The Parables of the
Kingdom of Heaven
by Martin Oliver
This is the first of seven brief articles on the parables that Jesus told to the crowds by the lakeside as He sat in a boat. Quotations are from the King James Authorised Version of the Bible unless otherwise indicated. A parable (Gr. Parabole means 'a comparison'), is a picture with a secret hidden meaning. These parables are therefore a comparison of every day truths with spiritual truths. Jesus' parables were often taken from every day life in Palestine. (See Matthew 13: 1 0-13 and 34-35, also Psalm 78:2). The 'kingdom of heaven' is understood to mean the period between the first and second advents of Christ. This will be the time between His coming to live and die for believers and His coming in Glory with His church to reign on the earth for a thousand years and to judge the Gentile nations. These parables describe important features of what the world will be like during this period. They are 'things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world' (See Verse 35). Four parables Jesus told by the lakeside and three He told in the house.
There is much prophetic teaching in these parables, as we shall see. We are privileged to be able to understand them with the help of the Holy Spirit. As Jesus said to His disciples, 'Blessed are your eyes, because they see and your ears, because they hear' (See Verse 16). In these parables we can see the work of God and the Holy Spirit, the work of the Devil, the effect of sin and the sinner, the life of the believer in Christ, the role of Israel and the Church. These parables of Jesus are the most comprehensive picture of God's purposes in Christ in the New Testament. But they are not always easy to understand and some may hold different views to those expressed in these articles.