Robert Rite (7/13/15): Parables in the gospels are stories which contain divine truths. Christ taught in parables. Parables are hidden messages for those who belong to God. The believers understand the parables – but they are confounding to the lost or unbelievers. Jesus reveals this in the following passage:
“But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God, but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, so that ‘Seeing they may see and not perceive, and hearing they may hear and not understand; lest they should turn, and their sins be forgiven them.” Mark 4:10-12 (also read Matthew 13:10-17)
Although the parables were an important teaching tool for Jesus’ ministry, their importance goes beyond instruction. While here on earth, Jesus parables were mainly about the good news of the kingdom of God (the gospel message). However several parables unveil prophetic truths, and I will now cover just a few of these.
1) The Parable of the Mustard Seed
(Matt 13:31, 32; Mk 4:30, 32; Lk 13:18-19)
The parable of the mustard seed compares the kingdom of heaven to a grain of mustard seed. Let’s identify the key symbols associated with this parable:
– The grain of mustard seed is the gospel and the kingdom of God
– The Sower is Jesus Christ
– Birds represent the saints (believers), the body of Christ that feeds and lives on the seeds and branches of His word (see Psalm 104:12; Ezek 17:23; 31:6; Dan. 4:12, 21).
– The abnormal growth of the mustard seed into a tree illustrates how after Christ’s return His kingdom will replace all the nations on earth and will govern the whole earth.
This parable, like the parable of the wheat and the tares refers to the last days of this age. To counter Satan and his antichrist’s attempts to damn as many souls as possible, there will be a great revival whereby angels, the 2 witnesses and the 144,000 are all involved in trying to save souls prior to the “Great Day of God Almighty”; the final battle of Armageddon (Matt. 24:14; Rev. 11:3; Rev. Rev. 7:3-8; Rev. 14:6; Rev. 16:14-21).
The key prophecy behind this parable is that God’s kingdom will replace all the kingdoms of earth upon Jesus second coming.
2) The Parable of the “Unfruitful” Fig Tree
(Matthew 21:19; Luke 13:6-9, Rom. 11:24-26; Is. 5:7; Jer. 24:1-10).
In the scriptures, the Olive Tree, Fig Tree and the Vine are sometimes a picture of Israel, as is the case in this parable.
This parable reveals how Jesus came to Israel, representative of the fig tree, looking for spiritual fruit and found none. In Matthew 21:19 Jesus curses a fig tree and it withers away. This was a prophecy of the coming judgment upon Israel that was soon to come because of her rejection of her Messiah. As most of us know Israel was destroyed in 70 AD, approximately 40 years after Jesus death.
The man in the parable (Jesus) tells the gardener that he had been looking for fruit for three years and found none. The three years represents Jesus’ three year public ministry on earth. The keeper of the vineyard (the early church disciples) interceded on behalf of the fig tree (Israel) and asked for additional time to fertilize and cultivate the tree. In Acts 3:17-21 we read that Israel was indeed given another opportunity to repent, but she did not. As a result, Israel wandered the world without a homeland until 1948. I believe this only happened by the grace of God – as Israel had to be reborn as a nation in order for many end time prophecies to be fulfilled, and for the apocalypse countdown to commence.
3) The Parable of the Fig Tree
(Matt 24:32-35; Mk 13:28-31; Luke 21:29-33)
The Parable of the Fig Tree is once again presented by Jesus, but this time as a means to illustrate the significance of the signs in the prophecies and how when the signs all start to appear and accelerate like an expectant woman’s birth pangs, then we will know that the Second coming is at hand. The phrase “this generation” means the generation that witnesses all of the end time signs that Christ revealed in Matthew Ch. 24. Those of us today who have eyes and ears (who have not been blinded by the secular world) can clearly see how iniquity seems to be accelerating today exponentially.
4) The Parable of the Vineyard
(Matt 21:33-46; Mk 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-19, Isa 5:1-7)
In this parable, Jesus reveals a most important prophecy. The vineyard in this parable refers to the nation of Israel.
Jesus reveals that Israel would fail to recognize him as their Messiah and how they had and would treat Him and His messengers and prophets. He also revealed how they would eventually kill Him.
The Jewish nation failed to recognize Jesus deity when he came to earth to declare the good news of the coming kingdom of God. They rejected Him because they failed to understand the prophecies of Isaiah 53 which foretold that the Messiah would first come as a suffering servant; not the conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah that they were expecting (this will not occur until His second coming foretold in Rev. 19:11-16).
So Jesus prophesied the following in Matthew 21:43 – “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.”
I believe that the nation bearing the fruits of it refers to the Christian nations; including the United States which although currently in a fallen state, was instrumental in sending missionaries throughout the world, and harvesting great evangelists who spread the gospel message to the furthest corners of the earth, fulfilling the prophecy of a nation that “bore the fruits of it”. All of the Christian nations have embraced the message and the deity of Jesus and became the torch bearers of the light of truth.
Some unbelievers claim Jesus was just a great prophet that knew the prophecies. The apostle John who wrote several books of the New Testament including the gospel of John and the apocalypse (book of Revelation) received key truths from God through the angels. The greatest of which was that Jesus was “the word of God”, and that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of all prophecy” (John 1:1-14; Rev. 19:10). Only time will prove the accuracy of all prophecies, but by then it may be too late for the unprepared.
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