Dear Brethren Beebe; I notice in the SIGNS for Sept.15th., a request of sister Rebekah P. Helm, for your views on Matt. 13:44, and your reply, requesting any of the brethren who may have clearer light on the subject than you have, to let it shine. This makes me fear to offer such views as I have, “lest I might darken counsel by words without knowledge.” However, I will venture to offer some thoughts, which will be at your disposal.
Parables were intended to represent facts, and doubtless the best that could be were used by our Lord Jesus Christ. This one reads as follows: “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 the field.” The kingdom of heaven and the treasure hid in the field, [meaning the world] surely does represent the church, or chosen people of God. The man finding and hiding the treasure, and selling all he hath and buying the field, must represent Jesus Christ in his Mediatorial and subordinate character, who, though he was rich, became poor, gave up or sold all, and even laid down his life for the sheep, or people chosen in and given to him in the covenant of redemption before the world was, to whom he was eternally related in vital and federal union, their Surety and representative Head. The field in which they were hid must be bought, [not redeemed] that the right and dominion there belongs to him by purchase; all power in heaven and in earth, with all judgment, is committed to him; the life and the resurrection, both of the just and the unjust, are his right, and to dispose of the field and the treasure hid in it, all vested in him, by purchase of the field, and by redemption of [the treasure hid in it] the purchased possession, his chosen people. Read Psalm 2:8,9. “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession; thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Power over all flesh was given him, that he should give eternal life to as many as his Father had given him. The world, or field, is his by creation and by purchase, but the treasure hid in the field is his by blood. “For by him were all things created that are in heaven and in earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him; and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the Head of the body, the church. And having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, whether things in earth, or things in heaven.” Col. 1:16-20. The victory over death and hell, with the powers of darkness, was manifested by his resurrection from the dead, and now he that was dead is alive forevermore, and has the keys of hell and of death, and of course the exclusive right to the field, or world, to dispose of as he pleaseth, and the treasure hid in the field, his people, or the whole election of grace, are alone and exclusively his redeemed, purchased possession, and no nearer related to him now than before the world was; and for their sake the field, or world, has continued, and will continue, from generation to generation, until the last particle of the treasure, or every one of the redeemed, shall be manifestly saved, and raised from the dead in his likeness. And then time shall be no longer, as the great object for which the world was created will have been accomplished; namely, the glorification of the eternal Son of God, with all his redeemed, or treasure, and he shall fully see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied, and deliver up the kingdom, or treasure, to God the Father. Jesus died exclusively for his people, and for their sake the world was made, and continues to this day. In this sense I understand the living God to be the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe. I Tim.4:10.
In explaining the parable of the tares and the wheat, in the preceding part of the chapter, Jesus says, “The harvest is the end of the world,” and “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, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth in the kingdom of their Father.” All this right is vested in the Son of Man, because he purchased the field for the sake of the treasure, his bride, the Lamb’s wife, his sheep, in every nation, kindred, tongue and people under heaven. The next parable represents the kingdom by a merchantman seeking goodly pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all he had and bought that pearl. In this nothing is said about the field, but the pearl only, referring directly to the redemption of his chosen people by himself.
I know that many apply both these parables to men who are seeking the kingdom of heaven, and give up or sell all for it. I object to such application, because contrary to my experience. It is true that sinners are made to give up all, and hate even their own lives and earthly relatives, before Christ is revealed in them the hope of glory; but it is of stern necessity, and yet it results in joy unspeakable and full of glory. Men finding treasure in a field, and hiding it for joy, and selling all they have to buy the field, or merchantmen seeking goodly pearls and finding one of great price, and selling all to buy that pearl, do it voluntarily, with the hope of gain to themselves. Jesus Christ did voluntarily lay aside his glory for a season, to save his people from their sins; but poor sinners never voluntarily seek the kingdom of heaven, for they cannot see it, neither do they care anything about its excellencies, until they are revealed in and to them by the Holy Spirit of God, contrary to all human calculations. None have ever found the noble treasure, or pearl of great price, by voluntarily seeking, but by the great goodness of God in first seeking them, and showing them their lost and justly condemned condition under his law, and then revealing in them Christ the hope of glory; and though they learn it all by revelation, of stern necessity, it results in joy unspeakable and full of glory to them.
The sister desired information particularly on the last part of the parable, in relation to the buying the field. The purchaser never would have bought the field, but for the treasure he found and hid in it. Hence the purchase was wholly for the treasure, therefore the field is valueless, and is swallowed up in the valuable treasure in it.
I submit the foregoing; if you publish, please correct errors.
Yours in love,
Near Lexington Georgia, Sept. 20, 1877.