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In Matthew 13 Jesus expounds the doctrines of His kingdom by parables.
Here there is a special group of eight parables designed to exhibit in simple pictures the outstanding features of the kingdom of heaven, describing its nature, and progress, and in its relations to diverse classes of men. We shall see that Jesus taught that wicked men would infiltrate His kingdom on earth, and have a powerful and growing influence over believers.

We see many classes of people in the kingdom, but we shall also observe that the kingdom isn’t in them. Tobiah the Ammonite is one such example. Eliashib the priest set Tobiah up in the Temple in Jerusalem where he is seen living off the priests portion. When Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem and heard about it, he ordered them and all their stuff to be cast out. Nehemiah 13:4-9.

Of these parables, the parable of the sower shows the different reception the word of the kingdom receives from various classes of hearers, and the issues in their lives. Matthew 13:3-9; Jesus gives the parable. Then in verses 18-23, He gives the interpretation.

The parables of the tares, and the net cast into the sea illustrate a mixture of good and evil co-existing and explain that these conditions will remain in the kingdom of God right up until the end when the final separation would take place.

The Scribes and Pharisees were opposed to any interpretation of the kingdom other than their own. They would not hesitate to lie under oath in order to destroy anyone that preached otherwise.

While the treasure hidden in a field, and the precious pearl, set forth the incomparable importance of the kingdom, and how priceless its citizenship is valued.

The Pearl of great price is not Christ as many interpret it to be else it would mean that He was lost and went to look for Himself. The pearl is kingdom possession.

The parable of the grain of mustard seed illustrates the abnormal growth from small beginnings. A tiny herb grows into a great tree that becomes a refuge in which demonically influenced ministers operate. The righteous in the kingdom are like a Cedar or Palm tree, not an herb.

Ezekiel 13:4-9. “O Israel your prophets are like the foxes of the desert. They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying “The Lord said, and the Lord has not sent them.” “I am against you says the Lord God, and my hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies.”

Then the kingdom is likened to leaven which a woman hid in three measures of meal until all the meal was leavened (corrupted) Rev 2:18-25.

Teachers whose practices had sunk to the depths of Satan had infiltrated the church at Thyatira.

There are 13 types of leaven in the New Testament; and all refer to devilish doctrines and sinful activity. In spite of this clear evidence we find that some still proclaim leaven is the action of the Holy Spirit at work in the church.

Many in the kingdom are unaware they are eating bread contaminated with leaven.

An eighth parable found in Mark 4:26-28 teaches that growth in the Divine Kingdom advances by stages, similar to the blade, the ear, and the full corn in the ear, in the growth of grain illustrating natural, unconscious and normal growth of the word of the kingdom in the hearts of men.
These parables, or the greater number of them, were spoken in the hearing of a miscellaneous audience, and from a reply of Jesus to a question put by the disciples, it might appear that they were intended mainly for the ignorant. So we ask the question; why speak to them in parables?

He replied, “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given” which seems to imply, that for the multitude, the parables were affording them their only chance of getting a glimpse into the mysteries of the kingdom. But for the disciples such views of truth would be expounded to a much greater depth in private.

Mark 4:26-34. “Without a parable He never spoke to them; and when they were alone He expounded them to the disciples.”

At this stage of their training it appears that the twelve never had a clear understanding of the above parables from the fact that they asked, and received explanations of them in private from the Master. The interpretations of two of the parables, the sower and the tares, are preserved in the Gospels. “All these things,” Jesus spoke unto the multitude in parables that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet saying, “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things which kept secret from the foundation of the world.” This is found in Psalm 78.

The Kingdom in heaven
There are many different classes of beings in the kingdom in heaven beside the Godhead. We have many supernatural beings such as Cherubim, and Seraphim, Living creatures, Archangels, Michael, Gabriel, Lucifer; and unnamed principalities and powers such as we see with Persia and Grecia. There is the Old Testament saints and patriarchs. We have New Testament believers in Christ; the spirits of just men made perfect who have departed this world, all dwelling in the kingdom in heaven above right now.

The state of the kingdom on earth
The condition of the kingdom on earth is a very sorry one. It is a mixture of good and evil. Many have entered into the kingdom by the door of repentance and faith in Christ and then strayed from the faith they once embraced. “Who hindered you that you should not obey the truth?” Galatians 5:7.

Its condition is far from acceptable to God.
Every imaginable unclean thing has crept into it unawares. Some like Judas were once followers of the Master, but no longer own Him as their Lord. Jude calls these members, “Spots in our feasts”. Because of the stigma attached to the modern church many saints are ashamed to identify with it. The church is in damage control. In the eyes of the world it’s hypocritical, because it preaches what it doesn’t practice, and practices what it denounces from its pulpits. It is seen as two faced hypocrite, a habitation every unclean practice, with no relevance in the modern world.

Numerous ungodly practices are taking place within its precincts, in particular the doctrine of Balaam who loved the wages of unrighteousness. We have Nicoaitans intoxicated with their own importance practicing unopposed in its midst 1 Corinthians 16:22.

Mixture in the Kingdom. 2 Timothy 2:20-21.
“In a great house there are vessels not only of gold and of silver, but of wood and earth also, some to honour and some to dishonour”. Paul was using the metaphor of a “great house” to describe the church.

Mixture in the house of God, the church, was something that Jesus took great pains to teach in Matthew 13. Later the disciples, and in particular Paul, spent a large part of their ministry doing the same thing. John’s letters to the seven churches in Asia Minor are a further example as they call the churches to repentance.

Romans 9:22. “What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.” The mills of God grind slow, but they grind sure. We should never fall into to the stupor of thinking that because He is long suffering, He is slack also; or indifferent about His attitude to holiness.

In Matthew 13 and Mark 4 Jesus related 7 parables. After He had sent the multitudes away He interpreted the parable of the tares in private to His disciples Matthew 13:36. His interpretation went as follows; the field is the world; the wheat are the children of the kingdom; the tares the children of the wicked one; the enemy is the Devil. While men slept the enemy sowed his tares where they shall grow together with the wheat until harvest time; the harvest is the end of the world. The reapers will remove the tares first, and pull down every structure and edifice that they have built in the kingdom, and burn every straw of it, but the wheat will be brought into the barn. The tares are removed before the saints go anywhere. Notice that whatever God says, the false prophet says exactly the opposite? And who do you think the people believe?

The interpretation of the parable of a woman hiding leaven in three measures of meal is as follows. The woman is Babylon the diseased harlot church. The leaven is sin and false doctrine working secretly away as it gradually leavens the whole lump. The woman corresponds to Jezebel the prophetess in the church of Thyatira Rev 2:20. These parables are a mystery to the uninitiated, but they have been given to the children of the Kingdom to understand. This woman is feeding leavened bread to her unsuspecting household.

Having crept in unawares corrupt servants are operating within the kingdom of God on earth. Jude 1:4-5 TLB. “I say this because some godless teachers have wormed their way in among you, saying that after we become Christians we can do just as we like without fear of God's punishment. The fate of such people was written long ago, for they have turned against our only master and Lord, Jesus Christ. My answer to them is: Remember this fact which you know already, that the Lord saved a whole nation of people out of Egypt, and then killed every one of them who did not trust and obey him.”
2 Timothy 2:17-18. “And their word will eat away inside you like cancer: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.”

False doctrine like cancer is a vile malignant, terminal disease. Soul-destroying doctrines abound in these perilous times in which we live. Be vigilant, and don't ever be discouraged or surprised at what you hear concerning ungodly behaviour among preachers.
Jesus said these things would happen.

Let us take note. The days in which we live are perilous indeed. The enemy is out in full force, tempting and deceiving many of God’s people. The Lord Jesus desires to purify His people, not only in heart and mind, but doctrine as well. False doctrines keep believers in confusion and cloud vision. They hinder the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Our prayer is that the “Body of Christ will experience a unity of the faith, and a more perfect knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ”. The present structured religious system will never do that. It is doomed and will be consigned to destruction.

1 Corinthians 11:19. “For there must be also heresies among you so that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.”
Deuteronomy 4:23-24. “For the Lord God is a consuming fire and a jealous God.” Here the Lord warned Israel of the consequences of disobedience. He will not allow His glory or praise to be given to another Isaiah 42:8. He expects no less from professing believers.

The foundation of the Lord's work stands firm.
2 Timothy 2:19-21. “The foundation of God stands sure, having this seal; The Lord knows them that are his. Let every one who claims to belong to Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man purge himself, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work”.
Hebrews 12:28-29. “Wherefore receiving a kingdom that cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and Godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.”

The great house represents every Religious System past and present. Within them there are not only vessels of honour, but also vessels of dishonour fitted for destruction. Judas was such a vessel. In Egypt Joseph owned a cup that was more than his servant’s life was worth if he was caught using it. That is why the crime Benjamin was accused of was so serious, because it carried the death penalty. We are vessels that belong to the Lord; He is particular about what we are allowing our vessels of His to be used for. Who is using them, and for what purpose they’re using them. He says, “Let everyone that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity”. I.e., rebelling against His will.

Exodus 12:38. When Israel left Egypt after the first Passover they were accompanied by the mixed multitude. Where did these people come from? Jacob was heir of all Abraham and Isaac’s wealth. Abraham had 318 soldiers, (Gen 14:14) besides other servants. Isaac had a great store of servants (Genesis 26:14). All these went down into Egypt with Jacob; by the time they came out of Egypt they had been multiplying for 430 years. Among them was the mixed multitude who wanted to go back to Egypt when things were not turning out the way they expected in the wilderness.

Numbers 11:4 “And the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept, and said, who shall give us flesh to eat?”

All religious systems are a mixture. The parables in Matthew 13 confirm this.
It has always been Satan’s aim to pollute Christ’s body by sending corrupt servants to inject false doctrine into its midst.
Into the first family Cain was born. Aboard the Ark that Noah built we find Ham whom his father Noah cursed, Ham was the grandfather of Nimrod. Abraham produced Ishmael. Esau greatly troubled Isaac. Jacob had many sons who never walked with God. Simeon and Levi were instruments of cruelty.

A mixed multitude came out of Egypt with Israel. Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire. Hophni and Phineas made themselves vile. Jesus chose twelve and one of them had a devil. The enemy took great pains to sow Tares among the wheat. Bad fish were in the net. Unclean birds built their nests in the mustard tree of faith. Lucifer was perfect in all his ways, until the day that iniquity was found in him. Judas was among the chosen twelve. Little foxes spoiled the vine. Thorns and briars are in the King’s garden, and dead flies are in the ointment of the apothecary. All these typify types of vessels in the house.

God is no respecter of persons, but He has a tremendous respect for Christian character. Called, chosen faithful, and in that order. Sadly many are called, but few are faithful. Matthew 22:14.

Vernon McGee pastor of the rescue mission in downtown LA for 40 years used to say, “I was never quite sure when someone came for help, whether it was a prodigal coming home, or a pig on an excursion.”

Daniel 2:32-34. Nebuchadnezzar’s image built of gold, silver, brass, iron and clay. It was top heavy. There it stood with its golden head; silver breast; thighs of brass on down to its legs of iron, standing on feet of part clay and iron. There it stood until a stone cut without hands smote the image upon the feet, breaking it into pieces so that the wind might carry it away like chaff. Then the stone became a mighty mountain filling the whole earth.

Nehemiah 13:1-3. “On that day”, the dedication day, after Judah had finished the restoring the walls of Jerusalem they separated the mixed multitude excluding them from worshipping in the Temple.

Jude 3-4. “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Paul warned of divisions and strife in the Agape circle.
“After my departure grievous wolves shall enter in among you not sparing the flock. Also among you men will rise up speaking perverse things to draw away disciples.” Acts 20:29-30. These are strong words; “grievous wolves”, “perverse things”. They were busy building their kingdoms, something every denomination and so called local church does shamelessly. A wealth of experience ministering worldwide has increased our awareness of our vulnerability to a multiplicity of temptations. The three greatest points of attack on servants are:

Material security: “The lust of the eyes.” This may affect attitudes towards money, and possessions; a lack of trust with regard to Our Lord’s promise to meet and supply our needs. Matthew 6:31-33 makes it abundantly clear that the New Testament ministry was mobile, but today because of insecurity we stay with one flock, year after year, living on the fleece in the comparative safety of the sheepfold. The result is neither the shepherd nor the sheep are edified, and neither grows. Under the current system, unless you’re a pastor, it’s hard to make a living, so they stay put and stagnate.

Moral failure: “The lust of the flesh.”
Particularly sexual failure: It can be imaginary or actual and is rampant in the ministry. If you feed an appetite until it’s full you will not satisfy it but only increase it. There is nothing so binding that cannot be broken by the power of the precious blood of Christ. How desperately we need relationships where there is accountability without fear of condemnation.
Personal esteem: “The pride of life.”
Concerned about what others might think. It may manifest itself in arrogance or in fear where we are forever measuring ourselves, by standards of others, rather than the scriptures.

For more material on Kingdom living view
Shaun Kearney
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