Life-Study of Matthewby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message I have the burden to give an additional word concerning the treasure and the pearl (13:44-46). Throughout the centuries, these two parables have not been properly and thoroughly understood, nor have they been correctly applied. I want to approach these parables not in a doctrinal way, but in the way of application.
Firstly, we need to be reminded that Matthew 13 is a chapter on the mysteries of the kingdom of the heavens. The mysteries unveiled in these parables cover the entire span of Christian history. In other words, the mysteries of the kingdom of the heavens encompass the main points of Christian history between the Lord’s first coming and His second coming. To interpret these parables properly, we need to take care of the facts of history. Otherwise, what we say about them will be imaginary and not practical. For example, in order to interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dream recorded in Daniel 2, we cannot afford to neglect the facts of history. We need to know what historical facts correspond to the golden head, the silver chest and arms, and the other parts of the great image Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream. Revelation 6 also illustrates the need to know the facts of history in order to interpret the Scripture. In this chapter we have the four horses: the white horse, the red horse, the pale horse, and the black horse. Many interpretations of the four horses have been offered. However, none of them has satisfied us because those interpretations did not correspond to the facts of history. According to the historical facts, from the time of the ascension of Christ there has been the preaching of the gospel, the spreading of the glad tidings, represented by the white horse. Following that, there has been war signified by the red horse, famine signified by the black horse, and death signified by the pale horse.
With this principle in mind, we come to Matthew 13. As we have pointed out, the first four parables reveal the general situation of Christianity. The wheat signifies the real believers; the tares symbolize the false believers; the big tree represents Christendom with its huge organization; and the leaven added to the meal by the woman stands for the evil doctrines and heathen practices of the apostate church. We have seen that in the Bible the fine flour signifies Christ as the food to both God and His people. When all these items are put together, we have a complete picture of Christendom.
The parables of the treasure hidden in the field and the pearl out of the sea are puzzling. What facts of history fit in with these parables? The true believers are the fulfillment of the wheat; the false believers, of the tares; Christendom, of the big tree; the apostate church, of the woman; the evil things of heathenism and various heretical teachings, of the leaven; and Christ as food for God and man, of the meal. But what is there in history that can be regarded as the fulfillment of the treasure and the pearl? As I was considering this matter before the Lord, He showed me that in history besides the real believers, the false believers, Christendom, the apostate church, the heresies and heathen practices, and Christ as food, there have been the overcomers, who are more solid, genuine, precious, and valuable in the eyes of God than the wheat. In God’s eyes these overcomers are likened to the treasure hidden in the field and to the pearl out of the sea. From the first century until the present, among the many real Christians represented by the wheat, there have been a small number of more solid ones like the transformed precious stones hidden in the field. This is especially true today. In the Lord’s recovery there are a good number of saints who love the Lord, who have given up the world, and who do not live by their natural life. Although they have had some failures, they still like to live in the spirit, spend time in the presence of the Lord, stay in the Lord’s will, and be one with Him in a practical way. Those who are like this are not just the wheat, bulky in size and abundant in quantity; they are the transformed precious stones, smaller in quantity and hidden under the earth. Not many people can see them, but the Lord sees them.
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