Summary: We are to be loving, kind and accepting of the people God places in our lives, even though we are to be discerning and unaccepting of their sinful choices. Yet, even in this, we are to do so in love. For we do not know where that person stands with God or
The Kingdom Of Heaven Is Like… – Part 2
The Parable Of The Wheat And The Tares
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Before we begin today, let’s make sure we are all clear about what a parable is and what the difference is between a parable and an allegory. Anyone care to give me their understanding of what a parable is? How about an allegory?
Okay, let’s go over our definitions once more, just to make sure we are all understanding this the same way:
A parable is the placing side by side with or comparing of the earthly truths expressed with the heavenly truths to be understood. The starting point of Christ’s parables is that man is made in the image of God, and that there is a God-ordained and God-created continuity between the human and the divine. The strength of Christ’s parables lies in the very real connection imprinted by the Creator on His creatures, the physical characterizing and demonstrating the higher spiritual and moral world.
An allegory, on the other hand, is figurative and symbolic, not descriptive. An allegory is a work in which the characters and events are to be understood as representing other things and symbolically express a deeper meaning, often spiritual or moral.
This would be a good spot to discuss the phrase the kingdom of heaven. We didn’t focus on it last time because I wanted to make sure that we understood the concept of parable as opposed to allegory. I also wanted to make sure that we got at least a fundamental understanding of the first of the parables of Our Lord, as recorded by Matthew.
At first glance, the phrase the kingdom of heaven might seem to mean the kingdom of God up in Heaven. In fact, this phrase, which is used thirty-one times in Matthew, is interchangeable with the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Christ. There are many views on what these phrases mean, and all they do is confuse the matter.
We get a solid indicator of what God means in Holy Scripture when He used the phrase kingdom of heaven, kingdom of God or kingdom of Christ, from Paul’s summarizing the reason we don’t let squabbles over food and drink divide the body. If we look very pointedly at Romans 14:17, we read these words: “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
The kingdom of heaven is not the kingdom of glory that reigns in heaven now and that will one day be the kingdom that rules and reigns everywhere and at every time after the return of Jesus Christ. The kingdom of heaven has to do specifically with where the Gospel is preached and accepted and takes root and grows and flourishes, first within the heart of each individual, then within the community of believers that will inevitably follow, which we call the church.
We see this initially in the parable Jesus began with in this section of Scripture, the Parable of the Sower. The three types of soil, the three types of heart where the seed did not take firm root and grow and become fruit-bearing is where the kingdom of heaven does not reign.