(… continued from Treasure and Pearl 1…)
The 6 parables of the kingdom of heaven then explain what the kingdom of heaven is like and who are to enter. Salvation is for everyone but some choose not to listen or do not understand. According to the parable of the sower, those who hear the message but do not understand are in the hands of the evil one. Are they immediately denied from entering heaven?
No. According to the parable of the weeds (1) and the parable of the net (6), they are not pulled up immediately. The good ones and the bad ones are not separated until the end of the age.
Why are they mixed together then? Why not separate the two immediately?
Jesus, the mustard seed (2), was sowed and then is grown into a large tree, so that birds of the air come and stay on it. He sets out to find fine pearls (5) and when he find one, he sells everything and buys it. Everyone may rest in Jesus and everyone is as precious as a fine pearl.
True believers are like yeast (3) and treasure (4). They are hid in the world (a large amount of flour and the field). They are hid to impact the others and in the end, God will buy the field, not just the treasure. Christians are to live a holy life not by themselves but in the world among non-believers. We are to work like yeast and make the whole dough leavened, or like the treasure hidden in the field and make the field valuable.
Note that the first three parables (the sower, the weeds, and the yeast) are told in public while the last three (the treasure, the pearl, and the net) are told to disciples only. The explanations are also made to disciples only.
Jesus is the merchant who went out to seek fine pearls and as he found one, he sold everything and bought it – Jesus went out to seek the disciples and as he found one (not the one, but one), He sacrificed himself and saved the disciple. Disciples were called.
But disciples are not to be understood as just the twelve. The word “disciple" refers to anyone who follow Christ. So, we are all disciples. We are precious and God saved us with a great price – His son. We are to live a holy life among other non-believers and have an impact on them like yeast making the whole dough leavened. The sons of the kingdom of heaven and the sons of the evil one are not determined nor separated until the end of the age. And it is not man who separate the good and the bad. It is the angels who separate the good and the bad, and burn the bad ones.
Also note the parallel structure of the whole chapter. The parable of the sower is the opening. Then there are six parables of the kingdom of heaven. These six parables are written in a parallel structure as 1-6; 2-5; 3-4. The ending, or result, is Jesus not being honored in his hometown. ( Here is a structure chart of the chapter.)
The explanation of the parable of the weeds in inserted between parable (3) and (4) thus being the center of the whole chapter, which is the key point – the weeds and the wheat are not separated until the end of the age. The initial selection is open to everyone but whether one may enter the Kingdom in the end, that selection is held at the end of the age, not pre-determined. We are all precious in God’s eyes and He is willing to save us with a great price but if we do not hear the Message and understand it (and thus act according to it), then we allow Satan come and snatch what we have. In the end, angels will separate the bad ones from the good ones and throw them into the fiery furnace.
I posted most of the content of this entry last night (Jun 30) at 4:50am. After days (and nights) of discussion, we reached the above “conclusion". So far, I have amended this three or four times. Maybe we’ll find something even more exciting in the future.
But the key is: hear the word and understand it – don’t just read the Bible. Think hard and try to understand it… though it is really hard.