The Kingdom of Heaven
Since the time of John the Baptiser until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and great is the number that eagerly, and in desperation, have seized hold of its truth.
The kingdom of heaven can be likened to a farmer's wheat field, planted with good seed. One night, while the farmer slept, his enemy came and sowed darnel weeds among the wheat. When the first blades of wheat finally pushed up through the earth, weeds appeared alongside. Seeing this, the servants rushed to the farmer, and with distressed voices wept: “Sir, did not we sow good seed in your field? Why then are there so many darnel weeds?”
The farmer answered: “An enemy has done this.”
“Shall we try to remove them?” the servants asked.
“No,” the farmer replied. “If you pull up the weeds, you will uproot the wheat as well. Let them both grow together until the harvest time ; and at the time of the harvest I will instruct the reapers as follows: ‘Gather first the weeds, and bind them into bundles for burning. Then gather the wheat into my storehouse.'”
Here is the lesson: he that sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world. The good seed represents the children of the kingdom, while the remaining seeds represent those deceived by the wicked one. The enemy that planted the weeds is the evil one. The harvest is the end of the world, and the reapers are the angels. Just as the darnel weeds were gathered and burned in the fire, so will it be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather everything that has caused humankind to stumble and those who live lawlessly outside of the kingdom, and will exile them to a place of weeping and regret. Then the righteous will shine as brightly as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. If you have ears to hear, then hear these words.
Every kingdom that is divided against itself is doomed , and every city or house divided against itself will eventually fall. Likewise, if the evil one is fighting evil, he is divided against himself, and his kingdom will not last.
One cannot be liberated from the kingdom of the evil one without first binding his power. If I cast out devils and perform signs and wonders as an ally of the devil, as some of you accuse me, then by what power do your children do the same?
Let your children stand before you as your judges; they can settle this dispute, for if your children cast out devils by the breath of God, then the kingdom is indeed come to dwell among you.
Have you ever heard this reading from the scriptures: “The stone which the builders have rejected has become the honored cornerstone; this is the Lord's doing, and marvelous in our eyes”? Behold, the kingdom of God will be taken from you who listen and do nothing, and will be given to a people working to bring forth fruit in their lives.
Beware of how you treat this message , for all of the sins of humankind will be forgiven, along with all of their blasphemies. But there is no reconciliation for those who, seeing evil as good and good as evil, blaspheme the Holy Spirit. This transgression is eternal. Heed these words. All about you, evil men and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of heaven ahead of you. These have heard the call to life and have turned to God, while the pious and religious have heard the call and have deliberately turned away.
Prayer is not achieved by repetition. It is not by reiterating “Lord, Lord,” that you will enter the kingdom of heaven, but by doing the will of my Father who is in heaven.
If after midnight, you approached the door to one of the city's prominent houses long after the owner had gone to bed, and began to knock loudly, and shout: “Open the door, I want to come in,” how do you think you would be received?
Most likely, the owner of the house would shout back, “Go away! I don't know who you are, or why you are disturbing me at this hour!”
What if you protested in reply, “But we have eaten at the same tables, and often I have heard you teach in the temple!”
To this the owner might reply, “Hear my words; I tell you I do not know you. Leave me in peace!”
Even so, on the day of judgment, many will come with a similar complaint, saying, “Lord, Lord, haven't we prophesied in your name, and in your name cast out devils, and in your name accomplished many wonderful works?”
The Lord himself will reply, “Depart. I do not know you, who have lived your entire lives in darkness.”
I instruct you with these stories because it is given to you to understand the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.
Here is another parable that illustrates the kingdom: Once there lived a rich investor who was preparing to depart for a distant country. Before leaving, he called together three associates, putting them in charge of managing his investments during his absence. He gave five accounts to one, two lesser accounts to the other, and to the third he gave one insignificant account, responsibilities equal to their levels of experience.
So it happened that the associate who had been entrusted with five accounts immediately began to buy and sell, and before long, he had doubled his holdings, so that his accounts were now ten instead of five. The second associate did likewise, investing his two accounts until he had made four from the two entrusted to him. But the third associate did nothing. So fearful was he that he locked his account in a strongbox and buried it in the ground, terrified that it might be tampered with, lost, or stolen.
A good while later, the rich man returned from his trip. Immediately he summoned his three associates, curious to learn how they had managed his money during his absence.
The first associate recounted how he had invested the five accounts and now had ten. At this the rich man said: “You have done well, and proved faithful. Because you have been trustworthy with the five accounts that I gave you, I will put more important ones under your trust. You may begin today to benefit from these responsibilities.”
Then the rich man called the second associate, who reported: “You put two accounts into my care; now I have four.”
Hearing this, the rich man repeated what he had said to the first associate: “Well done! You have been faithful in managing two minor accounts. I will put you in charge of many more. Go to your task with happiness.”
Finally, the third associate was called, and immediately confessed: “I have always thought of you as a difficult man. You collect profits from other people's money, and I figured that you would only take back whatever profits I might make from my insignificant account. I buried my account in the ground, where it has remained unharmed until your return.”
To this, the rich man answered: “Foolish associate. You know the manner in which I conduct my affairs. At the very least you could have entrusted your account with the currency dealers. Only one account was assigned to your care, and you have chosen to bury it in the ground. Now even this will be taken from you and given to the others who did wisely. What is left to you, except to dwell on your own regrets?”
In the kingdom of heaven, those who use what they possess, no matter how insignificant it might seem at the time, will continue to receive more and more. Abundance will be theirs! But those who act in fear, unfaithful in the least of life's matters, will eventually lose all.
Another example is found in the story of a landowner. Early one morning, he went out to hire workers for his vineyard. Finding the skilled laborers he needed, he agreed with them on a wage of one silver coin per day. The contract accepted, he sent them into his vineyard to work.
Later that same morning, the landowner returned to the town. Seeing a group of unemployed standing idle in the marketplace, he said to them: “Come work in my vineyard. I will pay you a fair daily wage.”
Likewise, at noon the landowner went back into town, and then again, much later in the afternoon. On each occasion, he hired the unemployed to work in his vineyard. Finally, towards evening, he met a few stragglers that remained without work, and asked: “Why did you stand here idle?”
They responded: “Because no one came to hire us.”
He said: “Go now, I still have work for you to do in my vineyard.”
Night fell, and the landowner instructed the vineyard manager to call the workers in from the vineyard where they were working, and to give to each of them their wages, beginning with the last through to the first that had been hired that day.
Those hired last stepped forward, and each received a silver coin as their wage. Seeing this, those hired early that morning imagined that they would receive more. When their turn came, however, they too received one silver coin each.
At this they began to complain to the landowner: “Unfair! Those stragglers that you hired barely worked one hour, and you have paid them on the same scale! We are the ones who have done most of the work, toiling during the hottest hours of the day!”
But the landowner answered: “Friends, I have done you no insult. Did not you happily agree on a day's wage of one silver coin? So take what is yours and be on your way. I have, from the goodness of my heart, paid those hired at the end of the day the same wage. Have I not the right to do with my money as I wish? Are your eyes so full of envy because you see me being generous and kind?”
This too, is a parable of the kingdom of heaven; understand it, for the last will be first and the first last. Many are called, but sadly, few are chosen.
The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field. One day, a poor man discovered it. Immediately he covered it over, and then joyfully sold everything he possessed, considering this a small sacrifice, in order to purchase the field where the treasure lay hidden.
Those who enter the kingdom of heaven do not allow any of their former, earthly concerns to deter them. Like the merchant who searched his entire life for a pearl of great price, they joyfully sacrifice all in order to possess such a priceless treasure – new life, a new way of thinking and being, and hope in this world, and in the world to come.
The kingdom of God moves forward by divine command. The farmer sows seed in his field, and when his day's work is done he goes to his bed. Each new day he rises again and works until night falls. All the while, the natural order of the earth is at work. The seeds sprout and begin their growth, a synthesis so complex that it is beyond the farmer's ability to understand it. Tender blades appear then ears of corn until what was planted is a mature crop, and the farmer takes up his sickle, for the harvest time has come.
The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, the smallest of nature's kernels, from which grows a great plant, as tall as a tree, a place for the birds to perch and find shelter.
The workings of the kingdom can be compared to a pinch of yeast used to make bread. Even mixed into a great quantity of flour, it leavens throughout.
Like a fisherman's net lowered into the sea, the kingdom of heaven gathers up every variety of fish. When it is full, the net is pulled back onto the shore. There the good catch is collected into baskets, and the imperfect is discarded. So it will be at the end of this age. Angels will separate the wicked from among the children of God, exiling them to a place of great sorrow.
Without material goods, money, or support, I have sent you out as witnesses. Equipped with the message of new life, you have blessed others. Did you once lack for anything?
Do not allow your worries to consume tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself. Surely there is enough to concern you each day without fretting about the future. Which of you by mental effort can add one inch to your height?
Consider the birds of the air. They are not consumed with worry. At night they sleep soundly, knowing that their heavenly Father cares for them. Do you not matter more than the birds?
Are not two sparrows sold in the marketplace for a few pennies? Still, one of them cannot fall to the ground without your heavenly Father's knowledge. Cease being afraid. You are of greater value than many flocks of sparrows. Even the very hairs of your head are numbered.
Why then worry about what you will wear? Consider the lilies growing wild in the fields, blooming without effort. Even King Solomon in all of his glory was not arrayed as beautifully as one of these. If God has so cared for that which grows wild in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is cast into the fire, will he not care for you much more? How can you have such little faith?
Therefore, stop saying: “What will I eat? What will I drink? Will I ever have enough to clothe myself?” This is how the faithless think, anxious for everything. Be at peace! Your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all of these things, and more.
Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all of your needs will be provided.
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