Mt 13:44-45 Yeshua’s explanation of the field, the good seed, the tares, the enemy, the harvest, the reapers; “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
After speaking to the multitude, Jesus explains to His disciples the meaning of the parable of the tares, and then begins to speak the final three parables to His disciples only. Let us remember that the first parable of the sower is key to the others (Mk 4:13), and that Jesus – the Teacher, the Rabbi (Mt 23:8-10)—is building upon what He has been speaking to everyone as He continues to teach us about God’s Kingdom. He is not teaching randomly, but purposefully and systematically. The first parables indicate that the reality which the Lord is presenting remains until the harvest at the end of the age: there will be no “millennial kingdom” in the world without the actual literal physical return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I think it is fair to say that these parables of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, with the Beatitudes and the Lord Yeshua’s evaluation of the seven churches in the Revelation, together give a foundation and a structure by which we should live our life as believers, guarding our hearts in the fear of God as we look forward to the full redemption.
Just as YHVH God gave Moses and Israel the true record of things previously unknown — such as the creation; unbelief and disobedience and their consequences; the flood; the covenant with and through Abraham – so here, Jesus is revealing to the Church the truth of the present evil age within God’s created order, and the hope of redemption by the sovereignty of God. “Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous people desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” (Mt 13:16-17)
The parable of the hidden treasure:
According to the pattern of the parables, it becomes clear that neither the hidden treasure nor the pearl of great price is the Messiah/Christ, just as the mustard tree is not the Church nor is the leaven the gospel.
Jesus already explained to His disciples that the “field” is the world, and the “man” is Him, the Son of Man. Is Christ hidden in the world? Yeshua says that He is hidden in Heaven! (Jn 16:10) We are not told to buy the world, but to give it up for something even better! (Lk 18:22-30) We can not buy salvation, but it is a free gift! (Rom 6:23; Is 55:1; Rev 22:17) We do not buy Messiah, but He has purchased us! (1Cor 6:19-20) Do we again hide Jesus when we ‘find’ Him? No, but we proclaim Him to all! (Mt 28:18-20)
Who/What is the “treasure hidden in the field/world”? I think it could be said to be a someone/something which God looked for and found favor with. The whole Earth belongs to YHVH, but the devil deceived Eve and Adam disobeyed the Word of God, and gave their authority over God’s Earth to Satan. As time went on, evil increased until at the Tower of Babel God confused the languages and separated man both from Himself and from each language-nation group. Then YHVH God found a man through whom He promised blessings for him, for his descendants, and for all the families of the Earth. He found Abram/Abraham, and through Isaac and Jacob, God created a nation – Israel. God calls Israel to be His special treasure above all peoples, because the whole Earth is YHVH’s. (Ex 19:5; Ps 135:4) The Earth is YHVH’s both through creation and through redemption. (Gen 14:19; Heb 9:23-26) We can say that the Earth belongs to Jesus/Yeshua, the Heir of all things which are the Father’s. (Jn 16:14-15; Ps 2:7-8)
In creating Israel (Is 43:15) YHVH God hid a treasure/a people in the world, and Messiah, in order to have them, bought the whole field – which includes the treasure — with His blood. He “sold all that He has” to buy that field, and gave up, as it were, many other people whom He loves in order to have His treasure. (Gen 17:18-20 – Ishmael; Is 43:3-4 – Egypt, Ethiopia, Seba) Israel is still ‘hidden’ in the world among the Gentile nations: many (most?) people do not recognize the special qualities which God has given to Israel already, and what He has destined them for, even as the Lord continues His marvelous plan to bring glory to His Holy Name and to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This will be so until the time of redemption and the restoration of all things.(Acts 3:20-21; Eph 1:14) This will be when the fullness of the Gentiles comes in. (Rom 11:25) Then will the joy of this Wise Investor be full as He rejoices over His people with gladness in His love. (Zeph 3:17; Is 44:23) Praise God, who sees the end from the beginning – and He will be satisfied with His purchased possession, when ‘all Israel’ is saved and is forever restored in love and holiness to the Father and to the Son! (Is 53:11a)
The parable of the Pearl of great price:
The Church — purchased redemption (1Cor 6:20); Yeshua’s inheritance, praise to His glory (Eph 1:3-22) called out from every nation, including from His treasure Israel (Rom 1:16-17; 1Cor 10:32)
–even ‘sold/leased Israel’[into dispersion and a ‘curse’ under Gentiles] for the pearl (Mt 21:41-43)
–sold the whole habitable world (tevel), including the field with the Treasure, to buy the pearl: Kingdom of God not of this present world (olam) order
–The Bride, the Body of Messiah, Who is the Head (Eph 5:25-32; Rev 21:1-5,9-14)
–a city is made up of people
–both the names of the tribes of Israel and the names of the of the Israeli Jewish apostles – the first-fruits of the Church – are memorialized forever in the New Jerusalem
–very personal and individual, while also being a corporate body/bride, in our relationship with God in Christ. (This is different from the merely Jewish understanding of a corporate identity only.)
As for the Hidden Treasure, which is Israel, so for the Pearl of Great Price, which is the Church: God sees the end from the beginning, and has invested everything – including His reputation – to not only show His love for us while others may not esteem us, but to have us with Him forever.
This is part six in a seven-part series of articles on the parables in Matthew 13.
This article originally appeared on Streams in the Negev, November 20, 2010, and reposted with permission.