Matthew 13:24-44 Part 5

As you can see from the text, I’ve added a verse to the end of the portion of Scripture that we’ve been examining for the last month or so.  Heretofore the sermons have been dealing with Matthew thirteen, verses twenty-four through forty-three.  But because of one of the subjects which will come up in this sermon, it was necessary that I add verse forty-four to the translation.

I say these things here at the beginning to avoid any confusion at all.  We have enough trouble adjusting our thinking from what we imagine the Gospel says to what it really does say, without adding any disorder to the situation.  And any disorder comes – not in the preaching of Jesus or the writing of the apostle – but in the way we have to section out portions of the text in order to deal with them!  We’re witnessing here in the preaching of our Lord the dramatic unveiling of mysteries of spectacular proportion!  And because of our limitations we have to approach it in small sections.

And the section with which we’ve been working has to be expanded a little bit.  Or maybe it works the other way – maybe our minds have to be expanded in order to apprehend more.  But, nevertheless, when you hear this, don’t be confused.

Now, we’ve been watching the Word made Flesh – the LOGOS – reveal the Providential design of God for His creation.  And He’s using parabolic language in order to bring to its fullness the prophecy that we read in the first twenty-three verses of this chapter – that “hearing they shall not hear, and seeing they shall not see.”  The Jewish nation, and their relationship to God the Father, is being separated out to condemnation; and the peoples of the world, the Gentiles, are being included in God’s covenant.

God the Son, The Word of God, has come to achieve – to consummate – that action; and He is the fullness of the prophecy itself.  And that’s what He says in the last two verses of our text with which we haven’t yet dealt – verses thirty-four and thirty-five.  Let me read them for you again.


“All these things Jesus did speak in parables to the crowds, and He was saying nothing to them apart from parables, that that which was spoken through the prophet might be confirmed, saying, ‘I will open My mouth in parables; I will declare openly that which has been hidden from the foundation.’”


Now, it must be noticed that Jesus in not quoting exactly from the Old Testament here.  In speaking these words, Jesus Himself is the fullness of what the Old Testament prophets said.  Again, the prophets did not say these words in exactly the way Jesus said them.  They prophesied, by inspiration of God, that this would be done.  But the “speaking” of Jesus, Who is that Word, is the fullness of that prophecy!  He is the Word made flesh!

The Word of God through the prophets said that the people hear but they don’t hear.  And that they see but they don’t see.  And now Jesus says, “I will declare openly….  I will open My mouth in parables – I will declare openly that which has been hidden from the foundation.”

These crowds were the Jewish nation.  And Matthew says that Jesus was saying nothing to them apart from parables!  Declaring openly the mysteries of the Kingdom in parabolic language in fulfillment of the prophecy that “seeing they will not see, and hearing they will not hear.”  And Jesus the Word became the very embodiment of that which had been said!  I will open My mouth in parables….”

Now what is it that He declares openly?  “…that which has been hidden from the foundation.”  We need to know what Jesus means by “the foundation.”  And then we’ll examine this term “hidden.”  And if we can get some clarity on that, with some help from verse forty-four which I’ve added to the text, then maybe we can go back to the parable of the leaven being “hidden” in three measures of flour.  I didn’t say much about that last Lord’s Day because I just didn’t feel like I had a full picture of what it meant!  But the Lord has blessed a little extra research on it, and I may have some more to say about it this morning.

“The foundation.”  “I will declare openly that which has been hidden from the foundation.”  Very interesting word – foundation.  I mentioned to you that Jesus wasn’t quoting in an exact way from the Old Testament.  But a very similar verse is found in Psalm seventy-eight, verse two:  Asaph, the writer of the Psalm says:  “I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old.”  Now, that could also be translated, “I will utter dark sayings of yore.”  And what Asaph is saying, by inspiration of the Spirit and by personification of the coming Messiah, is that the coming Anointed One will speak concerning the history of God’s Covenant with His people in such a way that the full intent of that Covenant culmination would be received by the nation of Israel in a dark way!  In other words, they wouldn’t understand.

But when Jesus utters these words here in verse thirty-five, He doesn’t use the term “of old,” or “of yore”; He uses kataboles – from the foundation.  Also, He does not say “from the foundation of the world.”  He just says, “from the foundation.”  Now, this Greek word doesn’t literally mean “foundation”; it means a casting down, or a laying down.  And if it is the creation that’s being “cast down,” or “formed,” then it will always be clear from the context.

But most of the time it has to do with the laying of the foundations of the Covenant with the nation of Israel!  And it will include the establishing mighty acts of God in order to constitute His people a separate and holy nation!

Let me give you some examples.  In the great prayer of Jesus in John chapter seventeen, verse twenty-four it reads, “Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me; for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world.”  Now, pre-temporality is obviously the case here when Jesus uses the term “before the foundation of the world.”  But it could also mean before the establishment of God’s Covenant with His people!

Also, in Revelation chapter thirteen, which has to do with Satanic activity during that period before the destruction of Jerusalem, we read this:  “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him (that is, the beast), whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”  That, again, is obviously pre-time and pre-creation, since the Lamb is the eternal Lamb of God.  But it is also obvious that the Lamb was slain before the foundation – or the laying down – of the constitution of Israel!  For in the sacrificial system the sacrifice of the Christ was foreshadowed!

There are four or five other good examples which we could relate, but we might lose our concentration if we take too long with that.  But there is one example which perfectly makes my point here.  And that is found in Hebrews eleven and verse eleven.  Listen closely.  “By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.”

Now, the literal translation of that verse reads like this:  “By faith, also Sarah herself received power in the casting down of seed even beyond the time of age….”  The word here which is translated “conceive” in the common translations is the same word that Jesus uses here in verse thirty-five of our text:  “I will declare openly that which has been hidden from the foundation.”

The word foundation, or “casting down” is used by the writer of Hebrews for the mighty act of God in causing Sarah to produce an egg past her time of doing that.  And that egg produced Isaac, one of the fathers of the nation of Israel!  It is a surety therefore that the use of “kataboles” – foundation – with respect to Sarah is a specific reference to the laying down or casting down or the “forming” of the nation of God’s Covenant people!  Sarah, by faith, received the power to “cast down” seed which was the foundation of the nation.

Now.  If we take all that information back to the text here in verse thirty-five, let’s see what we have.  Jesus said, “I will open My mouth in parables; I will declare openly that which has been hidden from the casting down…” or the forming.  So it becomes even more obvious that Jesus is speaking about the mysteries of the Kingdom having been hidden from a sinful people since the formation of that nation!

The apostle Paul says, with reference to the whole history of Israel, that all these things were written for our instruction!  In other words the foreshadowing in the Old Testament – the whole history of Israel – was for the instruction of the Church in Christ.  And that the nation in rebellion against God was darkened in its understanding of what it was all about, and that God hid all these things from them – culminating in the parabolic language of Christ Himself.  These things are all mysteries hidden from the foundation of that nation, and declared openly for the benefit and instruction of the Church!

Now, since these things are “hidden” mysteries, we need to spend some time on the concept of the “hidden.”  And what it means to “hide” these things.  And we’re going to try to view this from the standpoint of the progression of the idea through the Old Testament into the New.

First, we find that God is described, in places like Psalm eighty, as concealed, or hidden.  And we know that there is an essential distinction between the Creator and the creature.  The creature, although made in His image, is totally separate and distinct from God.  God is consumingly holy – separate.  And in His separateness, He is concealed from us.

But, nothing is hidden from God!  He uncovers everything!  Nothing is done in secret, nothing hides; everything is uncovered.  And man is always accompanied by Divine knowledge!  As much as man tries to conceal himself because of his sin, just like his father Adam when he sinned, he can’t do it.  Just as Psalm one hundred thirty-nine says, “For there is not a word in my tongue, But, lo, O Lord, You know it altogether.”

But those who think evil, and those who do evil, and those who say evil things, all of them attempt to conceal themselves, or hide themselves, from God and man!  Sinners flee from the light to darkness.  It is our nature originally to flee to the nighttime, or to cover up our deeds in some other way.  I’ll speak more to the nature of the night in a minute.

But, on the other hand, it is of the nature of righteousness to disclose everything!  To bring it all into the light!  David, in his great confession of sin, said, “I acknowledge my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid.”  And it is a comfort to the righteous that sin and sinfulness isn’t concealed!  Job said:  “…I will not hide myself from Thee.”  The penitent, the poor in spirit, actually runs from that which is hidden to that which is revealed.

But, on the other hand, the Psalmist actually says that the revelation of God is hidden in his heart that he might not sin against God!  Now, this isn’t a hiding of the truth!  In other words, it is against all aspects of God’s Word for men to hide the truth from others.  But there is this aspect of “hiding” the Word in us clearly manifested in the pages of the Old Testament.

Now in the New Testament, there is this idea which we’ve found, in the parables of Christ, of leaven which is hidden and treasure which is hidden.  We’ve already seen that the concern of Matthew is the incomprehensible Divine secret, which, as we heard in chapter eleven, is hidden from the wise and revealed to babes.  And it seems as if the reception of the revelation of the mysteries of the Kingdom causes one to hide it again with great haste and excitement!  Not to make it a secret from others, but to glory in and delight in and to hold it in one’s self because of its great worth!  In other words, as the Psalmist said, to hide it in his heart that he might not sin against God.

But the origin of the hiding flows out of the Old Testament Scriptures, and it is God hiding the secrets of His Kingdom from the nation in rebellion!  The apostle Paul, who calls himself the steward of the mysteries of God, writes to the Church at Corinth, first letter chapter four, says this: 


“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, Who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and then shall every man have praise of God.”


So it is God who has hidden the secrets of His Kingdom from those who have hidden their sin from Him!  Again, as Paul says to Timothy in chapter five of his first letter, “No evil can conceal itself from God.”  But the nation of Israel attempted in all of its folly, to conceal its rebellion from God!  In fact the leadership not only covered up its lawlessness, but it flaunted a false piety before Him!  That’s why Jesus called them hypocrites.  The Pharisees displayed their achievements, rather than their alms, prayer and fasting being in secret.

The rulers of Israel hid themselves from God, wrapping themselves in pseudo-religiosity; but Paul says in Colossians two, verse three that “in Christ are present all the hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”  And then in chapter three he says, “For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”

So the progress and process of the idea of “the hidden” is that fallen men try to hide from God; and that’s complete folly since nothing is hidden from Him.  And as a result God hides the truth from men.  But the mysteries concealed since the foundation are now manifested to the Gentile nations.  And as men apprehend those mysteries, they “hide” them for themselves as a precious treasure, as our new verse forty-four says.  And the “hiding” of it has to do with its holiness and separation, as God was hidden, or separate, from sinful creation!  So an apprehension of His Kingdom causes holiness and separation!

So, to recap and summarize for minute, our Lord Jesus speaks to the nation of Israel in parables.  Why?  Because these parables are the mysteries of his Kingdom.  And they are hidden from that nation… “In order that ‘seeing they shall not see; and hearing they shall not hear.’”

From the foundation of the nation – from the formation of the nation – Israel had been a rebellious and abstinent people.  And the prophets (inspired by the Word of God) prophesied their continued blindness and deafness and the parabolic speech of Messiah in order that they might not see and hear.

The mysteries of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ were hidden from them as they hid themselves and their sin from God!!

And those mysteries were revealed (brought to light) for the elect remnant of the house of Israel, through the apostolic preaching.  And that small remnant took the kerygma (Messiah, preaching) to the Gentile nations who were “enlightened” by the Spirit of Christ to all these glorious mysteries.

Now.  For our last five or six minutes or so, I want to examine the Biblical idea of the “night” with you.  As you remember in the parable of the zizanium in the field, the master of the house told his servants that an evil man had oversowed the wheat, and that he had come at night when everyone was asleep!

And, in addition to that, we’ve just been speaking of hiding, or concealing ones self, and I said that I wanted to discuss this nighttime aspect of concealment.

But it seems that fallen man has always had trouble during the night.  Crime is always more prevalent at night; the lust for promiscuous activity is stronger at night; the night has always been seen by pagan humanity as the time for magic and mystery and dreadful characters such as demons, witches and monsters.  Occultism flourishes at night.  Deeds of evil such as the oversowing in the wheatfield are done at night in an attempt to snatch away the Kingdom from the King.

For some, probably many, the night is especially bothersome because all that’s bad in life seems to be magnified at night.  People lay awake at night and their worries carry them away to heart-pounding crisis!  Fears of the unknown events that might occur become probable events during night worry.

The night is, indeed, sinister to fallen man.  Job put it well in the twenty-fourth chapter:  “The murderer rising with the night kills the poor and needy; and in the night is as a thief.  The eye also of the adulterer waits for the twilight, saying, ‘no eye shall see me’; and disguises his face.  In the dark they dig through houses, which they had marked for themselves in the daytime; they know not the light.”

So the Scriptures reveal that the nature of man is made free at night to do the deeds commensurate with his nature!  Since the Bible also uses the night in a metaphorical sense to express a lack of wisdom and understanding of the truth, it stands to reason that one who lives in the dark spiritually is better suited to operate at night!  And that certainly is the case, for the night gives cover to the evil man and his deeds, thoughts, and plans.  He likes the night because it provides the very best disguise – darkness.  And not realizing that everything is uncovered with God, man shrouds himself with darkness, thinking that no one sees his guilt and shame.  Nobody sees his revelings.  Nobody sees his lust and his enjoyment of hedonism and sensuality.

So the Scriptures speak of at least two main employments of the night by fallen man.  Those who see it as sinister and terrifying; and those who use it as cover for sin.  And, then, the Bible also uses it metaphorically to describe an incapacity to understand the Truth.  The apostle Paul, in Romans chapter thirteen, verse twelve even describes that period before the consummation of the old age as “night.”  And he said that the “day” will soon dawn when the subjects of the Kingdom are taken out of darkness into the Kingdom of Light!

But just let me say this in closing.  The one who is a member of the Kingdom is a part of that New Jerusalem in which there is no night.  For God and the Lamb are the Light therein.  And under those conditions, the night is a time of refreshing and rest and recuperation.  It’s a time for family relationships and reflections of Godliness and prayer and study.  For an adopted son of God, the night belongs to God; and He shelters and loves us.  And He protects us in the night as well as in the day.  The righteous don’t fear the powers of the night.  And they shun promiscuity and licentiousness under cover.  And demons and monsters have nothing to do with them….  And even the nightmares and night worries go away.  For what relationship does light have with darkness?