Read: Matthew 13:45-46 |
Would you rather learn about Heaven from someone who has first-hand experience or second or third-hand experience? Jesus Christ provides first-hand accounts about the Kingdom of Heaven, the judgment and the future in His parables on the subject. His first-hand accounts of Heaven help us to measure and weigh the accounts of the apostles and prophets who were allowed to glimpse Heaven in person or a vision.
The usage of parables as a tool to relay a story or a message was common in the secular and non-secular society predating Jesus’ usage of parables. In fact, in the Old Testament, parables were adopted and adapted to share spiritual truths in an easy to remember form.
In general, parables are short stories that catch the listener’s attention and provoke a response. M.J. Lagrange, noted that a parable is not always absolutely clear. Lagrange explained this by saying that the purpose of a parable is to strike the imagination, to piqué the curiosity, to make the listener reflect and work to arrive at the meaning, but only so that the lesson will be more deeply engraved on the mind.
Parables about Heaven
Jesus, the Master Teacher, used parables as a teaching tool better than anyone did. His usage of parables was prophesied (Matthew 13:34-35; Psalm 78:2). His usage of parables allowed Him to openly share spiritual principles in such a way that only those that believed in Him could truly understand the full meaning His message (Matthew 13:13-15).
He shared nine parables about the Kingdom of God and three about Christ’s Return (See Table 1), which provided the disciples and all believers with Heavenly insights from a person who has been there!
Table 1 – Parables of Jesus about Heaven – Excerpt from Ryrie Study Bible
A. Teaching Parables – About the Kingdom of God
1. The Soils (Matthew 13:3-8; Mark 4:3-8; Luke 8:5-8)
2. The Weeds (Matthew 13:24-30)
3. The Mustard Seed (Matthew 13:31,32; Mark 4:30-32; Luke 13:18,19)
4. The Yeast (Matthew 13:33; Luke 13:20,21)
5. The Treasure (Matthew 13:44)
6. The Pearl (Matthew 13:45,46)>
7. The Fishing Net (Matthew 13:47-50)
8. The Growing seed (Mark 4:26-29)
9. The Rich Man and the Beggar (Luke 16:19-31) *
B. Parables of Judgment and the Future – About Christ’s Return
1. The Ten Bridesmaids (Matthew 25:1-13)
2. The Faithful and Sensible Servants (Matthew 24:45-51; Luke 12:42-48)
3. The Traveling Homeowner (Mark 13:34-37)
* Note: I added the reference to Luke 16:19-31 – The Rich Man and the Beggar. I noticed most other listings of the parables included this reference while Ryrie did not.
Teaching Parables – About the Kingdom of God
Jesus used “Teaching Parables” to reveal and reinforce spiritual truths to his disciples and followers in a memorable way. Out of the six types of teaching parables, the “Kingdom of God” parables convey the deep spiritual truths He wants to impress onto their hearts about Heaven. Only two of His parables have explanations provided by Jesus – the parable of the Soils and the Weeds. For the remainder, we need the Holy Spirit to help us derive the full meaning.
By examining the parables, we can identify the characteristics we should adopt. We diligently seek Him like a shepherd looks for his lost sheep (Matthew 18:12), a woman searches for a lost coin (Luke 15:8), and a merchant searches for a fine pearl (Matthew 13:45). We also learn that we are the redeemed seed and that everyone will be harvested one day. The redeemed will go to Heaven with Christ; those that spurn Him will be cast into the lake of fire. [Alcorn, Randy, Heaven]
Paul capsuled these insights well in Colossians 3: 1, “Diligently, actively, single-mindedly pursue the things above”. After all, everything we do should be “about the Kingdom of God”.
Parables of Judgment and the Future
Jesus used parables of judgment and the future to clarify what it means to be alert and ready for His return. The lessons illustrate that we each are responsible for our own spiritual condition. If we are ready, we will not need to borrow from the faith (oil) of others because we are ready!
They also show the necessity of using well what God has given us while we still have time. Since no man knows the day or hour of Christ’s return, we are wise to be diligent. Prepare for Heaven by living as if He is coming back today!
Jesus provided us with a peek into His Kingdom in Heaven by using parables as a lens to foresee the glory we will one-day enjoy with Him. In Heaven, we will witness the glory and majesty of our Lord, Savior and King. While we have time, let us make sure that we serve God’s purpose on earth while remaining Heavenly minded.
Prior Postings on Heaven:
– Preview of Heaven (link)
– Purpose of Heaven (link)
– Profile of Heaven – Pre and Post Resurrection Heaven (link)
– Promise – God’s Plan A (Link)
A. Out of the Teaching Parables and Parables of Judgment and the Future, which one is your favorite and why?
B. Out of the same set noted above, which one is the hardest for you to understand?
A. Before God led me to research and write this series on Heaven, I had not developed any concrete opinions about Heaven. Now, that I see how often Christ spoke about Heaven I feel I should know more. Did you have the same experience ?
B. As you contrast and compare the two sets of parables categories mentioned in this posting, what common threads do you find?
A. Do you live a life that shows that you are all “about the Kingdom of Heaven”?
B. Do you live a life that shows that you recognize that God could come at any time to take you with Him?.