Sunday, June 25, 2023

A Study of Matthew Chapter 13:10-17 & Matthew 13:34-35

by Stan Feldsine (

Matthew 13:10-17 & Matthew 13:34-35 - The Purpose of the Parables

Two Movements

Matthew's gospel is presented in two movements, the presentation of the Jesus and His Messianic Kingdom to Israel and the response to His arrival, and secondly the presentation and explanation of the mystery program for a new age through parables. This mystery kingdom will be a spiritual rather than a physical kingdom, and will last from the first coming of Christ to the second coming.

The Mystery Program Was Hidden

The mystery program is a "mystery" because it was hidden from people through the ages but is now being revealed. Jesus is now going to switch from plainly speaking about the offer of the Messianic Kingdom to speaking about the "mystery" program using parables (Mat 13:35, Psa 78:2). This is a program that prophets and righteous people in the past had longed to see (Mat 13:17, 1Pe 1:10-12). Those without ears to hear are those Jews who rejected Jesus as King, and those with ears to hear are those who accepted Jesus (Mat 13:9, Mat 13:10-11, Mat 7:6). The inability of those without ears to hear to understand the mystery program was a fulfillment of prophecy (Mat 13:14-16, Isa 6:9-10). This blindness carried forward to Paul's day and still affects the unbelieving Jews of today (Mat_13:12-13, Rom_11:7-10). Rom_11:8-10 is quoting from the following passages: (Psa 69:22-23, Deu 29:4, Isa 29:10). It is important to note, however, that this blindness will not last forever (Rom 11:25-27, Zec 12:10).

Paul's Revelation of the Mystery Program

The mystery program would be revealed in two stages, Jesus would teach about it to His disciples using parables and second, Paul would receive revelation and teach it to the apostles (Gal 1:11-12, Gal 1:17-18, Gal 2:1-2, Eph 3:2-3, Rom 16:25-27).

The Mystery of Salvation Coming To the Gentiles

Part of the mystery program consisted of doing away of the "dividing wall of hostility" between Jews and Gentiles. Jew and Gentile would become"one new humanity", the Church (Gal 3:19, Eph 2:14-15). Paul taught this, first to the Jews, then to the Gentiles (Eph 3:1-6, Rom 10:12-13, Eph 3:8-9, Col 1:25-27). In the past, the Messianic Kingdom was offered to the Jews, and Gentiles were excluded by Jewish Law which only allowed Gentiles to be saved by becoming proselytes (Mat 10:5-7, Eph 2:17-22). It was Israel's rejection of the King and Kingdom that brought about salvation to the Gentiles (Rom 11:11-15).

The Jews Rejection of the Messianic Kingdom Blesses the Gentiles

When Israel rejected the Messianic Kingdom and their King, it resulted in blessing to the Gentiles. This was fulfillment of a prophecy given in the Abrahamic Covenant that Abraham would be a blessing to the nations (Gen 12:2, Gal 3:8). The practical fulfillment was seen in Paul and the disciples turning from Israel to the Gentiles (Act 13:46-48, Eph 2:11-13).

Mystery Program Includes Believers and Unbelievers

The mystery program contains not only the Church, but also includes unbelievers referred to as "weeds" or "tares". Both will exist side by side in this mystery program until the end of the age and the start of the rescheduled Messianic Kingdom (Mat 13:24-30).


Teaching with parables was a judgment on unbelieving Israel, they did not accept the truth when it was understood, they would now be given truth they cannot understand. For the disciples and believers the parables would give further enlightenment (Mat 13:16, Mat 13:34-35). This is how being "in Christ" came to the Gentiles. The Jewish rejection of their King opened the way for the Gentiles to become co-heirs with Israel of spiritual blessings and salvation (Rom 11:11-15).

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