Matthew Chapter 13 describes the Seven Church Ages

2000 years of Christian history is divided into 7 church ages according to Matthew Chapter 13

MATTHEW 13:1

The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.

The sea shore is important in Scripture. It is the dividing line between land and sea.

The sea represents the unrighteous, restless multitudes of people who shift with the changing currents of fashion and doctrine. The sand on the sea shore was chipped or worn off rock at some stage by the forces of nature. Christ, the Word, is our Rock. Believers are born again of Him and remain part of His Word ( Scripture).

I CORINTHIANS 10:4

And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

Thus the sand on the sea shore represents the righteous. The sea shore represents the limits of the sea. God will only allow the sea ( the unrighteous ) to go so far in their attempts to undermine and destroy the righteous ( the sea shore sand ). The righteous represent the limits that evil cannot go past.

JOB 26:10

He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end.

This Earth has its limits. An Earth day is 24 hours. Light and darkness cut each other off so that each has a limited time. The land is cut off by the sea. Life is cut off by death. Ultimately light will replace darkness and the sea will disappear. Death, the sea and dark night are symbols of what goes wrong on Earth. These are essential for our growth. Hardship, grief, sin, error, deception, worldliness etc. are essential to test us, strengthen us, punish us and to give us an adversary to struggle against. Struggle is the law of growth. Defeat and difficulty are the hammer and anvil where character is hammered out and made strong. When we compromise with error we simply become wishy washy Tribulation fodder. Thus what is wrong is simply an instrument that is there for a while to mould us into what God wants from our lives; not what we want from our lives.

REVELATION 21:1

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea

REVELATION 21:25

And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.

The time is coming when there will be no more sea and no more darkness.

Error and evil are temporary until they have served their purpose.

JOB 14:5

Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;

No one can go beyond the limits that God has set for them. Fallen human nature needs  to be cut off from its natural greed and selfishness. Each of us must learn to cope with the limits that God has set for us. These limits are essential for our survival. Each cell in our body is limited in terms of its size and function. Cancer is simply a cell that has rebelled against its limits, and it grows for the sake of growing. God uses evil and error to mould His church through seven different ages, but eventually evil will be done away with. Until then, the Church must contend with and oppose the error of its age.

JEREMIAH 5:22

Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it?

But equally, good sets a limit to evil. Evil will never eradicate truth. Believers can be dispersed but truth will spread due to their dispersion. Believers can even degenerate but new ones will rise up in other places. Salt limits the spread of decay. To save His children, God limits the spread and power of evil. Evil can only flow down the channels that God allows. So far, and no further. ( The Mongol horde overran Russia and eastern Europe under their military genius and general Tsubodai. The Hungarian army was eliminated. Western Europe was at their mercy because the Pope was wasting his efforts on fighting the Holy Roman Emperor, who was German. Then Ogedai, the Mongol Khan who was son of Genghis Khan, after a brief reign of only 12 years died from excessive drinking. His son Guyuk then took the whole army back from Europe to Mongolia to claim the throne from Chagatai, his uncle and rival . Helpless Europe was saved by one man’s death far away in Mongolia at this critical moment of time. Thus God pulls the strings so that His will triumphs )

ISAIAH 45:7

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

AMOS 3:6

Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?

To create depth in a picture, an artist uses light colours for highlights and dark colours for shadows. Light and dark are totally under the control of the artist. Each light and dark colour can only occupy a certain specific portion of the picture.

To create depth of character in us God has to paint across our lives with light and dark events. So good and evil people are used by Him to mould us. Both types are totally under His control.

AMOS 3:7

Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

The Bible is a Book of prophecy, giving us clues to future events.

REVELATION 13:1

And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.

REVELATION 17:3

So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

REVELATION 17:15

And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

Chapter 13 starts with John standing on the sea shore. Why? Chapter 13 ends with the mark of the beast which is linked to a man and his number 666. The sand of the sea shores cannot be numbered. This implies that the righteous, represented by the sea sand, will not take on the mark of the beast as that mark sweeps through the people on this over-crowded planet like waves sweeping through the sea, which represents the unrighteous. There is more sea than land. There are more sinners than saints on earth.

REVELATION 13:16

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

     17    And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

     18    Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

MATTHEW 15:8

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

     9    But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

This is the problem with people. They move away from Scripture and accept the plausible traditions and doctrines of man. Try finding the 25th December in the Bible. Matthew Chapter 2 Verse 11  says the wise men went into a house, not a stable.

MATTHEW 2:11

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

Joseph was not present. Jesus was not a baby in a manger, He was a young child in a house.

They gave gifts to Jesus, not to each other.

Our Christmas shopping spree of buying presents for friends and family has nothing to do with the Bible. December 25th is in the middle of winter. Shepherds could not be out with their flocks at night as they would freeze to death.

Only shepherds went to the stable, not the wise men. Rome could not try to tax people in the middle of winter and force Joseph and Mary to travel to Bethlehem when snow makes the roads impassible. Christmas cards are equally unscriptural. Christmas is the gospel of greed and material gain as it is certainly not the Gospel of Matthew and Luke. Yet most people spend themselves poor, thinking that they must do this for religious reasons. Then January is a desolate month of recovery.

Our Christmas time is emotionally pleasant but very unscriptural. Where does the date come from? The pagan Roman emperor Aurelian, a brilliant cavalry general, united the Roman empire that had split into three sections. He completed the task in the year 274 AD and returned to Rome where he then declared the 25th December as the birthday of the sun god to celebrate the re-uniting of the empire. The Persian god Mithras also had his birthday on 25 December. So this date became widely accepted as a key festival ( which basically meant it was honoured as a big booze up ). This date became such a widely accepted pagan festival that Christians also joined in. To stop the flood of Christians who were enjoying the pagan festival, the Catholic church, around 350 AD,  created an alternative festival by hijacking the same date as the birthday of the sun god and called it the birthday of the Son of God. And so Christianity merged into paganism and became churchianity. Over the centuries paganism died out in Europe and only the Catholic church version of 25 December remained, the so-called celebration of Christ’s mass. We are more concerned with following some emotional tradition or some great man and belonging to and being popular with some special church group or organization rather than following Christ, the Word. Special events in the Catholic church are referred to as a mass. So they called Christ’s so-called birthday celebration Christ’s mass. This soon became known as Christmas. Then people realized it had nothing to do with Christ. So “Christ” was crossed out of Christmas and it became known as  Xmas.

GENESIS 32:12

And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.

JEREMIAH 33:22

As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.

HOSEA 1:10

Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.

So the sea shore represents the righteous which, like the sand of the sea, cannot be numbered and thus cannot take on the number or mark of the beast. Staying with Scripture is the only way to avoid taking on the mark of the beast.

MATTHEW 13:2

     2    And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.

Jesus was in a boat so He was above the sea ( the restless masses ) and not in the sea. Fishermen pull fish out of the sea which symbolizes being saved. The people stood on the shore and thus represented the righteous because they were listening to Jesus who is the Word. Listening to the Scripture is the key to being righteous.

MATTHEW 13:3

     And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

     4    And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:

The first church age began with the preaching of the Word.

The seed is the Word of God. The fowls were the enemy that got rid of the Word. Replacing it with human tradition and philosophy.

5    Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:

     6    And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

     7    And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:

     8    But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

     9    Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

This parable represents the first church age that was influenced by the apostles. They sowed the seed which represents preaching the Word. The sower ( the preacher) was not criticised. It was the soil, the hearts of the listeners, who were criticized.

LUKE 8:11

Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

The parable is lengthy which means that much Scripture was preached while the apostles influenced the age. The fowls got rid of the seed so they are the enemy. The sower is not criticized whether he sowed ( i.e. preached ) well or badly. The criticism is reserved for the soil which represents the hearts of the hearers. Don’t complain that someone told you the truth in some inadequate way. How the seed was scattered is immaterial. The soil ( the heart) where it falls is all that counts.

MATTHEW 13:10

     10    And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

     11    He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

Scripture is written in a way that cannot be easily understood by the casual reader. Only when a person is born again of the Holy Spirit can his or her inner eyes of insight be opened so that they can link the Scriptures together to arrive at the truth.

God must also send a messenger at the end time to reveal the mystery of God.

REVELATION 10:7

But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.

This angel or messenger will also be a prophet. That makes him a human messenger, not a supernatural messenger like the angel Gabriel. So we also need an inspired prophet, like Paul, Peter and John were, to teach us the mystery of Who God is and what His salvation plan over 2000 years is, etc.

The first church age where Roman persecution of Christians was started by the emperor Nero who burned down most of Rome in 64 AD in order to rebuild it and then conveniently blamed and killed the Christians. Christians were forced to meet in secrecy, often in small groups. They looked to the apostles for leadership and the influence and writings of the apostles was pre-eminent until around the year 170 AD.

Their goal was not to build up big church organizations.

ACTS 8:4

Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

The destruction of the Jewish Temple in AD 70  removed any obvious centre of Christian worship.

The meetings being held in private houses, or in any rooms that could be obtained, or in the open air, no special buildings were required. ( The Pilgrim Church by E H Broadbent  page 3 )

But slowly the wisdom of man began to replace faith in the Bible.

Justin Martyr ( 100 – 165 AD ) began to interpret certain aspects of Scripture in terms of Greek philosophy. He also drew a clear separation and distinction between the Son and then the Father who alone is the Creator and the only true God. He never referred to Christ as the “one true God”. Christ as the divine Logos (Word) is another God beside the Father, according to Justin Martyr, who says “by other I mean in number, not in will”.  Thanks to the fame and influence of Justin Martyr, human opinion was beginning to replace the Scripture.

Then other men like Tertullian (160 – 220 AD ) from Carthage in North Africa became famous and drew followers after themselves.  The opinion of these so-called church fathers began to replace Scripture. People quoted clever men rather than just quoting what the apostles wrote in Scripture. Tertullian was the first writer to present the Trinity doctrine. When writing of Father, Son and Holy Spirit he said that “these three are one substance, not one person”. The word “Trinity” is unscriptural, but people no longer cared to stay with Scripture.

Clever men began to dominate the people. This is Nicolaitanism, the lifting up of holy men above the laity who are the ordinary people. As more believers joined in, unscriptural rules were made in the interests of a more efficient organization. Slowly the churches moved away from the Bible pattern of elders and accepted the leadership of a man. As each local church became controlled by one man instead of a group of elders,  it was just a matter of time before a bishop came to mean a man who was in charge of a group of local churches. The Roman empire had political metropolitans who were in charge of certain regions. This office was copied by the churches and church metropolitans were promoted up to control a group of bishops in a region or province. These were lucrative positions and ambitious men competed shamelessly for these positions. In the interests of organizational efficiency there needed to be one person in charge. So as the church grew a cardinal had to be appointed to be in charge of a group of metropolitans. The final step was to appoint a pope to be in charge of the cardinals. A very efficient, though unscriptural, organization had been established which would spread around the world. Nicolaitanism ( nico = conquer  i.e.  conquer the laity), the creation of an Aaronic priesthood between God and the laity  ( the ordinary people ) was here to stay. From a human perspective this seemed a great way to serve God but unfortunately God hates this system.

REVELATION 2:6

But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

Matthew 15:9   

But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

However good an idea seems to us humans, if it is unscriptural it simply takes us away from God.

MATTHEW 13:12

      For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

     13    Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

Jesus never wanted Scripture to be interpreted in terms of clever Greek philosophy ( human opinions ) nor did He want us to use unscriptural words like “Trinity” to explain truth. So people read the Bible and then mess up their understanding by applying human intelligence and opinions which cannot interpret Scripture in terms of other Scriptures.

MATTHEW 13:14

And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

     15    For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

 

MATTHEW 13:16

But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

The apostles always stayed with the Scripture. Paul went to Athens to convert the Greeks, not to learn philosophy from them. The apostles never used the words Trinity, Christmas, easter eggs or easter bunnies, archbishop, cardinal, pope etc. They never applied the word “church” to a building.

     MATTHEW 13 :17   

For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

Then Jesus gave the apostles the meaning of the parable as they understood truth. The concept of seven church ages was a hidden mystery that the Jews did not realize was part of God’s plan.

This explanation of Jesus implies that the early church understood the truth of Scripture, thanks to the influence of the apostles.

MATTHEW 13:18

Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.

 19    When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.

The fowls are classified as the wicked one, the devil. He comes in many disguises with one aim in mind, to stop us believing the Bible. If you use unscriptural words to explain your beliefs, you are on the wrong track.

MATTHEW 13:20

But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;

     21    Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

Shallow Christians want truth as long as it is only accompanied by benefits. Any difficulty and unpopularity or sacrifice is not acceptable. They only believe in the Gospel of gain and easy living. A prosperity doctrine.

MATTHEW 13:22

He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

This is the Gospel of popularity and the Gospel of Greed. I will serve God with my friends and my family in my church. I will serve God while I pursue my ambitions and make money my way (Any dubious deals and selfishness are just called “that is business”.)

MATTHEW 13:23

But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

Only one quarter of the seed fell on good ground. One group was good. Three groups were not good. One versus three.  One God who is Jesus Christ versus the Trinity who is one God in three Persons.

The first church age ended around the year 170 AD as the influence of the apostles decreased and clever men with clever speculations took over the leadership of the churches. Each church had to have a bishop in charge of it. This system replaced the rulership of the local church by the local elders.

Now we come to the second parable.

The first parable was given and then explained at length. This indicates that the early church had a lot of truth.

The second parable is lengthy ( showing that there was still a lot of people who, during their persecutions, wanted to believe the Bible as it was written) but no explanation was given. So understanding of the truth was diminishing.

Thus the traditions of man, based on unscriptural words and rituals and traditions were causing people to lose sight of basic Bible truths. Ignorance and misunderstanding formed a mist that stopped people from seeing the true Scripture. The forces of darkness began to slowly erode truth as human wisdom replaced faith in the written Word.

As the churches increased, their first zeal flagged and conformity to the world and its ways increased also. ( The Pilgrim Church by E H Broadbent  page 11 )

Cyprian, born about 200 AD freely used the term “the Catholic church” and he saw no salvation outside it. This church excluded all who did not conform to it.

There was a growing distinction between laity and clergy. The clergy dominated then conquered the laity in a process called Nicolaitanism.

MATTHEW 13:24

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

     25    But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

     26    But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

     27    So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

     28    He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

     29    But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

     30    Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

Truth and error would grow side by side. As Judas was one of the disciples, so preachers of error would be active in the congregations. Clever men with clever philosophies would blind many to the truth.

By the time of Origen (184 – 253) in Alexandria he took the concept of Trinity for granted and then blended Christianity with pagan philosophy.

Christianity ( believing the Bible ) and Churchianity were growing together. But people were losing sight of truth.

The second church age ended when Constantine killed his rivals and their followers in battles and became Roman emperor and claimed to be a Christian and stopped persecuting Christians in the year  312 AD. Starting with the emperor Nero in the year 64 AD, the Roman emperors unleashed at least ten savage persecutions against the Christians and killed about 3 million Christians in the process until Constantine stopped the slaughter.

Jesus gave no interpretation at the end of the second parable which implies that the church had drifted away from the Scripture and thus into darkness. Churchianity was replacing Christianity. Traditions replaced Scripture.

The Third parable.

MATTHEW 13:31

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:

     32    Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

Very little Scripture is written for this third parable. This means Bible truth is dieing out.

The birds who were the enemies in the first parable are now in charge of the church. A big tree or structure has grown up which is a perversion. Mustard should be a small herb not a huge tree with unscriptural ranks like archbishop, cardinal, pope for the enemies of truth to lodge in. The early church consisted of small communities that usually met in houses, especially when they were persecuted and scattered as they often were. Slowly this changed into a big political and religious system under the control of totally unscriptural office bearers.

Constantine gave the Lateran palace to the bishop of Rome as well as enormous wealth from the Roman treasury. The bishop of Rome became Constantine’s strong man in the West when Constantine shifted his capital to the East at Constantinople. Thus the bishop of Rome also gained political clout. Religion and politics have always been a dangerous combination that should be avoided.

It was now taken for granted that the church in each city was ruled by a bishop. The cities that were linked to the apostles were given greater prestige and their bishops became exalted. As they competed with each other for more power and prestige so the the bishops of Rome, Antioch, Jerusalem and Alexandria began to become even more influential. They were the main guys as they grabbed for power and prestige.

In 378 AD Theodosius became emperor and agreed to the persecution of pagans. Around 450 AD pope Leo had enlarged this to the persecution of Christians who disagreed with the Catholic church.

The third church age ended about the year 600 AD by which time the Roman bishop considered himself the universal bishop with power over all of Christianity.

The fourth parable

MATTHEW 13:33

     33    Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

This parable has very little Scripture to describe it. Only one verse. This represents the dark ages, when there was very little Scripture in the established churches,  which lasted from about 600 to 1500 AD. The fourth church in Revelation chapter 3 is addressed as Thyatira which means a dominating woman. The Roman church had now secured complete domination over the people.

Soon after the year 620 AD, when the Muslims conquered Antioch, Jerusalem and Alexandria this left Rome as the only main western centre that was linked to an apostle. Lacking his former rivals, the bishop of Rome became ever more influential and powerful.

Persecutions increased as the Roman church tried to stamp out all opposition. By the time they finally stopped killing their opponents they had killed 68 million non Catholics. “Meal” makes bread which represents Scripture. A woman represents the church. Leaven must rot as it forms carbon dioxide which rises as a gas to puff up the dough. So a woman ( the Catholic church ) took meal ( the Word ) and broke it into three sections ( the Trinity breaks up God into three Persons ) until this rottenness had spread through all the Word. Thanks to the Trinity doctrine Christians no longer know the name of God ( Jesus Christ ) and thus get baptized in the titles Father, Son and Holy Spirit instead of in the Name of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Error keeps spreading which causes people to understand less and less of truth.

MATTHEW 13:34

     34    All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: (Truth is hidden behind the symbols in Scripture).

     35    That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

     36    Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.

 

MATTHEW 13:37

He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;

     38    The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;

     39    The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.

     40    As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.(the great tribulation ends the last church age)

     41    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;(doing things that they know are wrong )

     42    And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. ( The great Tribulation )

     43    Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

When the fourth parable is complete, Jesus begins to reveal what happened in the second church age as the Catholic church dragged Christianity off into error. Thus at the end of the fourth church age, at the end of the dark ages or middle ages, men like Huss and Wycliffe came on the scene with enough light to bring the Christians back to salvation and also to make the people aware that the Roman church was the ancient enemy of Truth.

The fifth parable

MATTHEW 13:44

 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 that field.

Only one verse describes this age. Thus there was not much truth that was restored. But Luther, that bravest of reformers, restored the truth about salvation as a personal experience with Christ. People could not break with most of the Catholic doctrines that were unscriptural, but they did find Christ as their personal Saviour. So it was a big step forward.

The man referred to in the parable is Christ. He , at Calvary, paid the price for the whole world. That is when He bought the world ( the field). He sold out all of His Heavenly glory to become a suffering Servant and sold out any sense of dignity by suffering the most undignified of deaths. Thus He paid the price in full, giving up His Own Life. Then He hid the treasure which is salvation. Salvation cannot be bought. So people can read the Bible and miss the whole point that they need to be saved. A personal salvation experience with Christ is the hidden treasure that can be found in Scripture. It is free as it cannot be bought. But God so loved the world that He paid the price for the entire world ( the field). Thus anyone can be saved.

The other aspect of the word “treasure” was the translation of the Bible into the common language of the people instead of being in Latin which suited the Roman Catholics. The King James Version of the Bible was printed about 1610 AD and is still regarded as the Jewel of the English language. So much so, that all the great Christian movements that were to follow started in English speaking countries.

[Around 1750 AD John Wesley preached holiness and outreach in England which laid the foundation for the missionary age that began just before 1800 AD.

Around 1906 the Pentecostal revival that began in America restored the baptism of the Holy Ghost to individual believers.

From 1947 to 1965, William Branham, also in America, revealed a deeper insight into Scripture that gave us a bigger picture that welded so-called conflicting Scriptures together. The real truth was restored for those individuals who could dare to think differently from their church leaders and their church traditions.]

But in the days of Luther’s great reformation, roughly from 1500 AD to about 1750 AD, there was a lack of Gospel outreach to the whole world. The reformers like Luther, Calvin, John Knox did an impressive work as regards evangelism in Europe.

But there were two major problems : what about the rest of the world?  What about all the truth that they did not yet know?

 

Coming out of the Dark Ages the world needed the great truth of salvation as well as the great need of the Bible in their own languages. But people also needed holiness ( which John Wesley would preach ) and the Holy Ghost baptism ( which the Pentecostals would restore ). People also needed Truth so that they would not have to use unscriptural words like Trinity to describe God and then be fooled into thinking that “Father, Son and Holy Ghost” are names. We also need to know what original sin was and who the antichrist is. William Branham would guide us down that difficult path.

The reformers escaped from Rome and the authority of the Pope but their followers ( like Jacob stealing his father in law’s idols), preferred to be dominated by human leaders and , as an example, the Anglicans accepted Henry VIII, who practiced adultery and murder, as Head of the church and Defender of the faith.  They established their own priests with ceremonial robes in imitation of the Catholic priesthood. The reformers escaped ( Sardis means escaped ones ) from Rome but the Reformation was unfulfilled as their followers were not watchful to move on with God and simply re-established the Catholic idea of churches with a human head which, despite some differences, soon incorporated many ideas of the Roman Catholic church such as Trinity, baptism in the name of Father, Son and Holy Ghost, a human leader ( priest or pastor) who dominates the church with his power to welcome in or cast out any individual. Compliance and submission to church leaders became the biggest obstacle to accepting further truth as God revealed it.

The sixth parable

 

 MATTHEW 13:45

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

     46    Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

A bit more truth is restored to the church as this parable contains two verses.

The field was bought in the last parable so it cannot be bought again. John Wesley opened the door to evangelism outside the church buildings and this eventually led to the great missionary age that began around  1800 AD.

In Revelation a pearl is a gate to the heavenly city.

REVELATION 21:21

And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

REVELATION 3:8

I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.

In the sixth church age of Philadelphia ( brotherly love ) the church has an open door set before it. A door is thus the symbol of missionary work. So Christ died at Calvary to purchase the right to the missionary age. He would raise up missionaries who would spread the gospel of salvation in the Name of Jesus Christ even though there was still much error in what the Christians believed.

The heroic age of the missionaries, despite incredible difficulties, cast a glow of light around the world. This was a golden age of brotherly love ( Philadelphia ) as salvation spread to other nations and John Wesley’s emphasis on holiness upgraded human behaviour standards. So much so that Protestant England was spared the horrors of the French revolution which ripped apart Catholic France. No-one who wanted to live holy could use a guillotine to behead people, or watch this awful spectacle.

“and hast not denied my name.”   Missionaries emphasize the Name of Jesus Christ. There is no other path to salvation. This emphasis also began to open a Door to a deeper insight into Scripture, the fact that Jesus is God and there is no Trinity. Deeper truths are difficult for people to accept when they are in the comfort zone of their established churches. But the Door to deeper revelation was opening and revealing that Jesus is the Lord God Almighty. Another deeper revelation was that denominational religion is the mark of the beast, following human pastors along their own paths which are a mixture of truth and error. They are unable to be corrected because they reject any opinion other than their own. A more difficult revelation to accept is that sex was the original sin. Satan has really blinded people to this truth. Muslim men live with the belief that 70 virgins await them in heaven. This inspires many of them to kill themselves and others in suicide attacks so that they can claim their reward in heaven. They forget one basic fact. The golden rule remains : thou shalt not kill.

The missionary age was remarkable but it lacked two things : the Holy Ghost baptism and the full Truth of Scripture that would come into view as the Door opened.

Notice how many Christians still say “ There is a mistake in the Bible” as they attempt to reconcile Scriptures that appear to contradict each other.  There is no mistake in the King James Version Bible. It remains the Absolute. The mistake is always in our ignorance, our lack of the big picture. This would remain a problem until William Branham began to reveal his remarkable insights into Scripture. An eagle has a double eye. The outer perimeter keeps the big picture in focus. The inner portion of its eye can magnify a detail about 10 times which enables it to see things that other birds cannot.

The Lion age introduced the truth of the Bible with St Paul and the Apostles. The ox age saw millions of Christians die for their faith in the Dark Ages. The man age saw human intellect blessed with an ability to translate the Bible correctly into the King James Version. The last age, the eagle age, saw power from above come down on Pentecost in the form of the Holy Ghost baptism. But humans then split that movement up into pastor dominated Pentecostal denominations. Then a prophet, William Branham, restored the ancient Scriptural truths of the early church with his remarkable insights. But his followers would go down the same sad path of splitting the movement into pastor dominated versions of his quotes. Thus the last church age, the seventh parable, is ready to unfold. Outwardly it looks good and prosperous but actually the last church age is in bad shape.

 

MATTHEW 13:47

     47    Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:

The sea is the restless multitude of people. The Gospel net goes out and collecs all sorts of people. The word “net” also has the added meaning of internet, where people from all over the world can contact truth.

MATTHEW 13:48

     48    Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.

Just like fishermen, some of the fish are good and some are not. Some people respond to the Truth and some do not. They think that they are rejecting truth but actually it is themselves that are being rejected by truth.

 

MATTHEW 13:49

     49    So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,

The real struggle is in the Spirit where it is God versus Satan. The flesh is little more than a shadow of the real spiritual struggle. We think we serve God but angels play a key role in separating us from evil and keeping us on the right path. In this confusing and deceiving age, we need all the help that we can get.

 

MATTHEW 13:50

  50    And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Those who reject truth will end up in the great Tribulation which ends the seventh church age.

MATTHEW 13:51

     51    Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord.

In the seventh age, thanks to the revelations unfolded by William Branham, the understanding of Scripture returns so that the last church age can have the same basic beliefs as the first church age.

MATTHEW 13:52

     52    Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.

The last age must understand all the new developments like the Jews going back to Israel as well as the Elijah who will restore us back to the early church of the first age so that we can serve God in the same ways and with the same understanding that they did in days of old.

 

MATTHEW 13:53

     53     ¶  And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence.

The seventh church age will end when Jesus returns to take His Bride, the true church, and then departs with her to Heaven for the wedding feast.

The rest go into the Tribulation. Please do not be amongst this group even though they are by far in the majority. But they will not go far.