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Matthew 13:1-23 recounts the Parable of the Sower. This is one that I've heard a number of times in a number of sermons and books. It must have some ambiguity as it's interpretation by pastors and authors alike has been inconsistent.

What is the meaning of this parable?

  • Who/what was being referred to by those who sprang up in fertile soil?
  • Who/what was being referred to by those who fell along the path?
  • Who/what was being referred to by those who sprang up in rocky/shallow soil?
  • Who/what was being referred to by those who fell among thorns?
  • Welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange! Be sure to take our site tour to learn more about us. We're a little different from other sites. Please keep in mind that this is not a Christian site, so we welcome other perspectives on the text as well. Be sure to check out what makes us different from other sites that study the Bible. – Dan Feb 11 '14 at 16:21
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    I've edited this question to place the emphasis on understanding the text rather than on Christian theology (which is moreso application of the text, which is off topic here). I should have retained enough of your conjecture to help others understand where you're coming from, however. It would be helpful for you to give the exact title of the books and page numbers where commentators have made claims so answerers can see the context of these claims for themselves. – Dan Feb 11 '14 at 16:22
  • If we talk about the doctrine of Assurance of Salvation, only one is saved (in fertile soil), the other not. "Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown." Matthew 13:8, "By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?" Matthew 7:16 (NIV) – Paul Vargas Feb 11 '14 at 16:29
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    A key to understanding this passage is the exile and return language used which is reminiscent of Isaiah 55 and various Psalms. Equating 'kingdom of heaven' with the modern Christian individualistic understanding of 'gospel' and salvation is very eisegetical. Hopefully I'll have time to answer in the next few days. – Dan Feb 11 '14 at 17:12
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This answer is just a brief attempt at the leading question, "What is the meaning of this parable?"

Interest is expressed in Matthew's version of the parable in particular. The "sower and seed" parable appears in each of the three Synoptic Gospels, Matt 13:3-25 // Mk 4:3-20 // Luke 8:5-15, with some variations in the parable and its explanation. This is more a "global" comment, and others may well come in with a different perspective, and some Matthean particulars.

Interpreting Parables

What is a parable? A parable is a story designed to elicit a judgment from the listener -- and that judgment implicates the listener in some action or response.

A powerful example of this is Nathan's story to King David about the poor man and his lamb, which was seized and sizzled by the rich man (2 Samuel 12:1-7). The story provokes an outraged response from David, to which Nathan replies, "You are the man!"

As the Nathan/David illustration already suggests, "parables" have been around for a long time. Although Jesus' teaching is especially associated with parables, he didn't invent them, and others through the centuries have used them.

Jesus and parables. There are probably three main "styles" of parables that the gospels show Jesus as using:

  • brief, pithy statements ("The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of flour until all the dough had risen." Matt 13:33)
  • short stories involving several characters and a "plot" (e.g., the "Good Samaritan", in Luke 10:25-37)
  • more elaborate "symbolic" stories, accompanied by a "key" (e.g., the parable of the sower, under discussion here).

Clearly, the "definition" of a parable given above has its closest fit with the middle, "short story" parable type. Whether the first and third also are intended to provoke "self-implicating" reaction is open to question, although my own sense is that this approach works well.

The Parable of the Sower

One answer, then, to "what is the meaning of the parable of the sower?", is to enquire further about what kind of judgment it provokes in its hearer(s) - or might provoke!1

The effect of this parable is not so direct as Nathan's story of the poor man's lamb told to King David. One common (?) interpretation can be safely ruled out. It is sometimes said that the message of the parable is that "the word does the work". Now, it may be that this is true (and other parables would make this point more clearly), but it seems unlikely here. At least, if it's the case that "the word does the work", this parable suggests that in the majority (three out of four that Jesus describes) of cases ... it doesn't work! ("He who has ears -- let him hear!" Matt 13:9)

Given the larger setting in all three of the accounts in which it appears, the parable is told to those anxious (?) about their own ability to understand, to be perceptive listeners. Much as King David offered a judgment on the "rich man" that implicated himself, so too Jesus' listeners could not help but align themselves with the "good soil" (case #4) which produced a harvest.

By implication then, the hearer thus aligned with the "good soil" will guard against the other three scenarios: vulnerability to malign spiritual influence, lack of perseverance, and the lure of riches. Or, in a more familiar order and wording: the world, the flesh, and the devil.

The meaning of the parable, then is as much an "action" as a "proposition": it is to provoke the inclination of the hearer towards productive Kingdom living.2

Implication

On this reckoning, trying to work out more precise theological questions about "assurance of salvation" or the like is, ironically perhaps, to miss Jesus' main point. His listeners did not walk away pondering this question, but rather whether their understanding of Jesus' message led to a "fruitful life" (Matt 13:23 // Mark 4:20 // Luke 8:15).

Further reading

Without any doubt, the most significant academic contribution to the study of Jesus' parables in the 20th C came from Joachim Jeremias. His major study The Parables of Jesus came out in English in 1966, and a revised edition in 1972 (this is the one that is still available). He also prepared a "simplified" version, Rediscovering the Parables. There is, of course, a huge literature on the parables, but Jeremias's contribution is pivotal.


Notes

  1. It is significant, of course that the parable of the sower in particular is the context for Jesus' own teaching about the effect of parables: that they can conceal truth from those unwilling to listen, as well as disclose truth to those inclined to hear (Matt 13:10-17 // Mark 4:10-12 // Luke 8:9-10).
  2. This is, perhaps, a "distinctive" of Matthew's version, as the parable of the sower serves as an introduction to a collection of "kingdom parables" in the rest of Matthew 13.
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    Great stuff here. I also hope to have a chance to take a stab at this, but I feel like I could write a book on it. There is of course the exile and return language reminiscent of Isaiah 55 and psalms, this is the first of seven parables given in this segment of Matthew's Gospel, Jesus gets into a conflict with religious leaders in Mt. 12 and this represents the 'shift' from the 'clear(er)' teaching like the Sermon on the Mount to Jesus using parables to hide the mysteries/secrets of τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν, and.... – Dan Feb 11 '14 at 22:36
  • And then there is of course the critical perspective that would argue that this parable is not an authentic saying of Jesus because it seems to draw on later Christian theological themes (ὁ Λόγος) and goes against Jesus' own purpose of parables given in the immediate context, not to mention the presence of a Hellenism (πρόσκαιρος) with no Aramaic parallel etc. (Bultmann argues this, for instance). This is a weaker argument, IMHO since it brings with it the a priori assumption that Jesus would not interpret his own parable, but still interesting. – Dan Feb 11 '14 at 22:42
  • But it would take so much time to aggregate all this in a post.... :P – Dan Feb 11 '14 at 22:43
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    I never anticipated such a thought provoking, well-articulated reply. Thanks for the extra effort. Really well done! – Mario Feb 12 '14 at 6:35
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    Excellent answer. Well thought out, well reasoned, and interesting at the same time. The "word does the work" comment is good, but it may miss the point. The word's seeming inability to work in 3 of 4 cases is not the fault of the word; it's the fault of the hearers of the word. I may develop this thought in my own answer. You've laid a great foundation. Kudos. Don – rhetorician Feb 12 '14 at 17:56
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Do read (or re-read) Jesus' explanation of the parable to His disciples. (I assume that His words in Matthew 13:18-23 are a continuation of what began in v.10, where the disciples, not the crowds, asked for further clarification about parables, in general, and probably about this parable in particular.)

I think Jesus gives an answer to each one of your questions, and I will unpack His answers shortly. First, however, we need to identify what is the seed in Jesus' parable. Jesus clearly identifies it as "the word of the kingdom" in v.19. In other words, the seed was (and still is) Jesus' message. There are any number of ways of condensing this message in precis form, but in no particular order, Jesus preached the following:

  • repentance, or turning away from sin (doing an "about face," or a "180-degree turn" in one's life)

  • the linking of repentance with good works (or fruit befitting repentance)

  • the ethics of the kingdom and the rules by which God's kingdom is both established and run (e.g., the Beatitudes, and the principle of love for God and neighbor, to name but two)

  • the new birth, or the birth from above

  • in order "to work the works of God," the very first step is to believe in Jesus, whom the Father had sent into the world to seek and save the lost

Jesus fully realized that for each person who heard His words, there would be a different kind of response from each hearer. For simplicity's sake, He reduced the responses to four. Why He chose four, I am not absolutely certain. Pedagogically speaking, perhaps in choosing four categories He not only simplified things for His disciples, but He also summarized the typical responses to God's word.

He did not necessarily provide us with four air-tight, hermetically sealed compartments, however; rather, He gave us four typical responses, each of which contains a little wiggle room, so to speak, to allow for the uniqueness of each individual hearer, and for the uniqueness of each person's response to His message.

Most important for us to understand is that the seeming "failure" of the message to take root and subsequently bear fruit in three out of four scenarios is not the fault of the word; rather, it is the fault of the hearers. (At this point I will not even touch on the notion of "the elect" as being the only ones who are enabled to hear, respond, obey, and then bear fruit. That is a subject for a different discussion.)

Need I quote the writer to the Hebrews at this point, especially chapter 4? Probably not. I'll leave you to read it on your own and draw an application or two to the question at hand.

Again, the good seed of God's word (in each of the four scenarios) gets a result; in only a minority of the scenarios, however, does it bear fruit. Again, the hearts of the hearers, not the word, are to blame, although Jesus made it clear that both Satanic and human instrumentalities bear some of the blame as well. Consider, for example the many "Woes" pronounced by Jesus, in which He indicates there is plenty of blame to go around regarding temptations to sin (check out this link).

In summary, then, here are some answers to your questions:

  • Scenario 1: The word is believed but is not fully understood. Some crucial pieces of the puzzle are missing, so to speak, and the enemy of souls takes advantage of that muddled thinking, and snatches away what little understanding is there. Could this scenario describe the reaction of many in the religious establishment of His day who failed to understand Jesus' message? Perhaps initially they were intrigued by Jesus' message but failed to understand its implications for their lives.

Here is where the nature of parables is revealed. A parable is a story which a person hears and then puts alongside (para-, alongside) his or her life to see if and where its moral (as in "the moral of the story") fits in his or her life. Listener number one, then, has an incomplete understanding and doesn't know fully how the story fits in his or her life.

  • Scenario 2: The word is believed, but shortly thereafter confronts affliction and persecution. There is a modern (anachronistic) phrase, "easy believism" which has some relevance here. "Just believe," some phony evangelist says, "and God will pour the blessings of prosperity, good health, and security into your life." Sounds good, but is that necessarily what happens with all who believe? Hardly. The promises of the word of God were given to us to help us through the tough times, not to escape them. That's where "the rubber meets the road," when the word in us triggers affliction and persecution. That's where the men and women are separated from the boys and girls; that is, where there are no deep, firm roots. These hearers fall away.

  • Scenario 3: The word is believed, but confronts worry and wealth. In that confrontation these two enemies of men's souls choke the word. Again, this is not the word's fault; rather, it is the fault of the one who decides to hold on to worry and wealth (and interestingly, the two go together well, since wealth is deceitful in that it creates the "burden of ownership," which triggers worry, which is often followed by sometimes desperate measures to hold on to something of which we are, after all, merely stewards, not owners). Jesus said, "You cannot serve both God and mammon."

  • Scenario 4: The word is believed, understood, applied, and subsequently bears fruit of different kinds and amounts. (Compare the parable of the talents, in which two of three servants received a "Well done, good and faithful servant," despite the differing amounts of return on their investments; whereas the third servant received a reprimand for a) not obeying his master; b) for poor stewardship; and c) for failing to invest the master's money, if only to put it in the bank to gather interest.

In conclusion, the good seed of God's word has the power to bear fruit if it is accompanied by a true understanding of its message, by endurance in the face of difficulty, and by the refusal to fall prey to worry and wealth. In the absence of these, there will not be, and there cannot be, fruit. Fruitfulness comes from "abiding in the vine" and from being willing to be "pruned" of those things which serve only to drag us down and make us unfruitful (John 15:1-11).

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The following direct answers are found in Theophylact of Ohrid's 11th century commentary on this passage. He is more or less summarizing a much earlier commentary (late 4th century) by John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople. Following the questions in the order they appear in the Gospel:

  • Who/what was being referred to by those who fell along the path?

Those by the wayside are they who are lazy and indolent, who do not accept the word. For their minds are a pathway that is trodden and hard, and not in the least bit tilled. The word is snatched from them by the birds of the sky, that is, the spirits of the air, who are the demons.

  • Who/what was being referred to by those who sprang up in rocky/shallow soil?

Those on rocky ground are they who hear but out of weakness do not resist trials and afflictions, but abandon their own salvation. By the rising sun, understand temptations, which, like the sun, show men as they really are and reveal things which are hidden.

  • Who/what was being referred to by those who fell among thorns?

These are they who choke the word with worldly thoughts. For though a rich man thinks he is doing a good deed, yet the deed does not grow and flourish, hindered as it is by worldly cares.

  • Who/what was being referred to by those who sprang up in fertile soil?

Three quarters of the seed perished and only a quarter was saved. For few are they who are saved. At the end He speaks of good ground, thus giving us hope of repentance ... Nor do all who accept the word bear fruit equally: but one a hundredfold, perhaps he who has attained perfect non-possessiveness and extreme asceticism; another sixtyfold, perhaps the monk dwelling in a monastic community, and he, too, yields fruitfully; and another thirtyfold, he who has chosen honorable marriage and diligently practices the virtues as much as he is able. See the goodness of God, how He accepts everyone: those who achieve great things, those who achieve moderate things, and those who achieve small things.

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The Parable of the Sower in the Synoptic Gospels is going to tell us about the four levels of interpreting the scriptures, not just the New Testament but the Old Testament as well.

  1. The Path:
    This represents the literal translation, any one can participate in this level of reading or hearing, hence it is the "Path".

  2. The Stony Ground:
    This represents the moral level, or the level of moral recognition. At this level the Word is received well at first, one can see how it applies to moral issues, but there is no depth in this understanding. Next is the Thorny Ground, or the Allegorical level of reading.

  3. The Thorny Ground:
    This is where the actual work of the gospel begins, one begins to experience the affliction of the "thorn in the side" at this level. Purification happens as one perseveres through this affliction, but remaining at this level and not reading any deeper will cause the thorns to grow up and choke out the Word's next level of reading.

  4. The Good Ground:
    This is the spiritual, or unitive, level. This is the ultimate goal of sacred scripture, to unite you with the Word, the Logos, the intelligibility of the Creative Will, the Mind of Our Father. This parable tests you, if you can't sow to the Spirit at this level then you cannot drink the Living Water.

It's a much simpler experience than the literary critics would have you believe. The Gospel is the Rock upon which the Church was founded, break open that Rock and then you can reach the Keys that Christ placed there, the Keys to loose and bind in heaven and on earth.

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    Welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics SE; it would help to take the site tour if you haven't already. This answer doesn't show its work, which is a requirement on this site. Don't just tell us what you know, tell us how you know it. You may want to see "What are we looking for in answers?". (This holds true for your other two answers as well.) – Dɑvïd Sep 23 '17 at 11:18
  • This answer appears to be an interpretation of rather than an explanation of the parable. The question is what did the parable mean at the time Jesus said it? How did those who heard it understand it? And most importantly, what references, citations or historical evidence can you bring to support your argument for its meaning? – Abu Munir Ibn Ibrahim Sep 23 '17 at 16:49
  • The interpretation is the explanation. In Mark (4:13), the parable is indicated to be a test of one's capacity to go beyond simple literary analysis. This parable is meant to help us experience the Word (Logos). The experience is the reference that validates the parable. – G. R. Wilbourn Sep 23 '17 at 22:07
  • Our Bible is a document of universal truth, much like the Vedas or Tao Te Ching. Spiritual texts, legitimate ones anyway, defy external description. I'll try to give more or better information and details. I don't intend to obfuscate. If you ask about the OT/NT text, understanding requires more heart than brains. Jesus and the writers had plenty of both, but genius is not a qualification. The text is it's own evidence, for better or for worse. That is it's fundamental nature. – G. R. Wilbourn Sep 23 '17 at 22:38
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    Also, I know it because I experience it when I participate in the Word. This is gnosis, the first three levels are ginosko. This is what the parable tells us. It tells us how to go from learning to experiencing, Rom 5:3-5 describes this process: strength in learning gives experience in knowledge which reveals hope in union. – G. R. Wilbourn Sep 24 '17 at 0:35
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Peace.

The Lord in Heaven comes to open up the Scriptures to our hearing ears via the Spirit of Truth….and we are to be found of Him hearing what the Spirit says and letting brotherly love continue…entertaining “strangers” and their words.

It is about how one will hear the revealed Word of Truth in the day they hear it when a “stranger” comes along to speak it to their ears. It will be something "new" being heard and not of the "old" word of men that has been preached often throughout many years and generations.

The Son of man comes to speak to us on a day not expected and so we must be found ready… “awake” (watching) to His righteousness….at all times by letting brotherly love continue and be found entertaining strangers and their words (which are His words above).

The day of the Lord’s visit to our hearing ears is an “hour” so to speak as the opportunity to hear and believe is limited as once the door is shut, there is no way to enter in to understand His words of knowledge as He opens up the Scriptures to our minds. “Outside” of the understanding will be those who are found not “awake” and misbehaving towards the hearing of His voice.

Matthew 24:42 KJV (42) Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

Once the door is shut, there will be no way to enter in and understand the mysteries of the kingdom. Some will keep what they hear the Lord teaching in the “streets”….not receiving the revealed Word of Truth into their “homes” for one reason or another.

Luke 13:24-27 KJV (24) Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. (25) When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: (26) Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. (27) But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity

We are to take heed to ourselves lest at any time our hearts be overcharged with surfeiting (overindulging in our lusts of envy, strife, contentions, etc) and drunkenness (drunk on the wine of wrath) and the cares of this life so that the day a stranger comes along to speak His words to our hearing ears comes upon us unawares .

Luke 21:34-38 KJV (34) And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.

As a snare shall it come on all them that “dwell on the face of the whole earth”. Those who “dwell on the earth” are found dwelling on the things below (the earthly wisdom of envy, strife, wrath, contentions, etc). The day comes to such as a surprise and they are tempted to speak out in their wrath towards what they hear Him saying.

But those who dwell on things above (love, peace, joy, gentleness, kindness, etc) will be able to readily receive what they hear Him saying. Such are “awake” to His righteousness while the former (those who dwell on the earth) are found “asleep” in their envy and strife, etc.

(35) For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.

Watch….that is,stay awake….and “pray” always…meaning using our words with meekness and grace and peace at all times towards all people. This way we may be found of Him having confidence/boldness in the Day of Judgment as we shall be able to stand before Him.

(36) Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Continue in “prayer”….that is, let our speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt (peace)…towards everything we hear. Continue in prayer and watch…keep awake to His righteousness with thanksgiving towards what we hear His voice saying.

Colossians 4:2-6 KJV (2) Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;

In doing so, we shall be able to enter in to understand the Scriptures which will speak the mystery of Christ as the door of utterance is opened to our hearing ears.

(3) Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:

The Scriptures shall be made manifest to our hearing ears if we continue in “prayer” in our speech and are staying awake to His righteousness and being thankful for what we hear. Those who are "without" shall speak evil of us for hearing and believing but we are to walk in His wisdom and not render evil for their evil.

(4) That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. (5) Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. (6) Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Some will hear and the “fowls” will come and devour up what was sown in their hearts…that is, the words (birds) of wrath come and devour it up. These birds/words are angry birds/words flying out of the mouths of those who will not believe in what they hear will speak out unbridled in their wrath. A multiple amount of angry words will come out. There is sin in these angry words. The seed fell by the Way side as they are not on path of righteousness.

Matthew 13:4 KJV (4) And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:

They will “give place to the devil” (the slanderer) as they will speak out in wrath against those brothers sent by Him to speak the Word of the Kingdom to their ears.

They will trample down what they hear and slander those sent out by Him by labeling those who speak His words to their ears as “evil doers” and “devils”.

Ephesians 4:26-27 KJV (26) Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: (27) Neither give place to the devil.

In doing so, they will never understand the Word of Truth as it gets caught away from their unbelieving hearts .

Matthew 13:18-19 KJV (18) Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. (19) When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.

These will be “religious” men who seem to be religious but won’t hold their tongues as they will speak out in wrath against what they will hear (the revealed Word of Truth) as they will not believe. The Word does not profit them as it is not mixed with faith.

James 1:26 KJV (26) If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.

How is it they will not understand?

Because they cannot hear His Word (His Saying to have love for one another) and will not do it and instead will go about to “kill the messenger” of the Word of Truth in their unbelief of those things that will be told them.

It will happen again….as it did 2000 years by the religious rulers of the day and the followers of their evil example.

John 8:42-45 KJV (42) Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. (43) Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. (44) Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. (45) And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

All “murderers” (those who hate their brothers) and unbelievers will have their part in the lake of fire. They will have no part in His kingdom but will have their part in the “everlasting fire” (the wrathful tongue is a fire which will not cease in speaking evil until they perish from this earth).

This is a condition or judgment prepared for the devil (the slanderer) and his “angels”….his messengers... who give place to the devil and speak his words of wrath as they mistreat His servants (the “strangers”) sent by Him to speak His words to their ears. The children of the devil will manifest themselves as they will mistreat His messengers and speak all kinds of evil (every hateful and unclean bird will fly out into the air).

They will ask “when did we see you as a stranger?” as the day comes upon those who “dwell on the earth” unawares and they are found by Him “asleep” to doing His righteousness.

Matthew 25:41-46 KJV (41) Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: (42) For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: (43) I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. (44) Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? (45) Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. (46) And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Because they will not believe the “report”, they will not be able to believe at all as judgment upon them as the Lord will blind the eyes of their understanding and harden their hearts.

Again....The wicked will not understand and will not be able to believe as the eyes of their understanding will be blinded and their hearts hardened by the Lord as judgment upon them for their wickedness towards the hearing of the Word of Truth revealed to them.

The Light will be with them only for a while and they are to believe in the Light while they have it so that they may be children of Light....behaving as children of light and not of darkness (behaving in envy, strife, wrath, hatred, etc).

John 12:36-40 KJV (36) While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them. (37) But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: (38) That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? (39) Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, (40) He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

This is why we must overcome our wrath as it does not work the righteousness of God. We are to be found by Him laying apart all of the evil words (the “birds”) that will want to come out of our mouths at the hearing of His revealed Word of Truth and be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath and receive with meekness the engrafted Word.

James 1:18-21 KJV (18) Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (19) Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: (20) For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. (21) Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

Some will immediately receive His revealed Word with joy when they hear it and then “wither away” when the persecution over the Word arises from their very own church people who will not believe in it.

Matthew 13:5-6 KJV (5) Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:

They have “no root” as they do not hold fast their confidence to the end nor their hope nor their faith in it when the heat of persecution arises (which comes from their very own). They will not persevere and will fall away.

(6) And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

Such are “offended”….that is, tripped up by the “rock” in the stony places.

Matthew 13:20-21 KJV (20) But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; (21) Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

Jesus had spoken about these things unto us so that we should remember His words and not be “offended”….tripped up ….by these things when the persecution arises. We must remember that Jesus has already told us that these things will happen to those who will receive His words. Let us not stumble in the “stony places”.

John 16:1-3 KJV (1) These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.

They will put us out of their “synagogues”…that is, their gatherings….their “churches”, message boards, etc…because we shall believe in His Word of Truth while they will not.

They will think that they will be doing God “service” for “killing” us with their evil, slanderous words (calling us “evildoers”, “devils,” etc) yet they will show that they do not know the Father nor the Son by doing so. The children of the devil will manifest themselves to us in this coming time.

(2) They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. (3) And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.

They will think that they are doing God “service” supposedly in His name (in His authority) by casting out the “devils” (those believers who will receive His words) from their gatherings.

Yet, He will profess that He never knew those who work the lawlessness. Doing evil things supposedly in His name (authority) does not excuse the lack of love that we are commanded to have for one another.

They will be deceived thinking that they will do these evil things in His authority (in His name).

Matthew 7:21-23 KJV (21) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (22) Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? (23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

The fire of persecutions by the unbelievers shall try the believers' faith. They will "flame" others with their words for receiving His revealed Word of Truth in faith.

1 Peter 1:5-7 KJV (5) Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (6) Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: (7) That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

We are to hold fast our confidence (and not cast it away) in the full assurance of faith and patience and be not of those who draw back (shrink) unto destruction but be of them that believe unto the saving of the soul (which will rejoice after persevering their persecutions). We are to have root in ourselves and hold fast faith, hope, patience, doing well, etc with full assurance that there is a great reward for doing so.

Hebrews 10:35-39 KJV (35) Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. (36) For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. (37) For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. (38) Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. (39) But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

The fearful shall have their part also in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone (which symbolizes the righteous judgment of God).

Revelation 21:7-8 KJV (7) He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (8) But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Others will hear the Word but the current cares of this world (age) and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word out of their lives so that they never bring fruit unto completion.

Matthew 13:7 KJV (7) And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:

From Strong’s:

“thorn” =akantha Probably from the same as G188 (akmen) ; a thorn: - thorn.

G188 akmēn Accusative case of a noun (“acme”) akin to ἀκή akē (a point) and meaning the same; adverbially just now, that is, still: - yet.

It is the current point (thorn) in time that they focus on as the cares of this current age (this point in time) overcome the Word that they will hear. The “thorn” refers to this current point in time that people are overly concerned about so that they never produce fruit of righteousness unto completion (eternal life). They worry about the things of this world: what to eat, what to drink, what to wear…and it overcomes their hearts and the Word is choked out and becomes unfruitful in their lives. They lose interest as they are distracted by the things of this age.

Matthew 13:22 KJV (22) He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

Others err from the faith because of their love of money and they pierce themselves through with many sorrows.

1 Timothy 6:9-11 KJV (9) But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. (10) For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (11) But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

We are to instead seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these earthly things shall be added to us. As Jesus said: Take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink?, or With what shall we be clothed?

Matthew 6:31-33 KJV (31) Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (32) (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. (33) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

But some seed will fall into the “good ground”…the good earth…the good hearts…who will bring forth fruit towards what they hear. They will be able to understand. They will keep it in their hearts where it will grow up so that they may also speak His words to others leading others to His righteousness and knowledge. They will be fruitful with His Word.

Matthew 13:8-9 KJV (8) But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. (9) Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

*Matthew 13:23 KJV

(23) But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.*

The Word of God (“And God said…”) falls upon the earth (the heart).

Genesis 1:11-13 KJV (11) And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

And the earth/heart brings forth “grass”….peace…towards what He says.

Blessed/happy are the peacemakers towards the hearing of His revealed Word of Truth. The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace (James 3:18). They are the peacemakers at the hearing of His voice and they will have peace within their hearts.

It also brings forth the “herb yielding seed after his kind”….faith and its varying amounts among us.

(12) And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. (13) And the evening and the morning were the third day.

The good “ground”…or the good earth (God saw that it was good)….is a good heart that hears/believes the Word (the seed) and KEEPS it (the seed was in itself) and brings forth fruit (the tree yielding fruit of the Spirit).

Luke 8:15-16 KJV (15) But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

No faith stays hidden. We are to manifest our faith in Him with good works towards what we hear.

(16) No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light

The seed was in itself….as His seed remains in those who are born of God... and they will not speak evil (commit sin) towards what they hear: the Word of Truth.

1 John 3:9-11 KJV (9) Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

0

Meaning of the Parable of the Sower

Matthew 13 (NRSV)

The Parable of the Sower

1 "That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2 Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up."

5 "Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. 6 But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 Let anyone with ears listen!”

The meaning of the parable:

The Cultivator and supplier of the seed is God: (2 Corinthians 9:10)

The Sower is Jesus. “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man." ( Mat.13:37)

The seed: is the word of God. (Luke 8:11) and is sown in the hearts and minds of the people.

The soil: is the hearts and minds of the people.

The parable describes four types of soil, this represents four different types of people who hear the good news of the kingdom of God:( Luke 4:43 NRSV)

43 "But he said to them, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.”

1/ Who/what was being referred to by those who sprang up in fertile soil? (Verse 8)

This refers to the people that accept the word of God in their hearts , understand the true meaning and become fruitful. Jesus in his sermon on the mount stressed the need to obtain knowledge in order to fully appreciate one's spiritual needs, for one cannot otherwise love and appreciate God in the fullest sense. (Matthew 5:3 Paul wrote : To such ones that accepted the word of God,now become the property of God:

1 Corinthians 3:9 (NRSV)

" For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building."

2/ Who/what was being referred to by those who fell along the path? (Verse 4)

The seed that fell along the path, the path like the road is hard-packed and the seed does not sink into the soil to grow roots, it is exposed to the birds and pick them up for food. The word of God in other words does not sink into the hearts and the minds of these people. Isaiah prophesied about the roadside hearers of God's word, that do not comprehend , or understand with their minds. Jesus alluded to the prophecy of Isaiah as being fulfilled in their case. ( Matthew 13:11-16)

Isaiah 6:9-10 (NRSV)

9 And he said, “Go and say to this people: ‘Keep listening, but do not comprehend; keep looking, but do not understand.’ 10 Make the mind of this people dull, and stop their ears,and shut their eyes, so that they may not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and comprehend with their minds, and turn and be healed.”

Jesus said that from such people Satan comes and snatches away God's word from their hearts: Matthew 13:18-19 (NRSV)

18 “Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path."

3/ Who/what was being referred to by those who sprang up in rocky/shallow soil? (Verse 5)

Such soil does not have much depth ,and does not hold moisture from the rain, when the sun rises the rock beneath the thin soil warms up and the moisture in the soil evaporates and the plant withers and dies away. These type of people hear and welcome the word with joy,and believe for a while, however since they have no firm roots, when they face trials and persecution of the word, they abandon the faith.

4 / Who/what was being referred to by those who fell among thorns?(Verse 7)

These people hear the word, but being overcome by the anxieties of the world , worldly pleasures , glamour, wealth opportunities , passionate desires , deceitfulness, and other things, make inroads , choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

-3

The Art of Communication

All the Parables become understood when looking at them from the perspective of communication for God is so the Word.

When a speaker says something to another, one of four situations occur

  • Some words are so heard but not heard. (The Wayside)
  • The listener hears but then stops listening so does not understand. (The Rocky Ground)
  • The listener hears but then cuts the speaker off so does not understand. (The Thorny Ground)
  • The listener hears and understanding grows. (The Good Ground)

The Fruit

As fruit results from a tree that has been nourished. So does understanding grown from a mind that listens to the word (anyone talking/text that's written).

Some will learn 30 new things, 60 new things or even 100 new things. As literal as people tend to take things I sense that King Thornbush wants to point out that "Hey! I only learned one thing once not 30!"

And King Thornbush gets cut down and thrown into the fire for lack of forgiveness. Yet this can be interpreted as little, some, or much.

The New Command

He who has ears to hear, let him hear..

Understanding this Parable Unlocks all the Others

And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? (Mark 4:13 RSVCE)

Jesus Explains the Parable

The speaker goes to speak a word +, And these are the ones along the path, where the word is so spoken; when they hear, the adversary immediately comes and takes away the word which is so spoken to them.+ And these in like manner are so the ones sown upon rocky ground, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of them listening, immediately they stop listening.+ And others are so the ones spoken among thorns; they are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world, and the delight in riches, and the desire for other things, enter in and choke the word, and no understanding grows.+ But those that were spoken upon the good soil are so the ones who hear the word and accept it and understand, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.+

-5

The Parable of the Sower (POTS) and the 30-60-100 fruit is a pattern and paradigm that allows one to see the mysteries of the kingdom. As Mark says, all the parables are understood if you know what the 30-60-100 paradigm metaphors are. The wayside stony and thorny seed do not produce any spiritual fruit; they go down to the pit. The THREE good seeds enter the kingdom of heaven (KH). Now we tie this 'three' spiritual seeds paradigm to Mt. 13:33. Leaven (sin) is likened to the three remaining good seeds of Mt. 13:8 and 23. The KH is defined as having three groups of sinners for all have "fallen short..."

Next we go to Mt. 25 and parable of the talents where we get a second witness of THREE believers that enter the KH. Two of the servants are praised while the third is labeled wicked and lazy. Not only is he wicked but he must give up his single talent to him who has ten talents; this is a submission posture and paradigm. The question is why or what defines wicked and lazy? Can we know? Of course; all Scripture answers Scripture. In fact, once you know how to SEE and HEAR the mysteries and paradigms of this threefold phenomena then one is able to see these questions answered multiple thousands of times beginning all the way back in the first verse of Genesis.

The next most important and our third witness is found in Ezekiel 44. Ezekiel qualifies who the 30-60-100 are. This book explains who will be in the Millennial Kingdom (MK) and to some extent what we will be doing for 1000 years.

The 100 fold are the priests of the MK that God chooses. The 60 fold are what Ezekiel calls the Levite but in the MK there won't be a Levitical tribe but they will be called prophets. The 60 fold are the elect 144,000. Both the 100 fold and 60 fold are covenanted to the Father but the 30 fold group, the MULTITUDE are not covenanted and this is why they are called wicked and lazy. Ezekiel 44 explains in verses 4-9 why the 30 fold is not covenanted.

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