In the series of parables in Matthew 13 our Lord revealed that the kingdom of heaven is God working among men. Jesus has been revealing that work of the kingdom in this present age since His first coming.
The parable of the treasure hidden in the field is the fifth of seven parables Jesus gave on this day. The first four were given to the unbelieving crowd on the seashore. They concerned the aspects of the kingdom of heaven at work among men that we can recognize and can see in history.
The last three parables were spoken to the disciples, men who believed that Jesus was the Son of God, and who were ready to believe what God said. The last three concern things which are not quite as easy to see in the historical process.
In the first parable, Jesus’ story indicated that there would be a great sowing of the Word of God throughout the world and it would fall on four kinds of hearts. There would be a partial failure of the seed of the Word because of the condition of the hearts into which it fell. But there would be one kind of heart in which the seed would grow and produce fruit.
In the second parable the Lord said that He would take the sons of the kingdom, who are produced by the seed of the Word, and sow them like wheat throughout the world. He has been at work with that ever since, sending men among all kinds of people so that there may be a testimony of the Word everywhere. But in that same parable He said that an enemy would come and sow tares, (false teachers), that would grow up amongst the wheat.
The result is that through the course of history there has been a counterfeit Christianity, which bears the name of Christianity but is absolutely false. It would be difficult to distinguish between the two, especially at the beginning, but eventually each would make their real nature known, as history has proved.
In the third parable, the Lord said that there would be a seed planted that would have an unnatural growth. That would be the true church. It would grow into a huge tree with many large branches, and it would attract birds of prey, evil men who would come into the church and build their nests there, that is, establish their authority there. This would produce something entirely different than the Lord desired.
The fourth was the parable of the woman who took leaven and secretly hid it in three measures of meal. Jesus used this to illustrate the pollution of the fellowship of the people of God by those who were appointed to keep false doctrine out of the church. Jesus said it would happen this way and it's all visible in history past and at the present time.
Jesus gave three more parables to the disciples in private. The parable of the hidden treasure, the parable of the pearl of great price, and the parable of the dragnet.
The fifth parable is directed toward the Jews. In this parable, the parable of the hidden treasure, the treasure is not the sinner seeking after Christ, it is Christ seeking His own people Israel. Matthew 13:44. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
The "treasure" is Israel. The "field" is the world. The "man" is the Son of man who gave Himself to redeem the world.
Jesus came and found a treasure in humanity that was hidden, or lost in the human race. He claimed it for His own and then He did something unusual, He hid it again. Then He went and gave all that He had and bought the field of humanity where the treasure was hidden.
Since Israel is the treasure, and the Lord Himself is represented by the man who found and hid this treasure in the world, this is not the gospel and it is not a sinner buying the gospel. The gospel cannot be bought nor is it hidden in a field. The gospel is open to the whole of humanity, “whosoever will, may come.” God chose Israel to be His Nation, to represent Him here on earth, but Israel failed in this and God set them aside for a time, and most of Israel is actually hidden in the world today and the gospel is going out into all the world.
In scripture, Israel was recognized as God's special treasure as far back as Exodus 19: 5. “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.”
Jesus left His home in heaven and gave His life
on the cross of Calvary to buy the field,
which is the world.
The treasure He claimed for His own,
the nation of Israel,
was not willing to receive Him as their King,
so Israel was hidden for the present time in the field,
the world that He bought with His own blood.
The apostle Paul wrote: "I say then, Hath God cast away his people?' God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. . ." Romans 11:1-2.
Actually, Israel is still buried throughout the world at this time. Only a small portion of the worldwide Jewish population is back in the land today.
God is not through with Israel as a nation. The fact that the treasure has not been reclaimed in this parable makes that clear.
Jeremiah wrote that God will re-gather all the people of Israel and bring them into their own land. They will possess the complete Promised Land that they forfeited by their rejection of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. When God set Israel aside, He allowed His offer of salvation through faith, and sonship of God through that salvation, to go out directly to Gentiles so they might become a visible example to the Jews. Israel was watching, at least individual Jews were, all along. If the Jews rejection of Christ means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion and restoration mean! When Israel comes back into its right relationship with God, how much more their blessing will mean to this world. They will understand and realize, when they see it worked out before their eyes, what a nation can be with God in its midst.
Romans 11:11-12. “I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. 12. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!” The time of “their fullness,” the full return of the nation back to God, is still future but it will be a miraculous deliverance by God. When Israel, as a nation, turns to God and recognizes Jesus Christ as their Messiah, they will be Jehovah's peculiar treasure and through them all the Gentile nations will be blest. Redeemed Israel will be brought out of hiding and her long-awaited Deliverer will come out of Zion and set up the Messianic Kingdom.
All those who have trusted Jesus Christ as their Savior, regardless of nationality, will live in peace and harmony and under idyllic conditions for a thousand years and Christ will be their King.