God is in the process of purifying His Church toward the end of glorifying the Eternal Bride of Christ, the Lamb’s wife (Rev. 21:9). That is to say, God has already begun to take the Church through a process of purification unto glorification, which shall result ultimately in exaltation of the true Bride of Christ unto the final status and station unto which she is destined.
Every former move of God throughout history shall be eclipsed by what is about to take place as God exalts the Church into “all her glory” (Eph. 5:27). And, this thing shall not be done in a corner (Acts 26:26). The entire world shall be made to witness this spectacular phenomenon — the exaltation of a people, a nation, what is called, “A Holy Nation,” the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing, a mighty throng, clothed in white garments, girded about with the Truth and the golden breastplate of righteousness, having the high-praises of God in their mouths and a two-edged sword in their hands.
While the world, on the other hand, is being thrust into a super-chaotic period in which everything that can be shaken, is being shaken, so that in the end all the earthly kingdoms of men shall be toppled and brought to naught.
Then, in the midst of the rubble shall arise another Kingdom — a Kingdom of all majesty and glory — the Kingdom of God.
But, God is even now orchestrating the prelude to this exaltation of the Bride into “all her glory,” which is the prerequisite that she be brought into a state of maturity in which she has “no spot or wrinkle or any such thing.” To bring her to this state, God has begun to effect a certain kind of judgment of the Church which must precede judgment of the world, for “judgment begins with the Household of God” (1 Pet. 4:17). However, this is not the kind of punitive judgment that will come upon the unbelieving world, but rather a judgment for purging and pruning, a refining judgment, which God long ago foretold He would bring upon the Bride of Christ, the remnant of true believers:
“And it will come about in all the land,” declares the Lord, “that two parts in it will be cut off and perish; but the third will be left in it. And I will bring the third part through the fire, refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.'” (Zec. 3:8,9)
God has already begun to take believers through this refinement process, toward the end that He might reproduce within them the Kingdom of God, that they might bear fruit corresponding to the Life and Kingdom of God, and that they might do the works of Jesus, and greater works in these last days. Indeed, bearing such Kingdom-fruit, as this volume will show, is a Divine requisite for attaining unto Eternal Life and inheriting the Kingdom of God.
Central to this purification unto glorification process, is one particular parable of Jesus, the Paramount Parable — the Parable of the Sower. Paramount, because Jesus Himself indicated that understanding this parable was the key to understanding all His other parables concerning the Kingdom of God, and that it contained the very essence of “the mystery of the Kingdom.”
Indeed, within this one remarkably ingenious parable is an allegorical revelation, in capsulated form, of the essence of “the mystery of the kingdom,” that is, the “secret” of how the Kingdom of God operates and is formed, or reproduced, in the hearts and lives of believers. No other single passage of Scripture so effectively captures and depicts all that is involved in believers bringing forth the fruit of the Kingdom and Life of God in this world.
The Parable of the Sower is paradoxically simple, yet profound. Its meaning is uncomplicated and easily understood. Nevertheless, its import and scope are profound, revealing divine understanding concerning the most vital and essential elements of the Gospel of the Kingdom. As is the entirety of Scripture, the Parable of the Sower is like the proverbial onion — made up of layer after layer of revelation knowledge — and until perfect knowledge is come (1 Cor. 13:10), no one will fully exhaust its meaning.
In the parable, Jesus delineates four different categories of hearers of the Word of God, which are stereotypical of everyone who has ever heard it. Though each category of hearers heard the Word, it was productive in the lives of only one of the four categories. That is to say that only one category brought forth the fruit that the Word of God is intended and has the innate ability to produce in the lives of earnest and effectual believers. The parable reveals specifically what it was that prevented the first three categories of hearers from bearing the fruit of the Kingdom of God in their own hearts and lives, and what all believers must do to avoid the patterns that produce barrenness.
All things considered, no subject is more central to Christianity, or more vital to Christians.
I truly believe every believer can greatly benefit from a study of this very rich and ingenious parable of Jesus, in which He reveals “the mystery of the Kingdom” of God. In fact, I will take it a step further and say that, based on Jesus’ own comments regarding the parable to the early disciples, no disciple of Jesus can expect to understand the Kingdom of God, how it operates, and how to bring forth Kingdom-fruit without understanding this parable.
However, my experience tells me that the vast majority of believers do not grasp many of the truths revealed in this parable. My conviction is that they would be substantially and eternally revolutionized spiritually if they did.
To that end, I earnestly invite you to join me for an in-depth study of the Paramount Parable as our path to understanding “the mystery of the Kingdom.”
The Parable of the Sower
1 And He began to teach again by the seashore. And such a very great multitude gathered before Him that He got into a boat in the sea and sat down; and all the multitude were by the seashore on the land.
2 And He was teaching them many things in parables, and was saying to them in His teaching,
3 “Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow;
4 and it came about that as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up.
5 And other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil.
6 And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
7 And other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop.
8 And other seeds fell into the good soil and as they grew up and increased, they were yielding a crop and were producing thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” 9 And He was saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
10 And as soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, began asking Him about the parables.
11 And He was saying, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God; but those who are outside get everything in parables,
12 in order that while seeing, they may see and not perceive; and while hearing, they may hear and not understand lest they return again and be forgiven.”
13 And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? And how will you understand all the parables?
14 The sower sows the word.
15 And these are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them.
16 And in a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy;
17 and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away.
18 And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word,
19 and the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
20 And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good ground; and they hear the word and accept it, and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
The Paramount Parable
The parable of the sower, upon which this book is based, may very well be the most important of all the parables of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus indicated it was necessary to understand this parable in order to understand all His other parables: “Do you not understand this parable? And how will you understand all the parables?” (Mk. 4:13). This comment demonstrated the importance of this parable.
Why would this particular parable rank above all the others in importance?
Law of Reciprocity
There are two major reasons this parable is so important. The first is that it is based upon one of the most important and fundamental Laws of the Kingdom of God — the Law of Sowing and Reaping, or the Law of Reciprocity. Simply defined, this Law provides that in due season one will reap what he has sown in multiplied return.
God established this Kingdom Law upon the Earth following the great flood at the time of Noah. Promising to never again destroy every living thing and to never again curse the ground, God established the Law of Sowing and Reaping, saying, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest…shall not cease” (Gen. 8:21,22).
This Law, however, is not limited to physical procreation, but extends in the spiritual realm to “whatever a man sows, this he will also reap” (Gal. 6:7). So that, a person reaps in kind, according to what he sows. The nature of the harvest, in other words, is determined by the nature of the seed which is sown. The Law will work whether the seed sown is good or bad seed.
Likewise, the amount of the harvest is determined by the amount of the seed sown. It will be a multiplied return directly proportionate to the amount of seed sown: “he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully” (2 Cor. 9:6).
The operation of the entire Kingdom of God is based on this Law of Sowing and Reaping. God Himself operated this principle in order to reap a bountiful harvest of children born of His Spirit. He sowed His only begotten Son as a Seed. He died a sacrificial death and was buried in the bowels of the earth, planted as a Seed. Concerning this very act, Jesus said of Himself, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (Jn. 12:24).
When the seeds are planted in the ground, however, that is not the end of them, but rather the beginning. They will in due season rise from the ground in multiplied yield.
Praise God, that is exactly the way it happened in the case of Jesus. God sacrificed His only Seed. He died, and His physical body was “buried” in the earth, yet His Spirit descended even deeper into Hell. But, Hallelujah, that was not the end as Satan and his diabolical cohorts thought, it was the beginning. On the third day, He rose again as the “first-fruits” of many brethren. God sowed one Seed, and reaped a multiplied bountiful harvest of Sons of God!
The only way to reap a harvest is to sow some seed. This is the spiritual Law of the Kingdom of God which also governs this earth. As long as the earth remains, this Law will remain in effect.
The key to understanding the parable of the sower, which Jesus said is necessary in order to understand all the other parables concerning the operation of the Kingdom of God, is to remember that everything in the Kingdom operates through this Law of Sowing and Reaping.
Mystery of the Kingdom Revealed
The other reason Jesus ranked this parable of the sower above all the others is that it reveals “the mystery of the Kingdom of God,” that is, how the Kingdom of God and its fruit is reproduced in people. This parable, in fact, reveals the step by step formula by which the Kingdom of God is reproduced in believers. After Jesus conveyed the parable, the disciples questioned Him about it because they had not fully understood it. Prefacing His explanation, He said:
To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God; but those who are outside get everything in parables, in order that while hearing, they may hear and not understand lest they return again and be forgiven. (Mk. 4:11,12)
Jesus intimates here that the “mystery of the Kingdom of God” is about to be revealed to the disciples, the “insiders.” He says that those who are not His disciples were “outsiders,” and so they were only given obscure parables. Jesus demonstrated that, when asked, He would, then and now, explain His parables to those who have become true learners and followers, while to those outside the Kingdom they remain enigmatic and incomprehensible conundrums. All of the mystery of the Kingdom of God, you see, is concealed in Christ Jesus (Col. 2:2,3), purposely, and cannot be understood by the unregenerate mind. There is a veil that lies over the carnal mind preventing it from perceiving the Truths of the Kingdom. That veil is only removed in Christ when a person turns to Jesus as his or her Lord: “whenever a man turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away” (2 Cor. 3:14-16).
The principles and precepts of the Kingdom of God are indeed veiled to the unregenerate, and are a mystery to those who are outside the Kingdom. But they are in no wise hidden to those inside the Kingdom, the true Born Again Children of God, despite the misleading statements of misinformed people based on Old Covenant Scripture to the effect: “Well, you know, God is so mysterious, and His ways are past finding out.”
Those dear hearts need to read the New Testament, wherein is revealed the Good News that God has made a new covenant with the Born Again Children of God, a covenant based on “better promises,” in which He reveals the entire mystery of the Kingdom to the beneficiaries.
You see, the New Testament, or New Will, is the revelation of the mystery of the Kingdom of God. A “Testament” is a “will.” Once a will has been read, it is no longer “a mystery,” that is — “concealed knowledge.” Then, it is “revealed knowledge or Truth.” Which is precisely what the New Testament of the Word of God is — the revealed Truth of the Kingdom of God:
…the word of God, that is, the mystery, which has been hidden from the past ages and generations; has now been manifested to his saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Col. 1:25-27)
Paul says the mystery of the Kingdom of God, which had been hidden from all the previous ages and generations, has now been manifested, or revealed, to the saints, that is to say, believers. He said God Himself “willed” to make even “the riches of the glory of this mystery” known to the saints.
Then, he reveals that the mystery of the Kingdom of God is Jesus Christ Himself, living in the saints. He reiterates that in the second chapter of Colossians, saying, “God’s mystery, that is Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:2,3).
Praise God, the Will has been read, and the mystery revealed. God has willed to reveal all there is to know about His Kingdom and Himself to His children. As Paul declared, “He made known to us the mystery of His will” (Eph. 1:9). The writers of the New Testament by inspiration of the Holy Spirit have unveiled and revealed to us the mystery, “which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit” (Eph. 3:5). The revelation of that mystery is the substance of the New Testament.
In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul speaks of this “mystery” as “God’s wisdom,” — “the hidden wisdom,” which he says is revealed to believers through the Holy Spirit:
but we speak God’s Wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered into the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.” For to US God revealed them through the spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might KNOW the things freely given to us by God. (1 Cor. 2:7-2)
God greatly desires to reveal Himself and all of the “mysteries” of the Kingdom to true disciples. Those outside the Kingdom will continue to get everything in obscure parables. But, just as Jesus gladly explained the meaning of His parables to the disciples when they asked Him, He will do the same for disciples of today.
The word “disciple” literally means “a learner.” If you are willing to learn of Jesus and the “secrets” of His Kingdom, He will be willing to teach you. You must be willing to learn in order to receive revelation knowledge of God.
This is precisely what Jesus was doing through the medium of the parable of the sower — giving revelation knowledge concerning the Kingdom of God. In this parable, He unveiled the mystery of the Kingdom of God and how it is reproduced in believers.
All this we have examined in this chapter is some insight as to why this particular parable is so important. In the next part we will examine the actual significance of this paramount parable of Jesus.###
[Be sure to check back for Part Two when it is posted. Or subscribe to this site or use the RSS feed code in your aggregator, to know when Part Two is published.]
This article is extracted from the book of the same title, The Mystery of the Kingdom, written by Dr. Steven Lambert. The book is a virtual “Christianity 101!” It puts the entire “big picture” of the Christian experience and life into proper perspective, as well as answers many common questions regarding God and the Kingdom of God. It truly is MUST-READING for every believer, no matter how long you’ve known the Lord! But new believers will be especially blessed by the many insights into the operation and personal appropriation of the Kingdom unveiled in this powerful yet easy-to-read book. CLICK HERE to get a copy of the book in print or e-book form, and to learn more about the book, see the Table of Contents, sample chapters, and more excerpts from the book.