The Church in the Parables of Christ

The common misconception prevalent today is that although Jesus intended to establish his kingdom while here He changed His mind and substituted the church. The simple truth is that the church and the kingdom are the same. Jesus pointed out the spiritual nature of His kingdom to Pilate (John 18:33-38) at His trial. Jesus stated, "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews" verse 36). As to Him being the king of the Jews, He admitted He indeed was king, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, . . ." (verse 37 NKJV). Pilate concluded, "I find in him no fault at all" (verse 38).


The spiritual nature of the kingdom is manifest in the parables. In many if not most of His parables Jesus introduced it by stating, "The kingdom of heaven is like . . ." He then goes on to make His point. His point usually has to do with the mission of the church in preaching the gospel or in the value of salvation. Matthew 13 is a good example of this:


The Sower (13:3-9; 18-23) teaches how the word or gospel is received by various people. The parable of the Tares (13:24-30) shows how souls will be separated at the Judgment Day while the parable of the Mustard Seed (13:31-32) prophesies the growth of the church while the Leaven (13:20-21) shows the spread of Christianity. The parables of the Hid Treasure (13:44) and the Pearl of Great Price (13:45) both show the value of the church or gospel when we find the truth. The Dragnet (13:47-50) points out the final Judgment and separation of the wicked and the just.


Both the parable of the Tares and Dragnet teach about the Judgment Day rather than the normal judgment of an earthly kingdom. In the Tares the wheat (the good guys) and the tares (bad guys) are to continue in the field (the world vs 38) and the harvest is the final Judgment. In the Dragnet, we have the same separation of the wicked form the just (verse 49). However, the Dragnet goes on to state the angels will "cast them (the wicked) into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth" (verse 50).


The trust of the parables deal with growth of the church rather than the establishment and organization of a kingdom. It began on the first Pentecost following the resurrection of Christ (Acts 2). There were about 3,000 added to them by baptism (verse 41). Christianity spread throughout the Roman empire and beyond by the close of the first century. Letters to the emperor complained about the pagan altars being neglected.


We too, as Christians today, should give "thanks to the Father which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light" and "hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath [past tense] translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son" (Colossians 1:12-13).


Dale I. Royal, Elk City OK