The “Seven Parables” teach the“Beginning to the End”
The Kingdom Set UpTares, Apostates and RestorationProgress of the KingdomThe Judgment
Allegory:The setting forth of a subject under the guise of some other subject or aptly suggestive likeness.Parable:A brief narrative or descriptive allegory founded on real scenes or events such as occur in nature and human life, and usually with a moral or religious application.Proverb:A brief, pithy saying, condensing in witty or striking form the wisdom of experience; a familiar and widely known popular saying in epigrammatic form.
A collection of parables given by the Savior to amixed multitudewho “stood on the shore” while the Savior “sat” in the boat. This parable was Jesus’ verbal response to this rejection by Israel…having given Israel an opportunity to accept his clear message…Jesus now responds to their refusal by withdrawing into the veiled speeches of parables(Mair, “Matthew, Gospel of,”Anchor Bible Dictionary, 4:632).
To the disciples who had already gladly accepted the Gospel of Christ, more should be given; while from those who had rejected the proffered boon, even what they had theretofore possessed should be taken away.Mercy is shown again. Many among his hearers would have come under condemnation, inasmuch as they were too weak in faith and unprepared in heart to break the bonds of traditionalism and the prejudice engendering by sin, so as to accept and obey the saving word(James E.Talmage,Jesus the Christ, 296-97).
The LDS Bible Dictionary makes some insightful observations:
It is important to distinguish between the interpretation of a parable and the application of a parable.The only true interpretation is the meaning of the parable conveyed, or was meant to convey, when first spoken. The application of a parable may vary in every age and circumstance(741).
Joseph Smith taught:
“I have a key by which I understand the scriptures. I enquire what was the question which drew out the answer, or caused Jesus to answer, or caused Jesus to utter the parables?” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 276).
Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23
The focus of the parable is on the types of soil not the sower(I Nephi 8)Wayside soil:Hard packed soil that has not been properly plowed making it impossible for the seed to penetrate to safe and proper depths for growing.Application:Those skeptical of the Savior’s message. Hardhearted and spiritually impenetrable.
2.Some fell upon stony places:Israel is rock laden. In rock plated areas, farming was done in patches. The farmer would scratch the surface by using plows that seldom dug deeper than a few inches. The seed was immediately planted after plowing. Plants would grow until the roots hit the rock plate, when the sun shown, the rock would heat up and the moisture in the soil soon evaporated, killing the plants.Application:Matthew 13:20-21The tempter’s triad of tools are temptation, persecution, and tribulation. These tools will be relentlessly used upon God’s flock (Neal A. Maxwell,If Thou Endure It Well, 126).Not only does God have a plan but so also does the adversary (Neal A. Maxwell,Lord, Increase Our Faith, 41).
3.And some fell among thorns:Thorns were often used by the farmer as a source of fuel. However, it was important that the farmer not allow thorns to overrun the cultivated fields.Application:The thorns symbolized the “necessary evils” of the world that we have to survive.When the necessary evils become more important than the gospel, the gospel is crowded out of the life of the hearer and he becomes as he was before accepting the gospel.
4.The other fell into good ground:He that receiveth, heareth, understandeth, and beareth fruit.Application:The soil represented the disciples.Individual application:We may have all four kinds of soil within our own hearts.There may be areas of our heart that certain doctrines of the kingdom have not yet penetrated and therefore are not lived.
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
In this parable, the destruction of the original church is prefigured, its eventual restoration, and the growth of the great and abominable church along side of the church of Christ until the Second Coming, at which time the tares or the great and abominable church is bound and burned.In D&C 86 the order of the gathering was changed. It was received in 1832 by Joseph Smith in Kirtland, Ohio.Sixty one years later, President Wilford Woodruff declared the Lord had released those destroying angels and they were on the earth separating the tares from the wheat in preparation for the burning that would come (August, 1894).
Matthew 13:31-32The grain of mustard seed
There were and are smaller seeds, but each of those plants were small in maturity. The mustard plant in one of the greatest among common herbs and presented a strong contrast of growth from a tiny seed, to a spreading shrub. They grow to be about 3-4 feet high and look like a tree (James E. Talmage,Jesus the Christ, 270).Application:When doctrines of the gospel are planted into our hearts, they must be allowed to grow until they come into full bloom. It takes time for this to happen. Neither will our understanding of the doctrines be completed all at once.
Matthew 13:33The Leaven
“It may be understood that the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints has taken its rise from a little leaven that was put into three witnesses. Behold how much this is like the parable! It is fast leavening the lump, and will soon leaven the whole” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 100).Application:Like the leaven, we must allow the leaven of gospel doctrines to enlarge our hearts until we have grown to the same spiritual level as the Father.
Matthew 13:44The Hidden Treasure
Often, when a person had to travel or go to war, he buried his valued items in the ground. If he failed to return and someone found it, the one finding it could try to claim the treasure. To insure legal claim, however, the one finding the hidden treasure would purchase the ground in which the treasure was hidden.Application:Complete sacrifice to acquire the kingdom of God when it is found!
Joseph Smith said, “Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of earthly things” (Teachings, 101).
Matthew 13:45-46The Pearl of Great Price
Most likely the rare black pearl
When an earnest seeker of truth finds it, he must be willing to sacrifice all he has to acceptit.(Parley P. Pratt-Autobiography, 33-40).
Matthew 13:47-50The Gathering NetThe final parable, similar to the wheat and the tares.Matthew 13:51-55Have you understood all these things? Yes!Once these things are understood, then the leader must teach others of the truths they have discovered (Doctrine & Covenants 88:81).
His brothers:James, Joses, Simon and Judas.His sisters:(This was a large family!)
Matthew 13:54-17:27Matthew 13:54-57This incident foreshadows the future rejection of the Savior by the Jews before Pontius PilateSome branches of Catholicism believe that Mary didn’t have any other children.