Prophetic Use of Parables

Matthew 13 vs. 34-36

Matthew 13: 34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: 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. 36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769

In part 2 of chapter 13 we see that Jesus continues telling parables to the crowd. Did he leave the room where he explained the parables to the apostles? Most likely since he is talking to the crowds again.

Jesus gives the parable of the "The Good Seed and The Tares." Once again his disciples entered a house and once again Jesus had to explain to them the parable. It is quite evident that people are not understanding the parables. In the previous commentary of Matthew 13 part 1 "The Reason for the Use of Parables" it was shown that the using of parables was to hide its meaning of what the kingdom of heaven (of God) was like.

Did you notice Matthew 13: 34-36?

Once again Jesus is stating the fact that he uses parables to talk to the people... always! The intent is to speak the truth but hide its meaning. Here is the line that defines this part of the chapter, "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." (kjv)

Aha! You say, that proves that Jesus wanted to make known the mysteries of God. Not so. Open your bible to Psalm 78. It is here that the prophet is speaking about using parables to reveal things hidden from the foundation of the world. It is a sad speech about the failures of chosen Israel to live up to the standards of God. Live up to the standards? No, they rebelled. They turned their back to God. They walked in unbelief according to their own desires. Each time God aided them they eventually rejected his leadership. Yet God remains faithful though judgement cannot be put off indefinitely.

This psalm ends with God waking up, destroying the abusers and establishing a covenant with the house of David. History shows that the leaders of David's lineage seldom have done what was right in God's eyes. The kingdom separated after the failure of Solomon because of the establishing of the foreign gods of his wives. The failure of Israel through the separated kings. The failure of Judah, the heirs of David lineage. The story ends with the captivity of Judah and the Babylonian exile.

Then there are Daniel and some others. Visions of things to come. A new task to be given to the children of Israel when God re-established them in Israel. What a wonder. What a move of God's grace. The children return to their land. Yet again they begin to go astray from the ministry that God gave them. By the time we come down to the days of Jesus they are nowhere near to completing the task Daniel outlines for them to accomplish in Daniel 9:24. Far from completing their task they are about to crucify the one they should be anointing. Jesus did not have much good to say about the lawyers and teachers of Israel.

So the kingdom is passed on to the apostles and God in his mercy establishes a new covenant with Israel. What is more, the door is thrown wide so that the Gentiles may enter unencumbered by the Law. What was Israel's response to this new covenant? Some accepted this new relationship. Many did not. They refused to have Jesus, their Messiah, to rule over them. Sadly God waits for a season, 40 years, and then judgement is poured out on Israel and this time it is Rome that disperses the children of Israel throughout the world.

When God sends his messengers speaking in parables be advised... he may be talking to the rebellious people and he is hiding his intent from them. Yet there are also the words that Jesus called out, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." There will not be many who do hear because the rest have spent a lifetime hardening their hearts to the voice of God.

May your ears be a blessed pair.

Author: Joseph A Raymond
20 January 2011

commentary index page

Website administrator: Joseph A Raymond
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada