THE HIDDEN KINGDOM
By GORDON CHILVERS
great hope of the Jews was the Messianic Kingdom. Yet when it was within
their grasp they refused it. The Kingdom and its glory were an important
theme in the Old Testament prophets, and the Jews earnestly looked for the
great day when the
"The kingdom of heaven" - that is, the rule of God
world - "is like unto treasure" (Matthew 13: 44).
In the East the people used to divide their goods into three parts. One
they used in commerce or for their necessary support; one they turned into
jewels, which, should it prove needful to fly, could easily be carried with
them; and the third part of it they buried. The "treasure" of the parable is the promised
treasure was hidden in a field by God for "it is
the glory of God to conceal a thing" (Proverbs
25: 2). This was at the time of the creation of the world.
So Christ addresses those on His right hand at the judgement of the living
nations in these words: "Come, ye blessed of my
Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for
you from the foundation of the world" (Matthew
25: 34). There was no apparent evidence of the Kingdom when Jesus
came. The descendants of David in the early years of this era were very
poor and a foreigner ruled the land. One of the ruling Caesars tried to
find the heirs of David in order that he might prevent them opposing his
reign. He found that the only
survivors of the house of David were far too poor and insignificant to cause
the slightest trouble. So the
It is hidden "in a field"; this, Christ tells us, "is the world" (Matthew 13: 38). So then the sphere of Christ's Kingdom will be this present world. Zechariah (14: 9) says: "The Lord shall be king over all the earth". This is the coming Kingdom. At present it is hidden in the field. It is treasure which a man found. There was only one Man Who could find such a treasure - the Man Christ Jesus. When a man was spoken of in a previous parable our Lord, expounding that part of the parable, referred the words to Himself. This Man is spoken of in the epistle of the Hebrews. "For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come", that is, the millennial age. "Thou hast put all things in subjection under his (Christ's) feet" (Hebrews 2: 5 and 8). He found it and therefore it was not a treasure that was offered to Him. Very soon after our Lord's birth He received treasure as a gift from the Magi. "And when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh" (Matthew 2: 11). Just as Jesus was starting on His ministry, the Devil came to Him, and brought the treasure before Him, and offered it to Him. "The devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them". But Jesus refused this help in finding the Kingdom for the payment demanded was idolatry. "All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me" (Matthew 4: 8 and 9). Hebrews (9: 12) tells us that the treasure which He found was of inestimable worth - far greater than all the treasures of the earth combined. "He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained" - found - "eternal redemption for us". How blessed it is to know that such a great treasure was for us!
discovered where the treasure lay, the next thing the man does is to hide
it. Now it is at first sight difficult to see how any man could hide
great treasure and be blameless. Christ hid the treasure because circumstances made it necessary.
John the Baptist came to
used the past tense, "hid," for He had done it when He spoke. It was the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit by the
Jews (Matthew 12: 24 and 31), which caused our Lord
to hide the treasure. The very
method Christ used in teaching people by parables is the proof that the Kingdom
has been hidden again. As our Lord approached Calvary He had to
announce with tears that the treasure
was hidden from the eyes of the Jews. "And
when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace!
but now they
are hid from thine eyes." Instead of receiving the
Kingdom they would be a subject people. "And
they shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee, and
they shall not leave thee one stone upon another". The reason
for this awful calamity lay in the fact that they would not believe that Christ
had found the hid treasure. "Because thy knowest not the time of thy
visitation" (Luke 19: 41, 42, 44).
Jerusalem was the centre of David's Kingdom and
will be the centre of the Messiah's Kingdom. But as the Kingdom is hidden at present,
The hiding of the treasure brought sorrow to the finder of the Kingdom but "for joy thereof" He goes back realising the value of His treasure and is elated with the possibility of ownership. When but a little treasure was exhibited to view, we have the only recorded instance in the whole of the Gospels of our Lord's joy. He had sent the 70 out to preach and to heal the sick. They return to Him after exhibiting to the world something of "the powers of the age to come." "In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in Thy sight" (Luke 10: 21). It was joy [of that coming day] that spurred on our Lord as He came to the dark days bearing the punishment of the world's sin. Jesus, "for the joy that was set before him endured the cross despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12: 2). When the treasure is exhibited to all there will be even greater joy (Matthew 25: 23).
After finding the treasure He goes back - a phrase which "denotes that He was away from His home and went back to His home again". "It is the expression that is used almost without exception, in describing the departure of our Lord from the earth" (R. Govett). So our Lord says: "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father" (John 16: 28). Now the Jews knew that the field belonged to Christ. Jesus pointed this out very clearly to them in the parable. "Last of all he (God) sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance" (Matthew 21: 37 and 38). So Christ does not stay longer in the field, but returns to the Father.
Then He "selleth all that he hath". He was the Son of David by birth but gives up the title to the throne. The people would at one time have taken Him by force and made Him King - but all they wanted was a leader to conquer the Romans, but Christ would not have it. He had already given much but "being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Phil. 2: 6-8). It is no wonder that Paul calls attention to the great sacrifice He made that He might purchase the field. "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich" (2 Cor. 8: 9). The price to be paid was His very life. He gave all and could give nothing more. "The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give his life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20: 28). [It is very interesting to observe that Christ by the price of His life bought a field (Matthew 27: 7).] With the purchase price He buys the field, which according to Christ's own interpretation is the world. So the Samaritans say: "This is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world" (John 4: 42). He has paid the price and so received the title-deeds of the world. Christ gave everything for one field and at last He will receive it as His own purchased possession. "The seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever" (Rev. 11: 15).
We see in our Lord's parable something of His love for the world. There the parable leaves us, for at the present moment Christ has left the field, but it is our great joy to know that this same Jesus shall come again to receive the treasure which He has purchased. The mystery of the parable is that Christ should have to buy the field although it was His by creation. All things were made for Him, and by Him, and to Him all belong, but yet He must redeem the purchased possession. The treasure will not be unearthed until He comes for it. Christ now waits and longs for the time when He shall take the field and reign for ever and ever and have His children with Him. We, too, who know something of the Kingdom in mystery, look for the Kingdom in manifestation. What a time of blessing it will be, when our Lord is crowned King of kings and Lord of lords!