Structure of the Kingdom Parables

We can glean from the eight kingdom parables the following:

One – Four kinds of hearers – Hard, Weedy, Shallow & Good
Two and Five – Two kinds of individuals – God’s and the Devil’s
Three and Four – Two kinds of corruption – Open and Secret
Five and Six – Two kinds of people of God – Israel and the Church
Seven – Two kinds of individuals – Corrupt and Righteous
Eight – Two kinds of revelation – Teacher of Old and New Covenants

Christ’s explanation for speaking in parables is a well-ordered chiasm of cursing and blessing in Matthew
13:14-17. “This is why I speak to them in parables:

1 Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

2 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

3 `You will be ever hearing but never understanding;

4 you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.

5 For this people’s heart has become calloused;

6 they hardly hear with their ears,

7 and they have closed their eyes.

7 Otherwise they might see with their eyes,

6 hear with their ears,

5 understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’

4 But blessed are your eyes because they see,

3 and your ears because they hear.

2 For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men

1 longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

For the “secrets of the kingdom” to be “given” the disciples suggests that to them certain eschatological
realities are being revealed. Specifically, the “mystery of the Kingdom” is coming of the Kingdom into
history in advance of its apocalyptic manifestation. That God would bring in His kingdom was no secret.
All Jews looked forward to it. The new truth, now given to men by revelation in the Person and mission
of Jesus, is that the Kingdom which is to come finally in apocalyptic power, as foreseen by Daniel, has in
fact entered into the world in advance in a hidden form to work secretly within and among men. The
disciples did not understand the mystery of the Kingdom and its secrets at the time of Christ’s ascension;
so He sends them out to be sowers (Acts 1:6-8).

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