The Chiastic Structure of the Kingdom Parables
In Matthew chapter thirteen Jesus teaches a series of eight parables which are known as the "Kingdom Parables", I have to admit that when reading through them, I couldn't see their unified theme and could only grasp an extremely superficial understanding of their possible meaning. I was a bit relieved to find that many expert commentaries apparently had similar struggles as they offered up many and varied interpretations of them.
Before I get started I would like to mention that the Kingdom Parables are also addressed in the lengthy Monarch Butterfly Part One of a four part series, as it concerned the number four and the concept or transformation and can be found by scrolling down about a fourth of the way down.
This article will study this portion of scripture in terms of it's literary structure which, I hope will lend to a more unified approach of their lesson and meaning.
Let's Unroll the Scroll
Reading the Bible can be an interesting journey, in that infinite revelations are tightly and miraculously compacted in it like a strand of DNA, and are discovered with each new search as the Holy Spirit leads guides and teaches.
the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things... ~ John 14:26
In the Old testament the Hebrew word for revelation is galah meaning to uncover, expose or make naked. It is rooted in the word galal which means to roll open, off, or away. In the case of revelation it could be understood as to unroll. Biblical text was once written on scrolls and offered a visual of revelation as something unrolled as in being exposed and uncovered.
The Parables were surprisingly used for both purposes of concealing and revealing.
And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”
He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. ~ Matthew 13:10-11
The disciples asked the same question as I did, namely, why? Jesus answers
Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:
‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
And seeing you will see and not perceive;
For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them ~ Matthew 13:13-15
Mark uses the word forgive in place of heal
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 4:12
Healing and forgiveness are one in the same to Jesus as was displayed in the healing of the paralytic, when he the man is brought to Jesus by his four friends through the roof of another's house, Jesus is criticized by the religious rulers for declaring the man forgiven rather than healed. Jesus reply to them was that there was no diffierence when He asked them...
“Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’? ~ Mark 2:8-9
Notice that this explanation begins at the 13th verse of the 13th chapter, In Biblical numerics the number 13 indicates a rebellion. E.W. Bullinger who studied numbers, exhaustively, in scripture observes this
every occurrence of the number thirteen, and likewise of every multiple of it, stamps that with which it stands in connection with rebellion, apostasy, defection, corruption, disintegration, revolution, or some kindred idea
The first occurrence of the number 13 occurs when Lot is taken captive.
Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled ~ Genesis 14:4
All of Bullingers works and the specific examples and evidences can be further researched online for free with a simple search of his name. Keep in mind also there are no superstitious meanings attached to the numeric revelations they are simply another way God has chosen to make His Word consistent in theme and pattern.
Back to the above quote by Jesus from the book of Isaiah about their closed eyes and ears which occurs in chapter six of Isaiah. If you read the chapter prior you will see that the Lord is confronting His rebellious people who will not listen to Him because if they do they may need to change which is fitting as it relates to the topic of rebellion and how it prevents us from truly hearing and understanding the truth of God. Hearing and doing are one and the same in God's book, which is why He says in Luke concerning this same account.
No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lamp stand, that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him ~ Luke 8:16-18
It is much like our modern saying that if you don't use it you will lose it. It is interesting that in Luke the hidden light is mentioned right after the Parable of the Sower having to do with the how truth penetrates a heart and the things that might prevent that, but it is mentioned in Matthew chapter 5 just after the Beatitudes which showcase the behaviors of sincere believers. Hearing and obeying are represented in both accounts.
Jesus connects this idea of light revealing the motives of a heart that both hears and obeys, or not, when He speaks to Nicodemus about the experience of being born again.
this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God ~ John 3:19-20
Paul instructs and warns Timothy to resist the temptation to preach a message that people will want to hear because it will not challenge them to do anything but hear something interesting or new. Hearing without obedience is not hearing at all.
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires,because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables ~ II Timothy 4:2-4
and to the Ephesians
have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says:
“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. ~ Ephesians 5:11-17
So the Parables were concealed to those who rebelliously didn't want to know them, or the God who taught them, but were revealed to those who would humbly follow and obey Him.
The Chiastic Structure
The arrangement of these parables is in what is known as a chiasm, where the most important theme is the middle of the text, and it is surrounded by related parallel related information on both sides, that further detail the main point.
Kenneth E. Bailey, who has made many fascinating chiastic discoveries in the Bible, suggests that we view chiasms like a sandwich, with the meat in the middle, The outer two parallels of the section would be two slices of bread and can include other parallel ingredients on both sides of the meat.
Our vision is structured in this very same way, and is called optic chiasm. We take in visual information from both left and right eyes which follow parallel paths to the center of our brain where it meets in the middle. If we were blind in one eye our depth perception would be greatly altered and limited, and so it is with the Word of God. In order to see and understand deeply it is valuable to understand how to recognize and read these structures.
The Bible isn't the only literature that uses this literary technique, but it is one that is largely unfamiliar to most of us, and not being aware of it can sometimes make the read a bit disconnected, random, and repetitive.
The table below shows what this looks like based on the text in Matthew 13, as it concerns these particlar parables. Much of the information in this table is borrowed from Kenneth E Bailey. My graph differs slightly, not in content but in arrangement due to formattting limitations. Some additional insights are added from additional commentary on thus topic by David Wenham, a British Theologian.
Matthew 13 Chiastic Arrangement of the Kingdom Parables
A ) Parable of the Sower - Farmer - Field (v. 1-9)
B) Question by the disciples - Answer by Jesus (v. 10-17)
C) Interpretation of the Parable of the Sower (v. 19-23)
(first four addressed to the crowds)
1. Tares-Wheat - "Another parable He put forth to them" (v. 24-30)
2. Mustard Seed "Another parable He put forth to them" (v. 31-32)
3. Leaven "Another parable He spoke to them" (v.33)
E.) Central Axis - Main Part
Fulfillment of Prophecy - Interpretation of the Wheat and Tares (v.34-43)
3. Hidden Treasure - "Again the kingdom of heaven is like" (v. 44)
2. Pearl of Great Price - "Again the kingdom of heaven is like" (v. 45-46)
(Second four addressed to the disciples)
1. Separation of Fish - "Again the kingdom of heaven is like" (v. 47-48)
C) Interpretation of the Fish (v. 49-50)
B) Question by Jesus - Answer by the disciples (v. 51)
A) The Householder - Merchant - Commerce (v. 52)
If space would allow I would arrange my chart just a little bit differently, in that, I would jut "E", the center text, one step out to the right of the page rather then indenting to the left side, between the two sections of parables. The text arrangement would then resemble an arrow.
That is what is fascinating about these structures. The Hebrew word Torah, meaning instruction and is also related to the word for teach, is rooted in an archery term and comes with the idea of an arrow hitting the bulls eye. That is what the entirety of scripture is trying to do.
Missing the bulls eye might not seem like a big deal to some but it could be considered detrimental if, from a life perspective, we considered the possibilty, that with the slightest error from the intended target, it would send the trajectory arrow of our life in a direction that separates us eternally from God altogether.
A beginning note that the first four parables are addressed to the crowds. Mark puts it this way
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 ~ Mark 4:11
The second set of four parables is addressed to His followers. and we will address these contrasts and comparisons as we go along. As we will see in each of the first set there is something included that isn't good. In the Sower this consists of hard ground, rocks and thorns. then there is the tares, the birds, and the leaven. The second set this is not so.
The introduction to the parables is significant and relative to this.
On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea. And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore ~ Matthew 13:1-2
Some scholars have noted that the phrase "Jesus went out of the house" is in reference to leaving the Pharisees and Saducees and their personally developed religious system and interpretations and going instead to the highways and bi-ways at their rejection. The prior chapter is consistant with this idea in that it contains mostly the contentions between Jesus and these, who opposed Him, and from this point on Jesus says nothing to them apart from a parable.
This may have revealed the intentions of their heart to not necessarily seek and know the truth, but to oppose that which threatened their status quo.
"By the sea" is significant as well, in that, the sea many times represnts the masses of people
Woe to the multitude of many people
Who make a noise like the roar of the seas,
And to the rushing of nations
That make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters! ~ Isaiah 17:12
This imagery continues into the New Testament
“The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. ~ Revelation 17:15
This shows us that Jesus left the house of the religious order of the day and was going out to address the multitudes. it is also reminiscient, to some extent, another parallel Jesus told, where a certain man hosts a great supper to which most of his invites turn up their noses at by deciding to do something else. The master of the house is offended and tells his servant to...
Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper. ~ Luke 14:22-24
A Sower/Soil -- A Householder/Treasure Chest (A's)
We will be using all three accounts of the parable of the soil given in Matthew 13, Mark 4 and Luke 8 that should give us the all around view. Lets begin by comparing the two A's. The first begins with
Behold, a sower went out to sow ~ Matthew 13:3
Jesus reveals to those who ask Him...
Then His disciples asked Him, saying, “What does this parable mean? ~ Luke 8:9
...that the seed is plainly revealed as the Word of God.
The seed is the word of God ~ Mark 4:11
The Sower, being the main character, isnt plainly stated but is revealed other places in Matthew in terms of how Jesus the Sower cast this message to all the hearts of men.
Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand...Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom ~ Matthew 4:17,23
Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom ~ Matthew 9:35
when Jesus finished commanding His twelve disciples, that He departed from there to teach and to preach in their cities. ~ Matthew 11:1
Hidden within the parable of the soils is the necessity of acknowleding that Jesus the Sower is in fact the Messiah.
Brad Scott on the Hebrew Roots Network in part five of his series "Prophecy In The Field" makes an observation about the fourth soil. He notes that the only soil that produces is the fourth one and reveals a previously hidden meaning in reference to the amount Jesus said would be produced
"other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty" Matthew 13:8
Brad connects this statement with the four patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph along with all but Jacob's age in reference to when they birthed their chosen sons and when Joseph (type of Jesus) entered into the service of Pharaoh. Abraham was 100 when he produced Isaac, Issac was 60 when He produced Esau and Jacob, and Joseph was noted to be 30 years old when he began his ministry as was Jesus. Jacob is not included because he is the only one who is not a chosen son recalling that Esau was Isaac's favorite. Recall as well that three concerns spiritual realities therefore God is revealing that through these four physical men would come the seed of Abraham "Jesus Christ" God's one and only chosen Son that contained His Holy Spirit and through faith in Him we can be saved and produce a harvest. Faith in the promised seed of Abraham, that is the Lord Jesus Christ, is the secret of the good soil.
The second "A" is a Parallel to the Sower and is the Householder or master of the house, again discussing the word of God and how it is distributed.
every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old ~ Matthew 13:52
A scribe, according to Blue Letter Bible, is a skilled examiner, teacher, and interpreter of sacred writings. Gesenius furthers this definition
"a teacher so instructed that from his learning and ability to teach, advantage may redound (contribute greatly) to the Kingdom of Heaven, and many interpret, make a disciple unto the Kingdom of Heaven"
Jesus is the householder and his discicples are the scribes who have accurately recieved His message and Word
The Word of God in this parable is described as the old and new and representative of the treasured truth that has been stored in the heart, as was the seed sown in good soil, in the first parable.
My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding ~ Proverbs 2:1-6
In the first parable the seed/Word of God is cast indiscriminately across a wide variety of soil types. In this last one it is carefully and skillfully brought out of a heart that treasures it.
The new and old in the last is a beautiful picture of the usefulness of the entirety of Scripture both the Old and New Testaments.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness ~ II Timothy 3:16
The Two Questions (B's)
Moving in towards the center the next two parallels concern two sets of questions. When comparing the two "B's, it is an interesting cross over type of chiasm that occurs, much like it does in our vision system as was discussed before and imaged in more detail to the right. This crossing over gives us the most balanced perspective of the teaching.
The first "B' is a question by the disciples and an answer by Jesus. Jesus' answer forms a chiasm as well.
(A) I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
(B) And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:
(C) ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
(D)And seeing you will see and not perceive;
(E) For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
(F) Their ears are hard of hearing,
(G) And their eyes they have closed,
(G) Lest they should see with their eyes
(F) and hear with their ears,
(E) Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn So that I should heal/forgive them.
(D) But blessed are your eyes for they see,
(C) and your ears for they hear;
(B) for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men
(A) desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
... ~ Matthew 13:10-17
I will not compare the common themes in each parallel, as not to rabbit trail too far from the larger structure of this section, but they are very obvious, and are like repetitive echoes in their declarations, and worth a look back at a later time.
As it concerns the questions, The Second "B" Jesus asks the question and the disciples answer
Jesus said to them,“Have you understood all these things?”
They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” ~ Matthew 13:51
Jesus is at the center of these questions. It is at this juncture that one must decide if they want to hear the truth and accept the Messiah and His Lordship, proclaiming it.
It make so much sense that the following two parables have to do with interpretations, considering that these are they who have unashamedly followed Him, sought to sincerely know and understand the truth, and were willing to "turn" be forgiven and healed.
It should be noted that there are actually three parables explained in this section, that could be seen as another chiasm within a chiasm. The two outer explanations concern the Parable of the Sower and the Parable of the dragnet. The center one in the exact middle of this whole section of text is the interpretation of the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares.
The first and middle are connected in the sense of agricultral themes (soil and seed - wheat and Tares) both concern sown seed.
On this occasion Jesus specifically reveals who the sowers are and provides some more details to the Sower in the first parable
He who sows the good seed is the Son of ManThe field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom ~ Matthew 13:38
Another sower is revealed this tiime
but the tares are the sons of the wicked one The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels ~ Matthew 13:39
The interpretation of the separation of good and bad fish in the "Dragnet" is very similar
So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” ~ Matthew 13:49-50
The last and middle are connected in terms of things that are separated in the end (wheat and tares - good and bad fish)
The two outer's, soil and dragnet have this in common.
The seed was cast on various types of soil
When anyone hears the word of the kingdom ~ Matthew 13:18
The dragnet was cast to capture various kinds.
a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind ~ Matthew 13:47
This reassures that God is not a respector of persons
Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. ~ Acts 10:34-35
God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God ~ Romans 2:5-11
Tares and Wheat - Good Fish and Bad Fish (D-1's)
We got a little bit ahead of ourselves with these two because they both were included in with the interpretations and therefore we will simply review their common theme of separating good and bad things.
Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn. ~ Matthew 13:30
he kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away ~ Matthew 13:47
Man is not allowed to separate either and the gathering and separation occurs at the end..
The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. ~ Matthew 13:41-43
at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” ~ Matthew 13:49-50
Both occur at the end of all things. One come's from the field and the other from the sea both metaphors for the world and it's inhabitants.
A difference is in the Wheat and Tares it is distinguished between two kinds in the Dragnet
The kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind ~ Matthew 13:47
Paul reiterates this in terms of how light will reveal all obedience, or lack thereof, in the end, as discussed earlier with the four soils concerning how people heard and obeyed, in his first letter to the Corinthians.
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God ~ I Corinthians 4:5
In other words we are to personally hear and obey and let God judge the motives of man.
The Mustard Seed - The Pearl of Great Price (D-2's)
These two are similar in theme as it concerns small things. One grows into the something great the other becomes something of great value.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field (Mark says ground,Luke says garden), which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree (Mark says shoots out large branches), so that the birds of the air come and nested in its branches (Mark says shade) ~ Matthew 13:31-32
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 ~ Matthew 13:45-46
The mustard seed, in scripture is associated with faith.
if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you ~ Matthew 17:20 (reference to the epiletic whom the disciples were unable to deliver)
If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you ~ Luke 17:6 (reference to forgiveness and not deterring others from the faith through offenses)
Birds come and nest in the branches of this tree. As was seen in the Sower, the birds were not a good thing, in that they come to steal the seed and or eat the fruit. Some commentaries think these birds are symbols of evil spirits but if we look at the enemies of faith according to the above two verses, they appear to be unbelief, unforgiveness, and offending to such a degree that it deters others from the faith. In putting these two ideas together could it be understood that unbelief, unforgiveness and offense are invitations to the harassment of darkness?
The pearl on the other side of this parallel, is associated with trial and persecution, as that is how a pearl is formed. An irritation in the mollusk causes it to produce an iridescent lacquer to coat it.
“A faith that has not been tested cannot be trusted.” ~ John C. Maxwell
The merchant sought this rare variety of one willing to suffer for His name sake.
Another observation is that Mustard is planted and the Pearl is purchased. One is in the field the other in the sea.
Hidden Leaven - Hidden Treasure (D-3's)
Here we have two hidden things. One is bad and one is good. Many debates abound about the meaning of leaven in this one. Since I have come to truly trust the consistency of the patterns in scripture I have to side with those who think the leaven is bad. Every place in scripture it symbolizes pride and hypocrisy. It was something Jesus warned his disciples about and exampled the Pharisees and Sadducees
Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees ~ Matthew 16:6
Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth~ I Corinthians 5:6-7
This, once again is consistent with the tares in the wheat the field, the birds in the branches. concerning the prior two parables.
But in terms of the Kingdom of Heaven on the Earth, it may concern these bodies of flesh that we still dwell in while we remain.
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. ~ Galations 2:20
During the feast of Pentecost two loaves of leavened bread are presented. It is the only time in all the feasts that the children of Israel are required to observe, that leaven is allowed in an offering. Both are considered the first fruits. One represents the Jew and the other the Gentile. When presented to the priest in the tabernacle, the priest waves them before the Lord and they are considered Holy to Him.
At the Center (E)
At the center of it all is the fulfillment of prophecy
All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:
“I will open My mouth in parables;
I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world ~ Matthew 13:34-35
What things were kept secret from the foundation of the world that would be so central to the "Kingdom of Heaven"?
He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God ~ I Peter 1:20
The parable of the Tares explained, which follows this, begins with this...
Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house ~ Matthew 13:36
We began with Jesus going out of the house and talking to the multitudes. In true chiastic form He now sends the multitude away and goes into the house, and His disciples sought Him there.
It was considered earlier that Jesus had left the house of Judaism to speak to the crowds but there is one other consideration, in light of it having a chiastic parallel. Jesus left the house of His father in Heaven to come reveal the Kingdom of God and the way to into it, through Himself, to the multitudes, and when He had fulfilled all that was prophesied concerning Him, to both Jew and Gentile, He returned to His Father's house and "His disciples then seek Him there"
How can we pull this all together in light of this structure? As was noted Jesus the Messiah is the central theme of the Kingdom of Heaven. The message of the Gospel is broadcast into the field of this world with mixed results as seen in the first set.
The enemy plants tares, and his minions (birds) roost in the branches of faith (Mustard tree) waiting to steal and taint the message of the Gospel. He does this by adding something to the unadulterated truth, as seen in the leaven added to 3 measures of meal, much like the serpent sneaking around the garden and hiding in a tree.
This is followed by the second set of parables that express the results of those who would receive and follow Him purely with sincere hearts, and allegorically depict the Messiah who sold all that He had to purchase the field seeking those who would respond to that message reciprocally giving up their own lives even unto death (the goodly pearls) to share the treasure of Christ to the world as well.
This revelation is ongoing as His truth is infinitely deep as well as high. and I will refine as it unfolds more clearly. Any other insights and revelations are welcome.
© 2016 Tamarajo