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In Matthew 13:44 the kingdom of heaven is likened to a man finding treasure hidden in a field:

KJV Mat 13:44  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

The usual interpretation of this parable is that the man represents an individual who discovers the treasure. The treasure is Jesus. Jesus is worth giving everything for so he sells everything so that he can have the treasure.

However, is it possible that it should be interpreted the other way round, ie the man is Jesus and the treasure is his church? Jesus gave up everything for his church.

Often, when the phrase "a man" appears in a parable, the man represents Jesus (eg Matt 13:24, 13:31, 25:14):

KJV Mat 13:24  Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

If the alternative interpretation is correct, this parable would have a similar message to the parable of the lost sheep.

  • A high IQ question Andrew. Jesus' previous parables teach us that the field is the world. So by using scripture to interpret scripture and parable to interpret parable, our answer is fairly obvious. +1 – user20490 Jan 21 '18 at 19:02
  • I really like this idea. There would be (at least) one difference with the parable of the lost sheep though: the shepherd does not give up the other 99 sheep to find the lost sheep, but the man does give up everything to find the treasure. – user2672 Jan 21 '18 at 21:08
  • Your question is about the interpretation of a parable. The difficulty about that on this site is that BH deals with the text of scripture itself. Interpretations are, after all, opinions. Nor can the interpretation of one parable be automatically transferred to another parable. – Nigel J Jan 21 '18 at 21:27
  • "The usual interpretation of this parable is that the man represents ... Jesus" - What is the basis for stating this? No Church Father ever interpreted the parable this way, nor do any of the commentaries featured on BibleHub interpret the parable this way. – user33515 Jan 22 '18 at 0:27
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    Multiple hermeneutics are possible. cp. Good Samaritan. We read that we are being invited to help the beaten man we pass on the road. But the medieval interpretation was that the Samaritan is Jesus and the church is the inn, all expenses incurred in helping the wounded being defrayed by the Samaritan, i.e. Jesus' sacrifice. Is either wrong? – Luke Sawczak Jun 12 '18 at 12:34
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Matthew 13:44-45 (NASB)

Hidden Treasure

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

The subject in both of the above verses is the kingdom of heaven. In verse 44 the field worker in his daily work happens to find the truth about the kingdom of heaven and recognizes its value, in verse 45, unlike the field worker, the merchant searches for fine pearls of great value, which represent the truth about the kingdom of heaven.

In verse 36,we read that Jesus dismisses the crowd, and now he is talking only to his disciples, who have made sacrifices and change to their lives.

Likewise in both cases, the men sell everything they have to buy the treasure, in other words they make sacrifices and changes to their lives to hold onto it.

Jesus said it in another way.

Matthew 5:3 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

“Blessed are those who recognize they are spiritually helpless. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them."

  • Why the D.V. The man could be you, me, anybody that finds the truth of the kingdom of God and make the necessary changes in his life as required by God. This message should have been understood in the answer. – Ozzie Nicolas Mar 15 '18 at 10:14
  • We can apply the parable in many ways but we are not in the same place (Jerusalem, Judea), time (the last days of the Temple-centric age), identity (Jews, seeking the overthrow of Rome and establishment of the eschatological kingdom of God). To the people in those shoes, this was about the imminent arrival of the kingdom (which never happened) - see Matthew 22:1ff. The context is not Pauline. It is pre-Pauline. Jesus came first to be rejected by the Jewish leadership, hence the blinding. – Ruminator Aug 14 '18 at 13:53
  • Oh by the way, I didn't DV you. – Ruminator Aug 14 '18 at 21:16
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Peace.

The Lord comes to open up the Scriptures to our understanding through the Spirit of Truth that speaks His words (the “angels”….the sayings…the messages) of life and spirit through those people that the Lord will send.

He interprets the writings/sayings of Moses and the prophets and the apostles in their heavenly meaning. Jesus sends His human, earthly messengers to speak His spiritual heavenly words (the “angels”) in the Spirit to the churches of men where there is currently no understanding. He that has an ear to hear is to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

The Day of Judgment comes when we hear His voice speaking His messages to our ears. How we respond with our words to the hearing of His words determines our judgment.

Some will hear and come forth and do well. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart will bring forth good things out of his mouth while the evil will bring evil things out.

Matthew 12:35-37 KJV (35) A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. (36) But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

Whoever believes on Him should not abide in “darkness”….responding in envy, strife, hatred towards what we hear and towards the speaker of those words.

John 12:46-48 KJV (46) I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. (47) And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.

Some will hear and reject Him and not receive His words as they will not conform to what church men have been preaching (the word of men) for centuries and believed to be true by many. They will think that the “old” is better and seek to hold onto those things and will go about defending them in their wrath towards what they will hear the Spirit saying.

(48) He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

It is by our own words that will come out of our own mouths in our response to the hearing of His interpretation of the Scriptures that we shall either be justified or condemned.

(37) For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

The condemned will not enter in to understand. The wicked shall not understand. They will remain “outside” the heavenly knowledge of our Lord for they will reject what they hear and speak evil words toward the hearing of His words. The Scriptures stay in “parables” to their understanding.

Matthew 13:34-36 KJV (34) All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: (35) That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

Jesus will send the “multitude”…the riotous group that will reject His words…away while His disciples (learners) will be able to understand His words as they come to Him…doing what He commands us to do: have love for one another. He will come into the “house” and dine with us in the supper of the Truth.

(36) Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.

The parables of the kingdom of Heaven in Matthew 13 deal with the situation of the separation of wicked from among the just as they will respond very differently to the hearing of His words (the “angels”). The “angels” shall come forth and sever the wicked from among the just and shall cast them into the furnace of fire where there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. The wicked will not believe in what they hear while the righteous will believe His words.

At the end of this age…..In the judgment of the wicked, the wicked shall not have understanding and will continuously speak evil words which will bring them torment.

Their own wickedness shall come upon their own heads in their judgment. Their own words shall condemn them and bring them torment….wailing. The tongue is a fire as they will rage….gnashing their teeth… against His words that they will not agree with in their unbelief and will rage against the righteous who will believe in what they hear.

Matthew 13:49-50 KJV (49) So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, (50) And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

The “angels”…His words of life and spirit….shall be heard by all churches and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that trip us up (the doctrines and commandments of men…their handwriting of church dogmas) and all of those who will do iniquity towards what they hear.

Matthew 13:41-46 KJV (41) The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

The wicked will lash out towards the hearing of His words and will not have peace. They will be “tormented” in the presence of the “holy angels” (Revelation 14:10) as they will not believe in what they hear and will rage against it in their judgment.

(42) And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

But the righteous shall believe and respond in love towards what they hear the Spirit saying to the churches. They shall “shine forth as the sun” in the kingdom of their Father as they will be found doing His will at the hearing of the Lord’s voice. The difference between the wicked and the righteous shall be seen as the righteous will shine while the wicked walk in the darkness of their evil ways.

We shall then discern between those who do the Lord’s will and those who do not serve Him (yet they say they do serve Him).

(43) Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

The righteous will shine forth in their response to the hearing of His voice and will be found serving Him while the wicked rage in their unbelief against what they will hear the Spirit saying in this coming time. The wicked will say that they “know God” but will show that they do not know Him by the evil that they will speak in response to the hearing of His holy “angels”…His holy words.

Malachi 3:16-18 KJV (16) Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.

The righteous shall shine forth as compared to the wicked who will continue to do and speak evil. The righteous shall be His and He will take up His “jewels”…His treasure….and will spare them.

(17) And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.

The righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of the Father while the wicked will not. The difference shall be readily seen at the hearing of His words by the responses of people. His words shall reveal what is already hidden in the hearts of every person who shall hear His voice.

(18) Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

The “man” is the Lord who comes to speak His words to the churches. His words shall reveal what is the hearts of people whether it be a good treasure or not. Those who will respond with good things will be His. The Lord goes and “sells” all that He has and buys that field.

He sells off the “wicked” who will bring forth bad things out of his evil heart and He buys the righteous. The righteous shall inherit the earth….the “field”….and all families of the earth shall be blessed through the righteous believers (Genesis 12:3).

Matthew 13: (44) Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

He “sells” off the wicked. The wicked shall be a “ransom” for the righteous and the transgressor for the upright. He sends away the “multitude”….the rebellious group that say they know God but deny Him with their evil works at the hearing of His voice. They will not do the will of the Father as He sends them away…as they perish from off the earth. They will not inherit the earth but will die in their sins….in the fire of their tongues that will not cease from evil speaking.

Proverbs 21:18 KJV (18) The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous, and the transgressor for the upright.

Again, the parables of the kingdom of Heaven show us the coming separation of the wicked from the righteous in the churches of men.

The Lord seeks those who are “goodly pearls” when He comes to speak His words of life and spirit to our hearing ears. When He finds one of “great price”, He sells all that He had (sells off the wicked) and buys it….the righteous who will be found doing His will at the hearing of His voice.

Matthew 13: (45) Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: (46) Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

The righteous will be of a contrite and lowly spirit towards the hearing of His heavenly words. They will tremble at His words and will do His will. They will rejoice at the hearing of His words.

Towards this man will He look: to him that is “poor”….poor in breath….poor in words…. and of a contrite spirit….humble. The righteous shall fear Him and speak very few words…using their breath sparingly…. towards the hearing of His Spirit of Truth. The righteous will give His Spirit a place of rest with them. Such a man is of a “great price” to Him.

Isaiah 66:1-2 KJV (1) Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? (2) For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

The person who is in the sight of God of “great price” is one that has a meek and quiet spirit. Such a person is a “goodly pearl” that stands out from among people who are not of a meek and quiet spirit.

1 Peter 3:4 KJV (4) But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

The righteous will hear and be found humble….having “little strength” towards the open door of utterance that speaks His heavenly words.

The wicked will not be found humble and will use “strength” in their multitude of words that will come out of their prideful mouths towards the hearing of the Word of Truth. They will not answer when He calls them. When He speaks, they will not hear and will do evil before His eyes and will choose that which He does not delight in.

Isaiah 65:12-16 KJV (12) Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not.

His servants shall “eat” of the Word of Truth and “drink” in what the Spirit says and be satisfied while the wicked shall go hungry and thirsty as they will reject what they will hear in this coming time: His revealed Word of Truth. The righteous shall rejoice in what they hear while the wicked will not in their unbelief.

(13) Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed:

His servants (who will do His will at the hearing of His voice) will sing of heart. They will rejoice at what they hear.

The wicked shall instead cry for sorrow of heart and shall howl for vexation of spirit. They will not be able to receive His words and His words will cause them grief in their unbelief of them. They will be tormented in the presence of the “holy angels”…His holy words that they cannot receive and will not rejoice when they hear them. their own words will bring them torment as they reject His words.

(14) Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit.

The Lord “sells” off the wicked and buys the righteous.

(15) And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen: for the Lord GOD shall slay thee, and call his servants by another name: (16) That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes.

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Like all of the teachings of the NT this is a reference to the OT:

[Jer 41:8 ASV] (8) But ten men were found among them that said unto Ishmael, Slay us not; for we have stores hidden in the field, of wheat, and of barley, and of oil, and of honey. So he forbare, and slew them not among their brethren.

Judgment, in the form of the Jewish-Roman War of 70ad was about to fall upon apostate Jerusalem and the Judean leaders by the destruction of the temple, the city of Jerusalem and horrific death and suffering of the Jewish people (as described in the Revelation). However, a righteous, resurrected remnant army was being raised up (the 144,000) from the lost sheep of the northern tribes, fused with the remnant of the Judeans into one “stick” per Ezekiel 37. These were the were the heirs of the kingdom, the ones with the hidden stores which would be spared the judgment.

The one who bought the field of course was Jesus who gave his life for his bride to present her to himself a glorious assembly without spot or wrinkle:

The bride of Christ is the redeemed "lost" sheep of the northern kingdom of Israel:

[Hos 2:14-20 ASV] (14) Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. (15) And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope; and she shall make answer there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt. (16) And it shall be at that day, saith Jehovah, that thou shalt call me Ishi, and shalt call me no more Baali. (17) For I will take away the names of the Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be mentioned by their name. (18) And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the birds of the heavens, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the land, and will make them to lie down safely. (19) And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in justice, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. (20) I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness; and thou shalt know Jehovah.

For more info about the war, please see:

All Prophecies Fulfilled! | 817-793-9461 | Preterist Bible Commentary

For more about the lost sheep, please see this video, which I’ve cued up to skip the 7 1/2 minute intro.

Note: I don’t agree with the second half of the video.

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The man represents someone seeking knowledge of God.

Theophylact's commentary explains:

The field is the world, the treasure is the preaching and knowledge of Christ. It is hidden in the world. For as St. Paul says, We preach a wisdom that is hidden.1 He who seeks knowledge of God, finds it. And all that he has, be it pagan doctrines, wicked practices, or money, he immediately throws away and buys the field, that is, the world. For he who has knowledge of Christ has the world as his own possession. For having nothing, he possesses everything, and has the elements as his servants and commands them, as did Joshua and Moses.2


1. 1 Corinthians 2:7
2. Explanation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Matthew (tr. from the Greek; Chrysostom Press, 1992), p.118.

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I think of the kingdom parables as explaining the principles of God’s kingdom as opposed to the world’s kingdom. The principles of our world are things like buying and selling, employing, producing etc, and they operate at every level. So you and I buy and sell things for hundreds of dollars; companies buy and sell for millions; and governments buy and sell for billions.

These parables are when someone gives up something really valuable to gain something much more valuable – in joy. It’s Christ giving everything to gain his church, but also Barnabas giving a property and gaining a ministry, or any one of us giving up a career or relationship to serve God. Could also be a family or local church.

I note a distinction between these two parables by the way. The treasure in the field was found by accident, while the pearl merchant was especially looking for fine pearls – and the outcome was the same. In the same way it doesn’t matter if we seek God or he seeks us. Either way there is priceless treasure, but will cost us everything.

  • As I've mentioned in comments to your other posts, Russell, this forum is different in that you need to provide support for your opinions. That's what hermeneutics is all about. Best wishes, – Dieter Jun 14 '18 at 4:58
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Why not? Yours is an original and plausible interpretation. Albeit, more commonsensical would be that Jesus speaks about a man finding Him, but since no man finds Him without Him desiring this man to find Him, then this event is reciprocal between God and man, and so the interpretation of the subject of the parable can also be shifted from man to God and vice versa. Thus I venture two interpretations here below: a) commonsensical and b) yours, paradoxical:

a) Kingdom of Heaven is another name for divine uncreated salvific energy-operation that is revealed to any man, whom God brings to existence, at certain moments of his historical life. This energy is metaphorically also called "talent". Thus, a prudent man understands that the presence of this uncreated divine energy in him is the most important thing in life and he thus makes this beatific presence the centre of his life and henceforth tries to increase this presence and beatitude therefrom, increase the intensity of inner communion with Christ, fight his sins and imperfections through His grace, to aspire at becoming as perfect as He is.

b) When Jesus looks upon hearts of billions of humans, and is saddened by the fact that those hearts are like arid desert, desiring only fruitless and vain temporal values - riches, popularity, success etc. - suddenly He discovers a heart that is fatigued by those unworthy things and longs for the things, that are supra-temporal, really real, non-transient and abiding; and for Jesus such a heart is like a pearl of a great value, and He lights upon such a longing and philosophical heart as a loving bee on a flower, answering its noble urge and its divine nostalgia, filling it with His grace, satisfying its thirst with the "waters to the eternal life" (John 4:14), that is to say with His and the Father's Holy Spirit, that such a heart may never thirst again. And "He leaves everything for gaining this pearl" means that for Him even the entire universe, stars and galaxies, is not worthy of one repenting soul that longs for Him.

As St. Augustine writes in De doctrina christiana, one can venture any interpretation of Biblical passages given that they build towards the double love of God and neighbour. Yet, the more paradoxical an interpretation, the better it is.

  • Do you mean "talent" as in personal skills and such or are you using it in some other way? – Ruminator Aug 13 '18 at 14:34
  • "talent" was a monetary unit in Jesus' time and it is used by Him as a metaphor. As such, this metaphor is open to multiple interpretations. However, in this particular parable, since there is implied a notion of salvation, this "talent" rather denotes something belonging to God, that is vouchsafed to human so that he may cultivate it and work his own salvation; since the Given is divine and uncreated, it is active, for there is no passivity in God; thus, human work/cultivation of the Given is in fact co-action with divine salvational action in us. The Given otherwise is called also as Grace. – Levan Gigineishvili Aug 13 '18 at 19:08
  • @Andrew Crisp Dear Andrew, since it was your question, I would be happy to know your opinion about the answer I have contributed. The downvotes are last of my concerns, but to discuss and penetrate the depths of the Spiritual matters (for "all Scripture is Spiritual" 2 Tim 3:16, and if Paul says this about the Old Testament, so much so the New Testament is in-Spirit-ed) is the greatest pleasure man can gain in this life. Anyhow, just will be glad for your any remarks, critical or not. – Levan Gigineishvili Aug 16 '18 at 15:44

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