Thy Kingdom Come – Present Age Prophecies (Part 3)

I. Article Title. Present Age Course. Parables’ Interpretations.

Matthew 13 (continued)

The interpretation of the parables.

It is not possible nor necessary to give a detailed exposition of these parables at this point. To trace the Lord’s revelation concerning the course of this present age will suffice in this eschatological consideration

a. The Sower and the Soils (Matt. 13:3-9; 18-23). From the interpretation given by the Lord several important facts are to be learned concerning this present age. (1) This age is one that is characterized by the sowing of seed, which, in the parallel portion in Mark 4:14, is shown to be the Word, but here is seen to be men who are sons of the kingdom. (2) Within the age there is a marked difference in the preparation of the soils for the reception of the seed sown. (3) The age is marked by opposition to the word from the world, the flesh, and the devil. (4) During the course of the age there will be a decreasing response to the sowing of the seed, from “a hundredfold” to “sixty” to “thirty.” Such is the course of the age. Mark 4:13 reveals that this parable, with the revelation of the program which it makes, is basic to the understanding of the other parables in the discourse. The remaining parables deal with the development of the
seed-sowing program.

b. The Wheat and the Tares (Matt. 13:24-30; 36-43). This second parable is likewise interpreted by the Lord. Several important facts are revealed through it concerning the course of the age. (1) The true sowing, mentioned in the first parable, is to be imitated by a false sowing. (2) There is to be a side-by-side development of that which is good with that which is evil as the result of these two sowings. (3) There will be a judgment at the end of the age to separate the good from the evil. The good will be received into the millennial kingdom and the evil excluded. (4) The essential character of each sowing can be determined only by the fruitfulness or fruitlessness of that which was sown, not by outward observation.

There are many feel that this second parable is to be related particularly to the tribulation period and is to be distinguished from the sowing of the first parable. In the first parable the emphasis was on the “Word,” and in the second on the “children of the kingdom” (Matt. 13:38). In the first parable the seed is sown in the hearts of men and in the second in the world. In the first parable there is no mention of judgment and in the second the age ends in judgment. This would seem to indicate that two sowings are indicated; the first that throughout the age, principally by the church, and the second in the tribulation period just prior to the end of the age when God is again dealing with Israel. There are indications in the second parable that this is related to Israel, rather than to the church: (1) the term children of the kingdom is used in Matthew to refer to Israel (Matt. 8:11-12); (2) the judgment outlined relates to the time when God will again be dealing with Israel as a nation, that is at the end of the age; (3) the wheat and tares grow together until the judgment, but the church will be raptured before the tribulation begins; (4) the judgment that falls upon the wicked comes through the angels before the righteous are rewarded, so that the chronology here depicts the removal of the wicked so that only righteous are left; (5) the millennial kingdom is set up immediately after this judgment; (6) the church is never judged to determine who will enter into glory and who will be excluded. This seems to indicate that this parable has primary reference to Israel during the tribulation period. Yet it is true that the entire age is to be characterized by a false sowing in competition with the true.

(An explanation of the terms “rapture” and “catching up,” will be provided at the end of this article.)

c. The Mustard Seed (Matt. 13:31-32). This parable is properly interpreted as the prediction of the inevitable expansion of God’s kingdom throughout the world in the present age. In Jewish idiom a mustard seed was used to weigh what was considered the smallest measurable amount. Thus the insignificant beginning of the present age of the kingdom is being stressed. The mustard is a plant that grows in one year from seed to a height of twenty to thirty feet. This part of the parable stresses the great growth of the kingdom when once it is introduced. The kingdom will grow from an insignificant beginning to great proportions. Historically the present age of the kingdom of God had its beginning with only a few to propogate it, but in spite of that it will reach to great size. In Daniel’s prophecy (4:1-37) the tree represented Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom (vs. 20-22). The birds in the tree represented the peoples that received benefit from Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom (v. 12). Here the mustard reveals that the kingdom in the present age will have an insignificant beginning, but will grow to great size and multitudes will benefit from it. Note that the terms, “present age,” and “interadvent age,” both related to the time of the rejection of Christ by Israel (Matthew 12:22-24), to His return to earth at the end of the tribulation and the beginning of the Davidic Kingdom on earth (the earthly reign of Christ; Matthew 24:29-30; 2 Samuel 7:12-16). Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of these promises (Luke 1:31-33) and, although at this present time He is not ruling from the throne of David (Hebrews 12:2), at His second coming He will assume this throne (Matthew 19:28; Acts 15:15-17).

d. The Leaven Hidden in the Meal (Matt. 13:33). When leaven is used in Scripture it frequently connotes evil (Ex. 12:15; Lev. 2:11; 6:17; 10:12; Matt. 16:6; Mark 8:15; 1 Cor. 5:6, 8; Gal. 5:9). Its use in the sacrifices that represent the perfection of the person and work of Christ (Lev. 2:1-3) shows it is not always so used. Here the emphasis is not on leaven itself as though to emphasize its character, but rather on the fact that the leaven has been hidden in meal, thus stressing the way leaven works when once introduced into the meal. When leaven is introduced into the meal an irreversible process has begun that will continue until it has completed its leavening action. This is intended to stress the way the present age of the kingdom will develop.

The power in the kingdom will not be external but internal. By its internal working it will effect an external transformation. All previous kingdoms had been introduced by military might; Babylon came to power by defeating Assyria, Medo-Persia ruled by defeating Babylon, Greece came to ascendancy by conquering Medo-Persia, and Rome dominated by overwhelming Greece. But this present age of the kingdom will flourish, not by military might, but by a new principle—the power within. The parable of the mustard and the leaven hidden in meal, then, stress the growth of the present age of the kingdom.

e. The Hid Treasure (Matt. 13:44). The purpose of this parable is to depict the
relationship of Israel to this present age. Although set aside by God until this age is completed, yet Israel is not forgotten and this age does have reference to that program. We observe (1) that an individual, who is the Lord Jesus Christ, is purchasing a treasure. This purchase was effected at the cross. (2) This treasure is hidden away in a field, unseen by men, but known to the purchaser. (3) During the age the purchaser does not come into the possession of His purchased treasure, but only into the possession of the place in which the treasure resides. The parable is showing that Christ has laid the foundation for Israel’s acceptance in this age, even though the age ends without His having appropriated His treasure. The treasure will be unearthed when He comes to establish His kingdom. Israel is now in blindness, but possessed.

f. The Pearl (Matt. 13:45-46). While some relate the pearl to the believing remnant saved at the end of the age, most interpreters relate the pearl to the church. Thus the Lord is showing that within this present age, in addition to acquiring the treasure, Israel, He will also acquire for His personal possession that which was born through injury, the church. We observe (1) that the church, like the pearl, becomes the possession of the “merchantman,” Christ, by purchase; (2) the church, like the pearl, is to be formulated by gradual accretion; (3) the church, like the pearl, can only become His adornment by being lifted out of the place in which it was formed. This is to be related to the present age purpose, previously considered.

g. The Dragnet (Matt. 13:47-50). This parable indicates that the age is to end in a judgment, principally upon Gentile nations, since the net is to be cast into the sea (Matt. 13:47). This is in contrast to the judgment on Israel depicted in the second parable. The unsaved will be excluded from the kingdom that is to be established, as previously taught in the parables, and the righteous taken into it.

It is to be observed that there is a parallel between the “mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” of Matthew 13 and the mysteries referred to by Paul. The mystery of the sower closely parallels the mystery of godliness of 1 Timothy 3:16. The parable of the wheat and tares and the parable of the mustard seed parallel the mystery of lawlessness of 2 Thessalonians 2:7, which depicts the individual who is the head of a system. The parable of the leaven parallels the Babylon mystery of Revelation 17:1-7. The parable of the hid treasure parallels the mystery of Israel’s blindness of Romans 11:25. The parable of the pearl parallels the mystery applicable to the church mentioned in Ephesians 3:3-9; Colossians 1:26-27; Romans 16:25.

II. Explanation of the catching up of the saints, also known as the rapture of the church. A more detailed discussion of the significance of the rapture will take place in a later article.

Regarding the term rapture and its use in theology, the following discussion should answer any questions about the rapture. Such a teaching is that the catching up of the church is imminent, which means that it can happen at any time. Also, there is no OT event that can precipitate the rapture, because of imminency, such as the feast of trumpets.

This discussion examines the rapture 1 Thes 4:16-17, but the following scriptures tell the same story of Jesus coming in the air (not to stand on the earth) to take His born again believers to Heaven with Him, as they are seen in Rev 4-5. As an example, if believers are not caught up to Heaven, “how do they get there?” [John 14:2-3; vs 6, tells of an action of Jesus, as well as a belief in Jesus; 1 Thes 4:13-18; 1 Cor 15:51-54; Titus 2:13].

Our modern understanding of rapture appears to have little or no connection with the eschatological event. However, the word is properly used of that event. Rapture is a state or experience of being carried away. The English word comes from a Latin word, rapio, which means to seize or snatch in relation to an ecstasy of spirit or the actual removal from one place to another. In other words, it means to be carried away in spirit or in body. The Rapture of the church means the carrying away of the church from earth to heaven.

 The Greek word from this term “rapture” is derived appears in 1 Thes 4:17, translated “caught up.” The Latin translation of this verse used the word rapturo. The Greek word it translates is harpazo, which means to snatch or take away. Elsewhere it is used to describe how the Spirit caught up Philip near Gaza and brought him to Caesarea (Acts 8:39) and to describe Paul’s experience of being caught up into the third heaven 2 Cor 12:2-4). Thus, there can be no doubt that the word is used in1 Thes 4:17 to indicate the actual removal of people from earth to heaven.  The Latin Vulgate actually used a different form of the same verb –“Rapiemur” instead of “Rapturo,” which has the same meaning as “rapturo.”

III. Article References. 

Lewis Sperry Chafer, Th. D. (1871-1952). J. Vernon McGee, Th. D. (1904-1988). Merrill F. Unger, Ph. D. (1909-1980). Charles L. Feinberg, Ph. D. (1909-1995). John F. Walvoord, Th. D. (1910-2002). J. Dwight Pentecost, Th. D. (1915-2014). Charles C. Ryrie, Ph. D. (1925-2016). Robert L. Thomas, Th. D. (1928-2017). Stanley D. Toussaint, Th. D. (1928-2017). Robert P. Lightner, Th. D. (1931-2018). Harold W. Hoehner, Ph. D. (1935-2009). Thomas S. McCall, Th. D. (1936-2021). Edward E. Hindson, Ph. D. (1944-2022).

IV . Article Considerations.

A. One of the most difficult and most important factors of writing an article is related to sources of information. A writer must ensure that such sources have a high degree of knowledge on the subjects that are being written, and also must have a high degree of respect from other writers. A second factor that must be considered relates to how to lawfully use material of other writers. In this web site, copyright statutes are not violated. Also, “public domain,” is to be considered.

B. In this article, I have chosen theologians whom have proven themselves to be highly respected by others in the Biblical doctrine of eschatology (the study of what Scripture teaches about the end times), and other doctrines of scripture. All of the references in this article have a connection with Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) as graduate or instructor.

C.  For education and other supporting data for each source of information in this article, please refer to my Page, “About My References.” The following links show information about Dallas Theological Seminary; I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the Seminary. It is important to understand that DTS is not a denominational seminary, and is totally independent of such.

D. About Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS).

1. General Info.

2. Doctrinal Statement.


Author: Equipping

You may contact me by emailing me on my site's email address, as follows: The Church is the Church, and Israel is Israel. The Church did not replace Israel, and is not spiritual Israel. In the New Testament, “church” and “Israel” are mentioned as being separate entities. In the New Testament “church” is mentioned 112 times; Israel is mentioned 79 times; both are mentioned as being separate entities The Kingdom “has not yet come,” and will not come until the Jewish bloodline of Israel accepts God’s chosen king (Deuteronomy 17:15), which will take place at the end of the Tribulation when the nation of Israel faces decimation and calls on Messiah, Christ, in faith, to save them (Zechariah 12:10). Individual salvation is of the Jews (John 4:22), and comes through Christ (John 14:6). Things are discussed in this website that relate to God’s creation, from “eternity to eternity,” and all that is addressed within those parameters. Consider Isaiah 43:13, “Even from eternity I am He, And there is no one who can rescue from My hand; I act, and who can reverse it?” The Moody Study Bible adds a comment: “God is the ruler of all, and there is nothing that can stand against Him. His will is irresistible. The Bible Knowledge Commentary adds this thought: “No one can reverse what God puts into action or thwart His plans.” The articles that are found in this site may relate to anything that is found in the Bible, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22.21, as well as anything else that may relate to the Bible..

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