“That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘A farmer went out to sow his seed.’” Matthew 13:1
It would seem that there is a change at this point in the ministry of Christ. Jesus and His Kingdom has been rejected and He now begins to speak to the crowd in parables.
“He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” John 1:11
However, those who have ears to hear, eyes to see Jesus are illuminated to understand the parables that He gives.
“But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” Matthew 13:16-17
There are seven parables of the Kingdom in Matthew 13. Seven brings out the idea of perfection or completeness. So, these seven parables exactly describe what the Kingdom of Heaven is like.
Is it possible that these seven parables concerning the Kingdom cover some of the mayor obstacles confronting the Kingdom of heaven over the past 2000 years?
- Roman Empire 33-500 AD
- Dark Ages 400-800 AD
- Barbarians and bio-terrorism 600 – 1400
- Brave hearts 800 – 1400
- Rights of kings 1400 -1650
- Truth triumphs over tyrants 1400 – 1650
- Riots, Revolution and ruin, French Revolution 1650 – 1850
- Peace, Prosperity, and Providence, American Revolution 1650-1850
- 20th century-terror, a century of genocide 1850-2000
- Christianity spreads world-wide 1850-2000
- Stage is set for victory in the twenty-first Century
We see that there is a progression with these parables that define the Kingdom of Heaven.
For example, the first is the sowing of the seed. Secondly when that is done we see the enemy bringing in heresies, etc. Paul and Peter both bring that out after, and actually even during their time the bad seed was being sown. Then we have the parables about how the Kingdom will grow and we see this down through the ages, and also how it will saturate everything it touches. Then we have parables that bring our how precious the Kingdom of Heaven is and then lastly we have the net-harvest. At the rapture, there will be a separation.
It would seem that Jesus in these parables covers the history of the Kingdom of Heaven; what will happen and the final result. Where are we today? We are between 10 and 11. We are seeing great advances of the Gospel going out. Even at this writing we are experiencing many Muslims coming to Christ in the Middle East.
Despite the daily news of the persecution of Christians around the world by Islamist groups, there is another, lesser-known story of growing numbers of Muslims around the world turning to Christ as Lord.
David Garrison spent 2 1/2 years interviewing Muslim converts about their faith. It is written in a book called “A WIND IN THE HOUSE OF ISLAM” which is the result of two and half years of research involved traveling more than 250,000 miles to conduct interviews with more than 1000 people around the Muslim world. In his study a “movement” of believers is defined as a group of more than 1000 baptized believers are 100 new churches within a Muslim community. In total he found 69 movements that started in the first 12 years of the 21st century, and comparison with virtually no voluntary movements of converts to Christianity in the first 12 centuries of Islam.
Countries like India that I worked in 50 years ago, have seen tremendous results in people coming to Christ. In the last 60 or so years China has experienced a great harvest.
Yes, we are seeing many coming to Christ, but still the job is not done. The command to “GO” is still paramount and we must go and be the witness that the Lord wants in the sphere that He has called us to.