similar way that the world views Christendom as a large unified crop growing in the field, it also sees it from small and insignificant beginnings growing up into a great world power. This is the great tree in the field rising up from such a small seed. In the book of Daniel the use of a large tree in its prophetic language was indicative of the great earthly power of Babylon (Dan. 4:10-12, 20-22). In the allegory of the tree, professing Christianity grows up to be a great worldly power. All kinds of things, both good and bad, will find their sustenance and habitation there.
Christendom: the Great Tree in the Field
The viewpoint of the great tree is what Christendom becomes on the earth and in the world through the work of man. This is not the work of God. Long before the kingdom of heaven was taught, God had separated the ‘principle of calling’ from the ‘principle of civil government.’ He did this in Israel when Jehovah removed His presence from Solomon’s temple and gave world government to the Gentiles. The two principles will only be united again in Israel in the millennium, under the authority and throne of the Son of Man, but not until then.
When Christendom, through the irresponsible works of men, aspired to world power and wealth, it did so by prostituting itself with the kings and nations of the earth (Rev. 17:1-2). This hardly constituted the mind and will of God, nor did it garner approval from Him. In prophetic language this is known as adultery and fornication (Rev. 2:20-22, 17:4). Christendom had a professed relationship with the Father and the Son. Yet in its history, Christendom showed closer ties with the world, and with the world’s intoxicating power and deceitful riches. In the parable of the Sower, the birds eating the seed on the wayside were interpreted by Jesus as the wicked one coming and snatching away. The great tree housing all kinds of birds cannot be interpreted any differently. Satan and his agents come to professing Christianity and have their habitation there.
False Doctrine Spreads in Christendom
The last of these first four parables is the church world infiltrated by false doctrine, and by its end all three lumps are saturated. Leaven, in scripture, usually is reference to false teachings (Matt. 16:5-12, Gal. 5:7-9). Paul told Timothy ‘the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine…’ (II Tim. 4:3) That time has come already. The church world does not endure the truth of God, but has developed its own teachings by which it is comfortable. All three lumps are saturated, and this is not with good, but with evil.
What follows this is what Jesus shares in private with His disciples. The teaching takes on a divine perspective of the kingdom of heaven – the thoughts of God and the mind of Christ (which believers are taught by the Holy Spirit they possess – I Cor. 2:10-16). Also remember the interpretation of the parable of the tares of the field was given to the disciples privately (Matt. 13:36). Any interpretation reveals the true meaning of the allegories used in the particular parable or prophecy. God reveals the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven to the disciples, those who were chosen by God (Matt. 13:11).
The True Church – the Eternal Purpose and Counsel of God
(44) “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
(45) “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, (46) who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
The treasure hidden in the field is the body of Christ. It is no longer an allegory depicting all of Christendom on the earth, but instead, depicting only the true church. This is what is important to God. This is what is of value to the Son of Man, for He sells all that He has in order to buy the field where it is hidden. The Son of Man pays the greatest of prices to purchase the field, but it is the church, the hidden treasure, that He desires to possess. The Son of Man’s affections are for the church, for Christ loves the church and gave Himself for it (Eph. 5:25).
God sees the church as a treasure, for His thoughts concerning her is a view of the church in His eternal purposes and counsels. Christ will present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish in the presence of God (Eph. 1:4, 5:27). The treasure is Christ’s body and is His bride, and it is destined for the glory of God (Col. 1:26-27, Rom. 5:1-2, Eph. 1:12-14).
The parable of the pearl of great price follows similar reasoning. The pearl is the true church and the Son of Man sells all to buy it. Its value to Him is beyond question or comparison. He gives up all that is His to have it.
An important point of understanding is that both the treasure in the field and the pearl of great price are ‘hidden’. The body of Christ, the true church, is hidden in the world. For that matter, the body is hidden in the spoiled crop of Christendom in the world. By the eye of faith the believer knows that it is there, that it exists, but he cannot really see it as it is hidden. We cannot see the body of Christ as God does, for He knows those who are His and all those He has sealed (II Tim. 2:19, Eph. 1:13, Rom. 8:9). The contrast of great value to see and understand is that the treasure and pearl are unseen in the world, while the crop, the great tree, and the three measures of meal are readily apparent to anyone’s eyesight.
The Parable of the Dragnet – the Separation and Judgment
(47) “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, (48) which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. (49) So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, (50) and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
The last of the seven parables is the dragnet thrown into the sea that gathers some of every kind, both good and bad. Again, this is professing Christianity that is gathered in the net that is thrown into the sea (world). It only gathers until the net is full. Our understanding has to be that there are plenty more left behind in the sea. Drawing the net to the shore when it is full is the time of harvest at the end of the age (Matt. 13:39). This is the time when the tares will be separated from the wheat. Here the separation is portrayed as the good being gathered into vessels, but the bad is thrown away (v. 48). The parallels between the parable of the tares and this parable are fairly obvious.
- Both parables picture the world – in the one it is a field, in the other it is the sea.
- Both parables picture Christendom as a corporate entity in the world – in one it is the spoiled crop, in the other it is the net that is dragged to the shore when full.
- Both parables picture Christendom as a mixture of both good and bad in the world.
- Both parables depict the same exact separation and judgment of professing Christianity. The bad is discarded and burnt. In both cases the good is placed in a special place.
The parable of the dragnet is told in the first two verses (vs. 47, 48). Jesus gives us the interpretation in the following two verses (vs. 49-50). This parable doesn’t deal much with the time the net is still in the sea, but rather focuses on the time of separation and judgment by the angels at the end of the age. The exact same phrasing concerning the final results for the bad is used in both interpretations of the two parables – cast them into the furnace of fire where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 13:42, 50). The parable of the dragnet particularly focuses on the judgment and condemnation of the bad of professing Christianity.
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.”
If you are taught by the Spirit and understand these things, then you’ll be a scribe instructed in the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. Every true believer has been given to know… (Matt. 13:11).
Chapter 2: Endnotes
 Not only does Jesus say that Isaiah’s prophecies are fulfilled in Israel, but Paul in speaking to the Jews in Rome at the end of the book of Acts (Acts 28:23-29) essentially says the same thing – “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet…” This was after Jesus on the cross interceded for Israel, saying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34). The book of Acts, particularly the first eight chapters, represents Israel’s last chance for a Messianic kingdom under the principle of responsibility. With the stoning of Stephen there is a definite turning by God to the Gentiles in the book of Acts, and you can see the transition between dispensations for yourself in the Scriptures. Israel committed sin against the Holy Spirit, refusing and rejecting His testimony of Jesus, and it would not be forgiven them (Acts 7:51). The kingdom of God is taken from Israel (Matt. 21:43). But with Paul in Rome this turning of God to the Gentiles and the setting aside of Israel is obvious in his words (Acts 28:28). The destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by the Romans in 70 AD is the obvious bringing in of physical judgment by God to end the Jewish dispensation, to end the practice of Judaism, and to set aside the Jews in a very physical way – death by the sword or scattering into the nations (Luke 21:20-24, Matt. 22:7).
If we are spiritually perceptive we will see the transition between the two dispensations in many biblical passages. Examples may be seen in the Lord’s use of the two titles – Messiah for the Jewish dispensation and Son of Man for the kingdom of heaven in mystery. You see this in both the general use and specific use of the titles. Generally speaking Jesus rarely uses the Messiah title; only once with the Samaritan woman at the well, and away from Judea and Jerusalem (John 4:25-26). Otherwise, the few times it does come up it is always someone else speaking it. He never really embraces it for He knows it must be set aside. In specific instances when the title is forced into the conversation around Him, He quickly puts the title behind Him and immediately references the Son of Man title in its place. This you can see in all the following passages (John 1:48-51, Matt. 16:20-28, 26:59-64, Luke 9:20-22, 22:66-70). The proper Jewish understanding of the Messiah was when He came to Israel He would stay forever (John 12:34). But the Son of Man would be lifted up and He would go away, that is, back to heaven. This they did not understand at all. Neither did the disciples understand, even though they were closest to Him (Luke 18:31-34).
There are many examples and passages in Matthews’ gospel related to the transitioning between the two dispensations – Matt. 12:43-50, 13:1-3, 13:11-17, 13:24-53, 17:1-13, 21:18-19, 21:33-44, 22:2-9, 23:13, 23:37-39, 24:1-2 are just a few. The passage in Matt. 11:7-15 is a particularly interesting one concerning the two dispensations. “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.” This is when the Jewish dispensation ends, with the coming of the Baptist. From the days of John the Baptist it has been the kingdom of heaven at hand. Then Jesus says that John is greater than all the prophets and all those born of women; yet the least one in the kingdom of heaven is greater than him. How is this? The least one in the kingdom of heaven is born of God. This will always be greater than the greatest born of women. The last point of the passage is figurative, dealing with the two kingdoms – the future Messianic kingdom for Israel and the kingdom of heaven – and how Elijah, in figure, will precede both kingdoms in time (Mal. 4:5-6, Rev. 11:3-12, Matt. 11:14, Luke 1:17). John the Baptist is Elijah in figure, for the kingdom of heaven at hand (Matt. 3:1-2). This does not negate the one in the spirit of Elijah that is yet to come during the coming tribulation, associated with the future Messianic kingdom in Israel.
 The entire Jewish dispensation was based on the responsibility of man to be obedient to God. Therefore it was based on what man could do and his obedience; it had nothing to do with the sovereign work of God. The entire dispensation was the testing of man in the flesh by God. He was looking for fruit. God never found the fruit He was looking for. This Jewish dispensation represents the testing of man in Adam, and whether by human effort and accomplishment man could please God and produce human righteousness by the law as a fruit unto God. He gave Israel every advantage possible. However, God’s testing in the Jewish dispensation proved that the idea of good still residing in man was totally false. The testing proved that it was impossible for man to produce any fruit pleasing to God.
Also then, by specifically testing Israel in responsibility and showing their failure in it, Israel could not have the kingdom of God through human responsibility. They could not have the kingdom through their disobedience to the law. They could not have the kingdom by rejecting the Son who was sent to them by the God they claimed to worship and serve (John 8:42-47). Jesus was sent unto His own as the Jewish Messiah, according to promises and prophecy. They rejected Him and would not have Him as King (Messiah). The Jewish dispensation had failed, not because of sovereign grace or God’s workmanship failing – this would be impossible. The dispensation fails because the basis of the law and the Messianic kingdom, at that time, was settled on and propped up upon the principle of human responsibility.
Are we not able to see that these two things – the law with Israel and the Messianic kingdom with Israel – will be made good by God in the millennium to come? At that time they will be based on an entirely different principle with Israel – sovereign power and grace of God.
This was the testing of the principle of responsibility that, in my opinion, the doctrinal systems devised by men fail to address with much understanding. I referred to the doctrinal systems of men in the first chapter-endnotes #’s 46 and 49. Also, the thought of good still to be found in man after the fall is a foundational tenant of the Judaizing and Arminian leaven that has spread throughout Christian doctrine today. This thinking prevailed in Judaism and lead to the Jews thinking they were justified by the doing of the law. It leads to the Judaizing of the Christian faith, in the days of Paul as well as today. The leaven also is the reason why the doctrinal systems do not properly see God testing man in responsibility, and that He did so from the fall of man to the rejection of Messiah. Before the cross, God’s testing was completed, and so it ended as to its purpose. He then sets Israel aside and condemns the world and Satan (John 12:31).
The ways of God in His dealings with man at this point, at the cross, take on a dramatic change. God brings in sovereign grace through the blood of Christ and His one eternal sacrifice. This is not human responsibility, nor is it any longer the testing of human responsibility. However, the Arminian and Judaizing leaven of human accomplishment will not stand for this. It perverts the principle of sovereign grace and the true work of God by mixing human responsibility with it. This exalts man and robs glory from God, and changes grace into an unholy mixture, something very different and unrecognizable from sound biblical teaching (Rom. 11:5-6, 4:2-5). The leaven creates a vicious circle where it falsely pictures God attempting the same failures over and over again, only now with the Gentiles. That is why the cross must be seen as a complete change in the ways of God dealing with man. It is a complete change from what God did before.
Those who preach that God is always the same and never changes simply display their spiritual ignorance of the verses they quote (Mal. 3:6, Heb. 13:8). When evil filled the earth and every thought of man’s heart was evil continually, God destroyed the habitable earth with a flood. He then makes a covenant with creation to never do this again. Do we not acknowledge this as a change in God’s ways? When God’s presence was removed from Israel and the earth, and Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple and Jerusalem, God gave the principle of government to the Gentiles and their prophetic statue (Dan. 2:31-33). This was a change of God’s ways in His government of the earth. We have to acknowledge this as a change!
The cross of Christ represents the greatest change in God’s ways ever! We cannot view God’s dealings with man before the cross as the same as after the cross. If we do then the leaven has blinded us. The leaven will have us believing that God is using the same principle – human responsibility – and the only difference now is God turning to the Gentiles in order to give them their fair shake and oppertunity. The evil leaven will have us explaining the success of the gospel among the Gentiles in some strange thoughts and in some strange ways – by human responsibility, which is the Gentiles doing better than the Jews in some type of human difference that resulted in the better success. How else can the leaven explain the difference, except by some form of human performance? And man gets his glory and reason to boast, and it is all evil reasoning of the human mind.
Now here are the questions of great importance: Why would God set up a new dispensation just to test the same old stuff? Why would the principles of the new dispensation be the same as the old? If human effort, human accomplishment, and human responsibility miserably failed in Israel and the Jewish dispensation, why would God base His new planting and subsequent dispensation on the same principles that are obviously doomed for failure? Why would God repeat exactly the same thing? Well, the answer is that He doesn’t. The dispensation of the kingdom of heaven begins with the sovereign work of God – the Son of Man plants the wheat (Matt. 13:37). It is not based on the work and effort of man as the Jewish dispensation was in its entirety. Works are not grace, and the law is not of faith (Rom. 4:1-5, 11:5-6, Gal. 3:11-12). The only way to define grace is as the sovereign work of God, the sovereign choice of God. Grace does whatever it pleases in goodness and this according to the nature and character of Him who acts in grace. Matthew 13 makes this fairly clear.
The principles of the dispensation of the kingdom of heaven are the sovereign choice of God, the sovereign grace of God, and this is the sovereign work of God in planting and bringing forth the wheat. He preserves the wheat as wheat in the spoiled crop of the field, and then He gathers the wheat at the end of the age. This is the principle in the kingdom of heaven as regards God’s work only. Even faith is not something we do. If it is something we do then it is a work of man, and only wages from God can be coupled with it. Faith is not of ourselves; it is the gift of God (Eph. 2:8), so there is no human boasting by human effort and working (Eph. 2:9). God gives the measure of faith (Rom. 12:3) so we do not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think.
The kingdom of heaven is seen by man as a large crop in the field – Christendom. The crop is a mixture of different works – God’s work, man’s work, and the devil’s. Only God’s work involves the new principle of sovereign grace through faith, based on an already accomplished eternal sacrifice and redemption. Only God’s work has eternal results. Man’s failures are still seen associated with the kingdom in general, as long as the crop is still sitting in the field and the time is still prior to the harvest. The tares planted by Satan are associated with the kingdom as well (Matt. 13:25). As we know, these last two things are not the work of God and are not based on the new principle of sovereign grace. When man looks at the kingdom of heaven these things are all mixed together in what he sees, and so he associates all as part of the kingdom. But God can easily distinguish His work from that of man and the devil (Matt. 7:21-23, 8:10-12, 11:11, 13:11, 13:37-38, 13:44-46, 25:11-12).
It is a Biblical understanding then, that the two dispensations are based on principles that are opposite in definition. It is not that the principle of human responsibility does not still have its effects during the new dispensation – it certainly does. This entire book you are reading is documenting from Scripture God’s accounting of the effect of man’s responsibility on the progress and failure of the present dispensation. Yet responsibility is simply not the basis of the new dispensation, and has no effect on the work of God, nor does it ever change the final results. Also of importance to understand is that even though human responsibility still exists and even has its deleterious effects, it isn’t being tested by God as the basis of receiving promises and eternal blessings (Rom. 4:13-25, Gal. 3:7, 9, 16-18, 22, Heb. 6:12). God plants the wheat. The wheat stays as wheat all the time it is in the field. During the time of harvest the wheat is removed from the field. All three are the sovereign work of God alone – the planting, the preserving, and the removal of the wheat.
There is another important distinction between the two dispensations that needs to be noted. It will serve to clear up a lot of things that are improperly emphasized. During the Jewish dispensation the measure of God’s favor towards the Jews was always present physical blessings seen both nationally and individually. Nationally this is seen in privileges such as dwelling in the land, the presence of God in their midst, freedom from Gentile rule, the population growing and multiplying as well as their vineyards and storehouses. Prosperity and health were always seen as the measure of God’s favor for the individual Jew. Israel is the earthly calling of God. Their promises, covenants, and desired blessings reflect this. All their teachings, the law and the prophets, reflect this calling and emphasis.
The church is the heavenly calling of God, and so, God has provided every spiritual blessing in heavenly places for her. Although the olive tree provides favor from God presently for the Gentiles in a general and dispensational way, and Israel’s fall means riches for the world (Rom. 11:12-17), the church’s promises from God are in glory and beyond this present dispensation. Believers have been justified by faith and have no guilt, but rather peace with God. Through faith we have access to grace to stand in this present dispensation. But where we rejoice is in the hope of the glory of God (Rom. 5:1-2). Jesus Christ is in us as our present life, but also our hope of glory and immortality (Col. 1:27, II Cor. 5:4). Paul tells believers that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Rom. 8:18). This is what a walk of faith is, where we do not see, in this present dispensation, the things God has promised to us, the things hoped for. Yet we still believe the promises, for God is not a man that He should lie. And besides this, He has given us His Spirit as the present deposit, guaranteeing that He will be faithful to fulfill all the future promises to us (Eph. 1:13-14, Rom. 8:11, 23, II Cor. 1:20-22, 5:1-5).
 Arminian doctrine – its true source. Arminian teaching and philosophy is not Scriptural truth, and is simply another form of Judaizing the Christian faith. It is interesting how widespread its acceptance is in professing Christianity today. By their religion and law the Jews were convinced that they had accomplished righteousness before God, and therefore would receive life. God has proven this idea wrong, although He showed much patience and forbearance with man in the process. Israel practiced the law for over fifteen hundred years, yet when God came to the fig tree He couldn’t find any fruit (Matt. 21:18-19). Then He cursed the tree. This was the end of Judaism, the end of the religion of the Jews. There was no profit in it. God only found faults with the first covenant – transgressions, unrighteousness, and a multiplying of sins (Heb. 8:7-8, Rom. 5:20). Why? The first covenant was based entirely on human responsibility!
The Judaizing of Christianity is by making additions to the simplicity of the work of Christ, whatever these additions may be. They mostly take the form of something man can do, something man can accomplish – human responsibilities. These are the confidences of the flesh the Scriptures speak of (Phil. 3:2-7). Sometimes it is a philosophy or way of thinking that in a general way, encourages man to do things in order to feel better about himself and his status. The religions that man accepts and embraces are the religions he can do, that is, those based on his own initiative and performance. This is what Judaism is. Christianity is the opposite of this.
Judaism is the religion of the Jews. It is God’s religion given to man in the flesh. Man in the flesh is a sinner. In the flesh there is no good thing (Rom. 7:18). Man in the flesh cannot please God (Rom. 8:7-8). Man in the flesh is man in the first Adam. Judaism is God’s religion given to man in the first Adam. Christianity is for man in the Second Adam. There is a world of difference between the first Adam and the Second Adam.
Arminian teaching is the doctrine of human accomplishment and self-exaltation, and by it man dishonors God and robs Him of His glory. It is ‘the leaven’ that penetrates, saturates, and dominates Christendom in the time of the kingdom of heaven in mystery (Matt. 13:33). It is a form of humanism. When man was in the garden in innocence, his unholy desire was to exalt himself to be like God, his Creator. He came to this by listening to and believing the lies of the devil, “…you will be like God…” This lusting to exalt himself has been in fallen man’s heart ever since.
Satan is the source of the Arminian teaching. These are the reasonings and philosophies of the carnal mind of man in the flesh, resulting from believing the lies of the devil. Satan is the one who plants the thoughts and ideas that man is not as utterly depraved as God actually states in His Scriptures. We see him doing this in the beginning, “You will not surely die.” And so he is always casting doubt concerning what God has actually said and declared. Surely it is not so bad; surely man’s will is still free; surely you are not totally lost; surely your righteousness is not all filthy rags; surely God will not judge you, after all He is love; surely this is not what God is saying about you; did God really say that? Satan has been a liar from the beginning (John 8:44). We think these things are actually sound Scriptural teachings, yet their source is the lies of the enemy.
 The teachings of the kingdom of heaven are for the sons of the kingdom – the wheat planted by the Son of Man in the field of the world (Matt. 13:24, 37-38). These sons are all the workmanship of God created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Eph. 2:10). The teachings are all the good works we are to walk in as sons of the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 7:21). They are not teachings on how one becomes a son of God – this is by faith in Christ and the workmanship of God (Gal 3:26, John 6:37, 44). By faith we are the new creation of God in Christ Jesus, the second Adam. The teachings from Jesus concerning the kingdom of heaven represent the responsibility of those who are made sons in the kingdom, sons of the Father (Matt. 5:45). It is the responsibility of sonship. This is where the believer’s responsibility is found, in the relationship we have with the Father. But the Lord’s teachings concerning the kingdom of heaven do not touch upon how we are made sons and born of God. Rather they speak of our responsibility after becoming sons.
The teachings of the kingdom of heaven will only be accomplished by those who are new creations of God in the second Adam. God proved by testing Israel that man in the first Adam is totally lost and utterly depraved. The old teachings of Judaism were given to him and he could not obey them. That is why, in part, the Jewish dispensation came to an end, and we see this in the gospel of Matthew. God had finished His testing of man by the principle of responsibility through the law`. God had finished His testing of man in the flesh, and this is all Israel ever was, that is, man in Adam, man in the flesh. This is all that Judaism was – the teachings of old designed for man in the flesh, man in the first Adam, and the religion given to Israel. Judaism is given by God to man as part of the world. It is God’s religion for the world, for man as part of the world. If you will closely read Galatians 4:1-5 you will see exactly this point – the law is the elements of the world, the weak and beggarly elements (Gal. 4:9), and only brings bondage.
 Another popular teaching that carries an Arminian flavor of human exaltation is replacing Jesus, the Son of Man, with us as the sowers of the Word. We make the same mistake when we see ourselves as the shepherd seeking the one lost sheep while the ninety-nine are left behind (Luke 15:3-7). The simple truth is that we are always the sheep and nothing different from this! The shepherd never sends the ninety-nine out to find the one that is lost. That would be madness if you would consider the ability of sheep to actually go and find another that is lost. God is the Shepherd and the Son of Man is the sower who plants. The work is of God and in His sovereignty.
We are only instruments used in His work of grace (I Cor. 15:10). We are only earthen vessels, so that the excellency of the power is of Him and not of us (II Cor. 4:7). We are given to preach the gospel, but all the work is of God and His sovereign grace. He prepares the soil of men’s hearts, and does so before the Word enters in. Unless the Father draws the man, how can they come to Christ? (John 6:44) Unless the Father gives them to Christ, how can they come to Him? But all that are given by the Father to Christ will, in fact, come to Him (John 6:37). Christ gives them eternal life (John 17:2). Anything true and good that results from the preaching of the gospel is the sovereign work and grace of God through it. The excellency of any good result is of the power of God and not of us.
What is the other side of this coin? When we honestly look in Scripture as to the negative results of the gospel, it is he who does not believe that will be condemned (Mark 16:16, John 3:18-20). And look at what the apostle says – “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe…” (II Cor. 4:3-4) Why was the apostle content with this? Why didn’t he use his authority in the name of Jesus and bind the devil and stop him from doing this? Why didn’t he try harder, use different words, or pray more in preparation? These are the common thoughts of Evangelical Christianity inundated with the leaven. We do not even realize the biblical truths associated with the preaching of the gospel.
One final truth presented here – there is no possibility the wheat will ever be cast out. This is the work of God, and it will not fail. But when we see ourselves as the sower, then we entertain the idea that the eternal welfare and destiny of another individual is dependent on us, what we do, how we speak, what our presentation is, etc. These are arrogant thoughts of human boasting – that someone could be lost for all eternity based on what you do or do not do. This wasn’t the case with Saul on the road to Damascus. God was there and God was working. He knows how to get along quite well even without the help of man.
 It is a remarkable thing to see how the sovereign choice of God is emphasized by the Lord’s words in this chapter. In speaking of the multitudes of the Jews He says, “Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled…” There are no ifs, ands, or buts about His condemnation of their low state and condition. He isn’t thinking if He tries a different method or uses different words that maybe some of the multitude will see, hear, and have a chance at perceiving (Matt. 13:11-16). He knows that these are not His sheep and have no chance at comprehending (John 10:14, 10:26-28). The words spoken to them become a testimony against them in judgment (John 12:47-48).
Farther on in the chapter the sovereign choice of God is emphasized again. This time it is a contrast between the Old Testament prophets and the privilege of the disciples (Matt. 13:16-17). Many prophets and righteous men of old were not blessed by the choice of God, as were these privileged disciples. God gave these blessed disciples eyes to see with, ears to hear with, and understanding of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 13:11, 51-52).
 The parable found in Luke 19:12-27 was told by the Lord to counter the rising expectations of the disciples for a Messianic kingdom in Israel (Luke 19:11). The Jewish dispensation, which will eventually culminate in a Messianic kingdom in Israel and from Jerusalem, had to be set aside by God in order to bring forth the dispensation of the kingdom of heaven. Most of the parable contains the typical teachings and events related to the kingdom of heaven, except for an additional judgment found at its end. This added part is particularly the judgment of unbelieving Israel – those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them (v.27). This added part is not properly the subject of the dispensation of the kingdom of heaven in mystery, but rather belongs to the Jewish one. That is probably why it is not prefaced by the words ‘then the kingdom of heaven is likened to…’ and not placed in Matthew’s gospel by the Holy Spirit.
 The removal of the wheat from the field of the world and taking it to the barn, the Father’s house, is the specific subject of the doctrinal teachings of the second book of this series. Its title is ‘The Blessed Hope of the Church’.
 Nothing in God’s creation had the ability to change its nature, and could only produce after itself. Every creature, including man, was bound to keep its first estate. Only God could change His nature – the Son of God, being in the form of God, but then taking on human flesh and the form of a servant, He came in the likeness of men for the reason of death (Phil. 2:6-8). The Son, who was high and sovereign, not of this creation, but rather the Creator of it, could come down in grace, humbling Himself, and take on another nature. By this work of redemption the believer now has a changed nature, and this is the work of God. Our nature is changed from the first Adam to the nature of the second Adam, Jesus Christ. We are born of God (John 1:13) and are the new creation of God (II Cor. 5:17), and made partakers of the divine nature morally (II Pet. 1:4).
Arminian thought is that we can change the tares into wheat. Further, it is also Arminian thought that the wheat can become a tare over time. Although these represent quite opposite results, they are both examples of pretentious and foolish thinking that has no Scriptural support. What is born of God is the work of God, and it will stay that way. What is the work of Satan as tares in professing Christianity will stay that way as well. I don’t believe the parable can read any other way, nor do the Scriptures teach anything different from this.
The teaching of Evolution is also similar to the leaven. It maintains that all living things evolve and change their natures with the passage of time and under the right circumstances. By this type of philosophy man exalts himself in his own mind, and this, against God and the Word of God.
God knows if a tree is good or bad without waiting to see its fruit. The good trees are His children, the bad trees are not, and this is in His sovereignty. The waiting for the fruit is for our benefit and safety – you will know them by their fruits (Matt. 7:15-23). It does not say that God only knows them by their fruit, and therefore God has to wait and see what is produced. That thought would deny and diminish God, His attributes and character. We are the ones who have to judge by their fruits, and therefore must wait to see the fruits in order to determine whether the tree is good or bad. However, the last two verses in the passage help to explain God’s position through Jesus, the Son of Man (Matt. 7:22-23). When certain Christian works are presented as fruit by some, He says, “I never knew you…” From the beginning He knows whether the tree is good or bad, whether it is His or not. How does He know this? It is more than just that He is God and He knows. It is because He is the one who planted the wheat. He did not plant the tares. He knows those that are His, as His own work and planting. He knows who planted the tares. He knows that all things produce after their own kind. If there was going to be wheat, He had to plant it, and if there are tares He knows exactly from whom and from where these came (Matt. 13:28). He doesn’t think, “I must have had some bad seed to begin with.” (Matt. 13:26-27) So He says to these, “I never knew you,” because we find that He knows those that are His.
The fruit doesn’t determine the tree. This is the Arminian leaven of human works and accomplishment, and is humanism. It is the tree, good or bad, in its original state as planted, which determines the fruit (Matt. 7:17-18). Things produce after their own kind. A bad tree only produces bad fruit. But our danger is how we do not know as God knows. Often the real fruit is covered over or our judgment of it is misled – sheep’s clothing covering over wolves (Matt. 7:15) or the many things done in Christ’s name as Christendom is prone to boast of (Matt. 7:22). So the Lord tells us this. We should judge by the fruits. We cannot know as He knows from the planting of the tree. It is for our good and our protection, and so that we may not be so easily deceived. The biblical principle running through the entire passage (Matt. 7:15-23) is that things produce after their own kind. The principle in the background of the passage is the sovereignty of God, and this mostly by a comparison in its contrast with human judgment and responsibility.
 The body of Christ seated in heavenly places in Christ is its proper place and position in the Father’s house and in the government of God over the millennial earth (Eph. 2:6-7). We are the habitation of the Father in the heavens, the New Jerusalem, the city of His God, and the bride of the Lamb. In Revelation 4 the church is seen as twenty-four elders sitting on endowed thrones around the governmental throne of God in the heavens. This is where we function as kings and priests to His God and Father (Rev. 1:6). The habitation and scene of the glory of the church is the heavens, being blessed there with every spiritual blessing (Eph. 1:3). The church is the tabernacle God has set in the heavens for the Sun, and during the millennium the saved nations will walk in the light of it. This glory of the church will be manifested over the earth, and the earth will enjoy its blessings.
In the heavens all things will be subordinate to Christ and the church: the angels, principalities, powers, etc. The heavenly calling of the church in Christ, as well as our union with Him is seen in Ephesians 1:3-5 and 1:18-23. It is a calling and position far above all principality and power and might and dominion. The Father’s purpose and intentions for the church in its calling is described in Ephesians 2:6-7 as well as in Ephesians 3:9-11. His intention is to make known through the church His manifold wisdom to all things in the heavens throughout the ages to come. All this is consequent to the church being raised and ascended, as physically united to Christ in the heavens. God’s power towards us to accomplish this event has already been demonstrated by God raising Christ from the dead and exalting Him to His right hand in the heavenly places (Eph. 1:19-20). Jesus is the forerunner, who has entered in ahead of us (Heb. 6:19-20). Jesus is the firstborn among many brethren (Rom. 8:29). When these things begin to happen, Satan will know his time in the heavens is soon coming to an end.
 I make the statement that the devil cannot touch or harm the wheat, and I realize I must explain what I mean by this. Satan has no ability to destroy the wheat or to foil God’s intended purpose for the wheat. It is the work of the Son of Man and all that was planted comes up wheat. In the end all the wheat will be removed from the field as one, with no individual grains left behind. In this sense, Satan cannot harm or touch the wheat as to God’s intended plan and purpose for it. However, in our walk on this earth it is the believer’s responsibility to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might, taking up the full armor of God, by which he is able to stand against all the deceptions of the devil. All believers are responsible to be able to wrestle against the powers of darkness that may come against them. All individual Christians are responsible for resisting the devil, so that he must flee from them. By the shield of faith the believer quenches all the fiery darts of the evil one (Eph. 6:16). Faith simply believes the words God has spoken and is confidence in God Himself. The fiery darts would be the words, lies, and deceptions of the enemy. If the individual believer fails in the above mentioned responsibilities, Satan can touch and harm him. But this is different from God’s overall purpose and calling of the individual grains of wheat – God’s purpose and calling cannot fail and is without repentance.
 While Satan is in the heavens he seduces and corrupts professing Christianity by his character as a beguiling serpent in lies and subtle deceptions. The forms of his wiles are not so much graven images of wood and stone, although these things still exist and persist in Christendom. Rather the forms of idolatry have been the love of money and the love of power. The church world has a colorful history of many sustained periods of time lusting after political and civil power, and with this the gain of worldly luxury and earthly riches. This is without mentioning the many unholy pretentions of ecclesiastical authority in its history and their accompanying abuses. Man has done these things in Christendom, and he has built an unholy mess that is beyond recovery.
The subject of political and civil power relating to professing Christianity is one of great interest. There were two great biblical principles found in Israel as a nation from its time at Mt. Sinai through the existence of Solomon’s temple:
1.) The government of God over the earth
2.) The calling of God.
These two existed simultaneously in Israel as long as Jehovah was living on the earth and in their midst. Judah’s captivity to Babylon marked the presence of Jehovah leaving the earth and the loss of His throne, the Ark of the Covenant. Civil world power was given by God to the Gentiles, and with Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon the times of the Gentiles begin (Luke 21:24). This marked the separation of these two principles by God. Israel would retain its calling for some time after this. However without the presence of Jehovah in their midst they would no longer be the center of the government of God over the earth. Their city and temple were destroyed. This serves as a symbolic consequence of the time of this separation.
God’s intention and will is for these two principles to remain separated for the duration of ‘the times of the Gentiles.’ His purpose is to unite again these principles in Israel at the start of the millennium, when His presence and glory returns to the earth, and He again acknowledges Israel as His people (in their earthly calling). At that time Israel will again be the center of God’s government of the earth.
The principle of God’s calling of Israel is presently set aside by God. Their city and temple were destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, and this serves as a symbolic consequence of the setting aside by God of this principle in this people. The calling of God is now with the believer/church and is heavenly. The government of God over the earth remains with the Gentiles until the ‘times of the Gentiles’ are over. God never intended the church world to seek and desire after governmental power on the earth. This is not the mind of God, nor His will. It is a violation of the principles that explain the counsels of God.
It is noticeable how men, in human responsibility in Christendom, have perverted the proper biblical understanding of both of these principles. The principle of calling is with the church presently, and not with Israel who has been set aside. God did not simply take Israel’s calling and hand it to the church. Yet this is exactly what many theologians and teachers think and teach, in the character and leanings of all their doctrines. The church has a heavenly calling (Heb. 3:1, Eph. 1:3-5). To bring her calling down to the earth and make her earthly, like Israel, is the perversion of biblical truth. To have the church involved in civil power on the earth in the present evil age is also a perversion of biblical principles. Yet that is what you find the professing church has done in its history in this present age (Rev. 17:1-2).
 Rev. 12:12-13 explains this thought very well. In the heavens Satan is attempting to corrupt the heavenly calling of the true church. This he can’t do, so he corrupts professing Christianity on the earth. When he is cast out of the heavens and down to the earth, he must turn his attention to what is of the earth. This is the reviving of the Roman civil power in the Gentile earth, and the persecuting of the earthly calling that is Israel. Revelation 13 describes what he does in earthly civil power – the two beasts. Rev. 12:13 describes his immediate turning to persecute the Jewish remnant when he finds himself cast down to the earth: “Now when the dragon saw he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman…” He has been cast out of the heavens and no longer has any influence over that which is heavenly. Down on the earth he desperately attempts to hold on to what he previously was the god over. This is specifically the world – unbelieving Jews and Gentiles. On the earth he must turn to that which is earthly.
When Satan is removed from the heavens he loses his anti-priestly character. He no longer can accuse the brethren. What is left for him, as cast down to the earth, are his anti-king and anti-prophet characters. This is what he brings forth in the two beasts (Rev. 13), especially when the second beast merges into the false prophet role. His three anti-characters mimic the three characters of Jesus Christ – prophet, priest, and king. Christ’s role as prophet has been completed. He was the great prophet to Israel that Moses spoke of (Deut. 18:15, 18). If you think about it, these three roles present another interesting truth. He was Prophet to Israel; He is High Priest now for the church; He will be King of kings to the world.
When you know biblical principles and are taught by the Spirit, you can trace the above thoughts to their proper biblical conclusions. The character of prophet relates to prophecy, which in turn relates to the earth and Israel. That is why His role as prophet was for Israel and has been completed at His first coming. He was sent as the great Prophet to Israel. This has no application to the church. The church is the mystery of God hidden from prophecy and the prophets, and the church has a heavenly calling and is not of the earth or this world. Prophecy is of the earth and of the world, and therefore of Israel, which will be the central nation on the earth in the government of God. The prophet’s role is only related to the earth and earthly things. The church is not made to be ‘prophets’ unto His God and Father (Rev. 1:6).
Jesus Christ is the King of Israel and will be so to the saved Jewish remnant upon His return. He is also the Messiah of prophecy to Israel, the Anointed One promised in covenant from God to sit on the throne of David, descending according to the flesh from David. He is the Prince of Israel in the millennial temple in Jerusalem of Ezekiel’s prophecies. He is the Melchizedek priest for Israel: an eternal priest, a royal priest on a throne, whose blessings bring righteousness and peace to Israel. All His characters in some way do relate directly to Israel – the Prophet promised by Moses, the Melchizedek Priest who blesses Israel after the defeat of their enemies, and the Messianic King of the Jews. All are fulfilled on the earth and according to the prophecies.
All true believers are made kings and priests. But please notice we are not made kings and priest unto Christ, but unto His God and Father. We are priests unto the Father, because we are ‘in Christ’ and are privileged with the nearest place to the Father in His presence. We are nearest as priests because ‘in Christ’ we have unlimited access to the Father. We are kings unto the Father, because we have been given ‘in Christ’ conferred thrones of authority in the government of God our Father over all creation (Rev. 4). Our God and Father has raised us up together from the earth, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:6). This is not Israel and it is not on the earth. It is for the heavenly calling and is in the kingdom of our Father in the heavens (Matt. 13:43). This is all a result of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. After His resurrection all believers were placed in the same position and relationship that He has with His God and Father (John 20:17).
Also, it should be known that once God fulfills the heavenly calling by taking the church into the heavens, He will once again recognize Israel as His people and acknowledge their earthly calling in the Jewish remnant. God will do so to be faithful to fulfill all His ancient promises to Israel. Satan knows this, and when cast down to the earth his intention will be to stop the earthly plan and prophecies concerning Israel.
 “It is the Lord’s will…” becomes the easiest words for ministers to insert into their teachings to imply the authority of God and His seal of approval on what they are teaching. Often what is taught is based on assumptions made of the will of God, and these originating from man’s thoughts instead of revealed from His Word. This parable depicting the kingdom of heaven, the wheat and tares in the field, is a case in point. The Lord’s will concerning the crop is revealed in His own words, “Let both grow together until the harvest…” In all the words of the parable and its interpretation there is no evidence of some great work of man. The actual work that man was responsible for was the sleeping, which allowed the enemy to sow corruption and evil. There is no great work of man, by the gospel or otherwise, that rectifies the situation and condition of the spoiled crop in the field, that is, of professing Christianity in the world. Only God’s judgment of it in the time of harvest will set things correct.
Men will preach saying, “We have to do this or we have to do that, because it is the Lord’s will. We will win America, and we will win the world for Christ.” Really? Is that what the parable of the wheat and tares is teaching? Is that the prophetic progression of the kingdom of heaven on the earth depicted by the parable? From the parable do we understand there is a difference between the field itself and the spoiled crop in the field? Do we recognize the difference between the spoiled crop and the wheat contained in the crop? America is the world, it is the field. Why are we talking about saving the field when God’s estimate of the crop in the field is one of growing corruption and evil? It is foolish talk.
(9) “…having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, (10) that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. (11) In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, (12) that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
(13) In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, (14) who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”
God has already revealed His will to us, and it was His good pleasure to do so. His counsels are His will. He had His counsels before the foundation of the world but they could not be revealed until Jesus Christ had come and finished His work and returned to heaven. His work on the cross was the foundational work on which all God’s counsels depend. The counsels of God now come out, after redemption is accomplished, and righteousness fully established. Jesus returned to heaven and the Holy Spirit was sent and revealed everything. We have been given the Holy Spirit. If you want to know the will of God, His counsels are found in His Word, taught by the Holy Spirit. One more thought. God has ended His revelation, it is complete. It ended with the book of Revelation. He has already made known His will.
 I believe it might be a bit strange for some Christians to read that you actually go to God’s word instead of prayer or other sources to find out the ‘will of God’ concerning the spoiled crop in the field. God’s opinion of Christendom is already declared in His word, and this in view of its entire history on the earth. It is only a question of whether you have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying concerning Christendom.
The only reason anyone would argue with the above statements would be if you think it is possible to change the low state of Christendom, its failures in responsibility, and its eventual outcomes from what God has already declared in His word. Christendom has failed in its corporate responsibility, and no amount of human effort will be able to rescue it. It was human effort and human responsibility that quickly brought it to failure. You will never be able to change God’s opinion of it, however well your intentions may be. You are hoping for something that is truly beyond the revelation of God’s word, beyond His thoughts, and beyond the mind of Christ. There is no wisdom in that!
 The Son of God gave up all that was rightfully His in order to possess the church. “…Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil. 2:5-8) Not only changing His state, lowering Himself for a time below the angels and coming in the form of man, but He submits Himself to death, which was the power of the enemy.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.”
If He did not go to the cross He still would have been the Messiah and King of Israel. These were rightfully His after the flesh and according to prophecy. But in ruling over Israel, and even over the Gentile nations, He would have remained alone. His desire was not to be alone. It was a mystery, hidden from prophecy, but His greatest desire was to have the church, His body, His bride. He sets aside for a time all the things that were rightfully His – His title as Messiah, His earthly Messianic kingdom, and His earthly glory, and goes on to His death in order that He would not be alone. He would have and possess the church, and He would sell all to do so.
 The dragnet thrown into the sea can easily be viewed as the gospel in the hands of men (fishermen). Unfortunately, by the gospel, men gather out of the world both good and bad (see also Matt. 22:8-10). Man does this in his responsibility while on the earth and in the world. The preaching of the gospel has these results – it gathers, as a dragnet, both good and bad as a mixture. The separation on shore is the work of God and done by His angels, not by man. This is done in God’s timing, when He views the net as full, which is at the end of the age and in the time of harvest.
Then again, the net, including all in it, can be viewed as simply the corporate entity of profession. It is the outward society of Christendom, and equal to the spoiled crop in the field. However, in the parable the net is cast into the sea by fishermen (an assumption), bringing thoughts of the gospel being preached in the world by men, and gathering its common results – a mixture of good and bad.
 There is an interesting sequence of events that leads up to Jesus’ telling of the seven parables of the kingdom of heaven in Matthew 13, and even what He chooses to tell the multitudes in comparison to what He shares privately with His disciples. The Jewish dispensation is ending. In Matthew 12, Jesus condemns the Jewish leadership, calling them a brood of vipers (v. 34), and accusing them of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (vs. 31). He condemns the nation of Israel by what He says in verse 32 – Israel sins against the Son of Man by hanging Him on a cross. For this, the Son of Man would pray and ask forgiveness – ‘Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.’ (Luke 23:34) Their sin against the Son of Man is forgiven by the intercession of Jesus on the cross. At Pentecost the Holy Spirit is sent to Israel to testify to that nation of a risen Messiah that they were guilty of putting to death (Acts 2:22-36). The nation, as a whole, rejects the testimony of the Holy Spirit. Here the nation is guilty of sinning against the Holy Spirit, and Israel would not be forgiven this (Acts 7:51).
He calls Israel an evil and adulterous generation (Matt. 12:39). When He teaches about the unclean spirit, Israel is the man the spirit goes out of (Matt. 12:43-45). The final state of the nation, during the coming tribulation, will be seven times worse than it was in the time of Jeremiah. When Israel was taken captive to Babylon they were delivered from their idolatry. They have been empty and swept clean of idols for a long time. However, in the end, the evil spirit, with others, returns to the nation and their final state is far worse.
While talking to the multitudes, His mother and brothers approach (Matt. 12:46-50). This passage shows how He breaks all natural relationships with Israel according to the flesh. To the end of this chapter He was Jehovah – Messiah, come in the flesh and according to prophecy, the descendant of David after the flesh, preaching the kingdom of God in Israel – to those who were Abraham’s descendants in the flesh. He then quits the house of Israel and the dispensation of the Jews (Matt. 13:1), no longer looking for fruit from the fig tree. When He goes into the boat by the sea He is now the Sower going forth to sow in the dispensation of the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 13:2-3). This is the transition between dispensations, and a definite change in the ways of God. Finally, the multitudes of Israel are part of the dispensation of the Jews that now stands judged, but the disciples are chosen to know all the mysteries of the coming kingdom of heaven (Matt. 13:10-17).