The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field - Θησαυρω κεκρυμμενω, to a hidden treasure. We are not to imagine that the treasure here mentioned, and to which the Gospel salvation is likened, means a pot or chest of money hidden in the field, but rather a gold or silver mine, which he who found out could not get at, or work, without turning up the field, and for this purpose he bought it. Mr. Wakefield's observation is very just: "There is no sense in the purchase of a field for a pot of money, which he might have carried away with him very readily, and as honestly, too, as by overreaching the owner by an unjust purchase."
He hideth - i.e. he kept secret, told the discovery to no person, till he had bought the field. From this view of the subject, the translation of this verse, given above, will appear proper - a hidden treasure, when applied to a rich mine, is more proper than a treasure hid, which applies better to a pot of money deposited there, which I suppose was our translators' opinion; and kept secret, or concealed, will apply better to the subject of his discovery till he made the purchase, than hideth, for which there could be no occasion, when the pot was already hidden, and the place known only to himself.
Our Lord's meaning seems to be this: - The kingdom of heaven - the salvation provided by the Gospel - is like a treasure - something of inestimable worth - hidden in a field; it is a rich mine, the veins of which run in all directions in the sacred Scriptures; therefore, the field must be dug up, the records of salvation diligently and carefully turned over, and searched. Which, when a man hath found - when a sinner is convinced that the promise of life eternal is to him, he kept secret - pondered the matter deeply in his heart; he examines the preciousness of the treasure, and counts the cost of purchase; for joy thereof - finding that this salvation is just what his needy soul requires, and what will make him presently and eternally happy, went and sold all that he had - renounces his sins, abandons his evil companions, and relinquishes all hope of salvation through his own righteousness; and purchased that field - not merely bought the book for the sake of the salvation it described, but, by the blood of the covenant, buys gold tried in the fire, white raiment, etc.; in a word, pardon and purity, which he receives from God for the sake of Jesus. We should consider the salvation of God,
6. Be always convinced that it must be bought, and that no price is accepted for it but the blood of the covenant; the sufferings and death of our only Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The kingdom of heaven - The gospel. The new dispensation. The offer of eternal life. See the notes at Matthew 3:2. The Saviour in this parable compares that kingdom to treasure hid in a field; that is, to money concealed; or more likely to a mine of silver or gold that was unknown to the owner of the field.
He hideth - That is, he conceals the fact that he has found it; he does not tell of it. With a view of obtaining this, Jesus says that a man would go and sell his property and buy the field. The conduct of the man would be dishonest. It would be his duty to inform the owner of the field of the discovery. He would be really endeavoring to gain property belonging to another at far less than its real value, and the principle of real integrity would require him to inform the owner of the discovery. But Christ does not intend to vindicate his conduct. He merely states the way in which people do “actually” manage to obtain wealth. He states a case where a man would actually “sacrifice his property,” and practice diligence and watchfulness to obtain the wealth which he had discovered. The point of the parable lies in his “earnestness,” his anxiety, his care, and his actually obtaining it. The gospel is more valuable than such a treasure, Psalm 19:10; Proverbs 3:13-15. It is hidden from most people. When a person sees it and hears it, it is his duty to sacrifice all that hinders his obtaining it, and to seek it with the earnestness with which other people seek for gold. The truth often lies buried: it is like rich veins of ore in the sacred Scriptures; it must be searched out with diligence, and its discovery will repay a man for all his sacrifices, Luke 14:33; Philemon 3:8.
We shall advance in true spiritual knowledge only as we realize our own littleness and our entire dependence upon God; but all who come to the Bible with a teachable and prayerful spirit, to study its utterances as the word of God, will receive divine enlightenment. There are many things apparently difficult or obscure which God will make plain and simple to those who thus seek an understanding of them. 5T 704.1
It is sometimes the case that men of intellectual ability, improved by education and culture, fail to comprehend certain passages of Scripture, while others who are uneducated, whose understanding seems weak and whose minds are undisciplined, will grasp the meaning, finding strength and comfort in that which the former declare to be mysterious or pass by as unimportant. Why is this? It has been explained to me that the latter class do not rely upon their own understanding. They go to the Source of light, the One who has inspired the Scriptures, and with humility of heart ask God for wisdom, and they receive it. There are mines of truth yet to be discovered by the earnest seeker. Christ represented the truth as treasure hid in a field. It does not lie right upon the surface; we must dig for it. But our success in finding it does not depend so much on our intellectual ability as on our humility of heart and the faith which will lay hold upon divine aid. 5T 704.2
Without the guidance of the Holy Spirit we shall be continually liable to wrest the Scriptures or to misinterpret them. There is much reading of the Bible that is without profit and in many cases is a positive injury. When the word of God is opened without reverence and without prayer; when the thoughts and affections are not fixed upon God or in harmony with His will, the mind is clouded with doubt; and in the very study of the Bible, skepticism strengthens. The enemy takes control of the thoughts, and he suggests interpretations that are not correct. 5T 704.3Read in context »
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” Those who do this will meet with no loss. The treasure laid up in heaven is secure; and it is put to our account, for Jesus said: “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” Men may sow here, but they reap in eternity. 5T 262.1
It is this eternal treasure that ministers of Christ are to present wherever they may go. They are to urge the people to become wise unto salvation. They are not to allow world-loving, timeserving professed believers to influence their course and weaken their faith. It is not their mission to help individuals or churches to contrive how they can save money by narrow plans and circumscribed efforts in the cause of God. Instead of this they are to teach men how to work disinterestedly and thus become rich toward God. They should educate minds to place the right estimate on eternal things and to make the kingdom of heaven first. 5T 262.2
Calebs are wanted in these two fields. There must be in these conferences, not children, but men who will move understandingly and bear burdens, letting their voice be heard above the voices of the unfaithful, who present objections, doubts, and criticism. Great interests are not to be managed by children. An undeveloped Christian, dwarfed in religious growth, destitute of wisdom from above, is unprepared to meet the fierce conflicts through which the church is often called to pass. “I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night.” Unless the minister shall fearlessly declare the whole truth, unless he shall have an eye single to the glory of God and shall work under the direction of the great Captain of his salvation, unless he shall move to the front, irrespective of censure and uncontaminated by applause, he will be accounted an unfaithful watchman. 5T 262.3Read in context »
The only safety now is to search for the truth as revealed in the word of God, as for hid treasure. The subjects of the Sabbath, the nature of man, and the testimony of Jesus are the great and important truths to be understood; these will prove as an anchor to hold God's people in these perilous times. But the mass of mankind despise the truths of God's word and prefer fables. 2 Thessalonians 2:10, 11: “Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” 1T 300.1
The most licentious and corrupt are highly flattered by these Satanic spirits, which they believe to be the spirits of their dead friends, and they are vainly puffed up in their fleshly minds. Colossians 2:19: “And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God,” they deny Him who ministers strength to the body, that every member may increase with the increase of God. 1T 300.2
Vain philosophy. The members of the body are controlled by the head. Spiritualists lay aside the Head and believe that all the members of the body must act themselves and that fixed laws will lead them on in a state of progression to perfection without a head. John 15:1, 2, 4-6: “I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Husbandman. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit, He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the Vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” 1T 300.3Read in context »