The Kingdom Is Not Already
(Excerpt from Conference Message)
by Dr. Stanley Toussaint
Matthew Chapter 13 is a cornerstone on the discussions of the modern-day views of the kingdom. In Matthew 13 the Lord speaks in parables and the disciples ask, "Why do you speak to them in parables?" And Christ tells them He does so to conceal the truth from those who reject Him and to reveal the truth to those who believe. To conceal and reveal. That's the point of the parables.
The first parable is the parable of the sower. It is a much disputed parable. The one distinction of the good soil is that the person thereby represented heard and understood. He heard and understood. And he bore fruit— much fruit. The Lord is explaining that if you don't understand this parable, then you can't understand the other parables either
The Lord was saying that the fruit of understanding is more understanding. He was speaking in parables so that people might have a greater understanding of what the kingdom is going to be.
The first parable is followed by six others. These six parables are parables which are called 'mysteries of the kingdom.' To the disciples it was given to know the mysteries of the kingdom.
For years my brothers in the Dispensational family have said that this is teaching a mystery form of the kingdom. You hear this over and over again: "Matthew 13 contains the mystery form of the kingdom." But that changes the meaning. In Matthew 3, 4, and 10, we Dispensationalists argue vociferously and strongly that the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of God, is the earthly kingdom promised to Israel. So how in Matthew 13 can the kingdom refer to something present and unrelated to Israel?
The parables of Matthew 13 are not talking about a new form. They are talking about mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. What does the word mysteries mean? It means new truths, truths that have not been taught before. So to the disciples—and to us—it has been given to know new truths about the kingdom.
Listen to that first mystery parable. One man sowed good seeds; the other man sowed tares. They grow together. At the end of the age the tares are taken out first. The Lord is saying there is a whole new age coming. In the kingdom of heaven good and evil are not going to coexist. Righteousness is going to prevail. But now we have tares and wheat, a whole new age. This is the new truth not taught in the Old Testament. A whole new age in which good and evil are going to coexist. It teaches us something else. John the Baptist had said "And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees... His winnowing fan is in His hand" (Matt 3:10, 12) and Christ is in effect saying, "No, no, no. Don't judge them now. Wait. The judgment is going to be at the end of this next age." So these are things not found in the Old Testament, they are new truths about the kingdom of heaven. And so you can go through all six mystery parables and learn about new truths.
The third mystery parable talks about leaven. What is the leaven? Well in the New Testament leaven consistently portrays evil. I don't think you can get away from that. And it is talking about the growth of evil in this age. That is just exactly what prophecy teachers teach, that there is going to be the spreading of apostasy, and evil, and wickedness. And so instead of the kingdom, it is going to get worse and worse. Leaven is going to pervade the whole lump of dough and so on.
A farmer buys some land in the fourth mystery parable. There he unearths a hidden treasure. The treasure shows that the kingdom of heaven is near. The man buries it and then buys it. I don't think that is talking about Christians giving up everything to be saved. Literally, some people think that. Some people think that you must give up everything to be saved. That is not what the Lord is teaching. You don't buy your salvation. Christ redeems us. So this is talking about our redemption and Christ buying the field.
The same point is made in the fifth mystery parable, the pearl of great price. Christ is going to buy this body of believers.
These are new truths that are given.
What is Christ doing now, if He is not ruling over the kingdom? Well it is very clear in Ps 110:1 what He's doing: "The Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.'" And that is exactly what Hebrews chapter 10 says. In Hebrews 10:12-13 we are told that He "sat down on the right hand of God... expecting till His enemies be made His footstool." That is what the King James says. I love that! I grew up in Hinckley, Minnesota where the men are men and the women are slightly above average. And when referring to a women as expecting, that was, she is expecting. Now I like that here. The translators used expecting in Heb 10:13. Well, that is not exactly the word, but it is anticipating. He is sitting at the right hand of the Father waiting "till His enemies be made His footstool."
He is not now reigning. He is waiting for that. Sit at my right hand, until I subdue the enemies. That's why Isaiah said, "A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench till He sends forth justice to victory" (Matt 12:20, quoting Isa 42:3, emphasis added).
So right now, we are at the time of history where Christ is seen in His weakness. He doesn't strike down someone for blaspheming His name. People get by with all kinds of things. A bruised reed, He really will not break. Smoking flax He will not quench. He is just being very gracious in this time. It is incredible.
There is no present form of the kingdom. The kingdom is in the future.