Matthew 13 Parables - Setting the Context

Part 1 - Matthew 13 Parables - Revisted series
By: John Herbert | Nov 29, 2009
Mt 13:3 Then He spoke many things to them in parables,

Speaking many things to them in parables marks a significant shift in the Lord's earthly ministry. And such a change is not arbitrary nor accidental, but is rather an integral part of the outworking of God's plans and purposes by and for His Son. Therfore to understand the context into which the parables fit will make sure that we understand them correctly.

Message Notes

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Sunday November 29th 2009
Matthew 13 Parables Part One
Setting the Context
1). Mt 13:1 ? On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea. 2 And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. 3 Then He spoke many things to them in parables,
a). At the beginning of Matthew Chapter 13 we see Christ speaking ?many things to them in parables?.
b). Now this may seem like an insignificant detail, but speaking in parables marks a significant change in the focus of the Lord?s earthly ministry as this was not something He had done to any degree before this point.
c). And a change of this sort is not arbitrary and must be seen within the context of the outworking of God?s plans and purposes by and for His Son ? the very thing to which the whole of scripture speaks.
d). And so, in order to study these parables correctly we need to begin by setting the context into which they fit so we can understand the significance of that which is taking place within them.
2). Firstly, notice what the Lord says here in -Isa 46:9 Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, 'My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,'
a). And we find in Hebrews - Heb 4:3 For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: "So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest,'" although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
b). And that which was declared from the beginning, the works finished from the foundation of the world, concerned a Rest, a seventh day, which we know to be the Millennial Kingdom of Christ ? We see this firstly in foundation, in the book of beginning, in Genesis Chapter 1, with the six days of work followed by the 7th day of rest, summarized here in ? Ge 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
c). And we see this again in the sign given to the nation of Israel ? ?he who will rule with God?, to point them to that which lay out ahead for them if they were faithfully obedient beyond the point of their eternal redemption ?
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Ex 20:8 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
d). With regards to the first generation of Israel to come out of Egypt however, who were all eternally saved on the night of Passover, scripture is clear that they were cut off from the rest that should have been theirs, and cut off from it for a very specific reason - Heb 4:4 For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: "And God rested on the seventh day from all His works"; 5 and again in this place: "They shall not enter My rest." 6 Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience,
e). At Kadesh Barnea, rather than trusting in the promises of God, His eternally redeemed, adopted, firstborn son, except for Joshua and Caleb, believed the bad report of their leaders and refused to enter the Land. Entering the Land and entering the Rest are synonymous terms as we see here in - Jos 1:13 "Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, 'The LORD your God is giving you rest and is giving you this land.'
f). And as we continue in Hebrews we find a warning concerning ourselves with regards to the 7th Day, the Kingdom of the Heavens and the rest awaiting us, drawing from the example of Israel that we have just noted - Heb 4:7 again He designates a certain day, saying in David, "Today," after such a long time, as it has been said: "Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts." 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. 11 ? Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.
g). Then by comparing scripture with scripture we can know that the 7th Day, the Sabbath Rest, the Millennial Kingdom of Christ that still remains ahead of us, the rest that we are to be diligent to enter, is contained within a timeframe that conforms to the unchangeable pattern set by God in Genesis Chapter 1 ?
2Pe 3:8 ? But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 ? The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
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h). Only now we realize that each of the 7 days that God has set in place, is 1000 years in length and not 24 hours as in Genesis. 6 days, 6000 years of work followed by the 7th day, a 7th 1000 year period.
i). And we should note, from the scriptures, that God had also set in place, from the foundation of the world, the Kingdom of His Son in that 7th Day.
j). Let?s begin with God?s own commentary on Genesis 1:1 - Joh 1:1 ? In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
k). And we have further commentary here in - Col 1:16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
i/ And clearly from our scripture here we can see that rulership with regards to the earth has always been in view.
l). And we should also note that this Kingdom is to be administered by Christ and His coheirs ? eternally redeemed members of the human race who have been found worthy to do so -Mt 25:34 "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
m). Re 20:6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
o). And what is even more remarkable is that God?s plan is to be fulfilled through a particular group from within the human race and this was determined before there was ever a kingdom of the heavens, or an earth, or a provincial ruler called Lucifer, or a man or a woman.
p). 1Co 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,
3). What we need to understand is that from an unspecified time that significantly predates the beginning of God?s revelation to Man ? Genesis 1:1 ? God had already determined 6000 years of human history culminating in the 1000 year reign of Christ which is presented in a type at the beginning of Genesis within the pattern of 6 days of work and a 7th day of rest. A reign that would involve both realms of this provincial kingdom within God?s universe ? the heavens connected to the earth and the earth itself.
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a). Remembering what we see from Daniel - Da 4:26b........that the heavens do rule.
b). And - Col 1:19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
c). Re 13:8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
4). What may remain beyond our understanding, until we see the Lord face to face, is the necessity of Satan in this process and why God chose to create a being, Mankind, in His own image and likeness to participate in rulership with His Son.
a). Clearly God being God He does not need us in this respect and yet through His revelation to us He makes abundantly clear that this is the outworking of His Divine will.
b). Trying to fathom His reasoning would probably lead us to madness. It would be best just receive and accept what He has to say about it ? remembering that He is the creator and we are His creation.
c). He will do all His pleasure and we have nothing to say about it.
d). What we can know for sure is that the one we know as Satan, originally Lucifer, was created to be the provincial ruler over the earth and that there were an unspecified number of fallen angels created to rule with him - Eze 28:14 "You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.
e). And that pride led him to rebellion - Isa 14:13 For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north;
f). The result of which was his province becoming formless and void because of his sin ? Eze 28:18 "You defiled your sanctuaries By the multitude of your iniquities, By the iniquity of your trading; Therefore I brought fire from your midst; It devoured you, And I turned you to ashes upon the earth In the sight of all who saw you.
i/ The very condition we find the earth in, in Genesis 1:2
g). Although the final fulfillment of this scripture remains yet future, Satan was disqualified to rule. And yet, even though disqualified, he would remain in place until God would remove him. Saul and David provide an excellent example of this principle in action.
h). That Satan does indeed remain as provincial ruler can be seen numerous places in scripture - Job 1:7 And the LORD said to Satan, "From where do you
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come?" So Satan answered the LORD and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it."
i). At the Lord?s first advent, Christ Himself acknowledges Satan?s position - Joh 14:30 "I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.
j). And after Christ?s resurrection he still remains in place -
2Co 4:4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded,
k). And it is Satan and his fallen angels with whom we are engaged in the present spiritual warfare - Eph 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
l). With all this in mind it is little wonder that we find Satan in the Garden of Eden on the newly restored earth at the place of testing attempting to disqualify God?s new creation from being able to take his place; or that he seeks even now to stop those whose desire is to be a joint heir with Christ.
5). However, from the very beginning of God?s revelation to man the declaration of Christ?s rulership, and by extension that of His joint heirs, is made through the promise of the seed of the woman. The One who will take the crown from Satan?s head in fulfillment of God?s plans and purposes ordained before the ages.
a). Ge 3:15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel."
6). And the One who is promised must be the seed of the woman.
a). And there are a couple of things we should note here.
b). Firstly, He is the seed of the woman and not the seed of the man, because according to God?s economy the sin nature is passed through the male line and not the female.
c). All men and women are born with a sin nature as all are procreated through the union of a man and a woman, but sin is imparted through the man.
d). This is exactly what we see here in - Ge 5:3 And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.
e). Seth, and this would also be true for Cain and Abel, was not born in the image and likeness of God, but in the image and likeness of his fallen father, Adam.
f). And secondly, there is the astonishing realization that the seed of the woman, who is the Lord Jesus Christ, the second person of the Godhead, the One by whom and for whom all things were made, would literally be born - from the womb of a woman. The Creator would come into the world through His creation.
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g). And this would of course necessitate Divine intervention ? but not as we saw in the miraculous birth of Isaac as no man would be involved in this process ? this would be the Spirit of God, the very breath of God, the only means by which life is given, breathing life into the barren womb of a virgin.
h). Isa 7:14 "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
i). Do we realize that this is the word of God Himself who through His own actions, in conjunction with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, takes on human form within the fragility of the womb of a virgin.
j). Joh 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
7). Now the one through whom Christ would be born was not a random choice, but a fulfillment of that which God had already set in place.
8). As God continues to establish great spiritual truth through the opening chapters of Genesis we find in Chapter five Adam?s lineage traced through Seth ?
Ge 4:25 ? And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, "For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed."
a). Seth is the seed who replaces the murdered Abel and is a type of the seed of the woman fulfilled in Christ. And it is seven generations from Adam that brings us to Enoch, the one who typifies the rapture of the church, and ten generations from Adam that brings us to Noah, the one typifying Israel passing through the time of Jacob?s trouble.
9). So through Adam and then Seth God brings us to Noah, the man through whom the world will be re-populated following the world wide flood. And it is through just one of Noah?s sons, Shem that God chooses to work - Ge 9:26 And he said: "Blessed be the LORD, The God of Shem, And may Canaan be his servant.
10). And it is through the lineage of Shem that we come to the man to whom God gave the promises concerning the heavenly and earthly portions of the Kingdom - Ge 11:10 ? This is the genealogy of Shem: Shem was one hundred years old, and begot Arphaxad two years after the flood. 11 After he begot Arphaxad, Shem lived five hundred years, and begot sons and daughters. 12 Arphaxad lived thirty-five years, and begot Salah. 13 After he begot Salah, Arphaxad lived four hundred and three years, and begot sons and daughters. 14 Salah lived thirty years, and begot Eber. 15 After he begot Eber, Salah lived four hundred and three years, and begot sons and daughters. 16 Eber lived thirty-four years, and begot Peleg. 17 After he begot Peleg, Eber lived four hundred and thirty years, and begot sons and
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daughters. 18 Peleg lived thirty years, and begot Reu. 19 After he begot Reu, Peleg lived two hundred and nine years, and begot sons and daughters. 20 Reu lived thirty-two years, and begot Serug. 21 After he begot Serug, Reu lived two hundred and seven years, and begot sons and daughters. 22 Serug lived thirty years, and begot Nahor. 23 After he begot Nahor, Serug lived two hundred years, and begot sons and daughters. 24 Nahor lived twenty-nine years, and begot Terah. 25 After he begot Terah, Nahor lived one hundred and nineteen years, and begot sons and daughters. 26 Now Terah lived seventy years, and begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
a). This is of course Abraham ? And it is through Abraham?s son, Isaac that the promises that God gave Abraham are to be fulfilled ? Ge 21:12 But God said to Abraham, "Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called.
b). Ge 22:16 and said: "By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son - 17 "blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice."
c). Ro 4:13 For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
11). And so thus far we can see the lineage of the seed of the woman coming through Seth, to Enoch, to Noah, to Shem, to Abraham, to Isaac and then of course to Jacob and through Jacob?s twelve sons the nation of Israel - Ex 6:8 'And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the LORD.'"
a). Israel is adopted as God?s firstborn son through an act of creation in order to receive the promises that God had given to Abraham, as Abraham?s literal seed.
b). Isa 43:1 ? But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.
c). Ex 4:22 "Then you shall say to Pharaoh, 'Thus says the LORD: "Israel is My son, My firstborn.
d). Israel is to be separate from the other nations, and through Israel alone, as the seed of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob, God?s promises and plans and purposes will be accomplished.
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12). And within the nation?s history it is to Israel?s second King, David ? who is chosen to replace Saul - Ac 13:22 "And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, 'I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.'
a). It is to David that God makes specific promises concerning the One who will fulfill the promise given in ?the seed of the woman? ? 2Sa 7:12 "When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 "He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 "I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. 15 "But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you.
16 "And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever."'"
i/ Ps 89:3 "I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn to My servant David: 4 'Your seed I will establish forever, And build up your throne to all generations.'
ii/ Ps 132:11 ? The LORD has sworn in truth to David; He will not turn from it: "I will set upon your throne the fruit of your body.
b). The promise to David is that it is through his seed and his seed alone that the establishment of an everlasting kingdom will come. David?s house and David?s Kingdom and David?s throne will be established forever, in, by and through the descendant who will be faithfully obedient.
c). Now the establishment of this everlasting Kingdom would of itself necessitate the replacement of Satan and his fallen angels, thereby fulfilling the promise of the seed of the woman, bringing to completion the plans of God ordained before the ages.
d). None of David?s descendants with earthly fathers however, from Solomon onwards, were ever consistent in their faithful obedience which led to the eventual overthrow of the historical Kingdom resulting in captivity for the nation ? the northern 10 tribes of Israel being taken captive by Assyria in 722 BC and then the southern 2 tribes of Judah by the Babylonians in 605BC marking the end of the Theocracy.
e). But what God had promised He would do.
f). And the promised descendant who would be faithfully obedient would be God?s very own Son - Isa 11:1 ? There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. 2 The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. 3 His delight is in the fear of the LORD, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by
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the hearing of His ears; 4 But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. 5 Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, And faithfulness the belt of His waist.
13). And as we consider this we will automatically find ourselves at the nativity. However, one of the most important facets of what has come to be called ?The Christmas Story? is hardly ever told ? but this will have to wait until next week ? if the Lord is willing.
Other messages from this series Audio Video PDF Study Notes
Choose Where You Are Planted
Part 1 - Matthew 13 Parables - Setting the Context
Part 2 - Matthew 13 Parables - Setting the Context Continued
Part 3 - Matthew 13 Parables - The Parable of the Sower
Part 4 - Matthew 13 Parables - Part Four - The Wheat and Tares
Part 5 - Matthew 13 Parables - The Parable of the Mustard Seed
Part 6 - Matthew 13 Parables - Part Six The Parable of the Leaven
Part 7 - Matthew 13 Parables - Part Seven - Without a Parable
Part 8 - Matthew 13 Parables - Part Eight - The Treasure
Part 9 - Matthew 13 Parables - Part Nine - The Pearl
Part 10 - Matthew 13 Parables - Part Ten - The Parable of the Dragnet
Part 11 - Matthew 13 Parables - Part Eleven - Have You Understood All These Things?