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Parable of the sower

Discussion in 'Christian Theology Forum' started by Christina, Apr 10, 2007.

  1. Christina

    Christina New Member

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    Parable of the sower The first occasion of the parable of the sower, was before the formal calling and mission of the twelve Apostles in Luke 9. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Luke 8:8) This is the only parable that Christ would repeat another time, after the formal calling and mission of the twelve Apostles, when He spoke of all the parables together in Matthew 13. Calling special attention to the importance of this parable in Mark 4. And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? (Mark 4:13) Lets take a deeper look at the parable of the sower and find why Christ wanted us to understand and pay special attention to its meaning. The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. 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. (Matthew 13:1-9) The Apostles did not understand what Christ was saying and asked Him why He spoke in parables. 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. (Matthew 13:10-11) Christ was explaining to the Apostles that only they were permitted to understand about the Kingdom of Heaven, and others were not at this time. This was also fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah. And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. (Isaiah 6:9-10) Christ would go on to explain the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. (Matthew 13:19) Christ was explaining that the seed was the "Word of God" and if we do not understand the truth of the Word, Satan will snatch it from us. Then He goes on to say; But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. (Matthew 13:20-21) Christ was explaining that if we are not firmly planted in the Word, when problems arise, we sometimes lose interest and become easily offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. (Matthew 13:22) Christ would also explain about the thorns that the seed falls upon; representing the cares and riches of this world. They will choke the Word, and one becomes unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (Matthew 13:23) Christ would end the parable of the sower that one who will study, "hear and understand" His Word, will produce much fruit by sharing the truth with others. Simply put: the one who “hears” the parable of the Sower who sows becomes a disciple-sower. We are called to waste a little seed, no, a large measure of seed on all types of ground. The “soils” are not for us to determine. We will be surprised that good soil will be found in places where seed is wasted on ground that appears bad, potentially unproductive. “Outsiders” who have harden hearts will not join in the sowing, especially any sowing on ground that looks to be infertile. “Insiders” sow in places where “outsiders” live, encountering untouchables, death, and disease, in places that are culturally and demographically challenged. “Insiders,” those who “hear” the Master-Sower’s call, will intentionally consider sowing on what appears to be bad soil as Jesus did (Mark 5). “Outsiders” will seek to protect their territories and protect their established religious and political systems that ensure their appearance as “insiders,” but, in reality, they are not. “Those who have ears to hear” respond to Jesus’ call of discipleship, namely a commitment to the Master-Sower and to imitate His sowing activities as disciple-sowers.Keep The Faith,Pastor Barthttp://www.goodnewsministry.com/topics.htm
  2. epouraniois

    epouraniois Guest

    I wish to attempt to add to what is already contained herein.PART 1The word "parable" has been taken over into the English tongue from the Greek word parabole. Para means "near" or beside," and bole is from ballo, "I cast" or "throw." Literally it signifies something "cast beside" another, and as applied to discourse it means a method of teaching which demands the use of similitude or comparison. A good example of this "throwing beside" is the interpretation of the "Tares" (Matt. 13:36-43).Charles Welch reminds us that, as the student of Scripture grows in grace and knowledge of the truth, things which once seemed trivial appear of great importance; passages which once he thought he "knew all about" are approached with deepening humility, to be re-read and learned afresh. In Matthew 13:35 the Lord quotes from Psalm 78:2 in relation to His speaking in parables, and therefore we may expect to find some help in that Psalm to guide us to the right understanding of the purpose of parables. The heading of the Psalm is "Maschil of Asaph". The Hebrew word maschil is from the word sakal, which means, "to look at", "to scrutinize", and the term maschil means, "an understanding arising from a deep consideration" (Neh. 8:8)."Give ear, 0 My people, to My law,Incline your ears to the words of My mouth.I will open my mouth in a parable,I will utter dark sayings of old".The remaining portion of the Psalm is a rehearsal of the history of Israel from Moses to David, showing the inner reasons of their failures. Take for example verses 9 and 10:"The children of Ephraim, armed, carrying bows,Turned back in the day of battle".Why?"They kept not the covenant of God,And refused to walk in His law".From this we may infer that a parable urges us to consider deeply the ways of God with His people, and to look for the hidden causes, and workings which are veiled from the eyes of the uninstructed.That a parable has some connexion with a secret, a reference to Matthew thirteen will prove. There for the first time in the New Testament do we read the word "mystery" or "secret" and there for the first time occurs the word "parable". Further, the Lord Jesus translates the words, "I will utter dark sayings of old," by the words, "I will utter things which have been kept secret since the overthrow (katabole) of the world" (Matt. 13:35).The first parable of the Bible is one which concerns the people of Israel in relation to their separate calling as a distinct nation and peculiar people: "And he took up his parable, and said, Balak the king of Moab hath brought me from Aram, out of the mountains of the East, saying, Come, curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel. How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? Or how shall I defy, whom the Lord hath not defied?" (Num. 23:7; so also 23:18, 24:3,15).In Hebrews 9:9 and 11:19 we find the word translated, "a figure". A parable and a proverb are much alike. The parable of Matthew 15:13-15 might be termed a proverb. Indeed the word translated "proverb" in Luke 4:23 is really "parable". The words, "Physician, heal thyself" are called in the original a "parable". That a "proverb" carried the same hidden teaching as did the "parable and dark saying" can be seen by referring to John 16:25 and 29: "These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father."In the Old Testament we have "type"; in the Gospels we have "parable" , and in the epistles we have "doctrine", as the more prominent features. The parables lead us to contemplate the hidden causes of the failure of Israel in relation to the kingdom that had been proclaimed and look forward to the time when all will be put right at the Coming of the Lord in glory.The first occurrence of a word very often suggests its fundamental meaning. The first occurrence of the word parable in the New Testament is Matthew 13:3. It follows that chapter wherein the rejection of the Messiah by the people in the land became evident. He had been heralded as their Messiah and King. He had vindicated His claims by the fulfilment of numerous prophecies, both with regard to His person and His works, and in chapter 12:6,41 and 42, although greater than the temple, greater than the prophet Jonah, and greater than king Solomon, He is "despised and rejected". "The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side . . . and He spake many things to them in parables . . . 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 the heavens . . . therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which saith, By hearing ye shall hear and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see and shall not perceive: for this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them" (Matt. 13:1-17).It should now be observe that these parables of Matthew thirteen ARE NOT about "The Kingdom of Heaven" pure and simple, but about "The mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven", a very different aspect of truth.Such is the setting of the first occurrence of the word parable in the New Testament. The parables were used when Israel manifested that the prophecy of Isaiah 6:10 was fulfilled in them. The parables veiled the teaching from the majority whose eyes were judicially closed. The parables relate to "the secrets" of the kingdom. They teach things hitherto "kept secret since the overthrow of the world" (Matt. 13:35). Prophets desired to see and hear these things, as Matthew 13: 17 and 1 Peter 1:10-12 tell us: "Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow."Here, as in the majority of Old Testament prophecies, no break is made between the sufferings and the glory. No interval is allowed between "the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God" (Isa. 61:2, but cf. Luke 4:19). The rejection of God's King was only partly seen; the abeyance of the kingdom was a secret. Thus we may place the two passages together: "I will open My mouth in parables, I will utter things which have been kept secret since the overthrow of the world" (Matt. 13:35). "Why speakest Thou in parables? Because it is not given" (Matt. 13:10,11).Let us remember the Scriptural settings of these parables, the reasons which drew them from the Lord Jesus, the dispensation in which they were uttered, and the people and the kingdom about which they speak; we shall then have no need to be ashamed of our testimony.THE SOWERMatthew 13:1-9, 18-23 John tells us that although he has recorded eight "signs" to support the particular purpose of his gospel (John 20:31), yet the number actually wrought by the Lord far exceeded this, so much so that "if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written" (John 21 :25). What is true concerning the Lord's works is also true concerning His words; each Gospel narrative gives a divinely inspired selection of his wonderful teaching. If this is so, what importance must be placed upon that miracle, parable or discourse which is repeated twice or even thrice!The parable of the Sower occurs in the three Synoptic Gospels (Matt. 13:1-9, Mark 4:1-9, Luke 8:4-8). In each record we read of the four sowings, on four kinds of ground. One of the differences between Matthew's account and that of Mark is that Matthew speaks always in the plural, "they", "them", whereas Mark speaks of the seed in the singular, "it". Luke adds the words, "and it was trodden down," in the first sowing (John the Baptist's), and omits the reference to "no depth of earth" and the effect of the sun, telling us that it withered because it lacked moisture. The addition of the words, "with it", in Luke's account of the thorns is also suggestive.The ministries of John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus, and the Apostles during the "Acts" were to a large extent, externally, failures, but there is yet to be a gloriously fruitful sowing when the time comes for the New Covenant to be put into operation (Jer. 31 :27). Parallel with this teaching of the Sower is the witness of the same truth in the parable of the Fig Tree (Luke thirteen) and the Great Supper (Luke fourteen). The primary teaching of these parables is not merely to supply a moral or spiritual lesson, but to depict the secret course of the mysteries of the kingdom on through its apparent defeat at the rejection of the King, to its glorious close.THE TARESThe reason for the delay in the setting up of the kingdom is discovered in the fact that an enemy is at work, and side by side with the true children of the kingdom are the children of the wicked one, but these are not removed until the end of the age.THE MUSTARD TREEThe next reason for the delay is that whereas the small seed of Israel should have flourished and filled the earth with fruit, the sovereignty changed hands and was deposited with the Gentiles, beginning with Nebuchadnezzar, "until the fulness of the Gentiles come in". This stage is marked by the words, "it becometh a tree, and the fowls 10dged in its branches" (see Daniel four). That which should have been pre-eminently the kingdom of righteousness, becomes the habitation of Satan and his angels.THE LEAVENThe third reason for delay is that the leaven of evil has been put into the meal of God's truth. This will work its course until the rise of Antichrist, and the complete corruption of the visible witness for God (see use of leaven, Matt. 16:6,12).Thus we see that the Lord Jesus had no idea of the gradual uplifting of the masses, and the permeating influence of the gospel. He saw that man had corrupted his way upon the earth, even as it was in the days of Noah. Hence it is that He uses the same words to represent the end. Blessed be God, that out of all this corruption and apostasy He will yet bring His treasure and display His grace.We have considered the first four parables and discovered something of their bearing upon the course of the rejected kingdom of the heavens. A division is now observable, emphasized alike by the structural arrangement, the teaching, and the different p1ace in which they were spoken.THE TREASUREAfter the parable of the Leaven the Lord dismissed the multitude, and went into the house. There He explained the parable of the Tares, and then proceeded to unfold the inner or Godward aspect of the kingdom in the four parables that followed. Their relation to each other may be summarized thus:A THE TREASURE IN THE FIELD:The nation of Israel as distinct from the nations B THE ONE BEAUTIFUL PEARL:The remnant of Israel as distinct from the nation B THE MANY FISH:The Gentile nations as distinct from IsraelA THE TREASURE HID IN THE HOUSE:Israel, viewed as a missionary nation sent to the nations.The group of parables that come after the great dividing line of Matthew sixteen "From that time forth" are linked with those of Matthew thirteen by the parable of Matthew 15:10-20. The second group of parables in Matthew is contained in chapters eighteen to twenty-five.
  3. epouraniois

    epouraniois Guest

    PART 2C. Welch brings to attention that we are not called upon to speculate, but to believe. Those to whom these words were first uttered knew the Scriptures of the Old Testament sufficiently well to follow the figurative allusions far more clearly and with greater suggestiveness than we are able to. Moreover, they had no epistle of church doctrine in their minds. We have, and because we will not discern between the things which differ, we introduce confusion into God’s Word by our traditional ideas. Let us keep church and kingdom separate; let us not read into Matthew 13 that which was not revealed until years after, then we shall be able to understand something of the ‘mysteries of the kingdom of the heavens’. The kingdom of God is wider in its scope than the kingdom of the heavens. The latter expression has reference to that Millennial kingdom, when the kingdom of this world shall be ruled by heaven’s King, when Daniel 2:44 shall be fulfilled; but the term, ‘the kingdom of God’, though wider than the kingdom of heaven, is not used in the Gospels to refer to the church of the present dispensation, for at that time the present dispensation was a secret hidden by God, whereas the secrets of Matthew 13 are to some extent explained. The exclusively Jewish and kingdom setting of Matthew 13 is evident to every candid reader (cf. Matt. 10:5,6; and Matt. 15:24, which are on either side of Matt. 13).The parable tells us of the secret course of the purpose relative to the kingdom. It depicts the apparent failure of the early ministry, but shows in the fourth ground its fruitful consummation. All who are pictured here under the imagery of the various sowings are those who hear and receive the word of God, particularly the word of God relative to the kingdom (Matt. 13:19; Luke 8:11). This cannot refer to the heathen nations, at least not until we reach the fourth ground; for during the ministry of Christ the word of the kingdom was confined to the limits of the Land of Promise: ‘Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand’ (Matt. 10:5-7).Perhaps we ought to note some things which the Lord does not say. He does not say, "The sower is the Son of man"; it is merely "a sower," in the parable; and in the interpretation nothing is said of the sower other than the fact that "the sower soweth the word." We have two expositions before us, both of which emphasize that the "sower was the Son of man ."Again, it does not say, "the field is the world." Luke tells us that the various sowings, in various kinds of ground, had reference to the hearts of those who heard the word. When we come to examine the parable of the Wheat and Tares, then we are distinctly told that the sower is the Son of man, and that the field is the world, but if we introduce these into the Parable of the Sower, we spoil the intended teaching. The kingdom purposes, cannot fail, hence prophecy clearly indicates a further preaching and sowing of this same gospel seed, which will be fruitful as depicted in the fourth ground. This is one of the ‘secrets’ or ‘mysteries’ of the kingdom of the heavens. Following hard upon the rejection of the Lord Himself (Matt. 12) comes the revelation of the whole course of kingdom progress. The Lord, with wonderful fitness, depicts the conditions which were predominant in relation to the four periods of kingdom ministry. The first ministry mentioned in the New Testament is that of John the Baptist. He preached the good news of the kingdom, and baptism unto remission of sins. Each ministry, however, had something of the four kinds of ground represented among its hearers, but the special characteristic of John’s sowing was that it fell upon hearts which, like the wayside, had become hardened with continual treading and tradition, and consequently very few believed his message. Those who heard him ‘understood not’, and the Lord tells us that the Wicked One ‘caught away that which was sown in their hearts’.In order to understand any passage or verse in the Bible we must take note of the context, otherwise, being ignorant of much that God has written for our guidance, we shall offer "a vision out of our own heart" as the interpretation. In the first place, Matt. 13. comes in that section which is entirely taken up with the "kingdom" before the Lord had uttered one word of the foundations of the gospel as we know it, namely, His death and resurrection. This fact should deter us from too hastily assuming that in Matt. 13. we have an elaborate discourse concerning "the gospel."In order to show that these parables come (1) in the kingdom section proper, and (2) before the Lord's revelation of His death and resurrection, we shall have to give the arrangement of subjects, which is as follows:A | Matt 1. 1 - 3. 12. Preparation. B | Matt. 3. 16, 17. Voice from heaven -- "My beloved Son." C | Matt 16. 16. Peter's confession -- "Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God." C |Matt. 27. 5. Centurion's confession -- "Truly this was the Son of God." B | Matt. 17 5. Voice out of the cloud -- "My beloved Son."A | Matt. 28. Conclusion.The " time " divisions of Matthew are two-fold, agreeing with the two-fold message from heaven, and confession on earth: (1) "From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (4. 17). (2) "From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto His disciples how that He must go unto Jerusalem and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes and be killed, and be raised again the third day" (16. 21).We can now see clearly that the parables of Matt. 13. come within the first section of Matthew's Gospel, which has for its subject exclusively "the kingdom."In examining the book still further, we find that it reveals three main discourses, and a due appreciation of their place and teaching is of the utmost importance. They are as follows:A | Matt 5.-7. / On a mountain. (Past) / Precept. / The kingdom explained. B | Matt. 8. / Out of the house. (Past and future) / Parable. / The kingdom rejected.A | Matt. 24., 15. / On mountain. (Future) / Prophecy / The kingdom set up.In the Sermon on the Mount the Lord Jesus, as King, sat upon the mountain, and gave His law and described the character of the subjects of His kingdom. In the prophetic chapters of Matt. 24. and 25. the Lord Jesus looks forward to the day when His kingdom shall be set up with power and great glory. The interval between the two "mountain" discourses is filled in by the rejection of the Lord by Israel, and the parables of the secrets of the kingdom. We may expect, therefore, to find something to teach us the character and course of the "kingdom of the heavens" during the period of the rejection of the King. One thing we must be quite clear about, and that is, we shall not find depicted a history of events which were to take place after the kingdom of the heavens became in abeyance.The Kingdom was not set in abeyance at the Lord's death, nor at His resurrection, for we find in Act 1, "To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."And we know they went forth. The kingdom offer stood strong for Israel until all had heard (Rom 10:18, 19), and finally, (Act 28:23) "when they had appointed him a day (in Rome)...he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. So throughout the Acts, the promised and well known Kingdom was preached, expected to be received in their very own lifetimes by those who the Lord had supernaturally opened the eyes of their understanding (Luk 24:45; Gal 1:16)