September 8, 2015
Second Coming Reflections, Part 3
Parables of the Kingdom
Yeshua (Jesus) spoke a lot about the Kingdom of God. Many of His teachings were done in the style of parables. These parables about the kingdom are what we are going to look at today.
Tares Among the Wheat
One of Yeshua's parables is called the Tares Among the Wheat in Matthew 13:24-30. It talks about the kingdom being compared to a man who sows his seed in his field but while he was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat. When the wheat sprang up and bore grain, then the tares became evident. When the workers of the field saw this, they told their boss, "Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?" The boss told His workers, "An enemy has done this!" The workers asked the boss, "Should we pull up the tares?" But the boss said, "No, lest while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with it. Allow both to grow together until harvest; and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, 'First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.'"
The Psalmist writes in Psalm 73 about the prosperity and ease of the wicked and like Job 21:7 asks the question "Why do the wicked still live, continue on, also becoming very powerful?" The Psalmist continues in verse 17, "Until I came into the sanctuary of God; then I perceived their end." When Yeshua comes back, as Messiah's calling, He will destroy the enemies of Israel along with the enemy of our soul, Satan himself.
In verses 36-43 of Matthew 13, Yeshua explains His parable. He tells His disciples that the one who sows the good seed is Himself and the field is the world; the good seed is the sons of the kingdom and the tares are the sons of the evil one and the enemy who sows the tares is the devil. Yeshua tells the disciples, "The son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness and will cast them into the furnace of fire; in that place will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, but the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the kingdom."
We see here that judgement for the wicked will come at the end. We may think that our lifestyle pleases God because the proverbial lightning has not struck us, but that is just another lie of the devil. The day of judgement will come and every word we speak and every deed we have done will be accounted for.
Hidden Treasure/A Costly Pearl
Yeshua continues telling the crowd another two parables about the kingdom. This one is called the Hidden Treasure in Matthew 13:44: "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field." Verse 45 goes on, "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it." These two short little anecdotes speak volumes about Yeshua's message.
The gospels record a conversation between Yeshua and a rich young ruler. Mark 10:17-31 records the story like this: a man confronts Yeshua with the question, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Yeshua tells him, "Keep the commandments." His response was, "I have kept them from my youth." Yeshua looked at him with love and compassion (because Yeshua knew his heart) and tells him, "One thing you lack; go and sell all you possess, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come follow me." The face of the man fell, and he went away grieved for he was one who owned much property. Yeshua said to His disciples, "How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God."
In the Beatitude discourse, which goes from chapters 5-7 in Matthew, gives us great insight into how one must live his life for the kingdom. In Matthew 6:24 Yeshua tells us, "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money." Paul tells us in Romans 12:1-2, "I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." John writes in John 12:23-26, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it; and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall My servant also be; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him."
There are so many stories and sayings of Yeshua, but it is all clear that His message was all about the Kingdom and His second coming. Are we seeking that great pearl of value, Yeshua Himself? Are we forsaking all for the kingdom? Paul writes in Philippians 3:7-8, "But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Messiah. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Messiah Yeshua my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Messiah."
As we consider Yeshua's second coming and as the day of judgment approaches, I ask, If Yeshua came tonight, would you know for certain that you would stand blameless before Him on the day of Judgment so that He would say to you, "Well done, good and faithful servant," or would He find you in contempt and say to you, "I know you not!" This is why we celebrate the Fall Feasts, so that we can remember that Yeshua is coming and we need to consider our deeds and "Repent!" Next time, we are going to look at the Scriptures to see what they say about the time that will surround His second coming and what the signs will be.