Kingdom of God » What the kingdom of God is likened to
As they were listening to this, Jesus went on to give them an illustration, because he was near Jerusalem and they supposed that the Kingdom of God was immediately going to appear. So he said, "A nobleman once went to a distant country to secure his appointment to a kingdom and then return. And he called in ten of his slaves and gave them each twenty dollars and told them to trade with it while he was gone. read more.
But his countrymen hated him, and they sent a delegation after him to say, 'We do not want this man made king over us.' And when he had secured the appointment and returned, he ordered the slaves to whom he had given the money to be called in, so that he could find out how much they had made. The first one came in and said, 'Your twenty dollars has made two hundred, sir!' And he said to him, 'Well done, my excellent slave! You have proved trustworthy about a very small amount, you shall be governor of ten towns.' The second came in and said, 'Your twenty dollars has made a hundred, sir!' And he said to him, 'And you shall be governor of five towns!' And the other one came in and said, 'Here is your twenty dollars, sir. I have kept it put away in a handkerchief, for I was afraid of you, for you are a stern man. You pick up what you did not lay down, and reap what you did not sow.' He said to him, 'Out of your own mouth I will convict you, you wretched slave! You knew, did you, that I was a stern man, and that I pick up what I did not lay down, and harvest what I did not sow? Then why did you not put my money in the bank, so that when I came back I could have gotten it with interest?' And he said to the bystanders, 'Take the twenty dollars away from him, and give it to the man who has the two hundred!' They said to him, 'He has two hundred, sir!'??26 'I tell you, the man who has will have more given him, and from the man who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away! But bring those enemies of mine here who did not want me made king over them, and slaughter them in my presence!' "
For the Kingdom of Heaven is like an employer who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. He agreed with the laborers to pay them a dollar a day, and sent them to his vineyard. He went out about nine o'clock and saw others standing in the bazaar with nothing to do. read more.
And he said to them, 'You go to my vineyard, too, and I will pay you whatever is right.' So they went. He went out again about twelve and about three, and did the same. About five he went out and found others standing about and he said to them, 'Why have you been standing about here all day doing nothing?' They said to him, 'Because nobody has hired us.' He said to them, 'You go to my vineyard, too.' When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last and ending with the first.' When those who were hired about five o'clock came they received a dollar apiece. And when those who were hired first came they expected to get more, but they too got a dollar apiece. And when they received it they grumbled at their employer, and said, 'These men who were hired last worked only one hour, and you have put them on the same footing with us who have done the heavy work of the day and have stood the midday heat.' But he answered one of them, 'My friend, I am doing you no injustice. Did you not agree with me on a dollar? Take what belongs to you and go. I wish to give the last man hired as much as I give you. Have I no right to do what I please with what is mine? Or do you begrudge my generosity?' So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last."
Another figure which he used in speaking to them was this: "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while people were asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. And when the wheat came up and ripened, the weeds appeared too. read more.
And the owner's slaves came to him and said, 'Was not the seed good that you sowed in your field, sir? So where did these weeds come from?' He said to them, 'This is some enemy's doing.' And they said to him, 'Do you want us to go and gather them up?' But he said, 'No, for in gathering up the weeds you may uproot the wheat. Let them both grow together until harvest time, and when we harvest I will direct the reapers to gather up the weeds first and tie them up in bundles to burn, but get the wheat into my barn.' " Another figure which he used in speaking to them was this: "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it is grown it is the largest of plants and grows into a tree, so that the wild birds come and roost in its branches." Another figure which he used with them was this: "The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast, which a woman took and buried in a bushel of flour until it had all risen." Jesus said all this to the crowds in figures, and told them nothing except in figures, to fulfil what was said by the prophet, "I will open my mouth in figures, I will utter things that have been hidden since the creation." Then he left the crowds and went into his house. And his disciples came up to him and said, "Explain to us the figure of the weeds in the field." He answered, "The sower who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world. The good seed is the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the wicked. The enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. So just as the weeds are gathered up and burned, this is what will happen at the close of the age; the Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will gather up out of his kingdom all the causes of sin and the wrongdoers and throw them into the blazing furnace; there they will wail and grind their teeth. Then the upright will shine out like the sun, in their Father's kingdom. Let him who has ears listen! "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a hoard of money, buried in a field, which a man found, and buried again. And he was overjoyed, and went and sold everything he had and bought the field. "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a dealer in search of fine pearls. He found one costly pearl, and went and sold everything he had, and bought it. "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a net that was let down into the sea, and inclosed fish of all kinds. When it was full, they dragged it up on the beach, and sat down and sorted the good fish into baskets and threw the bad away. That is what will happen at the close of the age. The angels will go out and remove the wicked from among the upright, and throw them into the blazing furnace. There they will wail and grind their teeth. "Do you understand all this?" They said to him, "Yes." He said to them, "Then remember that every scribe who has become a disciple of the Kingdom of Heaven must be like a householder who can supply from his storeroom new things as well as old."
For this reason the Kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a king, who resolved to settle accounts with his slaves. And when he set about doing so, a man was brought in who owed him ten million dollars. And as he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all he had, in payment of the debt. read more.
So the slave threw himself down before him and implored him, 'Give me time, and I will pay you all of it.' And his master's heart was touched, and he let the slave go and canceled the debt. But when the slave went out he met a fellow-slave of his who owed him twenty dollars, and he caught him by the throat and began to choke him, saying, 'Pay me what you owe!' So his fellow-slave threw himself down before him, and begged him, 'Give me time, and I will pay you.' But he refused and went and had him put in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow-slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went to their master and reported the whole matter to him. Then his master called him in and said to him, 'You wicked slave! I canceled all that debt of yours when you entreated me. Ought you not to have taken pity on your fellow-slave, as I did on you?' So his master in his anger handed him over to the jailers, until he should pay all he owed him. That is what my heavenly Father will do to you, if you do not each forgive your brothers from your hearts!"
One of the other guests heard this, and said to him, "Blessed is the man who shall be at the banquet in the Kingdom of God!" He said to him, "A man once gave a great dinner, and invited a large number to it, and when the dinner hour came, he sent around his slave, to say to those who were invited, 'Come! for it is now ready!' read more.
And they all immediately began to excuse themselves. The first one said to him, 'I have bought a piece of land, and I must go and look at it. Please have me excused.' Another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to examine them. Please have me excused.' Another said, 'I have married, and so I cannot come.' So the slave went back, and reported this to his master. Then the master of the house was angry and said to his slave, 'Hurry out into the streets and squares of the city, and bring the poor, the maimed, the blind, and the lame in here!' And the slave said, 'What you ordered, sir, has been done, and there is still room.' And the master said to the slave, 'Go out on the roads, and among the hedges, and make them come so that my house may be full. For I tell you that none of those men who were invited shall have any of my dinner!' "
"Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were foolish and five were sensible. For the foolish ones brought their lamps but brought no oil with them, read more.
but the sensible ones with their lamps brought oil in their flasks. As the bridegroom was slow in coming, they all grew drowsy and fell asleep. But in the middle of the night there was a shout 'Here is the bridegroom! Come out and meet him!' Then all the bridesmaids awoke, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish ones said to the sensible ones, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the sensible ones answered, 'There may not be enough for us and you. You had better go to the dealers and buy yourselves some.' But while they were gone to buy it, the bridegroom arrived, and the ones that were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet, and the door was closed. Afterward the other bridesmaids came and said, 'Sir! Sir! Open the door for us!' But he answered, 'I tell you, I do not know you!' So you must be on the watch, for you do not know either the day or the hour. "For it is just like a man who was going on a journey, and called in his slaves, and put his property in their hands. He gave one five thousand dollars, and another two thousand, and another one thousand; to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The man who had received the five thousand dollars immediately went into business with the money, and made five thousand more. In the same way the man who had received the two thousand made two thousand more. But the man who had received the one thousand went away and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money. Long afterward, their master came back and settled accounts with them. And the man who had received the five thousand dollars came up bringing him five thousand more, and said, 'Sir, you put five thousand dollars in my hands; here I have made five thousand more.' His master said to him, 'Well done, my excellent, faithful slave! you have been faithful about a small amount; I will put a large one into your hands. Come, share your master's enjoyment!' And the man who had received the two thousand came up and said, 'Sir, you put two thousand dollars into my hands; here I have made two thousand more.' His master said to him, 'Well done, my excellent, faithful slave! you have been faithful about a small amount; I will put a large one into your hands. Come! share your master's enjoyment.' And the man who had received the one thousand came up and said, 'Sir, I knew you were a hard man, who reaped where you had not sown, and gathered where you had not threshed, and I was frightened, and I went and hid your thousand dollars in the ground. Here is your money!' His master answered, 'You wicked, idle slave! You knew that I reaped where I had not sown and gathered where I had not threshed? Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and then when I came back I would have gotten my property with interest. So take the thousand dollars away from him, and give it to the man who has the ten thousand, for the man who has will have more given him, and will be plentifully supplied, and from the man who has nothing even what he has will be taken away. And put the good-for-nothing slave out into the darkness outside, to weep and grind his teeth there.'
"The Kingdom of Heaven is like a king, who gave a wedding banquet for his son. And he sent his slaves to summon those who had been invited to the banquet, and they would not come. He sent other slaves a second time, and said to them, 'Tell those who have been asked, "Here I have my banquet all ready, my bullocks and fat cattle are killed, and everything is ready. Come to the banquet!" ' read more.
But they took no notice of it, and went off, one to his estate, and another to his business, and the rest seized his slaves, and ill treated them and killed them. This made the king angry, and he sent his troops and put those murderers to death and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, 'The banquet is ready, but those who were invited have proved unworthy of it. So go out where the roads leave the city and invite everyone you find to the banquet.' So his slaves went out on the roads, and got together all the people they could find, good or bad, and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to view the guests, he saw among them a man who did not have on wedding clothes. And he said to him, 'My friend, how did you happen to come here without wedding clothes?' But he had nothing to say. Then the king said to his attendants, 'Bind him hand and foot and throw him out into the darkness, there to weep and grind his teeth.' For many are invited but few chosen."
"Do people get out the lamp," he said to them, "and then put it under the peck-measure, or under the bed, instead of putting it up where it belongs? For no one hides anything except for the purpose of sometime bringing it to light again, and people keep things secret only to reveal them some day. If anyone has ears let him be sure to listen. read more.
"Take care what you hear," he said to them. "The measure you give will be given to you, and even more besides. For people who have will have more given them, and from people who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. "The reign of God," he said, "is like a man scattering seed on the ground, and then sleeping at night and getting up by day, while the seed sprouts and comes up, without his knowing it. The ground of itself is productive, putting forth first a blade, then a head, then fully developed wheat in the head. But as soon as the crop will let him, the man goes in with his sickle, for the harvest time has come. "How can we find any comparison," he said, "for the reign of God, or what figure can we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown in the ground, though it is the smallest of all the seeds in the world, yet once sown, comes up and grows to be the largest of all the plants, and produces branches so large that the wild birds can roost under the shelter of it." With many such figures he told them the message, as far as they were able to receive it. He said nothing to them except in figures, but in private he explained everything to his own disciples.
He said, therefore, "What is the Kingdom of God like, and to what can I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that a man took and dropped in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the wild birds roosted on its branches." And he went on, "To what can I compare the Kingdom of God? read more.
It is like yeast that a woman took and hid in a bushel of flour, till it all rose."