Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The faith of a seed and the parables of our Lord

In spite of all this miraculous power being manifested, the Nation of Israel still rejected the King. When the disciples returned from their first missionary journey, they boasted that even demons were subject to them. In Matthew 17, the disciples accompanied Jesus to a mountain where they witnessed His transfiguration. Yet immediately after coming down from the mount, they could not cast the demon out of the father's lunatic son because of their unbelief. Shortly after this, Jesus proclaimed judgment upon Israel. From then on, His message was not that He was to establish their Kingdom but, that He was to die.

After the message of the Kingdom was rejected and no longer preached, the sowing of a seed is only mentioned once. It deals with a mustard seed and it is not to praise the disciples for having "seed faith" but rather to reprove them for not having the faith of a seed.

Let us get the true picture in context. Jesus said that if you had the faith of a mustard seed, you could say to the mountain "remove hence" and it would happen.

Matt 17:20...if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove;

Two days before He made this statement, Jesus wept over Jerusalem. He pronounced judgment upon the city, then judgment upon the temple, and then judgment upon the disciples' lack of faith. If they had exercised the faith of a mustard seed, they could have said to the mountain ..."Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you." Jesus is reproving them for not having faith as a mustard seed. A mustard seed, though the tiniest of seeds, grows to become the greatest of herbs; a great tree with spreading branches. If they had this kind of faith, they would have spread the message through all Judea, Jesus would have ruled the earth, the millennial Kingdom would have begun, and every mountain and all of nature would have been subject to the disciples!

When Christ sent the disciples out two by two into the cities of Judea, the authority and power He gave them was to establish and confirm one message only, that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand. This message was to be given to Israel only. It was for this very reason they were to have no sandals on their feet. Their feet must touch the ground promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. If in any city they entered into the people rejected their message of the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel, they were to shake the dust off their feet. The dust on their feet represented the land God promised to restore. When a Jew left the land of promise and re-entered, he would take his sandals off and shake the dust off his feet to signify that he did not want even the dust of the heathen's land but only the land God promised Abraham.

This message and the parables of the Kingdom, which were rejected by Israel, also reveal the rejection of the Messiahship of Jesus. The reason that Israel did not accept this message is proved by the following facts:

Jesus placed judgment upon the disciples for not having the faith of a mustard seed. As we have stated, the mustard seed, which is the tiniest of seeds, when sown, becomes a great tree with branches spread. If the disciples would've had the faith of a mustard seed, the Messiahship of Jesus would have been spread throughout Judea, Christ would have reigned over earth, and every mountain would have been subject to any one of the people of Israel. Any Jew would have said to the mountain "Move" and it would have moved.

The Parables

The parables of the Kingdom were not given to the Gentiles but only to the Nation of Israel because Israel was the subject of the parables. Israel was blinded to the Messiahship of Jesus Christ. Jesus' reason for speaking in parables is given in Matthew 13:14 where He quotes from Isaiah,

Matt 13:14...And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

The parables of the Kingdom show Israel's rejection of the Messiahship of Jesus and the Kingdom of Heaven. The parable of the sower in Matthew 13 is an example. The people are likened to the different types of soil. The message of the Kingdom is sown on four different types of soil. Only one€the good ground, produced a crop, teaching that the majority of Israel was going to reject the Kingdom.

Matt 13:3-13...And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables:

In the parable of the vineyard in Matthew 21:33-41, the lord of the vineyard sent his servants to collect his share. The wicked tenants beat his servant's and stoned them to death. Finally the owner said, "Then will I send my son". When the son arrived, the people said, "He's the heir. Let's put him to death." So they killed him. Likewise, Jesus Christ the Son was rejected and put to death. The Lord will come and bring vengeance on the caretakers of the vineyard.

Matt 21:33-39...Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.

Throughout the parables, we see object lessons of good fish and bad fish, wheat and tares, foolish virgins and wise virgins, all part of the message being given to Israel. But these parables do not teach the mystery of the Church. There is a vast difference between the church and the message of the Kingdom of Heaven. *

Some teachers in our generation have misapplied the parables to the Church and taught "sowing" money as seed, expecting to get 30, 60, or 100-fold as a return. The 30, 60, and 100-fold increase was to the Israelites that received the message of the Kingdom and had no reference to the Church or to money. There is no "sowing of money" in the parables of the Kingdom to Israel. Also, they could not sow the message of the Kingdom to the Gentiles for it was given to Israel only.

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