The Kingdom, the Seed and the Church (7)

September 29, 2009 by · 4 Comments 

Continuing from (6)

 

Jesus recommends that the removal of the weed  be postponed until harvest time – thereafter the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father[1].

Two parables further, Jesus repeats Himself by telling the same type of parable.  Whenever there is a double teaching or miracle, we should take particular notice.  It is like repeating yourself for the sake of emphasis.

 

Matthew 13:47-50 (NIV)

“Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish.  When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore.  Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away.  This is how it will be at the end of the age.  The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

 

Here I would like to focus on the word age.

 

The same word used in verse 39, “…the harvest is the end of the age”.  In some Bibles the word age is incorrectly translated and world is used instead.

 

The word age is derived from the Greek word aiōn, which means, an age or age-time, the duration of which is indefinite and may be limited or extended as the context of each occurrence may demand.  The root word of aiōn is expressed by the Hebrew olām, which denotes indefinite, unknown, or concealed duration: just as we speak of the “patriarchal age” or “the golden age”.  Hence, it has come to denote any given period of time, characterised by a special form of Divine administration or dispensation.  In the plural, it has the meaning of ages or succession of age-times.  These ages or age-times were all prepared and arranged by God[2]and there is a constant distinction in the NT between “this age” and “the coming age”[3]

 

Looking at the Bible through “dispensational lenses”, we clearly see God working in 1000 and 2000-year cycles or ages[4].

 

The first age is called the antediluvian age – the time before Noah’s flood.  From Genesis 6 we read.

 

Genesis 6:5-8 (NIV)

The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

 

God decided to make an end to the wickedness of man and save only one righteous man – Noah and his family, “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.”[5] It sounds familiar – destroying the wicked and saving the righteous.  (It reminds you of Matthew 13:41-43 and 49-50)

 

The next age was the time of the Law.

Beginning with the calling of Abraham and then ± 450 years later the summons of Moses.  God gave the Law to Moses the deliverer of Israel and for the following 1500 years, Israel was under the law.

 

This brings us to the time of Jesus, 2000 years since the flood and the beginning of a new dispensation as well as the end of the old.  “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”[6]  In Matthew 13:39, 40, 49 where Jesus spoke about the end of the age, He referred to the end of the previous 2000 year age or dispensation of the Law of Moses.

The Apostle Paul and the author of Hebrews spoke of the selfsame thing[7].  Those who did not adhere to His teachings and believed in Him as the Messiah also had a “flood” coming.  Only this time the “flood” was the Roman Empire who destroyed Israel and not one stone of the Temple was left upon another[8] in 70 A.D.  At that time, the righteous did shine forth as the sun as the Church grew exponentially in the first 250 years after Christ’s ascension. 

 

The past 2000 years was called the dispensation of grace,

If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward.” [9]  Paul also writes, “that in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.”[10]  The Amplified Bible speaks of the climax of the ages.

 

Is history going to repeat itself?

 

Looking back at the past ages, we clearly see the pattern of God’s dealings with man.  We find 9 similarities in each age[11], which leaves a definite message and warning to those who has ears to hear and eyes to see.[12]

 

  • Each age consist of approximately 2000 years,
  • God has a standard of righteousness for each age,
  • There is a forerunner to every age,
  • A deliverer for God’s chosen people comes onto the scene,
  • A period of grace, where the people are given a chance to repent and heed to the message of the forerunner and follow the deliverer, is included in each age,
  • There has to be a destruction of the old ways,
  • A constellation, mirrors from the sky, the message for the coming age,
  • There is a church in every age and,
  • There are always signs, wonders, and natural phenomena in the change over from one age to the next.

 

Paul speaks of the ages to come, knowing God’s plan for the human race is worked out over hundreds and even thousands of years,

“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”[13]

 

What most Christians perceive as the end of the world, quoting from Scripture, is due to the mistranslations of the Bibles and lack of revelation knowledge and understanding.  The “end of the world” as they say is actually the end of an age.  Those who are righteous will be saved, and a new dispensation will be ushered in.  Those who hear the message but for some or other reason do not heed to it, will be “destroyed” and suffer the consequences of it.  As Jesus said, “there will be weeping and wailing and grinding of teeth.”[14]Those Jews who survived the destruction of 70 A.D. were “on the run” for the next 2000 years, always enduring  hardship under some dictator or tyrant.

However, that age is past and we have already entered the “period of grace” of the next dispensation.

May we heed to the voice of His Spirit and follow the Lamb wherever he goes.[15]

 

Between the two “end of the age” parables, we find another twin parable, the hidden treasure found in a field[16] and the pearl of great price found by the merchant[17].  Both are of great value and the discoverers sold everything in order to buy the treasure.  How much are you willing to “sell” for what you have found in Christ?  For some Christians “selling” an extra hour per week is too costly.  Others will not “sell” their worldly friends, or TV programs, which contaminate and infect them with lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.  The Apostle Paul states that he had found such a treasure in knowing Christ and having His resurrection power. That nothing else is as costly or valuable to him.

Philippians 3:7-10 (NIV)

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him… I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection…

 

Some people find a Church and think they found Christ.  Others find a religion and confuse it with the kingdom of God.  The kingdom of God/Christ is not in a building or a structure or in customs, but is within the hearts of His children.  If I understand the words of Jesus correctly, then what I find of Christ is directly proportional to what I am willing to sell in order to have all of it.

 

Matthew 13:33 (KJV)

Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

 

When one studies the Bible, you soon realise how God works in 3’s most of the time.

Here are some of the 3’s we find in the Bible:

 

  • The Father, Son and Holy Ghost[18],
  • We are spirit, soul and body[19],
  • The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob[20],
  • The religious services were only assigned to the Levites, Priests and High Priest[21],
  • The 3 anointed offices in the OT were, the Prophet, the Priest, and the King[22],
  • The 3 OT feasts were, the Unleavened bread, Weeks and Tabernacles[23],
  • The 3 areas of the Tabernacle and later the Temple were the Outer Court, the Holy Place and Holy of Holies[24],
  • The first three kings of Israel each ruled for 40 years each.
  • Three spiritual creatures in the OT are, the Ophanim, Cherubim and Seraphim[25],
  • Jesus’ closest disciples were, Peter, James and John[26],
  • They represent, faith, hope and love[27],
  • Jesus is the way, truth and life[28],
  • Jesus commands us to ask, seek and knock[29],
  • The 3 enemies are the Beast, the False Prophet and the Dragon[30],
  • Christ is past, present and future[31],
  • Each dispensation had its own Calendar.

 

There are more of these three’s to be found in Scripture but here I would like to quote E.W. Bullinger, “three denotes divine perfection, seven denotes spiritual perfection, ten denotes ordinal perfection and twelve denotes governmental perfection.  Hence, the number three points us to what is real, essential, perfect, substantial, and Divine.  Three is the number associated with the Godhead”.[32]  And the fullness of the Godhead we find in Christ Jesus[33].

 

Therefore, the parable of the woman working with three measures of meal until all is leavened, speaks of us and our need to have the fullness of the Christ (the kingdom of God) worked into us.  All of His way, truth and life must be thoroughly worked into every area of our lives until we are filled with the fullness of God!  …and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God”.[34]

 

Matthew 13:52 (AMP)

He said to them, Therefore every teacher and interpreter of the Sacred Writings who has been instructed about and trained for the kingdom of heaven and has become a disciple is like a householder who brings forth out of his storehouse treasure that is new and [treasure that is] old [the fresh as well as the familiar].

 

In the Bible we read about history spanning thousands of years.  It details on the experiences that individuals as well as nations had with God and His instructions to the people He had used as well as those He loves.  For many the Bible is a good book and for others it gives direction in times of trouble.  Yet, others make it their mission to prove it wrong despite being the best-seller for years on end.  Reading it as a book versus being able to understand the significance of everything written in terms of Christ Jesus, are two different scenarios.  For the one it is the letter and for the other life. 

 

When Jesus made the remark, Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil[35], He not only fulfilled the prophecies spoken, but also came to carry out and explain the true meaning  of the Law. It is the spirit behind the law He came to explain, teach, and live.  Hence, the following remarks, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.[36]  But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart”[37].

 

Therefore, according to Jesus, the person who is a disciple, has been trained in the way, the truth, and the life of Christ and is able to take from the OT and the NT the treasures needed for those in the house (Body of Christ).  Once again, we see the importance of comprehending and being trained in the Kingdom ways before the purpose of the Church can be fully realised.

 

Summary of Matthew 13

  • It is the chapter with the most parables about the kingdom of God.
  • A Parable tells the truth in story format.
  • We need the Spirit’s illumination to grasp the significance of these parables  and how they relate to Christ.
  • Each citizen in the kingdom of God can be placed in one of four groups, according to how such a person receives the Word and the depth of their roots in Christ.
  •  By our fruit (of the spirit – or not) we are known.
  • Trials and tribulations are the exams in the “School of the Spirit”, testing the depth of our faith.
  • The type of seed planted within our lives can only be recognised once the tree bears fruit.
  • Every plant that’s not of the Father must be uprooted[38] and thrown into the fire.
  • God’s calendar consists of 1000-year days.  It is called ages or dispensations.
  • His plan for humankind stretches over ages.
  • We can learn from the past three dispensations as we are on the brink of a new age (Day of the Lord).
  • In all previous ages there are similarities and knowing these parallelisms enables us to look to the future with excitement and fear.
  • In proportion to what we have found and discovered of Christ, we are willing to sell of the things dear to us, to find even more of Him.
  • God works in 3’s, and He wants to work the fullness of Christ into every part of our being.
  • A disciple of Christ, instructed in the Kingdom can be appointed over God’s house.  Such a person has the ability to make disciples.
  • Jesus Christ came to teach and demonstrate the spirit behind the Law and the Prophets.
  • Christ was the fulfillment of the prophecies and was/is the greatest Prophet.
  • He lived every law and was/is the Royal Law[39].
  • He taught about the shepherd and was/is the Great Shepherd.
  • He quoted David from Psalms but was Himself also the “anointed David” – God’s firstborn.[40]

To be continued…

 


 

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[1] Matthew 13:43

[2] Hebrews 1:2, 11:3

[3] Companion Bible, Appendix 129, 2: 1999, Kregel Publications, Michigan.

[4] Psalm 90:4; 2Peter 3:8

[5] Genesis 6:9 (NIV)

[6] John 1:17 (KJV)

[7] 1Corinthians 10:11; Hebrews 9:26

[8] Mark 13:1-2

[9] Ephesians 3:2 (KJV)

[10] Ephesians 1:10 (KJV)

[11] See the series and book; “The coming age” by Edgar Phillips

[12] Matthew 13:15-16

[13] Ephesians 2:6-7 (NIV)

[14] Matthew 13:42b (AMP)

[15] Revelation 14:4

[16] Matthew 13:44

[17] Matthew 13:45-46

[18] Matthew 28:19

[19] 1Thesalonians 5:23

[20] Genesis 50:24; Exodus 2:24, 3:6; Deuteronomy 1:8; Matthew 8:11, 22:32; Acts 3:13, 7:32

[21] Exodus 38:21; Deuteronomy 18:1; 2Kings 23:4

[22] Exodus 28:41, 30:30; 1kings 19:16;

[23] Deuteronomy 16:16

[24] Exodus 26:33; Ezekiel 10:5

[25] Ezekiel 1:15-21; Genesis 3:24; Isaiah 6:2

[26] Matthew 17:1

[27] 1Corinthians 13:13

[28] John 14:6

[29] Matthew 7:7-8

[30] Revelation 16:13, 19:20, 20:2, 10

[31] Revelation 1:4, 8, 4:8

[32] Bullinger , E.W., 1967: Numbers in Scripture: Its Supernatural design and Spiritual Significance, Kregel Publications, Michigan

[33] Colossians 1:19, 2:9

[34] Ephesians 3:19

[35] Matthew 5:17 (KJV)

[36] Exodus 20:14

[37] Matthew 5:27-28

[38] Matthew 15:13

[39] James 2:8 (KJV)

[40] Psalm 89:20-29

About Edgar Phillips
Husband, Dad, Ordained Minister and Missionary who loves God, Pastoral & Functional Therapist, Imago Professional Facilitator, EFT practitioner.

Comments

4 Responses to “The Kingdom, the Seed and the Church (7)”
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