Parables of the kingdom of Heaven
by Robert Randle
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Matthew 3: 1, 5-6, 11
In those days John the Baptizer came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and the entire region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. I indeed baptize you with [in] water unto repentance, but he who is coming [The Coming One] after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with [in] the Holy Spirit [and fire].
Mark 1: 14-15
Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel [of the kingdom] of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
Matthew 4: 12-13, 17
Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee. And leaving Nazareth [His city], He came and dwelt in Capernaum. From that time [after the Baptizer’s arrest] Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Mark 4: 26
And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter [sow] seed on the ground.
Matthew 13: 24
Another parable He put forth to them, saying: (1) “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field (Cp. verses 36-42).
Mark 4: 30-31
Then He said, “To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it? “It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown [scattered] on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on the earth; but when it is sown it grows up and becomes greater than all the herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade.
Matthew 13: 31-32
Another parable He put forth to them, saying: (2) “The kingdom of heaven is like mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds, but when it is grown it is greater than all the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”
Luke 13: 18
Then He said, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? “It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and out in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches.”
Matthew 13: 33
Another parable He put forth to them, saying: (3) “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal until it was all leavened.
NOTE: Leaven is usually depicted as something corrupt and undesirable, so why is it used here in reference to the kingdom of Heaven? Is there any significance to precisely three measures of meal? In Genesis 18: 6, Sarah uses this exact amount in a cake recipe for the angelic visitors [including the LORD] before they headed down to judge and ultimately destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.
Luke 13: 20-21
And again He said, “To what shall I liken the kingdom of God? “It is like (3) leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal until it was all leavened.”
Matthew 13: 10-12
And the disciples came and said to Him, “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 [hidden truths] of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.”
Matthew 13: 44
Again, (4) 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.
Matthew 13: 45-46
Again, (5) the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Matthew 13: 47-48
Again, (6) the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some [fish] of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away (Cp. verses 49-51).
Matthew 13: 52
Then Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe [scholar of the Law] instructed concerning (7) the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”
Matthew 18: 23
Therefore (8) the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.
Matthew 20: 1
For (9) the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.
Matthew 21: 28-32, 43-45
But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, “Son, go and work today (9) in my vineyard. “He answered and said, ‘I will not.’ But afterwards he regretted it and went. Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, “I go, sir,’ but he did not go. “Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said to him, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent [regret it/repent] and believe him. Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. And whomever falls on this stone will be broken, but on whomever if falls, it will grind him to powder. Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them.
NOTE: Did Jesus mean that the kingdom will be taken from the Jewish people or their leaders and given to the Gentiles who are producing its fruit?
Mark 10: 31
But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
Matthew 22: 2-3
(10) The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come.
John 1: 11
He [Jesus] came into His own [nation] and His own received Him not.
Matthew 25: 14
For (12) the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.
Leviticus 25: 55
For the children of Israel are servants to Me (Cp. Isaiah 49: 3); they are My servants whom I brought out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Matthew 25: 1
Then (11) the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Hosea 2: 19-20
I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in loving-kindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the LORD.
Luke 19: 11-12
Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. Therefore He said, (12) “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and return. So he called ten of His servants, delivered to them ten minas [three months salary], and said to them, ‘Do business until I come [return].’ “And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had received by trading (Cp. Matthew 25: 14).”
Luke 22: 29-30
And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Acts 1: 6-7
Therefore, when they [the disciples] had come together, they asked Him, saying, “LORD, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.
COMMENTARY: The kingdom of heaven on earth that Jesus preached about was primarily directed to the Jewish people, and not as some New Testament Bible scholars contend, to the Christian Church. One of the main purposes of Jesus’ teaching and coming was to bring the Jewish nation back to a right relationship with the LORD their God. This is based upon the following:
Zechariah 1: 2-4
The LORD has been very angry with your fathers. “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Return to Me,” says the LORD of Hosts, “and I will return to you,” says the LORD of Hosts. “Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets preached, saying, “Thus says the LORD of Hosts: “Turn now from your evil ways and your evil deeds.” ’ But they did not hear or heed Me,” says the LORD.
Malachi 4: 5-6
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.
Now some Christian believers might want to say that Jesus came to bring in the knowledge of salvation to Gentiles, but which ones? If one carefully reads Matthew 4: 13-17, it says: And leaving Nazareth, He [Jesus] came and dwelt [resided] in Capernaum. Which is by the sea [of Galilee/Tiberias], in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and those who sat in the region and shadow of death, Light has dawned.” From that time [after John the Baptizer had been imprisoned] Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand [has drawn near].”
Matthew 15: 24
But He [Jesus] answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel [Galilee of the Gentiles??].
Finally, it must be remembered that Jesus was from the region of Galilee in the North and this Jewish land is identified with two of the twelve sons of Israel allotted to them [and their descendants] by God. So, the Gentiles under consideration are really Aramaic-speaking inhabitants of this Israelite territory, considered Gentiles as compared to the residents in the Southern territory of Judea [including Jerusalem]; and not Gentiles referred to as the nations[Heb. goyiim] in the usual sense of the word.
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