Monday, September 22, 2014

The Kingdom of Heaven is like . . .

No major updates on me or people we're teaching, we're all still moving along.

Today I wanted to share some insights from my studies and institute. I am so blessed to be able to attend a fantastic institute class every week because we have investigators going and it is a time of marvelous spiritual enlightenment.

The class we generally go to is on the New Testament, and we are currently covering the gospels this semester. Last class we read in Matthew in chapter 13 and 14. This is where Christ gives many parables, all the "The kingdom of heaven is like unto..." There was so much insight I gained in just a few verses, I really wanted to share it with all of you! There are amazing principles to be learned from this.

1. Asking the right questions and taking time to ponder is a pre-requisite to spiritual enlightenment.
Brother Garlick, the teacher asked amazing questions about a few of the verses that made me (and the whole class) think about the scripture differently. As we thought and shared insights with one another, we were all edified.

2. There are multiple meanings to every parable. Discussing and learning in a class can help us to see different sides of it. Pondering precedes revelation.

So, to the scriptures:

Matt 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.

The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure in a field.. so

How do we find it?

What do we do with it?

What can we assume about it?

What are different ways we find treasure?... we can be searching for it, stumble upon it, be led to it, inherit it... There is a spiritual application to all of these.

What do we do with it?...well like the man in the story, he sold all he had for joy and bought the field. Are we willing to give all we have for the gospel?

What can we assume?...if there is treasure in this field, and he found it, why did the man buy the field? If you find treasure somewhere, it's usually safe to assume there might be more close by. As we continue digging for truth and light in the gospel there is always more to be found.

Matt 13:45-46 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. 

At first glance this parable might not appear too different from the last one, but wait! What is the kingdom of heaven like? A pearl? No, interestingly enough, it's a merchant man seeking goodly pearls. There are many meanings you can gain from this, but I want to share a few that I learned, and some of the implications for the truth found there.

Christ is the merchant man seeking goodly pearls. Let's re-read the parable like that.
The kingdom of heaven is like unto Christ, seeking souls. Who, when he had found one soul of great price, went and sacrificed all He had to bring it back to the Father.

What a powerful truth taught in such a simple parable! What can we learn from that interpretation?

If we are the pearl, how are we made? Pearls start off essentially as an irritant, something that discomforts the oyster. But, layer upon layer because of the struggle a pearl is made. We are given weaknesses that we may be made strong.

What does this tell us about our worth? Something is only worth as much as you are willing to pay for it. If you have a rare mint baseball card that's supposed to be worth a lot, but no one wants to pay that much, then it's really only worth what is paid for it. So if Christ gave an infinite sacrifice for us, if we are purchased with His blood, what does that tell us about our worth? How much are we valued in God's eyes?

Matt 13:47-50
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Who are the fish? Who is fishing? What does the water represent? What does the net represent?

The fish are us, God is fishing, and if we look at 1 Nephi 15: 27, the water is filthy, it could represent the world. So we're fish, swimming around in the world, and the fisherman comes to lift us out with a net. Hold on, don't fish die when you take them out of the water? Yes, but as we are coming higher, becoming more like Christ, isn't something in us supposed to die? The natural man is to be overcome, and the closer we come to Christ, coming out of the water, the less that part of us has any power. Link that to the story of Jesus walking on the water...what kind of power does he have over water/the world? It doesn't affect him. And he can lift us higher.

Sorry this letter is so scattered today. Hope you learned something. My computer time was limited today and I had a couple other things I had to do. Love you lots! Share any other insights with me! Hope this gives you new perspective to the depth you can gain in your studies.


Sister Andreason

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