Parables, and the Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven

As we look at the “mysteries of the faith, of the Kingdom of God”, we come to the well-known passages in Mt 13 (Mk 4; Lk 8). Jesus uses a series of parables to describe what the Kingdom of Heaven is like.

What is a parable? A parable (mashal in Hebrew) is a representation of something real in life or nature, from which a moral is drawn for instruction. (definition from Noah Webster Dict.) A parable, with a Hebrew root word for governance, helps us govern our life from the story or proverb told.

Who learns from parables? Those who want to, in order to increase in maturity, understanding, and wisdom in the fear of YHVH. (Proverbs 1:1-7)

Why did Jesus use parables when He was speaking to the people?
– Mt 13:34-35 (Ps 78:2)  He was fulfilling the Word of God
– Lk 8:10 (Is 6:8-10) The spiritual condition of the people was very low and far from YHVH. Their hearts were hardened, and most were not really interested in hearing the plain and simple truth.

God has given nature, which He created, as a parable for our lives: the heavens declare the glory of God.

Character of Animals
– Jesus spoke of Herod as a fox
– Jesus is known as the Lamb of God, and as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah
– Satan is called a dragon and a serpent

Quality of Plants (Trees)
– Jesus is the Branch/Plant of YHVH
– Jesus says a person is known by his fruit, whether he is a good tree or a bad tree
– In Judges 9:7-15, Jotham, the surviving son of Gideon (Jerubbaal) speaks to the people after they made Abimelech king, even though he had killed all the other 69 children of Gideon.  Jotham spoke in a parable, using the olive tree, the fig tree, and the grapevine as positive examples, and used the bramble (atad) as a bad example to describe Abimelech.

When taking the Lord’s Supper, we use bread and the fruit of the vine – each of which is rich in meaning to help us understand more of the significance of Jesus telling His disciples that the bread is His body given for us, and the grape juice or wine is the blood of the New Covenant for the forgiveness and putting away of our sins. Jesus is the supreme sacrifice given and accepted by God to redeem the entire creation back for Himself, and to save all who repent and believe the good news. When He says that ‘unless we eat His flesh and drink His blood there is no life in us’, He is in a sense speaking a parable, with the peace offering and all the other blood sacrifices which Yeshua fulfilled in His death on the cross as the reference.

Knowing who Jesus is is the key to unlocking the parables and the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. Christ is our wisdom, and we will grow in understanding and wisdom for governing our own lives in the fear of God. This will greatly impact how we relate to God’s thoughts and ways, how we relate to “the world”, and how we relate to one another.

Let us have ears to hear and eyes to see so that the Holy Spirit will open the understanding of our heart to the Word of our Lord and God.

This article originally appeared on Streams in the Negev, August 6, 2010, and reposted with permission.