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Matthew 13:44
The Parable of the Treasure

We are looking at a series of prophetic parables that Jesus taught, concerning the mysteries of the kingdom
of God: that is, how God is obtaining His kingdom of sons.

We’ve learned that the first four parables pertain to the sons that will occupy the heavenly realm - who
would that be? The church - the Body of Christ. We are a heavenly people; our citizenship is in heaven
(Phil 3:20).

Through these parables, Jesus revealed that the Word of the kingdom must be taken into a receptive heart -
personally and individually - in order to bear fruit - sons of the kingdom.

And Jesus showed there would be opposition to God obtaining His sons - unreceptive hearts; false teachers;
Christendom, with its false profession of Christ; and a counterfeit gospel robbed of its truth and power. But
despite these obstacles, God is bringing a harvest of souls, into His kingdom.

Jesus then taught four more parables to His disciples only. The crowd had already been dismissed, without
any explanation of the first set of parables, which they had heard.

Matthew only relates one explanation that Jesus gives, from this last set of four. However, Mark mentions
in his gospel that Jesus explained all of the parables to His disciples (Mk 4:34).

Despite the lack of explanation in the written record, I think that as we carefully consider these parables in
light of what Jesus has already explained, we will begin to see their meaning. We’ll just be looking at the
next one today - the parable of the treasure, in verse 44. But first I’d like to read through verse 52, just so
that we can understand the context better.

[Matthew 13:44-52]

Do verses 49 and 50 sound familiar? Yes; they’re almost identical to verses 41-42. In both places, Jesus
was explaining the end of the age - the end of the church age, that is - when He, the Son of Man, will return
to the earth at His Second Coming, to set up His kingdom.

The first four parables reflected the growing period of the wheat; the church age, and the sons for the
heavenly realm. But the last four parables reflect how God is obtaining His sons that will inhabit the
earthly realm - for the Kingdom Age.

Again, it’s essential to consider these parables in the overall context, for that is what helps us to get to their
meaning. Without the contextual clues, its easy to misinterpret what Jesus is saying.

For instance, some commentators have likened the treasure and the pearl to the gospel - just as they did
with the mustard seed and the leaven. But if we think this through, we can see it does not make sense.

With the treasure, in what way has the gospel been hidden? It has been proclaimed; the disciples were to
shout it from the rooftops (Mt 10:27). And if the man who finds the gospel represents a sinner who
believes, in what sense does the sinner then re-hide the gospel?
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Likewise, in both the parables of the treasure and the pearl, what price can a sinner bring, to buy the
gospel? The point has always been that the sinner has to recognize he must receive it as a gift. Can you see
the difficulties?

Let’s focus in now on the parable of the treasure, in verse 44. There are two items in this parable that we
have seen before, in previous parables from this series.

What’s one of them? A field. And what did the field represent, before? It represented the world (13:38) -
the world of men. Jesus certainly wouldn’t change the significance of it within the series, without some
indication. We can assume the field still represents the world.

What’s the other thing we’ve seen before? A man. The man was a sower, in the first three parables; sowing
the good seed, the Word of the kingdom; and then, sowing a mustard seed.

The man is not sowing here, but He’s still in a field. Without defining the man differently, we can
reasonably assume Jesus intended the identity of the man to still be the same. So who would the man be?
It’s the Son of Man (13:37); Jesus, in His humanity.

Now, we may think that we have also seen the concept of something being hidden before - in verse 33, in
the parable of the leaven; the woman hid the leaven in the meal. But that is a different Greek word, than
the one present here.

In verse 44, the word for “hide” simply means to conceal; the treasure cannot be seen. But the word in
verse 33 for “hide” implied the leaven was concealed inside of something, or mixed into something. The
idea of deception is implied, in the parable of the leaven; but it is not implied, with the treasure.

So this parable begins with a treasure hidden in a field - concealed - out of sight - in the field of the world.
And at this point, we need to discuss another interpretation.

Some have thought that this treasure might be Israel. They recall that the LORD spoke of Israel as His
special treasure, in the OT; in the KJ, it’s His peculiar treasure. I’d like to look at this with you; it’s found
in Exodus chapter 19.

This was when the LORD brought the children of Israel to Himself, and offered for them to become His
people, on the basis of His eternal covenant.

[Exodus 19:4-6] Now, “special treasure” - or “peculiar treasure”, in the KJ - is one word in the Hebrew,
and the word has nothing to do with treasure. The word refers to a possession; property.

The children of Israel were being invited to become God’s own people, above all other people; Israel was to
be Jehovah’s personal possession - like the wife of a husband.

This word is used just one other time for Israel, and once again it means that the children of Israel are
God’s own unique people (Ps 135:4). But the concept of a treasure is not reflected in the word or the
context. And nowhere else is Israel ever called a treasure. The word is just not used, for Israel.

[Return to Matthew 13]

Other difficulties arise with the thought that the treasure pictures Israel. In what sense could it be said that
Israel was hidden in the world, and that Jesus found it?
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The Jews were not scattered in exile when Jesus came to them; they didn’t need to be found; for the most
part, they were back in the land God apportioned to them. Granted, Israel was not a sovereign nation in
that day, being occupied by the Romans; but they had a distinct national identity and location.

And how can it be explained that Jesus found Israel, and then hid Israel again? And why would Jesus be
filled with joy over His nation when at that time they were in the process of categorically rejecting Him? I
think you can begin to see the difficulties with identifying the treasure as Israel.

So let’s think about this treasure. A treasure is riches; it’s wealth. In that day, a treasure was often buried,
for safekeeping. We should be pondering here what would be a treasure, to the Son of Man; a treasure that
is hidden - concealed from view - buried, in the world. It is of great value, to Him. The treasure is
dominion; it is the rule, over the earth.

That treasure has been buried for a long, long time. Turn to Genesis chapter 1. This is what God said to
His first man and woman, after He had created them.

[Genesis 1:27-28] The first man and woman were being given dominion over all the living on the earth.
But after man brought sin into the world, he was unable to exercise dominion - as he could not even rule
over his own heart, and submit to God.

Now turn to Genesis chapter 9. After the Flood, there was a new beginning on the earth - through Noah
and his sons. God blessed them and gave them a very similar command, to that given to Adam and Eve -
with one exception.

[Genesis 9:1-3] God now put a fear of man, into the animals - and gave the animals to man for food - for
the earth was less conducive for life, than it was before the Flood.

But what do we note is missing? The command to have dominion, over all living on the earth; mankind
was incapable of ruling, under God. So from this early time, due to sin, the dominion had become buried
in the field of the world of men.

But this treasure was not lost; it was not hidden from the purposes of God. The treasure was simply buried
- by God - for safekeeping.

After the families of the earth united in their rebellion against God’s rule over them at Babel, the LORD
called out one man, Abraham, from whom He made a nation for Himself - to be His own people - Israel.

The LORD confined Israel under the Law (Gal 3:23), until the fullness of time would come, when God
would bring forth His Son from Israel (Gal 4:4). And in the interim, the LORD carefully hid the dominion
over the earth within Israel; concealing it within certain prophecies that foretold of it - and the One who
would secure it.

Turn to Genesis chapter 49. The LORD gave Jacob prophecies concerning His twelve sons, and the tribes
that would come from them. This is part of the prophecy for Judah.

[Genesis 49:8-10]

v. 8-9 The first part of the prophecy plays off of Judah’s name, which means “praise”. Judah was certainly
not a praiseworthy son of Jacob, initially. But Judah had a change of heart, and became a new man. The
prophecy reflects this overcoming victory that was accomplished in Judah’s life.
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That victory would be manifested in Judah’s primacy as a tribe - and not just over enemies. Judah had
attained the victory in ruling over himself in his own heart, personally; similarly, the tribe of Judah would
attain the rule over the other tribes of Israel.

Judah is described as a lion. The lion is the king of the jungle; here is the idea of ruling. The different
descriptions of a lion reflect the ascendancy of Judah as a tribe; to the monarchy under David; and then its
subsequent decline, under wicked kings, which took Israel into idolatry.

But the prophecy gives an assurance, that Israel’s failure will not alter the LORD’s purposes, for Judah.

v. 10 What is a scepter the symbol of? Of the king’s rule. Israel would become subject to Gentile
dominion - the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Medes, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans. The scepter
of Judah was concealed beneath these worldly rulers.

But the royal rule was being retained, for Judah. The LORD was holding it, in His divine purposes - for the
most illustrious member of that tribe, who was to come.

Our translations name Him as “Shiloh” in verse 10. The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the OT, has
Shiloh as meaning “He to whom they belong” (also Eze 21:27).

The scepter shall not depart from Judah, until He comes, to whom the scepter rightfully belongs - and who
would that be? The Coming One; and He will come the second time as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Rev
5:5) - and then, “to Him shall be the obedience of the people”; Israel will receive Him as their king. So we
see that the scepter - the dominion - was more deeply hidden, within the tribe of Judah.

Now turn to Numbers chapter 24. Balaam was a prophet that sold his services to the Moabite king, who
wished him to curse Israel. But the LORD overruled, and through Balaam, blessed Israel instead. In the
final prophecy, Balaam is given to see far into a future time - when a ruler shall arise from Israel, and
prevail over Moab - and all His enemies.

[Numbers 24:15-19] The star coming out and the scepter arising are emblems of a born king. This King
will destroy all the sons of tumult, referring to the enemies of Israel, of whom Edom and Seir were chief
ones. The idea is that this King would have universal dominion - over the whole earth.

But this King is not now; not near. The scepter was still hidden in the purposes of God, until the time when
He would be born.

But more was prophesied, concerning this king’s birth. Turn to Second Samuel chapter 7.

After the LORD has established David as king over Israel, and given him rest from his enemies all around, a
prophecy was given to him concerning one of his descendants.

[Second Samuel 7:12-13] At this time, the LORD had placed the scepter into the hand of David, a man after
the LORD’s own heart. But David’s dominion was limited; just for a time, and just over Israel.

Through the prophecy, the LORD made it plain that a descendant would come from David - David’s Seed -
and the LORD would establish the throne of His kingdom forever. This future Seed of David would build a
house for the LORD’s name.
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The idea of building a house means to have sons - descendants. Here is a prophecy for the sons that will
inhabit the earthly kingdom - sons that will come from the Seed of David - the Coming King. This was
clearly a reference to Israel’s Messiah.

But the immediate descendants of David forsook the LORD, and followed after idols. The kingdom was
divided after Solomon, eventually with both Israel to the north and later Judah to the south being taken into
exile.

Centuries passed, and the scepter became buried beneath the rule of worldly kings. This is the treasure
hidden in a field; the dominion over the earth, invisible during the time of Gentile domination.

But then in the parable, a man came and found the treasure. And who have we seen this man to be, in the
parables? The Son of Man; Jesus, in His humanity.

In what respect can we say that Jesus came, and found the treasure - the dominion over the earth? In the
respect that God the Son came to the earth in a human body. How did He come? Through birth.

And Jesus wasn’t born to just anyone, was He? He was born of the virgin, Mary. And who was Mary the
descendant of? Of David, the King. In this way, Jesus was born the Seed of David.

But Mary was not actually in the royal line, to the throne; she was of a different line, back to David.
However, Mary’s husband Joseph was also a descendant of David; and Joseph was of the royal line, even
though no one in that line had ruled for over six centuries.

Yet Jesus was not related to Joseph, by blood; we remember that Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit.
So did Jesus have a legitimate claim to the throne - the throne of David? Let’s go back to the very
beginning of Matthew’s gospel, to refresh our memories concerning this.

[Matthew 1:18-21] Remember that Mary was already the wife of Joseph, since they were betrothed. But
now, the angel was instructing Joseph to take to himself Mary - meaning to take her into his home.

This was regularly done at the end of the betrothal period, and often formalized with a wedding ceremony.
Although there was unlikely to have been any ceremony under the circumstances, by taking Mary into his
home, Joseph was showing that their marriage was now finalized, and that he fully accepted Mary as his
wife.

And Joseph was specifically instructed to give Mary’s son His name - Jesus - the name that the Lord chose
for Him. Now, here’s why this is important. The acceptance of Mary as his wife and the naming of her son
served to confirm Joseph’s legal recognition of Jesus as his own adopted son.

An adopted son was considered a legal heir. It was this which made Jesus a legitimate heir to the throne of
David; this is what brought Jesus into the royal line.

In this way, the man found the treasure; the dominion over the earth, hidden in the prophecies of Israel, of
Judah and of David. Jesus laid claim to the scepter, through the extraordinary circumstances surrounding
His birth.

But in the parable, when the man found the treasure, he then hid it again. Now, why would he do that? It’s
a matter of first things first; the man was thrilled to discover this buried treasure, but now he had to secure
it for himself by first buying the field that it was buried in.
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The man had discovered the treasure, but now he had to make it his own. But by burying it again, the man
was ensuring its safekeeping - until such time as he returned, to take possession of it - as the owner of the
field.

When Jesus came to the earth in His first coming, He came into the royal line of David, as the heir to the
throne. But His rule over the earth had to wait; why? Because earth was not yet ready to receive her King.

The apostle John wrote, “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not
know Him” - the world of men. “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him” (Jn 1:10-11) -
Israel, too, rejected their Messiah, their King.

Daniel prophesied that Messiah would be cut of, with nothing for Himself (Dan 9:26) - without His
kingdom.

Jesus would not take His kingdom by force, like a worldly king. Instead, the King would woo subjects into
His kingdom through His love - love so great, that it would embrace the whole world.

Jesus gave all that He had - His very life - to redeem the world of men - to buy them off the slave market of
sin, and make them His own. He gave His infinitely precious self, a ransom for all (1 Tim 2:6). Jesus
Himself is the propitiation for our sins, satisfying God’s justice, concerning sin - and not for ours only, but
also for the whole world (1 Jn 2:2).

Here is the man, who sold all that he had, in order to buy the field.

For the joy that was set before Jesus, He endured the cross, despising the shame (Heb 12:2). And what was
that joy, that was set before Jesus? It was the sons - the sons of God - who would become the subjects of
His kingdom. And for the sake of those sons, Jesus bought the whole world of men, with the blood of His
cross.

Turn to Hebrews chapter 2. The author was considering the age to come - the Kingdom Age - and who
would have dominion over the earth, during it.

[Heb 2:5-10]

v. 5 In this context, the world to come refers to the future age; the Kingdom Age.

v. 6-8 This is from a psalm of David (Ps 8:4-6). David was marveling at the LORD’s caring concern, for
mankind; that’s what “man” and “son of man” are referring to, in the original psalm - mankind.

All things were originally put in subjection under Adam and Eve - under mankind. But notice what the
author says at the end of verse 8 - “we do not yet see all things put under him”.

Mankind was unable to exercise dominion, because of their lawlessness. Therefore, the author says, we
don’t see mankind having dominion.

But this is what he says we do see.

v. 9-10 When God the Son took human form, He fulfilled the psalmist’s words - for mankind. He was
made a little lower than the angels, when He came to the earth in a body of flesh.
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For His work on the cross, God crowned Jesus with glory and honor, accepting Him as the substitute for
the world of men.

God had Jesus blaze the trail of salvation through His own suffering, in order to bring men into God’s
kingdom, as His sons.

The crowning of Jesus has already taken place, in the heavens. Turn back to Hebrews chapter 1.

[Hebrews 1:8-9] When Jesus ascended back to heaven following His death and resurrection, He was
crowned as King. This is the record of the coronation of the King, prophesied in the psalms (Ps 45:6-7). In
Eternity, it is already accomplished.

But under time, the scepter was hidden again, when Jesus left the earth; it was concealed once again,
beneath the dominion of worldly rulers. And during this time, Jesus is seated at the right hand of God,
while God is making His enemies His footstool (Heb 10:12-13).

When that has been accomplished - which will take Great Tribulation - Jesus will return as King of kings,
and Lord of lords.

The Son of Man will come with clouds, and be given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples,
nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion will be an everlasting dominion, which shall not
pass away (Dan 7:13-14).

Then He will take possession of His scepter, for His thousand year reign on the earth. The Man will finally
have His treasure from the earth - and then His joy will be full.

Reading: Matt 13:45-52; 24:1-51; Dan 12:1-3; Rev 12:1-17; Rev 21:9-21