This Present Age – Lesson 2 of 3

The Parables of Matthew 13


This Present Age, from the rejection of the Messiah by Israel, until the reception of Him by Israel at the Second Advent, is outlined in two parts of the Bible.  Matthew 13 comes from the viewpoint of God’s Kingdom Program, and Revelation two and three from the viewpoint of the church program.  We will trace the present age outlined In Matthew 13 in this lesson.


I. Christ is explaining the Kingdom of Heaven in a parable


A. This instruction comes through the right interpretation of the parables

B. His Disciples asked - “Why speakest thou unto them in parables?”  

Matthew 13:10

1. Why were the disciples surprised that He used parables?

a. The context, in chapter 12, the Pharisees said that Jesus cast out devils in the name of beelzebub.

b. Jesus had called them, a “generation of vipers”

c. The question really is, Why would you teach a nation that has said you were a son of satan?

2. Christ’s Reply shows the answer should be already understood

a. Parables were widely used during this time

b. Christ had used them often before to teach and illustrate

3. Three Purposes for using parables

a. A way of showing that He is the Messiah

Matthew 13:34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:

Matthew 13:35 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

There was a sign in Isaiah

Isaiah 42: 3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. {smoking: or, dimly burning} {quench: Heb. quench it}

Isaiah 42:4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. {Discouraged: Heb. broken}


b. A way to give truth to to the believer listening Matthew 13:11

…It is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven”

c. A way to hide the truth from the unbeliever listening Matthew 13:13-15

“…but to them it is not given.”

4. Why was it necessary to hide the Truth – We will see in this lesson

C. The setting of Matthew 13

1. It shows Christ the Messiah to Israel

a. Shown by the many references to things important to Israel

1. Many references to the Son of David – (Matthew 1:1,20;9:27; 12:23; 15:22; 20:30-31; 21:9, 15; 22:42, 45)

2. Many references to the fulfillment of prophecy – (Matthew 1:22; 2:5, 15, 17, 23; 4:14; 8:17; 12:17; 13:35; 21:4, 42; 26:31, 54, 56; 27:9-10)

3. References to Jewish customs – (Matthew 15:1-2; 27:62)

4. Many references to the Mosaic Law – (5:17-19, 21, 27, 31, 33, 38, 43,; 7:12; 11:13; 12:5; 15:6; 22:36, 40; 23:23)

5. References to the Sabbath – Matthew 12:1-2, 8, 10, 11, 12; 24:20; 28:1)

References to the holy city and the holy place – (Matthew 4:5; 24:15; 27:53)

6. Christ is related to prophecy throughout Matthew

b. Throughout Matthew, Christ is shown as the Messiah

1.  Chapters 1&2 – His legal right to the throne is revealed

2. 3 – The dedication of the King is explained

3. 4 – The moral right of the King

4. 5-7 – The judicial right of the King

5. 8-10 – His ministry to Israel demonstrates His authority in prophecy

6. Israel’s big question:

Matthew 12: 23  And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?

7. Israel says no

a. Both He and His forerunner have been rejected

Matthew 11: 1 And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities.

Matthew 11:2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,

Matthew 11:3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?

Matthew 11:4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:

Matthew 11:5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

Matthew 11:6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

Matthew 11:7 And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?

Matthew 11:8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.

Matthew 11:9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.

b. This rejection will result in judgment

Matthew 11:20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:

Matthew 11:21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

Matthew 11:22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.

Matthew 11:23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

Matthew 11:24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

c. The rejection brings about a new invitation

Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Matthew 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

d. The rejection comes to a climax

8. 12 – The rejection comes to a climax

a. The people were debating about Christ

Matthew 12:23 And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?

b. The people’s answer

Matthew 12:24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.


The Holy Spirit had proved His authority, and His own people said His authority was from hell instead of heaven – They blasphemed the Holy Ghost


2. The New Question – What will happen to God’s Kingdom Plan now that Israel has rejected along with the King?


3. Remember this Kingdom was based on an unconditional Covenant made by Almighty God – How can it be tossed away?

D. The kingdom of heaven used seven ways

1. The word kingdom used 7 ways

a. The Gentile kingdoms

b. The kingdoms of Israel and Judah

c. The kingdom of satan

d. God’s universal kingdom

e. A spiritual kingdom

f. The Millennial Davidic kingdom

g. The mystery form of the kingdom

2. The last three are what we are going to be concerned with

a. The Spiritual kingdom

1. Made up of the elect of all ages

2. The elect have experienced a new birth by the Holy Spirit’s power

3. One can not enter this kingdom without the new birth – (Matthew 6:33; 19:16,23,24; John 3:3-5; Acts 8:12; 14:22; 19:8; 20:25; 28:23; Romans 14:17; I Corinthians 4:20; 6:9-10; 15:50; Galatians 5:21; Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 4:11; I Thessalonians 2:12; II Thessalonians 1:5)

b. The Millennial kingdom – A literal, earthly kingdom over which Christ rules from David’s throne fulfilling the Davidic Covenant – (II Samuel 7:8-17; Matthew 1:1; Luke 1:32)

1. This comes to us from Old Testament prophecy – (II Samuel 7:8-17; Isaiah 6:6-7; 11:1-16; Jeremiah 23:5; 33:14-17; Ezekiel 34:23; 37:24; Hosea 3:4-5; Micah 4:6-8; 5:2; Zechariah 2:10-12; 8:20-23; Psalms 2:6, 8-10; 72:11, 17; Malachi 3:1-4)

2. It was proclaimed as being at hand at Christ’s first Advent – (Matthew 3:2; 4:17; 10:5-7)

3. It was rejected by Israel and postponed – (Matthew 23:37-39)

4. It will be announced to Israel in the Tribulation period – Matthew 24:14)

5. It will be received by Israel and set up at the Second Advent – Isaiah 24:23; Revelation 19:11-16; 20:1-6

c. The Mystery form of the kingdom – (This present age)

1. It was no mystery that God would establish a kingdom on earth

2. At the first sin, God’s sovereignty was challenged

a. God wants to show man the only rule that will work is theocratic

b. God’s plan was to establish a kingdom with God ruling

c. When Adam was created, he was given dominion – (Genesis 1:26) – so that Adam would show God’s sovereignty by appointment

d. Adam sinned and didn’t show God’s sovereignty

e. The dispensation of conscience was to show each man his responsibility to show the sovereignty of God

f. Man failed at this test as well

g. Human Government was instituted to show man that government should be a manifestation of God’s sovereignty

h. Man rebelled against that also

i. God appointed judges, so that they might manifest God’s sovereignty

j. Man rejected this also

k. God instituted a theocracy where God ruled

l. The nation rebelled against this also – (I Samuel 8:7)

m. God then reveals His purpose to show His sovereignty through David’s seed.  – (II Samuel 7:16)

n. When Christ came, even this was rejected

3. The mystery revealed in the New Testament was not that God was going to set up a kingdom, but that His kingdom would be rejected, and a new age begun.

a. After being rejected, an age would be established between His rejection and the fulfillment of the kingdom at His Second Advent.

b. The mystery form is the age between the two advents of Christ.

c. The mysteries of the kingdom of heaven describe the earth conditions during the time the King is absent.

d. This mystery then relates this present age to God’s plan for His kingdom.

4. The Mystery kingdom can not be confused with the other kingdoms

a. It is not the millennial kingdom

1. The millennial kingdom was no mystery

2. Clearly predicted in the Old Testament

b. It is not the spiritual kingdom

1. It is made up of only saved individuals

2. They enter in entering in by new birth

3. The mystery kingdom is made up of saved and unsaved – (wheat and tares, good and bad fish)

c. It is not the eternal kingdom, because the time is limited to the age between the two advents of Christ

d. It is not the church – it is composed of more than the church – it includes all with a profession of faith

E. The Terms kingdom of God and kingdom of heaven – while not synonymous, they are used interchangeably

1. Both terms are used to mean the millennial kingdom, the spiritual kingdom, and the mystery form of the kingdom

2. Only through the context can we determine the meaning

F. Interpretation of the chapter

1. The Lord interpreted some of them Himself

a. There is no uncertainty in the interpretation of these

b. This is also a guide to the method of interpreting the rest

2. Some of the parables are in figurative language, but the figures are used elsewhere in Scripture, and helps to interpret

3. Chart of interpretation of the parables. – (from Graham Scroggie, Prophecy and History Pages 123-125)

II. Brief Interpretation of the Parables

A. The Sower and the Soils – (Matthew 13:3-9; 18-23)

1. This present age is characterized by the sewing of the seed

2. There is a difference in the preparation of the soils to receive the seed sown

3. There is opposition to the Word from the world, the flesh, and satan

4. There will be a decreasing response to the sowing of the seed – (some a hundred fold, some sixty, etc.)

5. The parallel passage in Mark 4, states that this program and Christ interpreting it, would be basic to understanding the other parables.


Mark 4: 13 And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?

B. The Wheat and the Tares – Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43 – Also interpreted by Christ

1. The true sowing of the last parable will be imitated by a false sowing.

2. There will be good and evil together or side-by-side from the sowing.

3. There will be a judgment at the end of the age separating the good from the evil

4. The result of the judgment is the good will go into the millennium, and the rest excluded

5. The character of each sowing can only be determined by its fruitfulness.


Contrasting the two parables

First Parable

Second Parable

Emphasis on the “Word”

Emphasis on the “children of the kingdom”

Seed sown in the hearts of men

Seed is sown in the world

No mention of judgment

Age ends in judgment

Dealing mainly with the church

Dealing with Israel – Matthew 8:11-12

The church is never judged as to who will make glory

God judging Israel as a nation at the end of the age

Church raptured before the Tribulation

Wheat and tares grow together

Church after rapture is handed out crowns (judgment seat of Christ)– only righteous raptured

Wicked judged by angels before the righteous are rewarded – Only righteous left

The church returns with Christ at Second Advent

The Millennial kingdom set up after judgment

C. The Mustard Seed – (Matthew 13:31-32) – To the Jew, the mustard seed was used to weigh (what they considered) the smallest measurable amount.  The mustard grows to 20-30 feet in one year.

1. Insignificant beginning of the kingdom is taught

2. There will be a great growth of the kingdom after it is introduced

3. Symbols in Daniel’s prophecy – (Daniel 4:1-37) – The tree represented Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom – (Daniel 4:20-22) – The birds represented the people who received benefit from his kingdom

So, The mustard reveals that the kingdom in its new form will have an insignificant beginning, but will grow to great size and multitudes will benefit from it.

D. The Leaven Hidden in the Meal – (Matthew 13:33) –

1. When leaven is used in Scripture, it often symbolizes evil.  – (Exodus 12:15; Leviticus 2:11; 6:17; 10:12; Matthew 16:6; Mark 8:15; I Corinthians 5:6, 8; Galatians 5:9)

2. The sacrifices in Leviticus 2:1-3, which are types of Christ show that this is not always so.

3. The emphases here is not on the character of leaven, but the fact that the leaven has been hidden in the meal.

4. This demonstrates the how it works when pitched into the meal

a. An irreversible actions begins

b. It will continues until the process is completed

5. Shows how the new form of the kingdom will develop

6. The power of the kingdom will not be external, but internal

7. All previous kingdoms were introduced by military might

a. Babylon came to power by defeating Assyria

b. The Meads and Persians came to power by defeating Babylon

c. Greece came to power by conquering the Meads and the Persians

d. Rome ruled by overwhelming Greece

8. This new kingdom will flourish, not by military might, but by power within


So, the parable of the mustard and the hidden leaven teach the growth of the new form of kingdom

E. The Hid Treasure – (Matthew 13:44) – Its purpose is to show the relationship of Israel to this present age.

1. Israel is set aside, but not forgotten

2. An individual (Christ) is purchasing a treasure – (purchased on the cross)

3. The treasure is hidden in a field, unseen, but the location is known to the purchaser

4. During the age, the purchaser does not take possession of the treasure

5. During the age, the purchaser does take possession of the place where the treasure is hidden.

6. Christ layed the foundation for Israel’s acceptance in this age, even though the age ends without Him taken possession of the treasure.

7. The treasure will be unearthed when He returns to establish His Kingdom

8. Israel is now blinded, but possessed by the purchaser


F. The Pearl – (Matthew 13:45-46) – Within this present age, Christ will not only receive the treasure, Israel, He will also have the church

1. The church, like the pearl, becomes the possession of the merchant man, Christ, by purchase.

2. The church, like the pearl can only adorn him if it is taken out of the place in which it was formed.


G. The Dragnet – (Matthew 13:47-50) – The age is to end in judgment

1. This judgment is principally on Gentile nations – (Because it was cast into the sea – (Matthew 13:47)

2. This is in contrast to the judgment on Israel in the second parable.

So, the unsaved will be excluded from the kingdom to be established as previously taught, and the righteous will be taken into it.