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Month 12:08, Week 1:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year 5935:324 AM
Gregorian Calendar: Wednesday 29 February 2012
The Treasure & the Pearl
A Wonderful Truth Told and Retold

      "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for simcha (joy) over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

      "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it" (Matt.13:44-46, NKJV).

    Shabbat shalom kol beit Yisra'el!

    The Treasure

    Once upon a time there was a man and there was a field. And as earlier teachings of the Master clearly identify, the man is Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) and the field is the world of people. Buried - that is, hidden from view - in that field of the world is a great treasure which the Messiah finds, hides for protection, and then buys by selling everything that He has. What was it that Yah'shua (Jesus) used to buy the treasure with, and how are we to identify that treasure? Yahweh Himself tells us in the Torah:

      "For you are a set-apart (holy) people to Yahweh your Elohim (God); Yahweh your Elohim has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth" (Deut.7:6, NKJV).

    The treasure that Yah'shua (Jesus) bought here are which people?

      "Yahweh has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel for His special treasure" (Ps.135:4, NKJV).

    Israel is the treasure hidden in the field of the world. But how are we to identify Israel in the modern world? By what spiritual or other markers are we to identify those who make up Israel?

      "'Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My b'rit (covenant), then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of cohenim (priests) and a set-apart (holy) nation.' These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel" (Ex.19:5-6, NKJV).

    The treasure is here identified as doing two things:

    • 1. Obeying the Voice of Yahweh; and
    • 2. Keeping the Covenant.

    The people are those identified with the patriarch Jacob who was renamed Israel. However, the people in this prophecy clearly did not become this "special treasure" because of their race, lineage or ancestry with Jacob, the father of the 12 Tribes, but because of faithfulness and obedience to the Davar (Word) of Yahweh (the Torah) and the Covenant. Thus the treasure is obedient and covenant-keeping - those who constitute this treasure have entered into a special agreement or contract with El Elyon (the Most High). This precisely identifies the "Kingdom of Heaven".

    Please note that this passage is, as I have said, prophetic in as much as it is loking into the future. Old Covenant Israel was not a "kingdom of cohenim (priests)" because under that covenant only one line of the Tribe of Levi was permitted to hold the priesthood. And according to the Book of Hebrews, that covenant and priesthood are both at an end and have been replaced, respectively, by a New Covenant under the Melchizedek Priesthood. The members of that New Covenant are identified in the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) as all being called to be cohenim (priests). Speaking of the former (Old) Covenant, Peter says:

      "They stumble, being disobedient to the Davar (Word), to which they also were appointed" (1 Peter 2:8b, NKJV).

    And then goes on to identify who the other obedient, covenant-faithful people are:

      "But you (New Covenant believers) are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a set-apart (holy) nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of Elohim (God), who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy" (1 Peter 2:9-10, NKJV).

    Who were these people who "once were not a people" but who "are now the people of Elohim (God)" - they are the people of the Messianic Covenant - the New Covenant - under a New Royal Messianic Melchizedek Priesthood, whose Cohen Gadol (High Priest) is Yah'shua (Jesus). Remember, that the epistle to the Hebrews was addressed to whp? The Hebrews and not the Gentiles, so Paul is not here speaking of Gentiles but those Hebrews who by lineage and covenant were of the Old Covenant. In the New Covenant, the last Cohen Gadol (High Priest) purchased the treasure - obedient and covenant-faithful Israel - by dying for the treasure on the Cross of Calvary, extending mercy by His grace - His undeserved loving-kindness, His unmerited favour. It is because of this death that the Treasure is now able to fulfil the original promise in Torah to become "a kingdom of cohenim (priests) and a set-apart (holy) nation" which Old Covenant Israel, under the preparatory Levitical Priesthood, never did accomplish.

    Those Israelites and Judahites who rejected Messiah demonstrated that they were not that Treasure and not of the Kingdom of Heaven. By rejecting Him, they ceased to be true Israelites. In rejecting the King, they rejected the Kingdom. It must be categorically stated and understood, therefore, that neither 'Jews', 'Gentiles', nor anyone else who rejects Messiah Yah'shua (Jesus) is of the Kingdom, is Yahweh's treasure, or the "apple of His eye". Flesh and blood cannot inherit this Kingdom, there is no special or favoured race:

      "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of Elohim (God); nor does corruption inherit incorruption" (1 Cor.15:50, NKJV).

    Some of these Israelites may well be descendants of Jacob by blood but they are not Israel the overcomer, the man of emunah (faith) - they are the children of faithlessness if they do not receive Messiah. The selection of the saved is not from a race but, as the concluding parable Yah'shua (Jesus) gives teaches, from the whole world:

      "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. So it will be at the end of the age. The malakim (angels) will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth" (Matt.13:47-50, NKJV).

    The fish are the people of the world, like the field in the first parable, and the saved are of "every kind", that is, from every nation, kindred and tongue. The haul is not being taken from a 'select nation' and then others extracted from the nations and added to the select nation's extract. That isn't what Yah'shua (Jesus) is saying at all. Rather, the fishermen are trawling from amongst every species of fish and sorting them out on the basis of whether they "wicked" or "just", the "bad" and the "good". And how is that separation made in practice? The good and just are separated on the basis of their trust in Messiah which is demonstrated by the Torah-obedience and the bad and wicked on the basis of their rejection of Messiah as is evidenced by their failure to obey the mitzvot (commandments).

    The carnal eye sees the outer flesh but the spiritual eye sees the lev (heart). And those believers who exalt Zionism and the modern-day Republic of Israel, which is of the flesh, are therefore committing idolatry. True, biblical Israel consists of all the original descendants of Jacob who received - and are now receiving - Messiah as King of the Kingdom of Israel and all those non-Jacobites who received - and are now receiving - Him too. And so it remains true to this day. Everyone who receives Yah'shua (Jesus) as Master (Lord) and Deliverer (Saviour), who obeys the Davar (Word) and keeps the sevenfold New Covenant of Messiah symbolised by the seven annual festivals, is the Treasure, found, hidden, purchased and brought into the light of day by His great salvation! This Nation of Messianic Israel is scattered throughout the nations of the world and will remain scattered until just before Messiah returns.

    The Pearl

    The second parable of the Kingdom in today's passage is more difficult at first sight to explain. A great many believers make the mistake of thinking that Yah'shua (Jesus) or the Besorah (Gospel) is the Pearl of Great which a man (us) purchased by selling everything he had. However, this cannot possibly be true, because if it is, it is implying that we can purchase our salvation, which is impossible. It would make us legalists - and legalism is not the ticket to Heaven. Salvation cannot be purchased, it cannot be earned. Yah'shua (Jesus) is emphatically not for sale and the purchase price is not our good works!

    Since we have already identified the man as Yah'shua (Jesus), we must then ask ourselves what this pearl is that is so valuable. Here we have a problem because in biblical times pearls were not regarded as precious stones by the Hebrews. Indeed, they were regarded as as unkosher because they are produced by an unkosher oyster which Israelites are not permitted to eat. So to an Israelite, pearls were worthless, like modern children's glass marbles - they are not even mentioned in the Tanakh (Old Testament)!

    Pearls were only valuable to non-Israelites. In the days of the apostles, Galilee was a region where gentile traders came looking for the very pearls which held no interest for Galileans, Samaritans or Judeans. They paid exhorbitant prices to obtain them to take back to their own countries. The disciples, most of whom were Galileans, who were familiar with this lucrative trade, would have clearly understood the symbolism of this parable.

    If the treasure is 12-Tribed Israel, who is the pearl? Non-Israelites! Yah'shua (Jesus) came to die for them too, to bring them into His Kingdom along with the descendants of Jacob, by grafting them into Israel and initiating them into a New Covenant with a completed or fulfilled New Covenant Torah.

    Now the pearl, as you know, is produced by the oyster in consequence of it swallowing a grain of sand which in turn is an irritation and discomfort. The pearl grows around what amounts to an injury or a hurt, transforming the object of its pain into something smooth, beautiful and glorious. The pearl, then, represents that part of Messianic Israel that has no genetic connection to Abraham, Isaac or Jacob, but who are nevertheless equals in the Kingdom:

      "Just as the oyster transforms something hurtful and foreign into a beautiful pearl, so the [Master] took the sin, not just of Israel, but of the whole world, family and foreigner alike, and by His suffering, and by giving all that He had, transformed us into His family and makes of us something beautiful and precious" [1].

    If ever you were persuaded by Jewish supremacists, British Israelites, White Israelites, Black Israelites or any other kind of fleshy chauvanist that the Gentiles are second class citizens in the Kingdom, be advised that these pearls are not only described in Scripture as representing the 12 Gates of the New Jerusalem but that these 'Gentiles' are adopted into each of the 12 Tribes too:

      "The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass" (Rev.21:21, NKJV).

    The point that we are to understand and learn from this beautiful depiction is that there is no longer any racial distinction in blood Israelites and the Gentiles because they have become so completely merged in Messiah that they are wholly indistinguishable. Indeed, these pearls occuly that singularly important rôle as gates or doors to the Kingdom by virtue of Messiah being IN them. Thus Yah'shua (Jesus) would say:

      "I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture" (John 10:9, NKJV).

    This door or gate is hard to find such that few find it:

      "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matt.7:13-14, NKJV).

    So the warning is not to go idolising anyone who claims to be special because of their birth. They're not. They're all made of the same fallen matter as we are (dust), their sin issues are the same as everyone else (though they do tend to be more prideful, arrogant and contentious), and they will go the way of the dust and into hell if they don't repent and submit to Messiah and His Torah.

    When we misinterpret these two parables, we turn the focus away from Messiah and onto our own works. Thus one Messianic Jewish Commentary claims:

      "The first of these parables deals with the unexpected discovery of the Kingdom of God, the second with the successful conclusion to a search for it. In either case the person who comes upon it recognizes its great value and is willing to give up all (he sold everything he owned) to have a personal relationship with God (he bought that field/the very valuable pearl)" [2].

    Protestant commentators make exactly the same mistake (e.g. Barnes, Matthew Henry, Wycliffe, etc.) because they don't allow Scripture to do the interpreting. It is easy to see how such a mistake could be made, though, because I made the same mistake for years myself reared on the teachings of others. And though Yah'shua (Jesus) may with considerable justification be likened to both a treasure and a pearl, this is not what the parables are saying, otherwise why use two separate illustrations? And to be consistent, if we are the man, then to keep tavnith (pattern), we must also be the dragnet cast into the sea, which we can only be (as "fishers of men") in a secondary sense.

    Finally, let us remember that the 12 tribes of Israel are scattered and mixed together with all the nations of the world, including Judah. The fraction of those who call themselves Jews are probably less than 5% of actual descent from Judah (since most are gentile converts to Judaism), as is discussed elsewhere. You have as much chance of picking out descendant of Judah from any people of the earth as you would from amongst the Jews who are a mixed bag like everyone else, as much chance as you would an Ephraimite. It would be wrong, therefore, to identify the treasure as the 'Jews' and the pearl as the 'Gentiles'. That distinction long disappeared two millennia ago:

      "For there is no distinction between Jew (Judahite) and Greek (Gentile), for the same Master over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For 'whoever calls on the name of Yahweh shall be saved'" (Rom.10:12-13, NKJV).

      "There is neither Jew (Judahite) nor Greek (Gentile)... for you are all one in Messiah Yah'shua (Christ Jesus). And if you are Messiah's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Gal.3:28-29, NKJV).

      "There is neither Greek (Gentile) nor Jew (Judahite), circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Messiah is all and in all" (Col.3:11, NKJV).

    We are not to go making those racial distinctions any more. The distinction passed away with the passing of the Old Covenant and anyone who insists on maintaining it is not walking in the spirit of the New Covenant. It is plain to see why ultra-Messianic Jewish chauvanists hate Paul because he made a point of eradicating all those distinctions they love so much. They want to maintain their separate identity and wear it as a badge of honour. They want to be 'Teacher's Pet'; but the spoiled have a tendency to be precocious and immature.

    Though we are still called Israel who believe in Messiah and obey His Torah, and are all Abraham's seed by emunah (faith) and not genetic composition, we have gone beyond ethnic Israel of old. New Covenant Israel is of all the sons and daughters of Adam. We are an international and transnational community of believers. We follow the same tavnith (pattern) of mitzvot (commandments) as the genetic descendants of Jacob did, as did those from other nations who were added to that community through conversion, but we have left behind - as Scripture requires us - anything that might be used by us to boast of ourselves. We are treasures because Yah'shua (Jesus) found us and bought us, and we are pearls because He bought us - Yah'shua (Jesus) did all the purchasing - He is the one who redeemed us and will separate us finally on the basis of whether we were good and just, or not, again confirming that the true talmidim (disciples) are to be identified by TWO things, and not just one. And what are these?

      "[They are those] who keep the mitzvot (commandments) of Elohim (God) and have the testimony of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ)" (Rev.12:17, NKJV).

      "Here is the patience of the set-apart ones (saints); here are those who keep the mitzvot (commandments) of Elohim (God) and the emunah (faith) of Yah'shua (Jesus)" (Rev.14:12, NKJV).

      "'And behold, I (Yah'shua/Jesus) am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alef (Alpha) and the Taw (Omega), the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.' Blessed are those who do His mitzvot (commandments), that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates (the pearls) into the city (New Jerusalem)" (Rev.22:12-14, NKJV).

    This is how the treasure and the pearl are known. And if you are of the Israelite 'treasure', consider that you must first pass through the 'pearl' to get inside the New Kingdom! What does that mean? It means that the vast majority of Yah'shua's (Jesus') witnesses are going to be of the pearl division, that is gentiles, leading both Israelites and Gentiles home to Yah'shua (Jesus). They will occupy a place of honour, not inferiority. Now there's a pride-cruncher for the chauvanists, showing us that Yahweh has no time for pride, which He hates. Who leads in Messianic Israel?

      "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them" (Isa.11:6, NKJV).

    Yah'shua (Jesus) warned the prideful:

      "Let the little children come to Me (Yah'shua/Jesus), and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of Elohim (God). Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of Elohim (God) as a little child will by no means enter it" (Luke 18:16-17, NKJV).

    Which leaves me to share one final thought with you. The pearl represents childlike-emunah (faith), a characteristic of the Tribe of Joseph, which is the gate or door to the Kingdom, is it not? And that is why the gentiles are thus glorified, because they are devoid of chauvanism and pride when they come with nothing to offer but surrender.

      "Therefore every Torah-teacher (scribe) instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old" (Matt.13:52, NKJV).

    I hope that you have relearned some old truths today and learned some new ones. The bottom line, as ever, is that Yah'shua (Jesus) is "all in all", the Master of the Treasure and the Master of the Pearl who died for both. Amen.


    [1] Barbara Richmond, Jewish Insights into the New Testament: 1996, p.55
    [2] David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary (Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc., Clarksville, Maryland: 1992), p.49

    Comments from Readers

    "A lot of beauty and emet in this

    I do have some unsurity though with looking at the parable of the man with the treasure, if one was to look at it on the prophetic layer of Yah’shua being the man, if it would be right to say that we were the treasure in the field. The reason I am unsure about this is where that would seem to create the image that we were a treasure (precious or good or of great worth) before Yah'shua bought us, rather then that Him we had nothing good or pleasing in or of ourselves that Elohim should buy or save us – that that was completely His grace to us that He did buy us (and change us to be a treasure to Him) … Also with where the man was buying the field for the sake of the treasure, with where Yah'shua did what He did not for us or because of us, for His Father – because of His love for Him and in that being obedient to Him, and out of that, us also being saved. It would seem more in tavnith (in pattern) to me if looking on the prophetic level of Yah’shua being the man, that the treasure would be something of Father Yah (in the same way perhaps when Yah'shua spoke about having treasure in heaven?) – of Him being pleased with Him, and the joy set before Him in that, and seeing that and being echad with His Father, and knowing and believing that there is nothing that compares in worth with that (and that He would be willing to lay everything down for that). It would also seem more in line as the pattern for us to follow – of us seeing being echad and in tavnith with Father Yah, of Him being pleased with us and having full unity with Him – of us seeing that as more precious then anything else, and where we would be willing to give up everything else we may have to have that.

    No, we cannot buy our salvation or save ourselves, yet, there does seem to be a kind of ‘buying’ from Elohim that is of Elohim (framed within His grace), I think seen with where Yah’shua in Revelation 3:18 says “I {Yah'shua} counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.” … Where according to what we surrender to Him (through His grace and enabling), we also receive something new from Him.

    Some thoughts to keep in prayer" (DP, South Africa, 29 February 2012).

    Lev's Response: In the parable of the sower (Mt.13:36-43) immediately before those of the treasure and the pearl, which addresses the same theme of the Kingdom, the Sower is clearly identified as the Son of Man and the seed various kinds of people, the good seed being those who belong to the Kingdom and the bad those who belong to the evil one. As in the parable of the dragnet which follows the treasure and pearl, the harvest is again people with a sorting and judgment by Yahweh's malakim (angels) acting in His behalf. In all four parables, the same simple tavnith (pattern) is used - the same subject and object and the same medium but with different symbolic illustrations:

    Parable Subject Object Medium
    Sower Yah'shua viâ malakim Saved and Unsaved Field = World
    Treasure Yah'shua Saved Israelites Field = World
    Pearl Yah'shua Saved Gentiles (not disclosed)
    Dragnet Yah'shua viâ malakim Saved and Unsaved Sea/Lake = World

    In the case of the purchase of the treasure and pearl, 'buying' is a metaphor for atonement. And although the 'buying' metaphor is again used in Revelation 3:18 it is used in a different way and context - in the simple sense of 'obtaining', as in the parable of the Ten Virgins (Mt.25:1-13) where the unwise virgins are directed to buy oil by the wise ones (vv.9-10). The oil here represents the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) which of course cannot be literally 'bought' (anymore than salvation can, even if Simon the Sorcerer tried to - Ac.8:18-19) but is described as a "gift" (Ac.2:38; 10:45; Heb.6:4). Therefore 'buying' here is an action which principally refers to repentance and trusting.

    So I do not think that my original exegesis was out of tavnith but rather consistent with the overall pattern and context of all four Kingdom parables (29 February 2012).

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